<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="65001"%> Tips for boondocking with motorhome
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Topic: Country Coach Dry Camping

Instructor: Dennis Wassenberger (Country Coach Management)


Your coach should be able to handle 4 days easily.

In real estate it's location, location, and location. In dry camping, it's conservation, conservation, and conservation -- energy, water, and holding tank capacities.

Batteries: The most misunderstood component on the coach. AGM is an upgrade. It's fully charged at 12.85 volts, and discharged at 12.0. It offers 1300 recharge cycles; which drops to 300 if you go down to 10 V. Liquid batteries, by contrast, are fully charged at 12.65 V

Run generator for two hours -- once in morning and once at night. Two hours per day should be sufficient to restore electricity consumed during the day. Liquid batteries needs to keep water over the plates. Not too full, as it will boil over, cause corrosion. Terminals on AGM are much less corrosive. [Student Note: It is critical for each coach owner to know that rig's "phantom load" -- the rate of amp consumption with everything in the coach, including the inverter, off. Some rigs will find even with everything "off", they're still consuming as much as 5-6 amps. Mulitiply that times 24, and you'll see a substantial portion of your available house battery bank is being used up even before you turn on the first light.]

House batteries w/everything off is "1-3 amps". This is called "phantom load". (Note: Importantly, we think it's usually much higher. One CC tech said he's seen this phantom load as high as 7.5 amps. Our current Alpine coach is 5.0 amps]

Charging rates: If you change battery types, needs to adjust inverter. The inverter charger starts at 14.2V; then steps down throgh the three stages, with the third being 13.2 volts as the "float" charge.

Black and gray tanks. Okay to leave gray tank open; but don't dump black tank until it's over half full. Use commercial grade tank additive, not home remedies. Should use same chemical in gray tank. Use no fuss flush as often as possible, with black tank valve open. Run it 10-15 minutes. Don't ever equalize the tanks. Always dump black first, if the black tank needs to be emptied.

Fill diesel tank before you park for the night. It reduces condensation. And of course hydronic heating and diesel generators run off of same diesel tank.

Get truck stop diesel. They're bigger, have high volume of diesel business, and it will be fresher. If parked for 3-6 months, need anti-aglae additive. Winterized fuel.

Leveling systems. HWH air leveling is common on CCs. Proper way is to leave engine on, set park brake, hit panel twice. Then okay to hit dump button. Good idea to dump the air before storage, to avoid uneven air loss corner to corner. Fully dumping the air will not damage anything.

With a slide out, you'll need to level it twice -- once before sliding; and again after sliding. [Note: Our experience is that once has often been enough...]

LP is very safe substance. Most coaches use it for heating (water and space), cooking, refrigeration. Tanks can't be filled beyond 80%. No pilot lights. And any leak will be detected and cause an automatic shutoff. Very little mainenance.

Water conservation. 100 gallons seems like a lot. But need for convservation is critical here. Showers are major source of water "over consumption". Use "Navy shower" technique...

No need ever to use water pressure reducing device, except to save the water hose. [May be true on some coaches, but many brands are not built to withstand water pressures beyond "normal", and a pressure reducing device is, we believe, very important.]

Solar panels. They are useful to charge the batteries. But most people use more than they could possible replace with solar. Best to run generator two hours a day. [ Note: With batteries functioning properly, we find 1/2 hour each, morning and evening is sufficient. We try to time the morning run with the coffee maker; and the evening run with any microwave cooking needs.]

Safety -- Be attentive to your surroundings. Guns: If you have one, you'd better know how to use it, and what each state's laws are.

Eco charger: An electric device that helps keep the chassis battery topped off. When it sees 13.2 V going into the house batteries, it tops off chassis battery -- and won't overcharge.

When should you turn propane off? When you're storing or fueling. ONLY. [Note: this is quite contrary to advice given by many other speakers on this topic.]