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Author Topic: New to the group  (Read 1260 times)

wesbreal

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New to the group
« on: June 18, 2018, 12:41:08 AM »
Hey guys, Iíve never been apart of a group like this before. I live in southwest Oklahoma And recently just bought myself a 1985 Chevy G20 van that I am in the process of redoing. It runs pretty well considering the age of the vehicle, it did just make a 4 hour road trip. One thing that I realized over the 4 day camping trip is I need a AC unit in there for during the day. I would like to put up solar panels so I donít drain the battery as well. So I guess what Iím looking for are tips on solar panels and ac units to use?


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Camper_Dan

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Re: New to the group
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2018, 08:08:10 AM »
Greetings and Welcome!

The only type of air conditioning that really works without shore power or a generator is a 12 volt swamp cooler.  There are two versions, direct and indirect.  The direct kind works great in low humidity areas, and mediocre in higher humidity areas.  The indirect version works better in higher humidity areas. I can supply details for both types on request.  Many people just make it a point to park in the shade, and use a fan, sometimes with a misting bottle.  You can also make or purchase seat cushions that will almost freeze you out, or keep you warm in the winter.  There are many options available.

Solar panels are the most expensive and least efficient way of providing power.  Charging your house battery(s) while driving should always be your first choice, followed by a cheap inverter generator with an add on quiet muffler.  My entire power system including everything cost under $200, and is totally reliable.  Many people just charge their electronics while driving, and don't even have a dedicated power system.  The best systems are designed to keep you comfortable even if your power system fails.  Individual, self contained, solar items can be useful.  I have a solar powered AA/AAA/C/D/9v battery charger that always has fresh batteries available for my lights, fans, bug zapper, radio, etc. etc.  I prefer portable items so they can be used both inside and outside without duplication.  Individual battery powered stuff is really cheap, and just as importantly easy to replace.  I think about 90% of my stuff at this point, that I use every day, came from dollar stores.

I have well over 20 years experience living on wheels, and I've probably made just about every mistake out there, and then found solutions that actually work.  Eventually I found solutions to all of the problems I ever encountered.  Feel free to ask me anything.

Hope this helps, and keep us posted...

Cheers!
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wesbreal

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Re: New to the group
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2018, 10:31:09 PM »
Thank you so much for the reply! After I posted the question I started doing more research on it and decided to stay away from the solar panels. I also made her mistake of parking directly in the sun. Lol. Iím not running any appliances out of the van at all and the only thing I would need to power is my radio, lights, usb chargers for phones, and some portable fans. So after talking with a buddy he told me to just get get a battery tender and plug into shore power or get a generator. What is your opinion one that set up?


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Camper_Dan

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Re: New to the group
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2018, 08:36:23 AM »
Greetings!

I mostly agree with your friend, except I would get a regular shore power automatic battery charger.  By my definition, a battery tender is just to keep your battery fully charged if the vehicle sets for a prolonged time, vs. a battery charger that is actually designed to charge a depleted battery.

I would get a cheap deep cycle house battery from a wrecking yard (~$20), an el cheapo generator on sale, or used (I got my 3500 watt no name inverter generator on sale brand new for $99), and a cheap automatic battery charger. (Mine cost $29 brand new)  The battery will work on shore power if you have it, and the generator if you don't.

You  can add some neat but inexpensive accessories to your system to make it better looking & more useful.



I placed my deep cycle battery in a marine style battery box, then attached the 4 outlets to the side with double face foam tape, then connected it to the battery using the adapter with the battery clamps on it.  I inserted the USB adapter into one of the accessory ports.  Before I got an isolator, and then a generator, I charged my house battery while driving by using the jumper cable on the right, plugged into the dash.  Both the isolatior and the generator with the battery charger do a better and quicker job, but I used what I had available successfully. 

Cheers!
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wesbreal

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Re: New to the group
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2018, 04:40:35 PM »
Perfect! Thank you!


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