Generator etiquette and solar advice please!!

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by gazza280, Aug 28, 2013.

  1. gazza280

    gazza280 Read Only Funster

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    Hello Funsters

    I need advice please.
    By the looks of it France is going to be very busy with Funsters in September so before I go I need advice about keeping the batteries charged.
    I did plan to put solar panels on the roof probably 120w and 80w. I consider that this will be enough for 2 x 110amh batteries. Though I was also considering a generator too (I won't ask which is the best because there is so many opinions) but if I do get a generator when can I use it.
    I want to wild camp and use Aires in France but what is the etiquette when using either in an Aire or a Campsite. Also what is the etiquette in the UK on a campsite or wildcamping.
    What about security of the generator

    I do not want to find myself named and shamed on the forum by other funsters for being that obnoxious van owner who had his generator on all the time. Either at home or abroad. As a van owner and a funster its important to be aware of other users of Aires and Campsites and behave with consideration.

    Driving the van I know will charge the batteries but what if I stay for 3/4 days in one place?
    Starting the van will charge the batteries but won't that be as annoying to others as a generator?

    Solar panels from my limited understanding are great in the summer sun not so great later in the year.
    At some point in the future I would like to spend months at a time traveling either UK or Europe so do I need both solar and generator or just solar whats your advice.

    I don't want to become the van owner who has every mode con and has gone overboard with everything because knowing me I will spend loads of money that I don't need to.

    I use television, satellite lights and the computer and the girlfriend has got one important device to keep her happy :BigGrin: but that only takes batteries (if you get my drift) so theres not a great drain on power but I just need to be sure I'm topped up.

    Thanks all
    Gary :thumb:
     
  2. Peter & Elaine

    Peter & Elaine Funster

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    We did France in early October last year
    With 1 80 amp battery and a 100 watt panel and flattened our battery's once
    When we got home I had the battery checked and it was on its way out
    Replaced it with 2 120 amp we have not managed to get even close to flatten them this year without hook up longest run so far 4 days
    With similar power use as yourself
    expect the battery's for the wife as I am fully charged up :thumb:
     
  3. artona

    artona

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    "but if I do get a generator when can I use it" tricky question!
     
  4. Terry

    Terry Funster

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    Hi why don't you simply try it with the 2 batteries or even 3 :Smile:that way you can add solar or the genny IF you need it rather than want either :BigGrin: 3 or 4 days off grid should be easily obtainable with 300/400 amp battery bank :Wink:
    Terry
     
  5. lorger

    lorger Funster

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    I'm interested in finding out where your girlfriend got a battery operated hair dryer :Rofl1::Rofl1::Rofl1:
     
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  6. rolandrat

    rolandrat Funster

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    If you fit a 120w solar panel you will have more than ample to keep your battery charged whilst wild camping. I have an 80w panel and one battery and it has never gone flat on me. Forget about a generator, you won't need one unless the wife wants to use a hair dryer every morning.
     
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  7. voyagerstan

    voyagerstan Read Only Funster

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    answered your own question realy . :Wink: stan
     
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  8. cmcardle75

    cmcardle75 Read Only Funster

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    No generators at aires or campsites. The exception is motorway service aires, where you can use a quiet generator if parked next to all the refrigerated lorries. Wildcamping OK, provided there are no houses or other wild campers within a few hundred metres, unless they are using theirs.

    Security - get a proper massive bike lock. If it costs less than 50 quid, it is not good enough.
     
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  9. bigfoot

    bigfoot Funster

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    I have been motorhoming since 1981 and camping since 1961. During that time I have never had any power problems mainly due to good stewardship of resources.
    Currently I have LEDs and a 140w solar panel but only 90Ah Gel leisure battery (equivalent to a 110 wet type). I don't use tv a great deal and listen to the radio and read. I have been 'off grid' for 6 days before moving and during that time never had power problems.
    With great scenery,good friends and the van who needs to sit inside and watch TV?
     
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  10. Wildbill

    Wildbill Funster

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    geting away frome it all no tv no mobil phone :thumb: who need's power
     
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  11. gillnphil

    gillnphil Funster

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    I have a generator for back up. Never needed to use it. I have 100 watt solar and 2 x 80 amp leisure batts, never run out of battery power. I have changed all my bulbs to LED as well.
    Enjoy the aires and stay on France passion sites, use ACSI every few days to unload all the sloppy stuff.
    Phil
     
  12. JJ

    JJ Funster

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    I would be interested to learn where this set of rules came from...

    What if you were 140 metres away?

    JJ :Cool:
     
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  13. Forestboy

    Forestboy Funster Life Member

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    Depends how you use your van
    We have 3 x 115 amp deep cycle batteries fitted, will never waste money on so called leisure batteries again.

    We use our van all year round and in Jan / Feb spend time in the Alps skiing. The temps at 10000ft get down to mid minus 20s at night and never above 0 during the day. This is a huge draw on the batteries and although we have 2 large solar panels they wont produce enough to recharge so luckily we have a generator built into the chassis. We also have a 50 amp Ctek charger which the genie can also power as we're driving if needed. In the summer the solar panels can cope easily but in the winter no chance.

    Don't worry about using a generator just be considerate of other people. We use Aires a lot and there are always people using generators especially in winter. Its your van and there are no rules as to how you use it, do what you need to get the what you want from it. :thumb:
     
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  14. cmcardle75

    cmcardle75 Read Only Funster

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    Honda - OK.
    Kippor - maybe
    Lidl £70 job - no way!
     
  15. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    Loads of people it seems. We see vans arrive and before the kettle could boil there is a sat dish trying to grab a load of dross out of the aether. All nationalities are the same.

    They might be missing the point but what the hell, it's their lives.

    Though we do watch a DVD after dark.
     
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  16. Stephen & Jeannie

    Stephen & Jeannie Read Only Funster

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    Do as I do.....when finished with ( at a reasonable time of course:Eeek: ) just turn it off and bring it back inside !!:thumb:

    If it's a Honda, it won't smell and it won't be searingly hot !......Simples !:Cool::Cool::Cool:
     
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  17. iandsm

    iandsm Funster

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    Generators

    Can't speak for anyone else but I have no problem with people using generators provided they are far enough away from me that I cannot hear it, or if nearer only for as short a time as possible. That goes for anytime and particularly during the late evening / night.

    If a generator generator is intrusive, for example when sitting outside having a meal or reading I will ask for it to be turned off and if there is a refusal, particularly at night, the user of the generator might find their equipment suddenly develops a mysterious fault.

    Sensible considerate use if fine but inconsiderate use as to annoy others is, as far as I am concerned, unacceptable.

    To be fair, despite what others might say, I have hardly ever encountered a generator on an aire. Probably because the units are usually so close together that it must be obvious that using a generator would cause annoyance and lead to all manner of complaint from other aire users.
     
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  18. haganap

    haganap Funster Life Member

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    I've used generators on aires for years without a problem. Nowadays my set up means I don't have too, even when skiing in the alps it was only needed for a day and a half.

    Your set up sounds fine....

    Just be considerate I you use. Genny, people will moan regardless, if it ain't your genny it will be the sound of your hair dryer or dog snoring :Smile:
     
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  19. Hollyberry

    Hollyberry Funster

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    I have no idea what power batteries or solar panel I have ( it's on the roof, not one of the fold out ones I've seen). Been off electric for up to 8 days, in the UK though in the summer, no problems at all. Using water pump for shower, washing up etc ( although economically) and having radio on several hours a day doesn't seem to have run a battery flat. Yet! Lights seem to drain it most I think so I don't use them ( wind up lantern or torch instead) must get LED s fitted...
     
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  20. ShiftZZ

    ShiftZZ Funster Life Member

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    As always the 1st step is to understand your requirements.
    Then cut down on whatever you can get away with, LED lights is a good start.
    Then try and work out how much you may need. Hard, but it can be done.
    Then think hard about the options.
    Gennie, the extra weight, fuel, noise, risk of theft etc.
    Solar, cheaper and will give you something, even on a dull day.
    Our experience.
    We have replaced all or nearly all the bulbs to LED, the ones that we have not changed are the bulbs that we never switch on, so little point in changing them. We have 2 x 80W Solar panels and 2 x 110A batteries. We have a sat dish and TV.
    We try and charge things such as E’books, e’fags etc when we are either on the move or during the day when there plenty of sun.To date we have never run out of electricity, it’s just that you need to manage it, simple stuff such as turn it off when not in use. So in our case we manage fine and very rarely ever go to EHU (unless it’s part of the deal, then electric kettle and heater)
     
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