How much gas and battery power questions.

Discussion in 'The Beginner' started by Photo4x4, Mar 9, 2015.

  1. Photo4x4

    Photo4x4 Funster

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    Hello

    The Boss and I are going away for 2 or three days and will be taking our first 'off-grid' stop for the 1st night (Castle Arms Hotel, Mey - Britstops furthest north location).

    Anyway this started me thinking about how much gas I have in the bottle. The part filled bottle came with the MH when we purchased it last July and we have used it for cooking on our few short trips since. How do you check how much gas you still have (apart from just shaking the bottle about a little)?

    My other thought was about the leisure battery. There are many discussions about these and 'off-grid' camping here, but surely if you are driving a couple of hours each day, as we will to our second stop, with moderate use of the lights etc. at night won't that be sufficient to keep the leisure battery charged up?

    Thanks.

    Keith Hart
     
  2. Baycott

    Baycott Funster

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    We have been wild camping for much longer than 2 or 3 nights but in the summer.
    The problem with winter is use of the fan (with gas heating). I think it uses quite a lot. It does depend what else you are going to run like tv etc.
    As for gas, I would always carry a spare (full) bottle if you have room.
    Other, more experienced Funsters will be along shortly to give more technical answers.
     
  3. Jimbohorlicks

    Jimbohorlicks Funster

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    Hi
    you can weigh the gas bottle to determine the amount of gas remaining -if you have used it since last july and it was part full then -it maybe worthwhile getting a refill/exchange rather than running out.You don't appear to be a big user of gas. Battery wise -provided its a reasonable amperage battery and in good condition I cannot see an issue there for a couple of days especially if you are on the move.
    BUT the only way to check is to actually do it -its part of the fun of motorhoming-you are never too far away from civilisation and if your using a pubstop -you can always pop in there to save cooking etc.
     
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  4. gillnphil

    gillnphil Funster

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    We use very little gas on our non hook up travels, but have rarely used the central heating, that could make a difference. I agree with the try it and see system, (Jimbohorlicks) especially as you are in the UK, different in Europe.
    Phil
     
  5. mjltigger

    mjltigger Funster

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    We have a couple of useful back ups. We carry a 12v kettle so we can always get hot water even if we run out of gas, we have a decent supply of led hand lights and we carry a fully charged mobile battery pack so we can keep phones etc charged whatever happens. We use a small portable gas heater anyway rather than central heating so even if the leisure battery and the has run out we are still warm and in communication. The rest is experiment and enjoy.
     
  6. Larby

    Larby Funster

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    Get a spare bottle, even if only a 4.5kg Calor. At some time in the future it will be worthwhile, what happens when you do run out?
    I know my wife does not like cold showers and a warm fridge. I do not like no tea and lots of tongue pie!
    I wild camped for 9 weeks in France, solar panel and 2 French gas bottles. Took on water whenever it was available.
    Incidentally. French screw on bottles have same connection (21.8 LH thread) as our 4.5kg Calor bottles
     
  7. Lenny HB

    Lenny HB Funster

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    This time of year if you get a few cold nights you could easily get through an 11kg bottle of gas in a few days, not worth the risk of traveling without a spare as others have said get a second bottle. You don't say what type of gas you are running on, this time of year needs to be propane (red bottle) butane (blue bottle) won't gas off in low temperatures.

    Battery question a bit harder to answer without knowing size, type & condition of battery. our usage is around 15-20 A/H a day in summer, 30 A/H day in winter, if you don't use a TV that could be reduce by about 10 A/H. Contry to popular belief Truma Combi heaters don't use much power, they take 5-6 amps for first 15-40 mins until the van is up to temp them the fan speed drops and they consume less than 1 amp.
    Charging while driving comes down to how the van is set up, if it only has a basic split charge relay you would probably need to drive 200 - 300 miles to fully charge a fairly fat battery.
     
  8. Polar bear

    Polar bear Funster

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    Why would you want to travel with only one gas bottle?????????????????
     
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  9. Mattyjwr

    Mattyjwr Funster Life Member

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    Weigh the bottle and subtract the tare weight (which should be on a metal tab around the valve at the top or stamped onto the cylinder) to determine how much gas is left.

    We have two 6kg bottles and one normally lasts us 8 days for the fridge, cooking and a small amount of hot water; we rarely use it for heating.

    We also have a small portable stove which is mainly used for making coffee or cooking outside when the weather is good (the canisters are a lot cheaper in Europe than the UK) and it is a useful back up should we ever run out of gas,

    http://www.halfords.com/car-seats-t...benowbBEK2oBxW6QXL3-EDY5eyJn-4aCUEaAgGX8P8HAQ
     
  10. Wildman

    Wildman Read Only Funster

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    Thats a grand way to flatten a battery so you are out of gas and leccy, hee hee.
     
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  11. Mattyjwr

    Mattyjwr Funster Life Member

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    Driving a couple of hours a day should charge up your vehicle battery (to replace the power used to start the vehicle) but won't put much into your leisure battery which can take around over 6 hours to charge.

    I would put my vehicle on hookup at home before leaving to ensure that all batteries are full and keep an eye on it - it should last you 4-5 days or so providing that you are not running much off it and it is a reasonable size (80-100AH).

    We have replaced our interior bulbs with warm light LEDs to reduce battery consumption by lights by 90% and can't recall running out of battery power although we have not been off grid in the winter (where lights etc. are in demand more) for more than 5 nights.
     
  12. mjltigger

    mjltigger Funster

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    it only works when the injun is running
     
  13. Photo4x4

    Photo4x4 Funster

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    I can relate to that!

    Anyway thanks folks for all your advice. I've been out this morning and purchased another 6kg gas bottle and just fitted it alongside the original.

    Because the van came with just the one bottle! Anyhow I now have two.

    Thanks, I thought that it would be something simple.

    Just put it on hook-up now. I've switched on the fridge to cool it down ready for tomorrow.

    Fortunately the MH came with LED lighting. We have only used it in the lighter nights last summer/autumn so I was a bit worried about having the lights on longer. Could be a good excuse to go to bed early! :)

    If all goes to plan and the weather permits we will do one night 'off-grid', one night hooked up and one night 'off-grid' so now I'm happy that we will be okay.

    Thanks to everyone for their help your time is much appreciated.

    Keith Hart
     
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  14. colinw

    colinw Read Only Funster

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    Enjoy your trip , let us know how you get on off grid with regards to elec. As I only have one battery and would be interested if you manage ok.
     
  15. Sundowners

    Sundowners Funster Life Member

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    I find that (usually) first thing in the morning (about midday for us) if you look at the bottle, you may see condensation on the outside of the bottle level to the liquid inside---not exact, but a good guide.
    Nigel & Pamala
     
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  16. Trikeman

    Trikeman Read Only Funster

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    Get yourself 'solar'ed' up Keith - we've not looked back since and hook-ups are a thing of the past.(y)

    Regards,

    Trikeman.;)
     
  17. Jimbohorlicks

    Jimbohorlicks Funster

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    That's the best way to do it-also may be an idea to buy some of the cheepo battery powered LED lanterns they are quite effective on a table, plus some emergency back up LED torch/inspection/worklight type lamps. We found that on an earlier van when our leisure battery was slowly dying that the tv sound would fade out. Once the tv was turned off though we then had enough battery power to run the Van led lights etc.

    As someone responded earlier -think about having a solar panel
     
  18. Photo4x4

    Photo4x4 Funster

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    Good idea Jimbo, thanks.

    BTW it is a 90 amp-hour battery.

    Well we had some very high winds last night but we have awoken to a calm clear morning, just as the forecast said. So off we go...
     
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  19. Photo4x4

    Photo4x4 Funster

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    Hello all

    We are now back home so I can say how our trip went.

    Well, we learned two things (and had a great time into the bargain).

    1. You can go 'off-grid' for a couple of days without any extra equipment (solar panels, extra leisure battery etc.) even in winter
    2. In a motor home your plans really can be flexible
    In the end instead of 'off-grid', hook-up, 'off-grid' we actually did 'off-grid', 'off-grid', hook-up.

    We made our way up to John O'Groats (photo opportunity) and then to the Hotel at Mey. Great stop, great meal, great hosts - we will be back!

    No problem running off-grid, we were sensible with the lighting. After retiring from the hotel after our meal we sat cosy in the MH with the gas heater on watching a DVD. Then it was lights out. Leisure battery used for lighting, water pumping, radio, DVD player and TV screen. Gas used for heating and heating the tap water and making cups of tea. It was very cold out so we had the heating on until we retired to bed.

    It was fine and calm until about 03.30 hours and the wind really picked up and we started to get buffeted about a bit. The next morning I checked the weather forecast and the Met Office had issued a severe storm warning for North-East Scotland with gusts up to and possibly exceeding 80 mph! This is exactly where we were planning on heading - Durness.

    Common sense dictated that we change our plans.

    So we headed south. Stopped for lunch - pizzas cooked in the gas oven and a couple of cups of tea. We then called in at Highland Campervans near Inverness regarding a small replacement fitment for the habitation door retainer. Very helpful people indeed.

    Then we got out the Britstops book again and found the Speyside Heather Centre, so off we went. They were very welcoming and showed us where to park to see red squirrels (we did). We had tea and cakes in their cafe and The Boss bought a few bits and pieces and some heather plants.

    We had a very quiet and peaceful night with hardly a breath of wind (good decision to go south) and watched red squirrels feeding the next morning.

    Electricity (leisure battery) used for lighting all evening, water pumping, watching another DVD on the TV screen. Gas used for heating all evening, cooking evening meal, heating the water.

    The next day we went to Glenmore Campsite near Aviemore (great site especially if you have a canoe) where we were able to empty grey and black waste and fill up the fresh water tank. The first two were getting full and the third getting empty. However now we were hooked up for the duration.

    Crikey, Thursday was a very wet day and I felt really sorry for three young men pitching a couple of tents that evening after dark! Still I was young and rash once. :)

    Anyway we were able to service the van and charge up the leisure battery (90 amp hour) which indeed coped very well. Beyond my expectations really.

    I realise that non of this will be of any surprise to the experienced MH'ers on the forum but it was a real confidence booster for us. Now we know that if we want to stop somewhere on a whim we can. We have everything on board that we need.

    You know it even makes you think more about the resources you use on a daily basis and generally take for granted.

    So Colinw, we got on very well indeed and managed perfectly well with one leisure battery.

    And just to prove we were there...here we are at John O'Groats and our very nice stop at Mey.

    Keith Hart IMG_1770-800.jpg IMG_1763-800.jpg
     
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  20. spitfire

    spitfire Funster

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    On a totally different tack ! So jealous of your stop :) lived for 14 years in Halkirk :))
     
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