Advice on air con and generators please! (3 Viewers)

TheEscapist

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Hello Everyone

I’m looking forward to contributing to the forum and most of all, learning a lot...

I’ve just bought my second motorhome, a Carthago Liner for Two 53.

Previous one was a Bilbo Camper 30 years ago so I’m really a newbie...!

The Carthago comes with most things but my concern is about self-sufficiency. I want to te off the beaten track. I know the Liner for Two is hardly an all terrain survival vehicle but what I’m looking for is a comfortable life but with independence.

To this end, I’m wondering about air-conditioning and generators.

I think the water (200l) and grey water (185l) are enough.

I’ve specified a third leisure battery and ordered solar panels.

The engine is a 2.3l Fiat Ducato uprated to 180hp and the chassis uprated to 4,800kgs. The diesel tank is 90 litres so at around 30mpg I’m banking on a range of around 600 miles.

So I figure I’m all sorted except I wonder about the whole relationship between the engine charging the three leisure batteries, the solar panels charging the batteries in the daytime (apparently they are the type that work in all weather not just sun), using appliances at night, and then when I’m in hotter climes, using air con and the need for a generator.

I think I would be fine without a generator with sensible evening use with electricity from the 3 batteries but when I use air con the batteries won’t support it.

So my choices seem to be plug in at a site or use a generator. For when I’m not on a site, what size generator would run the aircon for a night and would it not be too noisy (I’m guessing not in the scooter garage).

Also, how should all the abov be word together?

The dealer says they have never fitted a generator so I’m wondering if I’m overdoing things or whether this is a sensible option.

Yanks in advance for helpful advice from you all.

Best wishes

Paul
 

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Ivory55

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Have you thought how much noise a generator would make running all night and am guessing that to run an air con it needs a lot of power. That’s going to be a big generator to lift up and down into the van plus it will eat into your pay load.
 
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pappajohn

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Firstly, whoever told you a solar panel will work without sun is incompetent.
Yes, it will... But the power it will produce won't be usable for any real purpose, it will most likely be in the milliamps range or possibly an amp or so on a clear, sunless day .

SOLAR = late Middle English: from Latin solaris, from sol ‘sun’.
 
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ctc

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We go to France mainly, and aircon is a very nice luxury and in rare cases a necessity. Personally I think solar need very careful selection. An Australian did a comparison test, a cheap and cheerful came out way ahead of a very expensive panel. A decent generator will cost less, be more reliable (especially at night) and will make sure you don't have neighbours.
 
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TheEscapist

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Have you thought how much noise a generator would make running all night and am guessing that to run an air con it needs a lot of power. That’s going to be a big generator to lift up and down into the van plus it will eat into your pay load.

Was planning on it being built on so no lifting but yes concerned on noise hence saw ”silent” ones of around 50-60db.

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TheEscapist

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Firstly, whoever told you a solar panel will work without sun is incompetent.
Yes, it will... But the power it will produce won't be usable for any real purpose, it will most likely be in the milliamps range or possibly an amp or so on a clear, sunless day .

SOLAR = late Middle English: from Latin solaris, from sol ‘sun’.

Dealer advised there are two types. I’m just saying what I was told. I’m here for advice but I don’t follow the logic of needing a definition of solar as times have. Ved on since the first photovoltaic cells so I guess there are some more efficient than others.
 
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TheEscapist

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We go to France mainly, and aircon is a very nice luxury and in rare cases a necessity. Personally I think solar need very careful selection. An Australian did a comparison test, a cheap and cheerful came out way ahead of a very expensive panel. A decent generator will cost less, be more reliable (especially at night) and will make sure you don't have neighbours.

Yes I’m hoping I don’t need the aircon but the level of insulation and underfloor heating in the home makes me think I’ll be hot rather than cold!
 
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pappajohn

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since the first photovoltaic cells so I guess there are some more efficient than others.
The word solar is derived from the word sun... Sun being the operative word.
Yes, some are more efficient but none are efficient without sun.
Any panel will be at its most efficient when it's at 90° to a bright sun.
When there is no sun the crystalline cells cannot convert the sun's energy to electric
The dealer is Relying on your lack of knowledge to sell you something which simply won't deliver what he says it will and I wouldn't trust that dealer to sell me anything on that basis.
 
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bigtwin

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SOLAR = late Middle English: from Latin solaris, from sol ‘sun’.

Solar! That’s the name assigned so that the masses get the gist of it!

Presenting the origins of ‘photo voltaic’ might have more meaning! :whistle:

Ian

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Happy Jim

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Was planning on it being built on so no lifting but yes concerned on noise hence saw ”silent” ones of around 50-60db.

The link above for a built in petrol genny from Hyundai says 54-58db.....at 7Mtrs! The sticker on the side of the genny says 94db next to it which is where you will be sleeping, and that is loud!

I used to happily sleep in close proximity to permanently running generators, but I was a lot younger, dog tired most of the time and in the Army. Would I do it now? Not a chance!

Jim

PS, Please hate that van once you’ve got it, and sell it me for a song :) pretty much my favourite van/layout, beautiful! (enjoy it ;-)
 
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The word solar is derived from the word sun... Sun being the operative word.
Yes, some are more efficient but none are efficient without sun.
When anyone comes out with a common sense answer, some smug knowall contradicts them with an obscure technical example:). So here it is(y).
https://reneweconomy.com.au/mit-team-gains-ground-on-molten-silicon-energy-storage-concept-23077/
This is an energy storage scheme that heats molten silicon from 1000 to 3000 degrees with surplus electricity. When electricity is required, the silicon is pumped through tubes which glow white-hot. The light falls on photovoltaic cells (ie solar panels) which convert the light back to electricity. So far the only examples are building-size, so are unsuitable for motorhomes, but I'm forever optimistic (or maybe delusionalo_O).
 
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we toured France with a Honda 2kw Genny running 8000btu amcor freestanding air con unit ducted out through 6" hole cut in floor. It ran for 8-10hours on a tank full of petrol and kept us inside at 22degrees when it was 34degrees plus outside. My wife had been treated for breast and neck cancer and had a PEG feeding machine and portable oxygen. We have wonderful memories of driving into Monaco and parking next to the marina. We lasted 4hours before the police informed us "no camping cars here"
IMG_20190306_010737_540.jpg
 
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Hi TH...Welcome to the 'SHOW'..

First of all....You have a seriously lovelley looking motorhome.

You have to remember when you sign up on here that there are a lot of folk who seriously like to help out wherever it may be possible. Do not be put off by some of the answers you may get.
There are some that just like to think they are better than the rest of us because they can recite something from some 'font of knowledge' acceptable to those only with special access!

Realistically..you will find out on your journey in your new motorhome what does work for you and what does not.
It is a game occasionally of trial and error. We all make mistakes and we can all put ideas forward that seem plausable at the time to the conversation on going. Not all will or does work out . Hey oh.
That aside..Common sense is the ruler of all ! We have all spent money on ideas off here and from other sites , from those who know or should know (i will add), only to find that whatever it may have been, becomes stored in its original box in the garage either at home or Just in case there is a full moon..or When all the planets align in the solar system..on that one possible occasion..here on our Motorhome! You never know?

I jest. Take all that comes with a slight pinch of salt and whittle out any sarcasm or dross that you can come across to get the correct answer you need or desire. The important thing about this is that you are going to enjoy and explore what ever comes your way. There will be some hurdles to jump and loops to go through and as my good lady often tells me, "Its a privet".. Meaning its a hedge ..get over it!
I wish you well in your adventures in your motorhome.

Just enjoy the journey...

Kev and Carolyn

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Zepp

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Hi great van we looked at them at the Carthago factory .
Not sure I can help with genny but when it gets to hot for us we just look for a aire with hookup , our aircon will run off 6amp on the first setting.

You don’t have to run the aircon all night we just run it for a couple of hours to cool the van down.
 
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Basildog

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Loving the sound of your magic solar panels (y)
I wonder if they are the ones that the solar worshippers connect up to a single 10 year old leisure battery and can stay off grid for weeks at a time ;)(y):D
 
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Jim

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I've had aircons on my vans for years. Used them only a handful of times. I much prefer a fan to cool the van, and a fan can stay on all night long on those sticky ones.
 
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138go

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Can you please tell me where I can buy these MAGIC Panels that don't need sunshine to work ..

As for generators you will be Billy NO Mates or asked to turn it off. We stopped at Whitby overnight a few years back. About 9pm the guy next to us started his generator up. I put up with it for about 10 minutes before requesting loudly that it was turned off immediately. They were using their microwave to warm up some soup so needed 240v :mad:
 
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GPW

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I'd tend to use the cab air for travelling and a fan in the roof for sleeping as Jim suggests above.
Generators are noisy, smelly and expensive, you won't want it on all night and it may not be there in the morning either...

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Don Quixote

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Not long enough, but a little common sense helps..........
We live in Spain and whilst air con is nice to have in our house, don't waste your money on air in the MH. Firstly they need EHU then there is the noise (day time) not a problem (night time) you will not sleep as the noise will keep you and the MH next door awake.
We have two roof fans one above the kitchen area and one above the bed and even in 42C we can sleep as can the cats we travel with. They run off 12volt so going without EHU for weeks on end on sites is not a problem. As for solar panels we have 300watts which in Spain and most of France will top-up the 330amps we have by mid to late afternoon.
I wont go into the difference between charge and top-up, but you could read my old posts.

Remember the dealer wants to sell you everything he can make a profit on as you have deep pockets. Best thing to do is get your new toy - use it - go to the MHF rallies - learn for others what is worth having then and only then will you see what you really need.
 
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Delboyarapaho

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I do think you need to suck it and see for a while. By that I mean start with the minimum (batteries & solar panels) then see how and where your travels take you and while you learn how you use your van you will be better able to judge for yourself what extras you would use most.

We have had two vans now, the first had no aircon and this one does. The thing with aircon is you need to be on hook up for it to work. If you are going to wild camp, you wont be and I doubt many generators will power aircon either (but I haven't/couldn't do the calcs on that). So if wild camping is your thing, don't bother with aircon, but get plenty of 12v fans. If you will be on hook up more often than not, I would go for it as there are many nights we have been away in Europe when we have had the aircon and a fan on all night. Believe me it gets bloody hot and takes a lot to cool a van down.

As for the Genny. I have thought about one several times (and decided against) and as others have said if you are going to be near others at night you wont be able to run it overnight, but then you won't need to unless you spend all night with your hair dryer running :). For me the best use I would put one to is charging the batteries up (if not on hook up) in case the whether is not good enough to do so. This only takes bursts of running during the day. But I doubt you could run it inside (I think you would gas yourself with the exhaust fumes) so it has to be outside (think security how to stop it getting nicked?) and noise and then you need to carry petrol and the additional weight in the garage and for what really?

Only you can tell and the only way to find out what works for you is get on the road and work it out.

Good luck
 
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GPW

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it has to be outside (think security how to stop it getting nicked?)

I know a few radio hams and there are some great stories about generator security. A favourite one is for the power to go off and someone then dutifully trudges along the wire to go fill it with petrol to discover the plug is still there, but the generator was long gone. On the plus side they often leave the generator until after they've cleaned out the motorhome for convenience.
Some are still running as the van drives off, just about the point when the owner notices the lack of power.

The radio ham theory is that the generators low frequency sound acts somewhat like the mating call of a large insect and attracts those with an affinity for them from a wide area.
 
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pappajohn

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For me the best use I would put one to is charging the batteries up (if not on hook up) in case the whether is not good enough to do so.
But the op is having solar fitted which, according to the installing conman dealer, work in practically all weather conditions, sun or not, so a generator would be surplus to requirements.
 
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pappajohn

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A favourite one is for the power to go off and someone then dutifully trudges along the wire to go fill it with petrol to discover the plug is still there, but the generator was long gone
Had that on a building site.
Working on the upper floor of a new build house and the power went off.
Trudged downstairs to refill the builders open frame 3kva generator to find the chain still round the steel gas pipe and the padlock cut with bolt croppers.
Must have had a van ready as they certainly couldn't run far with it.

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eddie

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Hi and welcome, for balance my company sells inverters, batteries, air conditioning and solar panels

Forget running a generator to use Air Conditioning at night unless you can sleep through real noise and your prepared to park five miles away from anyone else. Most people when they quote noise levels from generators look at the supplied figures, usually on tickover with no load. Start a 2Kw generator up, plug it into the mains and it goes from tick over to flat out in a fraction of a second. OK so lets assume a couple of things, its hot, which is why you want A/C and your not on a campsite as there is no mains hook up.

So no mains hook up and its hot, which means that any cool boxes and fridges will be working hard keeping things cool, so the genny is started and everybody (fridge, freezer, cool bag/box and battery charger) wants some. You then turn on the A/C and that is it maximum output and maximum noise, inside because of the A/C working hard and outside a generator working flat out and the noise of the Compressor on the A/C humming away. Unless your going to be in the middle of nowhere it's simply too noisy.

On my camper there is a factory fitted 6Kva Onan generator, what is part of their "Whisper" range, and factory fitted ducted A/C it is a 2019 model and the pictures in the brochure artfully show happy families enjoying "mains free" living, always on a deserted beach or in an isolated Country setting. Presumably for fear of being sued!

I have heard all the hard men stories about what someone will do if anyone complains about their generator, I may have been heard to utter the odd one myself, but if it bothers other people, it will probably be bothering you, sat right on top of it.

Worse when you get up in the morning and the bloke that moaned about the noise the night before, has completely decorated the outside of your nice shiny new motorhome with spray paint before driving off nice and early! Just not worth the hassle.

If you cannot live without A/C stay on a site. We have a dog, when we are abroad, we always use sites with decent facilities, so A/C isn't an issue then

Solar does work when it is not sunny. However, should you ask the question, "How good is say a 100w solar panel when it is not sunny? the truth is "Not very good"

A 100w solar panel is rated at say 100w when the Sun is perpendicular to the panel and the surface temperature is 25 degrees and it is a clear sky. IE The Summer solstice. A rule of thumb is to say that you can "use and replenish" (U&R) meaning that you can expect to use some your battery capacity, go out for the day, and expect that the solar panel(s) have replenished what you used the previous day. Use & Replenish (U&R) can be expected the latter half of Spring, The Summer and the First half of Autumn. Bearing in mind that the Sun is high in the Sky and its sunny before you get up and it is sunny into the evening

The latter part of the Autumn, the Winter and the first part of Spring you will be looking at a maintenance charge only to the leisure battery, and if installed correctly the engine battery

Obviously this is a rule of thumb and you Winter in Morocco lol Likewise if you Winter in the Highlands of Scotland things will be a bit different

I have three 150w solar panels on the camper and with two Lithium batteries, I have the equivalent of 400 Ah lead acid batteries.

We are going away at Easter for five days, staying on a site where we will have 16 amp electricity. I wouldn't book there if we couldn't get a hardstanding with electric. We are going to a different part of the same site for a week in July and have booked the rally field as, I can expect to be independent in July for pretty much as long as I want with sensible inverter use (hair dryer and Sky TV) so am happy that there is no hook up in the rally field

If ANYONE tells you that their solar panels don't need Sunlight to work, this would mean that they "know" this to be the case having got or seen evidence to back this up. Therefore I cannot see any harm in asking to see the figures to prove that say a 100w panel will be efficient in the Winter or the Summer

Solar panels will produce a current but typically it is about 10 -15% of their rated output so to all intents and purposes this means that they don't work, especially when you consider that when it is hot and sunny you will be sat outside most of the time, not using TV, Heating, Lighting etc as opposed to the Winter when your hammering your 12 VDC equipment from the minute you wake up.
 
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138go

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@eddievanbitz .. What you haven't got any of these amazing Solar Panels .. The salesman says they have them :whistle:
 
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eddie

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@eddievanbitz .. What you haven't got any of these amazing Solar Panels .. The salesman says they have them :whistle:
We do a nifty range of the new dehydrated water tablets! Work a treat when wild camping can extend your time off grid indefinitely Showers, washing machine, Loo, food preparation No more worries about running out of fresh water.

We stock them in 50l tablets and for the larger motorhomes 100l Tablets
 
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138go

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The engine is a 2.3l Fiat Ducato uprated to 180hp and the chassis uprated to 4,800kgs. The diesel tank is 90 litres so at around 30mpg I’m banking on a range of around 600 miles.

More like 25mpg or 500 miles .. Ours which is the 150bhp does 26.8 on a run and we weigh just over 4,000kgs
 
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Lenny HB

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Generators are fine providing you don't camp within 2miles of anyone else, even the quietest generators are noisy and best avoided.

If using the van mainly in mainland Europe fit 400 - 600 watts of solar on the roof with a good quality MPPT regulator.
And if still worried about power fit lithium batteries.
 
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