Hi I am very new and are renting a motorhome in September if we like it we will buy a new one we are looking at a sunlight a class and will need to upgrade certain things to go off grid will we have to sell the things we have upgraded like solar panels or what would be our best option and what extras do you recommend any help would be helpful.
What we are renting next week now has upgrading equipment already on as it will be a new one we are looking at. a 4berth Carado any info you can offer will be appreciated as this is our first trip thanks Neil
Clive writes :-
Welcome to the world of Motorcaravans.
I had a natter with the UK Carado dealer to see what features are provided in the latest Carado A class Motorhomes and I am pleased to find out that they are fundamentally well suited to Camping off grid with a three way gas fridge and gas heater using the Truma Combi 6.1 heater system. A single 6kg bas bottle contains as much energy as 60 X 100 ampere hour batteries so is by far the best way to carry energy. Where you go from here very much depends on your planned camping lifestyle. If you are principally a summer camper regarding camping off grid then you are off to a good start. Your limiting factors will be you gas supply and your 12 volt electricity supply from your leisure battery. Your LED lighting will be quite frugal as will the running of your fridge and heating system that you will need to use for hot water if nothing else.. However you may have a TV and this run for several hours each evening can use a fair bit of energy from your leisure battery. With all hat space you may be lured towards a microwave oven and these are fine when you have a mains hookup but a different ball game without! Even a small microwave such as the 600 watt Daewoo if run from an Inverter from your leisure battery will draw some 100 amps. And as your battery will be about a 100 ampere-hour total capacity will very quickly deplete your battery. A second 100 AH battery would be a must if this was your intention. Then we come to how to keep those leisure batteries topped up. The Number one method is by having as much solar real estate on your roof as you can accommodate and to feed the panels through a MPPT regulator that makes best use of the energy from the sun. If it’s really sunny then the regulator can be wired to power your three way gas fridge so that you save some gas when the batteries are fully charged..
Another way to charge your batteries is via a Battery to Battery charger but this requires that you run the engine. However an hour’s running with a 100A B2B charger will half charge a pair of 100AH batteries. This system is beneficial if you plan winter camping off grid.
You can get even more power in your battery compartment by using some modern Lithium Ferrous batteries. (LiFeP04) And these can if selected correctly be charged very fast from a B2B charger and also save you a lot of weight. They are expensive, about £1000 per 100AH but if you cost this as part of a new Motorhome then the cost is easier to accept. Make sure that any lithium battery you select as a big enough internal Battery Management System to handle the output of your B2B and input of a big inverter to power that microwave of hair dryer. Generally its best not to discharge traditional lead based batteries beyond 50% of their rated AH capacity. Lithium Ferrous is ok at 90% discharge so if effect has more useable energy.
Andy Harris at Roadpro will be able to offer you a raft of 12 volt solutions I am sure.
Now your gas system. The basic install will be a pair of steel exchange gas bottles from the likes of Calor in the UK.. On the continent the gas bottle fittings are different so you will need a different pair of high pressure hose (pigtails) to suit various continental gas bottles. There is an alternative. That is that you fit a pair of refillable gas bottles in the gas locker and have an external LPG filing point. Simply fill up at the many garages that sell LPG. LPG is Propane, same as the red Calor bottle. On the continent you use a small brass filling adapter.
Gaslow offer a range of sizes in steel refillable bottles. Alugas offer a much lighter range of refillable gas bottles and the top shroud of these can be unbolted and removed allowing you in many cases to have a larger gas bottle. Chris Wise at Autogas 2000 provided the Alugas equipment for our own Motorhome.
Generators. If you don’t mind the noise of these and will be somewhere where you will not annoy someone else (by yourself in a field) then chose one that has more than adequate
output for your needs and is an “Inverter” type. This ensures that they faithfully replicate what comes out of the Mains.
Water, your stay in any one place will also be limited by how long your fresh water lasts.
Cassette Loo. This will need emptying every couple of days, it is imperative that you empty the cassette responsibility. Not in a ditch, Not down a drain but into a proper waste system. If you use chemicals which may be injurious to the bugs that break down sewage then you should not be tipping the cassette contents down a public toilet either.. Most camp sites have dedicated places for emptying the contents of the cassette loo. But not if you wild camp. You can always carry a spare cassette. The SOG system draws air out of the cassette when the loo is in use and negates the need to use chemicals.
Hope that gives you some food for thought.
3 Egerton Close,
Northamptonshire, NN118PE England Telephone: 01327 312 233 www.roadpro.co.uk
AUTOGAS 2000 Ltd
Carlton Miniott, Thirsk, North Yorkshire, YO7 4NJ, UK
Tel 0044 (01) 845 523213