Here’s a question from a reader of RVtravel.com about boondocking.
In the latest newsletter you talked about boondocking and charging your batteries. We have a residential refrigerator in our 2016 Holiday Rambler Vacationer. It is not a three-way. How do I keep the fridge going while boondocking without harming the batteries? —Judy and Mark
Hi Judy and Mark,
There is not an easy solution to your question. It is all relevant to how much power you use, just like sizing a solar system.
The residential style refrigerators (compared to the 3-way 120v/12v/propane RV refrigerator) have loads of space, will stay cooler under any conditions, and you don’t have to worry about an always-lit propane flame or a cutout for a vent in the RV sidewall. But all those advantages of a residential fridge make it a power hog —and if you’re not plugged in (i.e., when boondocking) you need lots of battery capacity to keep it working.
Also, if you are using solar power to keep your batteries charged and you have a couple of days boondocking with cloud cover or rain you will need reserve capacity as well. This is not a boondocking killer since all boondockers deal with sizing their battery and electrical charging capacity to fit their usage, which as you know could vary widely among RVers.
My suggestion would be to carefully analyze and log all the appliances, lights, etc., that you use boondocking and how many hours you use them each day. Then go online and use a power sizing calculator or visit a solar company that specializes in RV systems, such as AM Solar in Springfield, Ore. Then you can determine how big a solar system and how much battery capacity you need.
Do you have a question for Bob? Email him at bob.rvtravel (at) gmail.com .
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