"Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Redoing the Electrical Audit

Another thing I did yesterday was redo all my reading about RV electrical systems to figure out why I'm having such a hard time when boondocking more than one night and properly determine what I need to upgrade. Things made sooooo much more sense this time around. For example, I finally figured out why watching a movie through the inverter runs down my batteries. Old timers are going to roll their eyes at me as this is really one of those DOH! moments.

I watch movies on my iMac. The iMac runs at about 100-120 watts. According to my initial energy audit, that meant that it uses at most 1 amp (120w/120v=1a), no more than a light. Therefore, I could definitely run my iMac on the battery for a couple of hours.

(Old timers are going waitaminute...)


What I failed to understand is that the inverter doesn't really give me 120v power, so I should have been dividing that 120w by 12v, not 120. Meaning that my iMac uses 10 amps!!!

Okay, it's clear. I can't run the iMac when boondocking. It's also the only power hungry thing I'd want to run for any length of time when boondocking. Therefore, my solution for long term boondocking isn't to upgrade my electrical system but to get a slightly newer laptop that is faster and has a DVD player, a solution costing a few hundred dollars rather than a few thousand. Talk about my getting smarter!

That said, I most definitely need to replace my battery and I won't even bother getting this one load tested. It has surpassed its lifespan and I doubt the POs did any sort of maintenance on it. So, two new 6V golf cart batteries are on my priority list for this winter, and then I'll shop for a new-to-me laptop in the spring when I start boondocking again.

At any rate, I quit running the iMac while Walmarting quite a while back as well as running a million lights to either read or embroider as I've picked up a new hobby that requires no electricity and very little light. No, I'm not going to tell you what it is so don't even bother asking. :)

Further evidence that I'm getting smarter about all things RV came about when I arrived in Edmonton on Monday night. It was really cold and damp in the rig, but I didn't turn on the furnace since I was only on 15A service. Then, I actually questioned if the furnace would use as many amps as an air conditioner. I pulled out the manual and learned that the furnace only uses 8A. Add the 1 for the iMac and 1 for a light and I was still at only 10A. Ah, no more shivering. :-)

Electrical heaters are next on my to-by list and I'm still debating catalytic heaters. I have really mixed opinions on those.


Bast said...

What are your mixed opinions on catalytic heaters?

Raven said...

Some people think they're absolutely safe and others that they're death traps (even if precautions are taken). I'm having a hard time figuring out what side of the fence I should be on.