Howdy

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Howdy

Postby brian.spigel » Fri Jul 28, 2017 9:18 am

I'm Brian. I live in Western New York. I work part time/seasonally in order to have abundant time off.

I think I'll be building a ttt in the coming year with my dad's help. Possibly a Rimple design. As of now, the dream is to take a road trip along the length of the Mississippi River next summer.

I guess my first question for the experts here would be on my weakest subject: electrical. I'm envisioning a trailer with a microwave, roof vent with electric fan, one dome light in the cabin and one in the kitchen, one outlet for phone charging and laptop movie viewing, and a poor man's a/c (which is an electric fan and a fish tank pump to circulate ice water through a tube coiled in front of the fan).

1. Am I overlooking anything that's considered standard?
2. What would a *basic* electrical setup look like for these items? A car battery and an inverter? But unlike an RV, the ttt has no engine and alternator to keep the battery charged. Do you connect it to your vehicle? Use a solar charger to power the battery, then use the battery to power the appliances?

Thanks a bunch.

PS- If and when I build this, my dad loves taking photos.
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Re: Howdy

Postby working on it » Fri Jul 28, 2017 6:20 pm

brian.spigel wrote:I'm Brian. I live in Western New York. I work part time/seasonally in order to have abundant time off.

I think I'll be building a ttt in the coming year with my dad's help. Possibly a Rimple design. As of now, the dream is to take a road trip along the length of the Mississippi River next summer.

I guess my first question for the experts here would be on my weakest subject: electrical. I'm envisioning a trailer with a microwave, roof vent with electric fan, one dome light in the cabin and one in the kitchen, one outlet for phone charging and laptop movie viewing, and a poor man's a/c (which is an electric fan and a fish tank pump to circulate ice water through a tube coiled in front of the fan).

1. Am I overlooking anything that's considered standard?
2. What would a *basic* electrical setup look like for these items? A car battery and an inverter? But unlike an RV, the ttt has no engine and alternator to keep the battery charged. Do you connect it to your vehicle? Use a solar charger to power the battery, then use the battery to power the appliances?

Thanks a bunch.

PS- If and when I build this, my dad loves taking photos.
  • Hello Brian, welcome to the forum. I built a squareback (Simple) trailer on a decrepit motorcycle trailer frame that I enlarged to a 4x8 platform. I decided on a "Simple", rather than a "Rimple", because I had n't the skill or desire to bend the 3/4" plywood I sourced for my build. Easier to build, for sure, but less aerodynamic than the rounded shapes favored by most.
  • Rimple or Simple.PNG
    Rimple or Simple.PNG (47.71 KiB) Viewed 405 times
    basically the same; easier to build than most
  • As to the electrical choices you face, keep it as simple as you want to isn't unheard of here; there are many KISS electrical set-ups, including mine, with 12vdc supplied by an on-board AGM battery (powering computer case fans in my vents, several LED lights, stereo, and an inverter for emergency 110vac. Simple cut-off switches, some fuses, and no connection to the tow vehicle kept it simple (I trickle charge the battery at home and in camp, and carry a more powerful charger just in case). My 110vac system is basically simple, too, using various extension cords to input park power, and distribute it into the trailer, with GFCIs and surge protectors instead of circuit breakers, and with easily accessible wiring in looms, I have had no worries about my system (which powers some interior LEDs, a 10" air circulator fan, and my 5000 BTU A/C system.
  • Speaking of A/C, you might reconsider your "poor mans' A/C", if planning to travel south in the summer...the high humidity will cancel-out any benefits from a swamp cooler. Install, or carry along, a small window A/C unit...you'll be glad you did. I am assuming you intend to use 110vac in your build, to power the microwave, so adding a 5k BTU A/C would make sense to me. I always planned mine as the most integral component, since I live and camp mostly in Texas.
  • While others here have added solar power, or use tow-vehicle generated power to keep their trailers supplied with energy, I always counted on park power, or using my truck to supply power (thru its' inverter, or by alternator), but I also included an on-board 2500 watt generator, for off-road or off-grid use. It can either supply 12vdc to the battery, or 110vac to power everything directly, and I later added an extended-run tank, for up to 11 hours continuous use. The genny uses the same circuits as the park power supply,; I just unplug one source, and plug in the other, as needed.
  • Whatever style you build, and using components that you may choose, may you enjoy your build as much as your travels, later on. Both are rewarding in their own right.
Last edited by working on it on Fri Jul 28, 2017 11:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • 2013 HHRv,"squareback/simple" TTT, semi-offroad? 4x8, 2000+ lbs travel weight
  • featuring: 3500 lb Dexter axle w/brakes & HD leaf spring system > riding on General Grabber 27x8.5-14LT tires, LED lighting inside, A/C & heat, AGM battery 12vdc, 110vac from extended run generator onboard or park power, Coleman dual-fuel stove & Northstar lantern
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Re: Howdy

Postby jondbar628 » Fri Jul 28, 2017 10:28 pm

Brian,..... 1 Grand has given you an excellent short tutorial. ........A few tips - old computer fans, almost all of which run on 12vdc, are invaluable for air movement. Sleeping 2 comfortably in a TD requires a good deal of ventilation in most cases (unless you're a "winter warrior"). Other options are available, such as the Fantastic Fan, but they're a bit pricey, and noisier. As 1 Grand noted, many opt for a 5K BTU A/C unit. But realistically, that requires nightly shore power, of a gas generator..........If you're going the length of the Mississippi, I suggest you start at the south in early summer, and go north. Mid - to late summer nights in the south don't cool off like northerners are accustomed to. ( I say this as a former Ohioan now living in FL). I believe your "swamp Cooler" design will be woefully short of the desired results. That said, your basic approach is similar to mine. A 12v deep-cycle marine battery used for the main power with LEDs to minimize electrical usage, to be charged occaisionally from "shore power" available campgrounds. Most galley functions done by propane, except when shore power is available. I wish you well on your journey of building and travelling. Both are good for the soul.....jd
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Re: Howdy

Postby Tigris99 » Fri Jul 28, 2017 10:49 pm

I live on the banks mississippi river, north western illinois.

Swamp coolers are completely useless here, just make the humidity worse than it already is in the summer.

As advised start south and go north. Summers up here can rival Florida some days and need a hoodie others. It flip flops badly. But later summer gets the worse it gets farther south. So for a full season trip, start south and go up.

5k btu window AC is the best thing. Here its about getting rid of the humidity matters far more than cooling the temps down. And south gets it worse.

As for power, i dont know of a campground a long the river that doesnt offer electricity. RVs require it as well (they cant run indefinitely off internal power).

For basic lights, cpu fans for the vent and such a battery and a plug in small charger is plenty. AC and anything larger your going to want an electric campsite or drag an generator around with you. Frankly the $1-$2 price difference for electric sites per night would take a long time to justify a generator being cheaper.

I also know up here unless its a group campsite, generators are very highly frowned upon. Some dont even allow them because they can disturb other campers (not everyone can afford a Honda generator lol)

Your basically not after much at all for electrical. 12v everything (they make panel mount 12v usb plugs and so on, have a couple in my build) except the microwave and AC.

Personally I try to tell people leave the damn microwave at home lol. Learn to cook over an open fire, get a camp stove, eat real food :p. Thats part of camping, living simple and enjoying nature.

Laptop I wont say anything bad about especially if you have kids. I grew up camping and one thing sucks worse than all else. RAINY DAYS. If for no other reason than stuck in a tent without crap to do.

AC, just have an extension cord and a path to exit the trailer that doesnt require a door left open.



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Re: Howdy

Postby working on it » Fri Jul 28, 2017 11:16 pm

jondbar628 wrote:Brian,..... 1 Grand has given you an excellent short tutorial....
working on it wrote: I've been called many things before, referring to my character, habits, persona...but "grand" never was mentioned....
  • 2013 HHRv,"squareback/simple" TTT, semi-offroad? 4x8, 2000+ lbs travel weight
  • featuring: 3500 lb Dexter axle w/brakes & HD leaf spring system > riding on General Grabber 27x8.5-14LT tires, LED lighting inside, A/C & heat, AGM battery 12vdc, 110vac from extended run generator onboard or park power, Coleman dual-fuel stove & Northstar lantern
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Re: Howdy

Postby Syberia » Sat Jul 29, 2017 12:00 am

For electric, consider a solar panel or two. We have three and a large battery, and it allows us to run a mini fridge while camping without hookups (forget a $1-2 price difference, boondocking is free and we don't like other people). It's wonderful to be able to have ice cream or milkshakes in the middle of nowhere though.

Do you really need a microwave? We have a propane stove, bbq, and oven, and usually eat better when we're out camping than we do at home (to the point of having hibachi style Korean BBQ one night on our last trip), but have never had a need for a microwave. The only thing it might be useful for is defrosting frozen meat, but we do that well enough in a zip lock bag submerged in a bowl of water.

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Re: Howdy

Postby Tigris99 » Sat Jul 29, 2017 9:44 am

Syberia wrote:For electric, consider a solar panel or two. We have three and a large battery, and it allows us to run a mini fridge while camping without hookups (forget a $1-2 price difference, boondocking is free and we don't like other people). It's wonderful to be able to have ice cream or milkshakes in the middle of nowhere though.

Do you really need a microwave? We have a propane stove, bbq, and oven, and usually eat better when we're out camping than we do at home (to the point of having hibachi style Korean BBQ one night on our last trip), but have never had a need for a microwave. The only thing it might be useful for is defrosting frozen meat, but we do that well enough in a zip lock bag submerged in a bowl of water.

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Its all but impossible to camp outside of a campground around here. If its not a state park its private property. When you get far enough south I can see some possibilities but overall camping along the mississippi you paying for a campsite every night.

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Re: Howdy

Postby brian.spigel » Sat Jul 29, 2017 2:09 pm

Hey. Thanks for all the responses.

I'm not married to having a microwave, it just seems (to me) to be the best complement to a propane camp stove. I'm an accomplished cook, and I know a few backpacking meals as well, so I'm not thinking at all about fresh meals, I'm thinking about leftovers. But, a microwave pretty much has to be 120v, thus requiring some sort of inverter/alternator. We'll see.

The computer fans are a great idea, especially if they're 12v. Do a lot of people fit their trailers with only 12v items?

As for the poor man's a/c, it's different than a swamp cooler. A poor man's a/c circulates ice water in a closed loop in front of a fan blade, making the fan blow cold air instead of ambient air. Any effect it has on humidity should be to force moisture to condense onto the cold tubes and therefore come out of the air (like a cold soda can on a hot day). I've never actually used one though. Here's a video for the poor man's a/c I'm thinking of: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZF0J8OvDSmM.

Anyway, for cost and simplicity I'm committed to not packing a generator, and without a generator, then a power source becomes a destination in order to use the a/c, and I'm not sure that's the mentality I want to be building on here. Though the suggestion to consider "shore power" is a good one. Has anyone tried using a portable dehumidifer (https://tinyurl.com/ycwzlhfc)? Dry ambient air with a fan or two seems like it should be comfy.

Thanks a bunch!
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Re: Howdy

Postby jondbar628 » Tue Aug 01, 2017 10:46 pm

TO Working On It...........I am sure that "Grand" applies, or I wouldn't have used it :lol: ...........jd
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