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Old 05-30-2016, 07:01 AM   #1
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First Time Camper Owner Questions

I know some of these are probably answered somewhere in the forums, but I couldn't find the answers anywhere - wanted to spend more time working in the camper than typing. (Have one more day to get it ready to move it - transporting it to a new place to work on it).

How can I tell how much water is in the fresh water tank? There is no gauge. Do I just fill it until it overflows from the inlet?

There are no tank gauges that I can see. Is there any way to tell what the levels in the grey and black tanks are?

The only breakers or fuses that I see are in a lower cabinet near the power converter. There is a set of black-red breakers, and there is a trio of glass fuses that are marked for L turn, R turn, and Clearance. Are these the only fuses in the camper?

Do any of the interior 12v light fixtures have fuses in them (some of the fixtures work, others do not).

The original stove-oven (gas) and fridge (gas-12v) have been removed. The gas furnace seems a bit sketchy to me and I live/camp in Florida, so it's not needed. I just bundle up and use extra blanket layers, and possibly a small 110v space heater in extreme situations. Is there any harm in removing the furnace to free up space?

The original 3230UL power converter seems to work fine. It's old, but should I just leave it in place, or should I update it to something newer?

Can a residential 220v outlet be used as a shorepower line?

I discovered that I have the dual 12v-gas hot water heater which is accessible on the outside of the camper. If I finish removing the rest of the propane from the camper as mentioned above, can I just run this old hot water heat on 12v, or should I replace it with a small "on-demand" water heater that is powered by 30amp shorepower?

There is no external water spigot on the camper. Can I put a splitter/shutoff/T right before the city water input and have a
tap available for outside use before the city water goes in the camper?

The little metal round vent to the right of the hot water heater on the outside of the camper, does this vent the stove (which was removed prior to me), or the furnace (being removed)? I may use these ready-made port for a different purpose.

I am having an electrician take a look at the electrical system and possibly make some safety upgrades. Is there anything I should request? (Like a master emergency shut-off, or a better fuse-box or breaker box?)

Has anyone tried that Flex-Seal rubber spray from the TV commercials? How would that do as a fix for a leaky seam? Does that stuff really work? If so, I bet it would come in a handy in an RV or camper.

Thanks!
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Old 05-30-2016, 08:07 AM   #2
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Just found the answer to the 220v question - NO.
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Old 05-30-2016, 05:16 PM   #3
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You may want to try one question at a time!
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Old 05-31-2016, 08:40 PM   #4
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Can only answer some of your questions so...

Don't know what your set-up on the 1661 is but the fresh water tank in our 2363 is located under the bed so, when we fill it, we have to watch it by opening the "water cellar" door. We have gray and black tank gauges but they're not super accurate. While we do consult the gauges, we use a flashlight to look down the toilet into the black tank when necessary or watch to see if the water is coming up the shower drain.

We had to replace our converter right after we bought our trailer b/c it went bad, otherwise, we wouldn't have replaced it until we had to.

Don't know what your electrician will recommend, however, we have a Progressive Industries EMS (surger protector) and wouldn't be without it. Other SOC members have them too. The Progressive Industries EMS run from about $130-$300.00 depending on what you want/need. Ours was a little over $200.00; there are cheaper brands but PI has the best ratings. Worth it when you consider what it would cost if your electric system got zapped!

Hope this helps - happy camping!
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Old 06-01-2016, 05:06 AM   #5
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Since you have both 110Volt AC and 12Volt DC you must have both power sources to make everything work. Some lights will be from the batteries 12Volt DC power and some will be from the 110Volt AC power.


If the converter stops charging the house battery you might use a regular battery charger if you have AC power to do so. That would work until you could get the onboard charger fixed. I would run the old converter until it poops out but check it before each trip. That way I can set aside money for later on.
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Old 06-01-2016, 10:56 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Wannabes View Post
Can only answer some of your questions so...

Don't know what your set-up on the 1661 is but the fresh water tank in our 2363 is located under the bed so, when we fill it, we have to watch it by opening the "water cellar" door. We have gray and black tank gauges but they're not super accurate. While we do consult the gauges, we use a flashlight to look down the toilet into the black tank when necessary or watch to see if the water is coming up the shower drain.

We had to replace our converter right after we bought our trailer b/c it went bad, otherwise, we wouldn't have replaced it until we had to.

Don't know what your electrician will recommend, however, we have a Progressive Industries EMS (surger protector) and wouldn't be without it. Other SOC members have them too. The Progressive Industries EMS run from about $130-$300.00 depending on what you want/need. Ours was a little over $200.00; there are cheaper brands but PI has the best ratings. Worth it when you consider what it would cost if your electric system got zapped!

Hope this helps - happy camping!
I figured I could just eyeball the fresh tank while filling it - open up the dinette trap door and have my wife keep an eye on it while I fill it.

Yeah, I think a good surge protector would be a great idea, given some of the nightmare stories I have read on the web.

Thanks!
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Old 06-01-2016, 11:01 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim-Bev-2363 View Post
Since you have both 110Volt AC and 12Volt DC you must have both power sources to make everything work. Some lights will be from the batteries 12Volt DC power and some will be from the 110Volt AC power.


If the converter stops charging the house battery you might use a regular battery charger if you have AC power to do so. That would work until you could get the onboard charger fixed. I would run the old converter until it poops out but check it before each trip. That way I can set aside money for later on.
Ok, that explains the lights. I am almost certain the deep cycle battery is dead as a doornail. I did not check it yet, but just assumed it was dead based on how long the camper had been sitting unused.

Agree about the converter. I am in no big hurry to drop a bunch of money on something that still works. As long as it works, I will keep it. I don't forsee using the 12v much any time soon. While I do want to boondock in remote areas, for the near future I will be sticking to campgrounds with hookups.

Thanks!
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Old 06-01-2016, 03:35 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GalacticSton View Post
Agree about the converter. I am in no big hurry to drop a bunch of money on something that still works. As long as it works, I will keep it. I don't forsee using the 12v much any time soon. While I do want to boondock in remote areas, for the near future I will be sticking to campgrounds with hookups.
You may want to re-think this statement. Most of the systems in your rig are 12vdc. Therefore you need a functioning convertor and battery. The convertor is not enough to run the 12vdc systems by itself for any length of time.

Your lighting is all 12vdc. The control circuitry for the hot water heater is 12vdc unless you run it strictly on 110vac. Your fridge is the same; either use exclusively 110vac or plan on having a functioning 12vdc system. Your furnace is totally 12vdc. The only exclusively 110vac appliances are the air conditioner and the microwave.

Most RV's are a mix of 12vdc and 110vac systems so even when on full hookups, you need a properly functioning 12vdc supply in the the rig.

The only way around this is to replace all the 12vdc stuff with 110vac.
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Old 06-01-2016, 04:07 PM   #9
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You may want to re-think this statement. Most of the systems in your rig are 12vdc. Therefore you need a functioning convertor and battery. The convertor is not enough to run the 12vdc systems by itself for any length of time.

Your lighting is all 12vdc. The control circuitry for the hot water heater is 12vdc unless you run it strictly on 110vac. Your fridge is the same; either use exclusively 110vac or plan on having a functioning 12vdc system. Your furnace is totally 12vdc. The only exclusively 110vac appliances are the air conditioner and the microwave.

Most RV's are a mix of 12vdc and 110vac systems so even when on full hookups, you need a properly functioning 12vdc supply in the the rig.

The only way around this is to replace all the 12vdc stuff with 110vac.
Understood. Some of the original appliances were removed long ago. The fridge is gone and the stove/oven is gone. I am not going to use the heater and I am removing that myself soon. I have not tested the hot water heater yet, but after inspecting it, I think it's sketchy, so I am going to replace it with an on-demand heater than runs on 110vac. The only thing remaining that will run on 12v are the interior light fixtures and I don't plan on using those for anything other than emergency lighting.

I have a nice portable gas camp stove that will be used for cooking outside the camper. So I am also removing what remains of the propane system and lines. I just don't trust gas and want no part of it. Everything will either run off shore power or solar. The solar is coming later, which will need a new inverter.

Maybe if previous owners had not already ripped out half of the gas systems and appliances, I would treat this differently. But, seeing as how the damage is already done, I may as well finish the job and get rid of the rest of the propane system and relegate the 12v lighting to emergency use.
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Old 06-01-2016, 04:31 PM   #10
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"Most RV's are a mix of 12vdc and 110vac systems so even when on full hookups, you need a properly functioning 12vdc supply in the the rig."

https://www.uclookup.com/detail/DieH...083375024.html

https://www.shcsupply.com/products/1...er|132473.html

I have both of my Sunline trailers in my driveway on 110vac power and neither with their batteries installed. They both will work ALL 12vdc items.

I pull my batteries for the winter and charge them on the Diehard Dh-100a 100/30/2/2

My converters are original and I will wait until I have issues with them before replace/upgrade.

I find the charger a more useful and flexible way to keep the batteries charge.

The real point I was looking to say is that I keep hearing people say you need your batteries connected to have the converter run 12vdc items. I haven't found this to be the case or am I hearing this wrong. Also does the brand of converter matter?
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Old 06-01-2016, 09:42 PM   #11
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"Most RV's are a mix of 12vdc and 110vac systems so even when on full hookups, you need a properly functioning 12vdc supply in the the rig."

https://www.uclookup.com/detail/DieH...083375024.html

https://www.shcsupply.com/products/1...er|132473.html

I have both of my Sunline trailers in my driveway on 110vac power and neither with their batteries installed. They both will work ALL 12vdc items.

I pull my batteries for the winter and charge them on the Diehard Dh-100a 100/30/2/2

My converters are original and I will wait until I have issues with them before replace/upgrade.

I find the charger a more useful and flexible way to keep the batteries charge.

The real point I was looking to say is that I keep hearing people say you need your batteries connected to have the converter run 12vdc items. I haven't found this to be the case or am I hearing this wrong. Also does the brand of converter matter?
So you still use your original converters in your Sunlines?

One of the reasons I hesitate to "upgrade" the original converter is that it works. I am a believer in the old saying of "if it isn't broke, don't fix it.". I am inclined to just keep it and let it run until it dies one day. Given that this camper was never used much, the converter doesn't have a lot of service hours used on it. Also, I find much of the new fancy stuff to be junk - plastic and shoddy components made in China. I'd rather a good old-fashioned "Made in the USA" converter that is almost 40 years old, than some brand-new piece of fancy digital junk that will break down 2 weeks after the warranty runs out.

Of course, one day I will be forced to upgrade because I plan on getting a solar panel for boondocking and the old converter won't fit the bill then.
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Old 06-01-2016, 09:45 PM   #12
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Here is a photo of the camper - that is my grandson, Ben, peeking out of the window.

I plan on painting the lower half of the camper in a vintage-type sky blue color - I love those two-tone paint jobs.

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Old 06-02-2016, 05:48 AM   #13
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Here is the deal with original converters. They have two systems one a charger for the battery the other to provide power for lighting and other 12 volt stuff. The 12 volt systems usually can provide around 30 amps that should be enough to power pretty much anything in the camper. The battery charging systems are a lot less anywhere from 3 to 10 amps and they are poorly regulated. If left on they will boil the water out of a battery long term. The newer switching power supplies are smaller, lighter, more efficient and have at least a 30 to 40 amp output. The current rating is generally both charging and lighting meaning they will charge weak (low) batteries far faster and have a will regulated charge rate. Being well regulated and having some other tricks like 3 stage charging you can leave the batteries in place and on charge all winter. To me a replacement charger/converter is a great upgrade for any older camper that has an old style converter. I can’t tell you exactly when Sunline went to a switching supply I’ll go out on a limb and say early 2000 if you can hear a fan when it’s working it probably is a switching supply anything else will be an old transformer type.
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Old 06-02-2016, 02:15 PM   #14
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Yes, I still use my old converters in my units. That said, mainah is correct. Converters have really improved over the years.

I spent $85 and have a charger that does what I want at this time.
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