First ski trip done, planning the next but have questions - Page 2 - Motorhome Forums, Motorhome Discussion, Motorhome Chat

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post #11 of 36 (permalink) Old 28-02-2016, 10:55
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Hi and welcome to MHF.


I think a genny is the way to go for long stays (ie over 2 nights) in alpine conditions, Wolf have just launched a new range which might fit the bill certainly a lot cheaper than Hondas....


https://forums.motorhomefacts.com/30-...ml#post1924457


Pete
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post #12 of 36 (permalink) Old 28-02-2016, 10:57
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Hello and welcome,

On the grounds that nothing is too obvious . . .

You had checked that your solar panels were clear of snow, hadn't you?

The other thing that springs to mind - what were the other motorhomes at the same location doing? Though I've no experience of skiing from a motorhome, I would guess that a generator would not be a major irritant in that environment (if used at a sensible hour). Different on a summer evening when everyone is sitting outside or windows are open, of course.

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John
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post #13 of 36 (permalink) Old 28-02-2016, 11:16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by salomon View Post
We use our van for winter trips. Biathlon, Alpine all kinds of snow sports.
We have a built in genny and find its essential. Batteries can fail ( and did for us this winter...) and if you cannot move due to weather then no amount of engine charging is going to help you.
We are often without EHU for a week or so. We have solar panels too but when its chucking down the white stuff they are useless.

I assume Sarah(Salomon) is meaning after the batteries have failed.

Engine charging can be effective especially if one fits Battery-to-battery (B2B) charger e.g. a Sterling B2B - there are others. It is a bit of a misnomer, because what it does is to provide the alternator's full charging capacity to the leisure batteries at about 4 times the rate that they get from the alternator normally. This has two effects; firstly, even on a short journey, you arrive with full leisure batteries and secondly running the engine when parked will soon top-up the batteries and much quicker than the low output from a small generator, which means less annoyance for any neighbours.

Being able to ensure that you never let the batteries get below 12v should also prolong their useful life.

As Sarah said relying on solar for a skiing holiday not practical. - cloud, snow, mountain shadow, low sun and short days do not make for good solar performance.

A generator would do it for you but need hours of running and may cost more than a B2B. We fitted ours for about 250 I think but you may need to add fitting costs, maybe 150?

Once the B2B is fitted it is working for you on every trip and does not take up space and weight and need for lugging out of the locker - and the noise.

Sorry if I am starting to sound like a salesman, but I have been very pleased with our system thus the enthusiasm.

Geoff
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post #14 of 36 (permalink) Old 28-02-2016, 11:44
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Yes Geoff, I meant after the batteries have failed.
I like the idea of the B2B though. Much more efficient for battery charging as you say but a back up genny when -20 is kind of essential.
When its that cold, I honesly dont care who I may annoy !
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post #15 of 36 (permalink) Old 28-02-2016, 11:55
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anything more than 2 days without battery charging in winter is going to be tough. we stayed on that car park in Tignes last season for 3 nights but it was March and quite sunny so the solar panel did it's job - plus we have diesel heating so don't need much power for that. a genny can be worthwhile even if you only use it for a couple of hours in the late afternoon/early evening just to top the batteries up but having one on overnight is going to incur the wrath of others around you. (if you've ever tried sleeping next to climate controlled truck overnight with it's coloing system going then you know what I mean!)

and tbh - if going anywhere in the mountains over winter, I'd prefer to get onto a campsite if staying longer than 2 days so we can get the m/h hooked up and pay for site electricity. wilding in winter is fine for a night or 2 but no more imho.
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post #16 of 36 (permalink) Old 28-02-2016, 14:15
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There's always Li-ON technology to consider but it does come at a very high price http://www.annie-and-chris.com/2016/...s-an-eza-easy/ but may only work down to -10 degC?
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post #17 of 36 (permalink) Old 28-02-2016, 15:15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tabhymer View Post
Bill - didn't remember your full reply. Lights and some mobile/tablet charging was being done but nothing else. On the night the heating first showed a problem I had left one son in the van to go tobogganing with the others and came back to a landing strip with all the lights on and the heating showing too low voltage. By turning all but one light off the heating worked but clearly the batteries weren't able to recharge the following day hence the night with no heating.
It's a difficult problem to give an answer too as there are so many variables.
You could go along the route of calculating how much power the batteries contain, how much you use and how much you are getting from solar but I think you will need some very sophisticated equipment to do this with any accuracy.
Experience seems to be the way most people cope and experience tells me that 2 or 3 nights without EHU or driving my van this time of year is enough to drain the habitation batteries. I think my setup will be very similar to yours.
If I were doing what you are doing I would take my generator with me.
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Cheers
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post #18 of 36 (permalink) Old 28-02-2016, 16:51
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Hi Tab

We are just on our way back from 2 months in the Dolomites. Last year we spent 3 or 4 days at Tignes LB followed by St Foy and La Rosiere in the immediate vicinity, you could run a generator all day at those spots without annoying anyone. At the popular skiing aires like Les Saisies and Les Gets every other van will be running a gennie from 5-9pm. Others, like La Plagne and Les Menuires have electric hookup points.

Personally, we have a properly wired b2b charger and a couple of large gel batteries. Our solar panel has contributed very little over the years, this year in the Dolomites it would have but we've been in campsites much more than usual.

My advice would be to look at an inexpensive 4 stroke generator as the simplest option for your next trip.

Kev
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post #19 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-03-2016, 10:09 Thread Starter
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Thanks, all, for your thoughts.

A few responses:
Yes, I had cleared the snow of the solar panels but we didn't have great weather while we were there so my guess is they just didn't get enough sun.

Hadn't heard of B2B charger - will look into, it sounds like it might be a good idea. Does it have any negative impact on the alternator, e.g. alternator life? I'm an ignoramus on engine stuff! Is it something an auto-electrician would fit or a garage?

THe Li-ON technology is a bit outside my price range at the moment.

I have time on my side as next trip not planned for a while so I think I will also keep an eye on generators on eBay.

We were in a car park in Les Brevieres rather than Tignes itself and there were about 7 other campervans there. Two of them definitely had generators but very quiet ones. My friend in his campervan didn't but his heating is gas only and he was very frugal on electricity use so his batteries lasted. I don't think my running a quiet generator would have upset anyone. I guess I should be happy the batteries lasted the 6 nights they did before letting me down - it would have been very miserable if they'd failed earlier, not sure the kids would have agreed to another winter trip!

Driving back across France didn't recharge the leisure batteries at all but I plugged in once I got home and they recharged from the on-board charger. They seem to be holding their charge but I would like to get them checked or check them myself to be sure they won't suddenly go again.

Thanks for all the input, it's great to hear how other people do it. Most of my trips in the van are for BMX racing so are no more than a long weekend but I love her (she's called Brunhilde) and would love to do more travelling. Maybe when I retire - although given pensions etc. that's not likely to be till I'm 80 at this rate.... I'm sure I'll be back with more questions.
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post #20 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-03-2016, 10:11 Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fatbuddha View Post
anything more than 2 days without battery charging in winter is going to be tough. we stayed on that car park in Tignes last season for 3 nights but it was March and quite sunny so the solar panel did it's job - plus we have diesel heating so don't need much power for that. a genny can be worthwhile even if you only use it for a couple of hours in the late afternoon/early evening just to top the batteries up but having one on overnight is going to incur the wrath of others around you. (if you've ever tried sleeping next to climate controlled truck overnight with it's coloing system going then you know what I mean!)

and tbh - if going anywhere in the mountains over winter, I'd prefer to get onto a campsite if staying longer than 2 days so we can get the m/h hooked up and pay for site electricity. wilding in winter is fine for a night or 2 but no more imho.
BTW as an aside, Fatbuddha - are you the same Fatbuddha from TriTalk?
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