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Post Info TOPIC: Going be stationary full timers for awhile


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Going be stationary full timers for awhile
 


I'm not really sure where to put this but this seems to be the best place.  My wife and I will be giving up our house soon and going full time for awhile.  We still have jobs so we're not going to be hitting the open road.  The 5er will be parked on my parents' property.  I'll be running a 50 amp line to plug in and water isn't an issue.  As for black water, they have a septic tank and there is a clean out right next to the pad where the trailer will be parked.

 

I guess what I'm looking for are suggestions on things to do and NOT do while we're there.  Do I leave the black water line hooked up and just open the valves when I need to dump?  What do I do to make sure that the brand new batteries (the current ones are bad so I'll be replacing them soon) stay good?

 

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.  Also, feel free to ask me anything if I need to specify something in order to get better answers.



-- Edited by calrugerfan on Sunday 26th of February 2012 03:24:32 PM

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Welcome!

To answer your question about the tanks, it's best to let them fill up then dump. Leaving the valve open all the time can create problems with solids sticking to the bottom of the tank. You don't want that.

As far as keeping your batteries healthy... do you actually need batteries in the next year or two? If you're going to have a reliable 50 amp hook-up all the time, why replace them now? Age alone will degrade them and depending on how long you're planning to be stationary, you may end up having to replace them again before/soon after you hit the road and need them for dry camping, moving between poles, etc.

But if you're trying to build a battery system to supplement the available shore power, that might be a reason to replace them. (For instance, our inverter allows us to boost the shore power off our battery bank - so when we have a 15 amp hook-up, we can still use all our electronics without tripping any breakers. When we're not exceeding the shore power, it goes back to topping off our bank.)

How you keep your batteries healthy will depends on what chemistry you're going with. Wet cell? AGM? Lithium Ion? It will also depend on the charging profiles available on your charger. Does it have smart charging to do things like an equalizing balance?

Best wishes,
- Cherie






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You can keep your grey open but the black should stay closed until full. Once you get an idea as to how often you need to dump, a few days before you need to dump the black, close the grey, then after the black dumps you will have grey to give the hose a good rinse... That's what we do...If you stay plugged in your new batteries will be maintained....

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Cameron,

The others are giving you good advice.  Jo and I are in a similar situation in that we are stationary (for a few years to come) in Oklahoma City.  I'm not sure where in Northern California you are, but here in OKC we have to worry about freezing water.

For our sewer, I wanted a PVC solution instead of a stinky-slinky because it will fully drain instead of having water collect in the little valleys of the slinky hose.  We went with a product called EZE-Kleen, but one can buy some sewer fittings at an RV dealer and PVC pipe and an adapter or two from a hardware store and hook up a more permanent system.

You will definitely want to close the valves on the black tank until it is time to actually dump the tank.  (I learned that lesson the hard way.)  Also, don't trust the tank gauges, but look down into the commode bowl drain when flushing it and you might be able to see how close you are getting to full.

Our coach has a black tank flush system and I put in a clear plastic sewer section so that I could actually see what the material in the sewer pipe looks like.  When flushing the black tank, I can easily tell when the water is more clear.

I even try to keep at least some water in the grey tank so that should some "stuff" get into the grey tank from the kitchen sink that it will have an opportunity to soften up from being immersed in water.



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Thanks Terry.  I did see that on your blog.  I was wondering whether I needed the EZE Kleen system or if I could just use plumbing from Home Depot.  Sounds like a combination of Camping World and Home Depot should do the trick.

I'm near Sacramento so we do get some freezing temperatures but not too extreme.

 

On a separate but related note, what are the drawbacks of putting in a regular residential toilet?  Any issues when I start using it for camping again?



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Issues with using a residential toilet will be higher water usage and having water in the tank/bowl that can slosh around (and perhaps even out onto your floors) while in motion.

- Cherie

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Technomadia wrote:

Issues with using a residential toilet will be higher water usage and having water in the tank/bowl that can slosh around (and perhaps even out onto your floors) while in motion.

- Cherie


 

Those were the two issues that I came up with as well.  As for higher water usage, it wouldn't really be an issue on full hookups.  The sloshing is an issue that I haven't solved yet.



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Cameron,

The only issue with the higher water usage with a residential commode is that your black tank will fill faster.  Also, when I flush our RV commode, I can look down into the tank and as the water hits the "pool" below, it gives me an idea of how full the tank is getting.

I do NOT trust the indicator lights for the levels in the tank.  One "backup" of the black tank would probably see you removing that residential commode in a hurry.  Stinky stuff inside the coach or in the underbelly is not a nice thought.

Just a thought.

Terry



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2008 Ford F450
2010 Ford F150 as Tag-along or Scout

Two minor works in progess....pictures taken over the years and a webblog:

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Ignoring the Barking Dogs  -  Terry's Blog



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We are currently stationary as well. We are hooked to the sewer line with a traditional RV setup (there was a mobile home on the property before), and have had no problems, even throughout the winter. We have learned that our blank tank is ready to dump after about 2 weeks. George closes down the gray tank the day before we dump, I usually run a few loads of clothes, and that does the trick. He dumps, does a back flush, and all is good for another 2 weeks :)

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I tend to differ about leaving the grey tank(s) valve(s) open while stationary. If you look inside a sewer line in a S/B while replacing or unplugging a pipe, you normally see a buildup of stearates, the thicker the buildup the longer it has been there and the slower the flow. It is a matter of a few minutes to dump any of the tanks, and there is no buildup in the sewer hose/pipe. If you leave the drain open, you will build up steareates. Then, when/if you ever move, you will have to clean the hose/pipe. (yuck)

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I agree with Ken.Our Cedar Creek had 3 tanks and I left both grey tank valves closed also.You get a good strong stream going when you let them get full and everything stays cleaner.Even though you have traps on your plumbing there is also less chance of odors coming back into the coach with them closed.

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One thing about residential toilets is they may be beneficial to folks who don't use enough water when flushing the RV toilet. Black tanks need plenty of water to dump correctly. I know when we started full-timing we didn't use enough water to flush and I suspect many RV'ers are the same way. They see the tank level monitors and subconsciously think they need to limit the amount of water they use to flush. Set up correctly (to limit water used per/flush) a residential toilet could "fix" the problem. Might help with some of the black tank problems that seem to plague a lot of RV'ers.

As for water sloshing around in the bowl while traveling it should be easy enough to turn the water off for the last flush and leave the bowl mostly empty but keep the p-trap covered.

As for the batteries, depends on how your rig is setup. Our rig has a battery system that manages the batteries, keeping them charged and not over-charged. The main thing is keep water in them. I always use distilled water, I don't know that that is required, it's just how I was taught to handle batteries. And keep the posts and connectors clean. If you're going to be hooked to commercial power for awhile and don't need the batteries, I would wait for them to go on sale before purchase. I haven't had to replace mine yet, so how did you decide your batteries are bad? Did you have them tested? Are they not holding a charge?

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They weren't holding a charge. I took them out, put them on my trickle charger. The first one was on the charger for 48 hours and never changed to "Charged" status. I put the second one on for 24 hours and it didn't change either. I took them both to Autozone to be tested and they said that they were bad. I had the trailer plugged in overnight to get my refrigerator cold, then hooked up in the morning and drove it from the Sacramento area to Fort Bragg, CA (about 5 hours in a rig that big). When I got to the campground, it of course said that the batteries were fully charged. I started the generator as soon as I was parked and used it the rest of the afternoon. I had to turn the generator off at about 10 pm. I didn't have much running on the batteries. The TV doesn't run on the batteries, I had a couple of lights on for less than 30 minutes. The water pump was on, but we weren't using any water so it wasn't really doing anything. I did have the heater on but it wasn't blowing the whole night. It came on a few times during the night for awhile, four at most. In the morning, the batteries were too dead to start the generator.

The only other thing I can think of is that something is drawing power constantly when it shouldn't be and it's draining the batteries.

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To find your 12volt issue you need a clamp-on multi-meter ($100 or so), two people, and some kind of two-way radio/cell phone to talk to each other. You might also need a flashlight or two since you can't use your normal lights. Find the setting on the clamp-on meter for DC amps and clamp it to the battery cable so you are seeing the amp draw. I would test it by putting on some lights to make sure the amp reading goes up when they are turned on and down when they are turned off. Now one person watches the meter, a notebook and pen/pencil would be nice to write down values, and the other is at the fuse box, maybe with another notebook and pen/pencil to keep track of which fuse was pulled in order. Turn off everything you can and pull each fuse and see if the amps go down and by how much. You are looking for surprises. If you find a surprise you can explore further and might need professional help.



-- Edited by bjoyce on Tuesday 28th of February 2012 08:57:03 AM

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