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hygiene ... or having a shower outside

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t.z.
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hygiene ... or having a shower outside

#1

Post by t.z. » Sun Apr 11, 2021 10:10 pm

hygiene ... or having a shower outside - that's a boring title. But this is for Paul ... not for what you think, no for his fear of lower temps ;-)

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Paul Arden
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Re: hygiene ... or having a shower outside

#2

Post by Paul Arden » Tue Apr 13, 2021 2:52 pm

How are you heating the water TZ? Looks like the perfect arrangement! :)

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Re: hygiene ... or having a shower outside

#3

Post by t.z. » Tue Apr 13, 2021 6:50 pm

Hi Paul,

Good question. The car is a camper van build by a company called CS Reisemobile, from small town close to Hamburg. I just mention it to not give the impression I built the car myself. However, on needs to learn a few things.

The base vehicle is a Mercedes Sprinter from 2000. When I bought it in 2019 it had 150.000 km on the clock. That is close to nothing for that type of car. It sports tow bunk beds along the left side, a toilet / shower arrangement in the back and a "kitchen" on the right side. The front seats can be swivelled around and there is a table and bench so one has a seating area with 4 (tight) places. All that on a total length of 5,64m. Overall height is 3,3m.

The heating is via propane. The heater is made by a company called TRUMA. It has a fan which blows warm air into the car via several ducts and distributed outlets. It also holds 10l of water in the center which are heated up to 60 degrees celsius when used in combination with the heating system. In warmer temps one can choose to only use the warm water, which then can be chosen to be heated to 60 or 40 degrees C.

The water system has a freshwater tank of 100l and a pump, which is really powerful. That pump can be switched separately. It is wise to switch it off and ease the pressure in the water system by opening the tab for second. That's simply for safety reasons should something go wrong with the water hoses inside the car. I also have a 90l grey water tank for the dishwashing water etc. Black water (toilet) is a Thetford wet toilet which rooms a whopping 20l. That's a lot of shit. Wastewater (black & grey) is disposed at special stations. Each commune in Norway is obligated by law to have such a station.

The propane is also used for cooking. There is a main gas breaker as well as separate ones for the Coker and the heater. Under the washing is room for a 10kg and a 5kg propane bottle. Under the "living room" table I have a spare 10kg bottle. It last about a week to 10 days now. The temps are between -5 and plus 10 celsius. I guess the propane use goes down significantly when the temps climb over 15 plus.

Electrical power is 12V for the camper part of the car. Under the bed is a power bank with 2x 100Ah LiFoP4 batteries. They are charged either via the generator of the car, 230V from "outside" and/or the 160WP solar panel I have on the roof. The charging is "smart" meaning it auto switches between the sources. The generator is capable of delivering 90A, so I have installed a total of 55A dc/dc charging. I mostly get around 40A when driving which means I can fill the batteries in 5 hours, should these be completely empty. My power consumption is between 30 to 40 Ah per day, depending on what I have switched on. Video editing takes a lot of power. The fridge / freezer is on 12V or 230V auto switched. I however rarely use 230V as this mainly only available on commercial campgrounds, which I avoid. I don't have the money right now.

For clean 230V power I have sine wave converted capable of 1000W for charging what can't be charged by 12V. The snag with a converter is that is needs 1,5A for it's operation which are than lost, so to say. The key to being successfully "off grid" is monitoring.

The solar panels charge via a MPPT regulator which can be monitored via bluetooth. I recently upgraded that little box and it's amazing how efficient that thing (VICTRON smart MPPT 75/15) is. It really squeezes every Watt out of the 2x 100x45cm big solar panels I have. In winter I did not see much from this source though. Not enough light hitting at a good angle. Now as the sun I climbing I have days with up to 400Wh.

Since I mostly stay close to freshwater I can stay as long as I want. I can refill the freshwater tank from the next lake with a canister. The only limitation I have is food I need to buy or when I would need to empty the toilet. One can of course shit in the woods ... so I mostly stay 4 days at one spot and than move on. The everybody's law in Scandinavia also has sort of a rule built in that one should not hang around one place too long, even though one is free to use public land end even private land to some extend.

Today it snowed again and it's sunny and nice, but cold - so I stay inside in my warm bed and write way too long answers to very simple questions ... the lake I am is frozen, like all the other lakes around. So no fishing yet. Cabin fever? oh yes, you bet ...

Cheers,
TZ
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Re: hygiene ... or having a shower outside

#4

Post by Paul Arden » Tue Apr 13, 2021 7:47 pm

Very interesting. Sounds like fun! What is the fridge freezer like? How many watts does that use? I’ve been looking for one. I have two panels on the roof but I can’t remember their size. We get a lot of sun here of course!

I’ve been considering a hot shower in the boat. Currently it’s lake water about 32C. You can of course jump in the lake for a similar effect. But there are times, particularly in the wet season when I would like a hot shower.

I never liked campgrounds either.

Cheers, Paul
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Re: hygiene ... or having a shower outside

#5

Post by t.z. » Tue Apr 13, 2021 11:53 pm

I guess it´s a very expensive endeavour trying to run a cooler / freezer on solar power alone. I guess it's easier to get ion e running on propane. I have one in the fishing hut at Skålestrømmen. It's huge. The ones running on 12V are OK to keep a few supplies. You could also run a water boiler on that propane than and cook with it. This is what I also do at the hut. I just googled it and the English translation coming up was "tankless water heater" .... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tankless_water_heating

cheers, Thomas
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Re: hygiene ... or having a shower outside

#6

Post by Paul Arden » Wed Apr 14, 2021 12:58 am

There are some excellent fridge freezers in 12V that are very efficient I’ve read. I wrote to a company who produced them asking how much power they require and they never replied! When I’m paying over £1000 this is information I need to know! I think I have about 400W coming off the roof.

I have a huge 100l icebox that costs about 3 Euros to fill. It keeps cold for 5 days. But I want 7 days :D

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Re: hygiene ... or having a shower outside

#7

Post by t.z. » Wed Apr 14, 2021 2:09 pm

Here is what I have learned so far 400Wp is peak, not continuous. What the panel produces from the photons thrown at it varies in voltage too. Therefore you need a really fast regulator, ideally MPPT (Multi Power Point Tracking) technology which evens out the dynamic in the solar power collection ... and transfers that into loading a fast reacting battery which can absorb & store as much of the solar power you get. Then this is used to power your devices. I went for LiFoP4 batteries. Even though they are cheaper here in Norway than elsewhere (funny, eh) they still were 890 euros a piece. So two of them were 1700 euros plus 100 Euros for the MPPT thing ...

With 400 Wp solar power you might consider getting a real big battery bank and a 230V converter. Then you can power much cheaper electronic devices. You loose a little bit in the conversion, but that is not that much. I have a van life friend who has done it that way. He has 600 Ah batteries and converts to 230V and feeds everything from there. It was a cheaper solution in the end and he does not need to worry about getting propane etc. He is heating with diesel.

cheers,
tz
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Re: hygiene ... or having a shower outside

#8

Post by Paul Arden » Wed Apr 14, 2021 2:39 pm

Yep I have 500amp/hr total and an inverter. However pretty everything is between 4.5V and 16V. I’ve rarely used the inverter. Heating is not required here. Air con would be useful sometimes!!

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Re: hygiene ... or having a shower outside

#9

Post by t.z. » Wed Apr 14, 2021 5:01 pm

What sort of battery is it? AGM, Gel and led acid 500Ah are only usable to 50%. <if you use the battery below that loading it will die rather quickly.
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Re: hygiene ... or having a shower outside

#10

Post by Paul Arden » Thu Apr 15, 2021 7:20 am

They are just truck batteries. Not the heavy deep cycle stuff which I can't get hold of locally. Malaysian Brand Yokohama N120. I have four of them connected in the Battleship, another in the Ronan and a bigger version in the Rocket for the thrusters and bilge pumps with rectifiers running off both outboards. I haven't had any die yet; the oldest one is around 4 years. I've discharged them completely, sunk them a few times and so on. I think they around about 60 quid each so I'm not breaking any banks. If I only get 4 years out of them this is still longer than expected.

What I haven't decided yet is whether to get a small fridge and another panel. Or a small generator for Shower/Oven/ice maker. Or gas shower/oven. What I do absolutely need is ice for cold beer, jungle juice and water for guests. But I don't have any free cash at the moment, so it's going to be something for when borders are open again. Another option is to get another 100l icebox. At least then I should have ice for a week.

It's all very luxurious compared to how I used to live :D

Cheers, Paul
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