Resurrecting Dinosaurs – Our RV Modifications and Technology
Someone recently asked us, If you could have any options you want installed on your RV, and cost doesn’t matter, what would your upgrades be?
Well, we can honestly say: Other than adding an automatic dishwasher (because Jason is our current dishwasher) our new setup is pretty freakin’ close!
This RV and and all these modifications and technology are all part of a project we’re calling Resurrecting Dinosaurs. If you aren’t sure what that is make sure to check out the entire Resurrecting Dinosaurs Series.
In our dream world all this technology would be available as pre-wire and standard options from the factory (and this series is all about encouraging those changes) but until then, all of these gadgets and mods could be added to most any RV, and If you’re in a new Bounder like us then you can be positive it’ll all work!
We love RV’ing because it’s an incredibly comfortable way to travel with all the comforts of home, no matter where we are. Which is especially great on a dreary ugly days (like the one in this video) when we don’t really want to be stuck outside in a tent. We can kick back with a warm beverage and snuggle up to a movie…or put on our rain gear and shoot a video like we did yesterday.
Sadly, the way most RV’s are set up is to be plugged in at an RV park or campground, but that isn’t where we always want to be! Sure the occasional full service resort or campground can be a welcome change, but we want to have the ability to be off the cord and in the wild! We’ve always outfitted our RVs for just that, but this is our best Wild Camping set up yet!
Below you will find each product we’ve installed on our new RV, along with our thoughts and pricing information. For more information and detailed specs on any product, click the blue text. We’ve listed pricing and install costs to help you decide if any, or all, of these upgrades are necessary for your RV travels. Please remember these rates are just guidelines based on our experience and install costs, your RV and situation may be different and you may be able to get things cheaper, or you might have to pay a little more if your instillation process is tricky…at least this provides a “jumping off” point.
960 Watts of GoPower! Solar Panels with Tilting Kit
- 960 watt system with six 160 watt panels are wired together in series putting out over 100 volts DC. This allows us to use smaller cable for the long run from the solar panels to the solar controller because the amperage is still very low. Here is the link to our EXACT solar setup: GoPower! 960 Watt All Electric Kit
- We have a potential of 54 amps of power per hour when in good sun, that’s a lot of power!
- Tiltable for Alaska and Winter Wild Camping providing up to 40% more power from each panel.
- We are over the recommended “1 watt of solar to 1 amp hour of battery”, but that just means our batteries will charge even faster.
- Several manufactures are also doing solar pre-wire kits, but make sure to verify how much power the pre-wire kit can handle. Our GoPower! pre-wire kit that Fleetwood is using has 10 gauge cable that can handle our beefy system.
- Product Cost – $611.00 each panel = $3,671.94
- Install Cost – $2,200.00 22 hrs of labor billed (includes our Outback Solar Controller too)
Outback FlexMax 80 MPPT Solar Controller
- Allows for more solar power than a typical 30a PWM solar controller.
- The MPPT solar controller converts the high voltage from the panels down to charge a 12 volt battery back. We have a shorter, much larger cable (#4 AWG) coming out of the solar controller with a heavy duty slow blow fuse to handle the much higher current that is coming out of the solar controller.
- Outback Mate allows for easier monitoring of the solar controller inside the RV.
- Product Cost – $641.99
- Install Cost – Included in solar install pricing.
9kWhr (700ah) Lithium Battery Pack
- Standard bounder comes with 4 lead acid batteries totaling 400ah; only 50% of the power is useable which means there’s only 200ah of actual power.
- Our 700ah lithium batteries can be drained to 90% but to be safe we have ours set to 70% so the usable power is 500ah.
- Lithium requires no maintenance which is huge in this coach because of the under the step location of the batteries make it almost impossible to add fluids to a standard flooded battery.
- Lithium batteries have more life cycles (around 3000) and a 7 year battery life expectancy vs. a sealed lead acid battery which only performs a tiny fraction with an average 700 life cycles and a 2.5 year life expectancy.
- Lithium is approximately 1/3 the weight and 50% smaller than lead acid batteries.
- Our Lithium batteries are made with Lithium Yttrium Iron Phosphate (commonly referred to as Lithium LYP Batteries), this type of battery is built to deliver high energy and power density for mobile applications. Lithium Iron Phosphate is safer than other chemistries such as Lithium Cobalt due to “complete oxydation variables”.
- Product Cost – $4,480.00
- Install Cost – $1,800.00 18 hours (includes a custom frame for the battery, we feared the steel “battery enclosure” supplied from the battery maker wouldn’t fit in our space so we asked them to send the cells as separate pieces, hindsight I think the standard box would have slid into our battery compartment no problem and saved us several hundred bucks on the install.)
- While we love our batteries and have had no problems or complaints…we have have not been able to get a hold of the manufacture (Balqon) and don’t feel comfortable recommending them. Which is sad because they were a promising company and the most affordable we had found. We are under the impression their USA division has shut and is no longer fulfilling orders or honoring warranties (especially considering we can’t get a hold of them). Until we feel we have a solid and reputable supplier to recommend that we have personal experience with, we suggest doing your own research to find lithium batteries (check out reputable companies such as Lithionics or Relion) or going with the tried and true AGM batteries.
Magnum Hybrid 3000 watt Puresine Wave Inverter, Remote, Auto Gen Start & Battery Monitor Kit
- Hybrid Inverter pulls power from both the Shore Power and the Batteries when needed. This is awesome for driveway surfing, Harvest Hosts, State Park Campgrounds, Thousand Trails, or anywhere you can’t connect to 50a service. It also works for RVs with small generators, such as trailers, with the right setup you can run your A/C units with a tiny 2000 watt Honda Generator!
- AGS – Automatically kicks on the generator to turn on the A/C on hot days and it keeps our batteries from dying, which is extremely important because a dead lithium battery is not good.
- BMK – Our batteries are our “fuel tank” and our solar is the “gas pump”, a Battery Monitoring Kit is like the fuel gauge! The BMK monitors how much power is coming in, going out, and lets us manage our power use during wild camping.
- ARC-50 Remote – To manage all these upgrades we are required to install a higher-end model of the inverter remote.
- Product Cost – Hybrid Inverter $2223.20, AGS $263.20, BMK $175.20, ARC-50 Remote $239.20
- Install Cost – $1,300.00 13 hours (The AGS was a pain in the butt to install due to the temperature sensor location being on the opposite side of the RV.)
MaxxAir MaxxFan Deluxe Vent Fan
- Automatic temperature settings open and close the vents based on temperatures inside the RV, which gives us peace of mind when we leave the cats in the RV on sunny days.
- The MaxxFan is slim and has a built in rain guard that keeps rain out even when the fan is on and open. Normally we have to add vent Covers which are bulky, reduce air flow and they can cast long shadows over solar panels (this has been an issue in the past for us).
- The MaxxFan has “air in” and “air out” setting to move air better through the coach, I keep the one in the bathroom on “air in” and the one in the kitchen on “air out” so with the windows open we get a ton of air movement inside the coach.
- Product Cost – $263.58 x 2 = $527.16
- Install Cost – $300.00 3 hours (A simple swap pulling out the Fantastic Fans and installing the MaxxFans. The one downside is the MaxxFan doesn’t work with the “open/close” feature built into our IllumaPlex switch system.)
Nature’s Head Composting Toilet
- No black tank, better for the environment, combine black & grey tank for more water storage…I could go on for days; oh wait I already did: www.gonewiththewynns.com/all-composting-toilet
- The best toilet and water saving solution for Wild Camping
- Product Cost – $960
- Install Cost – $1,200.00 12 hours (A fairly straightforward install using the 12v power supply that was pre-existing from the vaccu-flush toilet. We also had the service team create a “stool” to help balance the toilet and provide a step for our feet while sitting.)
Wilson 4g Booster & metal “ground plane”
- Increases 3g & 4g cellular signal and data speeds. Often it’s the difference between having ZERO signal or having enough bars to stream Amazon videos while Wild Camping…I’m serious this little device works!
- Metal ground plane helps provide a magnetic base (its basically a 12″ x 12″ metal square) for the antenna but more importantly it helps amplify the signal. Our installer screwed the metal plate into our roof but I’m sure a healthy dose of adhesive would have worked just fine.
- Product Cost – $379.99 (doesn’t include ground plane which can be purchased cheap from a home improvement store.)
- Install Cost – $300.00 3 hours (Includes the WiFi Ranger install too since they are both run using the same hole in the roof.)
WiFi Ranger GO2 + Elite
- The most powerful antenna available from WiFi Ranger. Easy install, easy setup and great customer support.
- Up to a 2 mile range, but only with a perfect line-of-sight, so don’t expect it to go through walls, big trees, etc.
- Recently we stayed at a campground where there was no WiFi in the park, it was just around the office. We were able to pick up the signal over 1000 feet away from the comfort of our RV and at night when nobody else was able to use the internet we had it all to ourselves to steam movies! It feels kinda wrong when you can do stuff like this 🙂
- Product Cost – $649.99
- Install Cost – Included in Booster instillation costs since they are both run using the same hole in the roof.
Shurflo Revolution E-65 Water Pump
- No more annoying intermittent vibration noises, no more water pressure loss during pump cycle, this new water pump fits in exactly the same spot as the factory one but runs way more smoothly, even when using low flow faucet aerators and shower heads. It does make some noise so please don’t assume it’s totally quiet, also it will cycle some when restricting water flow (i.e. if you barely turn on the faucet).
- Product Cost – $62.00
- Install Cost – $100.00 1 hour (a direct swap with the factory installed pump.)
Dual Purpose Workstations & Useable Outlet for “office areas”
- Bedroom work station doubles as Nikki’s office and a comfortable place to get ready vs both of us competing for bathroom space.
- Dining room work station is perfectly setup for a laptop or desktop with a handy keyboard tray with storage underneath. No more taking up the dining table for work!
- We requested our service technician to add outlets and make sure they were powered by the inverter in the Kitchen, bathroom and both work areas.
- Install Cost – $900.00 9 hours (Our desks were ‘afterthoughts’ and they are NOT perfect solutions. Unless Fleetwood perfects our concept for these workstations I’d recommend contacting a cabinet shop for this.)
- According to Fleetwood, Samsung wouldn’t allow the factory to screw anything into their fridge, so we had to do it at the service center instead. If you have a fridge like ours this little clip works very well, and yes the freezer drawer will slide open while driving without a clip.
- Install Cost – $50.00 0.5 hours (you might be able to purchase this piece and install it yourself, it’s super basic)
Originally thought I could list these items in order of my favorites, but then I realized we like them all, and that’s exactly why we had each of them installed. Remember we’re setting up our RV for lots of Boondocking because we prefer to be out in nature instead of plugged in at an RV park. I’m not saying everyone will need all these upgrades, but if you wish to camp like us, these upgrades will definitely make your Wild Camping and traveling experiences more comfortable…maybe even too comfortable for some!
What do you think about our new RV technology and modifications? We’re totally stoked to use them and report back with our findings over the next several months. Share your thoughts and questions below, we’ll do our best to answer them now or in a future video update (there’s lots of those to come).
Voice Your Opinion and Vote!
Hey, sorry the poll has ended but you can still voice you opinion and see the results here: Resurrecting Dinosaurs – Influencing RV Design Changes
Don’t want to miss a post? Join us by email and we’ll send you a note when new posts are up or you can sign up for our monthly newsletter and roundup.
Disclaimer – We hand picked each of these upgrades for our new RV to enhance our travel style. Some of the products were purchased and some were provided to Fleetwood for testing purposes, unfortunately we don’t get to keep most of this stuff as we have to give it back when we give back the RV (because its a test unit, not ours). 🙁 As always our opinions are our own and can never be purchased.
Holly Crap Batman.
What I would like to know is, how did they come from just starting out with selling everything and buying their first “used truck and travel trailer” to now owning a nice new luxury coach. All with only her “modest income” and him not working. Their truck was ten years old just a couple years ago and I don’t remember how old the trailer was. But we all know that you can’t get squat for a trade.
I am a disabled Veteran, I own my own truck and travel trailer. I want so badly to get away from it all. To be able to travel as you do would be my life’s dream, before I leave.
I here people living on eight hundred a month and still traveling and I want to learn how. I can only figure out how to travel three hundred dollars worth of gas and then you I’m stuck wherever that is until the next month. And this trailer isn’t set up for solar completely yet. That takes a lot of money too.
Thanks for sharing your videos!
I bought the renogy 1200 watt cabin kit. Then I bought two lithium born batteries and I would like to have two more. Inverter charger is victron 3000 k. Solar converter is victron 1500. Battleborn included the cables and circuit breakers. For the inside I have a BMV battery monitor. And the victron color control monitoring system.my solar system is more power than my batteries but my batteries were $900 a piece my goal is to add two more. My motorhome is a 38-foot Fleetwood diesel power.I live in it full time when I plug it into shore power I use a safety EMS. If I should run out of power I have a 75 hundred kilowatt Onan generator.the generator comes on automatically with the color control by victron energy. This system works just fine for me but I don’t think I’d like to have a residential refrigerator because when I’m on the road my four-door three way is always on.
Love your upgrades, videos, and website. Hope sailing has been as much fun for you
Great info on upgrades, wife and I enjoy your videos. Two more years at job and we’ll be hitting the road in retirement, hope to meet good people like yourselves when we get out there.
Crazy expensive for your average RV’r, but awesome info and presentation. It will definitely help as you folks are leading the life I am aiming for. The kids are all grown up, so it’s time to start the journey! Here’s hoping I hit the mark. Thanks!
Water Pump Link not working. Buying a few things soon and assuming you get the affiliate percentage, so I wanted to buy through your site since I received so much good advice here. Thanks!
Thanks so much for letting us know and super thanks for shopping through our links! It really does help. I did update the link but here it is: http://amzn.to/2tTHLDg
Have you come across a small hot water heater for 22 ft van RV Mersades
Where did the vent hose for your composting toilet run? Directly out the side wall? We are planning a composting toilet install in our 2014 33C, which should be basically the same. Any info appreciated, if you still care to respond to comments on this old post!
Hello 🙂 My family is just beginning our off the grid RV adventure and we are making modifications to a used Coachmen Class C we’ve just purchased.
One of the modifications is installing a Lithium Ion Battery and I had some questions.
We live in Northeast Ohio and during winter months we will be sticking around for holidays. This means our RV will definitely have to be winterized.
I’m concerned about the Lithium battery freezing? Or, if I bring ours in, discharging while not in use and then not being able to be “woken up”? Do you have advice or know where I can read about this?
Thanks for all the information! Your blogs and video logs have been very inspiring for our small family,
Hi Elizabeth. It’s true that LiOn batteries don’t like freezing temps. They can be damaged by charging them in freezing temps and shouldn’t be stored in freezing temps for very long either. Sounds like you won’t be using your RV at all in the winter, so bringing them inside is best. They will only lose about 3% of charge/month, so storing them for 6 months would be fine. Most manufacturers recommend that they NOT be at 100% when you bring them in to store – 40 to 50% charge is best. The best thing to do would be to check the manufacturer’s website or info for their storage recommendations.
Hello Wynns Jason and Nikki, you are….
I am very excited about getting my massive truck camper ready to hit the road. And in doing so I have been reviewing your Videos right from the start. Both of you are so cute and make very compelling vids so my question of the day, in the middle of winter while you are basking in the warm weather Caribbean is: In one of your videos Nikki made a point of telling us that the insipid water pump was upgraded.. I had a good look at the label but was unable to see a manufacturer. or brand name. I did see it was made in Mexico and the label was bilingual English/French.
Are you able to assist…..PLEASE and thank you.
You started this in 85? You are so amazing and so young looking . Way … To….Go….
It is a 4gpm Aqua King https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=as_li_ss_tl?url=search-alias=aps&field-keywords=shurflo+aqua+king+4.0&rh=i:aps,k:shurflo+aqua+king+4.0&linkCode=sl2&tag=gonwitthewyn-20&linkId=822172ab329f021fdf72c4821dc44c99
Does your full sized fridge have a propane option or just batteries/solar when not on shore power or rolling down the road? I’d imagine it takes quite a bit of energy even for the new energy efficient ones.
It is a residential fridge, so no propane option. That’s why there are lithium batteries to offset the consumption.
Quite expensive solar set up….the best I have seen. Real good informaction but I will scale back a bit and cob together a smaller solar system utilizing what I learned here. Thanks!
Why do all of the C-Class RVs (I can assume they do the same in other kinds of RVs)tell you virtually the same weight 22′ vs 31′? I try to establish MPG (idea) but cannot because they will not give better weight. Also they never seem to give the MPG of the vehicle chassis…..Ford 350 Ford 450 etc. No one will say anything about MPG. Is that why the sell so many very low mileage RVs? They get shocked when they begin to find out what it costs to drive these Bad Boys????
Hey guys! Long time follower, first time poster. My girlfriend and I just bought a ’16 33C and will be taking the plunge into full-timing this winter (after a trip to burning man next month, of course!) I must admit, we’ve had a lot of help and inspiration from you guys and I’ve already started copying many of your mods! So thank you for that! One question I do have though – where did you find the desktop extension for the workstation in the bedroom of the coach? We both will be working full time from the road, and my girlfriend’s workstation will be where Nikki’s is. We’d like to have the same setup with the sliding desktop and a monitor in front of the window. I’ve done some searching online and can’t seem to find anything that matches what you have. Also, did you mount it to the bottom of the shelf, or the sides of the closets?
I suppose while I’m here I should also ask how you got your wires from the WiFiRanger and WeBoost antennas from the roof to behind the living room TV. Did you drill through the top of the coach? Was your entry point near the TV? Any recommendations will be helpful! Thanks!
Are your batteries wired in series or do you have a BMS? Do you do anything to balance the cells individually?
We have a BMS: https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/how-to-monitor-batteries-rv-sailboat-tiny-house
Huge thank you for putting so much information out on the mobile life. Is the solar and battery setup you have adequate to run the AC and the rest of the RV without the generator?
Happy to share Chris. The setup we’re doing on the sailboat will be even bigger and badder so stay tuned 🙂
Gee, ONLY about $22,375 in additions … My fifth wheel only cost about that much (okay, it was pre-loved, but it’s a solid, four-season rig). $15,695 in solar alone! And the solar kit has gone up since then. Wow.
Looking at putting a cell booster in rv, would you go with the new model the 4g -x if you were shopping today Also it looks they have now and upgraded inside antenna and a different outside antenna you can use which is more for trucks and rvs. Would love to know your thoughts.
Your lithium batteries are manufactured by Winston (ex- ThunderSky) in China, the worlds largest large format battery manufacturer, and distributed/sold by various people. The resellers do rather come and co as it is not an easy industry (the RV/ALt-Energy/Electric Car) to be in. The cell manufacture and quality is good however. The support in the english language, not so much. Justin.
Just acquired an RV, waiting to be delivered and very excited about it, but the toilet issue has been in my head and found your videos, Thank You! I have a question for you guys: Did you ever heard about those toilets that use a bag that is twisted like the baby diapers containers and seal everything? A little undecided which to choose the composting or the bag version.
The composting toilet is far more economical and eco friendly in the long run. That toilet that seals everything up in a bag is expensive and creates a lot of extra trash that isn’t necessary. You would be much better off keeping the RV toilet vs that thing. The big thing about the composting toilet is the fact that you can go much longer in between dumping, can easily extend your grey water capacity by using the black tank as grey water storage and you are no longer using fresh water down the toilet.
Thank you Nikki for your response, I really appreciate your time 🙂
Lithium ion battery’s
Thank you for this post on these battery’s. There is not much on them at this time but it’s a start.
And your vidieos are great
We touch a little more on lithium in our Solar AC post: http://www.gonewiththewynns.com/off-grid-solar-rv-air-conditioning
Hey, thank you for sharing such an abundance of useful information, on so many topics. Found you while searching for solar panels.
What type of current Rv do you own?
Hi Jason, Please can you post your settings that you have for your magnum hybrid inverter controller and your solar charge controller ?
We plan to do a video on this, I have to confirm with everyone before I publicly share.
Just a thank you for all your free information. You are an invaluable resource as I research my RV options.
Just a quick question on the install part of everything. I assume (as some of this was test product) that Fleetwood did the install directly. Can you tell me if that is so and at what point did you have this done. If you didn’t use Fleetwood,where do you typically get installs done. We are purchasing a 35ft bounder in March from a local dealership (as Fleetwood isn’t direct to consumer) and are interested in many of the same pieces as you have…we want to figure out the best way to get these installed quickly and cost effectively to use right away. I am wondering if this is done at the dealership or if there is somewhere “better” to get this type of work done.
Any help on the install piece would be appreciated!
If you plan to purchase a new RV you can order everything we selected using their custom order process. I believe Fleetwood (and all the brands that fall under REV) and Newmar are the biggest two RV mfrs that allow custom from the factory.
Sorry that would be Florida.
Could you run the AC overnight on battery? What do you think it would take to do so? Porter in the summer it’s still very hot and muggy at night.
Hi Jason! Thanks for sending the link to your Tech page… Wow, Awesome.. thank you both!
I am curious about the cabinet your inverter/charger is mounted in: I trust it has venting in it, as I discovered when installing my new replacement Magnum, there were NO vents installed by the manufacturer on mine… and that baby puts out some Heat!
Last item: I have decided not to go as big guns as you did on solar install: is there another way I can order from Amazon and still get you two credit for it?
FYI : if you are still in the area, the Tall Ships are in the Ventura Harbor right now.. and they do Battle Sailings w/live cannon fire on the weekends… just saying!
Feeling inspired by your solar install and I’m thinking about taking the plunge. Two questions though:
1) Is you generator still wired in to the electrical system and if so, how?
2) Does the charge controller for the lithium batteries also handle charging them on shore power, or generator (although I imagine with your setup you never really need the gen set)
Really excited about the prospect and I’m trying to get a full understanding of the setup.
It all works together well. If you plan on ordering the Solar AE kit I’d contact GoPower! to see if you may need to add another transfer switch. They can help you…but make sure you tell them you’re going to order on Amazon so we get the credit 🙂
Do you think the 960 Watt AE system would fit on the roof of a Vesta? It looks like your Excursion has more open space.
Are you able to run 100% on solar power and maintain a good charge on your battery bank with your current system? Do you have a generator also?
The RV came with a generator, I know we’ve put less than 100 hours on it. We only use it for an hour or two here and there when the weather doesn’t cooperate with full sun.
You guys are an inspiration to new campers an rver’s. I love the video about the wifi ranger but was wondering if there was a wifi ranger that you guys recommend that’s a little bit cheaper. I would appreciate any commet. Thanks Ryan
I believe you can get just the elite and skip the Go, that would save some cash for sure. I’d call WiFi Ranger and ask.
Interesting website you have so I thought i’d chime in on my rv its 1991 during upgrades/renovations first thing to go was the analog tv antenna off the wineguard, and replaced with a directional yagi wifi antenna from ebay. tv is now handled with a auto dish, and a fm/hdtv stationary roof mounted over the air amplifer. back to the wifi
connected from the antenna inside the rv is a 1 Watt 2.4 GHz 802.11g Outdoor WiFi Amplifier they have different wattages and I believe I remember 1 watt being the max allowed by the fcc. from the amplifier it runs to a router running dd-wrt firmware running as a wifi repeater check ebay. I still have not fully tested my max distance as during my last test I had the ack setting set at 2000 meters(anything further was ignored) with my last test I connected to a open access point .8 miles away the repeater showed it saw it at full strenght.
here is a rough price break down
5$ conversion connector router antenna jack to sma I seem to remember
with any hardware like the 600$ one off the shelf you may find your self limited by a ack setting that is set on your access point. the ack setting is the meters of the furthest device it will listen to and in 99% of the time you cant change that unless you own the access point
wineguard directional controls are limited to around 15 degrees for long distances this seems possibly problematic when the access point your connecting to needs to hear with its little antenna at long distances
fcc: they have powerful amplifiers such as 10 watt I never tested such a monster. but they exist and maybe a violation of law
I’d also like to mention lithium batteries can be dangerous in the right conditions. in the event of a temperature probe failure the battery can attempt to charge at full speed. causing a explosive fire. In the rc market house fires have been traced to lithium batteries. with solar you have some control on the charge rate. the important part if you use lithium batteries look them over often check the temperature of the pack, ballooning cells. maybe even consider fire shielding to protect in the event of disaster
anyone considering lithium it is just important to consider the charge rate and discharge rate is within spec of the battery pack, failure to stay within specs may also lead to a fire
I am considering buying a used Cruise America 25 ft Class C motorhome (in the next year or so) and upgrading it with four Group 31 AGM house batteries, a Magnum 2000 watt inverter / charger, and a Go Power solar (probably two 120 watt panels) power system. I will probably buy the equipment through Amazon to get a good price (and to give you guys some credit as well!) I would like to know if you can refer me to an reputable (and reasonably priced) installer who is authorized (by Magnum and Go Power) to install the above mentioned equipment. I live in the Van Nuys area (San Fernando Valley) of Los Angeles; I am looking for an installer reasonably close to this area. Also, when I select my used coach, I will want to get it inspected (by a reputable RV mechanic) so that I can get Cruise America to fix problems (or pay for repairs) before I buy it. If you can refer me to such a mechanic locally, I would appreciate it.
I saw (on your map) that you are currently visiting West LA. I hope you are enjoying visiting relatives and friends, and our “winter” weather; we had more rain last week than we had for the past year! I would enjoy meeting you guys (and your cats; we have 3 cats too!) sometime. Let me know when you are working a show or other event in the LA area; I will drop by.
Hey Brian! We’re not very familiar with installers/repair facilities but if you call Go Power, they can give you a good recommendation. They know their installers well. As for us in LA…well, we head out tomorrow for the Palm Springs area. We had a great visit but a busy one.
Where did you guys find the clip to stop your freezer from sliding open, which it does surprisingly easy. We have the same unit and the clip you show is perfect. Fining it however is proving a challenge.
I too have searched for that refrigerator clip with no success. Do you know it’s name and where I might find one?
– Mixed feelings about your move to sea – it sounds like a great adventure! I love your ideas and have watched all your videos- but I will miss you! I think you are an important young voice that the RV community needs. Bon Voyage!
Fleetwood made new fridge clips for the 30th Anniversary Bounder, you could probably contact the Fleetwood Parts Department in Decatur, Indiana. They may be able to sell and ship you the items. If you get a part number please report back 🙂
i recently upgraded my husky 750 watt to a Gopower 3000 watt pure sine, i have 4 optima yellow tops 48 ah each and am really looking forward to your update review on the lithium batteries. If it’s a positive one that may be my next upgrade. So pricey but i hope they are worth the added cost.
Thanks for all the reviews on this stuff!!
Awesome, so great to hear! The battery videos are coming soon.
Thanks for all the details…very helpful and appreciated!
Since my last update we now have a fully functional 18.5KWH lithium set up ☺
We got to meet the CEO of Balqon and found out that at the time of our ordering and setting up he was hospitalized for 7 weeks after having a life saving operation He openly admitted that being a small company with limited resources’ his business was affected. However he is back and getting everything on track, currently they are relocating to another location.
It was arranged that Balqon would meet us at our installers Norris RV of Casa Grande with a complete new 8 cell set up. They kept to their word and after a full day which included a complete battery switch, balancing and critically changing the whole managements settings on the Magnum invertor & solar remotes, we now can report hat we have been dry camping for over a week and with our 1,400 watt solar set up we have been 100% free power positive.
Will keep you posted if anything changes
Please can you give my email address to Jonas and invite him to contact me , as maybe between us we can get somewhere with our technical issues.
Q : Are you able to run your residential fridge, washer dryer or any A/C from your lithium via your inverter.
How do you like your hybrid inverter as we are looking to into them ?
I know there is a reason they dont share this info .
But im goving permission to the narator to do so thanks .
On October 2nd I placed an order for one of Balqons 9kWhr batteries. I was told to expect shipment after 3 to 4 weeks. After the fourth week rolled around I made several attempts to contact Balqon to inquire of my order status and find out when I could expect shipment. Balqon has been completely non-responsive to inquiries via email and voicemails. They don’t seem to answer their phone during business hours though they were very quick to respond when it came to taking my credit card information and charging my credit card. I have since filed a dispute with my credit card company. I’ll report back if Balqon responds to my dispute.
I am sorry to air this here but I think it’s something important for you and your readers to be aware of since their product is showcased in your blog.
I’m sorry to hear this. A few weeks ago we removed all branding info on our battery system because we heard of a few late battery deliveries. We are looking into other Lithium options for RVs however it seems like AGM might be the better choice until lithium becomes more widespread in the RV industry.
Thanks for taking the time to share and I hope your bank is able to sort everything out.
Thanks Jason. Fortunately my bank refunded my money immediately. l feel like I dodged a bullet. It’s a shame Balqon can’t effectively service the RV market. They have a slick and neat package.
Hi Nicky & Jason, we met you on your last day in Dawson City and posed for a group photo. We have a Balqon 18.5KWH Lithium pack in our coach,$8,500 plus $2,600 install, it has nothing but issues as it cant take a moderate load without shutting down due to under current. I have tried in excess of 50 times to call Balqon (Steven Parez) to get some technical assistance but I never get a reply or a call back.
Finding anyone with Lithium knowledge is almost impossible and we have just spent another $1,750 with an RV tech , but the problem still persist. Can you kindly email me the name and contact details of your lithium installer so that we might have a chat with them. We are on our way down to LA and intend to park our RV in front of Balqon until we get somewhere.
I assume that you had issues with your lithium which is why you needed to contact Balqon, can we assist here ?
Glad you enjoyed Alaska
Shaun & Andrea Murphy
Thanks so much for your comments, and I’m sorry to hear about your issues. We had our batteries installed at the Fleetwood factory service center in Indiana, all they did was follow the directions on the install sheet so I’m afraid they won’t be able to assist you. Our batteries have been performing well so I hope your issues stem from something simple like a bad cell or wiring, although it sounds like you’ve already spent some time troubleshooting.
Please let us know what solution you’ve come up with. In the meantime we’re recommending people purchase AGM batteries since they are tried and true, come with a solid warranty and are understood by all RV service technicians.
Hi Jason, Thank you for your reply.
I was able to get 4 spare lithium cells, 2 CPU and 4 LED relays, enough to build a battery half the size of ours.
We then left LA about 10am for the 500 miles drive to Casa Grande, AZ. En route we phoned our friend and owner Matt of Norris RV in Casa Grande who said that his team will change their work schedule and work on ours the next day.
The next 2 days Matt & his team devoted their time to our RV, all was not well and we had 2 main issues. There is a data cable that runs from the invertor at one end of the RV to its remote monitoring control panel inside the coach. It turns out that this data cable is corrupt and sends wrong / erratic info to the control panel from which the RV techs take their info. The techs hot-wired the remote panel direct to the invertor; this then enabled them to accurately determine the battery issue. The battery has 8 cells of which 4 (50%) were not working correctly. Once these cells were replaced the battery appeared to be working correctly & we agreed that Newmar will fix the data cable when we go away at Christmas.
2 days on whilst dry camping the batteries started to fail again when we applied a load from the microwave after 3 minutes !!! So here we are again with an RV full of technology but being unusable.
We have now decided to go back to having 8 x AGM batteries
I hope this solves our issue but would be happy to hear from anyone who might be able to assist us with the lithium situation,
Thank you so much for this information, it may prove to be invaluable for others trying to make the decision about Lithium vs. AGM.
Hi my name is jonas i have purchased a 9kwhr bank from them and i was having the same issues. They still wont call back or email me . I have done a tonnnnnnn of research on these cells . I have figured out alot on the issues . I still have a couple small issues .
Can u contact me plz i would really like to chat and maybe help and maybe learn as well .
Email me and i can call u or u can call me .
Ps i meant this for shaun
Also Jason is there any way i can get ur charge control settings ? I have the exact same set up as u aired on resurrcting dinosours its pretty sweet .
Thanks alot and great work .
The mfr is not returning our calls and that is why we have removed all their info from our page. I will share my settings in an upcoming post.
Us its too bad . I got my bank dialed in i had a problem with cells being outa balance once i balanced them it worked perfect .
Just wanna maximize my solar on the settings i think i have what i can get out but theres always more to learn . Thanks
Hello Nikki & Jason,
Newly RVers since june. Bought a 2009 class A Triple E 32′ for our retirement in a few years. We greatly appreciate your videos, posts and blogs. We feel as if we are rolling along with you. We hope to bump into you one day as we will be fulltimers in 3-4 years. For the time being, we use our RV to follow our son as he plays professionnal baseball in the minors. One of our goals is to see games at all MLB parks…and might as well do all minor leagues parks too.
Since we drycamp at every ballpark we stay at, we have learned (rookie mistake) not to drain lead-acid batteries (Trojan 2 x 6v 250 Ah). They were only 1 year old and now they are done (our fault). We are looking to invest in lithium. Went to a local solar store to talk about your set up (960w panels etc…) manager said with solar…IMPOSSIBLE. He said all solar charge controllers on the market doesn’t allow the Lithium batteries to charge higher than 70% using solar pannels??? Is that true? He also said, charge stops at 70% max but when plugged back to grid, Li battery will charge to 100% I would like to have a set up just like yours or similar but since lithium is so expensive, is it worth paying $4000 for an Li 700Ah and not being able to charge it up fully? I told him that the 70% of Li could still be better than lead-acid because we could only use 50% and can’t get drain them below 50% of charge…so Li at max 70% is still better since we can used 90% of the charge. Anyway, sorry for the long post. Question: are you able to charge 100% of your Li battery using solar?
With the Outback Controller we own all settings can be done manually, so yes we can charge our lithium batteries 100%. I would personally run from the tech who told you it’s not possible. That said Lithium in RVs is like the Wild West, you may be better off with AGM’s. I’d contact GoPower! as they have new AGMs that are extremely strong, come with a warranty and are made to pair with their Solar setups.
We’ve provided a link in the post above https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/rv-modifications-technology under our lithium battery bullet point.
Hi folks! I was wondering what your thoughts are when it comes to tankless water heaters for shower.
short answer is…we have heard lots of mixed reviews from friends who have them and personally think it is an unnecessary upgrade. With our water saving shower heads and other additions a 6-8 gallon water heater is very efficient and more hot water than we use in a day.
Hi Nikki and Jason,
Greetings from Australia!
Given your interest in technology and green’ish wild camping, I thought you may be interested in the rig we have down here. Solar, lithium, fuel cells, etc etc.
We are half way around Australia and have done about 34,000km so far – with about 60% of that on dirt track / off-road.
We have a severely modified LandRover and a rugged but luxurious off-road van.
Here’s a link to the van we have – a Kimberley Kruiser T3: http://www.kimberleykruiser.com/australian-off-road-caravan
We enjoy your blog very much!
Wow Peter, that is one cool setup, I wish a few more US mfrs. would take some design and technology queues from your rig! Thanks for sharing.
You do a great job, thank you! Just some comments.
Do you have separate house batteries and a starter battery?
Well I think that lead-acid batteries are more secure and the working life is much less expensive and risky. Certainly lead-acid batteries are heavier and for the same output you need one or two more of them. But you really concern about the weight and space in such a big rig? Most important is that you care about the batteries, especially when the RV is stored.
Lithium-batteries still have a large band of qualities concerning the stand-by-effect. If you are lucky, your battery lives endless, if you are unlucky you have to buy new batteries after a three times dry camping. If you calculate your RV costs over 10 years, lithium-ion batteries are economically less sustainable.
Besides this; lithium-ion batteries (also LYP!) still run a certain danger of fire/explosion!!! So be aware that the battery-pack you buy is technically approved and ok. Remember burning Teslas or Toyota-Hybrids… so don’t buy something “cheap” and unapproved. As well you should give the battery enough space to “breathe” and don’t forget to keep an eye on the warranty descriptions of your RV.
In our RV are six quite big and “maintenance-free” house batteries and this is good for running the residential fridge and other devices during 84hours on the Alaska ferry without electrical hookup, without sun-power and without running the generator.
Concerning the water-pump: This is real great feature and I wonder why certain manufacturers still build those brrt brrt brrt waterpumps in (for saving water perhaps?)… I also installed tubes with a larger diameter for the shower. Now it’s called a shower not anymore a poor runnel.
Concerning your composting-toilet: This is your private choice, I just wonder about the seals and odor und durability. For me it looks like a kind of unstable reversed plastic-bobble with short durance and the use of vinegar and stones looks a little bit off-the-wall. Well on one side, you installed a better water pump, on the other side you will safe water with the toilet….
I swear that a residential Geberit AcquaClean shower-toilet is unbeatable. It use much less water than a common flush toilet, you don’t need to use toilet-paper and you will never miss this clean feeling again!
960W of solar power! Wow! Nicki, what about a dishwasher? You use less water (two gallons), it’s more comfortable and we run it with a 3000W inverter and a 200W solar panel.
Just one last question concerning the automatic generator switch: This is nice, but how do you do when you are in a National Park with generator-use restrictions (8-10AM, 5-7PM)? You can switch off that automatic switch-on?
Cornelius these are some loaded questions. I’ll do my best to quickly answer:
Batteries – most RVs come with separate house and chassis batteries.
Lithium Batteries – These are absolutely the best for house batteries in an RV, especially for someone like us who is using a lot of power every day. They are safe as we touched on in the article but then again any electrical system and/or battery has its potential for failure.
Composting toilet – Best wild camping addition we own and NO it doesn’t smell.
Dishwasher – A dream addition but we don’t have the space or the plumbing for it.
AGS – You can set quiet hours.
I discovered your YT channel recently and enjoy watching your vids. Good stuff.
My questions/suggestions involve that ‘new car’ smell that can give me headaches with all of the plastics and VOC off-gassing. So I was wondering if this is a noticeable issue with the new RVs on the market, specifically Fleetwood? I have toured a some new RVs recently from different manufacturers and did notice that ‘plastic’ smell. I am more and more interested in natural, less-toxic building materials and would love to see Fleetwood deploy a minimum-chemical option with more truly natural materials. I do realize that there are some legal requirements to use toxic materials “which make no since to me”, I also know that you can find organic beds, for example, “without” fire retardant chemicals of foam, so you are not inhaling toxic fumes for 8 hours each night.
Looking forward to your thoughts on this and thanks for your informative videos.
RVs are typically built to CA specs which are the most stringent of all states, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t chemicals swirling all around. Sadly the only way you can have a chemical free setup is to build one yourself.
Hi. You can check out http://www.certifiedgreenrvs.com/. I can notice a difference when I go into one that’s listed as green versus one that’s not. Hope this helps.
I love the workstation ideas. My wife and I are jumping in with a Newmar 4369 with that huge rear bathroom. I plan on making a countertop that slides in over the double sink making an office workspace with power AND an office door. I work for a fortune 50 company and work 100% from home, so it will be a real test of a true private “home office”. When I have meetings, there will be two doors between my office and Pickles the parrot. 🙂
Thanks for all of your sharing. We have Go Power panels and their inverter with AGM batteries and love it. We are thinking about upgrading to the Magnum hybrid inverter and Mark @ Go Power suggested we contact you to get your honest feedback on how the hybrid inverter is working for you.
We are looking for a way to maximize our solar system and be able to have the system automatically switch over to shore power or generator based on a battery threshold??
Let us know what you think- Thanks again!
Thanks for all of your sharing…..We have the Go Power solar panels and inverter package. We are thinking about upgrading to the Magnum Hybrid Inverter and Mark @ Go Power suggested we contact you to see how it is working for you. We are really looking for the technology to maximize the use of solar when possible and then automatically switch to shore or generator when our AGM batteries reach a certain level.
What are your thoughts about the system.
Thanks again for all of your sharing,
The hybrid inverter is great but there are a few downsides that you might want to consider, the main one being the hybrid has only 1 line so it cannot support all outlets. This is something we didn’t realize at first until we started searching for an outlet that worked in our bays…and there wasn’t one!
Also if you have a “power control system” that sheds power when a certain load is reached these two devices don’t play perfectly together.
That said, the hybrid system is amazing when it works well.
I have heard some rumors of a new version from GoPower! coming out in the near future and I suspect Magnum will up they’re game a bit as well.
Ok here is a weird question, where did you get that great cushioned folding desk chair? I’ve been looking around to find a good sturdy cushioned desk chair for my ‘mini’ workstation in my 5th wheel for a while and can never seem to find the right one. Plenty of folding chairs with cushioned bottoms but yours has a cushion on the back as well. I’m not in my twenties anymore and I like to be comfortable when I work. Thanks!
It is a nice chair but it is actually one of the two extra chairs you get to go with the dinning table. So, its not something we purchased but something that comes standard with our layout. Sorry, we couldn’t be more helpful.
John & Pam
This is the video,that got us moving on similar upgrades to our 2014 Allegro Open Road. Based on your past experience, we are leaning toward the GoPower Extreme. And upgraded batteries.
But one thing we CANNOT track down is that darn refrigerator clip. We have a very similar residential fridge except the top and bottom doors are reversed. Last trip we turned into a gas station and my beer wound up on the floor and some even made it all the way to the couch! Can u tell me where that little clip came from? Cost is not an object when good craft beer is at stake….
Thank you for all your great videos and posts. We missed you last year in Asheville but you hit many of the high notes here. Maybe next year!
Hey guys, I agree, you can’t hold back when good craft beer is a stake! The Extreme kit is great but to keep that fridge in place you will have to contact the Fleetwood service center (or I am sure many other RV service centers have them too). They had that clip and installed it for us there. However, we haven’t checked but I wouldn’t be surprised if an Ace, Home Depot or similar had a solution that would work.
Exactly what you have done with the Lithium Batteries and the WIFI and the Cell 4G enhancement. I have a 2008 Fleetwood Revolution. It has been very enjoyable to watch some of your videos. Please keep it going.. I have just suscribed to your videos.
If you could let me know where you had your work done, I would appreciate that.
I used to read the monthly article that Gaylor Maxwell wrote. He also put the articles into a book form. It was an interesting and informative. He died a couple of years ago. I also had some comments and pictures published in Motorhome Magazine..
Thank You for your good work.
Hey Jeff, thanks for the kudos. We had our work done at the fleetwood factory but any good and reputable service center could handle the tasks. Not sure exactly what you want to know about the lithium/wifi/cell. We do have some future videos where we will cover our solar and batteries in more depth.
Jason, the information on the fridge lock is missing. I’ve been looking for a good one and haven’t seen anything I like yet. Hope you can post something about yours.
We talked last year before we bought our tiffin – great advice on many options you suggested that have made our experience very smooth- and fun! thanks.
We are about to order the balqon system- are you available for a call next week?
That’s awesome! We are available, shoot us and email to set up a chat session: [email protected]
Joe the computer guy
Looks like Alaska was a great summer.
Was so waiting for a full review of the Bounder for my own purchase decision.
Haven’t heard anything bad about it from you guys and would think there would have been some noise if it wasn’t working out pretty good. It is your second Fleetwood too. (I am also switching from a DP – Monaco)
So I pulled the trigger and got a deal I just am ecstatic with.
It’s a 2016 35K (same as yours except there is a full bath in the rear and the shower is the biggest I’ve seen is moved from mid to rear). I like the changes they made. I wonder if those were because of you guys!?!?!?!
I have 18 months (well I went over budget by 7500 so maybe add a month or two to that) before I retire so I am hoping all my kinks will be worked out and I can really have peace of mind when I head out.
2 mods I was thinking about and would love your opinions after living in it for the past few months.
Replace the bench dinette with a freestanding unit and credenza.
Remove the L sofa and replace with a loveseat sofa w/recliner and add a small desk) might remove the little cabinet. Thoughts?
How/where did they/you run the solar and your Wifi Ranger?
Anyway, stay safe and keep us up to date. Love you two! You always look happy even when things go wrong. I am happy to say I am a bit more mechanically inclined than Jason 🙂
“…the “Wynn solar package” (lithium batteries, hybrid inverter, controler, wires & hardware, solar panels)…”
Hi Jason and Nikki,
Could you please elaborate on why you switched from the GoPower 3000 to the Magnum 3000 inverter. And, is it always best to use the same brand throughout the pathway (excluding the solar panels) once you select the Inverter? I believe you have GoPower solar panels, and the rest of the pathway to your outlets is all Magnum.
Are you using just one lithium battery with this new set-up?
Don’t see if you’ve already answered this question, but how lithium batteries, and their specs, are you using?
We will have a video explaining how everything is set up and used as soon as we get back into the lower 48. It’s too hard to try and explain everything properly in a comment as it really needs its own post/video so we don’t confuse people.
A word of caution with respect to the lithium battery: fire.
The lithium battery technology achieves its higher power density at the expense of safety. You’ll recall that Boeing grounded their entire fleet of 787’s after a lithium battery fire. Since they could find no way to prevent the fires, Boeing returned to flight after developing a way to better protect planes from the seemingly inevitable fires. In a similar vein, the FAA placed unique restrictions on lithium batteries of all sorts, generally in response to the fatal crash of UPS 6 subsequent to a lithium battery fire.
In the automotive field, there are numerous incidents (including Tesla, and Dodge Ram) illustrate other risks of this technology.
Lithium battery technology is excellent, but still too “bleeding edge” for my comfort level beyond the smaller form factors.
David, the technology has come a ways from the incidents you are referring to. “Our Lithium batteries are made with Lithium Yttrium Iron Phosphate (commonly referred to as Lithium LYP Batteries), this type of battery is built to deliver high energy and power density for mobile applications. Lithium Iron Phosphate is safer than other chemistries such as Lithium Cobalt due to “complete oxidation variables”.
Excellent upgrades! I’ve done several of these in our 2013 LTV Unity Sprinter. Very nice explanations and videos of exactly how these will help.
The MaxVan upgrade is a definite plus. I installed one in our bathroom – just a few feet away from the factory Fantastic fan in the main cabin. I had upgraded the Fantastic fan in the main cabin to remote and rain sensor prior to discovering MaxFan. Okay – now an ongoing side by side comparison of these remote control fans! The MaxFan: First, a suggestion, the MaxFan comes with either a black or white cover that you see on the roof. I chose the white outside cover as the black cover will most certainly gather more heat. Differences? The MaxFan remote is clearer with an LCD readout – remote winner of the two. The MaxFan works in the rain – the Fantastic fan closes automatically in the rain (and will wake you up if this happens in the middle of the night.) I’m a MaxFan believer after using both of these fans side by side for over a year.
Lithium batteries are great – and expensive! We upgraded to AGM batteries and are happy with the change from the original installed lead acid batteries. No service to the AGM batteries needed. Yes, they too are expensive – but nothing like the expense of the lithium options!
Propane, the next upgrade for us. As in your coach, our Unity has a fixed propane tank mounted underneath the cabin. When you are out of propane you have but one choice – find a propane dealer and drive the coach there to refill your tank. Our 13.2 gallon propane tank holds approximately 10 gallons (80%) of propane. When this is used up while camping in the wild we have no heat, no generator, no refrigerator, and issues! We need a way to replenish the propane in the wild without taking the coach to a refill station.
Solutions? I’ve seen an adapter that allows you to run an external propane source into our coach. This adapter fits in the line between the fixed propane tank and the regulator. This conversion will allow us to use a 5 gallon propane tank when our fixed tank runs out.
Thanks again for your great videos and descriptions!
Cheers, Randy in Boulder
Maybe someone has already said this, but it seems like it would be more efficient to use a dc adapter and plug your computers into dc power since the transformers need to convert your ac power anyway. Inverting your dc to ac only to have the wall socket transformer convert it back to dc for the equipment is very inefficient. Inverters waste electricity.
This is something that has bugged me for a while, and since you went through the customization process, maybe you could shed some light on it for us. Can you request that there be no televisions in the RV? Our family doesn’t do TV, except for the occasional movie watched on a laptop, so we’d much rather have the extra storage space instead of a big black hole that never gets turned on.
Not every company will do a custom order process but Fleetwood along with Advanced RV and even Newmar I believe has a custom order process and when you custom order you can modify that and a lot of other stuff too!
Thank you! I guess you just have to weigh scoring a deal on a standard made at an RV show versus one totally customized to your tastes. Lots to think about!
I’m planning a similar install of a Magnum inverter and I’m worried about excessive heat. Have you had any issues with running your inverter at high loads in the enclosed compartment?
Love the blog and the vids! You’ve inspired me to go full time.
nope, no problems at all and we really max it out!
The McNicols - Embracing Wanderlust
Hello! This set up looks amazing but it is a little out of our price range. We are about to start converting an old school bus into a tiny house/RV and we want to do solar. I have been looking at the Go Power Extreme kit. I know you guys had that before in your previous RV. Would you recommend that kit for the cost or would you go another route? I see you still have the Go Power solar panels, so that is a good sign 🙂 We basically need (available on a constant basis) enough power to run our small residential fridge and two of the Maxx Air fans for when we leave our dog alone. Along with other basic items scattered throughout the day. Any recommendation would be greatly appreciated!
We do still like the extreme kit and Go Power is great because they provide everything in one neat package that takes out a lot of the questions when picking a set up. Plus, they are great about answering questions and helping walk you thorough any install questions you might have, so don’t hesitate to call them about anything you are not 100% sure on. Especially when you are starting from scratch with a bus renovation. Good luck and let us know how everything turns out. Who doesn’t love a good schoolie conversion!
Hi guys, we just ordered our Fleetwood Bounder 33c! Word from Fleetwood is that the “Wynn solar package” (lithium batteries, hybrid inverter, controler, wires & hardware, solar panels) is approximately $15,000 parts/labor…OUCH!!! Could you please confirm? Love the vids…especially ones about dry camping, off the grid. Thanks!
yea, sounds about right. The battery alone is in the $5k range not including install. I’m pretty sure the solar is a few grand, the inverter is more expensive and the solar charger is around a grand too. It stinks that its so expensive but it makes our working life on the road way more feasible.
Joe the computer guy
Hey Nikki, Is Jason doing some of that new fuzzy type math again? You know like the gas mileage calculations??? I am asking about the “install costs”. Is this simply the labor or does it include the labor and parts?
I am planning my set up and the numbers I am coming up with me doing most of the labor is just a little below what is posted If your numbers are including both, you got a pretty smoking deal. Or is a a little of both?
Thanks for all the info. Great stuff!
Great job on the dinosaur videos. Wondered if Jason is tempted on updating the “A day in the life” video now that you have more solar and more batteries.
I’d be keen to know the in’s and out’s of how the Lithium perform in terms of cost, charge time etc.
Yes, we do have lots of videos planned for this fall once we are out of Alaska. But as a short note, Lithium is flippin amazing!!!
In the last month when I was looking at your website I’m sure I saw what I would call a charger that charged the battery twice as fast and better than conventional charges, I now can only see the outback flexmax 80 M PPT solar controller, can you point me in the right direction.
You can find that info on this post. https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/RV-Smart-Converter-Charger Our new Flexmax has it all built into one unit so we didn’t need a separate charger anymore.
Great article. My question is: did Fleetwood do the solar panel/inverter/lithium upgrades on your Bounder or was it done by an outside contractor? Who would you recommend for such an installation? Also, I am considering purchasing a new Fleetwood discovery. Am I correct to assume it comes with the same solar prewire that you say works for your upgrade on the Bounder? Love you guys.
Thanks Bob. We did have the Fleetwood service center handle all the mod installs but you could have them done elsewhere just make sure you choose someone who has done a lot of solar installs and truly knows what they are doing. I would suggest calling GoPower and asking for a installer recommendation near you. As for any new purchase, you will want to verify the solar pre-wire. A lot more RV’s (not just fleetwood) are starting to roll out with the pre-wire packages but it is important to make sure it can handle a large set up like ours if that is your plan. Some only come with a pre-wire package that can only handle 200watts of solar. So something to double check before you purchase.
been following you all for a while and I’ve learned lots. What do you all do to get rid of grey water? Do you all have a washer and dryer in the bus?
re cell booster. I notice you have your inside antenna behind the TV, so I guess location is not that important ( vs video that show it on car seat). I had the outside antenna install at factory, but the galvanize metal plate is 20% the size of yours !
I am putting 1500 watts on the roof of my 5th wheel and would like to know the maker of the wirring hook-up the goes threw the roof of your coach? If you know a web site would be nice.
That wifi stealer thingy looks pretty cool. Using a computer is one item when retired that is way too expensive for folks. I have 30 Gigs of data to use and still have to be careful not to use it all in the cycle or pay through the nose. Verizon has the best coverage so far and where I camp it is usually the only service I can get. Where do I find out about the stealer? I’ve found that in van camping, 310 AH of battery lasts a long time. I have 400 watts of solar with 200 up top and 200 in a folder. I like the Sureflo pump too. I have 25 gals of water and a tankless water heater. Works great for washing my hair. I have a Dometic top loading 3.77 ft3 fridge, Can stay out for as month. I’ll look into the Lithium batts. Sound interesting. I have AGM so I can carry them inside my rig. Have fun. James
You wynn i mean win first place in blogs for rving. Thanks for you great effort and kindness to share.
I’d like to see some cableways installed so it is possible to run some custom cabling through the RV. E. g.: cableway up to the roof from the dash area to install my ham radio (or CB) antenna; cableway to the roof from the electrical bay for solar power cables; cableway from home theater receiver to each TV for additional audio/video cabling; cableway from work tables to some cabinet where a LAN storage device might be placed.
So what is the total Technology updates cost?
Yes, the “drive off the lot” price with all upgrades included. That information would be most helpful.
I see in the background of the video you have ” The Jack ” TV antennae. I’ve been looking to replace my Winegard with one of these and I was wondering how you like it?
We do (it comes with the RV) but had one on our last RV too. We think they are great (we have it in our store) as we’re not big TV people but most of the time we’re able to pick up all of the basic stations to catch up on news and weather over morning coffee. A worth upgrade in our opinion!
Hi Guys! We have been full-time RVing for about a year and are just now starting our research regarding going 100% off the grid. One thing we’ve been wondering is how you keep your cats cool (and your RV secure) while you are out and about if you are not able to power AC with your solar setup?
We have fans and use our auto gen set to kick in if the temps get too high or too low. You can see more about it in this video: https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/best-rv-boondocking-gear
I’m also curious about the MaxxAir fans; we have a pair of “fantastic fans” that we rely on to keep our dogs cool while we’re away and off-grid (which is most of the time). The fans perform well, but we rely on their rain sensor to close them if it starts to rain. Problem is, once the sensor closes them — the fan doesn’t re-open! We came home to warmer-than-we’d-like dogs because a 5-minute lunchtime sprinkle had shut down the fans for the whole afternoon! No harm was done that time, but now we know our solution won’t work.
So, i too would like to know if the fans can be kept from closing due to rain — or if they will at least re-open afterwards?
Also, i’d really like to find out how far the MaxxAir fan protrudes above your roof, both when open and closed. It looks like the “open” position is lower than a ‘normal’ vent, which would be awesome because it might not shade our solar panels then!
I was wondering if the Natures Head composting toilet can be installed in a “wet bath”? I just bought a small trailer with the bath, and would really love to have THAT toilet. But not sure if I can put it in my trailer. Maybe I need one without any power going to it?
You can! Call Larry (the owner who is super helpful and happy to answer questions) and he can give you all the tips for wet bath use. His info can be found on any of our composting toilet articles and in our shop on the composting toilet description.
P. Kent Louscher
A very interesting and relevant set of upgrades! We just left Decatur after sa few furniture upgrades (replaced jackknife sofa with a computer work station and Villa recliner) . We will look deeper into the solar and battery upgrades. The WiFi and cell phone boosters are our next ad on. We are full timing in a Monaco 42 PDQ (2008) so many of the wild boondocking sites are below our footprint. Thanks for what you are doing!
Jason, just what the doctor ordered. Sorry I didn’t leave this comment sooner. I have forwarded your link to Tiffin motorhomes for their consideration as well. Everyone should have this options, in fact the cable for the wifi and cell phone booster should be standard.. It is so easy to add that type of cable upgrade during manufacturing, than after the fact. One improvement on your wifi to consider. Follow this link and read about his setup. “http://www.outsideourbubble.com/secure-private-rv-wi-fi-and-making-a-better-park-connection-for-under-100”. This creates a permanent wifi in your coach which is a secure wifi. Then a bridge public one you might find. This allows your secure connections to be encrypted before your data leaves your private wifi and enters the public one with connections to the internet. YOur internal wifi never changes, but your bridge does. In fact, sometimes your bridge might be a cell phone hot spot. Just wanted to add more info to a great mod.
Great video guys, I really enjoy seeing your adventures and your updates. My question is in regards to the MPPT controller and I wanted to understand what does this replaces if I have the GoPower Solar Extreme Kit. Is this something that it’s an addition to that kit? I would really appreciate your reply on this as I am still not clear on what does it replaces. I do understand the value of having one.
Do you know if the 4G cell booster is now universal, Verizon, ATT, …and work in Canada with Rogers ?
ÀLOHA ! I am just wondering why you didn’t have your kitchen fan air IN w/ the head air OUT ?
I didn’t find my last post to you all from a few days ago , just wondering if I got edited out ??
Aloha from Maui !
Some amazing upgrades. It looks like the battery compartment is rather small. And I agree, that compartment would be a bear to deal with. In a normal lead acid battery setup, how many batteries fit in that compartment? Can you reasonably run the residential refrigerator without upgrading the battery bank like you guys did? Making the batteries more accessible and on a pullout tray makes more sense to me. I’m still not sold on a residential refrigerator for extended dry camping. It would seem like you’d have to have at least four batteries (like the Excursion) and several solar panels to make it work. The auto gen start would be another must have. Given that one cannot add upgraded batteries, solar panels, and the auto gen start, a propane refrigerator seems like a better choice for dry camping. Is a propane refrigerator still an option on the Bounder?
CONGRATS..now a very simple question, with your smart car being towed, and all your new, required technology, and full tanks, except black, which you don’t need… how is the weight, are you still under the maximum, close, still room for the cats… thks
Jason and Nikki, Thank you for an entertaining, polished, informative series of uTube videos. Since I am responding to your RV modifications. I will respond to not only your choices, but the industry standards. I really appreciate your youthful perspective. I was impressed by your thoughtful choices in the Bounder. I hope that Fleetwood, which makes a good product, will be willing to work harder to offer customized rigs at lower price points. Their future is not just “Boomers” retiring and adopting an RV lifestyle, it is a new younger demographic that is more demanding about what they receive for their money. I believe that there is a bigger potential market then any of the major brands realize. The market is flush for the early adopters willing to risk a bit to find new market attractors.
Your efforts may seem a bit like those of Sisyphus pushing a boulder uphill only to have it roll back down, but keep at it. You will get that rock all the way up. Parenthetically, I hope that Fleetwood cut you a really great deal on the RV. I am sure you have piqued some interest from principled perspective buyers, which will end up sweetening Fleetwood’s sales in the next year.
Personally, my wife and I would love a 32′ diesel with ample hp, real wood, efficient use of space, with tasteful high end flourishes. Two tone ribbing on furniture, TVs everywhere, and odious exterior paint jobs, don’t impress us much. Alas, nobody makes one that fits our requirements. Our rig is as close as we can find to what we want. Burt n Sherrie Monaco Windsor 36pst, 400 Cummins ISL.
We hope to see you on the road.
Kind regards, Burt and Sherrie
Thank you for an entertaining, polished, informative series of uTube videos. Since I am responding to your RV modifications. I will respond to not only your choices, but the industry standards. I really appreciate your youthful perspective. I was impressed by your thoughtful choices in the Bounder. I hope that Fleetwood, which makes a good product, will be willing to work harder to offer customized rigs at lower price points. Their future is not just “Boomers” retiring and adopting an RV lifestyle, it is a new younger demographic that is more demanding about what they receive for their money. I believe that there is a bigger potential market then any of the major brands realize. The market is flush for the early adopters willing to risk a bit to find new market attractors.
Your efforts may seem a bit like those of Sisyphus pushing a bolder uphill only to have it roll back down, but keep at it. I hope that Fleetwood cut you a really great deal on the RV. I am sure you have piqued some interest from principled perspective buyers, which will end up sweetening Fleetwood’s sales in the next year. I hope to see you on the road.
Personally, my wife and I would love a 32′ diesel with ample hp, real wood, efficient use of space, with tasteful high end flourishes. Two tone ribbing on furniture, TVs everywhere, and odious exterior paint jobs, don’t impress us much. Alas, nobody makes one that fits our requirements. Our rig is as close as we can find to what we want. Burt n Sherrie Monaco Windsor 36pst, 400 Cummins ISL.
Hi Nikki and Jason, you guys are great! I’m a Norwegian and I’ve followed your YouTube Channel for some months now! My family and I bought an RV last October, but I must say that the European RV’s don’t even come close to the ones you have in the US. Your upgrades are impressive and not too expensive either. The problem in Europe is the Weight limit of just 3500 kilos (7716lb) on a regular license. You’ll need to take a small truck license to be allowed to drive RV’s up to 7500 kilos (16534lb). So for most people the greatest obstacle to upgrades in Europe are the weight limits of their cars and strict weight limits on the driving licenses. The manufactures usually leave about 500 kilos (1102lb) weight, but that is before they mount anything on the car. Most people want to add an awning, a solar panel and an extra battery for power supply. If you add a hundred liters of water and a family of four your RV is already too heavy. Any way I really enjoy your videos a lot. I wish someone here in Europe could make a similar channel for European RV’s. Even with their very limited weight limits there’s a lot of people living in their RV’s months at a time and some live all year round in them. Most European RV’s are between 18 and 25 feet long. You rarely see anyone longer than 28 feet. I found this link to an Americans couple reviewing European RV’s https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6bWrCUiprFQ
I’m looking forward to your adventure in Alaska! This will be more similar to my own Country Norway!
I find your site to be amazing and very helpful. Can you give any advice for a 1st timer in how to purchase and learn about using an RV? I am looking at the Thor ACE 29.2 ft. Any help?
There is so much RV enhancing tech out there, and you did a fantastic job of showcasing it. I hope the RV industry can evolve and offer most or all of the options you demonstrated. I am a class C or B plus owner annd might not get everything you have but would definitely invest in some of these upgrades in the future. If ecoloblue is a viable product, it may be one more thing I would consider if the company could adapt their water collection tech for RVs. Enjpy your travels in your very modern and unique RV.
I grew up RVing in a 33′ Winnebago & when I was 16 I did a lot of driving on old Route 66 from Cali. To NE Oklahoma & Aspen / Leadville,CO. Since then I have owned a Dodge Ram 250 Cummings Turbo diesel truck. I love the power of the diesel & am very curious as how you like the gas vs diesel ??
I will be in the market for my first RV & will be on my own 1\2 of the time. I would LOVE to have all of the upgrades that you all did ,but to have them installed for me. I’d sure love it all done before driving off in the RV. So, if you have any suggestions re: where I could get a ” package” of goodies just like yours, I’d adore y’all forever . Happy trails & Aloha from Pamela on Maui.
You guys hit it out of the park with this one! Thanks for braving the rain to get it done. The Bounder is looking really good. I will be doing many of theese mods to our 2014 Tiffin 36LA. During our year of ownership we have only been “plugged in” at a park once, for a couple of days. The rest has been generator and batteries. Your solar setup is impressive, as is the hybrid inverter. When will those be available to consumers? I am most interested in the lithium batteries. The cost does seem a bit high but if they really are good for 3000 cycles then they are easily worth the money. Any plans to increase your solar capacity? I suppose a second row of panels wouldn’t work well when tilted as the first row would cover them to some degree.
On another note, and I’m sure I’m not alone in this, I am extremely interested to hear what you think of the gas coach versus your DP Excursion and even your Vesta FRED. I continue to lust after a DP even though we have been quite happy with our Allegro gasser. I am so looking forward to hearing an unbiased comparison. As I’m sure you know this is a hot button topic on the RV forums so it’s difficult what to know what to believe. I have not seen a single post by someone with experience in late model gas and diesel RVs of similar size. It often seems to be someone comparing their 26 foot 97 gasser to a new 45 foot tag axle Newmar costing a half million plus. is the $45,000 plus price difference worth it. That would buy lots and lots of really cool mods.
Thanks again for being pioneers/guinea pigs for the rest of us who love the freedom of RV’in and want to see the potential realized.
Rod, you asked every question I had, great minds think alike. Am especially curious about driving the new bounder compared to the DP. My experience with RV`s and heavy trucks covers decades, but the new ford chassis and V-10 are still unknown to me.
If you have time could you tell me what you think of your 36LA and it`s overall road worthiness. Thanks
Great info about upgrade. I see items price, but my question is: How much was the difference what you have to pay instead of standard equipment? I hope manufacturer discounted what was NOT installed in it, or you get it as promoting the brand (Fleetwood)?
George H Williams
Sorry you don’t get to keep it but it will be fun until then! Understanding that you did not/do not face a bill for those modifications, can/could you give an estimate of the cost? Did you install a larger gray water tank or fresh water tank to replace the black water tank? If you did leave that black water tank space void, could it be used for additional storage? How large is the generator and did you downsize it to compensate for the other additional sources of power. With the increase in solar and battery capacity, how long, in bad/cloudy weather could you stay off grid? Finally, how long is the test period and will detailed results be posted? Hey! Thanks for the series and the time. You are much appreciated!
Thanks for sharing. Great info. A question tho…why wire the panels in series? Was your main concern keeping current low so smaller wire could be used? Wouldn’t the (in my opinion) issue of having one panel even partially obstructed (shaded) and thereby shutting down the rest of the panels be a concern?
Love the air vents.
Outstanding, I’m so jealous, perfect setup, U guys did a good job,thanks
What floor plan is the Bounder?
Might have to go for the Maxxair fan also..or maybe two. My stock ones are really noisy.
You guys are amazing. I have already ordered the water pump…and inquired about the lithium batteries. Both would be nice upgrades. I currently have 160 watts of solar in my Unity and two 6 volt batteries. From your math the lithium will give me 2.5 times more power. I won’t have to watch the digital readout all the time. This weekend I hit 50% and because my generator is so noisy turned on the engine for 20 minutes. Prefer not to do that though.
All the electronics are super but get down to the important stuff. Where do you put the cat box? We also travel with our two cats (one Bengal)
All that new tech and you didn’t make the jump to Apple? Everything is suspect! 😉
I to noticed that you have water dripping from the left hand side of the pump. Hoping that was just rain getting into the area while you were filming.
When you show the Wilson you have one red light indicator on the 700mhz band. That’s not a good thing. It indicates that there is a separation issue between the inside/outside antennas or perhaps the inside antenna is to close to the booster. Causes some type of oscillation/interference.
The result is not good. Had a similar issue and got a visit from an AT&T field engineer. With the light on you may be causing interference to cell towers on that frequency range. In my case the amp I had at the time wasn’t showing an issue (before getting a Wilson) but the interference from the two antennas not having good separation was shutting down an AT&T tower about 3 miles away and causing folks to have dropped calls. That’s something you may want to check into before you get a visit from an SUV with a whole bunch of antennas on the roof and a guy with some really cosmic electronic gizmos. 🙂
You’ll notice that we had the inside antenna velcroed to the wall next to it. We only uncoil and put it out when needed and keep it all tucked away when we don’t. That red light goes away once we put the antenna out.
Kudos to the Wynn’s!
Took the time to read through all the links and watch the videos. As others have mentioned, for a moment I thought this exercise was all about interior mods – fabrics, carpets and colors. Seeing the technical side of the mods gives me hope that Fleetwood is really intent on figuring out what a 21st century RV can be. They really should consider having you bring yours to their RV shows – show it off as a “concept” vehicle (just like auto makers have been doing for years to test out new ideas with the public) and get direct feedback from prospective customers. Can definitely see various option packages with these – an energy package, a communications package, a waste management package, etc.
Looking forward to more photos and performance evaluations.
Now if they could just change the graphics on the side :~( .
For kicks I googled images of Class A RV and up popped every one by every manufacturer – they ALL have the same swirly/curvy/”need movement” graphics. No one stands out as different.
One of your best videos ever.
It would be very helpful to have a central library page, separated out from other subject meta pages, with a list of the manufacturers and installers of the items you show. In other words, a clickable “upgrade” page with each of the items you have above, plus whatever else you put in, with the brief description, video and manufacturer/installer website.
Great work guys.
Love your website and YouTube posts. I have been following you for some time and find all that you do interesting and informative. Your information and opinions about composting toilets are eye opening. I also love your pentient for “wild camping.” It is a prerequisite for entering into the RVing lifestyle, according to my wife. One comment: Have you heard of Nexus RV? They are a factory-direct RV manufaturer which specializes in personalized modifications. They essentially build your coach (A, Super C, C, or B+) from a specific base format into the coach that personally suites you. Everything is factory installed with no aftermarket add ons. From exterior paint scheme to interior fabrics and everything in between, they build to suite you. Check them out.
You Two Are AWESOME!!
I Will Be A First Time Rver Soon (Full-Timer) and I Learned So Much Following Your Updates and Vids.
You Folks Should Have Your Own TV Show Because You are Clean Entertainment and Can’t Wait for Your Next Update and Videos…
Both Are Happy Go Lucky BUT More Importantly I Appreciate Your Experiences, HighTech and Style Input and Know How.
I Just Love Your Decision Making When It Comes To Having a Motorhome That Can Stand On Its Own (For Boon Docking / Extended Stays Off The Grid That Has a Clean Modern Look and Feel with All The Comforts of Home with Your High Tech Suggestions for Having a Self Contained Motorhome.
You Two Are So Cute Together…
You Need To Have Your Own TV Show (I Will Try To Help You Get One!)
Love Everything About You, Your Personalities, Outlook On Life and Total Complete Honesty.
Take Care – Keep It Up and One Day I Will See You on the Road of My Freedom Quest !!!!
Residential fridge? 110?
I am refitting a 39′ 5th wheel and real fridge would be great.
Have fun in the wilderness.
Love your website and YouTube posts. I have been following you for some time and find all that you do interesting and informative. Your information and opinions about composting toilets are eye opening. I also love your pentient for “wild camping.” It is a prerequisite for entering into the RVing lifestyle, according to my wife. One comment: Have you heard of Nexus RV? They are a factory-direct RV manufaturer which specializes in personalized modifications. They essentially build your coach (A, Super C, C, or B+) from a spacific base format into the coach that personally suites you. Everything is factory installed with no aftermarket add ons. From exterior paint scheme to interior fabrics and everything in between, they build to suite you. Check them out.
Can you tell me how you are able to be a full timer? Also do you have any recommendations for new RVers who are buying their first RV?
Thanks for putting the video together in the rain guys. Great to see what you’ve done on the tech upgrades.
Solar- After a lot of thought we opted to install rigid solar panels on our Airstream when we hit the road full time a year ago. Their durability vs flexible panels and the ability to tilt were the deciding factors for us. They are paired with AGM batteries for now but we are so tempted to upgrade to Lithium. We’ll be following your experience with the Balqon batteries closely.
WiFi – We agree 100% with the benefit of the cell booster from Wilson. We have the same model and have had fantastic performance with extremely marginal signals in several remote areas. As for the WiFi Ranger, it’s a significant expense for the limited opportunities we would have to benefit from using it. After a year on the road I can count the times on one hand where we’ve had availability to a usable WiFi signal worth boosting for use in our rig. The ROI on a $649 expense is just too long for our situation.
Upgrading our water pump was on our to do list and the demo in your video has convinced us of the benefit. Such a minor investment for the massive gain of getting rid of that horrible pump noise every time we dry camp.
We love what your doing with Fleetwood to give the RV industry a prod in a better direction. Good luck and happy times on your Alaska adventure. We might be following your tire tracks up there in Summer 2016 with Watsons Wander and a few others.
LOVE……….. your Fleetwood!
If Fleetwood would offer your RV style and tech upgrades….NOW!!!!
I definitely would buy one from them. I’ve been looking and keep waiting to see which company will change first and go with the flow of new tech alternatives, and better designs. If Fleetwood could come up with two types of design pallette. One for older generation that don’t like to change….
One for a younger generation with the new changes.
I really think their business would grow….
So many people are looking for different types of homes to live and travel in. It would be a whole new growing market for them….
So Happy you were given a chance to show them, there are many cool ways to live and travel.
So now lets see if they will listen?????
MaxxAir Deluxe with remote looks awesome. Having the fan run even in the rain would be great. But I read on their website “Rain Sensor closes lid if it rains (MaxxFan Remote Opening Models only)”. Can this can be over-ridden? If not, if it rains, they close and NO ventilation for the cats.
Sweet new tech upgrades guys! Thanks for sharing. It’s amazing how much more affordable it’s become in the recent years to get a pretty self-independent setup like this. And yours pretty closely matched ours 🙂
We came really close to switching out our 500 AH GBS lithium (LFP) system that we installed in 2011 (www.technomadia.com/lithium) to the Balqon 700 AH – so we’re curious to see how they perform for you guys. We’ve head good things about them.
Thanks for mentioning the metal ground plane, that is a necessary component for those types of cellular antennas – so many folks forget that when installing on a non-metal RV roof. We took some readings the other day for a video we produced for our Mobile Internet Aficionado members on this topic. -111 db without any booster on AT&T LTE, -103 db with the booster/no ground plane and -81 db with a ground plane.
Awesome list, great work… Imagine if all of these items were standard!!!
I will be installing the composting toilet soon based upon your suggestions and tutorials. I was curious: wouldn’t it be better to have the fan set to AIR OUT in the bathroom and draw the fresh air in from the living space?
I love your videos and all the information you give us all. We just bought our first motorhome and are looking to upgrade with the W-Fi and cellular boosters. Can you please tell us who installed your equipment? I’m having a difficult time finding an installer I feel comfortable with.
Thanks and have a great time in Alaska!
Jay and Christine Rentmeester
Well I guess my first post didn’t go thru, so I’ll try again. I apologize if you get a double post. I am new to your blog but feel I have learned a ton from your post and insight.
I am currently in the process of purchasing my first Rv which was based a lot on your post, the new 2016 Bounder was my final decision.
I really like a lot of the upgrades here and am seriously thinking of asking my dealer to do the following before I pick up the unit in June. Batteries, WiFi booster, Cell booster, water pump, and roof fans. I am curious on your opinion of having the dealer install these or pick it up and take it to an after market installer.
I also noticed you went with the class panels for the tilt function and was wondering what the cost difference was over the flex panels you installed on Roy? I plan on doing the Solar upgrade at a later date.
I think the upgrades are great (except the toilet that I cannot agree about, my wife is even closer that I am :-)).
The solar power is around what you need to run completely off-grid. and the fact that people say 1 watt per 1 AH is not what to follow, solar panels are so cheap now <$1 per watt for large panels. If you have excessive solar power run the water heater on solar (and not propane). Get an AWG (water generator/AC-dehumidifier) that extend you stay and make nice indoor humidity even in hot climate.
I really like the Hybrid Magnum, would have loved that, when I just bought an PureSine MS2012 three month ago to upgrade the modified sine ME2012. Is the Magnum Lithium battery aware? that was the biggest issue I saw that the charge/inverter could destroy my expensive batteries, because of the voltage issues with the cut-off and charging.
I would have divided the solar in at least 2 strings. The shading issue on a single cell on a panel can destroy your output completely. I'm going to rewire our roof for 2 strings (960 watt in 6 panels too). MPPT is the way to go the Go-Power cutting charge controller is a joke, it throw away a lot of power compared to even running a MPPT controller for the same panels on 300+ watt. It works OK for charging the battery when in storage IMO.
Our current setup can be found in this post below. We run a lot heavier motorhome (40 foot diesel) but the additional weight does not affect MPG in a big way from our original. When we flat towed the Jeep was the mileage 7.3 MPG, with the enclosed trailer and all the solar 7.2 MPG. The enclosed trailer allow roof mounting for 1500 watt of large residental panels for more solar (under $1500 for all the panels). That is in the process of being installed, we currently only have 1040 watt on the roof.
I found out the insulation on the water heater is a joke. In 4 hours was the water so cold that the heater started again. With added insulation can this be easily extended to 8 hours or the water be hot enough to take a shower (100+ degrees) next morning on water heated at high-noon with solar electricity the day before.
I would really like to know the benefit (and range as another mention) of the Cell-phone booster. We live and work 100% from our motorhome and use the cellular data (20-50 GB per month of Verizon) for all access. We run online meetings and use a lot of other online services for work. Is there a limitation on the number of phones connected?
In general, you guys operate in a different world from me. Retired, fixed income, solo traveler. I’m chugging along in a 1999 Class C, which is in pretty good shape, thank you. Investing in the kind of solar you describe is not only beyond me, but would’t make financial sense on resale. So I read your stuff with a kind of “how the other half lives” kind of attitude. But every once in a while there’s a nugget for the likes of me: my water pump has been kind of tetchy these days, and it looks like the Shurflo 4008 might be a good idea. I could install it myself, and it’s affordable. Thanks for the pointer.
Keep it up!
Glad you found something useful! Our solar setup is an investment but with as much off the cord camping as we do, it doesn’t take long to pay itself off. $35+ a night really adds up fast. I do have to say, unless you find the right buyer you are correct, it’s hard to get your money back on solar on a resale. It’s only worth it if you plan to camp often and keep the RV for a few years.
Live Small | Ride Free
You might consider an accumulator instead of a new pump, if you don’t already have one. It’s a small pressurized tank that creates a ‘cushion’ between the pump and the rest of your water system, so the pump’s vibrations aren’t transmitted through the water lines, and doesn’t have to cycle as much — or at all, for small usages. Shurflo makes a small one for RVs, or if you’ve got the space you could even put in a residential one. We put a “6 gallon equivalent” tank (made by Flotec; it’s physically only 2 gallons in size) into our off-grid rig, and our system is very smooth, even with a crappy, undersized, 14-year-old pump. Often, we don’t even turn the pump on, because there’s so much in reserve.
Very cool setup. I got to check out Chris & Cherie’s Lithium bank, solar array, etc. when we met up at a Harvest Hosts a few weeks ago, so its good to see yours too.
I really like the idea of a “boondocker’s starter kit” for that $5k price point. Based on our limited experience as full-timers, we’re paying about $25/night to camp at state/county parks, and at 5k, this kit would ROI in 200 nights.
It’s not in our budget right now, but when we have done this for a year and have more experience full-timing, I can see something like this in our future. We’re both digital workers, and we’re having a BLAST turning our RV into a real office, but its still so clear that this was built for a couple of 70 year olds to use in Arizona, not a couple of 31 year olds running a business and doing remote work.
SO, I’m excited to see how this project w. Fleetwood goes. After watching the first video, I was a bit worried that they’re just paying lip service to the idea, like letting you guys pick out the color of the carpet, etc. I think that if a company really wants to be the first-to-market for young full time RVers, they need to start with a bare chassis, get a dozen of us in a room, and start sketching. Incumbency bias is strong here, especially in this industry, so I’d love to see what a couple creatives like you guys could come up with when given a blank slate.
We very much enjoy your posts – informative and entertaining to say the least!
We have a 2008 Fleetwood Bounder 35h, so watching this particular video was very helpful as we consider doing some upgrades to this RV or upgrading to a diesel pusher.
As I have gone through your posts and seen the various RVs you have lived in, I am wondering if you have come up with anything innovative with handling the litter box? We are just weekend/vacation RV’ers right now, but we always take our 2 labs and 1 cat with us. The litter box is….interesting…to deal with in such a confined space.
I am new to your post but I have to say I have learned a ton watching. I am presently in the process of buying a new 2016 bounder and am wondering about asking the dealer to do some of these upgrades. WiFI, Cell booster, water pump, Roof fans and batteries. I would plan the solar power upgrades at a later date. I also notice in this set up you went with the glass panels instead of the flex ones you had on Roy. I understand why for the tilt function but how much more was the cost verse the flex panels? I would really like to hear your opinion on having the dealer install before I even pick up my unit this June.
Since the solar panels are on the drivers side of the coach. Its not clear how tilting the panels will provide any advantage when the front of the coach is pointed East, North, or South.Can you clarify?
Born For Travel
Wow! I love your upgrades!! I think these are fantastic. Keeping my fingers crossed that by the time I am ready to full time they will be standard options. Keep up the great videos and blog!!
You have great informative and professionally produced videos. Keep them coming. Oh and I hope you fixed the leaking water pump in the video. Unless somehow that had something to do with the rain that day,
Awesome set-up guys. Who installed your Balqon battery? I have been looking for a reliable installer, and would appreciate your recommendation.
Very impressive and well thought out changes to the coach. I am in the process of slowly retrofitting some of these features into our existing coach. The Wilson Cellular Amplifier you chose is an excellent choice. I just have a couple suggestions for anyone installing this option. First maintain as much physical separation as possible between the indoor and outdoor antenna’s. Second make sure the ground plane is large enough. A one foot square with the external antenna in the center should do the job. If you are using iPhone’s you can get a handle on how much signal strength has improved by using the field test option. It changes the signal strength display from 1-5 bars to a more meaningful numeric value. With the iPhone in this mode by moving around in side the coach you can more accurately determine the effective range of your internal antenna. Furthur, by powering off the Wilson booster you can measure the amount of gain the booster is actually producing.
Access the field test mode by dialing *3001#12345#* + “Call” The numeric value for signal strength is now in the upper left hand corner of the screen where the signal strength was previously displayed in bars. To exit and return your iPhone to normal status, hit the Home button. The mode is available on iPhone’s running iOS 4.1 and all later versions.
If you want your iPhone to always display numerical signal strength instead of signal bars, perform the following process:
1. Once in Field-test mode hold down the power button until you see “Slide to Power Off”, then release it.
2. hold the Home button until you’re returned to your main app screen. You’ll now see your numerical signal strength while you use your phone, and you’ll be able to tap the signal numbers to switch to signal bars, and vice versa.
3. To exit this permanent field-test mode, simply reboot the phone or re-load Field Test Mode and exit it via the Home button.
Great info Keith thanks. I now display numbers instead of dots or bars on my iPhone 6+ Cant wait to get my unit and try the cell booster on the way home from the dealer. It will be along drive in the Rv by myself but good experience to check out the RV
Lots of good stuff here.
Going in order (or at least as well as I can remember…)
Solar: VERY nice. I’m a hefty guy, though, so tromping around on the rood probably isn’t a good idea. How about a linear actuation motor to tilt the panels? MPPT is the way to go for that much sun-juice, and Outback gear is some nice stuff. Props on the Lithiums. Chris & Cherie are probably proud of you! 🙂
The fridge and water pump are nice tweaks. Not huge on my list, but nice all the same. I really like the fans, specifically the thermostat option. I just got a kitten that I intend to be a road buddy, and I’ll have these to ensure her comfort.
Workstations: Nikki’s is decent, but Jason’s seems a bit thrown together, even with the forethought. Once again, I’d love manufacturers to seriously consider floorplans with an honest-to-god desk. As a system admin and EDI Support Analyst & Developer, I run 3x 24″ LED LCDs off my dock. I need a real desk, period. I can take the whole show anywhere I have decent internet, since I work via VPN, but without a proper workspace, I might as well stay home.
CellBooster: What’s the range on the internal antenna? Can it get outside the coach at all? Is in-coach fully covered? During my downtime, I’d love to step away from my desk and sit outside for a break, but if signal drops, I can’t get calls, so I can’t work. I guess I could use bluetooth, but I’m still curious.
WiFi Ranger: I’ve wondered why these are so bloody expensive. They use a Ubiquiti Bullet, and a basic antenna, and a Microtik Routerboard with PoE. It looks like you have the Elite Pack FM (649.00) but it’s only about $300 in parts. That’s a pretty steep markup, plus installation. They use good components (Ubiquitu radios are second to none!), but you could build a bridge like that yourself, with the same performance WAY cheaper. I guess you pay for turnkey.
…and I know I harp on this, but BOY, that’s a tiny toilet room. I wouldn’t have enough space, and with as high as that commode is, I’d be afraid I’d fall off and break my neck! MORE SPACE PLEASE, FLEETWOOD!
Enjoyed your post and the timing is perfect for our latest project- upgrading a 2009 Carriage Domani 5th wheel. We are including many of the same upgrades / features (Different brands). We opened up the roof and will be adding audio/video/solar/cellular. Curious what you use for live TV?
anyone else notice during the water pump segment the tubing on the left was leaking? I could be mistaken, but it looked like a couple drops of water there.
thanks for Sharing you videos. Love seeing you guys. My first question is about your fridge. Is it a house fridge running on ac only? If so what is the draw on your system? #2 is the info on the solar panel frame which can move the panels in the up right position. I have 6 (140 solar panels, I have 6 (6 volt batteries). Didn’t see a link to the battery web site. Like to know cost. #3 I read about 110 furnace heater that can be tied to your rv furnace so when at shore power you do use propane. I see you have a gas stove. Wonder why you dint switch to a all electric stove.?
Have a great day. Bob Lantinga From Prince George,BC
Thanks for ‘dumbing’ things down. I actually caught the drift of it!…A side note..When Niki was turning on the water and showing the water pump, the left hose was dripping…thought you would want to know. When we did own a bumper pull I hated the water pump noise too. (It was a 23 foot and we lived in it for a year with 3 small kids while our house was being built. Hence why we don’t have it any more.lol I know tmi) Keep up the great blogs! Can’t wait to go to Alaska with you!
Do you have any concerns with the safety of lithium batteries? They have some history of getting too hot and catching on fire. Also, in the segment on your water pump there appeared to be a very slight leak on the left side where the hose connects to the nipple on the pump. You might want to check it. Good video.
Love the technology you have included in your new rig. The wife and I have been watching this very closely and are looking to move from a 5th wheel to a motorhome as full-time, work from anywhere, nomads! We would order a Bounder from Fleetwood tomorrow (literally, tomorrow) if they would include all of your options in a package as factory installed – entire solar setup including panels, lithium, hybrid invertor, auto gen start, maxxfans, workstations in bedroom and dinette (absolutely essential to us)…. Literally, every option you showcased (including composting toilet) would be on our list and we’d be willing to pay Fleetwood the premium for factory install. I’d like a prewire on the 4G Booster and Wifiranger – but only because we already have the devices.
The only changes we would like made beyond your list that we have seen are likely options you also desired. We’d like a more modern cabinet design (white being an option as well) as a wishlist item. We would really like to extend your flooring choice into the bedroom area to minimize carpeting. We actually have that exact flooring in a townhome (now a rental) and LOVE IT. It hides the dirt and hair from our two dogs, is very durable, and looks very nice. We would also pay a premium to remove the gas stove for a drop in induction cooktop. We have a portable unit and its the only way we cook – efficiency is outstanding and would love to see it as an option on a more permanent basis so we don’t have to stow our unit.
Even if the items above aren’t possible, we’d order a Bounder tomorrow outfitted identically as your own. We love the wild, and love not having to be tied to shore power in an RV resort. Our jobs keep us on the phone and computers in separate parts of our 5th wheel for more than 8 hours a day – and being ‘cordless’ and still be able to work is huge. We have family with acreages and having the flexibility you have built in, would make home wherever we parked. That’s worth a pretty hefty premium for us anyway and really hope Fleetwood is taking this seriously. $5K? Tomorrow Fleetwood, in a heartbeat….
Safe travels and thank you so much for being the voice for the rest of us young professional nomads!
One more thing I failed to mention in my post. $5K sounds like a lot of money, and I’m not saying it isn’t, but in the grand scheme of ownership as a fulltimer – it’s 4 months or less campsite fees. At twice the price, it would be a steal considering the freedom it affords, as well as how quickly it pays for itself. Very few areas where you get a return on investment that quickly, IMO.
All of your upgrades are perfect for wild camping. I love everything about it. Tell Fleetwood that I want to buy that vehicle when you’re done with it!
What made you decide to use Balqon? This is not a competitor or loaded question. I’m a MH RV’er about to buy batteries. I almost went Balqon a few mos ago but didn’t due their not calling me back when I needed the answers. I’m also considering AM Solar’s LIP. Currently, I want to chicken out and go the standard way and buy AGM’s.
Why did you stop at 700A? My memory is Balqon sells a 900A package for not much more money.
Great video as usual. You need more angle on your awnings to allow the water to drain.
I am so Sick!! of crappy wifi and bad cell phone service!! I would Love to have your set up!!! Why is this not a standard option? I would rather have internet than cable. I use it way more often. I can stream TV if I want it.
I really love those solar panels too! It would be great to be off the cord.
No black water would be super cool too, but I’m just a little hesitant about the composting toilet. Know anywhere I can test one out? 😉 I would like to try before I buy. Does it really not smell? I’ll have to watch that video again… And again.
Thanks for all the great videos, and articles!
You two continue to inspire us. We were on the road fulltime for about 1 1/2 years. Even though we loved it we had to settle back down for a while. We are planning on an Alaskan trip next summer, so we are excited to see and hear more about yours. Thanks and keep on posting!!!
I love the new upgrades. One item that most would love to have but is WAY our of rage is the lithium batteries. ~4k for a set up like that is simply out or price range for most people, at least of me. Yes, it is substantially better value when comparing to lead acid or sealed amg type batteries. Perhaps as a future upgrade. 🙂
Than you for your videos! I truly enjoy your efforts on them.