My plan, so far.....

LCK

Member
Dec 20, 2018
12
Eastern Utah
I'm hoping for some seasoned advice, good idea's, criticism, and general thoughts on my plan.

Looking at the Somerset E3 "toy haul" edition. We are planning to modify and equip it and tow vehicle with the needed equipment for long term boondocking.

Solar on roof, Lithium Iron Phosphate (Battleborn) batteries, replace inside toilet/shower with expedition style 12 v fridge freezer, toss factory fridge (more storage) use composting toilet along with continuous hot water shower in stand alone pop up room, 65 gal. water bladder and 3 stage filter system w/12 volt pump.

Upgrade axle, heat shields, fantastic fan, outdoor cooking area, pillow top foam mattress covers.

This set up needs to accommodate 3 adults.

Any thoughts, idea's, suggestions? Thanks!
 

GreyFox

Super Active Member
Oct 10, 2018
2,447
S Ontario
Going to cost quite a bit but good luck with it! About the only item I would question is the composting toilet but I suppose that solves your waste disposal issue when boondocking. My niece & her husband built a Class B around a Mercedes high wall Sprinter which he equipped with one of the larger Engle fridge / freezers which they say works really well.
 
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jmkay1

2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah
Oct 10, 2013
7,634
Northern Virginia
If you have the money go for it. Solar can be great if you got the sun. You may need to add a generator for those days the sun doesn't shine enough to charge your batteries though. I know where I like to camp solar wouldn't work unless I could chase the sun. Then again I love the mountains and forests. Good luck.
 
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emoney

Super Active Member
Jul 7, 2018
880
Not sure how to weigh in without knowing what you’re planning to do with it and how much energy usage et al.
 

Wrenchgear

5 Star Eagle Camper
Aug 5, 2010
3,671
Near Elmira, Southern Ontario
Just quickly off the top of my head, I don't think the solar will be enough to run the fridge. Better check out all the numbers of what the fridge requires and what the solar will put out. You then need more of the batteries for lights and pumps and stuff. Then as jmkay1 says, you get a couple of cloudy days. I think you're going to have a fridge that is able to run on propane.
 
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LCK

Member
Dec 20, 2018
12
Eastern Utah
Going to cost quite a bit but good luck with it! About the only item I would question is the composting toilet but I suppose that solves your waste disposal issue when boondocking. My niece & her husband built a Class B around a Mercedes high wall Sprinter which he equipped with one of the larger Engle fridge / freezers which they say works really well.
I think the composting toilet will also greatly reduce water use as well.
 

LCK

Member
Dec 20, 2018
12
Eastern Utah
If you have the money go for it. Solar can be great if you got the sun. You may need to add a generator for those days the sun doesn't shine enough to charge your batteries though. I know where I like to camp solar wouldn't work unless I could chase the sun. Then again I love the mountains and forests. Good luck.
Oh yes, forgot to mention generator. Thank you.
 

LCK

Member
Dec 20, 2018
12
Eastern Utah
Not sure how to weigh in without knowing what you’re planning to do with it and how much energy usage et al.
Planning on spending a lot of full time in it, 5 to 6 month stints in baja and mainland mexico, mostly in the coasts.
Microwave, instapot for some cooking along with solar oven, small t.v, x box system, hair dryer for my better half, portable fan, charging phones and laptops, lights etc.
 

LCK

Member
Dec 20, 2018
12
Eastern Utah
Just quickly off the top of my head, I don't think the solar will be enough to run the fridge. Better check out all the numbers of what the fridge requires and what the solar will put out. You then need more of the batteries for lights and pumps and stuff. Then as jmkay1 says, you get a couple of cloudy days. I think you're going to have a fridge that is able to run on propane.
Yes, I forgot to mention generator. The expedition type fridges manage pretty well on solar, but you do have to be ready to supplement it.
 

Tikker

Active Member
May 9, 2007
313
Humboldt, Saskatchewan
just size the solar properly, and you should have plenty of capability. things like an instapot/slowcooker can really chew up a lot of amp hours tho. You may want to look at clean wood burning stoves (rocket stove types)
 
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SteveP

Super Active Member
Platinum Supporting Member
May 21, 2015
2,566
The rule of thumb I try to follow is to size the battery bank for 3 days without charge and size the solar array to fully charge the batteries in one day. 100 Ah of battery does that for me but with all the Inverter use you're planning you'll need more. Use 12 volt appliances where possible, fan, tv, charging devices, etc. Avoid parasitic draws where possible, tv, stereo, etc. and wire the Inverter so that it can be fully disconnected when not in use.

I'd like to hear how the Battleborn batteries work out for you so please follow up with build plans, and actual usage reviews.
 
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Arlyn Aronson

Super Active Member
Jun 11, 2014
2,084
Houghton, MI
I love to see this kind of conversations here. Maybe 80% of our camping is "boondocking" which I like to state is much easier than most people think. Why isn't this thread in the "boodokking" section?
 

LCK

Member
Dec 20, 2018
12
Eastern Utah
I love to see this kind of conversations here. Maybe 80% of our camping is "boondocking" which I like to state is much easier than most people think. Why isn't this thread in the "boodokking" section?
Because I'm new here and didn't pay attention to there being a boondocking section. If someone knows how to move it that would be fine, thank you.
 

LCK

Member
Dec 20, 2018
12
Eastern Utah
The rule of thumb I try to follow is to size the battery bank for 3 days without charge and size the solar array to fully charge the batteries in one day. 100 Ah of battery does that for me but with all the Inverter use you're planning you'll need more. Use 12 volt appliances where possible, fan, tv, charging devices, etc. Avoid parasitic draws where possible, tv, stereo, etc. and wire the Inverter so that it can be fully disconnected when not in use.

I'd like to hear how the Battleborn batteries work out for you so please follow up with build plans, and actual usage reviews.
Thank you for the input. I spent last evening with the fellow I am having help me with the solar set up. He is some kind of scary smart overlander solar array guy. I was encouraged after speaking with him and going over my plan.
I promise to keep this updated as I proceed.
 

generok

Super Active Member
Gold Supporting Member
Feb 7, 2013
3,419
Anchorage, AK
I'm not trying to rain on your parade, but I'd never heard of Battleborn batteries. YIKES! $950 for 100 AH? That's nearly $10 per AH. A cheap 6V golf cart battery is $150 and that has 200 AH, and with TWO, you'd have 400 AH and only be at $300. You could replace the set three times before you even got to the price of one Battleborn. Granted, there's the sealed battery versus wet cell debate, but wow.

If you have a genny, you can scale back the solar I guess. I have a genny in the TT, but I'm looking to be able to run TV/stereo for a couple of hours a day without having to run it, so I'm planning to get a solar panel setup to be able to run silent, and just top off the batteries when I run the genny at dinner.

I didn't research it, but do they make a portable composting toilet? The composting process is temp/moisture sensitive, and isn't without offgassing. I've seen a lot in cabins, and usually the compost box is outside the cabin with some sort of auger to move solids outside. If you tend to them correctly, you get compost in time. Otherwise, you get something less useful. There is a remote village option too... it's essentially a lugable loo, but instead of a little water or dry bag, you use shredded paper. You can use the bucket, with a lid between uses, and then dump the mix into a compost heap. The carbon in the paper speeds composting and really controls the odor. You just use it, and throw a little more shredded paper on top, and close the lid. I was shocked how well it worked.

Check this link out: http://humanurehandbook.com/

Best of luck. I am curious on the Battleborn batteries though.
 

GreyFox

Super Active Member
Oct 10, 2018
2,447
S Ontario
A cheap 6V golf cart battery is $150 and that has 200 AH, and with TWO, you'd have 400 AH ...

Sorry, incorrect. Two 6 volt batteries must be wired in series so while voltage doubles, AH capacity remains the same (in your example 200 AH) 1/2 of which is usable assuming a 50% draw down.
 

emoney

Super Active Member
Jul 7, 2018
880
Yeah I’m curious of how the plan is being funded. What’s the max budget? Those composting toilets are wildly expensive as well. The good news is there’s plenty information out there about how many amps Slow Cookers, Hair Dryers and Playstations take. What about AC? Many have tried to solar power their rooftop units but failed.
 

LCK

Member
Dec 20, 2018
12
Eastern Utah
I'm not trying to rain on your parade, but I'd never heard of Battleborn batteries. YIKES! $950 for 100 AH? That's nearly $10 per AH. A cheap 6V golf cart battery is $150 and that has 200 AH, and with TWO, you'd have 400 AH and only be at $300. You could replace the set three times before you even got to the price of one Battleborn. Granted, there's the sealed battery versus wet cell debate, but wow.

If you have a genny, you can scale back the solar I guess. I have a genny in the TT, but I'm looking to be able to run TV/stereo for a couple of hours a day without having to run it, so I'm planning to get a solar panel setup to be able to run silent, and just top off the batteries when I run the genny at dinner.

I didn't research it, but do they make a portable composting toilet? The composting process is temp/moisture sensitive, and isn't without offgassing. I've seen a lot in cabins, and usually the compost box is outside the cabin with some sort of auger to move solids outside. If you tend to them correctly, you get compost in time. Otherwise, you get something less useful. There is a remote village option too... it's essentially a lugable loo, but instead of a little water or dry bag, you use shredded paper. You can use the bucket, with a lid between uses, and then dump the mix into a compost heap. The carbon in the paper speeds composting and really controls the odor. You just use it, and throw a little more shredded paper on top, and close the lid. I was shocked how well it worked.

Check this link out: http://humanurehandbook.com/

Best of luck. I am curious on the Battleborn batteries though.
Yes the batteries have sticker shock, no pun intended. Weight of battery is about a third, you can completely deplete and recharge without harming them so you actually get the full use of the battery, recharging is extremely fast and you can hit them with a much higher recharge rate, 10 year, no questions asked warranty. I would never consider them but for these things, we will be living in the pop up more than not. Not going full time but at least 9 months out of the year. The weight in a pop up is always a concern, and the ability to take a huge draw at once is awesome. Many full time rv'rs are using them. Not for recreational use, but more feasible for long term rv/boondocking/overland use like I will be doing.

Nature's head and air head companies make a composting toilet that work and are being widely used by long term rv'rs. Simple and easy to manage in an rv. Coconut husks or peatmoss are the two options most use in rv applications. The toilet will already be outside of the pop up in a separate privacy privy along with the continuous shower stall.
 

Whiteycracker

Active Member
May 22, 2016
159
South Chicagoland
I have a question...
I have read on a few threads that Somerset owners are wanting to switch out the stock axle.....may I ask why? I am looking at possibly purchasing one (POSSIBLY) and wonder why this is needed. Seems like a well built product.
 

penny

Super Active Member
Nov 9, 2017
769
We bought 2 100 AH batteries and a 100 W solar panel and easily ran a danfoss compressor style fridge that was plenty big. We seldom had to run our generator to charge the batteries. The batteries were just ok. they were "used" in that they were used in a medical setting and had to be changed frequently to maintain peak performance. We got a good two years out of them, and they were only $50 each.

6 v are great, but have a problem in that if one fails, you only have 6 v and can't use anything.
 




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