Hello all! My name is Sean. I have a slightly used 2019 Transit sitting in my drive way (4700 miles) and have spent the last couple day organizing the garage into an efficient workspace. What a FEELING!! I’m nervous and gleeful. I am close to the first steps of sound deadening and getting the sub-floor laid. I plan to have an all electric build with Solar. I’ll be checking in often with updates, and I sure Questions:)
Welcome! You’ve come to a place with tons of information and helpful people. I look forward to seeing your progress
Greetings & Welcome!
You might want to rethink the “all electric” unless you’re planning on either full time shore power, or full time generator use. The amount of solar & batteries it would take is astronomical, and you probably wouldn’t have enough roof space for the required solar anyway.
Heating, cooking, and refrigeration are best accomplished with kerosene, diesel, propane, shore power, or a generator, because they are energy hogs. Fuel powered is both cheaper and more efficient. I’m back to a plain simple ice chest because of it’s low cost and reliability, after wasting thousands on multiple 12v DC compressor fridges.
If you’re going to want air conditioning, you’re pretty much limited to a generator or shore power, solar & batteries just don’t cut it. On the other hand, I use a 12v swamp cooler with total success. It draws under an amp on low, and just under 2 amps on high. I use a DIY indirect type, and it dehumidify’s just like a home air conditioner would. Total cost, under $50. If I ever build a new one, it will be fuel powered, and not need any electricity.
3-way RV/Marine type fridge/freezers are a good bet, and can be run on propane. With minor modifications, they can be run on liquid fuel candles instead of propane, which is both cheaper & safer. Since kerosene & diesel fridges/freezers have become so difficult and expensive to find, this has become very popular with those living off the grid.
Most full timers rarely use solar, contrary to the baloney you find online. We either park in the shade, or create our own shade if none is available. Parking in the sun during the summer just to have power is an extremely stupid idea. I charge my house battery while driving, or on the very rare occasion that I need more, I have a generator. I’ve wasted many thousands of dollars on solar in the past, never again.
There are many options options available to us, ranging from simple, cheap, easy, comfortable, convenient, and reliable, to the exact opposite, which is the type frequently promoted online. Having tried both routes, and having attended many rallies, I can tell you that the cheap and easy route is most favored by the vast majority. The happiest people who stick with this lifestyle for any length of time, always revert back to the simplest, cheapest setups. Not because we don’t have the money, but because it’s the best choice.
Keep us posted on your progress!
Boy, I sure do go back and forth and susceptible to argument both ways. I love the idea of being truly self Sustained and not needing to top up or refill on energy. I may go mixed bag… Under-mounted propane for Cook-top, oven, heat and hot water. Propane refrigerator is out of the question. Already invested in super efficient cooler type. I had a propane fridge in a rental and wasn’t crazy about the performance. Thank you SO much for the lengthy response! I will be updating regularly and hope to contribute any ideas I discover along the way:)
Perhaps the propane fridge you disliked was faulty. Normally they get very high marks for reliability & durability. Many century old ones are still in use today. Absorption refrigeration has always been much more efficient than compressor types.