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Old 02-23-2021, 09:42 PM   #1
snoobler
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New Member in AZ

Proud owner of a "new" 2007 Montana Big Sky. Won't be doing any traveling in it, but it's going to be our home away from home on our N. AZ land.

It's been a 2 month quest to find a suitable unit, and we were drawn to the Montana early on. We got lucky with this unit for a very favorable price.

Amazing kitchen area, 4 slides, king bed. Holy moly. It's like the Taj Mahal. We thought our old Newmar American Star was pretty spiffy, but this thing trounces it.

My only complaint is the double fridge. This trailer will be powered by off-grid solar as much as possible, and that hungry beast is going to force me to install the rest of my panels!

There are a few things wrong with it, but they seem pretty mild thus far. Some may not even be worth fixing, but I'm very please to find this resource and looking forward to learning more.

Steve
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Old 02-24-2021, 04:44 AM   #2
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Welcome from northern MN.
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Old 02-24-2021, 06:47 AM   #3
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Welcome to the forum

Congrats on your new to you trailer. Lots of good information and loads of great people here. Feel free to ask about any issues and Iím sure we as a group can get it fixed.
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Old 02-24-2021, 07:03 AM   #4
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Welcome aboard! This is a great place to share experiences and knowledge.
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Old 02-24-2021, 07:53 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snoobler View Post
Proud owner of a "new" 2007 Montana Big Sky. Won't be doing any traveling in it, but it's going to be our home away from home on our N. AZ land.

It's been a 2 month quest to find a suitable unit, and we were drawn to the Montana early on. We got lucky with this unit for a very favorable price.

Amazing kitchen area, 4 slides, king bed. Holy moly. It's like the Taj Mahal. We thought our old Newmar American Star was pretty spiffy, but this thing trounces it.

My only complaint is the double fridge. This trailer will be powered by off-grid solar as much as possible, and that hungry beast is going to force me to install the rest of my panels!

There are a few things wrong with it, but they seem pretty mild thus far. Some may not even be worth fixing, but I'm very please to find this resource and looking forward to learning more.

Steve
So apparently the previous owner installed a residential fridge replacing the rv fridge, as I'm certain they weren't offered in '07 even as an option.
That would/should be your biggest hurdle to get power to that fridge off grid. I'd think solar, lots of batteries & a good generator will be required.
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Old 02-24-2021, 10:32 AM   #6
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Old 02-24-2021, 10:44 AM   #7
snoobler
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Originally Posted by travelin texans View Post
So apparently the previous owner installed a residential fridge replacing the rv fridge, as I'm certain they weren't offered in '07 even as an option.
That would/should be your biggest hurdle to get power to that fridge off grid. I'd think solar, lots of batteries & a good generator will be required.
This is not a residential fridge. It's a big Norcold double-door AC/propane unit. I've seen several ads for units with this fridge, and it's in the kitchen slide, so I believe it's original.

I wish it was a residential fridge. These absorption (AC/propane) fridges can use 5-6X the energy of a same-size residential fridge.

Thanks to all for the welcome.

Quick question: while I know what they do, and I've had one in all 5 of the RVs we've owned, I don't know the official name - the device that shows battery and tank levels via button presses. I'm having issue with mine, and I'm not having much luck searching on the terms I have in mind.

Thanks!

Steve
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Old 02-24-2021, 11:00 AM   #8
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Unfortunately, that tank level/voltage device is next to worthless. The level indicators are dependent on how clean the probes are, and at least on our rig, the fresh tank is the only accurate indicator. For voltage, unless you are seeing actual voltage, the idiot lights will not tell you what you really need.

For the fridge, we usually run ours on propane, even when in a park with power. After having discussions with Paul Unmack who sells the ARP devices, I find the propane mode works better for us and Paul said the gas is easier on the boiler plumbing than is the electric mode. When on gas, the only power used is from the batteries and that is very little.
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Old 02-24-2021, 11:29 AM   #9
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Your thinking of the monitor panel.

I would start a new thread and list the issues.
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Old 02-24-2021, 11:33 AM   #10
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And good luck with the "new" Montana...
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Old 02-24-2021, 12:02 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snoobler View Post
This is not a residential fridge. It's a big Norcold double-door AC/propane unit. I've seen several ads for units with this fridge, and it's in the kitchen slide, so I believe it's original.

I wish it was a residential fridge. These absorption (AC/propane) fridges can use 5-6X the energy of a same-size residential fridge.

Thanks to all for the welcome.

Quick question: while I know what they do, and I've had one in all 5 of the RVs we've owned, I don't know the official name - the device that shows battery and tank levels via button presses. I'm having issue with mine, and I'm not having much luck searching on the terms I have in mind.

Thanks!

Steve
With the rv fridge it won't require any 110 volt while dry camping only minimal 12 volt. Not sure about the rv fridge using 5-6x the energy, but I'd think you'd need much more battery capacity, more inverter & good method of keeping them charged trying to keep the residential fridge powered up.
A couple 30# propane bottles would run the fridge & water heater for a VERY VERY long time, the furnace is the gas hog. You could also upgrade to 40# bottles if you're physically able to move them when full.
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Old 02-24-2021, 12:29 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by bobbecky View Post
Unfortunately, that tank level/voltage device is next to worthless. The level indicators are dependent on how clean the probes are, and at least on our rig, the fresh tank is the only accurate indicator. For voltage, unless you are seeing actual voltage, the idiot lights will not tell you what you really need.

For the fridge, we usually run ours on propane, even when in a park with power. After having discussions with Paul Unmack who sells the ARP devices, I find the propane mode works better for us and Paul said the gas is easier on the boiler plumbing than is the electric mode. When on gas, the only power used is from the batteries and that is very little.
Understood. This is the first one I've had that's ever had any issue. While not incredibly useful, they are not worthless. Unfortunately, it's completely malfunctioning. All buttons pressed result in E, 1/3 and F lights coming on. 2/3 light never comes on. Unit is on 12V, so I know at least that one should read less than full. All other tanks are empty. Could just be gooey probes on all the tanks, and a burned out light, but the 12V should show a drop with load.

Propane definitely works better. Heat from flame is easier than heat from electrons. I'll likely run it on AC during the day and then switch to LP at night.
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Old 02-24-2021, 12:39 PM   #13
snoobler
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chuckster57 View Post
Your thinking of the monitor panel.

I would start a new thread and list the issues.
Thanks! Will do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarge2 View Post
And good luck with the "new" Montana...
Thanks! So far so good... managed to find the "galley" drain valve that many seem to struggle with, but I wouldn't have know about it without this forum!

Quote:
Originally Posted by travelin texans View Post
With the rv fridge it won't require any 110 volt while dry camping only minimal 12 volt. Not sure about the rv fridge using 5-6x the energy, but I'd think you'd need much more battery capacity, more inverter & good method of keeping them charged trying to keep the residential fridge powered up.
A couple 30# propane bottles would run the fridge & water heater for a VERY VERY long time, the furnace is the gas hog. You could also upgrade to 40# bottles if you're physically able to move them when full.
Off-grid property, so full time "dry camping," but we have off-grid "shore power" and a pseudo-50A hook up (L1 & L2 jumpered like 30A) powered by a Victron 5kW/48 inverter (120VAC only) and about 12kWh of FLA @ 48V. 3kW of solar with another 3kW waiting to be installed.

I'm sure about RV fridges using 5-6X the capacity, 100%. MAKING heat from electricity is 5-6X less efficient than MOVING heat (heat pump, compressor refrigeration cycle). My Victron system logs power usage, and I can see the American Star's fridge turn on and off. It runs a total of 16 hours per day, on for 1.5h and off for 45 min. Total is just under 5kWh for a 7.6cu-ft fridge. A 10cu-ft "apartment" fridge uses just under 1kWh.

It's cold up north. A 30# bottle is good for two full nights of furnace, plus a bit - hoping for better with the Montana, but even if it's more efficient/insulated, it's larger.

Long term will likely involve a 420# stationary tank and deliveries...

Thanks again!
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Old 02-24-2021, 01:01 PM   #14
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Hello Steve and welcome to you and your family to the forum!

I'm from Prescott originally, sorta up in the high country (5200 feet).

Enjoy that Montana, and stay safe!
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Old 02-24-2021, 01:59 PM   #15
snoobler
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Hello Steve and welcome to you and your family to the forum!

I'm from Prescott originally, sorta up in the high country (5200 feet).

Enjoy that Montana, and stay safe!
ENE of Show Low at about 6700 ft!

Thanks and you too!
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Old 02-24-2021, 08:49 PM   #16
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Hi Steve, and thank you!

Back in my younger (single) days, my buddies and I made several road trips to the Mogollon Rim, to Payson then to Show Low. Good Times!

Cheers!
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Old 03-04-2021, 09:43 AM   #17
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We use a 7.5 cubic foot chest freezer plugged into an inverter which uses very little current. When the top is opened, the chest freezer loses very little cold.
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Old 03-04-2021, 10:15 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snoobler View Post
Understood. This is the first one I've had that's ever had any issue. While not incredibly useful, they are not worthless. Unfortunately, it's completely malfunctioning. All buttons pressed result in E, 1/3 and F lights coming on. 2/3 light never comes on. Unit is on 12V, so I know at least that one should read less than full. All other tanks are empty. Could just be gooey probes on all the tanks, and a burned out light, but the 12V should show a drop with load.

Propane definitely works better. Heat from flame is easier than heat from electrons. I'll likely run it on AC during the day and then switch to LP at night.
The probes are certainly one source of problems for the monitor. Replace them with Horst Miracle Probes; these have little hoods to keep stuff from accumulating on the metal contact and install is easy. I think most monitor panels are made by a company called KIB. These are easily replaced once you locate one with identical features. We have the hot water heater on ours plus a galley tank monitor. The alternative (if you are interested in your holding tank levels is:
https://www.loveyourrv.com/rv-tank-l...toring-system/

The above system surely will work better than what came on the camper.
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