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"Mobile" Home Automation


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#1 ano

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Posted 06 September 2019 - 01:45 PM

We may be entering the world of "RV'ing" and of course I started to look at home automation, even if the home moves. Maybe especially because the home moves.

 

For those that don't know, most travel trailers and mobile homes power the lights and many functions on 12VDC. Basically a battery powers the lights, then when you are at an RV park, 120VAC powers a converter that powers the batteries. Some RV's have inverters to give you 120VAC from 12V batteries. When there is no 120V power, solar panels can charge the batteries.  Some power hungry devices only run on 120V when connected (AC, microwave), and some use propane, like some refrigerators.

 

The "trend" is going more electric than in the past. Many TV refrigerators run on propane, believe it or not, but the trend is going to 12V electric. Propane refrigerators have to be level to work, don't work great, shouldn't be used while driving, and require propane. "Duh"  While 12V refrigerators do use lots of electricity, solar panels can usually power them. This is important because many people don't camp where there is power.  

 

So what automation/security am I looking for?  Burglar and fire monitoring, maybe temperature monitoring, maybe some remote control of the lights, and possibly a camera or two. Monitoring will need to be done by me, and probably cellular, which should be good enough. I probably will have some type of cellular hot-spot that it can use for connection.

 

Big "class A" RV's (the ones based on a bus chassis and costing $500,000+) do have automation systems, but usually not on cheaper ones. We are looking for a dog also (don't have one yet) but he might stay in it while were away, so temperature monitoring is important.

 

Has anyone else ever investigated this?  I have seen single-tasker devices, like temp monitoring, but nothing bigger in scope. But it must exist out there? Right? 


Edited by ano, 06 September 2019 - 01:47 PM.


#2 42etus

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Posted 06 September 2019 - 08:15 PM

Have you talked to the people at a RV dealership? I would think that much of what you want is already available in the RV marketplace.



#3 ano

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 11:23 PM

Have you talked to the people at a RV dealership? I would think that much of what you want is already available in the RV marketplace.

So you are saying you don't think you'll get the same blank stare at the RV dealership that you get at Home Depot when you ask the associate which lighting automation solution will provide you with the best scene control in your home? 



#4 pete_c

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Posted 08 September 2019 - 06:21 AM

I have fond memories here relating to parents buying a motor home in the 1960's and a few long summer vacations (6 weeks).  Had a generator and two AC units on the roof (back and front).  I recall installing a little black and white television (little Sony) and a dome antenna on the roof (which really did not work). 

 

We mostly would "camp" at KOA's accross the country at the time and did park in the middle of nowhere when "camping" at Yellowstone park. 

 

Doors were mostly kept unlocked 99% of the time. 



#5 wkearney99

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Posted 08 September 2019 - 01:49 PM

I meant to look into using Hubitat with some Fibaro dimmers for the 12vdc lighting on our boat.  Recreation and family time took precedence.  Maybe this winter.

One serious issue to consider is SPACE to fit any modules.  Don't know how RVs handle it but in boats there's generally not a lot of space in/behind/near the switches to install anything.  That and wiring for circuits is often not as obvious or helpful as you'd hope (especially if it's a 3-way sort of setup).

As for batteries, I read posts mentioning Victron as pretty good stuff when it comes to modern power management.  I've got mostly MasterVolt on the boat, and changing out would be seriously spendy.  My advice regarding batteries is be VERY careful about thinking you can easily reinvent the wheel.  Managing batteries is a lot more complicated than you might first guess.  Get it wrong and you risk greatly shortening their useful life/capacity.



#6 42etus

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Posted 08 September 2019 - 07:52 PM

So you are saying you don't think you'll get the same blank stare at the RV dealership that you get at Home Depot when you ask the associate which lighting automation solution will provide you with the best scene control in your home? 

RV coaches can run well into seven figures. Any dealership that caters to clientele willing to spend that kind of money will make anything that you desire happen.  Automation and security, believe me, they've been there and done that .



#7 ano

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Posted 09 September 2019 - 01:41 PM

RV coaches can run well into seven figures. Any dealership that caters to clientele willing to spend that kind of money will make anything that you desire happen.  Automation and security, believe me, they've been there and done that .

To be clear, were not looking at a 45 ft. $750,000 class A motor-home. Closer to a 22ft. $25,000 travel trailer. 

 

We started looking at motorhomes (which you drive), but it was not only the $80,000 - $1.5M cost (and RVs quickly depreciate), but also the fact you are storing a vehicle with an engine maybe 9 months a year, and once you get to the campsite, what do you use for transportation? Just tow another vehicle behind it I guess.  ($45,000+)  Really not practical for us.

 

We did have to buy another SUV for towing, since our old one had a towing capacity of 0, but I don't even count that cost because we need a vehicle anyway and I wanted to update to all the latest safety features.

 

The huge very expensive class A motor-homes can have lots of automation, but it doesn't happen at the dealer, it happens at the manufacturer.



#8 ano

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Posted 09 September 2019 - 01:44 PM

I have fond memories here relating to parents buying a motor home in the 1960's and a few long summer vacations (6 weeks).  Had a generator and two AC units on the roof (back and front).  I recall installing a little black and white television (little Sony) and a dome antenna on the roof (which really did not work). 

 

We mostly would "camp" at KOA's accross the country at the time and did park in the middle of nowhere when "camping" at Yellowstone park. 

 

Doors were mostly kept unlocked 99% of the time. 

We are not really from camping families, but I will credit most of what we learned from Youtube.  There are LOTS of videos on the subject, and honestly, if it wasn't for Youtube, I don't think we would ever know where to start. 



#9 pete_c

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Posted 10 September 2019 - 08:55 AM

Floated the idea of doing an RV trip with kids and wife in the 1990's.  I was shut down immediately for even mentioning it.



#10 ano

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Posted 10 September 2019 - 01:09 PM

Floated the idea of doing an RV trip with kids and wife in the 1990's.  I was shut down immediately for even mentioning it.

In the last few years since I am semi-retired, we have traveled some, at 2 or 3 weeks at a time. With my pet tarantula that isn't a problem since she can go weeks or longer without food, but the wife wants a dog.

And dogs and RVs are a good combination. Hey, even the tarantula could go.

 

RVs have evolved so much in the last few years. With solar, lithium batteries, cellular Internet, streaming TV, etc.  Then I looked at the costs. We are going to Europe for 2 weeks in a few weeks, and for what that trip costs, we could buy an RV. We don't have a dog yet, but just to board the dog for 2 weeks at a doggy resort would be almost $1,500. 

 

Plus it looks like we are headed for a Zombie apocalypse, so RV might not be a bad idea.

 

#11 pete_c

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Posted 10 September 2019 - 04:53 PM

In the 1960's when doing the family mobile home thing we always brought our dog with us. 

 

Yes here did a 6 week "mini" vacation in the EU in the 1980's.  It was a great deal on the round trip and we rented an automobile.  We toured around at our own pace.  If we liked where we were at we would stay a few days. 

 

Lots of friendly folks there. 

 

IE: when in Germany we met an older couple that owned a restaurant and they sort of adopted us and became our tour guides for about a week. 

 

This happened to use while we were in Italy too in a small town in the mountains. 



#12 BraveSirRobbin

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Posted 11 September 2019 - 07:18 AM

Plus it looks like we are headed for a Zombie apocalypse, so RV might not be a bad idea. 

 
hxxps://jalopnik.com/ecoroamer-the-high-tech-zombie-proof-survival-rv-5514798

Edited by BraveSirRobbin, 11 September 2019 - 07:21 AM.





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