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Harnessing the Power of the Sun with a Spartan Inverter

Kimberly No Comments

Soon after our family hit the road we found that some of the best stops are the ones off the beaten path, where there are no hook ups; just you and nature. Whether it’s a week at the beach or a few days at the edge of a butte being off grid gives your family the opportunity to unplug.

Just one minor detail, how can a power hungry modern day full-time RVing family get electricity out on the open range? I need to keep my electronics charged for work. Of course, we’re gonna run the instant pot? Shoot and what about the furnace or some fans? Running the generator sort of defeats the purpose of enjoying the quietness of it all – so that’s out.

Ahhh – I know let’s get an inverter, better yet a whole solar system. We’ve already covered what we did with Northern Arizona Wind and Sun in an earlier post. As a recap, we have 4 panels on the roof providing up to 1100 watts coming down into the Midnite Solar 150 (a 100 amp charge controller) and we currently have 4 6v 220 ahr batteries (bought those at Costco for $87 a piece). So, we have a little more than 400 ahr, which means really only about 200 ahrs that are usable – because we don’t want to discharge these below 50%.

Now – THE INVERTER

When looking for the right inverter we knew right where to go. The folks in Reno, NV at Spartan Power have been in this market since 2003. For our application they sent us the 3300 Watt inverter/charger

Overview

The Spartan Power SP-IC3312 3300 Watt 12V DC to AC power inverter/charger is a low frequency inverter that has a built-in 100A charger, 50A transfer switch and comes with a two year warranty. The SP-IC3312 is great for use at home or in RV, Marine, Fleet Truck, Emergency and many other renewable energy application environments. The SP-IC3312 is packed with unique features and is one of the most advanced inverter/chargers on the market today. The Spartan Power IC Series features power factor correction, sophisticated multi-stage charging and pure sine wave output with unprecedentedly high surge capability to meet demanding power needs of inductive loads without damaging your equipment.

How Does it Work

When utility AC power cuts off (or falls out of acceptable range), the transfer relay is de-energized and the load is automatically transferred to Inverter Mode. Once the qualified AC power is restored, the relay is re-energized and the load is automatically reconnected to AC Bypass Mode. Additionally, the inverter can also be easily customized to Battery Priority via a DIP switch. This helps to extract maximum power from the battery in renewable energy systems such as solar and wind.

Installation

Now let’s get this installed…can’t wait! When working with electricity please be careful.

If you’re more of the “show me how to do it personality” click here for our step-by-step video tutorial.

We started by unplugging power to the rig and turning off the battery cut off for the RV. We needed to upgrade the battery

 

cables so Spartan Power sent us some 1/0 cables. They are rated to withstand up to 3500 Watts continuous. By the way – they manufacture their own cables and I highly recommend using these quality cables.

We also installed a battery cutoff and a slow burn 100A fuse between the batteries and the inverter so at any time we could de-energize the system and the fuse is used to protect the inverter from getting hurt.

Then we had to figure out where to mount this. I chose a solid spot in my front bay had plenty of room for wires and was out of the way of anything else that could possible fall and damage the unit. *PRO TIP – I’ve used this type of trick before…find yourself a large piece of cardboard – place it on the back of the inverter and then mark your screw holes. Then you can use the template to pre-drill exactly where you need to hang the inverter. We used nuts and bolts on the top of the mounting and self-tapping screws on all the other holes.

Next we had to identify which circuits would need to be inverted. I chose four circuits which basically power everything in my rig (convection microwave, and all outlets). My water heater and fridge will run on propane while I’m drycamping. I chose not to wire in my AC’s at this point because my batteries wouldn’t support the load very long and I have a generator as back up if needed.

We basically moved those four circuits from the main panel to a subpanel that is now controlled or powered by the inverter. We also installed a 30A circuit on the panel so we can control when these four circuits are powered by the inverter. So, when we’re plugged into shore power we can flip that switch and use our inverter and the sun to power those circuits. Why would I do that you ask? Because sometimes you may be in a park that charges for your electricity – or you may be limited to 30 amps at your site. By doing this you can eliminate tripping the main breaker.

Finally, we had the tedious task of threading all of the wiring into the right spots on the inverter. The instructions were clearly laid out in the manual, but the thinker the gauge of wire, the harder it is to mold those lines to lay perfectly. Don’t stress it – take it slow and make sure it’s done right.

Now it’s showtime! Everything runs perfectly and nw I’m ready for boon docking! Thanks to our partners at Spartan Power – you can find out more about their team and line up of products here: www.spartanpower.com

Want to install this product own your own?  Check out the installation video!

Fulltime Families Game On Rally Wraps with Huge Success – Video Recap

Kimberly No Comments

Last week Fulltime Families Membership Club wrapped up it’s 17th nationwide event, The Fulltime Families Game On Rally.

Led by the fearless Rally Leading Benson Family (who were first time ralliers) and supported by, The Boudreaux Family, The Skeat Family, The Dougherty Family , The Jacobs Family and The Thomas Family, as well as the helpful hands of the event’s attendees, the game themed 4 day weekend took place at the Wilderness Lakes Thousand Trails in Menifee, CA.

Sponsors for the event included:
Workamper News
RVInsurances.com / Marty Adair
CreateLaunchMarket.com

Pre-rally activities included a roadschool field trip of the Nixon Presidential Library and knitting baby hats for the New Beginnings Charity Program.

Official Rally Activities Included family games, arts and crafts, teen specific activities, pot lucks, a talent show, a dance, seminars and q&a sessions, as well as the highly anticipated “Parade of Homes” (click for a video from Less Junk More Journey featuring this event).

 

Honestly, if you’ve never been to a rally – there’s no better way to experience it then by just jumping in with both feet!  But if you want a birds-eye-view – check out this awesome video recap from the Fummins Family Road Trip Youtube Channel:

Want to make your own Rally Memories?  Join Us for Our Next Event!

Fulltime Families 2K Giveaway

Kimberly No Comments

As Fulltime Families Membership swells to 2,000 Members internationally, we are celebrating with our Fulltime Families 2k Giveaway!

In 2015 when Fulltime Families crested 1,000 Members we gave away a Go Pro!

But as we cross the next great threshold, we’ve come up with an even more exciting event to celebrate the growth of our community, with more opportunities to participate.

When the dial rolls on 2k, Fulltime Families will be giving away the following prizes:

1 Grand Prize Winner: $250 Amazon Gift Card

1 Second Prize Winner: $100 Amazon Gift Card

4 Third Prize Winners: $25 Amazon Gift Cards

5 Fourth Prize Winners: $10 Amazon Gift Cards

Prizes will be awarded via random drawing.  The more entries your family has in the drawing, the greater your chance to win! 

Here’s how you earn entries in the Fulltime Families 2k Giveaway

  • All active member families are automatically entered with a single (1) entry per family.
  • All active member families will earn two (2) additional entries for each new member referral.  Referrals must be registered and recorded through the Fulltime Families Affiliate Program.  Referral date must be equal to or greater than 12/12/17.  Not an FtF Affiliate yet?  Click the link to register.
  • No purchase necessary to participate.  All non-FtF (or inactive) member families who are FtF Affiliates will earn one (1) entry for each new member referral.
  • Only 1 winner per family permitted
  • Drawing will take place within 48 business hours after the 2000th FtF Member registers.

FtF 7th Annual Roadschool Fieldtrip to Legoland Florida

Kimberly No Comments

Join Fulltime Families as they take over Legoland, Florida for the 7th consecutive year!

Legoland Florida, is again offering Fulltime Families an amazing rate, with student tickets (ages 4 – 17) $16.29 per ticket (reg rate $87!) and adult rates of $32.27 (reg rate $94!).  That’s an ENORMOUS Savings!

Plus you get to go with all your FtF Friends!

To save your spot visit: https://www.fulltimefamilies.com/2018-ftf-annual-legoland-fl-field-trip/

NOTE: DEADLINE to reserve your spot with the group is Tuesday, Feb 1st, 2017.  Please reserve your tickets by this date.

legoland

FtF Roadschool Field Trip to Legoland 2013

legoland-2015

FtF Legoland Roadschool Fieldtrip 2015

 

legoland_2016

FtF Legoland Roadschool Fieldtrip 2016

 

Also consider joining us for the Under the Sea Rally, March 2018 at Jellystone in Madison, FL!

2012 FtF Summer Family Reunion Rally is a HUGE Success

Kimberly one comments

2012 FtF Thrift Shop Prom

The 2012 FtF Summer Family Reunion Rally was a HUGE Success!  I want to thank all the attendees – who brought their good spirits and fun loving attitudes! Everyone single one of you contributed in taking this event from fun to Phenomenal!

The Rally Recap Video is here!

Special thanks to Margie Lundy for all the beautiful pics!

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But don’t just take our word for it, each family took away something unique from their time with us… Here’s what they are saying about the event:

The Seeley Family: Fulltime Family Fun

The Lundy Family: Rally Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4

The Zavocki Family: Fulltime Families Rally

 

Do you have a blog post about the rally?  Please send the link to kimberly@fulltimefamilies.com

 

 

 

 

Equity LifeStyle Properties Hiring for Summer Season, Sales and Operations

Kimberly No Comments

Equity Lifestyle Properties, the Parent Company of Thousand Trails is currently seeking applicants for the upcoming 2018 camping season.

While this article highlights Membership Specialist positions, ELS is also seeking applicants for their property operations positions.  Some positions provide salary, and / or free or reduced campsites.

To be considered, complete the form located on this page: http://equitylifestyle.applytojob.com/apply/lHydmtvpJg/Membership-Specialist

Equity LifeStyle Properties (ELS) is the leading operator of Manufactured Home Communities, RV Resorts, and Campgrounds in North America. ELS consists of nearly 400 resorts in 32 states and British Columbia and a team of over 4,000 employees. Our beautiful communities and parks are located in the most desirable regions of the country and we offer a variety of homes and camping options to meet a wide range of customers’ needs. Our guests and residents enjoy rich vacation and lifestyle experiences in our various resorts.

ELS is looking for an enthusiastic and collaborative Membership Specialist to join our Thousand Trails team. The Membership Specialist role is a unique opportunity to promote and sell memberships in the thriving industry of camping. The Membership Specialist is responsible for meeting membership sales targets and acts as a “Goodwill Ambassador” to all potential customers to communicate the benefits of membership. This role provides education and builds awareness of the various membership products and is also a good opportunity for full or part-time RVers, as a site is provided for the Membership Specialist at designated parks.

We are looking for candidates who are passionate about camping and the RV life-style!

Job Duties Included:

  • Implement membership awareness at the campground through welcome calls/emails, camp-in’s, educational workshops, events, marketing materials and other promotional methods.
  • Identify prospects for membership and move prospects through the sales cycle.
  • Understand and provide expert information on new membership products.
  • Run arrival reports to identify incoming guests for potential memberships.
  • Contact incoming guests to welcome to park and introduce self as membership specialist.
  • Work with park staff to handout membership materials at check-in.
  • Attend park events and Manager meetings.
  • Set appointments for membership presentation.
  • Give effective sales presentations to interested guests.
  • Curate Hot List of top prospects for follow up.
  • Obtain Member Referrals.
  • Responsible, with Resort Manager for the inventory of all flyers and the proper signage at the resort.
  • Responsible for corporate reporting to his/her Area Coordinator.
  • Attends weekly Arrival Strategy conference call and weekly Membership Information conference call. Participates in incentive programs.
  • Promotes Ambassador Program at park and engages with staff to encourage, reward, and recognize staff referral leads.
  • Responsible for writing and managing membership contracts for new members.
  • Understand and knowledgeable of current membership promotions.
  • Be thorough and complete with contracts.
  • Adhere to contract policies.

Requirements Include:

  • Basic computer skills and proficient in Microsoft Word programs, Google Drive, Email, and cloud-based software sales programs.
  • Collaborative and detail-oriented. Enjoys working with energy and enthusiasm.
  • Professional behavior and appearance.
  • Excellent communicator on phone, via email, and in-person.
  • Thrives in results-oriented sales environment.
  • Self motivated and strong multi-tasker.

We invite you to visit our web site at www.equitylifestyleproperties.com for additional information regarding our exceptional resort communities.


As an Equal Opportunity Employer, we welcome and thank all applicants.

Fulltime Families Christmas Wishes Compassion Event

Kimberly No Comments

This season is so hard on many families.  With freezing temps and cold weather lay offs, many families struggle to keep food on the table, let alone put a little something under the tree for their kids.

Fulltime Families is several things:

  • A Support Organization for Full-Time RVing Families
  • A Collective of Buying Power to solicit discounts from providers
  • A Community of People who share life together as their paths cross
  • And best of all – a group of amazing individuals, with a spirit of generosity – who seek to provide relief to fellow families who are suffering.

Gates of Hope Ministry is several things:

  • A Christ centered Organization focused on serving full-time RVing families on or off the road.
  • A community of Christians from around the US and world
  • An organization dedicated to promote the love of Jesus by finding ways to help those in need.

This Christmas, Fulltime Families is partnering with Gates of Hope Ministries to connect families in need with families looking for opportunities to give of themselves this Christmastime.

Submit Your Wishes

We cordially invite families to submit your wishes through this Google Form.  We can not guarantee that every wish can be fulfilled but we will do our best to connect giving families with those families in need this holiday season.

Make a Family’s Christmas Wish Come True

After November 15th, we will be posting the Wishes Applications for review both on Fulltime Families and Gate of Hope Facebook Pages.   Choose a wish to fulfill and match your time, talents, extra resources or location with a family who needs a helping hand.

Other Ways to Help

Pray, send notes of encouragement, and keep these families in your thoughts.  So many families experiencing hardship, feel alienated and ashamed by their circumstances.  Take a moment to reach out and let them know someone cares about their circumstances.

Thank you for your consideration.  We are immensely grateful for this community and blessed to be a part of it.

Love, The Travs

 

 

20 Resources to help you Roadschool Through the Holidays

Kimberly No Comments

Holiday Roadschool Show Button

This time of year can be hectic no matter what kind of lifestyle you enjoy. Many families on the road take time off to travel back home for the holidays or simply enjoy their surroundings for the season. No matter what your holiday schedule, the Roadschool Moms team encourages you to Roadschool through the Holidays. These are the favorite homeschool holiday resources on the RoadSchool Moms Approved list this year:

Language Arts & Cross-Curriculum Resources

Homeschool through the Nativity from Intoxicated on Life

All About Christmas from Meet Penny

Holidays Around the World from Teachers Pay Teachers

The History of Santa Claus from Lesson Plans Page

All About Rudolph from Mrs. Thompson’s Treasures

Christmas Vocabulary Puzzles from Road Trip Teacher

Truth in the Tinsel from Oh Amanda

Science

Christmas Science Labs from The Science Penguin

Christmas Nature Study from Our Journey Westward

Tie-Dyed Christmas Ornaments from Happy Hooligans

Math

The Twelve Math Days of Christmas from A2Z Homeschool

Christmas Math Facts from ABCya

Writing & Copywork

The Christmas Story Copywork from Mom’s Mustard Seeds

December Scripture Writing Plan from Sweet Blessings

Reading

Advent Book List from My Humble Kitchen

Christmas Chaper Books to Read Aloud from What Do We Do All Day

12 Christmas Books to Read to Your Kids from Stewardship

Art, Music & Other Fun Resources

Christmas Carols Music Study from Squilt Music

How to Draw a Reindeer from Busy Kids Happy Mom

Christmas Tree Chalk Art from Hodge Podge

Lego Christmas Projects from Frugal Fun 4 Boys

Many of the resources above can be used to homeschool across the ages of your roadschool. Here are a couple of other holiday roadschool resources we found that your middle school/high school teens might especially enjoy:

5 Days of Teen Christmas Ideas from Education Possible

Nutcracker Unit Study from Homegrown Learners

Holiday Math Activities from Lindsay Perro


To listen to the Roadschool Moms’s favorite resources used in their own roadschool during the 2015 holiday season, tune into the December 6th episode of Roadschool Moms over at iTunes!

Roadschool Moms is a live, one-hour weekly broadcast dedicated to the needs and challenges facing today’s roadschool moms. Kimberly Travaglino, of Fulltime Families, and Mary Beth Goff, the Road Trip Teacher, team up every week to offer listeners a fresh take on homeschooling while traveling full time, working in current events and featuring a mix of expert guests.

25 Great Holiday Gifts for the Fulltime Family

Kimberly one comments

The Holidays are Coming! With spatial needs and weight considered, here are some great gifts for the Fulltime Family!
This post was featured in a Roadschool Moms MiniShow: Top 10 Gifts for the Full-Time RVing Family

 

What to get for the Fulltime RV Family for Christmas

What to get for the Fulltime RV Family for Christmas

 

  1. Outdoor World Gift Card, Cabela’s Gift Card
  2. Free Camping for a Year with a Thousand Trails Membership
  3. An Unlimited Data Verizon Line
  4. Walmart Gift Card
  5. A National Park Annual Pass
  6. Reciprocal Nationwide Museum / Science Center / Zoo / Aquarium Membership http://www.emuseum.org
  7. Craft Supplies
  8. E Book Reader / Tablet
  9. Gift Cards for Books or e-books (or a copy of “How to Hit the Road“)
  10. Prepaid Gas Cards
  11. A couple rolls of quarters and some Purell Laundry Sheets
  12. A GPS (Hand held for Geo Caching or Dashboard Type for navigating)
  13. Prepaid Toll Transponder (Like EZ Pass / Sun Pass)
  14. A Hummingbird Feeder
  15. Batteries!!! Lots and lots of batteries! (and a battery tester too!)
  16. Tickets to live productions such as Sight and Sounds Miracle of Christmas
  17. A Custom Family Sticker Map for Your RV
  18. Roadside Assistance Membership / Policy (Good Sam’s, AAA)
  19. FtF Lifetime / Annual Membership
  20. Registration Fees for any of our 2016 FtF Rallies /Legoland Fieldtrips
  21. Blue Track FtF Toy of the Year 2011
  22. Roadtrip Board Game FtF Toy of the Year 2012
  23. Magformers FtF Toy of the Year 2013
  24. 4D Cityscape Time Puzzle – FtF Toy of the Year 2014
  25. Announcing the 2016 FtF Toy of the Year soon!

BONUS!  The best gift for full-time RVing Moms this year is… a 5 Night Cruise!  For less than $60 a month, you can join your Roadschool Moms Friends on a magical Christian Women’s Retreat Cruise.  This Cruise Chics Cruise is the perfect getaway for Refreshment at Sea~  For more information, request to join the group at: FtF Moms 2017 Cruise Getaway Group

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Does your product or service belong on this ‘must have’ list?  Contact Kimberly@fulltimefamilies.com to find out how to get it included.

 

Fulltime Families Announces 2018 Winter Events

Kimberly No Comments

Have you heard about the Fulltime Families Rallies? Are you looking to see if there’s one upcoming on your route?

Fulltime Families is currently accepting Early Bird Registrations for Charter and Lifetime Members, for their recently announced 3 Nationwide Events to be hosted Winter and Spring 2018

General Registration will open on 10/6

We’ve been “on the road” now for over 3.5 years and found that the road can be a lonely place, especially for kids. We just finished the Canadian rally last week and I can say emphatically that we’ve yet to find a better way to connect with other families while on the road than a rally.

If you haven’t attended a rally yet and you’re on the fence about going to one, I’d encourage you to do it. We’re now planning our routes around rallies, when feasible, instead of only if it one is close by.  Biles Family Pioneer Lifetime FTF #620

Wondering what happens at a Rally?  Check Out Less Junk, More Journey’s videos from the 2017 Tallahasee Rally

Still have questions?  Click here to read all our Rally FAQs

 

Ready to Register – Choose your event below:

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