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 > Interested in any solar advice

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Tom_M

New Hope, MN

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Posted: 09/13/17 05:38am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I went solar mainly for the peace and quiet. I boondock virtually 100% and seldom have to use my generator. Here are a couple of links to some good info:

http://www.jackdanmayer.com/rv_electrical_and_solar.htm
https://handybobsolar.wordpress.com/the-rv-battery-charging-puzzle-2/

Jack Mayer's site is an excellent source for everything RV related.
HandyBob's info is a bit dated and opinionated but has some good info.


Tom
2005 Born Free 24RB

Lwiddis

Los Angeles :(

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Posted: 09/13/17 07:50am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

"and good chance you never get above 80% while off grid"

I disagree, Val. My smallish system regularly recharges to 100%.

And Tom...me too! No noise for me and my neighbors.


2015 Winnebago 2101DS TT & Chevy Tahoe LTZ, 300 watts WindyNation solar - parallel & MPPT, Trojan T-125s. TALL flagpole for USC & historical flags. Prefer USFS, COE, BLM, NPS, TVA, USF&WS, state & county campgrounds. 14 year Army vet.

profdant139

Southern California

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Posted: 09/13/17 08:02am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If you want an easy and inexpensive way to try solar, get a portable panel -- mine is 120 watts and it fully recharges our batteries every day. It is plug and play -- very simple. But we are very frugal with electricity -- this would not work for everyone.

Then you could later upgrade to a larger roof panel. The roof systems are better, more expensive, and more complicated.


2012 Fun Finder X-139 "Boondock Style" (axle-flipped and extra insulation)
2013 Toyota Tacoma Off-Road (semi-beefy tires and components)
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theoldwizard1

SE MI

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Posted: 09/13/17 08:53am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The FIRST thing you need to figure out is how much battery storage you need ! To do that, you need to know what your loads are. If you want to run a 5,000 BTU A/C from sundown to sunup, you are going to need a LOT OF BATTERIES !

The panels hook up to the batteries vis a solar charge controller.

The batteries can be hooked to an inverter to provide 120V AC power for things like a residential refrigerator. Not the prettiest, but certainly the simplest and cheapest way to connect your inverter to your RV is a simple extension cord from the inverter to your normal shore power inlet.

Wizbangdoodle

Washington

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Posted: 09/14/17 07:25pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

OP, as you can see, there is a lot of great advice out there when you talk about solar. I hymned and hawed about what I was going to get and finally just dove in. I spent a lot of time trying to nail down all the power needs I had.
I have found that if you are just running 12vdc devices, you can get by with a pretty small system. If you want to watch a lot of tv and toast some bread and vacuum the floors and do a load of laundry, you'd better get some serious battery storage and panels, not to mention a decent inverter. I would guess that if you are just boondocking for an extended weekend and don't spend a lot of time in the trailer, 200-400ah of batteries and 200-300 watts of panels would be more than enough.


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ktmrfs

Portland, Oregon

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Posted: 09/14/17 10:04pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Wizbangdoodle wrote:

OP, as you can see, there is a lot of great advice out there when you talk about solar. I hymned and hawed about what I was going to get and finally just dove in. I spent a lot of time trying to nail down all the power needs I had.
I have found that if you are just running 12vdc devices, you can get by with a pretty small system. If you want to watch a lot of tv and toast some bread and vacuum the floors and do a load of laundry, you'd better get some serious battery storage and panels, not to mention a decent inverter. I would guess that if you are just boondocking for an extended weekend and don't spend a lot of time in the trailer, 200-400ah of batteries and 200-300 watts of panels would be more than enough.


pretty consistent with my boondocking experience. I now have about 500W of portable solar. my camping buddy has 320W of portable solar.

we both have 4 GC 6V batteries, around 500AH. He only runs stuff of 12V, including exhaust fan most of the time to keep trailer cool or furnace in the morning and can keep batteries above 75% charge for several weeks of boondocking even with several days of clouds/shade.

With my 500W on our last outing, we ran the portable ice maker all day off the inverter, use the microwave for heating tea, veggies etc. and using the hotel 800W kurig for coffee, etc. and we were able to keep the batteries again between 80 and 100 percent charge for 7 days. that also included running two exhaust fans for cooling for about 6 hours for cooling and the furnace in the morning for an hour or so.

the only time either of us use the generator is for running the AC or in the case of my buddy when he needs the microwave.

and from experience, the haze from forest fires while not seeming real significant can put a big hit on solar output!! the days with clear skies gave great output, the hazy smoke days were as bad or worse than similar cloud cover.

note I said portable solar. portable solar can be aimed for max output, while rooftop is usually horizontal and depending on time of year and latitude can have quite diminished output.

On our last trip in August and early Sept near 45 degrees latitude, laying the panels flat vs angled reduced output by about 30 percent.

but then rooftop panels will charge driving down the road and don't grow legs. but rooftop panels mean parking in the sun instead of shades.

No perfect solution.


2011 Keystone Outback 295RE
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rbpru

North Central Indiana

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Posted: 09/15/17 10:38am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

It has been my observation that it is a matter of how much money you want to spend for the conveniences you want.

I like my microwave, toaster, television and AC. But I am perfectly willing to do without them for a few days to enjoy a great campsite or two. So far I have managed to get by with for two or three days on battery power and LP.

For more than a couple of days, particularly if it is warm, a fan and outdoor cooking become a must or you have to start looking at some rather expensive solar options or of course a generator.


Twenty six foot 2010 Dutchmen Lite pulled with a 2011 EcoBoost F-150 4x4.

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JCR-1

Crystal River, Florida

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Posted: 09/16/17 04:25am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Always have a generator. Quick and easy to use A/C, Microwave, and charge house batteries quickly.

westend

Shorewood, MN

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Posted: 09/16/17 02:52pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I run a 120V dorm fridge, 120V stereo and TV, and all the other typical 12V devices (fans, pumps, lights, charging phones, laptops, etc) with my solar system. I don't have any parasitic loads nor a furnace or water heater that uses 12V.

My system: two battery banks, one 2 X 6V GC2, 215 AH, three 12V AGM batteries, 100 AH. Total battery capacity-around 300AH. A single 235W panel mounted on the roof with four-way tilt (if needed). A single Morningstar 15A MPPT controller. A Xantrex 1000W pure sine inverter. I have a generator but have never used it with this trailer.

My future plan is to add a second panel on the roof, add or upgrade the solar controller. Add a movable, smaller 100W (or so) panel to be used in shade parked conditions. Change the AGM bank out for larger AGM batteries, increasing the capacity by 200 AH. Replace inverter or add a larger one. This upgrade should allow me run microwaves, coffee makers, and a small window air conditioner for a few hours.


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pianotuna

Regina, SK, Canada

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Posted: 09/16/17 06:51pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I part timed for 5 years with no generator and ran what ever I wanted. Charging batteries with a generator to 100% full is extremely expensive. No one would do it unless they had no other choice.


JCR-1 wrote:

Always have a generator. Quick and easy to use A/C, Microwave, and charge house batteries quickly.



Regards, Don
Full Time in a 28 foot Class C, 256 watts solar, 556 amp hours of AGM in two battery banks 12 volt batteries, 3000 watt Magnum hybrid inverter, Sola Basic Autoformer, Microair Easy Start.

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