EPDM Coatings
rvupgradestore.com Composet Products PO Box Zone
Over The Network Custom Yacht Interiors

Author Topic: Cutting the cord and going solar  (Read 874 times)

TXGregory

  • Posts: 1
Cutting the cord and going solar
« on: November 13, 2016, 08:13:16 PM »
I am thinking over the prospect of cutting the cord and going solar.  I could use some help.  I have a 30' thor wanderer 2006 TT. 
1) Is there anyone who can tell me how many watts per day they use for their rig?  Air Conditioner or Heater or not...  I have seen worksheets, but real life data would seem to be helpful.
2) If you had solar panels charging your batteries, it seems to me that you would no longer need the converter? Worst case you could always hook up a battery charger to shore power.
3) If you no longer needed the converter, it would seem to be a nice spot to put an inverter :)    Has anyone done this successfully, if so how did you wire up the inverter?

Thanks, 

Greg

Sun2Retire

  • Photo moderator
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 1833
Re: Cutting the cord and going solar
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2016, 09:06:46 PM »
I can hit the high spots but the experts will certainly weigh-in.

1) You can't run AC off batteries. Others have tried. Even with huge lithium battery banks and nearly 1000 watts of solar you might get an hour or two of AC at best. Re usage, every rig's usage is different. Depends on what you have and how you use it. So you'll need to go item by item and estimate how many hours per day you use it and multiply that by the draw of the item to find your usage
2) I would never remove the converter. There will always be times you'll want it, and inverters aren't that big, you will have no trouble finding a spot for it.
3) See #2 above
Scott
2005 Newmar Dutch Star 3810, Spartan, Cat C7 350 "OURVEE"
Eezrv TPMS, VMSpc, 800W Solar
2002 Dodge RAM 1500 Quad Cab "RTOAD"
Stowmaster towbar & Brakemaster

Gary RV_Wizard

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 60367
  • RVer Emeritus
Re: Cutting the cord and going solar
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2016, 07:09:37 AM »
You can replace the converter/charger with a combo inverter/converter/charger and retain all functions. Few people rely completely on solar charging, even if just during "rainy day" emergencies.

The reason for the worksheets is that watt-hour consumption varies widely, depending on your lifestyle (wants & needs), RV size, etc. Could be anywhere from a few hundred watt-hours per day to thousands.
Gary
--------------
Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

Len and Jo

  • ---
  • Posts: 1175
Re: Cutting the cord and going solar
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2016, 11:33:08 AM »
EVERYONE'S camping style and needs/wants are different.  I would recommend you get a shunt and readout and measure your actual usage.  You can get a system cheaper then the cost of one un needed solar panel.  We went bare bones on ours but it supplied all the info we wanted.

PS:  you would probably want a 200A shunt not the 100A

« Last Edit: November 14, 2016, 11:43:16 AM by Len and Jo »
Len & Jo
The Green Tardis
We 'B' RVing   Berkley, Michigan
Van Development:   https://youtu.be/5Xqk_G6k95M
12 Years of Travels:  https://youtu.be/UMIf17CzdZo

kdbgoat

  • ---
  • Posts: 3952
Re: Cutting the cord and going solar
« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2016, 12:45:07 PM »
Len and Jo makes a great suggestion on monitoring usage to decide what you actually need.

A Trimetrics will work for you also.

http://www.bogartengineering.com/products/trimetrics/

Len and Jo- nice looking set-up.
I know you believe you understand what you think I said,
But I am not sure you realize what you heard is not what I meant


2016 Leprechaun 319DS

Kevin Means

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 3721
    • Tactical Flying
Re: Cutting the cord and going solar
« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2016, 02:25:43 PM »
Hi Greg. First, welcome to the RVForum. The others have given you some good info. Here are some other things to consider... When you start getting serious about solar, it's very easy to piece-meal a system together and spend more money than you need to. It's best to plan out what you're going to need and be realistic about solar's benefits and drawbacks. We've had solar for more than 15 years on our last two motorhomes and it's worked great for us. In large part, that's because most of our camping is done in the best solar environments in the country (Southern Cal and Arizona.) Where you're going to be camping has a huge impact on how well solar will work for you. Solar panels aren't nearly as effective during the winter in Washington as they are in Arizona - and solar is most often used during the winter months.

For what it's worth, I would not discard my converter. If you're ever going to plug into shore-power, you're going to wish you had it. Adding an inverter is not a big deal as long as you (like solar) plan ahead. When you add enough solar panels to overcome the power you consume in a day, you're also likely going to need additional batteries. Lots of folks have stacked solar panels on their RV's roof, only to realize that they can't store all the power their panels can generate. Basically, they've wasted money, and they're going to have to spend a lot more for the batteries. Installing additional batteries can be pricey and space-consuming. Some RVs just don't have enough room to add more batteries.

Like the others have said, you really have to determine your own usage to figure out how much solar you're going to need. Ball-parking it may get you close, but it could also cause you to spend more than necessary. I strongly recommend investing in a good battery-monitor. There's nothing wrong with the system Len & Jo described, but a very user-friendly and intuitive system is called the Trimetric RV-2030. It provides you with a lot of useful information, but one of its most helpful features is its ability to show - at a glance - the current condition of your battery-bank (in percentage.) It's more expensive than what Len & Jo described, but well worth it in my opinion.

Good luck, and let us know what we can do to help.

Kev
2011 Winnebago Tour 42QD
Towing a Jeep Rubicon Unlimited LJ or an Acura MDX
RVI Brake 2, Minder TM-66 TPMS, 970 watts of solar
(Can't wait to spend more time RVing)
Lakeside, California

kdbgoat

  • ---
  • Posts: 3952
Re: Cutting the cord and going solar
« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2016, 02:41:05 PM »
I would also recommend you do an internet search on "Jack Mayer" and "Handy Bob". Between the two of them, you will get a good education on RV electrical systems and solar power.
I know you believe you understand what you think I said,
But I am not sure you realize what you heard is not what I meant


2016 Leprechaun 319DS

 

Hosted by Over The Network