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Author Topic: supermanotorious is FINALLY going solar!  (Read 4858 times)

Frank B

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Re: supermanotorious is FINALLY going solar!
« Reply #30 on: August 31, 2017, 07:59:24 PM »
Quote
then we were hit with intense rain and hail and I was kind of glad the panels weren't exposed to that

The resiliency of solar panels may surprise you.

I have just completed a large solar installation on our 2010 Arctic Fox 30U.  It rained shortly afterward, and we got  3/4" hail with it - loud enough to wake us up in the house.  Solar panels were all fine.

Frank.
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06 GMC 3500 Duramax crew/long pulling 2010 Arctic Fox 30U with 1700 lb Reese Titan Class 5.
1.2 kw solar

Kevin Means

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Re: supermanotorious is FINALLY going solar!
« Reply #31 on: September 02, 2017, 01:28:33 PM »
What Frank said. There are international standards for solar panel construction, and hail impact resistance is one of them. Hail that's hitting hard enough to shatter a car's windshield, will usually have no affect at all on solar panels. Ours have been through a couple of hail storms, and suffered no damage whatsoever. They're tough!

Kev
2011 Winnebago Tour 42QD
Towing a Jeep Rubicon Unlimited LJ
RVI Brake 2, Minder TM-66 TPMS, 960 watts of solar
(Can't wait to spend more time RVing)
Lakeside, California

Frank B

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Re: supermanotorious is FINALLY going solar!
« Reply #32 on: September 02, 2017, 03:30:16 PM »

Quote


Hail that's hitting hard enough to shatter a car's windshield, will usually have no affect at all on solar panels.


That is good to know. We get a lot of hail here, though seldom of windshield breaking size.


Frank.
Linux:  Free, open, elegant.
06 GMC 3500 Duramax crew/long pulling 2010 Arctic Fox 30U with 1700 lb Reese Titan Class 5.
1.2 kw solar

supermanotorious

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Re: supermanotorious is FINALLY going solar!
« Reply #33 on: September 07, 2017, 04:01:54 PM »
I'm not concerned about weather anymore, I still haven't installed the doggone things and every trip involves putting them on the roof, connecting them, then bringing them back down, total PITA, for now she's on the driveway with all 4 panels resting on the roof, I am leaving the inverter on and it is powering a charger for my boat batteries, I am going to monitor for a couple days then may wire them to 24V to see if the controller converts the higher voltage to additional amps
Home is New River, AZ
2008 Skyline Freestyle M-240 Way-Lite
2003 Harley Davidson Dyna FXDX
2003 Chevrolet Avalanche 2500 4x4
1994 Four Winns Freedom
various quads, off-road gokarts, mini bikes
Phoenix Winch wakeboard winches

supermanotorious

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Re: supermanotorious is FINALLY going solar!
« Reply #34 on: November 03, 2017, 06:30:29 PM »
finally made brackets and installed the panels, I sure hope the brackets were worth the pita, my plan is to someday replace the hardware with knob bolts so I can tilt the panels

I decided to run series/parallel for higher output voltage since the 8ga run from the panels to the charge controller is about 25 feet

used 3/4" long 14ga stainless screws to attach the brackets to the roof and sealed the footings with Dicor, ran the wires down the refrigerator vent, one reason I drug my feet on this was not realizing the refrigerator vent is basically just an open channel from the roof to the service panel for the refrigerator, I had the wires then follow the refig drain hose to the bottom of the coach then ran them along the frame to the controller
Home is New River, AZ
2008 Skyline Freestyle M-240 Way-Lite
2003 Harley Davidson Dyna FXDX
2003 Chevrolet Avalanche 2500 4x4
1994 Four Winns Freedom
various quads, off-road gokarts, mini bikes
Phoenix Winch wakeboard winches

Frank B

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Re: supermanotorious is FINALLY going solar!
« Reply #35 on: November 03, 2017, 10:14:48 PM »
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one reason I drug my feet on this was not realizing the refrigerator vent is basically just an open channel from the roof


Indeed, that is one of the great advantages of using that area for running wires. There's lots of room, and it is super easy to pull them through there.


Frank.
Linux:  Free, open, elegant.
06 GMC 3500 Duramax crew/long pulling 2010 Arctic Fox 30U with 1700 lb Reese Titan Class 5.
1.2 kw solar

supermanotorious

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Re: supermanotorious is FINALLY going solar!
« Reply #36 on: November 06, 2017, 06:24:58 AM »
towed the rig to Winkelman Flats for the annual Riot on the River motorcycle event, the panels didn't blow off or come loose (phew). and of course Saturday was mostly overcast but I never saw the battery bank go below 90% and it was fully charged when I parked it on the driveway yesterday
Home is New River, AZ
2008 Skyline Freestyle M-240 Way-Lite
2003 Harley Davidson Dyna FXDX
2003 Chevrolet Avalanche 2500 4x4
1994 Four Winns Freedom
various quads, off-road gokarts, mini bikes
Phoenix Winch wakeboard winches

supermanotorious

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Re: supermanotorious is FINALLY going solar!
« Reply #37 on: November 07, 2017, 06:44:25 AM »
I'm not sure how to configure the Victron BMV-700. My batteries are Interstate RC105     Ah: 20 hr @ 210 and I have 4 of them wired in series/parallel, what do I enter for total/desired amp hour?

System Voltage: 6V + 6V = 12V
System Capacity = 210AH + 210AH = 420AH  ?

ALSO, given these batteries, can anyone provide the values I should enter for Charged Voltage, Tail Current, Charged Detection Time, and Charge Efficiency Factor?
Home is New River, AZ
2008 Skyline Freestyle M-240 Way-Lite
2003 Harley Davidson Dyna FXDX
2003 Chevrolet Avalanche 2500 4x4
1994 Four Winns Freedom
various quads, off-road gokarts, mini bikes
Phoenix Winch wakeboard winches

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: supermanotorious is FINALLY going solar!
« Reply #38 on: November 07, 2017, 10:20:07 AM »
The combined AH for your battery bank is the 420 @ 12v. Once wired up, you have one big 12v battery, not 4 separate ones, and that's what the Victron sees.

For the other parameters, I'd go with the defaults until some experience is gained. The actual performance of your batteries and charger might eventually lead to some tuning changes, but changing them now seems premature to me. I would be tempted to move the Charged Voltage up a bit, but would want to see how it performs first. Most modern chargers get to about 13.6v at float charge, and the manual suggests setting the level 0.2v-0.3v below that.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2017, 10:29:35 AM by Gary RV_Wizard »
Gary
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Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

Frank B

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Re: supermanotorious is FINALLY going solar!
« Reply #39 on: November 08, 2017, 03:07:10 PM »
Quote
Saturday was mostly overcast but I never saw the battery bank go below 90% and it was fully charged when I parked it on the driveway yesterday

I am looking forward to trying our new array in Arizona and SoCal, hopefully in a few weeks time.  We had it out once in August here locally, but parked in a shady campground.  Once I moved the trailer to a sunnier spot, we were fine.

Frank.
Linux:  Free, open, elegant.
06 GMC 3500 Duramax crew/long pulling 2010 Arctic Fox 30U with 1700 lb Reese Titan Class 5.
1.2 kw solar

Kevin Means

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Re: supermanotorious is FINALLY going solar!
« Reply #40 on: November 08, 2017, 05:08:54 PM »
Frank, a handful of us are getting together at KOFA starting January 9th. Can you make it?

Kev
2011 Winnebago Tour 42QD
Towing a Jeep Rubicon Unlimited LJ
RVI Brake 2, Minder TM-66 TPMS, 960 watts of solar
(Can't wait to spend more time RVing)
Lakeside, California

Frank B

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Re: supermanotorious is FINALLY going solar!
« Reply #41 on: November 08, 2017, 06:19:47 PM »
Kevin:

It is possible....

Frank.
Linux:  Free, open, elegant.
06 GMC 3500 Duramax crew/long pulling 2010 Arctic Fox 30U with 1700 lb Reese Titan Class 5.
1.2 kw solar

supermanotorious

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Re: supermanotorious is FINALLY going solar!
« Reply #42 on: November 08, 2017, 08:42:56 PM »
by the way, I did not have to cut the "mesh" on top of the refer vent, I have many years of professional installation, after drilling the holes for the grommets, I used a steel fish tape to run down the vent as I looked through the mesh, super clean install, I'm having some PC issues now so I'm not able to upload pictures but I will when I can
Home is New River, AZ
2008 Skyline Freestyle M-240 Way-Lite
2003 Harley Davidson Dyna FXDX
2003 Chevrolet Avalanche 2500 4x4
1994 Four Winns Freedom
various quads, off-road gokarts, mini bikes
Phoenix Winch wakeboard winches

Frank B

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Re: supermanotorious is FINALLY going solar!
« Reply #43 on: November 17, 2017, 08:06:11 PM »
The only reason that I had to cut the mesh open on the top was because I had to run the wire down the far side of the fridge cavity from where the placement of the conduit obliged me to make the entry hole. I then wanted to staple that wire in place, and I couldn't reach up high enough in the cavity from outside to nail the wire staples in place. That pretty much had to be done from above.


Do send us pictures of your installation when you have a moment.


Frank.
Linux:  Free, open, elegant.
06 GMC 3500 Duramax crew/long pulling 2010 Arctic Fox 30U with 1700 lb Reese Titan Class 5.
1.2 kw solar

supermanotorious

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Re: supermanotorious is FINALLY going solar!
« Reply #44 on: November 18, 2017, 10:47:18 AM »
the picture issue is two fold, for starters I have a new hard drive in my PC that is for applications only and I haven't figured out how to route imported pictures to the original drive without duplicating pics already on there, the second issue is the compression requirements for this forum, I HATE THEM, especially with the new 3MP+ size iPhone photos
Home is New River, AZ
2008 Skyline Freestyle M-240 Way-Lite
2003 Harley Davidson Dyna FXDX
2003 Chevrolet Avalanche 2500 4x4
1994 Four Winns Freedom
various quads, off-road gokarts, mini bikes
Phoenix Winch wakeboard winches

Frank B

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Re: supermanotorious is FINALLY going solar!
« Reply #45 on: November 18, 2017, 11:14:35 AM »
Quote
I have a new hard drive in my PC that is for applications only and I haven't figured out how to route imported pictures to the original drive without duplicating pics already on there.

One can do that in Linux with a symbolic link.  I think the same can be done in Windows, but I don't know how anymore.  Been years since I used it.  I did find a few articles by doing a Google of "windows symlink".  One of them is this article:

https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/aa365680(v=vs.85).aspx

Quote
second issue is the compression requirements for this forum,

There are some free utilities that will do a file compression easily.  I suspect that Irfanview will, but again, it is years since I used Windows and Windows utilities last.  AFAIK, Irfanview is still freeware.

I know that I too hate to take additional steps to post pictures here because of size limitations, but the forum also has limited disk space, and bitmap graphic files are BIG.

Frank.
Linux:  Free, open, elegant.
06 GMC 3500 Duramax crew/long pulling 2010 Arctic Fox 30U with 1700 lb Reese Titan Class 5.
1.2 kw solar

supermanotorious

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Re: supermanotorious is FINALLY going solar!
« Reply #46 on: November 21, 2017, 07:02:40 AM »
here we go
« Last Edit: November 21, 2017, 07:16:28 AM by supermanotorious »
Home is New River, AZ
2008 Skyline Freestyle M-240 Way-Lite
2003 Harley Davidson Dyna FXDX
2003 Chevrolet Avalanche 2500 4x4
1994 Four Winns Freedom
various quads, off-road gokarts, mini bikes
Phoenix Winch wakeboard winches

QZ

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Re: supermanotorious is FINALLY going solar!
« Reply #47 on: November 21, 2017, 07:38:44 AM »
Nice job. You will love it.

Frank B

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Re: supermanotorious is FINALLY going solar!
« Reply #48 on: December 25, 2017, 06:56:01 AM »
Nice install! Sure beats lugging up there each time you need them.  :-)


The two-piece brackets are so that you can angle them if needed?


We are in Arizona now trying out the solar I installed this past summer.  So far, so good.  Even on partly cloudy days I have the 6 GC-2's fully charged by 1 PM.  I'm still playing with the settings on the charge controller to fine tune things, however.


Frank.
Linux:  Free, open, elegant.
06 GMC 3500 Duramax crew/long pulling 2010 Arctic Fox 30U with 1700 lb Reese Titan Class 5.
1.2 kw solar

Kevin Means

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Re: supermanotorious is FINALLY going solar!
« Reply #49 on: December 25, 2017, 10:19:04 AM »
Everytime I see that "1.2 kw of solar" in your signature line I chuckle a bit Frank.  :D Hope to see you in KOFA soon.

Kev
2011 Winnebago Tour 42QD
Towing a Jeep Rubicon Unlimited LJ
RVI Brake 2, Minder TM-66 TPMS, 960 watts of solar
(Can't wait to spend more time RVing)
Lakeside, California

Frank B

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Re: supermanotorious is FINALLY going solar!
« Reply #50 on: December 25, 2017, 04:20:48 PM »
Kevin:


I'm looking forward to it.


Looks like we may have to make a run back to Las Vegas before we go to KOFA, however.  While I have lots of solar, and 6 gc2 batteries, for some reason we are depleting our battery bank nightly with nothing more than running the furnace and lights.  I'm going to have to break down and install a battery monitor to try to find out what my parasitic loads are. Something is definitely not right here.


Frank
Linux:  Free, open, elegant.
06 GMC 3500 Duramax crew/long pulling 2010 Arctic Fox 30U with 1700 lb Reese Titan Class 5.
1.2 kw solar

Kevin Means

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Re: supermanotorious is FINALLY going solar!
« Reply #51 on: December 25, 2017, 04:38:19 PM »
With as much boondocking as you guys do, I think a battery monitor would be a wise investment. I totally rely on ours. With six GC batteries and 1.2 KW of solar, I'm surprised you're having this problem. I'm wondering if the batteries aren't getting fully charged to begin with. How much furnace time are you seeing in a 24 hour period? Is your fridge set to run off A/C through an inverter (if you have an inverter) or off D/C power? I can't think of what else could draw your batteries down so far, so quickly.

Kev
2011 Winnebago Tour 42QD
Towing a Jeep Rubicon Unlimited LJ
RVI Brake 2, Minder TM-66 TPMS, 960 watts of solar
(Can't wait to spend more time RVing)
Lakeside, California

Frank B

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Re: supermanotorious is FINALLY going solar!
« Reply #52 on: December 25, 2017, 04:49:33 PM »
Kevin:


Yeah, I don't understand it either. The furnace only runs once or twice a night here in Lake Havasu, and it doesn't draw a lot of power. The batteries are new just a few days ago, and I have upped the charge rate to 15 volts before it switches into absorb. We still get a full 2-hour absorb time before it goes into float at that setting even when drawing loads during the day, and the voltmeter is saying that the batteries are charged before 3 p.m. I need to get a hydrometer and find out if my electronics are lying to me.  Interstate recommends something like 15.3 for the absorb voltage, but I was afraid to go that high. The fridge will only take 15.4. :-(


Frank.
Linux:  Free, open, elegant.
06 GMC 3500 Duramax crew/long pulling 2010 Arctic Fox 30U with 1700 lb Reese Titan Class 5.
1.2 kw solar

Frank B

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Re: supermanotorious is FINALLY going solar!
« Reply #53 on: December 25, 2017, 04:58:14 PM »
Kevin:


The fridge is running propane only, and our 2500 watt sunforce inverter is only turned on if we're watching a little bit of TV. I have been real easy on the use of the microwave and the toaster because of the battery drain issue.  To kill off that much power over night, I would have to have at least a 10 amp steady draw. I have no idea where that might be coming from.  I even checked the DC 12 volt tank heaters to make sure they were turned off.


Yes, I guess I need to get a battery monitor and find out for sure what my drain is. I may even have some bad batteries from Costco.


Frank.
Linux:  Free, open, elegant.
06 GMC 3500 Duramax crew/long pulling 2010 Arctic Fox 30U with 1700 lb Reese Titan Class 5.
1.2 kw solar

QZ

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Re: supermanotorious is FINALLY going solar!
« Reply #54 on: December 26, 2017, 08:42:57 AM »
Frank
I sometimes use a fuse buddy. The model I have only does 10 amps max but  they sell larger models. It can replace one fuse at a time to see individual circuit draws or if I'm pretty sure the draw is under 10 amps I will use jumpers to  put it in line to check system draw. It's also handy for doing solar panel amp tests. I do have a Trimetric but fuse buddy is cheap and handy, not that you cant use some multimeters too. It's easy to plug in and watch or have DW watch while I'm doing stuff.


One example:
http://www.tooldiscounter.com/ItemDisplay.cfm?lookup=ESP309&source=froogle&kw=ESP309&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI456cuPOn2AIVSmx-Ch28QgIoEAQYASABEgLiWPD_BwE

When I was running four sams GC2 we had a propane frig, led lights, 42" led tv (about 5 hours), 19" led tv (2 hours), ceiling fan, house furnace which ran a good amount and we could easily make it over night. It was common to be down 60 to 80 AH. Now I run a resi and it's common to be down 120 to 160 AH but we also now have six GC2.   
« Last Edit: December 26, 2017, 08:53:03 AM by QZ »

Frank B

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Re: supermanotorious is FINALLY going solar!
« Reply #55 on: December 26, 2017, 10:08:10 AM »
QZ:


>I sometimes use a fuse buddy. <


Now, that little device is brilliant!


As you say, you still have the trimetric battery monitor, and I am going to purchase one tomorrow and install it sometime this week. I understand that it will read current draw down to a tenth of an amp or less, so that may give me similar functionality. All I need to do is unplug a fuse, and see if the current draw goes down, and by how much. I must say though, that I had not thought of pulling a fuse to find out where the current drain is. That little device and your comments gave me that idea.


I'm finding this whole thing rather perplexing. I've been scratching my head trying to figure out where I could be losing 10 amps steadily all day long. It may be as Kevin states further up in this thread that I am just not getting the batteries to a full charge, regardless of what the limited instruments in my trailer are telling me.


In any case, armed with the battery monitor and a hydrometer, I should be able to get this figured out sometime this week.


This all seems to have developed since I installed the solar controller in July. Anyone know how much the solar controller itself draws when it is not charging the batteries?


Frank.

Linux:  Free, open, elegant.
06 GMC 3500 Duramax crew/long pulling 2010 Arctic Fox 30U with 1700 lb Reese Titan Class 5.
1.2 kw solar

QZ

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Re: supermanotorious is FINALLY going solar!
« Reply #56 on: December 26, 2017, 11:11:25 AM »
I wouldn't suspect the solar controller so much. It does happen where people dont  get fully charged when using only solar. My Trimetric along with the Bogart SC2030 is set to return 112% RPC return percent charge. Along with setting the wet cell battery efficiency at about 94%.
I have used my toaster at 90 amp DC draw but not often. I think of GC2 as golf cart only and golf carts dont demand high amps as much as they demand long ru times. If I was going to attempt to pull 125 amps for our Kerig or micro I think I would go to AGM. We use the remote start for the generator/ coffee/micro/toaster etc.  You may need an equalize. After running my four old wets very hard for 29 months they would fall on thier face. I didn't get into equalizing them and checking performance further because I went to a resi and six new GC2. Now  these six 16 month old gc2 have recently dropped considerably one night I did an equalize and they seem to have doe better.

I have hit them with the genny for an hour or less in the evening lately so they wouldn't drop low enough for the inverter fall out. The voltage could be at 12.4 or so but when the tv, satellite, furnace, lights and frig are running I can be pulling 25+ amps. When something kicks on it can dip just enough for the invert sag to drop the satellite and tv. That means a reboot when DW is watching tv. :)

Wets are an excellent value but they do have limitations. I'm probably the guy who only gets the suggested 2 years or so out of them vs 6 or 7 because I cycle them to the limit often. They are always watered and usually not below 12.2 but......   I have also looked at other options but hesitated to go AGM or certainly lith because of at first not knowing if we would like RV'ing or find another second house or cabin etc. If I was full time I would surely have AGM and possibly lith.  Since I'm rambling on I'll add more. I know that the rule of thumb is if you have say 200 AH of wets you can pull half of it. I have seen people say they could and stay above 12.2 and I have seen others say that it would be measured when taking the battery to 10.5. Well, 10.5 is never happening on my system and I find it more realistic to see 12.2 and be down around 120 or 140 ah.


I have been down about 160 or 170 but iirc it may have been around 12.1 or so. I dont see how I could pull 300 ah off this 630 ah bank. I have my Trimetric set to 500AH which makes the relationship between battery % full and the voltage more in line. I have also seen people say that the Trimetric needing to be reset from time to time and they didn't like it because of losing some history or lifetime amp count? Not sure on that as I'm no expert on Trimetric. It works for me to see volts, ah used, solar amps in, various item amp draw. Dont look at history much


Edit: Another example of wet performance is that I have a set of four sams 12 volt that are used lightly and recharged at around 15 to 15.1, I bought them in 2008 and replace as they die. Their ages are 2008, 2012, 2015, 2016. That's excellent for a cheap dual purpose battery but I can see how people might only get 2 years from a GC2 if running it hard.  I pretty much put it in the fuel use category. 29 months for four gc2 was about $12.00 a month
« Last Edit: December 26, 2017, 11:22:51 AM by QZ »

Frank B

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Re: supermanotorious is FINALLY going solar!
« Reply #57 on: December 26, 2017, 11:35:58 AM »
QZ:


I think we are a lot alike in philosophy.  I keep mine above 12.1, and I got 6 years our of the last set -- three years in one trailer, and 3 more in this one.  I replaced them all with Costco Interstate GC-2's last week, but have not seen a real increase in performance.


We did mostly Solar last year in Arizona while boondocking, but that was with the 200 watts of solar we had then.  I had to supplement a lot with the generator, but it seems to me that we got several days of use before we had to resort to that.  Just don't remember for sure.  However, I was just guessing then, and charged according to 'need'.  Probably did not get the batteries fully charged for two or three weeks at a time before we did an overnighter with shore power.


Anyway, thank you for your 'ramblings' as I appreciate your experience with usable power.  I may get a bit of an education (reality check) this year after installing so much solar, and assuming that I would never need to plug in again.


Anyway, I am looking forward to installing the Tri-metric battery monitor.  I found one in stock in Yuma at Starlight Solar.  The fellow close to us here in Lake Havasu does not do over the counter sales.  We are headed toward Quartzsite in a week or so anyway, so I guess I can wait that long.


Frank
Linux:  Free, open, elegant.
06 GMC 3500 Duramax crew/long pulling 2010 Arctic Fox 30U with 1700 lb Reese Titan Class 5.
1.2 kw solar

QZ

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Re: supermanotorious is FINALLY going solar!
« Reply #58 on: December 26, 2017, 11:39:10 AM »
Yep, been to Starlite. Good clean place. There is also Craig at Discount solar in the Q. He has a good deal of stuff in stock.

Frank B

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Re: supermanotorious is FINALLY going solar!
« Reply #59 on: December 26, 2017, 12:10:09 PM »
QZ:


Thanks for the tip on Discount Solar.  They are closed until tomorrow, so I'll call them then and see if they have one for a similar price.  I don't plan on going to Yuma unless I have to.  Quartzsite would be better for me if the price is close.


It is amazing how hard it is to source something that common.  I spent over 2 hours scouring the web yesterday.  Some small places may have stock, but they either don't have a website, or don't list it if they do.  I had to call Starlight to find out if they had one, as a search of their website for anything related to it turned up nothing.  We thought we might have to go back to Las Vegas to get one, but I couldn't confirm anything there either.


Thanks again!


Frank.
Linux:  Free, open, elegant.
06 GMC 3500 Duramax crew/long pulling 2010 Arctic Fox 30U with 1700 lb Reese Titan Class 5.
1.2 kw solar