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

Author Topic: Advice On A Solar System On Amazon  (Read 316 times)

IowaNomads

  • ---
  • Posts: 30
  • 34' 1995 Fleetwood Bounder
Advice On A Solar System On Amazon
« on: September 26, 2017, 08:27:33 PM »
I found this on Amazon that produces energy having it's own battery pack  https://www.amazon.com/1500-Watt-1500-watt-Generator-Monocrystalline-Extension/dp/B075VGYF2V/ref=sr_1_15?ie=UTF8&qid=1506458018&sr=8-15&keywords=rv%2Bsuitcase%2Bsolar%2Bpanels&th=1 Has anyone used it and know if it's the real deal? It would meet our budget and needs if it is. I talked with a tech at the seller for several minutes and it sounds like a deal but also sounds too good to be true.
Taking the road less traveled usually means a few bumps along the way, but a lot more freedom and happiness.

Isaac-1

  • ---
  • Posts: 437
Re: Advice On A Solar System On Amazon
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2017, 08:35:39 PM »
Wow a thousand dollars worth of off the shelf component that a DIY'er could buy shoved into a custom box and being sold for $3,000
2002 Safari Trek 2830

Sun2Retire

  • Photo moderator
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 1823
Re: Advice On A Solar System On Amazon
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2017, 10:04:46 PM »
Wow a thousand dollars worth of off the shelf component that a DIY'er could buy shoved into a custom box and being sold for $3,000


I'd have to agree, not a good deal. As a point of reference, for $1000 more I had 850 watts professionally installed on my coach, and a fair bit of that was labor. And I'm sure others have paid less than I did.
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

AStravelers

  • ---
  • Posts: 580
  • Part time travelers, 4-8 months each year.
Re: Advice On A Solar System On Amazon
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2017, 05:17:23 PM »

I'd have to agree, not a good deal. As a point of reference, for $1000 more I had 850 watts professionally installed on my coach, and a fair bit of that was labor. And I'm sure others have paid less than I did.
For your $4000 system, what size Lithium battery did they install? 

The package from Amazon includes a 125AH lithium battery.  The 125AH lithium battery is equivalent to about 350AH of lead acid battery.   

While the Amazon system is not cheap, it is a portable system.  It would be hard to find someone to install a package of this size including a lithium battery for $3000.  There is quite a bit of labor involved in the install. 
Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Sightseer 29R
2009 Chevy Colorado 4X4

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

AStravelers

  • ---
  • Posts: 580
  • Part time travelers, 4-8 months each year.
Re: Advice On A Solar System On Amazon
« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2017, 05:56:12 PM »
I found this on Amazon that produces energy having it's own battery pack  https://www.amazon.com/1500-Watt-1500-watt-Generator-Monocrystalline-Extension/dp/B075VGYF2V/ref=sr_1_15?ie=UTF8&qid=1506458018&sr=8-15&keywords=rv%2Bsuitcase%2Bsolar%2Bpanels&th=1 Has anyone used it and know if it's the real deal? It would meet our budget and needs if it is. I talked with a tech at the seller for several minutes and it sounds like a deal but also sounds too good to be true.
This system is not cheap.  It looks to be designed to replace a 1000watt generator, only you can not run it continuously for hours like a 1000watt Honda generator would. 

One good thing is that, assuming they are accurate in the 1500 watts, this would be equivalent to a 125AH lithium battery, which is about equivalent to a pair of golf cart batteries if you discharge the golf cart batteries to 50%.  Golf cart batteries are under $100 each. 

There are many advantages to lithium batteries over lead acid. I am ignoring those advantages in my statement in the paragraph above.  I do have some experience with lithium.  I installed 400Ah of lithium and 650watts of solar in my RV 2 years ago.     

We could give a more specific reply if you would provide details of your needs and wants in a solar system.  It would also help to know what battery setup your RV has. 

If you are looking to keep your RV house batteries charged I would not recommend this system. 
Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Sightseer 29R
2009 Chevy Colorado 4X4

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

Isaac-1

  • ---
  • Posts: 437
Re: Advice On A Solar System On Amazon
« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2017, 06:09:28 PM »
I agree lithium batteries are nice, but one can buy a 100 AH LiFEPO4 Lithium battery now for under $900, the solar panel would sell for $200 or so  online, $20 for a good quality 30 ft MC4 cables, $30 each for the 2 LED lights, so maybe $1,500 as a DIY project once you add the box ,charge controller, USB charging ports, etc.
2002 Safari Trek 2830

AStravelers

  • ---
  • Posts: 580
  • Part time travelers, 4-8 months each year.
Re: Advice On A Solar System On Amazon
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2017, 06:47:01 PM »
I agree lithium batteries are nice, but one can buy a 100 AH LiFEPO4 Lithium battery now for under $900, the solar panel would sell for $200 or so  online, $20 for a good quality 30 ft MC4 cables, $30 each for the 2 LED lights, so maybe $1,500 as a DIY project once you add the box ,charge controller, USB charging ports, etc.
Agreed, as long as one has the skills and desire to do the work. 

The extra cost is for a portable package.   

One advantage of the system is, you don't need to install an inverter to power your TV, microwave, coffee maker, etc. 

Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Sightseer 29R
2009 Chevy Colorado 4X4

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

Isaac-1

  • ---
  • Posts: 437
Re: Advice On A Solar System On Amazon
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2017, 09:47:41 PM »
Yeah, but it still a lot of money to get 1,500 watt hours of portable power, meaning it has about enough capacity to run a common cube heater for 1 hour before needing to be recharged.  With a 240 watt Solar panel, on a fixed angle mount on a mostly cloud free typical mid-north America day it will take all day to recharge.  The general rule of thumb with a non tracking mount is 6 hours of peak solar output on an average clear day, so 240x6 = 1440 which does not cover charge inefficiency.  In reality it is probably more practical to supply a 50 - 100 watt load 12 - 18 hours per day powering a couple of LED lights, a cell phone charger, and maybe running a notebook computer.  Even then a small Honda Inverter generator will often be cheaper and lot more practical, a 950  watt rated output Honda EU-1000 will run for 7 hours on about half a gallon of gasoline on its low output eco-throttle mode (250 watt output, level with auto throttle up), the Honda weighs less at 29 pounds, and costs less at $700.  You can buy a lot of gasoline for that $2300 price difference, and carry a fair amount around at the 29 pound weight difference.  Also the Honda makes about as much noise as a modern car idling.
2002 Safari Trek 2830

IowaNomads

  • ---
  • Posts: 30
  • 34' 1995 Fleetwood Bounder
Re: Advice On A Solar System On Amazon
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2017, 10:13:51 PM »
I appreciate the replies. We want to be able to dry camp as often as possible to save money as we are on  a limited pension. I have done more research on these and I agree that we'd spend more time charging the battery than using it. We have a motorhome that has a generator. We're now hoping we can find a good deal in Arizona at the RV show in January.
Taking the road less traveled usually means a few bumps along the way, but a lot more freedom and happiness.

Isaac-1

  • ---
  • Posts: 437
Re: Advice On A Solar System On Amazon
« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2017, 11:20:42 PM »
I know a guy that has a side line of doing solar installs on RV's, he certainly seems to know what he is doing from our online message exchanges.  I just sent him a message to see if he will be at Quartsite this year in January (He lives in the mountains in New Mexico, so is from the region).
2002 Safari Trek 2830

QZ

  • ---
  • Posts: 212
Re: Advice On A Solar System On Amazon
« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2017, 11:54:04 PM »
What type of stuff do you want to power? Could you use AGM's  or even gc2 if you dont mind watering now and then? 125 ah even if it's lithium is not much power. I'd get two gp 27 or gp 29 with 200 ah that will still deliver about 100 ah usable for  $200.  $3,000 is a ton of money for not much power. That stuff would be good for overnight maybe, depending on energy use.

You need to start at square one and define what you want to accomplish such as how much dry camping, what type of devices to be powered, any special medical needs, how much television etc.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2017, 12:05:34 AM by QZ »

kdbgoat

  • ---
  • Posts: 3947
Re: Advice On A Solar System On Amazon
« Reply #11 on: September 28, 2017, 06:05:02 AM »
Here's a couple of places to get an education on solar:

http://www.jackdanmayer.com/rv_electrical_and_solar.htm

https://handybobsolar.wordpress.com/

I highly recommend reading and studying both before investing in solar. At least when you go to QZ and talk to the installers there, you will know what you want and need. And also be able to tell when they blow smoke up your butt on wire size, correct battery charging voltages etc.
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

IowaNomads

  • ---
  • Posts: 30
  • 34' 1995 Fleetwood Bounder
Re: Advice On A Solar System On Amazon
« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2017, 09:31:05 AM »
I have been researching this for months. I know what we really need around 800 Watts of panels and batteries but our budget just can't handle that much. Our biggest power consumers will be my cpap, my computer and the microwave. Most of our tv is Netflix or something on Roku. I realize that for air conditioning we'll have to run the generator.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2017, 09:33:16 AM by IowaNomads »
Taking the road less traveled usually means a few bumps along the way, but a lot more freedom and happiness.

QZ

  • ---
  • Posts: 212
Re: Advice On A Solar System On Amazon
« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2017, 10:21:21 AM »
I have been researching this for months. I know what we really need around 800 Watts of panels and batteries but our budget just can't handle that much. Our biggest power consumers will be my cpap, my computer and the microwave. Most of our tv is Netflix or something on Roku. I realize that for air conditioning we'll have to run the generator.

If you are trying to keep the costs down I would think that the last thing you want is high dollar batteries. A common first step for dry camping is going with two GC2 golf cart batteries. For those who want to use C machines, television, night time furnace etc will often  use four GC2. If a person is absolutely set against watering that type of battery or have a tight battery compartment they will often go with AGM.  Two GC2 in series gives you 12 volts and about 215 Amp Hours of capacity. With most wet or AGM as a rule of thumb you can use about half the battery capacity. GC2 at a place like Sams club are $87 plus core charge = $100 x four = $400 with 430 amp hours.

Another rule of thumb is 100 to 150 watts of panels per 100 ah of battery so about 600 watts in my opinion. I started out with four GC2, 3000 watt Honda remote start, Trimetric, Progressive Dynamics PD4655 converter putting out 14.4. I also bought a industrial type mobile equipment battery charger 50 amps for $400+. It worked very well for running on a generator only. It was quiet and quick.  I went with Bogarts theory of using a less expensive pwm controller because panel prices were dropping so just add another panel vs buying a more expensive MPPT controller.  Luckily I was able to run a second Bogart solar controller but if I had known that I was going to end up with 1000 watts I would have went with mppt Moringstar.  It's hard to plan and know everything that we may encounter but it still worked out well.

While usig the Trimetic the first year on generator I had a good idea of our power consumption and I then added 520 watts of solar and a Bogart PWM controller and was pretty much charged every day. Poor sun days or rainy stay inside weather demanded some generator time. We have led bulbs, 40" LED TV, 19 LED TV, house furnace, etc.

I then went to a residential frig 10.7 cu ft and six gc2 batts and added another 480 watts for 1000 total. During colder nights and heavier use I pretty much use all 1K when sitting in the desert with panels tilted.

So how much dry camping do you want to do?
Do you usually go to campgrounds? If so people will often up their battery bank, do a little generator charging and then head back to the cord. Those people dont need solar. Some people go to places like the Q to experience it and dont want to invest in solar or upgraded components yet so they do more generator time with a quiet generator.  If you are using you converter I would highly recommend an upgrade to something that does 14.8 volt charging if using wet batteries. If you use AGM they will often recommend 14.4 volts depending on manufacturer.




« Last Edit: September 28, 2017, 10:25:20 AM by QZ »

QZ

  • ---
  • Posts: 212
Re: Advice On A Solar System On Amazon
« Reply #14 on: September 28, 2017, 10:38:29 AM »
As mentioned, people will usually recommend an energy audit which counts how many amp hours you would use. I gave you info up above that works for us but others who adapt a more conservative energy use style can get by on less.  If you are willing to spend 3K and go with more conventional or traditional products you can have a powerful system and plenty of capacity. If you can do it yourself or meet up with me or someone else in here to guide you through it you can have have a fantastic system for less than 3K. We'll be in the Q, Socal, etc and more than happy to meet and bs with you and even help out.  I bought parts at Discount solar in Yuma last year, I have never had work done there but Craig seems like a straight shooter. Others may offer opinions so search Discount reviews. I would go to Discount before the "other" place.

Rough figures
Four Gc2 = $400
Four AGM = $800 to $1000 ?
Grape solar 40 amp controller $60
Bogart 30 amp $145
180 watt panel at Solar blvd Norco Ca $150  Be aware of possible coming tariff increases 4 x $150 = $600 + ship not bad at all
Cable, manual reset breakers, aluminum, strain reliefs etc $400
MPPT controller $350

If you go with an mppt and roof footprint allows you may even use 24 volt panels which are even cheaper.

https://www.solarblvd.com/products/ecosolargy-230-watt-24-volt-solar-panel/ three of those panels shipped from Norco to the Q is $100 So 690 watts $358

I had three 160 watt panels shipped from Norco Ca to the Q for around $40
« Last Edit: September 28, 2017, 10:50:15 AM by QZ »

AStravelers

  • ---
  • Posts: 580
  • Part time travelers, 4-8 months each year.
Re: Advice On A Solar System On Amazon
« Reply #15 on: September 28, 2017, 11:23:20 AM »
I have been researching this for months. I know what we really need around 800 Watts of panels and batteries but our budget just can't handle that much. Our biggest power consumers will be my cpap, my computer and the microwave. Most of our tv is Netflix or something on Roku. I realize that for air conditioning we'll have to run the generator.
Do you have an inverter/charger in your RV now? 
How many house batteries and what size/type do you have in your RV now?

Will you be trying to steam Netflix off of a cell phone jetpack?  Many boondocking places have a weak cell phone signal which makes video streaming unusable.  Also cell phone data packages, even unlimited data, slow down your data when you get over 15-30GB of data which may limit your Netflix. 

About your CPAP.  My wife uses a CPAP every night.  We bought a 12V cigarette lighter type adapter cord for it and I got 12V from the reading light at the head of our bed.  She turns off the humidifier heater and the CPAP only pulls about 0.8-1.0 amps of 12V DC.  If the heater is on it pulls 5-8 amps.  Try turning off the heater in the cpap and see how much current it pulls.  Some CPAP's use 24VDC so you may need a small inverter or a 12V to 24V adapter.  There should be info on the bottom of the CPAP showing the required voltage. 
Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Sightseer 29R
2009 Chevy Colorado 4X4

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

AStravelers

  • ---
  • Posts: 580
  • Part time travelers, 4-8 months each year.
Re: Advice On A Solar System On Amazon
« Reply #16 on: September 28, 2017, 11:53:37 AM »
I appreciate the replies. We want to be able to dry camp as often as possible to save money as we are on  a limited pension. I have done more research on these and I agree that we'd spend more time charging the battery than using it. We have a motorhome that has a generator. We're now hoping we can find a good deal in Arizona at the RV show in January.

Be very cautious about installers working out of a truck.  They may or may not do a "quality" install.  Even though, some people may have good things to say about them, that is not always a good indicator of quality work.  Most people don't know just what they are getting when they buy a solar system.  Much more info in "Handybobsolar" link below as well as Jack Mayer's link below.

You MUST educate yourself about what constitutes a "quality" system. 

I don't know what your background is, but for some excellent educational information about RV electric systems, batteries and solar start here:
http://www.marxrv.com/12volt/12volt.htm
http://www.marxrv.com/12volt/12volta.htm

Once you understand the info in the above two links read and understand the info in these two links (which were given earlier in another reply):

http://www.jackdanmayer.com/rv_electrical_and_solar.htm
https://handybobsolar.wordpress.com/

Once you understand the info in the above links, you will be ready to talk with installers and insist on quality components. 

It is possible to go for weeks at a time w/o running a generator with a properly sized solar system.  Or at the worse you run your generator for an hour, first thing in the morning, to pump in a big part of your charging and then the solar takes over and brings your batteries to 100% or close to that.

Here is a well sized system with high quality components with links to a place to buy them.  This is not the only place to buy the components.  Some are available on Amazon.  Not inexpensive, but designed for long term use. 

--  Two 340 watt solar panels like this for a total of $634:  https://www.solar-electric.com/solarworld-sunmodule-xl-340w-mono-panel.html  Shipping is not cheap, but the last time I checked you can pick the panels up at their warehouse in AZ, NW of Phoenix.   
--  60 amp Morningstar Tristar Solar controller for  $600:  https://www.solar-electric.com/motr60ampmps.html
--  2000 watt pure sine wave (PSW) inverter from Magnum:  $1735:  https://www.solar-electric.com/maenms2020wa.html
--  4, or better yet 6, golf cart batteries from Costco or Sam's Club at about $80 each.   
   Trimetric battery monitor, about $160: https://www.solar-electric.com/bogart-engineering-tm-2030-rv-battery-monitor.html

Total of $3600 for the components above, plus $400-$500 cables circuit breakers, etc.  Adding labor, probably brings this to around $5000.  I'm sure a lot more than you have in mind. 




 
Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Sightseer 29R
2009 Chevy Colorado 4X4

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

AStravelers

  • ---
  • Posts: 580
  • Part time travelers, 4-8 months each year.
Re: Advice On A Solar System On Amazon
« Reply #17 on: September 28, 2017, 12:23:07 PM »
Since you are heading to Arizona this winter, call and talk with Starlight Solar in Yuma, about what they can install for $3000.  http://www.starlightsolar.com/starlight_solar/about-starlight-solar.html  They have a good reputation for quality installs.  Their website seems to be devoted to Lithium, but I think they still do lead acid batteries. 

I bought my Lithium 400AH battery kit from them in Jan 2016 and was very pleased with their service and product. 

Also look at AM Solar out of Oregon another solar installer with excellent reputation:  http://amsolar.com/
Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Sightseer 29R
2009 Chevy Colorado 4X4

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

QZ

  • ---
  • Posts: 212
Re: Advice On A Solar System On Amazon
« Reply #18 on: September 28, 2017, 12:54:08 PM »
x2 on Starlite solar in Yuma
I have bought parts in there when rewiring a friends BlueSky system. They seem like a clean organized place and knowledgeable.

I understand AM solar is a little more pricey but that's how it is when you are top notch.

 

Hosted by Over The Network