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Author Topic: Solar Power  (Read 10026 times)

Mopar1973Man

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Solar Power
« on: July 04, 2015, 12:37:33 PM »
Let see some solar power systems and write ups.

Here is what I've got going.
http://articles.mopar1973man.com/members-rides/17-mopar1973man/479-rv-solar-power

Attachment are from my last trip boondocking from St. Maries Idaho back home...

« Last Edit: July 04, 2015, 12:39:09 PM by Mopar1973Man »
Mopar1973Man (AKA: Michael Nelson) located out in the state of Idaho with...
2002 Dodge Ram 2500 5.9L Cummins Turbo Diesel
2000 Jayco Eagle FBS 296
2013 BigTex 70TV Utility Trailer

Kevin Means

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2015, 01:43:12 PM »
Hey Mike... on the first picture your solar panel is in the shade!! what's up with that! I thought the benefit of portable solar was to keep them in the sun.  ;D

Here's a before and after picture of our setup - six 160 watt Grape panels on the roof. They don't tilt, which is something I'm working on. We just acquired Patent Pending status on a device to remotely/electrically tilt them. Tilting them toward the sun - especially in the winter time - will yield nearly 30% more power. We love our solar!

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

Mopar1973Man

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2015, 03:45:30 PM »
Kevin your no better parking the RV in the shade with the panel mounted to the roof. (LOL!) Actually there was a bit of sun poking out on the panels in that picture just not optimal. As for my power needs its really basic. charge the house batteries and charge a laptop battery. I don't really require TV being we don't have TV at home but once in awhile its nice to pull a movie out of the DVD pile and kill some time. So I need lights, water pump, and maybe some heat in the fall of the year.

I'm really curious of how good your work. I've got a local get with a 26 foot RV with roof mounted solar and his don't work good at all. Being the RV is typically park under a tree in the forest. Boondocking style. That why I went for the stand alone idea. Not to mention the snow factor it would increase snow removal issue.

Personal note: I'm a vehicle mechanic, computer technician, server administrator, Captain of a Fire Station and Search & Rescue. So the RV is the way to escape the daily work load. Boondocking is optimal because there is no internet, no cell service, no TV (over the air), etc. We are on our own. I love it that way no one for miles around. So power requirements are very basic. Also the RV is used mostly weekend warrior style.
Mopar1973Man (AKA: Michael Nelson) located out in the state of Idaho with...
2002 Dodge Ram 2500 5.9L Cummins Turbo Diesel
2000 Jayco Eagle FBS 296
2013 BigTex 70TV Utility Trailer

Gizmo

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2015, 03:47:35 PM »
Looking good Kevin and Mopar1973Man
Regards, Bruce, Lin An, Kenji & Suki
2017 Eagle Cap 1165 Truck Camper With Tork Lift Fast Gun Tie Downs & T.L. Wobble Stoppers
2015 Ram Big Horn 3500 CC Cummins TD Dually 3:73 Gears & AISIN Tranny
Gone But not forgotten:
2014 Northwoods Snow River 246RKS &
2013 Aliner Expedition

Gizmo

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Regards, Bruce, Lin An, Kenji & Suki
2017 Eagle Cap 1165 Truck Camper With Tork Lift Fast Gun Tie Downs & T.L. Wobble Stoppers
2015 Ram Big Horn 3500 CC Cummins TD Dually 3:73 Gears & AISIN Tranny
Gone But not forgotten:
2014 Northwoods Snow River 246RKS &
2013 Aliner Expedition

Kevin Means

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2015, 09:54:47 PM »
Mike, Our panels work great. Of course we lose a bit of charging power when they become shaded, but that's life. We've got an Outback Flex-Max FM-80 MPPT charge controller that's programmed for AGM batteries, and it does a pretty good job of wringing all the power available from the panels. In the summer, the Outback puts 45 to 50 amps per hour into the batteries, and in the winter, we're seeing about 35 amps per hour. Tilting the panels would yield significantly more power.

Bruce, don't you just love your Trimetric battery monitor. In my opinion, a quality monitor like that should be one of the first things a boondocker installs. Takes all the guesswork out of knowing your battery-bank's status.

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

Gizmo

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2015, 08:58:46 AM »
Yes Kevin I do love it, operating a system without one is like driving a car without a fuel gauge IMHO and the Trimetric is a very good monitor.  I installed it prior to the solar install to gather information on our usage.
Regards, Bruce, Lin An, Kenji & Suki
2017 Eagle Cap 1165 Truck Camper With Tork Lift Fast Gun Tie Downs & T.L. Wobble Stoppers
2015 Ram Big Horn 3500 CC Cummins TD Dually 3:73 Gears & AISIN Tranny
Gone But not forgotten:
2014 Northwoods Snow River 246RKS &
2013 Aliner Expedition

denmarc

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2015, 09:24:20 AM »
If I may throw another log on the fire...

I'm with Mike. We get out of the rat race when we can. We have the convenience of our own sanctuary in the woods to get our heads screwed on straight again. Being in the woods, solar is not an option without clearing a bunch of oaks, pines, and maples. Not going to happen.
Mopar travels and chooses to bring solitude along with him. Where ever he goes. We chose to buy a bunch of land to surround ourselves with it naturally.

I wish I could have a solar setup like those pic'ed before me.
If my batteries get low, and I don't feel like firing up the genny, I use campfire light to not trip over anything. Or grab a flashlight to make my way to bed. All is quiet. No expense or complication invested.

I love the good old days.
Mark

1994 Jayco Eagle 370FB on 24 acres of paid off paradise in Michigan.

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
Dr. Seuss

Mopar1973Man

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2015, 08:34:09 PM »
I've tried the whole RV parks and campground ideas. I really can't deal with RV parks. Like I tell most I live with over 400 foot gap on both sides of me why would I go to a RV park and have less than 10 foot between my neighbors? The other thing is RV parks and campgrounds are getting expensive in places. Your basically renting a chunk of dirt for the price of a cheap motel now. Why? I've got everything I need in a RV. So hence the boondocking. I've also go gasoline power genny but I really hate to listen to that thing run at 50% load just charging the batteries.

More on charging batteries...
http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/charging_the_lead_acid_battery

So are you going to run a genny for extended period of time to enable the proper bulking time which might be hours. Or would you just place your solar panels out in the sun even if you used a extension cord. Then you can bulk all day long and have power at night. That's another thing I want to do is modify my current panel setup to use a outlet or the current plug and build a extension cord to give me more length to my panels so I can tuck deeper into the trees and still be able to place my panels in the sun.
Mopar1973Man (AKA: Michael Nelson) located out in the state of Idaho with...
2002 Dodge Ram 2500 5.9L Cummins Turbo Diesel
2000 Jayco Eagle FBS 296
2013 BigTex 70TV Utility Trailer

JiminDenver

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #9 on: July 07, 2015, 09:26:36 AM »
Mike

I'm with you on the campground thing. We wanted all of the modern niceties after roughing it while camping for decades but one trip crammed into a spot where you could hear the people softly talking around their camp fire a few spots away and we headed back to the hills.

I'm hoping to get my system installed this summer if the weather ever clears. we have had one week between the spring storms and the summer monsoon season so it will be a bit here and there. Right now I am witing for the lugs for the 1/0 wire I have.

We have three 250w GT panels ran by a Morningstar TS-MPPT-60. Even though it isn't mounted we can still use all or part if the weather clears. I did run a test of the system and the 5000 BTU air conditioner on one of the hottest days so far. The system ran it directly from 11 am to 3 pm with no drop in voltage on the battery. It will also power a hot plate using 470w, a 400 watt heater or adds a big assist in running the larger items like the microwave.

Here is the driveway test of the air conditioner. The panels are flat as they will be mounted. They pushed 45a all day but they are in series, parallel will push more and keep the controller cooler. Tracking the system would be good for over 55a.


Mopar1973Man

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #10 on: July 07, 2015, 09:12:08 PM »
Wow! That's more power than I've got here at home.  :o (8 x 50 = 400w of solar panels) May I ask what those 3 panels ran you in price?
Mopar1973Man (AKA: Michael Nelson) located out in the state of Idaho with...
2002 Dodge Ram 2500 5.9L Cummins Turbo Diesel
2000 Jayco Eagle FBS 296
2013 BigTex 70TV Utility Trailer

JiminDenver

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #11 on: July 08, 2015, 09:13:21 AM »
I picked them up for $525 here locally, new and with a warranty. One of the owners of Navajo Solar lives south of me and orders extra panels to sell off with every big project they get. I could have had 280w for a little more or picked up 300w white sheet panels for around the same.

Tom_M

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #12 on: July 08, 2015, 06:02:04 PM »
I have my panels mounted on the side of my coach. If I am parked in the shade they can be lifted off and set out in the sun.

Here's a link to my install:
http://www.rv.net/forum/index.cfm/fuseaction/thread/tid/26852212/gotomsg/26852711.cfm#26852711

Since that post I have upgraded the 125 watt panel to a 180 watt.
 
Link to a list of some other installations:
http://www.rv.net/forum/index.cfm/fuseaction/thread/tid/28427857.cfm
Tom
2005 Born Free 24 Rear Bath
Towing 2013 Smart Car

Mopar1973Man

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2015, 07:30:29 AM »
Now that's a smart idea...
Mopar1973Man (AKA: Michael Nelson) located out in the state of Idaho with...
2002 Dodge Ram 2500 5.9L Cummins Turbo Diesel
2000 Jayco Eagle FBS 296
2013 BigTex 70TV Utility Trailer

Kevin Means

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #14 on: July 09, 2015, 10:54:11 AM »
Interesting...
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

JiminDenver

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #15 on: July 09, 2015, 10:35:07 PM »
Tom

I love your panels. Have you worked out doing it with the flexible panels yet?

Tom_M

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #16 on: July 10, 2015, 02:40:23 PM »
The 180 watt panel is a flexible panel that I mounted in a frame. I purchased the flexible panel because of its light weight. The 125 watt panel was a bit heavy. The 180 watt with frame weighs 12 lbs.
I bought the panel here: http://store.evtv.me/proddetail.php?prod=180wsolarpanel.

When I bought the panel it was 12 volt. The panel is now sold as 24 volt.
Tom
2005 Born Free 24 Rear Bath
Towing 2013 Smart Car

Kevin Means

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #17 on: July 11, 2015, 04:25:35 PM »
Jim,

Wow! Those are some big panels! Impressive that they'd be able to power an A/C unit. I just noticed that you also mentioned solar tracking. Are you considering that?

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

Trivet

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #18 on: July 11, 2015, 10:01:34 PM »
Let see some solar power systems and write ups.

Here is what I've got going.
http://articles.mopar1973man.com/members-rides/17-mopar1973man/479-rv-solar-power

This website won't allow me to view it unless I disable my ad blocker.  It says:

"Due to large number of people using ad block like programs we require that they be disabled so that Mopar1973Man.Com can generate income."

JiminDenver

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #19 on: July 12, 2015, 10:37:07 AM »
Kev

I went with 750w to get away from tracking or even tilting. The last two systems were 230w and 490w on the ground and tracking. Full power all day is addictive but such the hassle. Maybe not so much when we set up for a week or two but lots when we hit the road. I have thought about using a pole mount on the tongue with a pair of panels tracking but it's just easier to mount on the roof.

Willie1971

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #20 on: July 17, 2015, 11:17:02 PM »
Mike

I'm with you on the campground thing. We wanted all of the modern niceties after roughing it while camping for decades but one trip crammed into a spot where you could hear the people softly talking around their camp fire a few spots away and we headed back to the hills.

I'm hoping to get my system installed this summer if the weather ever clears. we have had one week between the spring storms and the summer monsoon season so it will be a bit here and there. Right now I am witing for the lugs for the 1/0 wire I have.

We have three 250w GT panels ran by a Morningstar TS-MPPT-60. Even though it isn't mounted we can still use all or part if the weather clears. I did run a test of the system and the 5000 BTU air conditioner on one of the hottest days so far. The system ran it directly from 11 am to 3 pm with no drop in voltage on the battery. It will also power a hot plate using 470w, a 400 watt heater or adds a big assist in running the larger items like the microwave.

Here is the driveway test of the air conditioner. The panels are flat as they will be mounted. They pushed 45a all day but they are in series, parallel will push more and keep the controller cooler. Tracking the system would be good for over 55a.

Hi

My goal would be to have enough panels to run a single roof AC.  My single AC system pulls about 1600 watts.  Rough math tells me I need 130 amps if not more from my solar array. 

Thats like a 2400 watt system.  I am running almost a 600 watt system and my meter shows me about 35 amps max into my battery bank.

Maybe I am reading it wrong but are you really running an ac unit off pure solar?  My units are from 2001.  I have no idea if new ac units pull less power.

Thx for your time.

legrandnormand

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #21 on: July 18, 2015, 06:10:22 AM »
This website won't allow me to view it unless I disable my ad blocker.  It says:

"Due to large number of people using ad block like programs we require that they be disabled so that Mopar1973Man.Com can generate income."

It depends on your Internet Explorer and not the website !
Get Mozilla Firefox, much quicker then MS Explorer ! ;)
Normand
Trois-Rivieres, QC, Canada
2010 Gulfstream Independance, model 8367
2009 Smart Cabriolet

JiminDenver

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #22 on: July 18, 2015, 11:42:25 AM »
Hi

My goal would be to have enough panels to run a single roof AC.  My single AC system pulls about 1600 watts.  Rough math tells me I need 130 amps if not more from my solar array. 

Thats like a 2400 watt system.  I am running almost a 600 watt system and my meter shows me about 35 amps max into my battery bank.

Maybe I am reading it wrong but are you really running an ac unit off pure solar?  My units are from 2001.  I have no idea if new ac units pull less power.

Thx for your time.

I am running a tiny A/C straight off of the solar but to go any larger it would make sense to switch to a mini split system as they are so much more efficient. I've seen 9000 BTU mini splits that used 677w and that was with a SEER rating of 15. I'm told you can get them with SEER ratings of 30 so you could replace the cooling ability of your roof air for a lot less power. Considering the roof airs are designed for use with hook ups and profit margins, they are not very efficient at all.

So either invest in a huge system and bank to match or the air conditioner that will be usable with a smaller system and bank.

Trivet

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #23 on: July 18, 2015, 03:29:15 PM »
It depends on your Internet Explorer and not the website !
Get Mozilla Firefox, much quicker then MS Explorer ! ;)
I do have Firefox. 

The issue is that the website won't allow people who use ad blockers to view it because, as the pop-up window I got from the website says, it won't make any money from those views.  Which makes me wonder if this thread was started in the first place to drive clicks there.

Personally, I equate ad blockers with fast-forwarding through TV commercials.

Ned

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #24 on: July 18, 2015, 04:29:13 PM »
Ads on web sites are what allow us to have so much good information available to us at no cost to ourselves.  Your accusation that Michael is using this topic to drive traffic to his web site and get clicks on ads is completely unfounded and uncalled for.  If he had a Pay button instead of the ads, would that be more satisfactory to you? 
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
1997 Holiday Rambler Endeavor LE
2007 GMC Canyon

Willie1971

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #25 on: July 18, 2015, 06:23:45 PM »
Got it now thx.

I missed the part about a smaller AC than the roof mount,

Thx


Shadow Catcher

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #26 on: July 18, 2015, 09:49:17 PM »
We have a large teardrop trailer, I know kind of an oxymoron, with a 185 W high voltage panel intended for a grid tie system that is tied into a Moringstar MPPT controller which feeds a 150AH Lifeline . Typically I see 30+V even when shaded. We spent eight days on the north shore of Lake Superior in a site with maybe one hour a day with full sun on the panel. At the end of the eight days we were are 64% SOC.
The tear has all LED lights and a 300W Morningstar SureSine inverter which powers the TV/DVD chargers for camera and laptop battery. Six gallon water heater is DSI.

Trivet

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #27 on: July 23, 2015, 09:57:02 AM »
Ads on web sites are what allow us to have so much good information available to us at no cost to ourselves.  Your accusation that Michael is using this topic to drive traffic to his web site and get clicks on ads is completely unfounded and uncalled for.  If he had a Pay button instead of the ads, would that be more satisfactory to you?
I didn't accuse Michael of starting this topic to drive traffic to his revenue-generating website; I just reported that I wondered if that's what was going on.  Because I see a post that says, "Hey, come look at this" and find out that I can't look at it unless I change my viewing preference to allow him to earn income.  And it's not like there's a dearth of threads on solar setups.

I don't have an objection to the existence of ads on websites, although I choose not to have them on my own website and instead just absorb the cost myself.  But to say that there is "no cost to ourselves" isn't really seeing the whole picture.  For one, I feel that having to look at ads is a cost to myself (which is why I use an ad blocker), but for another, especially on this forum, there's a huge cost to ourselves in the time and effort we put into writing posts that help other people out.  If thousands of people didn't volunteer their time, forums like this wouldn't exist.

I make the choice to give in that context, as well as with my own website.  I understand that others don't, and that's why paywalls and ads exist.  But I try to be alert to click bait.


jmhafner

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #28 on: July 30, 2015, 11:35:12 AM »
We're looking to buy a solar power kit - do any of you know if the quality of the online products (e.g. Grape Solar) is about the same as the ones you find at the dealers (e.g. Go Power or Zamp)?  Looks like online they offer the same warranty?  If we can do it ourselves, we'd go that route, just wondering if there's other factors aside from price we're not considering...  Thanks

Gizmo

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #29 on: July 30, 2015, 11:50:46 AM »
Personally, I am not a big fan of kits as they lock you into components of their choosing and of course their brand.  A better system will be had by going a  la cart.
Regards, Bruce, Lin An, Kenji & Suki
2017 Eagle Cap 1165 Truck Camper With Tork Lift Fast Gun Tie Downs & T.L. Wobble Stoppers
2015 Ram Big Horn 3500 CC Cummins TD Dually 3:73 Gears & AISIN Tranny
Gone But not forgotten:
2014 Northwoods Snow River 246RKS &
2013 Aliner Expedition

 

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