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Author Topic: Solar Power  (Read 9290 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

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

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

Kevin Means

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #30 on: July 30, 2015, 01:31:10 PM »
I am in total agreement with gizmo. I had a lot of "intellectual" help installing my system, from a guy named Bob Shearer (aka Handy Bob), who helped me pick and choose my components, but I did all the physical work myself. When you determine your specific needs/wants in a solar system, I think you're much more likely to get a system that best suits your needs if you pick and choose the components.

As far as which parts to buy, stay with the brand names and you'll be OK. That may mean that you'll end up paying a bit more, but at least the company will be around if you need support/warranty work. A lot of bargain-basement solar panel companies popped up in recent years, only to go out of business due to cut-throat competition.

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

JiminDenver

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #31 on: August 03, 2015, 10:11:01 PM »
Kits can be ok but by the time you understand enough to know what kit meets your needs, you will want to build something custom because it will meet your needs better.


joelmyer

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #32 on: August 05, 2015, 09:51:52 AM »
My 2 cents worth.

I spent 3 three months in the winter in Key West off the grid.

Last summer I installed solar.
https://plus.google.com/photos/100134941818677618372/albums/6045203904154119489?authkey=CJzQzvLw57a7CQ

Jim in Denver found a local installer selling left over panels for $1/watt.  I got a single 245 watt panel.  Thanks Jim.

Normally I run the generator about 300 hours for the winter.  This past winter I ran it 43 hours.
Joel (W4JNM) and Camille, GA

HueyPilotVN

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #33 on: August 05, 2015, 03:59:25 PM »
I have a couple of questions.  Instead of starting a new thread I figure that someone already responding here may have a good answer.

I have a fairly small freezer in the Stacker, ( chest freezer about 1/2 normal size ).  I use it for freezing extra stuff when I am plugged in to A/C.

It is about 4 feet tall 3 foot wide and about2 foot deep.  A regular house type compressor freezer.

I recently bought the 1,250 watt Invertor that MIke sold here as well as the Solar charge controller that he also listed.

I have two of the blue top Optima batteries installed in the Stacker already.

Here is my plan:

I want to used the batteries and Invertor to keep the freezer working all the time. 

When on the road the charge line may, (not sure of the amp draw of the freezer) keep the freezer cold while going down the road.

I also want to put enough panels on the roof or side of the Stacker to make sure that the batteries keep up as well as keep the batteries charged while boon docking.  Again this is mostly for the invertor to power the freezer but also the 12 volt lighta in the Stacker.

This is not for the Coach at all at this time.

Now the questions.  Does anybody have any idea of how much amp draw a small chest freezer will consume?

Any idea about sizing the wattage of panels to keep the two OPtima deep cycle batteries working?

I think that the 1,250 watt invertor will work fine, any dissent or agreement on this?

I will probably get the panels, wiring, and fuse either in Q or maybe from the solar guy at the Slabs while staying in the Fountain of Youth RV resort near there
in October.

This project is basically to allow us to keep plenty of food frozen after the Costco runs.

Thanks in advance.

If the moderators think that this should be broken off to a new thread than certainly do that.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2015, 04:03:58 PM by HueyPilotVN »
Bill Waugh
40' Country Coach DP
34' Stacker Trailer, Trailer Toad
Jeep Commander
Mustang Bracket Race Car
35 years on the road

vinceherman

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #34 on: August 05, 2015, 04:21:48 PM »
I looked up specs on some new freezers.  An 8cu ft freezer pulls 150 watts.

As for the panel size, I cannot guess there.  It depends on how long the freezer compressor is running.
Vince, Marion(dw), Rachel(mil) and Dublin(pup).
2015 F350 diesel dually
2015 Coachmen Chaparral 390QSMB
Strongsville, Ohio

HueyPilotVN

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #35 on: August 05, 2015, 04:29:33 PM »
Second group of brain teaser questions.

We might need a Rocket Scientist or at least an Electrical Engineer for this one as it is totally different than the last.

Tomorrow I am buying 6 golf cart batteries for the golf cart.  it seems a shame that thiese cannot have a dual use.  Most of the time they are just sitting unless the golf cart is used, ( very rarely and mostly for grandkids or others grandkids).

Now at a minimum I do know that I get 12 volts from the golf cart battery bank for the lights and horn by using the negative post of battery one and the positive post of battery two.

Is there any way to do the same for batteries 3 and 4 and batteries 5 and 6?

Now right away I do realize that there is a voltage difference between negative post 1 and 3, they are not at the same ground level, (one is ground and the other is 12 volts is respect with ground one.  Also the ground at battery 5 is 24 volt with respect to negative post 1.

Now if I rewire them as one big 12 volt bank using normal series/parallel wiring I can certainly do that but it defeats the purpose of dual use without either switches or rewiring every time.

Question for the Electrical Engineer,  Is there a method for isolating the grounds to eliminate the differing voltage levels in the bank?

Idealy I would add a seperate set of cables just like the way the golf cart currently gets its 12 volt supply, but I would do this to three seperate sets of 2 6 volt batteries.  then I would combine these three 12 volt supplies to a common heavy connector, (like the charger plug to the golf cart).  This connector ideally would allow for supplying 12 volts as well as allowing for the charging of the entire battery bank using either solar panels or a 12 volt battery charger.

Hey, I said it was a brain teaser.  If anyone could do it. it must be this group of boondockers.

Again thanks in advance, at least if gets you thinking about it.
Bill Waugh
40' Country Coach DP
34' Stacker Trailer, Trailer Toad
Jeep Commander
Mustang Bracket Race Car
35 years on the road

HueyPilotVN

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #36 on: August 05, 2015, 04:31:55 PM »
Thank you Vince,  That was a key element is what I needed to know.  I cannot get to the freezer right now as I am traveling and the cars are in the stacker

Want to take a shot at the Brain Teaser I just posted?
Bill Waugh
40' Country Coach DP
34' Stacker Trailer, Trailer Toad
Jeep Commander
Mustang Bracket Race Car
35 years on the road

JiminDenver

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #37 on: August 05, 2015, 07:49:40 PM »
That would be 36 volt in series, you could get a 36 volt inverter and use the power. The problem is getting it back up again.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2015, 07:57:42 PM by JiminDenver »

Ned

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #38 on: August 05, 2015, 07:52:18 PM »
If you keep both the positive and negative wires from each set of 2 batteries isolated from the others, you can treat it as 3 separate 12V systems.  Of course, the loads have to be isolated from each other as well.
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
1997 Holiday Rambler Endeavor LE
2007 GMC Canyon

HueyPilotVN

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #39 on: August 05, 2015, 08:36:47 PM »
Jim,

You are correct, However I just bought a 12 volt invertor and the real issue is recharging while either using the 12 volt charge line or solar panels or hopefully both to recharge the 6 batteries on the golf cart.

Ned,

Yes isolation is the key to having a seamless battery bank system that does not require reconfiguration of the wiring from one use, ( 36 volt golf cart), to the other use, ( 12 volt battery bank).

I could however use the first two batteries in just the same manner as the lights and horn do now.  Unless I discharge the entire bank equally by finding an isolation method I will probably cause some issue with unequal discharging of part of the battery bank.  However that might not be such an issue because that is what must happen to some extent  when you use the 12 volt equipment right now
« Last Edit: August 05, 2015, 08:38:42 PM by HueyPilotVN »
Bill Waugh
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sushidog

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #40 on: August 10, 2015, 10:34:02 AM »
Great thread. Thanks for all the great ideas folks!

I will be going FT in about 3 years in a TT and am planning on building a FT boondocking rig. My system will allow complete off-grid power independence. Such a system will be rather complex, heavy and expensive, but doable within my budget (weight and monetary). I will have both a 12v and a 48v battery bank. The 12v side of the house, consisting of 2, CG-2 golf cart type batteries or 2 Rolls S-550s will be used to power my slides, LED lighting, fridge board, water pump, etc. It will be recharged by a single 300-325 watt solar panel. My 48v side will consist of 8-GC-2s (to start) which will power a 48v DC mini-split 12,000 BTU heat pump (which has an EER of 21.42 - drawing only 11.5 amps for cooling) and a 2,000 watt AIMS PS inverter for my A/C needs. They will be recharged by 6, 300-325 watt solar panels. I particularly like the SUN high-efficiency 325 watt modules that Sun Electronics has for only 64 cents/watt for less than pallet quantities. These are light enough (at only 41 lbs each) to be moveable, if necessary. But with 2,100-2,275 watts on the roof, they should produce sufficient power for my needs just leaving them mounted flat.
Here's a couple links so you can see what I have in mind:
http://www.geinnovations.net/HSAC_Productline.html
http://sunelec.com/

I plan on using 2 controllers, a Tristar TS-MPPT-45 for the 48v side, and a Tracer 3215BN MPPT for the 12v system. I will use one monitor for both, the new Pentametric meter from Bogart Eng.

I should be able to construct the total system for around $6,500. ($7,400 with an EU2,000 Honda generator back-up) Though this sounds expensive, if I consider the savings in not just my power bill, but RV park/GC fees it should easily pay for itself very quickly in full-time use. If I estimate the average monthly GC rate of $400 plus a metered electric bill of $100, This $500/month savings would put the payback of only 15 months (less if I qualify for a federal subsidy at the time of purchase). The panels and hardware should last for my lifetime and the batteries should last 3 yrs or more. When my initial batteries finally expire, I'd like to go with some high-tech LiFEPo4 batteries to replace them if they drop sufficiently in price by then. If not, I will use this as an opportunity to upgrade my battery bank to better, more durable FLAs.

Chip   

Artstang

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #41 on: August 10, 2015, 12:06:25 PM »
Hers's my unit I installed a month ago. I don't normally boondock, but you'll never know when you need to. My unit consisted of 2x 100 watts PV, a 30 amp charge controller with a 40 amp resetable breakers wired with 10 ga wire connected to two 12V, 200 min. @ 23 amp Duracell batteries. A 2000 watts inverter with 200 amp ANL fuse is connected to the battery + terminal. For now the panels produces at 10-11.5 amp charge to the batteries on bright sunny days her in NE Florida. A single circuit transfer switch powers the two TV's, DVR, and a coffee maker when used.
Art
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01 Itasca Sunflyer F35U
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hes4all

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #42 on: October 08, 2015, 10:15:11 PM »
My roof
Terry and Janelle
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Lou Schneider

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #43 on: October 08, 2015, 10:56:28 PM »
Second group of brain teaser questions.

We might need a Rocket Scientist or at least an Electrical Engineer for this one as it is totally different than the last.

Tomorrow I am buying 6 golf cart batteries for the golf cart.  it seems a shame that thiese cannot have a dual use.  Most of the time they are just sitting unless the golf cart is used, ( very rarely and mostly for grandkids or others grandkids).

Now at a minimum I do know that I get 12 volts from the golf cart battery bank for the lights and horn by using the negative post of battery one and the positive post of battery two.

Is there any way to do the same for batteries 3 and 4 and batteries 5 and 6?

Now right away I do realize that there is a voltage difference between negative post 1 and 3, they are not at the same ground level, (one is ground and the other is 12 volts is respect with ground one.  Also the ground at battery 5 is 24 volt with respect to negative post 1.

Now if I rewire them as one big 12 volt bank using normal series/parallel wiring I can certainly do that but it defeats the purpose of dual use without either switches or rewiring every time.

Question for the Electrical Engineer,  Is there a method for isolating the grounds to eliminate the differing voltage levels in the bank?

Idealy I would add a seperate set of cables just like the way the golf cart currently gets its 12 volt supply, but I would do this to three seperate sets of 2 6 volt batteries.  then I would combine these three 12 volt supplies to a common heavy connector, (like the charger plug to the golf cart).  This connector ideally would allow for supplying 12 volts as well as allowing for the charging of the entire battery bank using either solar panels or a 12 volt battery charger.

Hey, I said it was a brain teaser.  If anyone could do it. it must be this group of boondockers.

Again thanks in advance, at least if gets you thinking about it.

You can't get full battery capacity at 36 volts and 12 volts simultaneously and if you connect a high current draw like an inverter to just one pair of batteries you'll unbalance the battery pack.  If you discharge two batteries more deeply than the others they won't fully recharge unless you recharge them separately.  If you recharge them as part of the 36 volt pack you'll overcharge the others.  That's called an equalizing charge and the remaining batteries will outgass, boil and use water as they're overcharged.

There are two ways to do what you want.  The first is to get a 36 volt inverter and put it across all 6 batteries.  To charge the batteries from your 12 volt system get a 12 volt to 36 volt boost converter.  Or use a separate 12 volt inverter to run your existing 36 volt charger - true sine wave would work best.

Unfortunately, going the other way - converting from 36 volts to 12 volts at high current is expensive, probably due to much less demand.  Browse the Powerstream pages to see what I mean.

Or you could separate the batteries into three pairs of 12 volts each and put an Anderson Power Pole connector on each pair, then make two sets of terminations to change the configuration.

The first termination would be 3 Power Pole connectors in series to connect to the golf cart and restore the original 36 volt series configuration.

The second would have 3 Power Pole connectors wired in parallel for the inverter, so when the battery connectors are plugged in there, you have 3 pairs of batteries in parallel for 12 volts.

You'd just move the 3 battery connectors from one termination to the other to change from golf cart to inverter use.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2015, 11:49:02 PM by Lou Schneider »

Kevin Means

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #44 on: October 09, 2015, 02:15:58 AM »
Hey Hes4all...

I see a little white space left on your roof. (Oh I forgot... you still have to have room to walk)  :D

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

hes4all

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #45 on: October 09, 2015, 03:00:39 PM »
Hey Hes4all...

I see a little white space left on your roof. (Oh I forgot... you still have to have room to walk)  :D

Kev
You funny guy Kevin.

To be honest the last time I was plugged into shore power other than at my home was about 3 years ago and that was because we wanted a little bigger shower and needed water!

We do so much late season camping is why I went with the 900 watts and I don't have to angle them.
I did just up grade my batteries too, to Lipo's.  All I can is wow!

« Last Edit: October 09, 2015, 07:26:14 PM by hes4all »
Terry and Janelle
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There's Life in the Red (read) Letters, Idaho

eda239

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #46 on: October 17, 2015, 04:49:18 PM »
What are Lipo's ?? Lithiums?  If so I'm interested in hearing more. What little info published says they are lighter, smaller, safer, able to discharge way below 50% without permanent damage, etc etc.   But the only legit DIY info ( and limited info at that ) was on the Technomadia site where he bought bulk, disassembled and re-soldered the appropriate size, amperage/watts etc. Too much room for error doing that and I prefer something a little closer to "plug-n-play" type install. Would love to hear more about these batteries.
 
« Last Edit: October 17, 2015, 04:53:50 PM by eda239 »
Part-timing Ca to Mi in a Winnie-Warrior and playing bass along the way.

Argo

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #47 on: October 20, 2015, 08:28:36 AM »
Have any of you thought of using the Tesla battery pack?  or even investigated it?  They weight 250 lbs and hold quite a bit of energy, enough for a house to run off of.... 

I have two 6v batteries on my new TT and want to hook up a few panels to it.  I have a couple of questions about this.

1)  do charge controllers have multiple ports to plug in multip panels or do you run them in circuit(maybe someone has a good diagram of the wiring for this)

2) when I connect the wiring to the battery I am assuming I put the neg on the end of one battery and the pos on the end of the other battery( I guess the wiring diagram will show that)

3)  has anyone used the Kyocera panels? " KD140SX-UFBS 140W 12V " maybe you guys have a lead on good priced panels that newcomers don't have?  I don't use much power when I am boondocking, I used my truck camper for the past 7 months for boondocking about 5 days a week and really just don't use too much energy but I will now want to run a fridge instead of using block ice.....   

4)  any input on a good control box, not top of the line but a good midline brand?  I hear these are a pretty important part of the system, more so than quality panels.....

Thanks in Advance.

Lou Schneider

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #48 on: October 20, 2015, 01:46:07 PM »
I don't think anyone has used the Tesla Powerwall in an RV - it's liquid cooled, so it has to stay upright and can't be installed on it's back.  At 4 feet tall it's too large to fit in the storage compartments of most RVs.

Worst yet, it's restricted to authorized installers.

I'm anxiously waiting for Musk's Gigafactory to come on line and bring the price of Lithium batteries down to a reasonable level.

Multiple panels are connected in parallel (+ to + and - to -) and then brought down a single pair of wires to the controller.  Make sure the wire is rated to handle the sum of the panel's currents.

In a 12 volt system, 12 volt batteries are connected in parallel so their voltage stays the same.  If you're using 6 volt batteries, you put two in series (+ on one battery to - on the second one) to make 12 volts, then if you have more than 2 batteries you connect the pairs in parallel.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2015, 01:52:27 PM by Lou Schneider »

JiminDenver

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #49 on: October 21, 2015, 01:46:59 AM »
Multiple panels can also be connected in parallel by combining the positive leads into one as well as the negative leads so that you have one positive and one negative going into the controller. A combination of things will decide if parallel or series works best for you.

hes4all

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #50 on: October 21, 2015, 08:49:40 PM »
What are Lipo's ?? Lithiums?  If so I'm interested in hearing more. What little info published says they are lighter, smaller, safer, able to discharge way below 50% without permanent damage, etc etc.   But the only legit DIY info ( and limited info at that ) was on the Technomadia site where he bought bulk, disassembled and re-soldered the appropriate size, amperage/watts etc. Too much room for error doing that and I prefer something a little closer to "plug-n-play" type install. Would love to hear more about these batteries.
 

I meant to say Lithium batteries. I did a 700 amp pack a few months ago.
Terry and Janelle
Jeep Wrangler TJ
2 grand babies who will be Jeepers?
There's Life in the Red (read) Letters, Idaho

eda239

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #51 on: October 26, 2015, 03:20:06 PM »
---->hes4all.  I would be very interested in something like that. Did you have to assemble it? Or were you able to purchase it? If so, could you share where you found the lithiums or point us in the right direction? Thanks.
Part-timing Ca to Mi in a Winnie-Warrior and playing bass along the way.

SilverMachine

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #52 on: August 07, 2016, 01:44:05 PM »
Resurrecting:

Has anyone here thought about or experimented with a 48v system?

 

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