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Author Topic: Anyone interested in seeing a 600 watt solar system?  (Read 2319 times)

Willie1971

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Anyone interested in seeing a 600 watt solar system?
« on: July 17, 2015, 09:41:02 PM »
Hi

I installed a 600 watt solar system on my RV in 2011.

Been using it for 4 years now and I would be happy to post some pic's up with some lessons learned.

All in all its been fantastic and saved me a ton of fuel when I don't need to run the AC.

Right now its sized to run the fridge 100% with zero propane usage.
 
Power is stored in 4 6v Trojan batteries wired in series parallel.

I am working it up to 1000 watts.

If anyone is interested I can give you my parts list and some tips.

:)




Mopar1973Man

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Re: Anyone interested in seeing a 600 watt solar system?
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2015, 08:28:02 AM »
Post it up I'm interested in what you got. I'm in the process of considering upgrading my current system .  ;) I'm also running 1200w inverter but only two 12V deep cycle batteries not optimal but working.
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

anniemae

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Re: Anyone interested in seeing a 600 watt solar system?
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2015, 08:51:39 AM »
I want to see what you have also. Picture as well.

Kevin Means

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Re: Anyone interested in seeing a 600 watt solar system?
« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2015, 11:10:17 AM »
We always like seeing what others have done. Go ahead and post some pics for us Willie.

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

Willie1971

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Re: Anyone interested in seeing a 600 watt solar system?
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2015, 11:22:14 PM »
Sure.

I will snap some pics tomorrow.

Just added a 100 watt panel to give the rig 670 watts of solar power.  Below is a picture of my meter pumping 36 amps into the battery banks.  If you don't have solar yet it is hard to explain the great feeling you get capturing energy and making your own power.

The rig was bought to go out into the mountains and ATV and have all the comforts of home.  Only issue is in GA some areas have no hooks ups.  So I had to sit down and totally design/rethink how to conserve what I have or try to make more power without burning up my fuel stores.  When you are miles from a gas station you only have what you bring.  It has to last.

My enclosed 7000 watt Onan burns over a half gallon an hour just to spin.  I spent countless hours while deployed overseas on the internet and came up with a plan I thought would work.

I invested close to $2500 in 3 190 watt panels ( another 100 watt panel came later ) and all the high end gear that I found people recommending on this forum.  The result was just shy of shocking.

I was able to hold about 440 amp hours of power by ditching the old small house battery's and getting a custom battery tray installed that held two more battery's.

This allowed me to draw more power from the inverter to run the microwave for short bursts and I even can plug the shore power cable into the inverter and power the rig from the sun.

( Yes I could get an better inverter and tie it all nicely with a transfer switch but that is not in the budget yet )

Mind you when I turn on the AC I have to run a generator.  It's just too inefficient and power sucking to use solar.

I just finished up a 10 day trip and I boondocked about 90% of it.

I'll go into more specific's tomorrow but here is how it worked out.


At night I ran my sat TV and dish. About 8 amps on the meter.

A few lights here and there for another 5 to 6 amps. ( They are not LED yet - I can improve there but since I had the amps to spare I didn't worry yet )

I ran a small box fan all night long that added another 7 amps.

I cooked, cleaned - ran a laptop and lived my life without worry about power.

When I woke at 8am the lowest I ever saw the meter was 84%

At 9am it was putting 6 amps back in the battery

At 10 am it was pushing 22 amps

At somewhere around 1130 to 12 it was hitting what you see in the picture below.

Around 1pm to 2pm depending on cloud cover the bank was full and everything I did in the RV was free power since I didn't need it to charge anymore. 

My goal in the next few months is to get the rig up to a kilowatt of panels so I can charge faster and in the event of cloud cover get more amps in the battery.

The charge controller is sized for 1100 watts at 12v.  My max charge rate in ideal sun now is only 36amps with the panels I have installed.

Anyhow, for this trip I had great weather so I cranked up the fan to max and generally enjoyed my free power until about 7pm and I saw the meter showing me I was now pulling from the battery's again.

Truth in lending here... I did have the AC going after dusk for sleeping but I bought a Honda 3000 Handi last year and I got 7 hours per tank with one unit one low.

That's about 1.6 gallons for 7 hours.....  I am sure you all know that that number is just fantastic and a true credit to Honda and technology.

Well I think I rambled enough for tonight.  I will shoot some pictures tomorrow and show you all the roof and the battery's.

Mopar1973Man

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Re: Anyone interested in seeing a 600 watt solar system?
« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2015, 12:52:58 PM »
I'm curious of the panel array your using and how you got it set up.
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

Willie1971

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Re: Anyone interested in seeing a 600 watt solar system?
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2015, 12:37:36 PM »
Took a bit longer to post than I thought.  But here is the system.

Battery bank looks a bit unorganized and I have been meaning to tidy up the wires a bit but when I water the batteries I had to cut all my cable ties so I just left them loose.

The roof pic.
~ I have room for 4 more 100 watt panels.  If I could do it again I would have got rails to give it a better look.  The RV is about 5 or 6 years from me re-roofing it and adding 2 new AC units WITH the ability to heat.  I live in the south and heat pumps are big down here.  Might as well lower my propane burn.  When I reroof I will try to be a bit neater.  For my first attempt its been rock solid with no movement on the panels.

The battery Bank
~ wont win any points for neatness but it works.  Since I have to water every 6 months I got tired of cutting the cable ties.  I have to say these batteries are just awesome.  It was around 500 from my local battery plus store.  Shipping will kill you if you don't get them at a store.

Inverter Pic with meter.
~ You have to have a meter.  No if ans or buts there.  About 37 amps was the max I saw going in a few days ago.  I would like to put it on a wall but I ran out of time and there it sits. 

Inverter pic
~ I had a nice 2000 watt inverter but it was not pure sine wave.  This one is only 1000 watts but the power output is perfect.  It uses a fan on the back so I wasn't concerned mounting it under the passenger area.  I would like a commercial unit mounted in a bay so all the outlets in the RV would be live from the battery.  Not in the budget yet but soon.

Charger pic.
Morning Star charger.  I am losing about 5 amps here by not having the MMPT charger.  Mine is the normal one but it was on sale in 2011 and I decided since I have the roof space to just buy an extra panel instead of add 200 bucks for the MMPT one.  If I was short on roof space I would have gotten the better one.

The charger is the key.  My 120v battery charger only charges at 13.6 volts.  The manufacture of my Trojan batteries recommend 14.8.   I have unplugged the house battery charger and don't use it anymore.

Again if you don't have solar I cant tell you how good it feels to run the TV and all the lower power things in the RV without burning a drop of fuel. 

I am going to add a panel a month until I get to 1000 watts. 



« Last Edit: July 26, 2015, 12:39:55 PM by Willie1971 »

Willie1971

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Re: Anyone interested in seeing a 600 watt solar system?
« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2015, 12:42:39 PM »
Detailed parts List  --- Note this is from 2011 and I have added a 100 watt panel from amazon since then for 110 bucks.

From Sun Elec

3 x SV-T-190 LV Solar Panel 190W "C" - Low Voltage    $854.14 Shipped ($591.00 if you pick up at warehouse )

******Tip..... Call them to see best prices.. Nice people but website lags behind current inventroy.*******


From Infinigi.com

1 x Apollo Solar Shunt 500/50 - 500 Amp 50 (Shunt 500-50)    from Infinigi.com   $31.40 Plus Shipping

 
1 x Bogart Engineering TriMetric TM-2025-RV Battery System Monitor (TM-2025RV)  $158.15 Plus shipping


1 x Morningstar TS-60 TriStar 60 Charge Controller   $186.16 Plus shipping


From AM Solar

1 x Roof C-Box  Combiner Box   $60.00 Shipped.

Total Spent $1289.85  plus about 20 to 30 dollars for shipping on smaller parts.

Note---- missing from the total is the wire price and some odds and ends for connectors and the $500.00 for the T-105 batteries.

It was about $2500.00 total after the inverters as well.  But you can start small and work up.  I just chose to get it over with in one big lump.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2015, 12:44:54 PM by Willie1971 »

Artstang

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Re: Anyone interested in seeing a 600 watt solar system?
« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2015, 08:16:59 PM »
I just started my solar installation a month ago. I don't do a lot of bondocking, but my objective is to charge my coach batteries using the sun to power some of my appliances without shore power or generator. So far I only installed 2 x 100 watt panels, although my 30 amp charge controller can accommodate up to 400 watts. The install consists of 2000/4000 watts MSW inverter, and a single circuit transfer switch to power 2 TVs, Satellite receiver, floor fan, and a coffee maker. The 2 x 100 watt solar charged to a max of 12 amp at 13.7 volts. The batteries only lasted 5 hours until they go down to 11 volts using inside coach LED lights, TV with satellite and a 1 hour coffee pot. When the budget permits, I will add two more solar panels in the future. For now this is fine. Total coast for parts is less than $600.
Art
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