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Author Topic: Renogy solar panel system for RV's  (Read 7242 times)

Fiona Rose

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Renogy solar panel system for RV's
« on: March 08, 2016, 02:48:20 PM »
Hi folks, I'm looking into setting up my 20' TT with solar and am just beginning my research.  I've stumbled upon a company called Renogy that are getting excellent reviews on Amazon.  They have made life easy for a non-mechanical female by offering RV Kits.

http://www.renogy-store.com/RV-Solar-Kit-s/1960.htm

http://www.amazon.com/RENOGY%C2%AE-Solar-Kit-400W-Controller/dp/B00H5BXE28/ref=pd_sim_sbs_86_50?ie=UTF8&dpID=511h96LdmZL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL160_SR160%2C160_&refRID=1SMCFDD1X4YF1XMES8DS

My first and very fundamental questions are: 
*Has anyone purchased Renogy products and, if so, are you glad you did? 
*How many 100W panels would be recommended for off-grid life in a 20' TT (I would also rely on two 30lb propane tanks)
*Does the battery on the RV hold enough to use on its own for such a set up, or would I need multiple batteries? 

I wouldn't be out in the middle of nowhere, for the most part, so propane support wouldn't be a problem.  I'm just trying to figure out if it is worth investing/going without electricity hookups.  Seems like it is!

Thanks in advance for any input, much appreciated!
Fiona
2014  20' Keystone Springdale 202QBWE  TT
1998  Chevy Tahoe

~Currently living in her on friends' property
~Getting set to hit the highway this summer

Gizmo

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Re: Renogy solar panel system for RV's
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2016, 03:40:21 PM »
Renogy makes decent panels, especially for the cost.  The kits might be ok, but you will be much better off if you buy a system a la carte as you can pick and choose the better components and put together a more efficient system.
Regards, Bruce, Lin An, Kenji & Suki
2017 Eagle Cap 1165 Truck Camper With Tork Lift Fast Gun Tie Downs & T.L. Wobble Stoppers
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tanglemoose

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Re: Renogy solar panel system for RV's
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2016, 03:56:05 PM »
we have a 21' TT Cougar and it has a Go Power Solar Package on it.... We love the solar, have only been out once in our new to us... it was cool in the am's so ran furnace, LED lights etc... and never needed the generator.  With that said, not sure on the brand you are looking at, but we love our solar! Of course, you can't run some electric items like TV microwave,... but most of us that are boondocking are not wanting that type of camping. Our RV has a "charging center" that allows us to charge our phones, dog collars, anything usb, cameras... the only time I miss electric is when it is HOT and I would like some ac, but considering most of our camping is done at 6500'+ that is not very often.

You will love solar, check out the Go Power website!
Donna and Mark
and our Golden Lexie
New 2017 TT Keystone Cougar  Same model... but NEW Features!
2015 Keystone Cougar 1/2 Ton Series, 21rbswe, 26'
2013 Toyota Tundra
Living in Cold Montana Country.....

Fiona Rose

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Re: Renogy solar panel system for RV's
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2016, 06:57:25 PM »
Gizmo, thank you I'm sure you're right about the a'la carte thing.  I usually don't go for package deals, there's always something in them I don't need.  However, I'm an artist and seriously left-brain challenged.  Just the bit of research I've done so far has me ready to give up.  Renogy has a reputation of very user-friendly instructions, hopefully they provide that with all their components.  I also read they have excellent customer service/support.

tanglemoose, I saw your posts while researching on this forum.  Glad you're enjoying your Go Power!  I won't be boondocking in the wilderness for the most part, but it sure would be nice to be free of the full hook up expense.  Yes, mainly laptop, fridge, hot water, slow cooker now and then.
2014  20' Keystone Springdale 202QBWE  TT
1998  Chevy Tahoe

~Currently living in her on friends' property
~Getting set to hit the highway this summer

Fiona Rose

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Re: Renogy solar panel system for RV's
« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2016, 09:03:08 PM »
tanglemoose, may I ask how many watts/panels do you have on your TT?
2014  20' Keystone Springdale 202QBWE  TT
1998  Chevy Tahoe

~Currently living in her on friends' property
~Getting set to hit the highway this summer

utahclaimjumper

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Re: Renogy solar panel system for RV's
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2016, 01:28:25 AM »
I started with the Renogy two panel package and added a third later to bring my set up to 300 watts, I have been using the system for a year now and like it very much, it has reduced my generator useage by half.>>>Dan
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Kevin Means

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Re: Renogy solar panel system for RV's
« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2016, 02:24:17 AM »
Fiona Rose, Renogy has a good name. Their panels are no better or worse than several other brands. And I agree with Gizmo, solar "kits" are handy, but unless you're looking for a basic setup, you often end up with components you can't use if you decide to expand your system.

To answer your other questions, it would help to know a little more about your system. How many house-batteries do you have? Do you know your battery-bank's amp hour capacity? To get the most out of solar, it's good to have a balance between amp hour capacity and solar panel output. It's also very helpful to know your typical consumption, because it helps you determine how much battery capacity you should have to meet your needs, and how much solar power you'll require (sans generator) to keep them charged.

We love our solar but most of our camping is boondocking, so it's fairly easy to justify the expense of solar. However, occasional boondockers with smaller RVs often find that their off-grid power needs can be met by simply adding more battery capacity.

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

Fiona Rose

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Re: Renogy solar panel system for RV's
« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2016, 09:38:41 AM »
Thank you Dan and Kevin, I have a lot to learn and don't want to waste the forum's time holding my hand.  It's just that I've been living in this TT for about 6 months on friends' land, and have always been plugged into their home's electric. 

I'm hitting the road in June, for the first time, heading to Eugene Oregon and will look for land to live on there.  I'd like to have the freedom of living on land of any kind, without the restriction of finding hook ups.  I'll probably stay in campgrounds for the summer, I don't know what it was like where you guys were last summer but I was in Eugene and it regularly stayed over 100 degrees for several hours in the afternoon and evening.  I'd like A/C for my first few months, till I get my sea legs.

As far as usage, I have no idea.  I read on this forum about recommendations for AM Solar, a company who coincidentally are right in Springfield Oregon, the city connected to Eugene.  On their site they suggest getting a battery monitor, so that seems like my first step.   I will also look at their panels, and installation offerings.  http://www.amsolar.com/home/amr/page_26

Thank you Kevin for pointing out I might be able to just use a battery bank, will look into this in more depth.  Currently there's just the battery on the tongue, I haven't done anything with that except hook up the pump when I need to drain tanks.

~Fiona
2014  20' Keystone Springdale 202QBWE  TT
1998  Chevy Tahoe

~Currently living in her on friends' property
~Getting set to hit the highway this summer

Fiona Rose

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Re: Renogy solar panel system for RV's
« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2016, 09:45:30 AM »
Dan, did you buy the package with the PWM or MPPT charge controller and, if I may ask, what made you choose?
2014  20' Keystone Springdale 202QBWE  TT
1998  Chevy Tahoe

~Currently living in her on friends' property
~Getting set to hit the highway this summer

Gizmo

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Re: Renogy solar panel system for RV's
« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2016, 12:25:06 PM »
Thank you Dan and Kevin, I have a lot to learn and don't want to waste the forum's time holding my hand.  It's just that I've been living in this TT for about 6 months on friends' land, and have always been plugged into their home's electric. 

I'm hitting the road in June, for the first time, heading to Eugene Oregon and will look for land to live on there.  I'd like to have the freedom of living on land of any kind, without the restriction of finding hook ups.  I'll probably stay in campgrounds for the summer, I don't know what it was like where you guys were last summer but I was in Eugene and it regularly stayed over 100 degrees for several hours in the afternoon and evening.  I'd like A/C for my first few months, till I get my sea legs.

As far as usage, I have no idea.  I read on this forum about recommendations for AM Solar, a company who coincidentally are right in Springfield Oregon, the city connected to Eugene.  On their site they suggest getting a battery monitor, so that seems like my first step.   I will also look at their panels, and installation offerings.  http://www.amsolar.com/home/amr/page_26

Thank you Kevin for pointing out I might be able to just use a battery bank, will look into this in more depth.  Currently there's just the battery on the tongue, I haven't done anything with that except hook up the pump when I need to drain tanks.

~Fiona

When I did my solar install I installed a battery monitor first to understand our usage, doing so was invaluable.  Whether you decide to install solar or not, a good battery meter is a worthwhile investment.  I have 2-AM Solar panels and have been very happy with not only the panels and some of their other associated products, but the customer service as well.  While I did my own install, I have heard many good things about AM Solar install services.  Give them a call, tell them what you are considering and ask questions, I am sure you will find them helpful.  As I recall I believe they also sell solar kits.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2016, 12:26:37 PM by Gizmo »
Regards, Bruce, Lin An, Kenji & Suki
2017 Eagle Cap 1165 Truck Camper With Tork Lift Fast Gun Tie Downs & T.L. Wobble Stoppers
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2013 Aliner Expedition

kdbgoat

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Re: Renogy solar panel system for RV's
« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2016, 02:32:32 PM »
Fiona Rose-Being you are going to explore the possibility of something other than a packaged system, I suggest you Google "Jack Mayer" and "Handy Bob". Between the two of them, you can gain an immense knowledge of solar systems. (among other things) Even if you end up buying a packaged system you will have an understanding of how your package works and it's limitations.
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john owens

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Re: Renogy solar panel system for RV's
« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2016, 02:49:54 PM »
I worked up in Oregon several years back during the summer. I fell in love with the area. The thing that killed the deal was the locals telling me the Sun doesn't shine for 6 months during the winter...How is that going to work with your solar plans??
2011 Winnebago 37F Class A  2012 Unlimited JK 2001 HD roadking  1964 Manx 1641cc buggy 1985 22'Lazy Daze Class C 2007 Chaparrel 26' deck boat..Thats all folks!!

Fiona Rose

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Re: Renogy solar panel system for RV's
« Reply #12 on: March 09, 2016, 03:25:57 PM »
Gizmo, thanks I'm so glad to hear your experience with AM Solar.  It will be invaluable to have them right next door to me.

kdbgoat, thank you for the suggestions.  I have so much to learn, today I've been immersed in 6V deep cycle battery research.   Handy Bob is on wordpress, as am I, so I've just subscribed to his blog  :)

john owens, the short answer is I have no clue!  I'm thinking a battery bank/solar/propane combo will be better than $500 a month in campground fees.
2014  20' Keystone Springdale 202QBWE  TT
1998  Chevy Tahoe

~Currently living in her on friends' property
~Getting set to hit the highway this summer

Fiona Rose

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Re: Renogy solar panel system for RV's
« Reply #13 on: March 09, 2016, 04:46:42 PM »
Well, for those who are interested in this sort of thing, here's where my research has taken me so far on a 300W system a'la carte:

(2) Interstate 6V 232ah deep cycle batteries = $300
(2) Renogy 150W monocrystalline panels = $400
(1) Sun Yoba MPPT 40A controller with lcd display = $170
(1) Windy Nation 1500W  inverter = $150
(+) various cables, wires, tilt mounts = $200

So for about $1200 I'm basically set up...?  Then there's the $800 for a little Honda generator.  Yikes, my tow vehicle budget is rapidly dwindling.  But eyes on the prize, that's my feeling.
2014  20' Keystone Springdale 202QBWE  TT
1998  Chevy Tahoe

~Currently living in her on friends' property
~Getting set to hit the highway this summer

john owens

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Re: Renogy solar panel system for RV's
« Reply #14 on: March 10, 2016, 12:08:10 AM »
Looks like your on the right track with a neat solar parts collection. The genset is a great idea also for backup. We had our nearly new Honda 2000 generater swiped while camping at Doheny State Beach a couple years ago. We were Costco members at the time and found a gas generater that had the same stuff as the Honda..but for half the price. Still have this one and starts up on the second pull every time.. Hondas are nice but pricey.....
2011 Winnebago 37F Class A  2012 Unlimited JK 2001 HD roadking  1964 Manx 1641cc buggy 1985 22'Lazy Daze Class C 2007 Chaparrel 26' deck boat..Thats all folks!!

Fiona Rose

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Re: Renogy solar panel system for RV's
« Reply #15 on: March 10, 2016, 11:18:40 AM »
Hi John, thanks it's been a lot of fun putting together a list of possibilities.  With more research I'll know where I can be frugal and where it would be best to spend top dollar.  The Honda generator might not be a reality; I also like the idea of propane dual/fuel but the one I'm looking at weighs 55lbs and is probably quite noisy.
2014  20' Keystone Springdale 202QBWE  TT
1998  Chevy Tahoe

~Currently living in her on friends' property
~Getting set to hit the highway this summer

Gizmo

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Re: Renogy solar panel system for RV's
« Reply #16 on: March 10, 2016, 12:52:00 PM »
Well, for those who are interested in this sort of thing, here's where my research has taken me so far on a 300W system a'la carte:

(2) Interstate 6V 232ah deep cycle batteries = $300
(2) Renogy 150W monocrystalline panels = $400
(1) Sun Yoba MPPT 40A controller with lcd display = $170
(1) Windy Nation 1500W  inverter = $150
(+) various cables, wires, tilt mounts = $200

So for about $1200 I'm basically set up...?  Then there's the $800 for a little Honda generator.  Yikes, my tow vehicle budget is rapidly dwindling.  But eyes on the prize, that's my feeling.

Here is my 02cents I did not see a battery monitor on your list which is really a must for solar, but very helpful without solar as well. Considering you are full timing you are on the right track with a MPPT controller but you might consider a higher amperage unit in case you need to add more panels later on and you also might consider a one of the Morningstar or Blue Sky units, more expensive but very good and arguably among the best.  You might also consider one of the Magnum or Morningstar inverters, also much better units.
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: Renogy solar panel system for RV's
« Reply #17 on: March 10, 2016, 01:37:21 PM »
Okay, I've got a little better idea of what your camping goals are - boondocking vs. hookups near Eugene, OR. Here's something to consider as you prioritize your expenses in setting up your RV; During the winter months in Oregon, there are slightly less than two hours of useful charging time for solar panels, and that's only on sunny days. How often does that happen during the winter in Eugene?

Two 150 watt panels will generate a total of about 14 amps per hour if they are installed properly and not shaded - and once again, that's only if the sun is shining. If it's cloudy like it often is during the winter in Oregon, all bets are off. So under the best of conditions, they might put 28 amps back into a battery-bank during a complete charging cycle. In reality, it's probably going to be closer to 20 amps on a good sunny day due to environmental and installation factors (real life.)

If the sun is shining, are 20 amps enough to meet your daily/nightly power needs? That's why it's nice to know your typical consumption. Of course, any solar power is better than no solar power, but I wouldn't plan to rely on solar power as my primary charging source in that part of the country - especially in the winter. By the way, I think your plan to get an MPPT controller is a good one. It will make your system more expandable.

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

Fiona Rose

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Re: Renogy solar panel system for RV's
« Reply #18 on: March 10, 2016, 04:47:56 PM »
Gizmo, thanks I didn't realize the battery monitors were pricey enough to be included in my budget, but they are.  This one will be added to the list:  http://www.amsolar.com/home/amr/page_73_17/tri-metric_2030-rv.html .  Yes the controller and inverter are bargain options, I have since read that the controller is very important not to skimp on so will look into the brands you mentioned.  Thank you!

Kevin, I found a link to some basic daily use numbers and yeah it doesn't look good.  I'm not a big energy consumer and would likely be working / not in the RV for several hours most days, however things like running a slow cooker for 8-10 hours would take its toll.

I am looking into Grape Solar's data with research from their homebase, which is Eugene.  But I know it might be a greater expense than it's worth.  A battery bank with dual fuel generator, coupled with my propane tanks running some appliances, might be what I'm looking at.  But I've caught the "solar bug" and can't really let it go! :)

It seems my first step is buying the 6V batteries/inverter/controller/etc, the generator and the battery monitor, and take it from there.  Any thoughts are most welcome.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2016, 04:57:11 PM by Fiona Rose »
2014  20' Keystone Springdale 202QBWE  TT
1998  Chevy Tahoe

~Currently living in her on friends' property
~Getting set to hit the highway this summer

Fiona Rose

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Re: Renogy solar panel system for RV's
« Reply #19 on: March 11, 2016, 06:11:34 PM »
This seems like a good deal for a Magnum 1000w Pure Sine Inverter, made in Everett WA, just down the road from where I'm staying.

http://www.invertersupply.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=4282&cPath=0_477&gclid=CjwKEAiA9om3BRDpzvihsdGnhTwSJAAkSewLuplsz-pSIkhpT4RxrZee65puqIpp614gh-Idm_HZKBoCeITw_wcB

Thank you Gizmo for pointing them out.

Also wondering if anyone has experience with 12v Lifeline batteries.  It seems like the Trojan batteries require a bit of ventilation?  I'm not sure if I'll be able to keep them on the tongue or they'll need to go into one of the compartments.  If the latter, that's no ventilation.

I suppose at this point, this thread is veering off-topic.  I might create a new thread, if my research takes me into too many controller, inverter and battery options.
2014  20' Keystone Springdale 202QBWE  TT
1998  Chevy Tahoe

~Currently living in her on friends' property
~Getting set to hit the highway this summer

Kevin Means

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Re: Renogy solar panel system for RV's
« Reply #20 on: March 12, 2016, 02:34:43 AM »
The Lifelines you mentioned may be AGM batteries. AGMs are still lead/acid batteries but they're completely sealed and don't require ventilation like standard lead/acid batteries. They're maintenance-free, so there's no need to check the water levels. They're also significantly more expensive than standard lead/acid batteries, but worth it IMO. Just remember that if you make the switch to AGMs, they have a slightly different charging profile, and charging them with a "standard" charger could damage them.

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

Fiona Rose

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Re: Renogy solar panel system for RV's
« Reply #21 on: March 12, 2016, 09:46:15 AM »
Thank you for your response Kevin.  I've been reading Handy Bob's blog/website and he's very pro-Trojan flooded batteries.  But I just don't think it's a good idea for me, as a newbie, to take on battery maintenance on top of all the things I need to learn (and screw up).  I might do the Trojan Reliant AGM golf cart batteries, or perhaps Lifeline. 

Thank you for the words of caution.  From what I've read so far, the equalize part of charging is to be avoided with AGMs.  I'm sure there's more to know, will definitely keep reading/studying before I hook anything up.  I have several months until I'm off grid, will be here in WA until June and then at a campground in OR for the summer, indulging in hook ups for the a/c. :)

edit:  I just realized I should probably change my profile from "soon to be full time RVer" to "full time RVer"...even though I'm parked on someone's property with all the conveniences, I am living in my TT full time and have been since October   8)

« Last Edit: March 12, 2016, 10:20:30 AM by Fiona Rose »
2014  20' Keystone Springdale 202QBWE  TT
1998  Chevy Tahoe

~Currently living in her on friends' property
~Getting set to hit the highway this summer

Kevin Means

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Re: Renogy solar panel system for RV's
« Reply #22 on: March 12, 2016, 10:33:23 AM »
From what I've read so far, the float part of charging is to be avoided with AGMs.
Our AGM batteries float charge all the time. In fact, they're usually float charging, because we keep the coach plugged into shore-power when it's not in use, so the batteries don't discharge very much. It's the charger's slightly different output voltage that makes the difference. If you're going to use AGMs, just make sure your converter has an AGM setting, or it can be programmed for AGMs.

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

Fiona Rose

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Re: Renogy solar panel system for RV's
« Reply #23 on: March 12, 2016, 12:38:16 PM »
Thanks Kevin, you beat me to it.  I realized I mistook float for equalize, and edited my post :)

I'm looking at the Magnum MM1212 modified sine wave inverter/charger and they do have the AGM setting.  After reading about what needs pure sine, I feel this is one place where I can cut a corner because I don't watch TV and my laptop is an old pc.  I simply cannot afford the best of everything, as my max budget (without solar panels for the time being) is $2000.
2014  20' Keystone Springdale 202QBWE  TT
1998  Chevy Tahoe

~Currently living in her on friends' property
~Getting set to hit the highway this summer

Gizmo

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Re: Renogy solar panel system for RV's
« Reply #24 on: March 12, 2016, 08:21:24 PM »
I've been reading Handy Bob's blog/website and he's very pro-Trojan flooded batteries.  But I just don't think it's a good idea for me, as a newbie, to take on battery maintenance on top of all the things I need to learn (and screw up).  I might do the Trojan Reliant AGM golf cart batteries, or perhaps Lifeline. 
Fiona, although I am a proponent of and often recommended Handy Bob's blog, understand while his recommendation for wet cell Trojan batteries is sound and there is good reason to consider it, there are other considerations and what will work in your particular situation.  Bottom line AGM's have real benefits and advantages as you seem to have discovered.  As I understand from something I read recently, Trojan has had to recall batteries and there is no time table yet for them to become available.  Lifeline makes a darn good battery, so you cannot go wrong there and they may be less expensive than Trojan without any loss of performance and capability.
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

Fiona Rose

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Re: Renogy solar panel system for RV's
« Reply #25 on: March 12, 2016, 09:54:04 PM »
Gizmo, thank you, yes I read that about Trojan Reliants on another thread, it could have been your post.  Am wondering what difference these are in the link below, the "T6V AGM" model which is not Reliant and doesn't seem to be recalled.

https://www.batterystuff.com/batteries/t6v-agm.html

I've got a few months for research so just enjoying the process right now.  I'm still trying to wrap my head around two 6v @200ah versus two 12v @100ah, something about plate thickness which does make sense.  Given what I've read in other threads on this forum it is a discussion all unto itself  :D
2014  20' Keystone Springdale 202QBWE  TT
1998  Chevy Tahoe

~Currently living in her on friends' property
~Getting set to hit the highway this summer

Gizmo

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Re: Renogy solar panel system for RV's
« Reply #26 on: March 13, 2016, 04:38:58 PM »
Gizmo, thank you, yes I read that about Trojan Reliants on another thread, it could have been your post.  Am wondering what difference these are in the link below, the "T6V AGM" model which is not Reliant and doesn't seem to be recalled.

https://www.batterystuff.com/batteries/t6v-agm.html

I've got a few months for research so just enjoying the process right now.  I'm still trying to wrap my head around two 6v @200ah versus two 12v @100ah, something about plate thickness which does make sense.  Given what I've read in other threads on this forum it is a discussion all unto itself  :D

Fiona each 6v in your example is capable of 200ah of power, but when you wire them together in a series to create 12V (required by your rig) the amp hours remains at 200ah.  On the other hand  two 12v wired in parallel leaves the voltage at the required 12v, but the amp hours doubles so if each proposed battery is 100ah, when wired in parallel the rest is 200 ah available.  But here is the thing, you never want to consume more than 40 - 50% of amp hours or you will hasten the life of the batteries.  So this is why you one needs to get a handle on how much AH they will be consuming on average when purchasing batteries and setting up a solar system.
Regards, Bruce, Lin An, Kenji & Suki
2017 Eagle Cap 1165 Truck Camper With Tork Lift Fast Gun Tie Downs & T.L. Wobble Stoppers
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Gone But not forgotten:
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2013 Aliner Expedition

Fiona Rose

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Re: Renogy solar panel system for RV's
« Reply #27 on: March 13, 2016, 05:28:27 PM »
Thank you Gizmo, I understand that part of it.  What I don't understand is why, despite both scenarios being equal (12v @200ah), one would deplete more rapidly than the other.  It seems the 6v scenario, connected in series, is preferable due to plate thickness.  :o

Here's the quote I'm referring to from a battery distributor I might use in Oregon: 

Advantages and Disadvantages of using two 12 volt batteries connected in parallel or two 6 volt batteries connected in series.

It would appear that there is no significant difference in capacity and voltage between these two examples. But this really is not the case. The plates designed for the T-105 use the same active material and alloy of the group 27 deep cycle batteries but both the T-105 negative and positive plates are 60% thicker than those found in the deep cycle 27 group sizes. The significance of this is that these 6 Volt batteries should have a longer lifespan than the two deep cycle 27 group sizes, if properly cared for. While the capacities are similar (220 versus 225 Amp Hrs.), battery longevity favors the two 6 Volt batteries. Why? Because a major cause of deep cycle battery failure is the shedding of active material from the battery plates.
  Source:  http://www.batteriesnorthwest.com/batteryschool.cfm?TID=20#ANC20
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Fiona Rose

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Re: Renogy solar panel system for RV's
« Reply #28 on: March 13, 2016, 05:55:40 PM »
Forgot to say, although I'm not hooked up for battery monitoring yet, I found a source/guy online with some similar habits to my own.

Given what he writes, I will assume for research sake that my average daily usage is roughly 800-900 watt-hours, give or take a bit:

Here's a rough breakdown of wattage:

    Laptop when charging an empty battery - 60w
    Laptop when not charging battery - 20w
    Light bulb - 20w
    Water Pump (for showers, sink, toilet) - 50w (only when actively being used)
    Vent fan - 12 - 35w (depending on speed)

So, just for fun (and because we'll need it in the next section), let's see how much electricity I use in a day.

I usually have one light on usually from 10pm to 3am. That's five hours times 20w. 100 watt-hours.

I have my laptop on for that same amount of time, which is another 100Wh.

The fan is on for 11 hours a day on low and 13 on medium. 130+285 = 415Wh.

Half an hour for the water pump. 25Wh.

The laptop is plugged in for about 6 hours, so that's another 120Wh.

If we add that all up, I use about 760Wh per day.
  Source:  http://tynan.com/living-in-a-small-rv-electricity
2014  20' Keystone Springdale 202QBWE  TT
1998  Chevy Tahoe

~Currently living in her on friends' property
~Getting set to hit the highway this summer

INTJohn

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Re: Renogy solar panel system for RV's
« Reply #29 on: March 14, 2016, 11:02:20 AM »
Fiona baybee..........
Hope all is well with you today. You still got a big big issue here that a couple peeps have brushed on that you have yet to work out:

Solar Power works real real well when you have SUN! and Eugene Ore doesn't get awhole lot. Now I spend 8 months of my year fulltime boondock living in West Central Michigan and the annual amount of sunshine days where I'm at is essentially identical to Eugene Ore.

Approximately 160 days of sunshine in both areas with only about 70 of those days having total sun. This means 90 days of those 'sunny' days are only partly sunny. This means you are looking at approximately 200 days of NO SUN .........not to mention nighty night time.

https://www.currentresults.com/Weather/Oregon/annual-days-of-sunshine.php
https://www.currentresults.com/Weather/Michigan/annual-days-of-sunshine.php

Also keep in mind West Michigan and Eugen Ore are similar latitudes 44ish degrees North which means the sun is relatively low in the sky compared with the SW USA. You need to have the panel tilted at about 30ish degrees to optimize them.

........and evidently you'll be staying there fulltime?? For me this is why I went with a decent genset. When you go days & days with NO SUN an entire roof full of solar panels aint guna do you any good! So you better have a good back up plan.

This is why I diversified: 160 watt roof mount solar panel
                                     120 watt portable solar panel with 30' cord.
When in West Michigan I'm parked in typical Great Lakes Northern Mixed coniferous & deciduous forest and my roof mount is often at least partially shaded even when the SUN is shining all day. In retrospect I wish I would not have had roof mount and just bought 3 of the 120 watt portables. I would have had more wattage capability and versatility for same basic amount of $$.

My trailer (a toy hauler) has a built in 40 gallon gas tank with which I can run the generator for the inevitable times I need to.

I also have 2 of the 30 lb propane tanks.

In late November I hook up and head to SW AZ & California where the amount of available SUN is practically limitless. In fact I'll be heading back to Michigan in about 2 weex.

Summary: solar may not be a viable full time boondock option for you at this time till you have $$$ to invest to cover ALL bases in a proper manner.

Thanx..........INTJohn

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Re: Renogy solar panel system for RV's
« Reply #30 on: March 14, 2016, 03:38:59 PM »
Thank you INTJohn, Kevin, Gizmo and others who've given me realistic options for full time dry camping in the Pacific Northwest :)

I've got my homework cut out for me -- will keep you posted, and will surely be asking more questions as time goes on.
2014  20' Keystone Springdale 202QBWE  TT
1998  Chevy Tahoe

~Currently living in her on friends' property
~Getting set to hit the highway this summer

INTJohn

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Re: Renogy solar panel system for RV's
« Reply #31 on: March 15, 2016, 12:22:13 PM »
Something else you might want to look into is wind powered generator to supplement solar and genset. I looked into this in depth as an option for my own system and while I never invested any money into anything I've left the door open & it may be a viable option for you to integrate into your overall charging system when you finally decide.....

Good luck!..........
Thanx.......INTJohn

Edit: It took me a little bit to find this: http://www.solar-electric.com/primus-wind-power-air-40-12-volt-generator.html

Primus makes some really nice 12 volt wind generators for 850$ to 1000$ which can be integrated with solar and of course they can charge your batteries even at night if there's a wind........ :)
« Last Edit: March 15, 2016, 12:45:20 PM by INTJohn »

Drewd

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Re: Renogy solar panel system for RV's
« Reply #32 on: March 26, 2016, 11:26:57 PM »

Len and Jo

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Re: Renogy solar panel system for RV's
« Reply #33 on: March 30, 2016, 06:45:31 PM »
Just came across your post.  We installed a Renogy system last spring.  No problems with it.

I didn't note that you have calculated your daily electrical needs while off the grid.  That would drive the size of your battery bank and that in turn the size of the wattage of of your solar system.  If you do intend to use it in the winter that would really drive up the size needed with the short days and low sun angle.

In the NW I would guess your battery bank should be sized to able to meet your electrical needs for three days and a solar array sized to recharge it in a single day of good sun.

Good luck
Len & Jo
The Green Tardis
We 'B' RVing   Berkley, Michigan
Van Development:   https://youtu.be/5Xqk_G6k95M
12 Years of Travels:  https://youtu.be/UMIf17CzdZo

g041579

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Re: Renogy solar panel system for RV's
« Reply #34 on: April 09, 2016, 12:24:00 PM »
How did you run you're wiring to the solar panels to account for the
movement of the pop-up roof?

Len and Jo

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Re: Renogy solar panel system for RV's
« Reply #35 on: April 09, 2016, 03:53:34 PM »
Ran the wiring along the scissor mechanism.  From roof long lift tube to pivot, generous loop, then other lift pivot to stationary pivot point.  See below pics.
Len & Jo
The Green Tardis
We 'B' RVing   Berkley, Michigan
Van Development:   https://youtu.be/5Xqk_G6k95M
12 Years of Travels:  https://youtu.be/UMIf17CzdZo

Fiona Rose

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Re: Renogy solar panel system for RV's
« Reply #36 on: April 09, 2016, 11:12:01 PM »
Drewd, thanks for the nuclear info, will check into it. 

Len and Jo, your system looks great!  Thank you for your input; I am yet to "unplug" from electric hookups at the property I'm living on.  Once I figure out my energy needs, I'll know whether solar is even in the cards for living in western Oregon.  I have a few months to mull it over.  ;D
2014  20' Keystone Springdale 202QBWE  TT
1998  Chevy Tahoe

~Currently living in her on friends' property
~Getting set to hit the highway this summer

DesertMax

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Re: Renogy solar panel system for RV's
« Reply #37 on: July 09, 2016, 03:26:50 PM »
Hey there Fiona,  reading over this string and had to say hello..  I'm heading out back to boondocking next week and also heading to Eugene.  I'm looking at the dunes area and
hope I can find some cool spots to hang out near the ocean..  the Stanislaus National Forest runs from Florence down to Coos Bay and it is mostly dunes..  been trying to find out
ahead of time if those sand trails I'm seeing on G Earth are 4 X 4 only..  I have a Lance TC on a Super Duty truck but not 4 by..  Guess I'll find out next week..
Are you in Eugene now?  Would be great to meet up and share adventure stories..  I've got a few doozies... 

tanglemoose

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Re: Renogy solar panel system for RV's
« Reply #38 on: July 09, 2016, 04:07:38 PM »
We have 100 watt solar Go Power panel on roof of our rv and love it.. just dispersed camped "boondocked" for 5 days with two other friends n their units.. enjoyed our coffee while they fired up their generators.. never took ours out of pickup, it is just for backup... of course, we use percolator on gas stove...

Supposedly this system is supposed to work in even cloudy or semi sun... whatever that comes down to. Check out their website site...

The only thing hubby WOULD LIKE TO DO is get an inverter to run our TV and directtv receiver for a couple of hours on college game day... any ideas from this group on costs of inverter..?
Donna and Mark
and our Golden Lexie
New 2017 TT Keystone Cougar  Same model... but NEW Features!
2015 Keystone Cougar 1/2 Ton Series, 21rbswe, 26'
2013 Toyota Tundra
Living in Cold Montana Country.....

Leonard Timm

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Re: Renogy solar panel system for RV's
« Reply #39 on: July 12, 2016, 09:49:01 PM »
I installed 600 Watts of Renogy panels, 400 amps of storage and a Morningstar 45 MPPT controller in six months ago.  We're very happy with the system.

DesertMax

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Re: Renogy solar panel system for RV's
« Reply #40 on: July 12, 2016, 10:36:16 PM »
I would love to know what you do..  what you have run with your system?
I am a songwriter and full timer who is also building up a solar system.
I'm nowhere near yours but would like to run my low wattage power amp
and analog mixer with outboard gear at some point.  The power amp is the biggy
but doesn't have to be the 400 watt beast I had in my commercial recording studio.

I'll bet you use your microwave don't you...

Kevin Means

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Re: Renogy solar panel system for RV's
« Reply #41 on: July 13, 2016, 02:52:17 PM »
Remember.. solar power is just an alternate method of recharging your batteries. If you couldn't power a microwave or other high consumption device before installing solar, you still won't be able to after installing solar - no matter how big the array is. To power high consumption devices like microwave ovens, AC coffee makers, etc. you need an appropriately sized inverter and a battery-bank with enough amp hour capacity to feed the inverter. Other than recharging your batteries, solar has nothing to do with it.

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

DesertMax

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Re: Renogy solar panel system for RV's
« Reply #42 on: July 13, 2016, 03:24:36 PM »
Thanks Kevin,  so if we did want to run a low wattage nuker..  not sure how low they make them but
we know that this is a device that only briefly surges power uses for a few minutes at a time perhaps
a few times a day..  as you say, having several batteries and say a 1500W Inverter???
I've been studying this very subject as the idea of the true nature of RV Solar becomes more readily understandable
in all of its components..   I've seen the very large fivers or Class A rigs with huge Inverters..  How big to they go?

***************************
Just noticed you appear to be in Lakeside..  East County.  I had a home on 4 beautiful acres in Jamul for 10 years and lost it
after health issues..  that's how I became a full timer..  I owned Rancho San Diego Pool Service as a contractor... 55 years in San Diego County
« Last Edit: July 13, 2016, 03:27:29 PM by DesertMax »

Kevin Means

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Re: Renogy solar panel system for RV's
« Reply #43 on: July 13, 2016, 06:25:10 PM »
Really sorry to hear about you losing your home in Jamul - nice area - and I hope your health is better too. Microwaves do have power spikes - sometimes more than others depending on what's being cooked, but even when they don't spike, they still consume a lot of power just running. The inverter has to be able to provide power at all times or it will overload and shut down. I'm sorry to say that I don't know how much power smaller microwaves consume. Without knowing that, I'm hesitant to recommend an inverter size, but I'd be willing to bet that a 1500 watt inverter - properly wired to a 300 to 400 amp hour battery-bank, would be able to power a small microwave for short periods of time. Maybe someone here who has such a setup, and who knows, will chime in.

Factory installed inverters are usually in the 1000 to 2000 watt range. Ours is 2800 watts - largely because we have a large res-fridge. You can install aftermarket inverters of all sizes, but installing one with higher-than-needed wattage is pointless. Inverters themselves consume power and are not 100% efficient (Ours is rated at 85% efficient.)The higher the wattage, the more power they consume.

We have an 840 AH battery-bank, and while it has no problem powering the inverter and microwave, the lights do dim when the microwave surges. I don't think I'd run the microwave unless my batteries were at 80% or better. It just draws to much power. If/when you install an inverter, place it as close to the battery-bank as possible (but not in the same compartment.) and use 4 AWG wire or better.

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

DesertMax

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Re: Renogy solar panel system for RV's
« Reply #44 on: July 13, 2016, 10:36:01 PM »
Wow 840 AH...  How cool is that...  I'm at a whopping 90 right now but I'm in the game for good this time and there shall be additional batts..
Speaking of which, for 12V batts, how high in ah are they available or is there a logical or sensible peak we should not go above for each individual battery?

Eventually I'm going to set up a very scaled down mixer and power amp recording studio in my rig..  It is possible to run a studio with headphones only so actually no power amp
just preamps in the mixer and such but that practice is frowned upon in production circles..  Here's my SoundCloud page ::: https://soundcloud.com/morgan-chambers-10

I'll be adding 2 batts to start out for around  300 AH in a TC so that's just for
day to day loving and hanging out..  What do you think of these :::  https://www.amazon.com/Vmaxtanks-Vmaxslr125-rechargeable-Solar-Inverters/dp/B00ACNO2AO/ref=sr_1_2?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1468467324&sr=1-2&keywords=agm+battery

Kevin Means

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Re: Renogy solar panel system for RV's
« Reply #45 on: July 13, 2016, 11:18:19 PM »
Well, the specs look real good, but I don't know who makes Vmax batteries or where they're made. Ours are Group 31 AGM batteries (105 AH each) and we are very happy with their performance and durability. They're five years old and I've noticed no indications of diminishing performance.

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

DesertMax

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Re: Renogy solar panel system for RV's
« Reply #46 on: July 13, 2016, 11:39:10 PM »
Yeah Amazon so probably from the land of the oriental dragon :::

Lou Schneider

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Re: Renogy solar panel system for RV's
« Reply #47 on: July 14, 2016, 02:18:07 AM »
The only thing hubby WOULD LIKE TO DO is get an inverter to run our TV and directtv receiver for a couple of hours on college game day... any ideas from this group on costs of inverter..?

You don't need anything fancy to run a DirecTv receiver and a flat panel TV.  Verify the power requirements of both and get an inexpensive inverter to run them.

Here's one example from Harbor Freight that I've used for a different application that works well.  Or get the 750 watt version for a few dollars more.

The secret is to mount the inverter within a couple of feet of the battery so the 12 volt cables stay as short as possible, then extend the 120 volts to where you need it.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2016, 02:25:53 AM by Lou Schneider »

tanglemoose

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Re: Renogy solar panel system for RV's
« Reply #48 on: July 15, 2016, 06:29:58 PM »
that one is on sale for only 25.99. It is for 12V batteries and ours are the 6v deep cell ones, thinking you have to get the right one for which ever battery you have. Do you run extension cord from that outlet to your TV's then or what... sounds like a dumb question, but I have had grandkids all week, need a cold beer and am not thinking real straight yet! thanks, everyone!!!


You don't need anything fancy to run a DirecTv receiver and a flat panel TV.  Verify the power requirements of both and get an inexpensive inverter to run them.

Here's one example from Harbor Freight that I've used for a different application that works well.  Or get the 750 watt version for a few dollars more.

The secret is to mount the inverter within a couple of feet of the battery so the 12 volt cables stay as short as possible, then extend the 120 volts to where you need it.
Donna and Mark
and our Golden Lexie
New 2017 TT Keystone Cougar  Same model... but NEW Features!
2015 Keystone Cougar 1/2 Ton Series, 21rbswe, 26'
2013 Toyota Tundra
Living in Cold Montana Country.....

DesertMax

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Re: Renogy solar panel system for RV's
« Reply #49 on: July 15, 2016, 07:03:46 PM »
Tanglemoose...  that's funny because I understand so well...  "I need a cold beer!"  Do yourself a favor..  have a frosty mug waiting when you are ready..  Best things in life!

Lou Schneider

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Re: Renogy solar panel system for RV's
« Reply #50 on: July 16, 2016, 02:50:20 AM »
that one is on sale for only 25.99. It is for 12V batteries and ours are the 6v deep cell ones, thinking you have to get the right one for which ever battery you have. Do you run extension cord from that outlet to your TV's then or what... sounds like a dumb question, but I have had grandkids all week, need a cold beer and am not thinking real straight yet! thanks, everyone!!!

Two six volt batteries in series ARE a 12 volt battery so the inverter will work fine.   And yes, put the inverter next to the batteries and run an extension cord to where you need the power.

tanglemoose

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Re: Renogy solar panel system for RV's
« Reply #51 on: July 16, 2016, 03:31:26 PM »
CanI use the 740 watt one from harbor freight... or too big
Donna and Mark
and our Golden Lexie
New 2017 TT Keystone Cougar  Same model... but NEW Features!
2015 Keystone Cougar 1/2 Ton Series, 21rbswe, 26'
2013 Toyota Tundra
Living in Cold Montana Country.....

Lou Schneider

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Re: Renogy solar panel system for RV's
« Reply #52 on: July 16, 2016, 09:37:26 PM »
Yes, the 750 watt inverter will work fine if you put it close to the batteries
« Last Edit: July 16, 2016, 09:41:59 PM by Lou Schneider »

tanglemoose

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Re: Renogy solar panel system for RV's
« Reply #53 on: July 24, 2016, 05:28:14 PM »
Okay, I bought the 400 watt one from Harbor Freight, but then when we went out camping, a fellow camper next to us had an inventer that he just puts in his "cig lighter" hole... Much easier that hooking up to batteries... In our Cougar we have what they call a charging center, it has 2 usb ports and a cig lighter round hole. Just put my old 300 watt inverter in that hole and turned on TV and it worked! But it has a fan and is noisy, have had the thing for 15 years.. surely they are better now??????

I am thinking if I just had an inverter that came with some options to hook up' attaching to battery with clips or cig. lighter gizmo. My question is efficiency.. Is one connection better than other?

I just want to be able to flip the news on TV for 30 minutes maybe in am or pm... maybe not even that long with our news lately!

I am calling go solar power in am and checking on my panel to see if they have idea on watts... and maybe how much their fancy inverter is... I would love to just have everything "installed" and not have to do anything but plug something into an outlet...

Nothing fancy no microwave, hair dryers, nothing but my laptop and TV...

thoughts?
Donna and Mark
and our Golden Lexie
New 2017 TT Keystone Cougar  Same model... but NEW Features!
2015 Keystone Cougar 1/2 Ton Series, 21rbswe, 26'
2013 Toyota Tundra
Living in Cold Montana Country.....

Kevin Means

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Re: Renogy solar panel system for RV's
« Reply #54 on: July 25, 2016, 10:45:28 AM »
The most efficient way of installing an inverter is to install it somewhere close to the battery-bank using a healthy gauge wire (2 or 4 gauge works well.) If your 15 year old inverter works, you could install it in a compartment, which would help cut down on its noise, but small MSW inverters are pretty cheap these days, so I'd probably invest in a new one. If you're planning to use your solar panel to power the TV, remember - solar is used to recharge your batteries, it doesn't power anything directly.

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

tanglemoose

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Re: Renogy solar panel system for RV's
« Reply #55 on: July 26, 2016, 04:23:55 PM »
I finally did some homework today and I have 160 watts of Go Solar Power... for us, it has been plenty... I am now looking at these two inverters and wondering what your expert opinion is.....

http://gpelectric.com/products/300-watt-modified-sine-wave-inverter
This one is a modified... inexpensive and I would not have to have anything installed. there is cig lighter in the RV on the charging station.  But I am wondering how noisy it is...

http://gpelectric.com/products/300-watt-pure-sine-wave-inverter

This one is a pure sine-wave and would have to be installed as I don't want to mess with my battery every time I set up.

Number one question... what is the big difference between sine and pure sine... in layman's terms... and what would you do IF you were going to do it once!

The one is like 31.00 vs 181.00, but I want to just run the flat panel TV and the Direct TV receiver...

thanks!
Donna and Mark
and our Golden Lexie
New 2017 TT Keystone Cougar  Same model... but NEW Features!
2015 Keystone Cougar 1/2 Ton Series, 21rbswe, 26'
2013 Toyota Tundra
Living in Cold Montana Country.....

Len and Jo

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Re: Renogy solar panel system for RV's
« Reply #56 on: July 26, 2016, 06:49:03 PM »
The modified sine is a square wave and costs the least.  The pure sine is just like you get in your home and is a sine wave.  I have for the past 15 years used a modified sine inverter with no problems.  Some people have reported that "sensitive" electronics have problems with the modified sine inverter.  A pure sine ($$) is just like your home power and will avoid any such problem.  I recently converted to a pure sine because I had money to burn and I wanted to keep up with the Jones. 
The wiring for either though should be the same though.   ?? This one is a pure sine-wave and would have to be installed as I don't want to mess with my battery every time I set up.  ?? 
Len & Jo
The Green Tardis
We 'B' RVing   Berkley, Michigan
Van Development:   https://youtu.be/5Xqk_G6k95M
12 Years of Travels:  https://youtu.be/UMIf17CzdZo

 

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