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RVing message boards => Boondocking => Topic started by: kportra on January 24, 2018, 04:19:16 PM

Title: Baby Solar Ordered
Post by: kportra on January 24, 2018, 04:19:16 PM
We were planning on adding a little solar before summer comes around anyway and the potential 30% tariff helped me pull the trigger.  We have a small travel trailer and are mainly weekend (looong weekend) boondockers.  We didn't want a permanent and expensive installation.  We HATE running the generator for hours at a time.  Hubby has a CPAP and trailer seems to have phantom load (maybe radio, fridge control panel, propane sniffer).  We have 2 group 24 batteries that are fairly new but still have to charge every day with the CPAP use.

So...after much research and review reading, we went for a 100W Renology monocrystalline suitcase setup.  Comes with a 4 stage charge controller.  We can move it to follow the sun and it will store away when we actually have services.  I'm pretty excited to see how well it does.  I'm not really expecting that we will get fully charged with just 100W (depending on shade/weather etc) but it sure should help us need the generator (inverter type) fewer hours and provide more peaceful camping.

I may post my experiences with it this summer.  Is it summer yet?  Or even spring?
Title: Re: Baby Solar Ordered
Post by: Kevin Means on January 25, 2018, 06:33:22 PM
That Renogy system is pretty popular. On a sunny January day, it should put 20 amps (or so) into your batteries - as long as you keep it facing toward the sun. Depending on your usage, that could be a big help.

Kev
Title: Re: Baby Solar Ordered
Post by: Gary31 on January 31, 2018, 10:53:20 AM
I have the same thing and like it. I purchase my suitcase to use in the day when we are all about and not in the camper but still want to keep our ice maker going. I look forward to shutting down the genny and having fresh ice all day for my refreshments. I also use it on the weekends to charge the battery at the storage lot without running the genny, I still fire up the genny at least monthly to exercise and keep everything topped off and working.
Title: Re: Baby Solar Ordered
Post by: Dragginourbedaround on January 31, 2018, 05:04:39 PM
We are another happy buyer. We bought it for two weeks of dry camping at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. It worked as advertised. We were able to cut our generator use to three hours a day or less. We will buy another 100 watts and give boondocking a serious try on this years eight month trip.
Title: Re: Baby Solar Ordered
Post by: kportra on February 02, 2018, 12:22:35 PM
We are another happy buyer. We bought it for two weeks of dry camping at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. It worked as advertised. We were able to cut our generator use to three hours a day or less. We will buy another 100 watts and give boondocking a serious try on this years eight month trip.

Can you hook two of these suitcase solar units together?  I think the controller on the one we got is 30 amps.  That would be AWESOME sauce.
Title: Re: Baby Solar Ordered
Post by: John Hilley on February 02, 2018, 03:51:44 PM
You could just connect both to the batteries, each with it's own controller. You could also run two through the same controller if it is large enough.
Title: Re: Baby Solar Ordered
Post by: Frank B on February 14, 2018, 02:14:18 PM
Can you hook two of these suitcase solar units together?  I think the controller on the one we got is 30 amps.  That would be AWESOME sauce.


Now you're getting the idea!  ;D


The only issue with portable setups is that they have to be set up and taken down each time you move.


Frank.
Title: Re: Baby Solar Ordered
Post by: Tom_M on March 01, 2018, 05:27:36 AM
A fellow camper had a Dokio 200 watt portable system that looked good. Available from Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Dokio-Monocrystalline-foldable-Inverter-Controller/dp/B075SZMFP2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1516394576&sr=8-1&keywords=portable+solar+charger+200+watt (https://www.amazon.com/Dokio-Monocrystalline-foldable-Inverter-Controller/dp/B075SZMFP2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1516394576&sr=8-1&keywords=portable+solar+charger+200+watt)

Lower wattage models also available.
Title: Re: Baby Solar Ordered
Post by: Arch Hoagland on March 01, 2018, 02:16:36 PM
We are another happy buyer. We bought it for two weeks of dry camping at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. It worked as advertised. We were able to cut our generator use to three hours a day or less. We will buy another 100 watts and give boondocking a serious try on this years eight month trip.


If you didn't have the Solar how long would you have had to run the generator? 
Title: Re: Baby Solar Ordered
Post by: Dragginourbedaround on March 02, 2018, 11:14:03 PM
Quote
If you didn't have the Solar how long would you have had to run the generator?
Arch, we were in Quartzite, AZ for a couple of weeks two years ago and no solar. We were running the generator about six hours a day.
Title: Re: Baby Solar Ordered
Post by: Gary RV_Wizard on March 03, 2018, 09:16:00 AM
Quote
We were running the generator about six hours a day.

Wow, that's quite a lot!  Running the a/c?  Cooking electrically?  Or using some other appliance that needs 120v?  Should not need anywhere near that much runtime for battery charging unless the battery bank is woefully undersized or the batteries just plain weak (chemically bad condition).

Title: Re: Baby Solar Ordered
Post by: John From Detroit on March 03, 2018, 09:29:14 AM
Six hours is the MINIMUM to recharge your batteries. That's 2 hours to bring 'em up to 90% (Bulk charge) and 4 for absorption.
IF you have solar. it can do the absorption
Title: Re: Baby Solar Ordered
Post by: John From Detroit on March 03, 2018, 09:29:42 AM
Six hours is the MINIMUM to recharge your batteries. That's 2 hours to bring 'em up to 90% (Bulk charge) and 4 for absorption.
IF you have solar. it can do the absorption

If you have ENOUGH solar.. It can do the BULK as well
Title: Re: Baby Solar Ordered
Post by: Dragginourbedaround on March 03, 2018, 10:37:17 AM
Quote
Wow, that's quite a lot!  Running the a/c?  Cooking electrically?  Or using some other appliance that needs 120v?  Should not need anywhere near that much runtime for battery charging unless the battery bank is woefully undersized or the batteries just plain weak (chemically bad condition).
I know. We were running the a/c some, the coffee maker, microwave and at night watching 120 v TV. I suspect the batteries were weak. We replaced them this past summer.
Title: Re: Baby Solar Ordered
Post by: Gary RV_Wizard on March 03, 2018, 10:47:27 AM
Quote
Six hours is the MINIMUM to recharge your batteries. That's 2 hours to bring 'em up to 90% (Bulk charge) and 4 for absorption.

That's highly subjective, since we don't know the size of the battery bank, the state of charge of the batteries, or the capacity of the charger.  Probably not bad as a rule of thumb, though.   However, it is not necessary to get to 100% charge and often not practical for extended off-grid camping.  The battery bank should be sized such that 80% charge is sufficient for 24 hours of normal use, making it practical to use about 2 hours of genset time per day to keep the batteries between 50% and 80% SOC.
Title: Re: Baby Solar Ordered
Post by: Dragginourbedaround on March 03, 2018, 01:05:47 PM
Quote
That's highly subjective, since we don't know the size of the battery bank, the state of charge of the batteries, or the capacity of the charger.  Probably not bad as a rule of thumb, though.   However, it is not necessary to get to 100% charge and often not practical for extended off-grid camping.  The battery bank should be sized such that 80% charge is sufficient for 24 hours of normal use, making it practical to use about 2 hours of genset time per day to keep the batteries between 50% and 80% SOC.
I was using two group 31s. Again they were weak. The charger was a single stage OEM and since replaced.