Part Time - Full Timer - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV

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Old 05-08-2008, 05:41 PM   #15
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Name: Pete
Trailer: 17 ft 1986 Burro
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I am jealous. I haven't retired yet.

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Old 05-08-2008, 08:22 PM   #16
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Trailer: Casita
New River AZ
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This will help keep the chill off your bones in case the battery loses power.... "Not For Sleeping" This is the model i have been meaning to get for myself "Hmmm Maybe Fathers day"
Will miss your had some good ones.hope you come back after the season...

Joe and Linda
2013 Casita SD
Dodge Ram 4x4
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Old 05-08-2008, 09:44 PM   #17
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Trailer: 94 Casita 16 ft
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I've often wondered about the ability of various metals (steel in this instance) to release heat over a period of time. Why could one not simply place an 8inch by 14inch piece of half inch steel on the stovetop, heat it for a few minutes, then simply turn off the stove and let it radiate. I realize it wouldn't last all night, but it might help take the edge off.

I may have to try this one out myself.
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Old 05-09-2008, 10:24 AM   #18
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Trailer: 2005 16 ft Casita Spirit Deluxe / 1996 Dakota 4x4 V6
Posts: 186
RV-409 is the panel that I have. Sorry, I thought that was the link I provided.
I ordered RV-419 (two panels), but received RV-409. That $35 controller looks like a good deal. I didn't order/install a controller because I was under the impression that it wasn't needed under 40-45 watts...this was my first solar energy experiment. I haven't had any overcharging problems, but I might be the exception because my electric system is in daily use.
Since my panel is flat-mounted, the seasons do make a difference. On a summer day, when the sun is high, full charge usually means about 13.3 volts. On a short winter day, that would be more like 12.8 volts, still pretty good, especially considering that that's when I'm using the furnace fan practically all night. A big benefit is that I rarely, if ever, see voltage go below 12.2...a battery will last much longer if it is never discharged below about 50-60%, right about 12.2 volts. After killing several batteries pre-solar, my current battery is 2 years old, and I expect it may last 5 years.
Cloudy days might shave .1 or .2 volts off your full charge...that is, hardly any difference. The shade will knock off a little more, but you will still be charging throughout the day.
I've had a lot of fun monitoring the voltage and seeing how much charge I get under different conditions and seasons. I don't have any maintenance...sometimes I get on a ladder and wipe the thing off with window cleaner, just for kicks. If I were in a shady campsite, I would try to find a sunny-ish spot to prop up the panel. Based on my summer vs. winter readings, the closer to perpendicular to the sun's rays, the better. For instance, in winter, I try to park a little bit tilted to the south. When I'm parked for the night, I unplug from the truck, so I'm not draining that battery at night. When plugged in during the day, the panel is charging both batteries. I've noticed little things - for instance, watching a DVD movie (laser) seems to use more power than the equivalent amount of time of plain TV. I've always got plenty of power in the mornings for a shower (water pump), even after using the lights, furnace, etc. at night.
The one thing my system can't really keep up with is charging my power-hungry laptop through an inverter. I use shore power or another location generally for the computer.
If I knew 2 years ago how well this thing would perform, I would have paid $1000 for it.
ps That's not an endorsement for any particular brand or distributor. The ones mentioned just happen to be what I bought after shopping around.
Here's a picture of it (in action!):

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Old 05-16-2008, 03:32 AM   #19
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Trailer: Boler 13 ft
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After looking at the web page for a few days, and my departure date being the 17th, I knew I needed to do something so I filled out the order page for the 419. But then looking at the controllers and saw that I could not use the little $35 jobby for that many watts, so I deleted order and just got the 409 with no controller.
I did order the extra long wire with it so I could move panel around to maximize collection.
I still haven't even seen my site so maybe it isn't going to be too bad. It will be all trial and error I am sure.
Got all packed yesterday and just have to throw what food I want to stay cool in a cooler, and a few personals together and off I will go for my first few days.
I will be on battery/propane power for the first 2 weeks until the solar panel arrives, but this will give me a chance to see if I could have done it all summer with out such a convenience as solar power.
I plan now to keep my internet service on so I will keep you all up to date with articles from the KANC.

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Old 05-17-2008, 03:19 AM   #20
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Trailer: 1975 Trillium 13 ft / Chevy Astrovan
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Glad to hear that you'll be online and we can get updates
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Old 05-17-2008, 11:39 PM   #21
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Trailer: 2005 16 ft Casita Spirit Deluxe / 1996 Dakota 4x4 V6
Posts: 186
Good Luck Gerry! I'll be interested to know your experience, since you will be using the same panel I've been using.
If you run your battery WAY down over your two non-solar weeks, be sure to check the acid level and fill with distilled water, if necessary.
Then get it back to full charge before using the solar, for best results - it would take a couple of days for the panel to charge it from nothing.

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