Why not solar power?? - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 02-06-2015, 05:17 PM   #15
Raz
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In 2004 we bought our first trailer. One of reasons was to camp in the Outer Banks of North Carolina at the NPS campgrounds for as long as we wanted. I bought a 42 watt panel, made a controller and switched to LED lights. In 2004 the LED lights were not much to write home about but they used I/10 th the power of the 921 bulbs that the trailer came with. By 2010, when we got the Trillium, the LED's had improved a lot. I still use the same solar panel.

In ten years the federal government has provided big monetary incentives to promote solar use in homes and businesses. Companies, catering to this market have convinced the average RV owner they need large panels and fancy expensive controllers, $200 battery monitors and oversized wire. If you want to power your microwave or need a new hobby maybe you do but if you want to power a few LED's, a fan, water pump, and charge your cell phone, a 50 watt panel and a 5-6 amp controller is all you need. I agree with John, no more than $200. Raz
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Old 02-06-2015, 05:30 PM   #16
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To me solar became a necessity when I added a propane furnace. Most campsites I have camped at don't have electricity so you need a charged battery. Cant run a generator all night at most campgrounds nor would I want to, so the solar supplies the watts to keep the battery charged enabling the motor on the fan for the heater to run for more than 3 days or so. I have a 60 watt solar system assembled by me from parts bought on E-Bay for about 150 dollars. I think money well spent. I think more people would add solar if the sales pitch was better balanced. What you need and what someone will sell you is consistently very far apart in both price and hardware needs. Its far easier to feed my little 13 foot Scamp than some 20 footer with all the bells and whistles. There's the whole issue about the air conditioner and if you really need it. It becomes the threshold on solar that is very hard or expensive to over come with solar and kills further sales. If I cant have my air I don't need solar I just go to campgrounds that have electricity.
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Old 02-06-2015, 05:44 PM   #17
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I love solar power!!! Last summer I started with a portable 60w panel and a 7.5amp charge controller with a group 27 battery. I then added an additional 60w portable panel and a 30amp charge controller. This winter I bought a bendable 100w panel that I am going to permanently mount to the roof of my Trillium. We run our fridge, LED TV / DVD player and LED interior lights off the system. I find some of the best campsites are not full hook ups thus making the solar set up perfect.
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Old 02-06-2015, 05:57 PM   #18
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There are numerous ways to approach adding solar to our small trailers, some more costly than others. Depending on your camping lifestyle and frequency, it may or may not financially pay for itself.

That being said, I believe there is a great value being able to linger in the peace and quiet of your new favorite camp ground as long as you'd like, soaking up the beauty and feeling the relaxation settle deeper into your bones.

Priceless
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Old 02-06-2015, 05:57 PM   #19
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Most fgrv's don't have a lot of roof space for mounting panels. I can only get 1 on the roof plus I have a portable one as well. Still, that's only 200 watts max.

That's enough to charge your electronics, run your lights and fan, tv for a while, etc. But it's not enough to run your refrigerator 24 hours/day or your ac. So yes, solar is good but limited on a small trailer.
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Old 02-06-2015, 06:12 PM   #20
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Me thinks that even a small microwave will pull about 600 watts or about 50 amps on the 12 VDC input side of an inverter. The Proctor-Silex coffee maker in my kitchen pulls 50% more at 900 watts. Using either one in an FGRV would require some serious hard wiring and a hefty inverter, not to mention a lot of battery reserve to spend.
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Old 02-06-2015, 08:02 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul O. View Post
Like any new technology, it starts expensive, with great potential, and if all goes well, the prices drop dramatically, and we have a long lasting benefit. Solar on an RV is a must for a few, a toy for many and of no use to most. I doubt it can ever pay for itself in terms of cents/kWh, but that is not how these things go.
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I suspect my solar system probable paid for itself the first year it was on the trailer. I can camp out anywhere I want, including free BML lands for example at no cost per night and I have taken advantaged of that many many times. I have also used a tent site at state parks which are often much cheaper than a full service site - not to mention they are often much nicer sites.

Here in BC unless you are staying at an actual RV park few Provincial campgrounds for example are full service, so solar is pretty well a must have item for most if they plan on staying out for more than a couple of nights and don't wish to upset the neighbours by running a generator.

Yes new technology is often expensive which is way 6 years ago you would have paid way more for a small 30W panel than you would pay for a 120W panel today.
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Old 02-06-2015, 08:02 PM   #22
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I've got a 20amp panel quick mounted to the rock guard of my Compact. That and a 35ah battery have provided all the power I've needed. To be fair, I don't have a fridge or an electric coffee pot. The water pump, lights, and all my gizmos are 12v or 5v USB.

I did run a 120 line with one outlet in case I ever add a fridge but have only powered it up to test it.
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Old 02-06-2015, 08:17 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huck View Post
Most fgrv's don't have a lot of roof space for mounting panels. I can only get 1 on the roof plus I have a portable one as well. Still, that's only 200 watts max.

That's enough to charge your electronics, run your lights and fan, tv for a while, etc. But it's not enough to run your refrigerator 24 hours/day or your ac. So yes, solar is good but limited on a small trailer.
Which is way a great many folks here would never own a trailer that did not have the option to run their fridge on propane..... As far as 200 W panel goes that is a pretty hefty amount of solar for a small trailer. I could get by for weeks with only a 30W panel without ever coming close to draining the battery half way down and that included using the shower, heat, fans, lights and music Nope no TV when off the grid (laptop for movies), no microwave, no electric coffee maker, a French Press makes better coffee anyways
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Old 02-06-2015, 08:40 PM   #24
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This is what I did when I got serious about solar; 3 tilt-up panels, 350 watts with 4 six volt batteries and a 2500 watt inverter....frozen margaritas on demand in the middle of the desert in 110 degree F weather...or ice cream...or both, your choice!



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Old 02-06-2015, 08:50 PM   #25
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There are always the type that want to overcomplicate things. They want everything to remain the realm of "experts".

Solar is just a battery charger. If you need an idea of what you need for a "system" look no further than AMSolar.com. They have complete kits you can buy, or at least get an idea of all the pieces and parts you need to get. Their site is very informative.

For years I've just used a portable panel I got off Amazon hooked to my battery with alligator clips. It worked really well.

On my new trailer, I had a complete system included - 320 watts of panels, 4 large batteries and a large inverter. It should give me 24 to 26 amps (I hope!).

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Old 02-06-2015, 08:55 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Merritt View Post
There are always the type that want to overcomplicate things. They want everything to remain the realm of "experts".

Solar is just a battery charger. If you need an idea of what you need for a "system" look no further than AMSolar.com. They have complete kits you can buy, or at least get an idea of all the pieces and parts you need to get. Their site is very informative.

For years I've just used a portable panel I got off Amazon hooked to my battery with alligator clips. It worked really well.

On my new trailer, I had a complete system included - 320 watts of panels, 4 large batteries and a large inverter. It should give me 24 to 26 amps (I hope!).

Overcomplicated is a relative statement. For an engineer like myself this stuff is really simple. BTW, your new trailer looks "sweet!"..and I like your solar capacity. With the panel mountings you will have no shadows either.
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Old 02-06-2015, 09:03 PM   #27
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Thanks, but I can't take credit for any engineering. They had a system already developed thanks to previous Ollie customers.

I'll have 400 amp hours available. If I don't run the air conditioner, I can see not really needing a 110v hookup.
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Old 02-06-2015, 11:12 PM   #28
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Cool Why some like campgrounds

I would say one word:

Security.
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