Why not solar power?? - Page 4 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 02-17-2015, 06:47 PM   #43
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Name: Darnelle
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Our Scamp has full electric already. I'm going to install a "reasonable" solar system. When it is too hot or too cold, we'll just go where we can plug in. I'm in Minnesota.
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Old 02-17-2015, 08:28 PM   #44
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Mark, I run the propane furnace as needed, and a 12 volt only danfoss style compressor refrigerator 24/7 for 5 months at a time, as well as LED lights, TV, laptop computer, e-reader, phones, radio, and crock-pot, all off a battery charged with a fixed position 200 watt solar set-up. I haven't tried to run the microwave, but probably could for warming up leftovers & coffee, but AC would be out of the question, requiring me to run our Yamaha 2000i generator (have never used it yet, but it is there if needed).
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Old 02-17-2015, 08:32 PM   #45
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Name: John Michael
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We just left Grand Canyon after 5 nights with temps of 65 day and 30 night. Furnace, water pump and LED lights all relied on battery power. A 100 watt solar panel kept our group 31 battery topped off each day despite partial shade and short Winter days. Battery voltage never dropped below 12.4 volts and was back to over 13 by 3 PM each day. We couldn't be more pleased to be able to use such beautiful non-electric campgrounds for extended stays. We could have stayed about 2 weeks before our single propane cylinder would give out, though they do exchange them at the park's general store. Solar panel and charge controller were less than $200.00. Campground cost was $7.00 per night with a geezer pass. We also had daily visits by a dozen elk and a few 10 point mule deer.

BTW Grand Canyon is worthy of every superlative you have ever heard and especially nice without Summertime crowds.

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Old 02-17-2015, 08:51 PM   #46
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In theory, If you had about 2000 watts of solar, and an equally large inverter, you could run a 10000 btu air conditioner, during the day. It is approximately 10 btu/watt, so I am assuming 50% of capacity output.

2000 watts of solar would require lots of space, and a tracking array would probably also be a good idea. The cost would be astronomical. Think $3 / watt, plus the inverter, and batteries, (for some night time cooling). $10000 for the system might be a bit high, or not. The set up and tear down would also be a pain. This would likely be twenty 100W panels. Not impossible, just impractical.
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Old 02-17-2015, 10:02 PM   #47
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I carry my yamaha ef2400i for air conditioning on humid nights. Now last year I didn't run it once all summer because the weather was amazing... so I have high hopes for this summer. Now heat, 3 nights of running it and with my solar panel it was still around 12.8v or so in the morning....so solar is working ok for my heater, If I lived full time in my ParkLiner I would look for a more energy efficient (electrical) heater to guarantee sufficient power.
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Old 02-17-2015, 10:05 PM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Missouri Mark View Post
Thanks for all of the replies. Now questions...

I will want to have AC and heat - I could see not needing the AC and heat until bedtime, but would need both as I plan on camping in all seasons, and maybe heat thru the day on some occasions . From what I am reading, solar only will probably not run AC and heater overnight. It appears that most use solar for energy source for appliances/devices that require little power or short term use. So big power needs for AC and heat and frig will require a combination of solar/ propane/generator if I am camping off grid, which I intend. UNLESS I have a big solar operation like the one shown above, which looks expensive, but would love the marguaritas.

]
A lot depends on where it is you plan to camp all four seasons. I have camped without any battery issues through all four seasons with just a 30 watt solar panel.

Lights all LED, fridge on propane and running the furnace just before bed and first thing in the morning and set low so it only cycles on a few times in the night - but thats wintering in S. Cal and S. Arizona. When the weather is cold enough that the heater is needed on a lot then its time to head south. In the summer months I would never camp in the middle of the summer in an area such as Florida for example were the temps are high no matter where you are. I tend to head to higher ground or out to where their is a good ocean breeze in the summer time. Having said that I do every summer spend at least a week or more out camping in 100+ days without hook ups - its hard to avoid - a fantastic fan works pretty well at cooling the trailer down at night and not to unliveable if your only doing it for a few days a year. If its really stinking hot for more than a few days then I would look for a hook ups in a state park so as to be able to run the AC.
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Old 02-18-2015, 10:46 AM   #49
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Some locations are better for solar than others...
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Old 02-24-2015, 09:21 AM   #50
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One other fact I've learned is that the 100w panel puts, at most, 67 watts into my battery.

I'm no expert, like most here I got my degree at Google U, but I think the main reason I get 67 not 100w is that the panel puts out 100w (5.7 amps at something like 18.5 v) and 25 degree C. My xantrex controller (not MPPT by the way) cuts that to 13.2 to 14.2 volts depending on battery state of charge. 5.7 times 14 is 80 w. The max I've seen on my BVM energy meter is 5.1 a at 13.2 v. That's 67 w.

I have 50' of 10 gage wire and two sets of connectors between the panel and the controller. I'm assuming the wiring and the controller resistance account for most of the loss between 80w and 67 watts. A black pv cell in the full sun is surely hotter than 25C. That reduces the output too.

I didn't get an MPPT controller because Google told me it would not produce very much extra power for the extra cost. The Xantrex unit let me adjust the three stage charging voltages to exactly what Trojan recommended.


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Old 03-05-2015, 08:14 PM   #51
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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.

Wait...are you saying you CAN run the AC with this set up they are offering from Ollie?
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Old 03-05-2015, 09:06 PM   #52
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To those of you who carry the generators for the AC and battery charging....where do you carry the generator?

If you are carrying it inside your tow vehicle...does it get stinky like gas in there?
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Old 03-05-2015, 09:10 PM   #53
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Originally Posted by Carol H View Post
A lot depends on where it is you plan to camp all four seasons. I have camped without any battery issues through all four seasons with just a 30 watt solar panel.

Lights all LED, fridge on propane and running the furnace just before bed and first thing in the morning and set low so it only cycles on a few times in the night - but thats wintering in S. Cal and S. Arizona. When the weather is cold enough that the heater is needed on a lot then its time to head south. In the summer months I would never camp in the middle of the summer in an area such as Florida for example were the temps are high no matter where you are. I tend to head to higher ground or out to where their is a good ocean breeze in the summer time. Having said that I do every summer spend at least a week or more out camping in 100+ days without hook ups - its hard to avoid - a fantastic fan works pretty well at cooling the trailer down at night and not to unliveable if your only doing it for a few days a year. If its really stinking hot for more than a few days then I would look for a hook ups in a state park so as to be able to run the AC.
This is the issue I'm trying to get at...when you DO run your AC and it's over 100 out...how many degrees lower does the AC actually get the temp down inside compared to the outside? And have you ever had it freeze up on you? Even after several days in a row?
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Old 03-05-2015, 09:30 PM   #54
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Originally Posted by traveldogs View Post
To those of you who carry the generators for the AC and battery charging....where do you carry the generator?

If you are carrying it inside your tow vehicle...does it get stinky like gas in there?
I don't have air, but I do have a generator ( Honda 1000 ). I carry it in the aisle, inside the trailer, moving it forward or back to adjust tongue weight. The gas cap has a vent that can be opened when in use and shut when you're not using it. I've had no issues with fumes.
At camp, the genset goes in the tow vehicle, when not in use.
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Old 03-05-2015, 09:33 PM   #55
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Wait...are you saying you CAN run the AC with this set up they are offering from Ollie?

No. The inverter does not power the air conditioner.


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Old 03-05-2015, 11:48 PM   #56
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I think it all comes down to a few considerations:

1. What sort of camping do you like to do and for how long at a stretch? If you plan on camping somewhere without hook-ups for more than just a few days, then solar might be a good idea. If you always camp where you'll have hook-ups or will only be in a place for a few days, then solar might not be very useful.

2. Are you a summer-only camper or do you like to camp in all seasons? Do you need/want AC and/or a furnace? A solar panel won't run an air conditioner but it will keep the battery charged up to run the fan on your furnace.

3. How sensitive are you to noise? Can you deal with a generator, no matter how quiet it may be or would that noise drive you or your neighbors crazy? Will a generator be allowed where you want to camp and at the times you want to use it?

I think these are questions anyone might want to consider to help them decide whether or not solar is right for their situation.

We have a 100W movable panel that has served us well. If it's hot, we can position the trailer in the shade and the panel in the sun. We like to camp where there are no hook-ups quite a bit of the time. We camp in three seasons and often appreciate being able to run our furnace and not draw the battery down. We don't like to listen to generators even though they are more quiet than they used to be. So for us, solar made sense. For other folks it may not.
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