Solar(s) Panel(s), wich choose? - Fiberglass RV


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 03-18-2016, 09:18 AM   #1
Senior Member
 
Gilles's Avatar
 
Name: Gilles
Trailer: Bigfoot 15B17G, 1986.
Quebec
Posts: 596
Registry
Solar(s) Panel(s), wich choose?

If there are users of solar panels, it would be nice to have some help to make a more informed choice, that only one of the vendors.

Users on this forum can certainly share their experiences.

I have a 17-foot Bigfoot 1986.
I use with battery,
water pump,
cold weather heater fan,
I have LED lights
and a propane detector.
The refrigerator uses propane with electronic control
and water heaters uses propane only without electronic control.

Thank you,
__________________

__________________
Gilles
Bigfoot 15B17G.
Towed with Dodge Journey 2012, 3.6 L., 6 speeds.
Gilles is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-18-2016, 09:48 AM   #2
Senior Member
 
trumpetguy's Avatar
 
Name: David
Trailer: Airstream International CCD 28
Florida
Posts: 203
Solar

A first question would be what do you want to power with your batteries. Batteries are far more important than the PV panels because they power your trailer. Once you establish your requirements for battery storage then focus on the PV, inverter, etc.

AM Solar is a good resource for RV solar and they have a tool for calculating your requirements.

My setup is...

4 Trojan T105 6V wet cell batteries
2000 WATT Pure Sine Wave Inverter
2 160 WATT Grape solar panels
Blue sky charge controller with remote

If I had it to do over I would go with 2 12V AGM batteries and a 3000 WATT Inverter.

I can run microwave, coffee maker, induction cooktop, oil heater, cube heater, using the inverter...but only one at a time.
__________________

__________________
2007 Airstream International CCD 28
2016 Dodge Ram Sport 5.7 Hemi 4WD
trumpetguy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-18-2016, 10:20 AM   #3
Member
 
Name: Jim
Trailer: Scamp
Manitoba
Posts: 48
Giles
I have a Scamp 16 with propane fridge, stove & HWT. the rest that I power with battery are my LED lights, water pump, bath fan, and fantastic fan. I sometimes camp with no services, and love it, except that my battery runs down after 4-5 days. I purchased a Coleman 40 amp solar kit c/w regulator from Canadian Tire for 60.00 on sale. These sales rotate predictably, so keep track of your flyers. This is the only size that comes complete with all the accessories to go right away. I use it to extend my battery draw down. I have yet to find out how long I can go before the charge falls behind consumption.
Jim R.
__________________
Manitoba Jim is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-18-2016, 10:23 AM   #4
Senior Member
 
Gilles's Avatar
 
Name: Gilles
Trailer: Bigfoot 15B17G, 1986.
Quebec
Posts: 596
Registry
Quote:
Originally Posted by trumpetguy View Post

I can run microwave, coffee maker, induction cooktop, oil heater, cube heater, using the inverter...but only one at a time.
You are not in the range that I wrote in the first paragraph.
__________________
Gilles
Bigfoot 15B17G.
Towed with Dodge Journey 2012, 3.6 L., 6 speeds.
Gilles is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-18-2016, 10:30 AM   #5
Senior Member
 
Gilles's Avatar
 
Name: Gilles
Trailer: Bigfoot 15B17G, 1986.
Quebec
Posts: 596
Registry
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manitoba Jim View Post
Giles
I have a Scamp 16 with propane fridge, stove & HWT. the rest that I power with battery are my LED lights, water pump, bath fan, and fantastic fan. I sometimes camp with no services, and love it, except that my battery runs down after 4-5 days. I purchased a Coleman 40 amp solar kit c/w regulator from Canadian Tire for 60.00 on sale. These sales rotate predictably, so keep track of your flyers. This is the only size that comes complete with all the accessories to go right away. I use it to extend my battery draw down. I have yet to find out how long I can go before the charge falls behind consumption.
Jim R.
Thank you Jim, I think with a 100 watts would be fine, if it's sunny, of course.
__________________
Gilles
Bigfoot 15B17G.
Towed with Dodge Journey 2012, 3.6 L., 6 speeds.
Gilles is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-18-2016, 10:41 AM   #6
Senior Member
 
Byron Kinnaman's Avatar
 
Name: Byron
Trailer: 2006 Scamp 13' towed with a 2005 Dodge Dakota 4.7l Magnum W/full tow package (over kill)
Oregon
Posts: 6,307
Registry
With what you're running 100 Watts should do a pretty good job. Look carefully at the specifications of any panel. The 10 and 20 year life will determine how long your solar panel will last (my 65 Watt say 80% after 20 years).
Here's what I have.
I'm running all LED lights.
When cold the furnace fan.
and that's all.
With my group Trojan Deep cycle 100 am/hour battery I can go a long time when it's warm. If I have to run the furnace a few minutes a day (20 minutes is a lot) then I have recharge the battery about every 3rd day. Knowing that I can manage the recharging for when I'm in camp and when the sun is shinning. Mine is portable, which I designed and made my own stand. We were out for almost 90 days this winter. Connected to power about 5 days. 40 days in one spot. It all worked like I wanted it to.
__________________
Byron & Anne enjoying the everyday Saturday thing.
Byron Kinnaman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-18-2016, 10:56 AM   #7
Member
 
Name: Gerry
Trailer: Triple E
British Columbia
Posts: 52
I have powered my motor home with a 30watt panel, which will almost keep the batteries up if there is lots of sun. This year I am adding a 40 watt panel, and anticipate that it will keep the system adequately charged. 100 watts should keep you well charged up, as long as your cold weather heater is propane fired, and you are only using the batteries to power the fan. We make our coffee on the propane stove, and do not use the microwave.

A side note to all of you with propane fridges that have an electric control panel. Many of these fridges, particularly Dometic, have a heating element located in the freezer door frame to prevent the door from freezing shut in damp or humid weather. If this is not turned off it will operate 24/7. Most of the time you do not need it, and if it is operating it can drain system batteries in a day or two. Look for a switch in the top of the door frame, and switch it off.
__________________
Gerry Kiernan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-18-2016, 11:17 AM   #8
Junior Member
 
Name: Chris
Trailer: In the market
Washington
Posts: 2
I second the recommendation of trumpetguy. You need to calculate how many amp-hours of battery capacity you'll consume on a normal day, and make sure you have adequate amp-hour capacity in your battery to provide that. But you also need to factor in how much replenishment you want to get from your solar panels. It's basically a supply-demand equation that varies with each person's particular camping behavior.

Assuming you want to run AC appliances while off-grid, the other key factor is to figure out is your inverter peak capability, which is a function of figuring out what appliances you will use and what the peak watt draw you'll generate.

The AMSOLAR.COM site is super educational and I relied on it a lot for designing and installing my system on my 19-ft Escape. I did the installation myself, but it took a whole lot of internet reading to figure it out.

We mostly wanted to be able to operate/charge electronics (phone, iPad, laptop), operate the lighting/heat/water pump, run an Nespresso machine daily, and occasionally a hair dryer. And be able to be boondocked for up to a week.

My setup:

2014 Escape 19-ft trailer
3 100W Grape Solar polycrystalline panels
Morningstar TS-MPPT-30 charge controller
Samlex 1500 Watt pure sine inverter
2 Sun Xtender PVX-1040HT 6V AGM batteries (224 amp-hours)

Our roof didn't have enough room for the 160W panels, so we had to go with the 100W panels.
__________________
SeattleChris is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-18-2016, 11:37 AM   #9
Senior Member
 
Name: Gordon
Trailer: Scamp
Idaho
Posts: 150
Registry
Amps in...Amps out

I agree, Gilles, 100 watts would probably do it, along with a modest deep cycle battery.
I can recommend this panel because I have 2 of them:
Amazon.com : Renogy 100 Watts 12 Volts Monocrystalline Solar Panel : Patio, Lawn & Garden
But I'm adding a third panel this season at less cost with identical specs:
Amazon.com : HQST 100 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar Panel : Patio, Lawn & Garden
And I recommend this controller because it shows you real time amps in and amps out; amp hours in and amp hours used; among other useful stuff. It's very good to know how much current the sun is providing, as well as knowing how much electricity you're devices are using:
P30L LCD 30A PWM Solar Panel Regulator Charge Controller with Digital Display and User Adjustable Settings
When you add in mounting brackets, extension cables, and battery cables, it's not cheap but, there's a unique joy in using the power of the sun.

Happy camping,

Gordon
__________________
Gordon in Idaho is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-18-2016, 01:08 PM   #10
Senior Member
 
Name: Patrick
Trailer: R-Vision Trail Lite
New York
Posts: 592
Never considered adding a solar recharging system to my travel trailer before reading this. I noticed that Amazon has a complete "Windy Nation" RV/Boat system including what seems to be everything needed for about $189.95 in one convenient package...almost seems simple. Any thoughts about such an all in one system. Have I over looked anything???
__________________
Uplander is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-18-2016, 01:42 PM   #11
Senior Member
 
Jon Vermilye's Avatar
 
Name: Jon
Trailer: 2017 Escape 21
Oswego, NY
Posts: 1,406
Registry
Another consideration in sizing a system is the time of year you camp. For permanently mounted rooftop panels, the low angle sun & short daylight hours of winter are a bummer, even in the Arizona desert. I probably use more amp hours than most (I average 35 - 40 per day in winter) and found that the combination of a pair of 232 amp hour 6V batteries & 195 watts of roof top flat panels didn't cut it. A couple of cloudy days & I fell far enough behind to start limiting my use.

The solution was to add a 160 watt portable panel that could be aimed at the sun. I don't ned it during the summers, but November to February it helps...
Jon Vermilye is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-18-2016, 01:51 PM   #12
Member
 
Name: Grant
Trailer: Escape 17b 2006
British Columbia
Posts: 49
I use the 40watt panel from Canadian Tire with their 100 amp AGM battery, run similar electronics and it kept my Escape charged up in the desert this year. Dry camped with the heater running at night and it Never left the good reading on my control panel. Showed a charging voltage of 13.7 volts in high sun. Charged my tablet and 2 phone's during the day between 10 and 2 pm and watched movies at night on my tablet. I attribute the AGM battery as it charges 4 times faster than conventional battery's and is maintenance free. I also didn't want the extra weight of packing around large panels or drilling holes in my roof to mount them.

Going to keep this system, seems to be working sufficiently for me.
__________________
Grant Allen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-18-2016, 02:25 PM   #13
Senior Member
 
Carol H's Avatar
 
Name: Carol
Trailer: 22' Airstream Formerly 16' Scamp
British Columbia
Posts: 11,731
Registry
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gilles View Post
If there are users of solar panels, it would be nice to have some help to make a more informed choice, that only one of the vendors.

Users on this forum can certainly share their experiences.

I have a 17-foot Bigfoot 1986.
I use with battery,
water pump,
cold weather heater fan,
I have LED lights
and a propane detector.
The refrigerator uses propane with electronic control
and water heaters uses propane only without electronic control.

Thank you,
Thats about the same wattage use as I have on my Scamp 16'. I also charge phones and camera battery and occasionally the laptop. I use the furnace only as really needed (just before bed and in the morning) set it pretty low at night so it does not kick in to often, as it is the biggest power hog I have in the trailer.

I have a portable radio for dry camping and I also use the battery operated lantern in the trailer if I am concerned with power consumption or saving power for the furnace use when there has not been a lot of sun during the day. If I am going to stay up reading at night I also use a small headlamp.

I also only had a 40watt for several years that normal did fine with recharging the battery fully well before noon on a sunny day. Its portable to allow for it to be easy to move to the direction of the sun or when camping under tree cover of shadows. If I am going to parked in one location for more than a few days I tend to set the panel up fairly soon after parking rather than wait until the battery is down to far.

A 100 Watt would IMO be more than adequate if you stick to the power usages you have listed and you do not plan to camp in the dark and cold days of winter in Quebec or watch TV all night
Carol H is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-18-2016, 06:00 PM   #14
Senior Member
 
Gilles's Avatar
 
Name: Gilles
Trailer: Bigfoot 15B17G, 1986.
Quebec
Posts: 596
Registry
Thank you for all your comments.

It allowed me to make a choice and I ordered a kit 100 watt Monocrystalline, with 20 feet of cable, a 30Amp PWM Charge Controller and a set of Z Bracket Mounts.

If I want to increase the number of panels later, I can add two others, but I think with one that will be enough.

To be confirmed at the end of the season.

https://www.amazon.ca/RENOGY%C2%AE-S...RB1068T5CWGCVH

Thanks again,
__________________

__________________
Gilles
Bigfoot 15B17G.
Towed with Dodge Journey 2012, 3.6 L., 6 speeds.
Gilles is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
solar


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
How do I choose?? FishBioGirl General Chat 8 10-08-2013 10:17 PM
Solar Panel Set up Question - Grounding the panel? Anne H Electrical | Charging, Systems, Solar and Generators 2 09-07-2012 05:48 PM
Which small trailer would you choose? Joel3217 Towing, Hitching, Axles and Running Gear 12 05-13-2008 10:13 PM
Canadian Solar Panel Barbara Gardin Electrical | Charging, Systems, Solar and Generators 5 04-01-2006 07:34 PM
Which small trailer would you choose? Joel3217 General Chat 0 12-31-1969 07:00 PM

» Upcoming Events
No events scheduled in
the next 465 days.
» Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:44 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.