solar setup at costco. Good buy - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 05-08-2006, 08:13 AM   #21
Senior Member
 
colin k's Avatar
 
Trailer: 73 Boler
Posts: 159
Quote:
stand and other stuff with this one

Is this the same as yours?

INCLUDED IN BOX:

THREE 15 WATT SOLAR PANELS THAT PROVIDE UP TO 45 WATTS OF CHARGING POWER
[b]PVC FRAME STAND AND WIRING
7 AMP CHARGE CONTROLLER FOR PREVENTING BATTERY OVERCHARGE
POWER INVERTER TO BE USED FOR SMALL APPLIANCES
12 V SOCKET CABLE FOR SMALL ELECTRONICS
BATTERY CLAMPS
INSTALLATION VIDEO INCLUDED

Nope. 3, 18 watt panels. 5 amp charge controller. bunch of wiring most of it was useless really. and.......thats it.

I already had a 1000 watt inverter. I would have tossed the stand just because im not into setting up every time and risking the solar array walking off.

Let me tell you. You got a smokin deal on that set up. Good on you.
__________________

colin k is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-2006, 09:20 AM   #22
Junior Member
 
Dave Van Vugt's Avatar
 
Trailer: 75 Trillium 13 ft
Posts: 23
Hi Folks,

I'm new to this solar stuff (OK I'm new to this trailer stuff too ) but I am very interested in this setup and am going to swing by Costco in Newmarket, ON to see if they have them tonight.

Can anyone give me some information on what I should be looking for in terms of a battery to go with this? Any other tips and tricks for a solar newbie?

Thanks,

Dave
__________________

Dave Van Vugt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-2006, 09:27 AM   #23
Administrator
 
Mary F's Avatar
 
Name: Mary
Trailer: Escape 21; (formerly Casita LD 17 & 16)
Texas
Posts: 10,225
Registry
Quote:
Can anyone give me some information on what I should be looking for in terms of a battery to go with this? Any other tips and tricks for a solar newbie?
Dave, if you haven't already, check out our Solar Tutorial. (It's also available in the list on the (upper) left of this screen.)
__________________
Mary F Fiberglass Rules!
________________________________
FGRV Forum Custom Search
Info on Adding Photos to a Post
RV Life Network FAQ
Mary F is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-2006, 12:17 PM   #24
Senior Member
 
Patrick M.'s Avatar
 
Name: Patrick
Trailer: 2007 Casita Liberty (Sold 2011)/ Honda Odyssey
Arizona
Posts: 705
I love ebay, but that return policy at Costco is rather terrific!
Patrick M. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-2006, 01:13 PM   #25
Senior Member
 
colin k's Avatar
 
Trailer: 73 Boler
Posts: 159
Quote:
Hi Folks,

I'm new to this solar stuff (OK I'm new to this trailer stuff too ) but I am very interested in this setup and am going to swing by Costco in Newmarket, ON to see if they have them tonight.

Can anyone give me some information on what I should be looking for in terms of a battery to go with this? Any other tips and tricks for a solar newbie?

Thanks,

Dave
Im new to solar too so i dove right in .

The higher the amp/hour rating the better. I bought the biggest battery walmart carried. 118 amp/hour i think it is for $100. I moved my battery box to under the bed/table. While sitting at the table there is unused space at your feet against the back wall so thats where my box went. Its sealed and vented to the outside. Now i can fit 2 batteries in there if i want. I have my propane tank mounted on the tongue. Its a nice balance.Tongue weight is probably around 50 lbs. Im not sure what the tongue weight should be but a big a$$ battery on the tongue i think is too much.
I routed the wires through the cabinets above the stove and down to the battery box. All wires are hidden. Wiring is straight forward. Each panel has a positive and negative just like a battery. Wire the panels together then to the controller. Wire the controller to the battery. No diodes are needed as the panels have diodes in them.

Its real easy to do . I think the biggest problem was mounting to the roof. The aluminum cost me a bottle of Gibsons finest. Its basically just a frame holding the panels in place with 4 angled legs. You can mount the panels directly to the roof but i didnt want to riddle my roof with 12 holes.

Thats it. No sweat .
colin k is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-2006, 07:17 PM   #26
Junior Member
 
Dave Van Vugt's Avatar
 
Trailer: 75 Trillium 13 ft
Posts: 23
Mary and Colin,

Thanks for the replies - I had read the Solar Tutorial but it didn't make much sense to me at first... until I went to Costco and looked at the batteries, then it kinda all fell into place.

So I dove in too... starting out a bit smaller, with a Group 24 battery, 95 AH. I figure I can always add another battery, for now I'm trying to keep the weight down.

There has been a battery in this trailer before, which is no longer there - there is a plastic battery box with a lid under the front bench, a vent in the side of the trailer and a strange looking thing that looks like some kind of blower. I'm not sure if I will try to re-use what's there or re-locate, keeping it off the tongue sounds like a good idea as I already have two propane tanks up there.

In the mean time it also appears I have some spagetti to clean up after 30 years of miscellaneous re-wiring

Thanks for the pics also Colin!

Dave
Dave Van Vugt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-2006, 09:07 PM   #27
Senior Member
 
Patrick M.'s Avatar
 
Name: Patrick
Trailer: 2007 Casita Liberty (Sold 2011)/ Honda Odyssey
Arizona
Posts: 705
And speak of the devil, Costco magazine had an article about solar this month, including news that some California warehouses will have solar roadshows this summer.

http://www.costcoconnection.com/connection/200605/
Patrick M. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-13-2006, 03:30 PM   #28
Senior Member
 
Trailer: 1991 16 ft Casita Freedom Deluxe
Posts: 250
Quote:
For those in Baja Canada, the following might be of interest:

Harbor Freight Solar Panels

It looks like the Costco item most of this thread is about is not listed on their website any longer, but J.C. Whitney still has the panel kit linked above.

Quote:
45 WATT SOLAR PANEL KIT



Use the sun’s power to run TVs, lights, computers and recharge 12VDC batteries!
Three 15 watt solar panels give you plenty of clean, quiet energy-- no fuel required
Power center is completely weatherproof and works under all light conditions
3, 6, 9, 12 volt DC adapter outlets
Easy-to-read LED charge indicator
Includes mounting hardware, light, 12V socket and battery clamps
Requires 12 volt storage battery and 300 watt power inverter (not included). Maximum current, 3000 mA. 15 watts max per panel. Peak voltage: 23.57 volts open current. Panel dimensions: 12.40'' x 36.42'' x 0.75''; Weight: 9.7 lbs.

ITEM 90599-1VGA

<strike>$249.99 </strike>
$199.99
45 watts for $200 is a pretty good deal, but I'm a little unclear as to what exactly is included with this kit. Looks like the three 15-watt panels and some extras but I'm not sure about the charge controller. I think even if one is not included the price is still very reasonable.

Has anyone purchased one of these from J.C.?
Lee Hillsgrove is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-13-2006, 09:52 PM   #29
Moderator
 
Gina D.'s Avatar
 
Name: Gina D.
Trailer: '77 Leocraft 17 & Former Burro owner and fan!
West Coast USA
Posts: 9,014
Registry
Mine should be sitting at the post office!

Goodie Goodie Goodie! I can't wait to get hope to play with it. I am going to use it at Cambria next weekend!

Anyone done a real life test with thiers yet? It's one thing to charge up at home and play house for a bit.. it's another when you are depending on it.
Gina D. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-13-2006, 11:31 PM   #30
Senior Member
 
colin k's Avatar
 
Trailer: 73 Boler
Posts: 159
I tried mine with the fridge running all day. Kept the battery at full charge. This was on a nice sunny day with no shade. Now throw in some rain and heavy cloud and i bet you have a completely different story. The first real test will be camping this coming weekend up in the mountains. It should be interesting because its still quite cold in the mornings and evening.
colin k is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-15-2006, 07:00 PM   #31
Senior Member
 
Trailer: 1991 16 ft Casita Freedom Deluxe
Posts: 250
Did your panels come in, Gina?
Lee Hillsgrove is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-15-2006, 07:35 PM   #32
Senior Member
 
Mike Taylor's Avatar
 
Trailer: Hunter Compact II
Posts: 154
I have the 45 watt 3 panel set from coleman and have had them mounted on my roof for 2 years now. They do a good job a keeping the battery full. I don't use a charge line in my tow vehicle and have always had a full battery to work with. I did a week long trip of boondocking at a camp site in sierras with the solar the only charge for battery. I do run cold cathode flourescent lights and some radio gear and always have more than 12volts at night when i shut the stuff down. The solar controller is mounted where i can observe the led status lights and it usually is full charged by mid-day. It even shows a charge on cloudy days though it doesn't top off then. I rarely run a power cord to the trailer at home unless I'm running the fridge on ac power. When mounted permamently on roof you do have to get up there at times to clean off the grime to get full power. Mike
Mike Taylor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-15-2006, 09:49 PM   #33
Moderator
 
Gina D.'s Avatar
 
Name: Gina D.
Trailer: '77 Leocraft 17 & Former Burro owner and fan!
West Coast USA
Posts: 9,014
Registry
Quote:
Did your panels come in, Gina?


no. *sniffle*

It is coming parcel post from Georgia. It should take 6-7 days if the USPS is doing it right. I expect by weds. it should be here. According to the tracking # it left on the 8th.

Not enough time for me to do a glamorous install, but I should have it up and running. I already have a controller installed from my 15 watt panels. I am curious about the invertor.. will see what I can do with that, or turn around and sell it with my 15 watt set up

I DID manage to get my LED dome (24 LEDS each) lights permanently mounted and all looking pretty tho. I am going to have to get 2 more.. one end of my trailer looks like a landing strip, the other.. the black hole. (LEDs are something to get used to indeed)

Thanks for the info Mike. I knew about keeping them clean already. It sure doesn't take much to diminish thier capacity.

I also park in shaded areas, so I would rather move the panel to where the sun is than pick a spot based on exposure.
Gina D. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-15-2006, 11:03 PM   #34
Senior Member
 
Trailer: 1991 16 ft Casita Freedom Deluxe
Posts: 250
Ahh, I see - you got the Coleman set. I missed that the first time around.

I was wondering if anyone had got the J.C. Whitney set, as their descrption as to what exactly was included was a tad vague. Hoping that someone could be a guinea pig for me.
I guess I'll have to see for myself.
Lee Hillsgrove is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-16-2006, 07:03 AM   #35
Senior Member
 
Trailer: 1985 17 ft Burro
Posts: 134
Quote:
I DID manage to get my LED dome (24 LEDS each) lights permanently mounted and all looking pretty tho. I am going to have to get 2 more.. one end of my trailer looks like a landing strip, the other.. the black hole. (LEDs are something to get used to indeed)

Gina, have you already shared your LED source in another thread? Would love to see pictures of your landing strip and hear your experience with those as a main source of light. Thank you!
D Shubel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-16-2006, 03:30 PM   #36
Member
 
Roy Massen's Avatar
 
Trailer: Boler 1975 13 ft
Posts: 58
Hello

I started with with a 75 watt pannel mounted on the roof of my Boler but have added another pannel that I can plug in and set up somewhere in the sun when I park my trailer in the shade so it will stay cool in the summer. To avoid it walking off I usually set it up on top of my tow and lock it to the roof rack when I am in a place where that could be a problem.
Roy Massen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-16-2006, 11:05 PM   #37
Moderator
 
Gina D.'s Avatar
 
Name: Gina D.
Trailer: '77 Leocraft 17 & Former Burro owner and fan!
West Coast USA
Posts: 9,014
Registry
Woo Hoo! It arrived!

It's a lot heavier than I prefer, but still not as much as my genset. It went together pretty easily on the PVC stand it came with... after I:

Redrilled mounting holes (They didn't line up) and fixed a blown diode and a busted crimp in one of the panels. Which I will have to do again as our local Radio Hack only had 1v ones. I really need a 3. (I will snag one from work, but I didn't go in today)

It came with one of these:

Powermate 200 watt invertor I already have invertors coming out of my ears, So this one can stay packaged. I might eBay it.

It also had a small 7 amp charge controller. I just used my currently installed 8 amp one. I will probably stick the new one on my gel cells since now I can use my old 15 watt brief case panel to charge them.

I wired it up.. it came with a nice harness, ez pz.. I had to make some mods to add length to the harness, and I wired in the pigtail from my old 15 watt panel so I can charge with 60 watts if I want. We'll see how it goes.

The size and weight are a big drawback tho. I was actually suprised at how big it is, but I can handle it. It may have to ride in the car tho.

Haven't figured out a good way to lock it up. It will probably just get tossed in the trailer if I am out of sight in a less the desirable situation. My 15 watter has stayed put in the boonies and at campgrounds tho. I suspect if someone wants it, they'll get it despite locks and chains.

LEDS.. thats a subject for another thread. I'll do some pictures this weeknd.
Gina D. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-22-2006, 07:11 PM   #38
Moderator
 
Gina D.'s Avatar
 
Name: Gina D.
Trailer: '77 Leocraft 17 & Former Burro owner and fan!
West Coast USA
Posts: 9,014
Registry


Yeah, so, er.. I forgot to take pictures of the LEDs. DOH!

I did use the panel in a total Boondocking situation this weekend. As far as performance of the panel, I am exceedingly pleased. I never dropped below 12.2v. I ran my heater all nite, used the cieling fan freely, used my new LEDs and even left them on for hours at a time while no one was in the trailer.. just to see. (At the same time I forgot to turn off my flourescant fixture.. it ran for several hours without making a dent. Charged my computer battery twice and in general, never paniced or had to think about getting juice. I even watched a little TV (Until the signal went all whacky!) which required my invertor.

my little 15 watt briefcase panel was getting passed around to top off Liz and Freds trailers. I hooked it up last nite just for grins to get 60 watts this morning, even in the cloudy rainy overcast conditions.

BAD things.. I have it set up in the array config, and it is somewhat cumbersome to move around. The level was wierd at Cambria, and I had help getting the whole thing back in the trailer. It takes up a TON of space in there too. I have to firgure out a better carrying scheme.

Mike Taylor has the same panels, his are on the roof and he uses cold cathode lamps. I am still hesitant to put on the roof. Maybe carrying the spare in the car and figuring out how to put them on the back with protection would work.
Gina D. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-22-2006, 07:51 PM   #39
Senior Member
 
colin k's Avatar
 
Trailer: 73 Boler
Posts: 159
We had a chance this long weekend to go camping and check out the solar setup. The first 1/2 day was nice and sunny. Battery stayed at full charge with fridge running. Then the clouds rolled in and it POURED. And by POURED i mean we got absolutely drenched. We toughed it out the remainder of the day and woke up the next morning to pouring rain. Hmmm. The forecast was 70% chance of the same so decided to head out. It was a mud bog getting down off the mountain. I kept the truck in 4wd just to make sure if i got in a bind i could get out. The battery stayed at about 75% charge. The sun peaked out again the next day and fully charged the battery again. Its surprisingly fast how 3 panels can bring your battery up to full power. We headed out to a new spot a bit closer to home. The sun was out so battery power stayed at full charge. The clouds rolled in again and it spitted for the rest of the day. The panels still kept up the battery with fridge running.
The roof mounted panels are the way to go Gina. Once they are up there you can forget about them. Just take a squeegy along and when you get to your spot just give the panels a quick squeegy and your done. Let technology take over.
I agree though that the panels are pretty heavy. I would hate to lug them around.
colin k is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-22-2006, 09:08 PM   #40
Moderator
 
Gina D.'s Avatar
 
Name: Gina D.
Trailer: '77 Leocraft 17 & Former Burro owner and fan!
West Coast USA
Posts: 9,014
Registry
Well, they are not as heavy as my generator, they use less gas, and smell better.. not to mention are slightly quieter!

I am just going to do some consolidation. I notced this weekend that when someone didn't have "something" I had a spare "wot not". I might have too much junk, eh? (Tho it's nice to help folks out if they need it.)

Holes in roof.. scares me.

Quote:
Just take a squeegy along and when you get to your spot just give the panels a quick squeegy and your done.
You haven't seen my massive towering bulk have you I am 5 foot one on a good day. Things on the roof might as well be on another planet to me.
__________________

Gina D. is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
solar, solar panel


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
Strange Tow setup Doug Arthurs General Chat 36 07-28-2010 09:52 PM
Costco shopping FRED SMAILES Jokes, Stories & Tall Tales 0 05-11-2010 11:10 PM
Small Daewoo AC at Costco $50 after rebates (PGE) Bobbie Mayer Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 0 03-29-2008 07:47 PM
Setup Questions Cam A Care and Feeding of Molded Fiberglass Trailers 16 04-26-2006 06:13 PM
Some pictures of our new 'setup' Legacy Posts General Chat 2 05-15-2003 10:23 AM

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

Reviews provided by


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:34 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
×