Strength solar power needed...? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 12-31-2016, 02:05 PM   #1
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Name: Estella
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Strength solar power needed...?

Hello there!

I am wondering if anyone would know how much of solar power panel (strength)I should get for my small Van Wagon in order to provide me just enough power when being in places without electricity. Also, I worry that if I install it on the roof, can it be stolen? Has anyone had their solar panel stolen in the past? Maybe I am just being a worry wart? Can this be possible? Any input will be appreciated!

Wishing You Good Health & Happiness in 2017!
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Old 12-31-2016, 02:28 PM   #2
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For minimal use and ease of use, probably one 50 watt panel works well. This assumes propane refrigeration, LED lights and low general use.

If you install on the roof, probably double that to 100 watts. I'm not a fan of roof systems because they are never oriented correctly to the sun, get dirty and must be cleaned, and I don't always want to park my trailer in the direct sun. Parking in the shade suits me better, but would make roof mounted solar useless.

A 50 watt panel can easily be stored inside and moved out when you set up camp. If dirty, it can be easily cleaned and then set to the correct angle to the sun. I found a spot in my closet that is perfect and in my pop-up camper I had a fine spot under the bed.
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Old 12-31-2016, 03:02 PM   #3
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Hey John,

Thank you for your reply. I never thought I could keep a solar panel indoors, but I suppose it can be done if it's a small panel, and take it out when it needs too...I always thought that solar panels should be mounted on the roof, but I see it's not necessary in all cases.

Happy New Year!
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Old 12-31-2016, 03:21 PM   #4
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I have a 100 watt portable solar panel . Works well with our single
27 F deep cycle battery. We stayed away from the roof mounted panel for the reasons Raspy stated. We would rather park our trailer in the shade so it stays cooler and place the solar panel in the sun where it works the best. As far a theft , it has not been an issue , we store our panel in the bed of our truck during travel and at night.
3 to 4 hours in the sun is usually enough to bring our battery up to full charge . A bigger solar panel would charge the battery faster but it's not worth the additional cost / hastle just to shorten our charge time by a couple of hours
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Old 12-31-2016, 06:32 PM   #5
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My panel is 70W and I stow it behind the driver's seat of my vehicle. Standing up, it doesn't take up much space.
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Old 01-01-2017, 11:34 AM   #6
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To all of you...

Who sent their reply to my concerns about what kind of solar panel I should get...I just wanted to say:

From the bottom of my heart; Thank you, so much!
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Old 01-01-2017, 11:39 AM   #7
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Hi Steve,

I was wondering, where did you get your 27 F deep cycle battery? Is it a good idea to carry one of these when using a solar panel? I drive a small vehicle.

Thanks!
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Old 01-01-2017, 12:04 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by LaFille1 View Post
Hi Steve,

I was wondering, where did you get your 27 F deep cycle battery? Is it a good idea to carry one of these when using a solar panel? I drive a small vehicle.

Thanks!
The 27 F deep cycle battery came with / is part of my trailer. I do not carry an additional battery in my vehicle . When the time comes to replace my trailer battery , I will probably up size to a 29 or 31 F battery
My 100 watt solar will still be adequate for our style of camping / power requirements. My solar is set up to be plug and play .
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Old 01-01-2017, 12:05 PM   #9
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Solar panels on TV roof

When I get our Parkliner this summer, I am thinking of mounting the solar panel on the TV (Honda Odyssey)roof rack. Easy to clean with long handled brush, park camper in the shade while TV is at proper angle to and in sun. Just run cables to do the recharging. On our current camper, we removed the battery completely then ran a 10' extension cord to connect the round 7 way plugs. Works ok on a more basic level. You just have to start the TV when you want much power to preserve its battery charge. Worlds quietest generator. Anybody know if this would work on other campers?
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Old 01-01-2017, 12:14 PM   #10
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Thank you Steve- I hope you don't mind me asking you too many questions, I just wanted to know; how much should I expect (approximately) to pay for a 100 solar panel?

Thanks!
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Old 01-01-2017, 12:34 PM   #11
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solar system

Happy New Year,I mounted a 150 watt panel onto an articulating frame,on the roof.It can angle 45 degrees side to side.It supplies two AGM 6 volt batteries.This gives me enough power to run the system and an inverter.For field work I set up a 40 watt portable unit with a 12 volt ATV battery,with a controller in an ammo box.This maintains LED lights plus all computer,and sat phone needs.Cheers m
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Old 01-01-2017, 01:12 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by LaFille1 View Post
Thank you Steve- I hope you don't mind me asking you too many questions, I just wanted to know; how much should I expect (approximately) to pay for a 100 solar panel?

Thanks!
I have the Renogy 100 watt solar suitcase with the factory charge controller . Cost was $ 249 with free shipiping from Amazon.
There are cheaper ways to go if you shop around .
I did not want to drill mounting holes in the roof of my trailer or the fiberglass topper on my truck so I went with the portable system
It takes me approx 5 minutes to uncase , set up ,and plug in my solar charging system. I do move it during the day in order to track the sun.
We have LED lights and try to minimize our usage . We don't take / use a lot of electronic devices when camping . We camp to get away and have no desire to be constantly connected to anything.

I would figure out how and where you want to camp before rushing into buying any solar . When we only camped for one or two days our battery was sufficient . When we went to 3 or more days camping off grid we needed to find a way to charge our battery.
We chose solar . We are not generator people . A/C is not a real necessity in Northern Minnesota / Wisconsin and the majority of campgrounds / public parks in our area do not allow generator usage.
I am too old to be lugging around a 100 lb generator , my solar suitcase is under 30 lbs . My wife can set up our solar system , the same cannot be said for a generator.
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Old 01-01-2017, 01:20 PM   #13
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Solarblvd.com has a 100 watt panel for $80.
https://www.solarblvd.com/product_in...oducts_id=2673
That's where I bought my 70W panel (same brand) and a Morningstar SG-4, 4.5 Amp controller. With a 100W panel you'd need a controller that can handle at least 6A. Solarblvd has the Morningstar SK-6
https://www.solarblvd.com/product_in...roducts_id=623
which can attach right to the junction box included with the above panel, and it will be a waterproof outdoor setup; or there are some affordable indoor controllers on ebay, like this
LCD 30A 12V/24V Solar Panel Controller Regulator Charge Battery Safe Protection | eBay
or this
LCD 30A Solar Panel Battery Regulator Charge Controller 12/24V Auto PWM one USB | eBay

I wired my panel to my controller with a cut-in-half extension cord, using the 2 plug ends together so I can separate the pieces or even add an extra extension cord to get the panel into a sunny patch. The other end of the controller is wired to a 7-pin receptacle that I can plug a trailer's pigtail into. Basic and easy. The SG-4 was capable of being left outside in the weather.

If you mount a panel to the roof, you're better off wiring everything up permanently and mounting the controller inside the trailer. Those ebay controllers would need to be kept indoors, for example.
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Old 01-01-2017, 04:53 PM   #14
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Rather than going straight to the solution, first, I would suggest that you evaluate your needs. There are good planning guides online. Here's how I figured mine. I started by listing everything that would run on DC. Then I listed each current draw and multiplied by the number of hours I expected to use each device on an average day to get the daily amp-hour (ah) requirement. Furnace fans are energy hogs. LEDs use very little. Then decide on a battery. The general guide for AGM batteries is to never discharge them by more than 50%, so I figured the battery a.h. rating needed to be at least double my maximum daily usage. For solar panel size figure on having no more than four hours of good sunlight per day. So if you expect to draw 5 a.h. per day, meaning your daily use is 5 amps X 12 volts or 60 watt-hours, you need a solar panel capable of replacing that much power in three or four hours. A 20 watt panel might just do it, but a good rule is to double-up. My system has minimal draw and gets by in this range.
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