Add solar? - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-07-2014, 01:01 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike-N-Laurie View Post
Night Sailor is the person to talk to. I believe he is boon docking or off grid and his array consists of 900 watts of panels and has 400AH of batteries...

Close. I have. 630 Watts of panels and 400 AH of batteries. I didh I had another 300 watts of panels, I would grid tie it to the house and reduce our energy needs.


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Old 08-07-2014, 01:05 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by tractors1 View Post
Place I would start with is choosing roof mount or not (suitcase style.) If roof mount, what size panel will fit that meets my power needs and how to mount and wire it? The rest (controls, battery wiring, etc) all depend on which way you go with the first decison.

Charlie Y

That's good advice. Will you be in the shade or not? Some people do both. My preference is fixed and extra panels to make up for losses due to fake mounting. Other people prefer movable panels angled directly at the sun to maximize efficiency and reduce cost.


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Old 08-07-2014, 01:31 AM   #17
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The key to keeping the panels running well is spacing them off the roof. The more air you can get under them the better they preform.
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Old 08-07-2014, 07:12 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Night Sailor View Post
Close. I have. 630 Watts of panels and 400 AH of batteries. I didh I had another 300 watts of panels, I would grid tie it to the house and reduce our energy needs.


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Night Sailor is this you or kinda what your BigFoot looks like?
I just ordered my first 150 watts and now I'm looking for
another 100 watts. You said they are addiciting, your right!
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Old 08-07-2014, 11:25 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Night Sailor View Post
That's good advice. Will you be in the shade or not? Some people do both. My preference is fixed and extra panels to make up for losses due to fake mounting. Other people prefer movable panels angled directly at the sun to maximize efficiency and reduce cost.


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That is why I think it starts with what size panel(s) are required to meet an individuals power needs and type of camping.

That leads to an answer to portable or fixed or both as being a good solution. How to implement the solution and equipment I agree is last choice.

If you must have 50 amp/hr a day to support a 12 volt fridge, CPAP machine or furnace for colder weather camping that requirement might well lead one to decide they need big mounted panel and portable one to supplement it.

If your like me with no AC and always looking to park in the shade but with minimal power requirements small portable would seem the better choice. Furnace has no blower and other than two lights all I'm doing is charging camera, phone, kindle and laptop.

On the other hand in a 13 ft. Scamp how large a portable panel I could easily find a place to store would become an issue if my power requirements were greater. I start running a vent fan at night and that could change things to where an amorphous roof mount and small portable or 100 watt or more suitcase would be the option to implement.

Do a lot of your camping in the desert southwest or great plains roof mount off the surface of the roof might be just the ticket. Could even make the roof a little cooler. Bonus.

I guess I'm saying if you don't know how big the panel(s) will need to be it's hard to arrive at where to put them.
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Old 08-07-2014, 07:09 PM   #20
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Mine are flat mounted facing up. Their are not noticeable at first glance at the camper. They cover about 35% of the roof area.


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Old 08-07-2014, 07:44 PM   #21
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I like the way Escape mounts their panels; aluminum square tubing is fabricated with a standoff and then epoxied to the roof for mounting the panels. No holes are drilled through the fiberglass.
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Don't drill holes, try custom storage you design: http://RVWidgetWorks.com
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Old 08-07-2014, 08:34 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by tractors1 View Post
Place I would start with is choosing roof mount or not (suitcase style.) If roof mount, what size panel will fit that meets my power needs and how to mount and wire it? The rest (controls, battery wiring, etc) all depend on which way you go with the first decison.

Charlie Y

There are pluses and minuses for both. The roof mount is great if you're going to do most your camping in the sunny south west. Otherwise you're looking for sunny places to camp rather than shady places to camp.
The portable ones require a bit more attention at camp as you chase the sun with them. However chasing the sun means faster charging times.

As the what's needed there two major ways to get the proper amount of power. One is to increase the battery capacity size and solar panel size to more than needed. The other is to reduce your consumption and thereby reduce the weight needed in batteries and solar panels along with cost of both.

Now here's my story. The first thing I did was change all the lights to LED lights. (not the running or tail lights since they don't run off the house battery). In my little Scamp if I turn all the lights on I draw about the same amount of current as one incandescent light. The only thing that requires battery power other than lights is fan in furnace. I charge the small 80 amp hour group 24 house battery about once every 3 or 4 days if I need the furnace in the mornings or every couple weeks if I don't use the furnace. The solar panel is 65 Watts, about 4.2 amp charging current in full sun. We've been up to 90 days off the grid, no electricity. It works well for us.
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Old 08-07-2014, 10:28 PM   #23
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I knew I wanted the ability to handle many loads. For example ham radio, inverter, CPAP, TV/entertainment system, and the typical fans and lights.

If you view your camper as a home or 2nd home and plan to spend s a lot of time in it, the costs for solar and other upgrades quickly pay for themselves. In my case, boondocking paid for the panels and other hardware already. I lived in min

My rationales was buy two 105 watt panels, and see how they work out. Then with my military discount, I thought, why not splurge and start with four panels. These worked fantastic, and by measuring amp hours produced I determined that I could fully recharge my batteries on a bright overcast day with two more panel. Living in the Northeast, you can imagine how that appealed to me. Even on dark overcast days and in rain I was producing small amounts of power.

Next I discovered how much I could produce in power on a sunny day when the batteries were deeply discharged and realized the depth of my battery bank helped tremendously.

I read how winter time campers tilted their panels to catch the maximum amount of sun-- an extra. 30%. Why should I felt my panels to get that sort of game. I chose to add two more panels, increasing my charging by 50%.


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Old 08-07-2014, 10:45 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Night Sailor View Post
I knew I wanted the ability to handle many loads. For example ham radio, inverter, CPAP, TV/entertainment system, and the typical fans and lights.

If you view your camper as a home or 2nd home and plan to spend s a lot of time in it, the costs for solar and other upgrades quickly pay for themselves. In my case, boondocking paid for the panels and other hardware already. I lived in min

My rationales was buy two 105 watt panels, and see how they work out. Then with my military discount, I thought, why not splurge and start with four panels. These worked fantastic, and by measuring amp hours produced I determined that I could fully recharge my batteries on a bright overcast day with two more panel. Living in the Northeast, you can imagine how that appealed to me. Even on dark overcast days and in rain I was producing small amounts of power.

Next I discovered how much I could produce in power on a sunny day when the batteries were deeply discharged and realized the depth of my battery bank helped tremendously.

I read how winter time campers tilted their panels to catch the maximum amount of sun-- an extra. 30%. Why should I felt my panels to get that sort of game. I chose to add two more panels, increasing my charging by 50%.


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Conrad,
For you, you probably made close to the right decision. Maybe a bit over kill but if it works for that's great. The Original Poster (OP) has a 13' Burro and didn't mention anything about full timing in it. More than likely he's a week ender. Therefore his needs are a whole different than a full timer. It always to remember who you primary audience is and ask the original question. Not all campers or camping situations are made equal.
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Old 08-08-2014, 06:43 AM   #25
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One other thought. In Florida and a good part of the Southeast most of the trees that we park under are pine trees. The pine trees shed the lower branches, some are heavy enough to pierce an aluminum roof. With that in mind I have decided on the portable suitcase panels as the falling branches may shatter the glass on the panels. Last year I parked a Nomad for 6 months on the St Johns River. I bought the camper new after 6 months under the pines the roof looked like it went through a hail storm it was covered with branches. Some of the impressions looked deep enough to pierce the roof.
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Old 08-08-2014, 07:56 PM   #26
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This link has a lot of good info.

The RV Battery Charging Puzzle « HandyBob's Blog

These are nice all in one portable units.

http://www.offthegridrvsolar.com/pro...-solar-panels/
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Old 08-08-2014, 08:27 PM   #27
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If you're going to spend several days off the grid with a trailer that's mostly electric charging and battery capacity can add up quickly. The other thing that can add up fast is weight and if you're trying to stay lite that can be a real issue. Framed solar panels weigh near 25lbs each. With the new flat panels that may change a lot.
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Old 08-08-2014, 08:37 PM   #28
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The flexible panels are only about 3lbs (it had a shipping weight of 6.4lbs, and at least half of that is the double layer corrugated box it ships in)... that's part of why I went with the one I got, plus it was easily mounted with 3M VHB tape (and it's VERY secure), so no extra holes
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