Decided on a Trailer and Solar Question - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-29-2014, 03:03 PM   #15
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Wave box draws (50 amps)-Cost $279 plus shipping, lots of drain off any battery to operate that thing,
my 2 cents.
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Old 04-30-2014, 12:32 PM   #16
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A good, general rule of thumb for non-fulltimers on matching your battery size to your solar panel size is to have (roughly) one amp at 12 volts of storage for every watt of solar panel you've installed. In other words, a 100w panel should be matched with a 100AH deep cycle battery. (That's two 100AH 6V batteries for the 6V aficianados.)

Full-timing is a little different, because full timers are tucked away inside their trailers during the winter when there is less sun during the day. Less sunlight means you need more panel to charge the same sized battery. How much different depends a whole lot on where you spend your winters: if you're in the southern US it's a 1.5:1 ratio, 150w of panel to 100AH of battery capacity. Here in southern Washington State, I'd match 300w of panel to a 100AH battery. (3:1) If you live in Canada, particularly northern Canada, heaven help you, you'll never get enough sun, even if you scrape the snow off.
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Old 04-30-2014, 12:42 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by mmcwhort View Post
FYI - There are 12V refrigerators that will run on solar power. With a 100W panel, you could theoretically run it indefinitely when you're boondocking. It would save you a lot of money on propane.
If your parked out in an open sky spot with lots of sun thats very true, but when parked in a heavy tree covered area and there is a lack of sunshine for a few days such as what happens here on the West coast often... maybe not. Have more panels for when the slight glimpse of the sun appears for a short time is always better if your wanting to run a fairly high number of 12v appliances etc.
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Old 04-30-2014, 12:44 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by peterh View Post
If you live in Canada, particularly northern Canada, heaven help you, you'll never get enough sun, even if you scrape the snow off.
heck you may not even get enough in the middle of a rainy July!
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Old 05-02-2014, 11:22 PM   #19
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200 watts sound good. You can always add more later if you find you need it. If you are boondocking the advantage to more power is you can recharge on an overcast day.

You should consider an MPPT charge controller if you are boondocking for extended periods. The included charge controller is suitable for someone weekending. You won't get the maximum power out of those panels without MPPT technology . It will provide 30%-35% more power.

As already mentioned, your batteries should be sized larger. You should have
200 Amp Hour battery capacity for 200 watts

Very cool camper. I enjoyed reading about it. Aluminum framing means it will last as long as an egg camper. You will have a lot of fun with it.
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Old 05-04-2014, 06:57 PM   #20
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Very cool camper. I enjoyed reading about it. Aluminum framing means it will last as long as an egg camper. You will have a lot of fun with it.
Thanks Conrad! We are excited to get camping!
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Old 05-04-2014, 06:59 PM   #21
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Thanks to all!

Thanks to everyone for the input! Little by little I am getting a handle on our solar needs. I guess we won't know for sure until we put it to the test.

I appreciate all the feedback!

Leslie
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Old 05-04-2014, 08:56 PM   #22
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Smile The Alto Report

Now admission to this blog means you have to keep us up-to-date on your experiences with your camper. This means pictures, etc. Inquiring minds will want to know!

One thing that is missing in helping us to evaluate your prospects is what is the intended use for your rig? Weekending? Full timing? Occasional trips?

Good luck with your choice and many happy camping times to you and yours.
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Old 05-05-2014, 10:47 AM   #23
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Costco is selling a Coleman 60 W cell, with an 8' cable, battery clamps, a 12 VDC socket, with battery clamps, a plug in green diagnostic LED, 200 W inverter, and a 7 A solar PWM controller, (exactly enough for two panels) for $170.

My son just bought two of them. For Christmas I got him a 40 W Coleman cell, with the same controller for $100. I got one for me as well. I bought his present from him for $100, so his upgrade from 40 W to 120 W cost him $240. We will both be making our cells into a fold up portable array.

At Christmas, I told him 40 W was enough for lights, and to charge his phone and portable game system. He wanted the additional power to run a microwave. With enough battery, I figure he could run a 700 W microwave for about a half an hour, and his LED lights. He will need a 1000 W inverter though. I hope I can find another one for less then $40.
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Old 05-05-2014, 09:41 PM   #24
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I had another thought. If you purchased the camper with a compressor type fridge, then more solar panels make sense. I have 6 panels on my camper and am now thinking about swapping out my fridge for a DC compressor type fridge, so I could eliminate the need for propane to run the fridge. My goal is to be as independent of fossils fuels as possible. I am not sure it is worth the cost for me, but since you are buying new, you may want to consider a compressor type electric fridge and skip the absorption type propane/ electric fridge commonly found in RVs.

A 5' tall compressor type fridge uses 39 Amp Hours per day, and in the summer when you need it more , there is more sunlight. 200 watts of panels would run one of these according to my research. If you do a search on off grid cabin refrigerator there is a good study done by a Professional Engineer.
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Old 05-06-2014, 08:02 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Roger C H View Post
Now admission to this blog means you have to keep us up-to-date on your experiences with your camper. This means pictures, etc. Inquiring minds will want to know!

One thing that is missing in helping us to evaluate your prospects is what is the intended use for your rig? Weekending? Full timing? Occasional trips?

Good luck with your choice and many happy camping times to you and yours.
Thanks Roger! No pics yet, but I will post pics when we get to pick her up in June.

We will be weekending and doing multi-week trips in the summer. Barry and I are fortunate to be on academic contracts that allow us a month off in the summer. We are looking forward to weekend trips in Western North Carolina and to longer road trips in the summer to explore National and State Parks with our 8 year old daughter.

Leslie
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Old 05-06-2014, 08:05 AM   #26
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I had another thought. If you purchased the camper with a compressor type fridge, then more solar panels make sense.
Thanks Conrad. We are purchasing a dealer "model" so it comes already equipped and has a 2-way fridge, but, in the future we may want to make that change.
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Old 05-06-2014, 08:07 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by David Tilston View Post
Costco is selling a Coleman 60 W cell, with an 8' cable, battery clamps, a 12 VDC socket, with battery clamps, a plug in green diagnostic LED, 200 W inverter, and a 7 A solar PWM controller, (exactly enough for two panels) for $170.

My son just bought two of them. For Christmas I got him a 40 W Coleman cell, with the same controller for $100. I got one for me as well. I bought his present from him for $100, so his upgrade from 40 W to 120 W cost him $240. We will both be making our cells into a fold up portable array.

At Christmas, I told him 40 W was enough for lights, and to charge his phone and portable game system. He wanted the additional power to run a microwave. With enough battery, I figure he could run a 700 W microwave for about a half an hour, and his LED lights. He will need a 1000 W inverter though. I hope I can find another one for less then $40.
That sounds like a cool project! We are not handy so are having ours dealer installed. I look forward to seeing pics of how yours turns out!
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Old 05-06-2014, 08:37 AM   #28
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...If you live in Canada, particularly northern Canada, heaven help you, you'll never get enough sun, even if you scrape the snow off.
Ha Ha. Maybe winter months. In summer the number of sunlight hours in a day is greater than experienced by those in southern climes.
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