I've been living full time in my Casita
17SD for about 9 months, but it's been in a RV park. My goal is to get it to where I can make it off the grid when I need to. I've started to do some research (any links you can recommend for setting up solar power
are welcome!), but wanted to also get some input from people who've already done it.
still has the factory battery
and charging system. Mine is a 2011 model that has, along with the more power hungry A/C, the "improved" fridge
that requires some battery
power even when manually set to run off of Propane
. No inverter yet, as I'm still not sure which one to get. I've already upgraded to interior LED's, and just got a "Market Umbrella" that shades two of the windows
and most of the A/C, so I have a little controllable shade (a necessity in Texas).
I know I'm not going to be able to run the A/C off of any solar
system that I can carry around (a 3000 watt generator
is on my wish list, but it may be awhile before I can afford one). The factory Fantastic Fan pulls 2 to 3 amps. During the Summer that will probably be needed close to 24/7, and I'd happily add a second 12 volt fan for 100 degree days if I had the power. During the winter, my propane furnace
has a 2.8 amp blower motor, but it's on a thermostat so it doesn't run all night.
I have a small net-top PC with a LED TV for a monitor. On paper, it's about 100 watts for the system, or 23 watts for the TV alone (a bit more if I use the factory amplified antenna). I'm a computer geek who would like
to run it all day, but I could cut back to a few hours a day. In a pinch I have a little Android tablet that I could get by with. Haven't found any power specs on it, but I'm guessing it takes perhaps twice as much to keep charged as a cell phone? I also have a Smart phone, which tends to need more frequent charges if it is being used as an Internet connection.
My big addition is that I have a small 1.5 cu ft 110 volt electric freezer that is supposed to pull 1.2 amps when running (probably at least twice that when the compressor kicks in?). How much it runs is dependent on the air temperature inside the trailer, although with the A/C on shore power the freezer hasn't affected my electric bill noticeably. Most household freezers don't cycle all that much, but I haven't tried running it in outside temperatures. In a pinch, I could just use the freezer inside the built-in Propane fridge
, but the electric freezer is really handy for being able to stock up on groceries. The freezer may sometimes be more important than the PC, depending on how much work I have to do and how much meat I've found on sale.
Being able to run both
the PC and freezer would be ideal, but may not be realistic (at least with a solar
system I can afford).
I'm sure there are some minor battery
drains and a whole bunch of other variables, but I guess the main question for you solar
experts is, does this sound like a workable one battery system? Casita's don't really have room for a second on-board battery, so adding a second battery presents it's own problems. But if two batteries are necessary to make this work, then I need to start my planing from there. On paper, it looks like it might
work on one battery, but I'd rather ask someone who isn't trying to sell me the parts