Scamp Solar checklist/suggestions - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-05-2014, 08:17 PM   #1
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Name: Matt
Trailer: 13' scamp
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Scamp Solar checklist/suggestions

I'm getting the Scamp ready to live out of for the next few months, and before I do so, I'd like to make some upgrades.

I currently have 2 LP tanks, an LP furnace, three way fridge, the regular Scamp lighting, one 110 outlet, and one 12v outlet (both by the sink).

First order of business is to upgrade all the bulbs to LED. I may even upgrade a few of the fixtures... because they are hideous.

Next, I want to add a 100w flexible solar panel to the roof. I have not decided which yet. I would also like to put a Y in the cable so I can add a portable panel later if I find that one is needed.

I understand that I will need a charge controller... I have read pretty good things about the Morningstar stuff. I think that this one may meet my needs:
http://www.amazon.com/Morningstar-Su.../dp/B002MQW3H8

I am also planning to add an inverter... once again, I like the Morningstar stuff... this looks like it will do.
http://www.amazon.com/Morning-Star-M...9GRZYK32YBJY8Y

I'm still undecided on a meter.

My Scamp had no battery when I picked it up... however it is wired for one and even has the box. I had hoped to go with dual 6v batteries, but I don't think that is going to happen with out some fabrication... and I'm on a time crunch. I want the biggest battery that makes sense with my setup, and am open to suggestions.

I plan on adding one more 110 outlet, and mounting a 19-22 inch television. Mostly I'll be using the lights, maybe tv for a couple hours a night, recharging iPhone, iPad, Nintendo DS, maybe a laptop, maybe an apple tv. Largest power draw my come from an electric blanket on the colder nights.

I also plan on plugging in one of these into each outlet, unless it would be much more efficient to run straight from a 12 adapter.

This: Amazon.com: Belkin 3-Outlet Mini Travel Swivel Charger Surge Protector with Dual USB Ports, 5 Charging Outlets Total (1 AMP / 5 Watt): Home Improvement

Or this: Amazon.com: Accell D080B-011K Travel Surge Protector with 612 Joules Dual USB Charging, 3 Outlets, Folding Plug - Black: Electronics

What am I missing? What am I overlooking? What do you think?
Thanks!
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Old 08-05-2014, 09:07 PM   #2
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If you think there is a good chance of adding that extra panel, you may want to consider going with the Morningstar SS-20-12V, as 2 100 watt panels will be pushing almost 17 amps in full sun. Better to overshoot a bit on the controller.

Also, if you are going solar, stay 12 volt on as much as you can. On the charging of 12 volt devices, it doesn't make sense to use an inverter to convert to AC, and loose about 15 % in the process, just to convert it back to DC. If you are hooked up to shore power, the converter in the Scamp will charge the battery(ies). In this case you are using the battery as a buffer. If only on battery and charging via solar, you will be making better use of the available power.

So, are you getting excited yet?

Regards.
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Old 08-05-2014, 09:19 PM   #3
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I wondered about that... and it makes perfect sense. Looks like I'll be adding 1 or 2 more 12v outlets.

I hope to mostly be using the 12v/solar combination... unless it gets unbearably cold, in which case I will have to find someplace with shore power so I can use a small heater.

Yes, I am getting pretty excited. It should be an interesting experience... and I'm sure that it will leave me with plenty of good stories.
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Old 08-05-2014, 09:42 PM   #4
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Name: John Michael
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Blue Sea Systems Dual USB Charger Socket

I like this little 12 volt to USB charger. It's easy to add to an RV.
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Old 08-05-2014, 09:49 PM   #5
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Name: Matt
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Originally Posted by John Linck View Post
I like this little 12 volt to USB charger. It's easy to add to an RV.
Excellent. Thank you!
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Old 08-05-2014, 09:49 PM   #6
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Get the biggest battery that will fit in the case, at least a deep cycle. AGMs are good, but way more expensive. Look for one that gives the amp hour rating at the 20 hour rate. Usually there will be a 20 in parenthesis or such behind the AH rating. A group size 27 or 29 is common; a 31 if you can fit it.
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Old 08-05-2014, 09:51 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by The Minimalist View Post
Get the biggest battery that will fit in the case, at least a deep cycle. AGMs are good, but way more expensive. Look for one that gives the amp hour rating at the 20 hour rate. Usually there will be a 20 in parenthesis or such behind the AH rating. A group size 27 or 29 is common; a 31 if you can fit it.
I'm going to shoot for a 29 or 31 since dual 6v is out of the question.
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Old 08-06-2014, 12:12 AM   #8
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Name: Matt
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Looks like my options (on the cheap) are:

Group 31 Duracell Marine battery
20 amp hour rate = 105
$94.67
Duracell® Marine Battery - Group Size 31 - Sam's Club

or

Group 29 Everstart Maxx
20 amp hour rate = ??? (read somewhere it was 115. Can this be right?)
$99.97
EverStart Maxx Group Size 29 Marine Battery: Auto Parts : Walmart.com

(Sorry, I'm just organizing my thoughts and felt it might benefit someone else... somewhere down the line.)
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Old 08-06-2014, 09:19 AM   #9
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I believe the Walmart marine batteries are tested at a 1 amp rate. If it lasts 115 hours that's 1 amp/hour, or 115 amp hours. For a rough comparison with the 20 hour rating, divide 115 by 20 which will show 5.75 amps per hour.

On the first example, the Duracell, the 20 hour rate is 105, which divided by 20 gives you 5.25 amps per hour.

The Everstart Maxx, appears better, both in terms of amp hours and what you can draw from the batteries. However, this is misleading as the 115 number is based on a slow draw under which batteries can supply energy over a greater period of time. This is explained by the Peukert effect, more about which here:

Calculating the Battery Runtime - Battery University

So, conversion of this 115 amp hours to the 20 hour format will not reflect the results of a true 20 hour test.

The 20 hour rate is the standard test for deep cycle batteries. It more closely approximates a real world scenario. Consider that marine deep cycle batteries are used primarily to run trolling motors. It's reasonable to assume that a 105 amp hour (20 hr test) battery will give significantly more than 105 hours of energy at a reduced rate, say my 3.6 or so maximum draw.

There is one more thing to consider. For the sake of better battery life, batteries should not be drawn down below 50% capacity on a regular basis. 50% capacity on a 12 volt scale is 12.06 volts. So when you're looking at batteries, whatever the 20 hour rate is, for practical purposes divide the number by 2.

Batteries can be drawn down as much as 60 to 80% as may sometimes happen but you don't want that to happen too often. A battery is considered at 0 capacity when the open circuit voltage drops to 10.5 volts, which is the voltage batteries are dropped to in all amp hour tests, regardless of the test parameters, amps drawn or time.

You may want to go to this site to better acquaint yourself with 12 volt living.

The 12volt Side of Life (Part 1)

Read part 2, available at the bottom of the page, as well. By the way, there is a downloadable and printable State of Charge chart. Handy to print, laminate and keep in your trailer.

All I have said thus far has to do primarily with flooded batteries. AGMs are somewhat different but also more expensive.
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Old 08-06-2014, 10:49 AM   #10
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You will either need a cable for the TV or an antenna and cable for the TV or both depending on whether or not your in a campground with cable access. I use the Everstart group 29 battery and 2- 35 watt solar panels and they have worked fine for me.
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Old 08-07-2014, 01:33 AM   #11
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I put 12 volt outlets everywhere but find I only use a few of them. If my lady starts traveling with me that could change. She is still working so her time off is limited.

I use an electric blanket. It will save on your furnace use both power and propane, plus the dogs love it too. I use one side only so far , so they can move around to suit them. Dogs are are nice heaters themselves.

I used about 65 Amps a night in the Spring using the electric blanket at night and the furnace mostly off. Less if I was out late. TV use added to it. I have a CPAP also so the inverter runs all night.

You could get buy with 200 AH of batteries. I use the MasterVolt slim line. Or get something much cheaper in flooded like the Trojans. I wanted to double my energy density and fit two times the power in the space of one. 8D. Alt-E sells the same battery for less than I laid for mine. I worry they may not hold up--time will tell. I have two and plan to put a spacer between them to help cool the off some. Weight is a concern do you buy two and have them last twice as long or two one at a time lasting half as long. I chose the two at once and that means more weight but an incredible hang time. I left my inverter on all day until midnight copying movies into my TiVo over WiFi and it was down 36A H--about 92% state of charge. The choice is yours. I wanted infinite off grid capability.

I would have bought Lithium batteries if I could have afforded it because they are lighter and can be more deeply discharged. A 300 AH lithium would give me 35% more useable power than a 50% discharged 400AH AGM bank and save weight too.

You are on the right track switching to LEDs. I use about the same power with all my LEDs on than I did with a pair of incandescent bulbs.

I have a 1000 pure sine wave watt inverter that turned out to be two 500 watt inverters. I use half of it and it runs all my AC loads, TV, TiVo, BlueRay, wifi router, Ethernet switch and soon a Mac Mini which I plan to switch to a DC supply, plus the electric blanket. Still it would be nice to run a microwave. However I now lean towards removing that and using that space for pots and pans.

Of all these things, I would give up the electric blanket last. I love it. Mostly because I have circulation problems in my feet. You need to be careful with heat in that situation--not to overheat your feet. It does help eliminate a lot of pain and discomfort for me. It is a positive joy to get into a warm bed on cold days.

Good luck and keep us posted.




Sent from my iPhone using Fiberglass RV
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Old 08-10-2014, 11:30 PM   #12
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Picked up a group 31 battery rated at 105Ah at 20hrs.
Time to start ordering the solar stuff.

Time is ticking away.
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Old 08-11-2014, 02:00 AM   #13
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Matt,
Glad to see you going for solar! I have had a system for over a year now and really love it. From my experience and research, you are on the right track with the Morningstar equipment. I have the following and am very happy with it - very configurable and reliable.

Charge Control: Morningstar Tristar
Inverter: Morningstar Sure Sine 300
Battery monitor: Trimetric TM2025-RV (with SH-500 shunt and wiring harness)
Solar Panels: 2 x 50w semi-flexible Sunpower
Batteries: 2 x 6v Trojan T105

With being on a tight timeframe, you can always easily upgrade the batteries at a later date, but it is much harder to upgrade the other interconnected components of the system....

The inverter is relatively small capacity (300w) but works very well for us and is a pure sine wave - I found that the modified sine ones couldn't power certain electronic devices without problems. We don't usually have much AC load (we try to be very power efficient and when we have to run things we try to use 12v, plus LED lights, etc)

I went with 2x50w solar panels rather than a single 100w panel so in the event that there is partial shade I can still get fairly good charging capacity (with solar even with part of a panel shaded you loose most of the charging ability)

From my research before my installation, I read a lot about having sufficiently large gauge wiring to maximize the power that gets to the batteries - most of mine is 8ga - harder to work with but hopefully worth it (I figured better a little overkill than risk losing some of that nice free sun energy!)

My wife and I now don't worry about power, we are usually back to up to 100% by around noon each day even with the furnace going and my wife using a heat pad to help relieve a neck injury.

Andrew
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Old 08-11-2014, 06:10 AM   #14
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I'd skip the inverter and make everything 12v inside. You can get a tv and your computer operates off 12v. You have a propane furnace so why use an electric blanket, unless you are hooked up to electric. Be self sufficient and go 12v with solar and battery.
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