Convert to solar - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-15-2015, 11:08 AM   #1
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Name: Shelley
Trailer: 1974 Trillium
British Columbia
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Convert to solar

The only electrical requirements in my Trillium is the lighting (fridge is an ice box). How hard would it be to convert to solar? Would it be cost effective?

Thanks.
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Old 06-15-2015, 11:19 AM   #2
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Name: Larry H
Trailer: Trillium
Arizona
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Solar?

Hello Shelley,

Good question. It all depends.... Ice box is good = no power.

How much time do you spend camping without power or being
hooked up to the tow vehicle? My Trillium has a 130Amp Hour
Trojan deep cycle battery. With just lights (LEDs) and a satellite
entertainment radio... probably used about 5 to 10 Amp Hour per
day... so it is easy to go close to a week and not worry about
charging the battery. When hooked up to the tow vehicle for
a while the battery is fully recharged.

I use a ham radio while camped so need more power. I built a
simple solar system with a 150 watt panel and a good controller.
Total cost was about $400 to $500. Unless there is no sun I can
use a lot of power and the system is fully recharged every day.

Hope this helps....

Larry H
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Old 06-15-2015, 11:35 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NitKnit View Post
The only electrical requirements in my Trillium is the lighting (fridge is an ice box). How hard would it be to convert to solar? Would it be cost effective?

Thanks.

Its easy to add solar.

If your only running lights and your are using LED's then a small 40 watt panel would more than do it for you. Canadian Tire actually has a pretty good sale on right now for small systems complete with stand, panel and controller. I think the 40 watt set up was only about $100.

Do you have a propane furnace that you use? Those can be a bit of power hogs. So here in BC on a wet week-end I would not expect the small solar system to help me out much with that.... but on nice sunny summers you could stay off the grid for weeks with a simple small panel set out in the sun if only running LED lights and a 12v fan. I actually had a simple 15 watt panel that I used for camping off the grid for weeks with a group 27 battery (in good condition) if the sun was out! ;-)
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Old 06-15-2015, 11:57 AM   #4
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Name: Shelley
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Okay, thanks. I just purchased it this past winter and have yet to take it out. Just wondered if it was worth it...but that seems like a lot of money for not much use. I'll live with the regular battery this year and think on it.

Thanks again.
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Old 06-15-2015, 12:09 PM   #5
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Shelley, consider this. A new battery costs about $100 for a group 24 deep cell, more if you have a group 27 that many do have. Every time you run your battery down below 50% (12.06) you are shortening its life. Run it dead a couple of times and it is no longer a great battery to depend on for more than 24 hours of camping. Having to replace your battery every year or so due to not keeping it charged up gets pricey.

Simple to set up the solar panel to keep the battery charged up. Attach the solar controller to the battery and leave it attached so its simple to just plug in the panel to the controller any time you are camping without power.
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Old 06-15-2015, 12:16 PM   #6
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Name: Shelley
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Just so I'm understanding clearly....a regular battery kept charged by a solar panel, yes? Good idea. I assume it is best to get all of this gear from a RV place? Thank you.
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Old 06-15-2015, 12:51 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by NitKnit View Post
Just so I'm understanding clearly....a regular battery kept charged by a solar panel, yes? Good idea. I assume it is best to get all of this gear from a RV place? Thank you.
Yes the solar panel will keep the battery charged up.


No RV places are way to expensive!! You can buy at Canadian Tire a small solar system of about 45 watts with everything you will need for about $100. They had then on sale. You can also buy a new battery at Walmart or Costco if you need one - much cheaper than an RV place.
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Old 06-15-2015, 01:09 PM   #8
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Awesome! I always see those panels when the sale is on and think I have nothing to charge with them...now I do.

Thanks again.
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Old 06-15-2015, 01:11 PM   #9
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State of Charge Chart

Hi All,

Carol, good advice. However I think you are mistaken
calling 12.6 V a 50% charge.....


Be sure the battery is off charge and not under load over night
before measuring the state of charge.

Larry H
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Old 06-15-2015, 01:14 PM   #10
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'not under load' meaning not in use?
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Old 06-15-2015, 01:40 PM   #11
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beat me to it Larry.....

on the 12.6 thing I have two 6V batts.....they read 12.7 the next morning after a sunny day in my yard....I have two 40 watt panels out....don't have a converter anymore, only a seperate charger...that I use when I'm on the road and plugged in....don't use it anymore at home...at least in the summer

one forty watt (like the crappy tire one mentioned) will be lots for the OPs needs....they retail at 250 bucks but routinely are on sale for half that (when I picked up mine)....in bright sun they put out almost 21V from the panel....controller throttles that down to 14.3 (which is sorta low if you do some reading...too bad they don't have the cut-out at or near 14.8)

12.6+....and 12.2 are the numbers to pay attention to....

and, yeah for an accurate reading, using a meter, you unplug everything and wait an hour...then take the reading....
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Old 06-15-2015, 01:40 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Larry C Hanson View Post
Hi All,

Carol, good advice. However I think you are mistaken
calling 12.6 V a 50% charge.....


Larry H

Larry type 0 on my part missed the 0 between the . and the 6. Your correct 12.06 is 50% although I try to avoid ever letting the battery even get down to that if I can.
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Old 06-16-2015, 09:28 AM   #13
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Yes Shelley,

Not under load = not in use/nothing in trailer
turned on.

Good luck whatever decision you make.

Larry H
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