Solar panels, Converters, Inverters - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-07-2015, 02:33 PM   #1
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Name: Kristen
Trailer: Happier Camper HC1
Colorado
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Solar panels, Converters, Inverters

Hi!

I recently ordered a new camper. I ordered it with a
-100watt Solar Panel with Charger
-10 AMP AGM marine battery
-Mighty Mini Electronic Converter/Charger Electronics Panel hub

I figured that we would just really run some lights off it, charge our cell phones and maybe run hot pot off of it or an electrical heater. Can anyone give me specifics on what this set-up might be able to power?

Also, there are options for a 3100 watt generator and a 600 watt medical grade inverter - do I need these? What kinds of things would they be able to power?

Thanks guys!
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Old 07-07-2015, 02:49 PM   #2
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check your battery, 10 amp is not right. Maybe 100 or some such.
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Old 07-07-2015, 02:58 PM   #3
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First off determine what you want to be able to run when you are camping. From there you figure out the amount of power you need, that determines the size of the equipment you need to run it.

A 100 watt panel will keep your battery charged for light usage. A Hot Pot (Crock pot???) and an electric heater need LOTS of power, you'd need more solar and more batteries, probably lots more.

You can run those off generator, during the hours the campgrounds let you run them.

A 3100 watt genny is fairly loud but will run just about anything you wish to bring with you. Maybe both the hot pot and the heater at the same time.
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Old 07-07-2015, 04:31 PM   #4
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Why do you think you would need a 3100 watt generator? Do HC's have air conditioners? The solar/electric system you ordered is appropriate if you plan to boondock. But.......I suggest you wait for your camper, use it, go camping and then decide what you need for the style of camping that suits you best. If you like campgrounds with water and plug ins and sewers, you may have no use for a generator.
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Old 07-07-2015, 07:37 PM   #5
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I would recommend that, unless you are planning to be connected to shore power all the time, forget about anything that uses resistance heat, ie: electric heaters, electric percolators, incandescent bulbs, 12v reefer operation and such. Run the fridge on propane if it is a 3 way, use only LED bulbs, make your coffee on the stove, etc. Then you will have a better chance at making solar work.

You mentioned a 10 (100?) amp battery. If that is 100 amp hours, DC reefer operation will run for about 5 hours or so with no other loads. To get the most out of your battery, you should seldom run it below 50% of it's rating.

You need to figure out what you HAVE to have, then calculate the projected amp hours of use (amps x expected time used in hours) per item. Total them all up, and that is your expected amp hours usage per day. The question to ask here is, 'Under less than ideal conditions, will my solar setup adequately replace my usage.'

Though your solar panels are rated at 100 watts, you can expect to get that only during ideal conditions; no shade, no clouds, ideal orientation to the sun.

Dependence on solar requires that you first get a realistic assessment of your usage and use every means you can to keep it down.

Lastly, don't use an inverter unless you have to. You will probable loose at least 15% of your power in the conversion process. If you have to use electric appliances use the DC version if available. And by all means, don't use AC converter for telephones and such. Why convert DC to AC just to convert it back to DC.

I'm with starsbrightsteve. Use the camper a bit. You will have a much better idea what your true needs are.

Best of luck.
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Old 07-07-2015, 08:28 PM   #6
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Name: Derek
Trailer: Boler
California
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Hey guys, Ill fill you in on a few or the power options in the HC1, its very important to us to get this part right, so this discussion helps.

The HC1 is using a 100 watt Zamp Solar flexible solar panel, its light and curves with the HC1 roof, it actually pulls a lot of charging power in our testing (90%). That said, a dusty panel or little sunlight can degrade the charging potential of any panel, but i think your going to like this one. We have camped for several days, using most electronics comfortably, lights, charging tablets and the maxx air fan, and its kept the battery charged the whole time. We are using a good quality solar charge controller with digital readout that will regulate the batteries charge. Here is a photo of the panel.


The HC1 has a 100 AMP deep cycle AGM battery, its bigger then most and can hold a good amount of power for most things, but it cant power a big AC unit or larger electric heater. We have been testing a small low power DC heater in the trailers and its keeping them comfortable at night, but if you want heat, i would suggest the Mr Heater propane heater, works great for the cold nights. This battery is standard.


The power converter in the HC1 is a "mighty mini" and auto charges the battery when plugged in, it converts all power from AC to DC automatically. It has a fuse box built in for several AC and DC fuses, and can easily be used to upgrade to your power needs. The inverter is standard in the HC1. Here is a photo of it nestled behind the table leg.


The 600 Watt Zamp Solar inverter we are using is medical grade for CPAP machines. Its very good clean power. IT features a mountable face plate we have places conveniently by the door and bed area. It may be a bit over the top option for some people, but we feel its a great option for the person that wants it. We will also offer a smaller 200 Watt, DC plug inverter for those that just want to plug in basics, like a laptop. Also using a few DC and USB ports around the trailers interior. Here is a photo of the inverter mounted in the HC1.


The 3100 watt generator we choose is a Champion. Its a good brand with excellent customer service. This particular model is quiet and stack-able and is more then enough power to run a AC unit if your HC1 is ordered with one. If you do not have a AC unit, this might not be something you need on every trip. The HC1 is modular and designed to be customized for each trip. Sometimes you may want to travel light and easy, sometimes with more stuff or more people, its made to customize to your needs. here is a photo of the generator we are offering.

Starting with the basics, and getting to know your usage is the best bet, Were making the HC1 built to order with a Base coming with most of the integral electrical components. Upgrade when you need it.
Also the modular components really allow you to change or upgrade easy. For example we are working to complete a new larger Kitchenette, 3x bunk for kids, and a upright closet component that will be available soon. So HC1 customers can just pop them into there modular trailers down the road if they want a change.

Im taking the HC1 prototype out this weekend for a trip with no modular interior components at all, just a big queen size blow up bed, fits perfectly Mega light!


Im hoping to float the bed down the Kern river too...

thanks for any advice, i think we have a solid power set up, but if there is something new or better we are always up for a change.
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Old 07-08-2015, 10:43 AM   #7
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Name: Eva
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you need to bring a couple of jugs of water before you can float that thing down the Kern! I should love to check out your proto - drop me a line boardlady at gmail dot com. I'm in Lake Isabella
Eva
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Old 07-08-2015, 01:50 PM   #8
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Name: Derek
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Your right, the drought sucks, i can dream cant i?
I hope mother nature gives us a break soon, we could use a drink down here.
The first photos i took of the prototype were taken from the dry Isabella Lake bed.
Here is a few. Its a magical place.


Eva, ill email you if i can make it up to Lake Isabella this weekend, we will drop by and show you the trailer .
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Old 07-08-2015, 02:26 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Derekmichael View Post
The 600 Watt Zamp Solar inverter we are using is medical grade for CPAP machines. Its very good clean power. IT features a mountable face plate we have places conveniently by the door and bed area. It may be a bit over the top option for some people, but we feel its a great option for the person that wants it. We will also offer a smaller 200 Watt, DC plug inverter for those that just want to plug in basics, like a laptop.
Thanks for thinking about the CPAP users (like me). My CPAP runs fine on a 150 watt invertor and it is in fact what my machines manufacturer recommended. Also, and just my opinion from running a laptop 5 days a week all day on an invertor in my truck, a much better long term solution for powering a laptop off 12V would be a 12V/19.2V (or whatever) invertor.
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Old 07-08-2015, 04:00 PM   #10
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Robot Check

Top 7 In-Car Laptop Chargers | eBay

http://www.ebay.com/itm/120W-Univers...item23510b4ad8

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Old 07-08-2015, 06:33 PM   #11
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Name: Kristen
Trailer: Happier Camper HC1
Colorado
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Great discussion, guys. Thanks for the general community input and thanks for the specific input, Derek - probably will help answer a lot of people's questions. I like the queen bed mattress option! I hadn't thought of that, but for a one-nighter, it would be great! It seems like if I feel that I need upgrade with more power, getting a generator would be my next step, but I think I am comfortable with what I ordered.
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Old 07-08-2015, 10:08 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coolbean60 View Post
Hi!

I recently ordered a new camper. I ordered it with a
-100watt Solar Panel with Charger
-10 AMP AGM marine battery
-Mighty Mini Electronic Converter/Charger Electronics Panel hub

I figured that we would just really run some lights off it, charge our cell phones and maybe run hot pot off of it or an electrical heater. Can anyone give me specifics on what this set-up might be able to power?

Also, there are options for a 3100 watt generator and a 600 watt medical grade inverter - do I need these? What kinds of things would they be able to power?

Thanks guys!
Forget the hot pot!! Actually don't forget it, its handy to have when camping just stick to using it when plugged in. Forget the Electric heater as well.... in fact your propane furnaces fan will do a pretty good job of draining power - so you will have to watch its use as well.

As others have said switching all your lights over to LED is a big power saver. The big unknown with solar is how much sunlight are you going to get or not get - thats a variable. So some days you may get by running all sorts of extra gadgets without problems but the next day in the rain or overcast sky you may have troubles charging the battery fully charged back up. Having said that I have camped many many nights out off the grid with only a 40W panel, always enough power for lights and propane furnace use as well as phone charging and lap top & camera charging, but I run the fridge on propane only.
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Old 07-08-2015, 10:32 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Carol H View Post
Forget the hot pot!! Actually don't forget it, its handy to have when camping just stick to using it when plugged in. Forget the Electric heater as well.... in fact your propane furnaces fan will do a pretty good job of draining power - so you will have to watch its use as well.

As others have said switching all your lights over to LED is a big power saver. The big unknown with solar is how much sunlight are you going to get or not get - thats a variable. So some days you may get by running all sorts of extra gadgets without problems but the next day in the rain or overcast sky you may have troubles charging the battery fully charged back up. Having said that I have camped many many nights out off the grid with only a 40W panel, always enough power for lights and propane furnace use as well as phone charging and lap top & camera charging, but I run the fridge on propane only.
One thing you won't have to do in the HCI carol is switch the lighting to led,s as every light in it and outside it are already led,s
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Old 07-08-2015, 10:49 PM   #14
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One thing you won't have to do in the HCI carol is switch the lighting to led,s as every light in it and outside it are already led,s
Thanks Mike that is cool! I know one or two of the other trailer manufactures are using LED as well, can't figure out why the all aren't! But then again there are some manufactures who are selling all electrical trailers which leaves me a little dumb founded!

I take it that the OP has now ordered an HC1? he did not say in the original post what he actually ordered.
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