Solar setup for First-time RV'ers - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-06-2014, 01:03 PM   #15
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Maybe more info than you want!

There is 30= page WORD document with loads of info on RV Solar at The RV Battery Charging Puzzle « HandyBob's Blog.
I found much of it helpful in better understanding the whole issue.
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Old 06-06-2014, 01:44 PM   #16
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Fantastic! I'm reading his site now! Very great link. Thank you!
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Old 06-06-2014, 10:47 PM   #17
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this is what I bought 12 Volt 100 Watt Solar Panel Kit Solarblvd

Here is me talking about the install My ParkLiner has got Solar! .

I bolted it to my roof and I'm very confident it won't leak. I lived aboard a sailboat for 10 years that I was renovating so I did rebed all the deck hardware and other then once, when my neighbor, who was a 300+ sized guy lost his footing on his boat next to mine, and grabbed one of my stantion's to catch himself that one I had to rebed it... the butyl tape is awesome!
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Old 06-06-2014, 11:25 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by andywickstrom View Post
Oh wow! That site is pretty awesome. I'm an artist, so I'm gonna have to wrap my head around the amp/volt/watt stuff I think. That guide should be super helpful though. Thanks for sharing!!
The amps/volts/watts part is pretty easy.

Think of electricity like water. The voltage is the water pressure, and the amperage (also referred to as current) is the volume of water being moved. Your battery is a water pump, operating at a constant pressure of ~12 volts.

Wattage is a combination of volts and amps, and represents the overall power output. Using the water analogy, the wattage would be the flow rate in gallons per minute.



Your devices all use different amounts of power. A phone charger only uses a small trickle of electricity - around 0.5 amps. Incandescent lights use a little more around 1.5 amps. And the roof fan uses anywhere between 1.5 and 3.5 amps, depending on whether its set on low, medium, or high.

The formula for calculating wattage is:

Watts = Volts x Amps

For example, if your fantastic fan were on high, it would be consuming 3.5 amps at 12 volts. The formula would be:

Watts = 3.5 x 12

That works out to 42 watts.

So to answer your original question, as long as you have a panel that's at least 42 watts, you can run the fan all day long without running down the battery.
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Old 06-07-2014, 12:03 AM   #19
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Well, "So to answer your original question, as long as you have a panel that's at least 42 watts, you can run the fan all day long without running down the battery."

Not totally true... its rare a panel will put out max amps of juice as stated. If you had a solar tracking array that moved with the sun, on a perfectly clear day and the panels are clean with no shadows on them then sure for a few hours.

I'm new to owning solar but have been reading about it for a while. I went with a 100 watt panel because its what would fit most conveniently on my roof. I will eventually add a 2nd smaller panel in the space between my escape hatch and Maxxair vent for another say 50 watts of power.
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Old 06-07-2014, 12:16 AM   #20
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You need a bigger panel if it faces up and does not tilt, if you want it to charge on a cloudy day, or if you believe in using a nuke to swat a fly.

But if you mostly camp in the summer with long, long days, in good weather, a smaller panel is fine.

The costs for panels seem to be most economic at 100 watts.
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Old 06-07-2014, 12:44 AM   #21
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I do some cold weather camping.... would like to be able to go out for 2 days and not have to run my generator because the blower on the furnace drinks electricity.
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Old 06-07-2014, 05:07 AM   #22
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Mmcwhort,

Thanks for the analogy. I think I may actually understand volts, amps and watts now!

Sent from my SM-G900V using Fiberglass RV mobile app
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Old 06-07-2014, 09:43 AM   #23
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Agreed--that graphic is perfect for explaining it watts/volts/amps. Love that analogy!

So it sounds like shadows and the like really affect output which is something I had no awareness of until this week. I will definitely keep that in mind as we move forward.

With regards to theft, I think we will do most work while around the camper and present and then put it away when we are away.

Another factor is our dog which we were hoping to leave in the trailer sometimes while we go into town or do something else which doesn't allow her to be with us.

If we were leave her in there with the fan on, how many hours might we have based on a charged battery? Since the panels would dictate us parking in or very near total sun, I would be wondering how hot the trailer might get - hence the interest in running the fan to keep her comfortable.

Right now, I'm seeing the Renogy 100w foldable for about 270.00 plus shipping. The reviews seem solid and it would put out the power we need for the most part.
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Old 06-07-2014, 09:56 AM   #24
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This is a good reference
http://www.amazon.com/Managing-12-Vo.../dp/0964738627
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Old 06-07-2014, 10:26 AM   #25
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[QUOTE=andywickstrom;463156]

Another factor is our dog which we were hoping to leave in the trailer sometimes while we go into town or do something else which doesn't allow her to be with us.

If we were leave her in there with the fan on, how many hours might we have based on a charged battery? Since the panels would dictate us parking in or very near total sun, I would be wondering how hot the trailer might get - hence the interest in running the fan to keep her comfortable.

Gotta tell you, you are headed for the perfect storm with Fido.....

You need maximum sunlight to make the solar system charge your battery but, in the sun a fan alone won't keep the pup cool, so you park in the shade and hope that the battery lasts all day and that night have a dead battery.....

You need to carefully list your loads and capacity and, at the very least, be planning on two battery's for the capacity you need.

And before you ask, no, you can't really run your A/C off of an inverter.

This is getting complicated isn't it....?
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Old 06-07-2014, 10:56 AM   #26
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Yeah, definitely a little complicated - but I'm confident we'll figure it out. I think it makes most sense to park in shade whenever possible, and locate spots that would allow us to run the panels in direct sun very close by - which I think the Renogy panels would allow for.

In cases where we have absolutely no chance for shade, we'll have to work around it and make certain adjustments to our plans.

Thanks everyone for all the input - so much stuff to consider! Unfortunately, money is a factor, so keeping our purchases to affordable, but quality units and accessories will be key. It drives me nuts to save money upfront only to kick myself later due to build quality, etc. I would much rather put the money into something that will last and be happy with it—something to consider as we make these, our first solar purchases.
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Old 06-07-2014, 03:50 PM   #27
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I would also look for ways to conserve electricity. A lot of people like LED lighting. The bulb on the right is what comes standard in the Scamp. The bulb on the left is an LED replacement, which puts out the same amount of light with less power.



RIGHT SIDE:
Standard 921 Bulb
Power Consumption: 18 watts
Light Output: 260 lumens

LEFT SIDE:
LED Replacement Bulb
Power Consumption: 3.5 watts
Light Output: 250 Lumens

(Just stay away from the cheap ones. You want a "warm white" bulb with at least 200 lumens.)

There are also 12V electric refrigerators that you can run full-time on Solar power. I have an Engel SB70 that's pretty sweet. It's cold enough to make ice and it only uses 30 watts. I run it full time with a 68 watt panel.

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Old 06-07-2014, 05:26 PM   #28
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That is nice, they have been making strides in dc powered fridges.... maybe when my 3way goes in hopefully no less then 10 years lol I might consider it!
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