solar vs. portable generators. both? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-06-2006, 01:29 PM   #1
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Hi,
I know this isn't a new topic, but my husband and I go out with our trailer and our battery dies after two days. We are now going to buy a solar system or generator. We aren't sure which to buy or the capacity we need. Right now, all we have is 2-12V. deep cell batteries. Is 2 days really all we should get (we only run a fridge, nothing else, we've even taken to using flashlights!). Suggestions for a setup so we can go out for a week at a time or more? I saw this solar setup on Costco, is it a good a deal as it looks? Is it enough? Do we still need a generator? We are real dummies on this subject so keep your answers simple!!
http://www.costco.com/Browse/Product.aspx?...prodid=11113663

THANKS! Francine P
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Old 07-06-2006, 01:38 PM   #2
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both.! solar is nice when the sun is up and around and not hidden by trees and clouds and high peaks. a small generator goes a long way to rechage thing on those days.
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Old 07-06-2006, 02:27 PM   #3
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If you would run your refrigerator on propane your problem should be solved.

We have dry camped for the better part of two weeks with only one battery. The only thing we run off the 12 volt battery is the water pump.
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Old 07-06-2006, 02:58 PM   #4
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We had a problem with our battery running out after about two days. So we bought a generator. We do a lot of boondocking in very deep forests, so solar probably wouldn't do us a lot of good (although I'm thinking about getting a solar system to recharge the battery).

A couple of hours of running the generator usually fully charges our run-down battery for at least 24 hours of reliable power.

And for what it's worth, we bought a Honda 2000 generator and I have nothing bad to say about that purchase.
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Old 07-06-2006, 02:58 PM   #5
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Hi there!

Here is more info about the Costco Solar set up than you probably care to know:

Costco Solar set up

And.. yes, your problem is the fridge. 12v fridges can suck the life out of a battery in no time flat. Best to look for a cooling alternative. Propane is best if you have it.

That being said, I use the Coleman/Costco set up @ v45 watts and an auxiluary 15 watt panel...and have changed all my lighting to "green" stuff.. low low current draw items like Cold Cathodes and LEDs.

I want for power no more. Seriously, it's just not something I worry about anymore. I have run several times at strickly solar for many many days on end, with full use of what I have in the trailer, including TV and DVD.

My genset stays home, where it is used the most anyway.
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Old 07-06-2006, 03:01 PM   #6
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ah.. I see you are in Glendale. You are welcome to come see my set up if you like. I am in Crestline.
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Old 07-06-2006, 03:53 PM   #7
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ah.. I see you are in Glendale. You are welcome to come see my set up if you like. I am in Crestline.
First, I have been running my fridge on propane but from what I understand it also uses battery power. Gina, we were just camping in Big Bear last weekend at Pineknot, too bad I didn't know then!! Thanks for the replies, keep them coming!
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Old 07-06-2006, 05:27 PM   #8
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Francine:
If the drain on your batteries is just the control part of a refrigerator and it is actually running off propane there is something wrong somewhere (The controls on a frig should have such a low draw that the batteries should be good for many days or weeks even).

I'd start by taking the batteries out and having them load tested at a battery place (takes probably 3 minutes). If they are maintenance free fine, if not have them check the electrolyte. If they have been run dry they might be beyond help and replacements are needed.

If the batteries are fine you need to make sure that they are actually fully charged (voltage should probably be in excess of 12.6v and when charging the voltage should be closer to 13.6v or so.

The next thing is to make sure there is no other drain that could account for this. I can't see a frig running on propane that could come even close to this kind of drain. I might suggest that you install a voltmeter permanently in the trailer. That should get you familiar with what is going on with your system.
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Old 07-06-2006, 05:55 PM   #9
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I have been running my fridge on propane but from what I understand it also uses battery power.
Yep, sumtin's wrong. Pers suggestions are good ones.

I was camping near Big Bear Too (Heartbar) You were even closer than you knew!
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