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Old 02-06-2015, 08:02 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Paul O. View Post
Like any new technology, it starts expensive, with great potential, and if all goes well, the prices drop dramatically, and we have a long lasting benefit. Solar on an RV is a must for a few, a toy for many and of no use to most. I doubt it can ever pay for itself in terms of cents/kWh, but that is not how these things go.
.
I suspect my solar system probable paid for itself the first year it was on the trailer. I can camp out anywhere I want, including free BML lands for example at no cost per night and I have taken advantaged of that many many times. I have also used a tent site at state parks which are often much cheaper than a full service site - not to mention they are often much nicer sites.

Here in BC unless you are staying at an actual RV park few Provincial campgrounds for example are full service, so solar is pretty well a must have item for most if they plan on staying out for more than a couple of nights and don't wish to upset the neighbours by running a generator.

Yes new technology is often expensive which is way 6 years ago you would have paid way more for a small 30W panel than you would pay for a 120W panel today.
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Old 02-06-2015, 08:02 PM   #22
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I've got a 20amp panel quick mounted to the rock guard of my Compact. That and a 35ah battery have provided all the power I've needed. To be fair, I don't have a fridge or an electric coffee pot. The water pump, lights, and all my gizmos are 12v or 5v USB.

I did run a 120 line with one outlet in case I ever add a fridge but have only powered it up to test it.
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Old 02-06-2015, 08:17 PM   #23
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Most fgrv's don't have a lot of roof space for mounting panels. I can only get 1 on the roof plus I have a portable one as well. Still, that's only 200 watts max.

That's enough to charge your electronics, run your lights and fan, tv for a while, etc. But it's not enough to run your refrigerator 24 hours/day or your ac. So yes, solar is good but limited on a small trailer.
Which is way a great many folks here would never own a trailer that did not have the option to run their fridge on propane..... As far as 200 W panel goes that is a pretty hefty amount of solar for a small trailer. I could get by for weeks with only a 30W panel without ever coming close to draining the battery half way down and that included using the shower, heat, fans, lights and music Nope no TV when off the grid (laptop for movies), no microwave, no electric coffee maker, a French Press makes better coffee anyways
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Old 02-06-2015, 08:40 PM   #24
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This is what I did when I got serious about solar; 3 tilt-up panels, 350 watts with 4 six volt batteries and a 2500 watt inverter....frozen margaritas on demand in the middle of the desert in 110 degree F weather...or ice cream...or both, your choice!



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Old 02-06-2015, 08:50 PM   #25
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There are always the type that want to overcomplicate things. They want everything to remain the realm of "experts".

Solar is just a battery charger. If you need an idea of what you need for a "system" look no further than AMSolar.com. They have complete kits you can buy, or at least get an idea of all the pieces and parts you need to get. Their site is very informative.

For years I've just used a portable panel I got off Amazon hooked to my battery with alligator clips. It worked really well.

On my new trailer, I had a complete system included - 320 watts of panels, 4 large batteries and a large inverter. It should give me 24 to 26 amps (I hope!).

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Old 02-06-2015, 08:55 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Ron Merritt View Post
There are always the type that want to overcomplicate things. They want everything to remain the realm of "experts".

Solar is just a battery charger. If you need an idea of what you need for a "system" look no further than AMSolar.com. They have complete kits you can buy, or at least get an idea of all the pieces and parts you need to get. Their site is very informative.

For years I've just used a portable panel I got off Amazon hooked to my battery with alligator clips. It worked really well.

On my new trailer, I had a complete system included - 320 watts of panels, 4 large batteries and a large inverter. It should give me 24 to 26 amps (I hope!).

Overcomplicated is a relative statement. For an engineer like myself this stuff is really simple. BTW, your new trailer looks "sweet!"..and I like your solar capacity. With the panel mountings you will have no shadows either.
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Old 02-06-2015, 09:03 PM   #27
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Thanks, but I can't take credit for any engineering. They had a system already developed thanks to previous Ollie customers.

I'll have 400 amp hours available. If I don't run the air conditioner, I can see not really needing a 110v hookup.
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Old 02-06-2015, 11:12 PM   #28
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Cool Why some like campgrounds

I would say one word:

Security.
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Old 02-06-2015, 11:14 PM   #29
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I would say one word:

Security.
Care to explain?
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Old 02-07-2015, 12:35 AM   #30
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I added a 100 watt panel on my roof of my ParkLiner last year and am very happy with it. I do give thought of adding a 100 or 120 watt suitcase into the equation because honestly...I usually camp in shadier areas and don't get enough sunlight...with a portable unit you can leave it in the sun and still park out of the sun.

But I also carry a Yamaha ef2400 ishc. I boondock and if it is too hot and humid I will run it when I sleep. The few state parks I camp in and the private campground they are totally cool with the quiet ones. Not all do but I ask in advance and if I hear n then I look elsewhere. But last year I lucked out we had a real mild summer and managed fine without it...I prefer that. Now winter camping...I need it to top my batteries off every few days. The furnace drinks electricity.
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Old 02-07-2015, 04:27 AM   #31
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Me thinks that even a small microwave will pull about 600 watts or about 50 amps on the 12 VDC input side of an inverter. The Proctor-Silex coffee maker in my kitchen pulls 50% more at 900 watts. Using either one in an FGRV would require some serious hard wiring and a hefty inverter, not to mention a lot of battery reserve to spend.

Gee Bob, I bet Steve's set up will handle it. What do you think?




Quote:
Originally Posted by hotfishtacos View Post
This is what I did when I got serious about solar; 3 tilt-up panels, 350 watts with 4 six volt batteries and a 2500 watt inverter....frozen margaritas on demand in the middle of the desert in 110 degree F weather...or ice cream...or both, your choice!



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Old 02-07-2015, 05:15 AM   #32
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The reason you see few RVs with solar is the majority of people park for only short periods, typically a weekend, or they park in parks with electric service. They really don't need solar. If you camp only a few times a year there is little justification for solar.
I think Norm nailed the answer to the OP question. Most trailers out there sit at home and don't really need any power except maybe a little trickle charge, if that. Most people do not camp nearly as much or for as long as some of us on the FGRV forum. And, a lot of people camp with hookups anyway. Personally I hope to do a lot more off grid camping in the future and solar will help with that.
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Old 02-07-2015, 10:53 AM   #33
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Gee Bob, I bet Steve's set up will handle it. What do you think?
I've run my microwave, a coffee maker, beehive blender, 1800 watt electric grill, and other heavy load items off my system with no problem at all...but not all at once......and my DC refrigerator.
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Old 02-07-2015, 11:07 AM   #34
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Solar Oneupmanship?

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Gee Bob, I bet Steve's set up will handle it. What do you think?
Yep, but even with all that, not for long with only "4 six volt batteries". LOL



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Old 02-07-2015, 12:19 PM   #35
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I've run my microwave, a coffee maker, beehive blender, 1800 watt electric grill, and other heavy load items off my system with no problem at all...but not all at once......and my DC refrigerator.
That's a powerful set up and is certainly capable of running a bunch of heavy items. Coffee pots and microwaves are relatively easy because generally they run for short duration.

We've used our coffee maker once on the converter but found it just as easy to boil some water on the stove and pour it thru the coffee maker.

Our coffee pot is 600 watts and runs for 5 minutes to make coffee and similarly a microwave run can be a couple of minutes to warm up food. Really short term loads. An electric grill for an hour is basically a days worth of charging of you run it for an hour assuming a 50% efficiency from the panels.

For most people, particularly southern campers, the big draw on AC 110 is the Air Conditioner and no one I know has enough power to run the typical roof top air conditioner.
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Old 02-07-2015, 12:56 PM   #36
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Norm & Ginny, we've used the microwave to boil water before but now we don't even have one. It takes too long and just isn't needed. Water boils quickly on the stove and we don't use a coffee maker any more either, just a drip filter setup; Clever Coffee Dripper. The electric griddle is great for a big breakfast with easy cleanup and the batteries are quickly recharged so we never see the impact. The main reason for all the solar and batteries is the DC refrigerator. We've had so much trouble with the small Dometic propane unit in hot weather that I installed the big DC unit and it works fine at high temps. We wanted a larger, reliable refrigerator and now have one. In our southern location it is great. We never try to run the AC off the trailer system.
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Old 02-07-2015, 01:30 PM   #37
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Steve, you have an awesome set up. What size is your DC fridge? I also love the photos at San Clemente State Beach Park!
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Old 02-07-2015, 02:02 PM   #38
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Steve,

We had a trailer with a compressor fridge and loved it. We now have propane and when that fails I'm sure we'll go to a compressor type like our friends Dave and Paula.
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Old 02-07-2015, 02:23 PM   #39
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Quote - Hotfishtacos
We've had so much trouble with the small Dometic propane unit in hot weather that I installed the big DC unit and it works fine at high temps.


Let me know if you need a home for the refrigerator, I'd be happy to buy it for a spare.


I'm just up the street in Riverside.



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Old 02-07-2015, 03:22 PM   #40
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Quote - Hotfishtacos
We've had so much trouble with the small Dometic propane unit in hot weather that I installed the big DC unit and it works fine at high temps.


Let me know if you need a home for the refrigerator, I'd be happy to buy it for a spare.


I'm just up the street in Riverside.
Bob, I know this is the wrong section for selling something but I am going to respond to your question here. The refer I took out is a 2012 3-way Dometic RM8551 and worked fine when I camped last time in Morro Bay and it can go for $400. The microwave I removed is $40.

Clayton, my NovaKool refer is a 7.3 cu ft, RFU8320. Thanks for the compliment!
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