overblown solar.... - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-04-2018, 04:49 PM   #1
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overblown solar....

Dear solar fans/hobbyists.....I just had to share this video I came across of a van build on YouTube.......LOL

This guy never gave a thought to the usual solar equation (panels / storage / power use) and just decided to go BIG I guess....LOL....I can't imagine how much money he must have spent !!! Whoever sold him all that equipment (for a couple in a van!) should be shot....mega panels (900W), mega storage (870AH)...and hardly any power use that I can see (?)

description of the system starts about halfway through the video



(I am always amazed at how many people post videos of themselves and their projects that turn out to be very good representations of exactly what NOT to do....and seem so very proud of themselves !!!)
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Old 04-04-2018, 05:11 PM   #2
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pricing....

a quick and dirty internet price search tells me he spent around 4000 dollars on that system !!!!!!! oh my!
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Old 04-04-2018, 05:27 PM   #3
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Well they cook with electric - so that is why they need the 2000W inverter....

I was more concerned that they store their "emergency" stuff right above the propane, and the propane is mounted in the back corner. It is not allowed to hang propane off the back of travel trailer for a reason.
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Old 04-04-2018, 05:35 PM   #4
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Agree with Franswa. In the case of a camper van, the need for solar charging can actually be zero!

My friend has a camper van that he designed, i.e., he purchased a new commercial van, then converted it. His intent was and is that it be all electric, which he easily accomplished with a 300 amp hour lithium battery bank. The battery bank charge is easily maintained with a smart charging system tied to the high output alternator.

When I asked him if he was considering solar charging for situations where he is parked for a few days, his response was that he'll add solar panels if needed. Still not needed...
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Old 04-04-2018, 05:50 PM   #5
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Wake me when it can power an air conditioner.

I like the idea of having that much capacity and storage, but not if you're not using it.
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Old 04-04-2018, 06:05 PM   #6
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Wake me when it can power an air conditioner.

I like the idea of having that much capacity and storage, but not if you're not using it.
A rule of thumb for AC capacity is 10 BTU/Watt. That setup would work fine for a 5000 BTU AC unit. No excessive battery requirement, since the AC is mostly required when the sun is shining.
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Old 04-04-2018, 06:09 PM   #7
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A rule of thumb for AC capacity is 10 BTU/Watt. That setup would work fine for a 5000 BTU AC unit. No excessive battery requirement, since the AC is mostly required when the sun is shining.
I suppose it would work fine for 5K BTUs. I was referring more to the 10.5K or 12K BTU roofmount types. But of course it's not just the wattage generated but the amps required, particularly at startup.

I'd load up the roof of my 19 with solar if it ever had the potential to run the AC, but then again, it's not that important unless you live where it's hot.

Maybe someday soon solar panel technology will be practical for a larger RV AC and still fit on a small trailer, but it's not there yet.
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Old 04-04-2018, 07:59 PM   #8
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As Franswa says "WOW". I wonder what I'm doing wrong. I have a 74 amp hour battery, only one. A 65 Watt solar panel that gets use about every 4 days. I must not be living right to have reduced my power needs to that level.
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Old 04-04-2018, 09:30 PM   #9
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If they are not going to run a generator they will need a lot of solar. They are trying to be full time travel video producers and traveling to climates where there is not a lot of solar gain and no place to plug in as well as few gas stations. So they need the solar panel overkill and the power storage overkill or else they will get shut down from being able to work on those numerous cloudy days.

Most of you would absolutely not need that kind of power generating system for your RV. However their needs are very different than yours so why compare your needs to their needs and then come to a conclusion based on your own personal needs that they are making a mistake?
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Old 04-04-2018, 10:21 PM   #10
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I agree with Karin, I don't see it as a mistake at all. I follow Chris and Cherie (Technomadia) and they've got 1400 watts of combined solar plus a large Lithium Ion battery bank. They've figured out how to run TWO A/Cs for approx 2.5 hours on their setup. Do I need it, NO. But they do, so good for them.
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Old 04-04-2018, 10:49 PM   #11
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Most of you would absolutely not need that kind of power generating system for your RV. However their needs are very different than yours so why compare your needs to their needs and then come to a conclusion based on your own personal needs that they are making a mistake?
Good post. Well said. Thank you.
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Old 04-04-2018, 11:31 PM   #12
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no mistake.....

"the more the merrier"..."bigger is always better".....if the goal is to NEVER run out of power....I get that...bully for them, maybe they want to park in a cave for three days, now and then...

most of us don't make YouTube videos....and most of us, I suspect, don't want to spend 4 grand on solar (not to mention carrying all that weight). Sort of reminds me of how they organize/build/run the Olympics.....cost NEVER enters into the conversation....the end goal of the "perfect show" (never run out) is all that matters.

I will admit I do not use a lot of power (although it is enough for my needs/wants).... if I DOUBLED my system storage tomorrow I could pack along more electrical frills and toys....and I still would only have ONE THIRD of the storage capacity in that van !!!! and he wants to connect the vans alternator to the system to "charge while driving".....really??? What for? I don't get it.
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Old 04-05-2018, 12:12 AM   #13
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Franswa,

I too have my system connected to the tow vehicle such that it charges whenever the engine is running. Don't you? That is one of the benefis of the seven pin plug.

I can't imagine trying to tell someone else how they should be camping or how they should be managing their power generation and storage. So what? Good on them for going to the effort to set their rig up the way they need it to be. In fact, if it means they might not run their generator while parked next to me, I'll be grateful.

I used to camp with no battery at all. Then I had a few things I wanted to bring along for fun that used power. Then it was fun to have a few luxuries. Then I got a couple of solar panels. Now, I'll even watch a movie or leave the lights on all evening or charge my computer and phone. Times change and interests change, but I'm still out there enjoying the magnificiant outdoors. Isn't camping about getting away and having fun?
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Old 04-05-2018, 06:33 AM   #14
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I have watts of solar, ability to charge while driving, and have recently upgraded to a 300 amp lithium battery. I wanted to have the ability to boondock with a compressor fridge and use a satellite dish should I want to do so. The cost was substantial, however, at $30 plus per night in a campground it should not take too long to recover the higher cost of this system. At $30 per and camping 1/2 time (180 + days) thats $5400 the first year. The engineers at the battery company believe my system will provide 13 to 15 years of dependable service and if so will eventually be a bargain. Either way I want to camp in the style that I'm comfortable. I would't hesitate to spend the same amount on my house to make it more comfortable.
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Old 04-05-2018, 07:07 AM   #15
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Sure agree with k corbin, Donna D and Raspy that everyone's needs are different. No point in second guessing.

To me this is an opportunity to consider what's DIFFERENT about the charging system for a van vs a trailer:

VAN as dwelling: A commercial van alternator is sized with plenty of spare charging capacity (at least 50 spare amps) for running accessories. If you drive an average of 2 hours per day, the alternator can then provide spare 100 amp hours to charge house batteries.

TRAILER as dwelling: Typically the tow vehicle charging wire will provide a FEW amps and ONLY on days when you are towing. Oh well. So solar charging is a primary alternative here.

(In the van that Franswa cited, the 900 watts of solar produces as much as 60 amps. On a sunny day, as much as 500 amp hours!!! So on a sunny day, could totally re-charge their battery bank. But its all about needs and wants.)
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Old 04-05-2018, 08:50 AM   #16
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Raspy...

the limitations of this form of communication are obvious here....It has never been my intention to tell/dictate to anybody how they should camp or what equipment they should purchase (don't give a hoot, don't affect me one bit).

the reason I posted was simply to illustrate what can happen when one goes into solar without first looking at / solving the solar equation of power use/storage/panels to deliver an "optimum" system for its intended use...there are two ways to do this, one involves a lot of complicated math...another is to start small, gather information during actual use and add to the system until that "optimum" is reached...no excess money was spent, no excess weight has to be carried/hauled around. From what I read, most of us here have used the latter method.

There are people who spend a quarter of a million dollars to buy a car that will go 200 MPH and never drive the car that fast. Sort of the same thing happened with this van solar wise IMO... but I can see the "fun factor" in the car....I don't see it in the van.

For the record there is no electrical connection between my TV and my trailers electrical system. If my TV sent a charge to the trailer it would have made it difficult, if not impossible, to accurately assess my systems real performance in actual use. The system is now "dialed in" for MY use...and I don't NEED the TVs electrical system.

To be clear... this is just what I do...I'm certainly NOT advocating that everybody should go this route or that anybody doing something different is "wrong".
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Old 04-05-2018, 09:41 AM   #17
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While maybe excessive for most of our needs, only they can evaluate their own needs, and spend their own money to satisfy these needs.

The only way it could adversely affect others, is for a newbie who takes this as what everyone needs.
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Old 04-05-2018, 10:26 AM   #18
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Its a business expense. Its not like its retirement money. They can justify the over kill.
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Old 04-05-2018, 10:33 AM   #19
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Its a business expense. Its not like its retirement money. They can justify the over kill.
If I had a dollar for every time someone said this to me, I would already be fully retired.

While a business expense does counterbalance the same amount of income for tax calculations, you still have to actually spend the money. All you save is the taxes for whatever tax bracket you are in, and for me that is 16%. And this is only true if your company is making a profit.

So no, I am not picking up the tab and using it as a business expense, especially here as business entertainment expenses are reduced by 50%.
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Old 04-05-2018, 10:41 AM   #20
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They truly may need that much. I have a special situation myself. I fly RC Airplanes and go to meets where there are no hookups for electricity. My battery charger can use 320 watts when I am charging 4 batteries at once (fairly common). Using 12 volts that would require about 27 amps. I have enough solar panels to supply 10 amps of charging currently since I am still in the testing stage. I plan on eventually adding enough solar to charge at 30 amps (1 roof mount and 5 freestanding panels) if needed. This would satisfy my charging needs and should allow my battery bank (200 ah total, 100 ah usable) to be fully charged by dark even when I am charging without requiring another power source.
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