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wa_desert_rat

Central Washington State

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Posted: 06/04/12 08:58am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Depending upon your power consumption you might not need much. We spent a week at Doheny Beach State Park (Dana Park, CA) in our 1972 21' Princess TT over Christmas, 2011. This park does not have hookups so we depended upon our two 30-watt panels propped up against the trailer tongue and aimed (by me, personally) at the sun throughout the day. More-or-less.

The panels have a diode but I didn't use a charge controller. I just used the battery clips to connect the panels directly to the single deep-cycle battery and monitored the battery voltage with a digital voltmeter. Any voltage over 14.5vdc meant that I disconnected the panels. Any voltage under 12.5vdc and I hooked them up again. We had plenty of power for our purposes.

Here is a link to a story about the trip with photos of the panels in use: www.nwkayaking.net/?p=250

Craig

JiminDenver

Denver, Co

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Posted: 06/04/12 09:04am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

There is a enormous wealth of solar info here if you look. Everything from how to estimate your needs, plan you system, where to buy and where to get the best pricing.

You can get a lot more for your money if you buy the pieces yourself, the kits tend to be overpriced and under powered to me. Installation sound hard until you read some of the threads where they describe the process step by step.

Good luck in your search.


2011 GulfStream Amerilite 25BH
2007/2003 Ford Expedition
Nights camped in 2011 21
Nights camped in 2012 16


Almot

Vancouver BC

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Posted: 06/04/12 01:20pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

What pianotuna said. You have to tell the vendor what size system you want - which means you need to do your energy audit first, with Trimetric or whatever.

After you've received the kit from vendor, there is no established solar installation service for RVs. Home solar installations are different. So you will go to some RV shop and tell them where you want the panels, controller, inverter etc. They don't know how to do it so you will have to instruct them and watch them or they will screw up. Check the list of RV solar systems in the link above - I think there was only one that used a hired labor. Not because everybody is a DIY type, but mostly because there are no such professionals.

Bob's blog... it's a good read for a beginner. He learned all it as he went, step by step, and explains it in simple terms. There are professionally written articles, but Bob's is easy to read if the subject is new to you.

SCVJeff

Santa Clarita, CA.

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Posted: 06/04/12 07:16pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

JiminDenver wrote:

There is a enormous wealth of solar info here if you look. Everything from how to estimate your needs, plan you system, where to buy and where to get the best pricing.

You can get a lot more for your money if you buy the pieces yourself, the kits tend to be overpriced and under powered to me. Installation sound hard until you read some of the threads where they describe the process step by step.

Good luck in your search.
Kits are Kits. In this case you can add or subtract what you need, or don't. Personally I went with AM Solar because RV's are all they do. Open the box, have all the mounts, boxes, roof cable, etc., without having to hunt it all down. Them owning the identical RV helped too.. I started with 200W, ended up with 400W, and am currently eying a open spot on the roof with the excuse that it cuts down on rain noise

Some of the purists may say that there is too much solar to yield a benefit against the batt stack... But not if you draw significant loads during the day and then expect a full charge on top of that.


Jeff - WA6EQU
'06 Itasca Meridian 34H, CAT C7/350


wa_desert_rat

Central Washington State

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Posted: 06/04/12 08:46pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

SCVJeff wrote:


Some of the purists may say that there is too much solar to yield a benefit against the batt stack... But not if you draw significant loads during the day and then expect a full charge on top of that.


In the winter it gets cold even in Arizona. When your furnace fan has depleted your battery bank that extra solar will help get it back up to snuff fast. And with your MPPT controller you can route the extra power to your electric blanket to keep your bed warm.

Craig

worldfamuspat

Las Vegas

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Posted: 06/04/12 10:06pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

OK...try the cheap way. We have a 3600 Generator we use for the main items like TV, microwave, A/C and charging the batteries when the suns not available. We have harbor freight 45 watt solar panels that we set up next to the trailer when we are in a sunny area. When were out goofing during the day the panels charge our two 12 volt batteries. They are easy to store when not needed and easy to set up. Complete set up with inverter to charge the batteries about $150.00.

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