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Open Roads Forum  >  Truck Campers

 > Solar panels, how many watts do you need?

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Beach Bum

Long Island NY, USA

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Posted: 03/14/04 09:56pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

When I go fulltime I was thinking of twin 60 watt thin film panels, is this enough? Also, I have heard that the crystalline panel (glass) are easy to shatter. Has this happened to anyone?


Beach Bum
04.5 3500 Dodge Ram Cummins, 4x4 srw, 9000s
05 Lance 981, Solar, 22" LCD, 5.1 surround 1K watts, Hon 2k
04 Paradise Point 33RL
04 Honda GoldWing 05 Yam FJR 1300 2) 87 Hon XL600R
Toy Trailer 7x14
WAY too many toys, never enough time

NetBoy

Portland, OR

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Posted: 03/14/04 10:15pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi Steve,

From all I have read, that may be enough to keep your batteries up if you make "very modest" use of your 12v. It would be hard to fit too much more than a couple of 60s on the roof of your camper, as the panels are not small.

But with your 5 speaker surround sound and video setup, you will easily be able to use far more power than the solars will supply!

Here is one thing I read in several places: 60 watt panels will only put out 60 watts under ideal conditions (like under the hot Phoenix sun at noon, with the panels exactly perpendictular to the sun. Normally you will have less than ideal conditions, so you may only get 80 to 100 watts out of the pair of 60 watt panels during average sunny summer conditions in hot parts of the country.

I decided not to get the panels for now, and will probably get a Honda 1000 or 2000 first -- an hour of the Honda would do more than the panels will charge the batteries a lot more than the panels will in a whole day.

However, I really like the idea of solar, and may end up with some eventually.

Good luck....

* This post was edited 03/14/04 10:49pm by NetBoy *


NETBOY™
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Visit Netboy's Camper Project's Page = Lots of mod projects to my truck and camper.

My newest rig -- 2004 Thor Chateau 21RB:


OkieGene

oklahoma city

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Posted: 03/14/04 10:32pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I hope this doesn't come across as a smartaleck response. My answer to your question is as many as you can afford and have room for on the roof, unless you plan to stay in a park plugged in all the time. This would involve more battery too, and other variables such as weight.

JMHO but the more power the better. (Where is Tim Taylor the Tool Man doing that "MORE POWER" grunt).

h45wt

Alaska

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Posted: 03/14/04 10:38pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Quote:

When I go fulltime I was thinking of twin 60 watt thin film panels, is this enough? Also, I have heard that the crystalline panel (glass) are easy to shatter. Has this happened to anyone?


Steve,

If you haven't been there yet there is fairly good discussion of camper power at http://www.where-rv-now.com/Notes/Electricity/


03 Chevy 3500 LT DRW D/A CC LB 4x4
03 Lance 1130

Beach Bum

Long Island NY, USA

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Posted: 03/14/04 10:55pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Quote:

Quote:

When I go fulltime I was thinking of twin 60 watt thin film panels, is this enough? Also, I have heard that the crystalline panel (glass) are easy to shatter. Has this happened to anyone?


Steve,

If you haven't been there yet there is fairly good discussion of camper power at http://www.where-rv-now.com/Notes/Electricity/
I did check it out, great site. As I do have the Honda 2000, I'm at least hoping the twin 60s can cut my run time of the genset down to a minimum. I'll try 2 and maybe go for a third later on.

johnnypower

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Posted: 03/15/04 04:58am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Here in New England we don't get the intensity of solar rays they get down south or out west . My 75watt panel is just to keep the batts charged when I park my camper in the yard ( away from any power source) . When I return from a trip I plug in to the house till the batts are charged before I unload the camper down back . Does the solar help run anything on sunny days , I think it just helps keep the batts from discarging quickly . If I could have power where I park the unit in the yard , I would have saved the few hundred bucks on the solar array . If you are on the beach with no trees overhead in the summer , you should be able to sustain the batts from any discharge throughout the daylight hours and possibly recharge during the most intense light hours. You really got to figure out what you are drawing during the day and night . Even those Propane and CO detectors will run a battery down .


'02 Silverado 2500HD ,4x4 , ext-cab short-bed , 8.1L w/allison , torklifts ,ride-rites ,rancho 9000s. Northern-lite 8.5Q w/A/C ,75watt solar ,dual optimas , EU2000i.

Capt. Caper

Northern N.H>

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Posted: 03/15/04 05:28am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Get them they are money in the bank. They will last 25 years. And I find they do make a difference. I have two 55 watt Shells that are long and skinny and will fit well up there.

You can put a thin Plexi over them if you need too,but they're pretty rugged as they should be.

SP

Portland, OR

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Posted: 03/15/04 07:41am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The old rule of "some is good, more is better" applies to solar! Get all that you can. Or, more appropriately, all you can fit on top.

I like the site phrannie.org, phred tinseth gives a good discussion of solar(and many other topics). There is a worksheet for solar at rvsolarelectric.com. I called the rvsolarelectric people when considering my panel. They were very helpful.

I'm not a fulltimer by any stretch but I can tell you that my 110 watt Shell panel and charge controller keep my two group 27 batteries up beyond my needs. The "poop sheets" by phred will set you up with a formula for estimating solar requirements. By phred's standards you need a panel(100 watt) per person.

Plan your layout before you start. The top of your Lance has 3 hatchs, bath,fantastic and escape, a/c port,refrigerator vent and tv/radio antennas. You may want to have a storage pod, well maybe not with your toy wagon, or satellite antenna. Space hogs, all of em. The 100 watt panels are around 51" x 26". Two is probably what you need. Check your layout for positioning the second one. Start with one, you'll have room for the second(third?) if you need it. Good luck.


SP, MP,& Ollie
Lance 1071

arlenemarty

Mississauga,Ontario,Canada

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Posted: 03/15/04 08:27am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

With the purchase of our new 36'Terry 5th wheel we will be considering adding auxilliary power sources. Of course solar will be our first choice. I was wondering if you also have a generator? If so, what size, mfg etc. How and when is it used? Are you pleased with the output? Any other info about adding auxilliary power will be much appreciated.


Arlene & Marty Winick
mmwinick@hotmail.com

Vince dEon

Canada

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Posted: 03/15/04 08:31am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Vince's favorite link for calculating RV power needs:

http://members.aol.com/wb3lgc/solar.htm

This will help you calculate your full power needs as well as a primer on batteries and Amp-Hour capacity planning.


1988 Ford F350 Crew Cab Long Box 4WD with 7.3L IDI Turbo diesel, 5 speed
1998 Fleetwood Wilderness Lite TT 24' with Heart Freedom 2500/12 inverter and Link 1000 remote, 4 6V batteries and a Honda eu2000i generator
Two Shiba Inus
73 de VE6LK


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