Contemplating putting on solar panels to help maximize boondocks camping and minimize generator usage. The dealer said they recommend at least a 150 watt unit but said they list for $1,200...before install. They said I could probably find one cheaper on the internet and they'd install.
Have any of you guys put on a system and if so, are you glad you did? How many watts? What do you like about it? Dislike? Any particular system the best? We currently have 2 12 volt batteries.
Ultimately, I hope to use the trailer all over the west (once I retire) but who knows. I haven't even used it yet but hope to not camp much in campgrounds.
THE best investment I've made to my coach. $1200 for a 150W system is a bit steep, uless install labor is part of that equation. And 150W will only barely get you recharged by the end of a sunny day. Throw in some clouds, tree or terrain shadows, and you will once again be running the genny.
I started off with a single 120W panel, and after only the second trip out, was buying a second 120W panel. Today I have 3 120W panels and except for some genny assistance for the micro/convection oven, or the A/C, NEVER use the onboard genny.
Shop around, and read all you can, to make a wise investment. Purchase a MPPT controller with enough capacity to expand, and you will be good to go.
See ya out there!!
Hooliville member #128
Gary & Lynne.
'04 Dolphin 5320 WH-22 370W Solar
22' Mighty Mover Trailer, 60W. Solar.
Sand Sprite 4. 2.3L EFI sand buggy
'84 Jeep CJ.
2011 Black Lab "Lucy" for both of us
solar is as cheap as 74cents a watt. 100 watt panel= $100. Look at AM solar in Oregon,they sell complete kits and are a world of knowledge.They inform you about Batteries and other things,that pertain to making boondocking an easy experirnce. My ideas are make it easy for the wife to be able to do it all from the control panel inside the TH. Happy wife, happylife....
Good does not adequately describe a solar system in a RV. Excellent, or best thing I did, or saves the batteries, and gives 9 years life out of the batteries! That is more like it.
Yes I would recommend a 150+ watt system too. Probably not more than a 200 watt panel though, because my 120 watt panels are pretty large, you don't want to cover much more area with 1 panel than that space. The 300 watt panels should be on houses, that do not move.
My RV uses about 35 amp hours per day to run the refrigerator, CO monitor and Propane detector. Then lights, pump, furnace, and everything else is on top of that load. One of my 120 watt panels will make up 35 AH daily, so everything else is run from the other panels.
You can buy a solar panel from this place, SunElec.com for about $2 per rated watt.
I made solar panel mounts from 6" long 2" angle aluminum from Home Depot, with 3 - 3/16" holes in one side, and 1- 5/16" hole in the side going into the panel with a 1/4-20 bolt to the panel frame.
I made tilt brackets out of 3/4" angle aluminum from Home Depot too. I don't use them or recommend using them unless you will be boondocking more than a week at a time, and then still I would recommend another panel rather than dealing with tilting the panels.
Some have installed a 400 watt solar system, and then no need to worry about battery going dead, watch TV via a inverter, or run a video game, ect. Yet 200 - 300 watts is normally plenty for a average RV.
You might be able to find a installer advertizing in Craigslist or this magazine HomePower.com
Your budget should be about $400 for a 200 watt solar panel, and $125 for a controller, $25 if you make the brackets yourself, and shipping will be added to the solar panel. Wiring will be about 25 feet of #10 UV rated direct burial wire, you can buy a 25' roll of it at Home Depot, it is gray outside covering. You can run the wires from the roof via the refrigerator vent to a suitable location for the controller in the basement in my case (was in the closet next to the refrigerator at one time) then to the battery.
That price is outrageous for what they are offering.
I installed 2-205 watt panels with the controller and all hardware for less than $1,200. Installation is quite simple as a DIY project, DW and I did it in less than 8 hrs. We have since added another panel giving us 615 watts. Wouldn't be without it for boondocking.
Harold and Linda
2009 CT Coachworks siena 35V
W-22 Workhorse 8.1L
Do a search set back and READ & LEARN> Love my 405 Watt system. JMO
RET ARMY 1980,DW Donna,"Tiny" (furkid) . Class A, 2007 Bounder 35E, Ford Chassis w/Steer Safe, 4SAMS 6Volts, 525W Solar , TriStar 45 Controller, Yamaha 2400, TOW: Honda CRV. Ready Brake. "Living Our Dream". NASCAR FAN 14,18,20,11 LOVE CO & NM