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Open Roads Forum  >  Travel Trailers  >  General Q&A

 > 100 watt Solar decision

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Brettmm92

North Carolina

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Posted: 06/30/20 06:13am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I didn't even think about putting in a switch But I think I see why one would be needed as instructional videos always seem to stress plugging in batteries first to charge controller or risk something "frying".

Is there a more affordable switch that you recommend other than the 100$ mc4 switches I found on amazon?

pianotuna

Regina, SK, Canada

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Posted: 06/30/20 09:53am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Brettmm92,

Since both the voltage and amperage is low, pretty much any switch will work well.

I would certainly NOT bother with mc4 switches. For larger installations an "arc fault" design is a requirement.


Regards, Don
My ride is a 28 foot Class C, 256 watts solar, 556 amp hours of AGM in two battery banks 12 volt batteries, 3000 watt Magnum hybrid inverter, Sola Basic Autoformer, Microair Easy Start.

Skidus1

Utah

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Posted: 07/01/20 06:03pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I bought a 200 watt panel kit made for the roof but added hinges to them so they fold up with a pl30 charge controller from Windy Nation and made a stand from pvc for the panels and got 2 6v’s from Costco. Under 500 I think in total cost and have been using it since 2015.

Boon Docker

Mountain Foothills of Southern Alberta

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Posted: 07/01/20 06:07pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Brettmm92 wrote:

I didn't even think about putting in a switch But I think I see why one would be needed as instructional videos always seem to stress plugging in batteries first to charge controller or risk something "frying".

Is there a more affordable switch that you recommend other than the 100$ mc4 switches I found on amazon?


I use an inline circuit breaker with my system. It works just fine.

Jebby14

Windsor Ontario

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Posted: 07/02/20 04:25am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

i have a single 100W and a group 24 battery. As long as its sunny (my panel is portable with 25' of cable so i can put it in the sun, i get a full charge. running the fridge, alarms water pump and minimal lights i can stay like that until i get a bad charging day. I would think a proper battery setup would serve me better than more solar though i wouldnt say no to either.

* This post was edited 07/02/20 07:39am by an administrator/moderator *

Brettmm92

North Carolina

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Posted: 07/02/20 03:03pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Using a hinge a pvc for adjusting the solar mount is a really good idea. I've been thinking about what I would do for adjusting the panels at an angle at will. I might have to copy that, it's better than what I was thinking. A pvc pipe inside another PVC pipe, both with holes could easily make it adjustable

Would the fuse go between the battery and the charge controller? I'm thinking the fuse saves the batteries (the most expensive part) from accidental overcharge or something like that. Is that right?

And Jebby, your setups success makes me more optimistic about what mine will do. I wonder why an administrator/moderator edited your post

pianotuna

Regina, SK, Canada

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Posted: 07/02/20 08:52pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Brettmm92,

The fuse should be as near the battery bank as humanly possible. It is a catastrophic failure fuse.

Before welders were "plug in" devices, batteries were used for that purpose. You can imagine what dumping 2600 watt-hours of battery in two seconds would do to an RV.

It would be insanely hot, so the fuse is there to protect the wire from melting and catching everything around it on fire. Anyone who goes without a fuse invalidates their insurance, and is taking a HUGE risk.

I find it much better to be a live chicken, than a dead duck.

I am NOT a fan of panels that have to be set up and struck down every time the RV is moved. It is far better to simply add an additional panel to the roof. Then you even get charging while trundling down the road. Remember the panels are the cheapest part of all this tech.

Brettmm92

North Carolina

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Posted: 07/03/20 10:03am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Are you saying that welders used to run off batteries? And because batteries ran welders there's a potential risk of batteries malfunctioning and expelling that much energy? Is there an easy fuse or breaker setup that won't take any cutting up a wire? Like one that goes from the end of the charge controller wire and bolts to the battery? I'm wanting to not splice or cut up wires if theres another way.

And I was thinking having a setup of panels that lay flat on the roof but could be adjusted to around 45 degrees when no longer traveling to get better direct hit of sunlight would be superior even though it adds an extra thing to set up.

And would the batteries I plan to buy between 300 and 400$ for two high quality GC 6 volts be worth all that money? They are still lead acid and need to have maintenance but I could get three 12 volt 27DC batteries from wally world for cheaper than that (slightly over 300 with core charge). But everything I read seems to point out GC batteries being superior.

Walmart Battery

Gdetrailer

PA

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Posted: 07/03/20 03:52pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Brettmm92 wrote:

Are you saying that welders used to run off batteries? And because batteries ran welders there's a potential risk of batteries malfunctioning and expelling that much energy? Is there an easy fuse or breaker setup that won't take any cutting up a wire? Like one that goes from the end of the charge controller wire and bolts to the battery? I'm wanting to not splice or cut up wires if theres another way.

And I was thinking having a setup of panels that lay flat on the roof but could be adjusted to around 45 degrees when no longer traveling to get better direct hit of sunlight would be superior even though it adds an extra thing to set up.

And would the batteries I plan to buy between 300 and 400$ for two high quality GC 6 volts be worth all that money? They are still lead acid and need to have maintenance but I could get three 12 volt 27DC batteries from wally world for cheaper than that (slightly over 300 with core charge). But everything I read seems to point out GC batteries being superior.

Walmart Battery


It IS possible to arc weld using nothing but "car" batteries, however, not a safe or recommended thing to do. Basically takes about 24V-36V open circuit voltage to get enough current to make a half decent field repair welding bead. Would I bet my life on it? No. But in a pinch it could be done..

[image]

Welding from battery comes with some inherent risks which could cause your battery to explode.. After all stick welding is nothing more than SHORTING the battery posts together if you think about it.

As far as the battery you linked, that is a "combo" RV/Marine battery, while it could be made to work, ONE pair of 6V GC batteries will supply the SAME capacity as three of those group 27 batteries.

You also DO NOT NEED to pay a premium price for supposed "HIGH QUALITY" GC2 batteries. That is plain foolish to spend anywhere near $400 for ONE PAIR of GC2 batteries. You get only 10Ahr-15Ahr more in the $400 set vs a $200 set. That is very little "gain" for a whole lot more money. That will net you maybe an additional 1 or 2 hrs of use.

The more expensive batteries you are typically prepaying for the additional warranty period and nothing more.

The other thing is since this is your first time camping and camping without commercial power, $400 is a lot of money on the line to waste if you kill the batteries on the first time out.. You may want to go with the lower cost GC2 batteries and see how well that works for you.

For $400 I would rather buy two sets of lower priced GC2 batteries and get a lot more capacity than one set of "high PRICED" GC2s.

In other words, the $90 Sams batteries I linked give about 215Ar, two pairs of those gives 430Ahr.

The $400 pair of "high quality" GC2s gives you 235Ahr..

Which setup do you think will last longer?

My bet is on the two sets of lower cost GC2s since you get more capacity which means you will draw down the batteries much less..

A lot of folks here push the expensive brands by saying they are better and will last longer. That is not always the case especially if you constantly over discharge and undercharge them.

I have been able to get 10yrs out of a set of low priced GC2 batteries, they could have gone another several yrs but I depend on them to power my home fridge conversion.

Well taken care of batteries typically can offer 9-12 yrs of service provided you do not deeply discharge and you immediately recharge them as soon as possible. Never leave them fully or partially discharged state.

On edit..

Have you considered trying a "test" camping experience in your backyard without power for the weekend or the time you expect to camp?

That would be best in order to see just how long you can camp without power before committing a large sum of money.. Your trailer should have come with a battery of some sort, it is required in order to have a working emergency breakaway brake system.. Or you could pull a battery out of your car for the weekend (provided it isn't your only form of transportation).

* This post was edited 07/03/20 04:06pm by Gdetrailer *

pianotuna

Regina, SK, Canada

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Posted: 07/03/20 04:53pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Brettmm92 wrote:

Are you saying that welders used to run off batteries?


Welders as we know them today did not exist. So folks who wished to weld would use batteries to do so.

Brettmm92 wrote:

there's a potential risk of batteries malfunctioning and expelling that much energy?


yes--but more of a chance that wires might wear through the insulation and "short out". That is why fuses and circuit breakers are used. What I am saying is there is a LOT of potential energy and it needs to be treated with care and respect.

Brettmm92 wrote:


Is there an easy fuse or breaker setup that won't take any cutting up a wire? Like one that goes from the end of the charge controller wire and bolts to the battery? I'm wanting to not splice or cut up wires if theres another way.


There may be such devices. My catastrophic failure fuse(s) are fastened to the battery and then wired to the house is connected. My system has two battery banks, so I can do either/or/both/none

Brettmm92 wrote:



And I was thinking having a setup of panels that lay flat on the roof but could be adjusted to around 45 degrees when no longer traveling to get better direct hit of sunlight would be superior even though it adds an extra thing to set up.


Studies have been done. The average RV'er who installs tilting panels gives up on doing so after seven times. Imagine a high wind, and rain. Are you prepared to climb on the roof to prevent the panels from being ripped off?

It is far easier, and much less expensive to simply add an extra panel with a fixed flat install. (And no roof climbing needed).

Brettmm92 wrote:

And would the batteries I plan to buy between 300 and 400$ for two high quality GC 6 volts be worth all that money? They are still lead acid and need to have maintenance but I could get three 12 volt 27DC batteries from wally world for cheaper than that (slightly over 300 with core charge). But everything I read seems to point out GC batteries being superior.


I am not a fan of six volt batteries wired in series. However, if there is space for only two jars, it is often cheaper to use golf cart batteries than 12 volt deep cycle units. True deep cycle 12 volt are Expensive with a capital E.

The link you have is to Marine batteries. These are NOT deep cycle jars. It is quite possible to use them, if you are prepared to have many of them. In fact I did so--but I had 7 group 29 12 volt. There was one more for the engine. I chose them because I had a specific need for high amperage draws. They lasted nine years because I had solar and was willing to lay in the snow to service them.

My next batteries will be SiO2. If your pockets are deep enough go 2 of those which would give you 180 amp-hours of usable capacity compared to just 112.5 amp-hours from golf cart batteries.

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