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 > Connecting Portable Solar Panels

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pianotuna

Regina, SK, Canada

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Posted: 09/29/20 01:16pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

obiwancanoli wrote:

pianotuna wrote:

you will soon tire of deploying portable panels.


That may be, but if it's the only way to charge the batteries, best to be able to tap into the sun


I dislike generators, but relying 100% on solar may not be wise.

If you are in a class C or class A with a v-10, it can safely be idled to recharge the batteries. Equip it with a dc to DC voltage boost device, and limit current to 1/4 of maximum alternator output.

If not equipped with a V-10, then a small generator may be a good back up source.

I do get six amps of charging at solar noon in leafy shade.

I do get three amps of charging at solar noon in the rain.

My solar farm is tiny at 256 watts, in comparison to your rather magnificent system, but now that I'm back to part time, it will be more than adequate when I upgrade to 600 amp-hours of SiO2 jars. My OEM system had ~437 amp-hours usable. (875 Amp-hours, total). I had no generator at all for 5 years. I never had to idle the v-10 in those 5 years. I ran out of fresh water before I ran out of power--and I cooked 100% electrically.

You seem to have deep pockets--so why not max out the solar panels on the roof--they are the cheapest part of the system, in terms of cost per watt. My cost per watt was $5.50 in 2005, for the panels.

Then, if you find you need them--buy some portable panels.

* This post was edited 09/29/20 01:24pm by pianotuna *


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.

BFL13

Victoria, BC

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Posted: 09/29/20 03:54pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Ground based portable solar gets shaded by the RV at times, so it must be moved to keep it in the sun. BTDT. This means the battery connection is at one end of your RV and sure enough the sun is at the other end, so you need long enough wire to reach past the the length of your RV at the very least.

You need enough wire to pull the array back from the RV far enough so the sun is above the roof on the other side of the RV, or else move the array to the sunny side.

A slide out one side and the awning out the other side of your RV makes good shade on a wide arc, so that means you move the array to the sunny side of those when the sun gets to there.

Didn't happen where we were doing this, but I can imagine that the place your portable would have to go would be out of your site's area, so now you have to have no neighbour that close.

I don't bother when parked in the woods. For us that is in the darker half of the year when solar is poor anyway, so it is generator and charger. I can understand trying to get some solar if parked in the woods in the summer. The trick is to find the open spot away from the RV that you are "allowed" to use for your array, and that will stay open to the sun long enough as the sun moves around and up and down to make it all worthwhile for any amp hours. AH does have that H in it., so time matters.


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obiwancanoli

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Posted: 09/29/20 04:33pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

pianotuna wrote:

obiwancanoli wrote:

pianotuna wrote:

you will soon tire of deploying portable panels.


That may be, but if it's the only way to charge the batteries, best to be able to tap into the sun


I dislike generators, but relying 100% on solar may not be wise.

If you are in a class C or class A with a v-10, it can safely be idled to recharge the batteries. Equip it with a dc to DC voltage boost device, and limit current to 1/4 of maximum alternator output.

If not equipped with a V-10, then a small generator may be a good back up source.

I do get six amps of charging at solar noon in leafy shade.

I do get three amps of charging at solar noon in the rain.

My solar farm is tiny at 256 watts, in comparison to your rather magnificent system, but now that I'm back to part time, it will be more than adequate when I upgrade to 600 amp-hours of SiO2 jars. My OEM system had ~437 amp-hours usable. (875 Amp-hours, total). I had no generator at all for 5 years. I never had to idle the v-10 in those 5 years. I ran out of fresh water before I ran out of power--and I cooked 100% electrically.

You seem to have deep pockets--so why not max out the solar panels on the roof--they are the cheapest part of the system, in terms of cost per watt. My cost per watt was $5.50 in 2005, for the panels.

Then, if you find you need them--buy some portable panels.




I'm in a Class A diesel, and a DC to DC makes sense. I do have a portable generator, though can't imagine needing it, given the upgrades occurring as I write... It's not that I have deep pockets, but as a newly retired financial planner, I've prepared well for my afterlife, and have always been of the opinion that if I want the best built house on the street, it starts, in part, with the best tools. And if I can afford the house, I can certainly afford the tools, albeit not all at the same time... cash flow... still, I'm patient, and as I continue to learn, from you and other generous contributors, I may even want to do things I haven't yet considered. One thing I HAVE considered is adding more solar. Maybe another 400W, but after all the other upgrades are done, I'll monitor for a while, and determine how much to add...

For the moment, I'm good. I do want to avoid using my generator, though occasional exercise will be practiced, to keep the wheels greased, as it were... but you've followed my posts and responded often enough that I'm sure my current setup is not unknown to you. I noted it in my initial post.

And thanks for the magnificence compliment! I actually never came close to thinking that, being the 2017 rookie that I am - how about merely impressive?

Thanks!
Michael

* This post was edited 09/29/20 04:40pm by obiwancanoli *

pianotuna

Regina, SK, Canada

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Posted: 09/29/20 04:54pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Michael,

800 watts would more or less eliminate generator use. Except for running the roof air conditioner. For that "condition" I use the trip planner at https://freecampsites.net/ and set the filter to electricity. Depending where you are it is possible to get power for free, or at extremely low cost.

Your system is great because you have adequate storage, and excellent equipment (Victron? iirc). Another reason is that you took advice from many of the excellent folks on RVnet.

Do wire the jars in a balanced manner.

400 is on the border line of not being quite enough. In a lead acid system it would not be enough, because of the need to equalize and fully recharge every cycle--but LI do not care about being fully recharged. It may be wise to fully recharge every 30 days or so--so that the internal cell balancing can do its job.

* This post was edited 09/29/20 05:01pm by pianotuna *

pianotuna

Regina, SK, Canada

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Posted: 09/29/20 05:15pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Michael,

One other thought. Some diesels do NOT like to be idled. I do not know this from experience. I think you have to use "high idle". This is a "skating on thin ice" comment as it is outside my area of certain knowledge.

Consider putting the description of your system in your signature--that makes it easy for others to refer to it when making comments.

jaycocreek

Idaho

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Posted: 09/29/20 05:40pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Quote:

I dislike generators, but relying 100% on solar may not be wise.


I think they compliment each other especially if your only camping is in a national forest..I actually have five generators lol..Kinda a hobbie for years and I just can't seem to sell any of them..If a guy bought a $350 inverter generator and had a decent charger,he needs nothing else..But what fun is that...lol

I swore I would never get into solar but here I am..It is addictive and expensive..There's no end to upgrading a system and everything depends on the sun..Enter lithium batteries and there pros and cons,especially in the winter for me....

Hobotech(Tom) on YouTube,who was full-time in a van,has a roof full of solar panels and two portable solar panels with like 40ft of cable but he also has a small inverter generator for when the sun fails all that solar and his four BattleBorn batteries and it does and did...All this is very interesting to me..


1994 F-350 DRW /460/k&n intake /415# torque/lance 9.6/Engel compressor fridge/3 gr 27 batteries/Honda 2k/Honda 3K/WH Camo 2250/Reese solid bar extension/Buddy heater/3 inverters//Happi Jack tie downs /Firestone bags/Yamaha Rhino/Winch and Lockers

Tom_M

New Hope, MN

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Posted: 09/30/20 06:00am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My solution for storing portable panels:
[image]

The panels can be left in place and tilted or removed and set in the sun.
[image]

[image]

I have two 40ft extension cables with Anderson SB50 Powerpole connectors:
[image]


Tom
2005 Born Free 24RB
Towing 1978 VW Bug convertible
Minneapolis, MN


obiwancanoli

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

Now there's something I had never considered... and if I didn't have the acreage on the roof, I might more seriously consider something like this... a novel idea, to be sure, particularly since they can be removed and placed where needed. Congrat's on a most interesting innovation!

SamanthaNichols

2046 Hillcrest Drive Tacoma, WA 98402

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Posted: 10/27/20 06:03am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The first time we hooked my portable solar panel up to our very dead batteries, it took about three days to bring them to a full status. However, since then, we have been camping for weeks on end, using our phones, lights, fans and all the other typical 12 volt systems you might find in an RV, and this solar suitcase has kept our batteries topped off to the point that we only need generator power for high power items like the hairdryer, microwave and instantpot, etc...
What do we like? The product is fairly light at just under 30 LB and has a nicely padded, rugged carrying case to keep it protected. It comes with a sizable cord, with MC4 cable connectors and an added set of alligator clips, which can connect directly to the battery. Personally, I like being able to plug it into the MC4 connectors on top of the RV (pictured in this review), for an added sense of security, while our rig is parked. Shopping around, we have found some cheaper solar suitcases that have water resistant charge controllers, where as this particular one is water proof, so I don't need to run up to the roof every time I see storm clouds gathering.
The setup was just as simple as unzipping the case, folding open the panels and connecting the leads/Alligator clips to the battery. Then just pick the type of battery you are charging from the charge controller (gel, sealed, lithium, and flooded batteries) and let the system do its work!! Overall, it has a solid build quality, with a solid frame and foldable legs to help point the panels perpendicularly at the sun for maximum solar capture.

pianotuna

Regina, SK, Canada

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Posted: 10/27/20 11:36am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

SamanthaNicols,

How are you determining 100% state of charge? What is the capacity of the battery bank in amp-hours?

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