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 > Calling on Solar Techies

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1L243

Oregon

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Posted: 01/16/21 10:26pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have been thinking of going solar for some time and decided to pull the plug.

My wants are a 400 to 500 watt system. I have four 12 volt batteries with 340ah. I am not planning on changing batteries at this time but will go to four 6 volts at 480 hrs in the future.

l would like to use an inverter so I can plug directly into the trailers 110 outlets.

besides TV's I would like to occasionally run electric heat and coffee maker and all the other things that go with RV use.

What size inverter would be recommended? Pure Sine Wave?

I would like a blue tooth controller and a automatic transfer switch and a auto smart charger.

It it best to look for a kit? or buy individual components? I plan on installing the system myself.


2017 Coleman 300tq by Dutchman Toy Hauler. 34.5 feet long and under 10k Gross. 1999 Ford F250 2WD 7.3 4R100 DP Tuner, S&B Cold Air Intake, Gauges, 6.0 Trans Cooler, Air Bags.


Ed_Gee

Central Oregon coast

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Posted: 01/16/21 10:41pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I see lots of issues, given your stated usage. Did you know small electric heaters draw up around 1600 Watts? Your Microwave oven also around 1500 Watts. Standard coffee pots - around 1200 Watts. .... are you begin ing to see the issue? You'll need at least a 2000 Watt inverter, and yes, pure sine wave would probably be best......and that is if you only run one major appliance at a time. A 1500 Watt electric heater through an inverter may pull around 120 or 130 Amps from your batteries when the heater is running..... how long do you think your 384 Amp Hour battery bank will last before it reaches the recommended half way point of that capacity? Frankly, you're going to need far more solar and a much larger battery bank to make that kind of power demands.... ConsideriLithium batteries and at least 1000 Watts of solar for this. I see you are in Oregon. Give AM Solar over in Springfield a call.....or contact them on their website and see if they'll give you an idea what you need. They are one of the best RV Solar companies in the country.
. . . . Or you might just reassess your planned usage needs ..... the desire for electric heat would be your big killer.....


Ed - on the Central Oregon coast
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time2roll

Southern California

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Posted: 01/16/21 11:27pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You would need a second trailer to haul enough batteries to run a space heater for any significant time. Adjust your expectations to running the furnace with the battery power and propane.

2000 watt inverter could run any home coffee maker and your tvs. You can get the inverter with a built-in transfer switch and battery charging when plugged in. I always recommend sine wave.

The solar controller is your smart charger. Review the available charge programming before you buy. Not sure why you need blue tooth unless you need one more distraction.

If you find a kit with all the right parts I am sure that would make installation easier. I matched my own components.

Enjoy the journey.


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pianotuna

Regina, SK, Canada

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Posted: 01/16/21 11:32pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

1L243 wrote:

My wants are a 400 to 500 watt system. I have four 12 volt batteries with 340ah. I am not planning on changing batteries at this time but will go to four 6 volts at 480 hrs in the future.


340 would leave you with 170 amp-hours usable or about 2000 watt-hours.


1L243 wrote:

l would like to use an inverter so I can plug directly into the trailers 110 outlets.

besides TV's I would like to occasionally run electric heat and coffee maker and all the other things that go with RV use.


Everything but the electric heat. You don't have enough watt-hours available for any long term use of even a 750 watt heater.


1L243 wrote:

What size inverter would be recommended? Pure Sine Wave?


3000 watt pure sine wave in a hybrid inverter/charger with load support. I'd recommend Victron or Outback.


1L243 wrote:

I would like a blue tooth controller and a automatic transfer switch and a auto smart charger.


Blue tooth is nice--but it does limit the choice of charge controller.

The hybrid inverter/chargers come with a transfer switch.


1L243 wrote:

It it best to look for a kit? or buy individual components? I plan on installing the system myself.


Kits too often come with charge controllers where more panels can't be added.

Some notes:

Have a budget in mind

make sure the system can be expanded

Start by doing an energy audit to size the battery bank--then get enough solar to charge the battery bank.

I plug my RV into the inverter to run the whole house, but that does require shutting down the OEM converter (I leave mine unplugged), and setting the fridge to propane.

It may be best to stay within one family--i.e. Victron Inverter/charger and Victron solar charge controller. They are designed to "play well together".

This series of articles may help: https://freecampsites.net/adding-solar/


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.

1L243

Oregon

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Posted: 01/16/21 11:54pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Of course I want the best system for the least amount of money.

I was thinking of going with a 3000 watt pure sine inverter they tend to be on the expensive side. That said We do not do a lot of winter camping but I wanted to build the solar system with that option open and reduce the consumption of propane and the need to frequently refill the tanks.

The heater has 3 settings with the lowest setting being under 600 watts.

Typically when we do use a heater it's during the day at night we switch to furnace which keep a things from freezing.

nickthehunter

Southgate, MI

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Posted: 01/17/21 06:57am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

How much solar power do you think you will get on a typical winter day in Oregon?
No sun = no solar power = no ability to recharge depleted batteries.

naturist

Lynchburg, VA

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Posted: 01/17/21 07:35am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

1L243 wrote:

Of course I want the best system for the least amount of money.

I was thinking of going with a 3000 watt pure sine inverter they tend to be on the expensive side. That said We do not do a lot of winter camping but I wanted to build the solar system with that option open and reduce the consumption of propane and the need to frequently refill the tanks.

The heater has 3 settings with the lowest setting being under 600 watts.

Typically when we do use a heater it's during the day at night we switch to furnace which keep a things from freezing.


On it’s lowest 600 watt setting, that heater will draw at least 660 watts counting the power the inverter uses. To make it simple, call it 700 watts. A 400 watt solar array will reliably produce at best 350 watts for about two hours around noon, but only on a clear sunny day. To run that heater and inverter straight off the solar array, you will need 800 watts of panels, and if you want to do so longer than 2 hours a day, plan on more. Say at least double to 1600 watts.

Throw in a cloudy or rainy day, now you will need to at least double that, to 3200 watts.

What we are trying to tell you is that heating (and cooling) with electricity is EXTREMELY power hungry. You might want to rethink what you want to do.

A 400 watt array can reliably get you 1500 watt-hours a day, given a reasonably sunny climate. That’s plenty to run your lights, furnace on propane, refrigerator on propane, make a pot of coffee, charge your phone, etc. Provided you use it to charge batteries rather run things directly. But both an air conditioner and electric space heaters are not practical.





jaycocreek

Idaho

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Posted: 01/17/21 07:43am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

nickthehunter wrote:

How much solar power do you think you will get on a typical winter day in Oregon?
No sun = no solar power = no ability to recharge depleted batteries.


That's been my exact reason for not putting alot of solar on the roof here in idaho,even in the summer camping in the forest is usually in the shade and why the solar I have is portable and the generators time for charging batteries..


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wanderingaimlessly

SOBOVA

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Posted: 01/17/21 07:46am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If the secondary heat source is a must, look into the Wave heater search
No noise, propane heat, no fan. Some ventilation is needed, but these are very popular/common with rv usage. You can find plenty of threads in here as well as a lot of you tube videos on them. even the little 3000 btuh is impressive in an rv.
Just changing this makes your success at the rest of the setup much more likely.

KD4UPL

Swoope, VA

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Posted: 01/17/21 08:01am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

All the "kits" I've seen are generally over priced with sub par quality components. I would try to use "full size" 60 cell solar panels which are about 40" wide by 66" long. They are about 300 to 350 watts each and should cost around $.60 per watt.
Magnum or Outback would be my first choices for inverter/charger. I wouldn't mess with stand alone inverter, get an inverter/charger which will also have a built in transfer switch. It makes the wiring much easier. Some will say that now you have a common failure point which is true but these devices are incredibly reliable.
Purse sine wave for sure. Buying a modified sine inverter is like buying a black and white TV.
Running electric heat in an RV with solar panel is just an exercise in futility. Forget about it.

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