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Open Roads Forum  >  Public Lands, Boondocking and Dry Camping

 > Solar & Inverter starting point advice

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kfp673

PA

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Posted: 06/04/21 12:11pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hello All,

We seem to be dry camping more and more over the past 2 years. Mostly in state forrest land with dedicated sites but the sites are roughly 1/4-1/2 mile between each site. This spring I upgraded from a single 12v to dual 6V batteries. Now when camping in 40 degree nights my furnace makes it well into the morning and even into the afternoon vs 3 or 4am with the old 12v. So our current routine is running generator for about 2 hours in the morning while we make coffee and breakfast, and then about 2 hours in the evening as my kids are winding down and watching a movie before bed. The rest of the day and all night I prefer to leave generators off and 4 hours seems to be enough to charge the batteries enough to hold over another night.

Anyway,I'd love to cut that back even further and give the ability to run a coffee maker, TV, and other devices off 12v. Please point me in a direction of where to start looking at inverters. Are there good posts explaining how and where to install them? Also, what size solar kit is fairly affordable and makes enough power to maybe cut an hour or two off my generator running?

Thanks!

agwill

enosburg falls, vt

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Posted: 06/04/21 12:32pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

For most of all your questions you can find all the information you are looking for on You Tube. I would have you look up, Renogy is a good starter but there are many others to chose from. From a 100 watt starter package for less than $200 to a 400 watt system for around $600.


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Ivylog

Blairsville, GA and WPB, FL.

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Posted: 06/04/21 03:46pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Unless you are full time, the payback on solar is never and you can forget making coffee off your 2 batteries... run the generator. Without adding more batteries, adding solar will only help a little.
A 500W inverter will power the TV. The cheapest way to decrease generator time is add a bigger battery charger.


This post is my opinion (free advice). It is not intended to influence anyone's judgment nor do I advocate anyone do what I propose.
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D.E.Bishop

Eagle Rock, CA

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Posted: 06/04/21 04:35pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have two Interstate GC2 batteries and charge them using a Windy City 200 Watt 2 panel solar setup for right at $225.. We can go for several days up to at least 10 and only use the Generator for making toast in the morning and occasionally use it for running the microwave.

A 500 watt inverter is way more than you need to run an average 32" Class TV. My older 120 VAC Sharp TV uses 45 amps of power. The 32" Class Insignia I had in our Bounder was 12 VDC and used 35
Watts. The Winnie has a 100 Watt inverter and runs the Blu-Ray and TV with ease.

The best way to power a coffee maker is use a percolator. If you like K-Cups, use a Cup-A-Joe for 15 bucks from Walmart.

While I may never get my money back on these things, I don't use the genny very often and thereby avoid the ire of the self-righteous Generator Police.

The best power savers are LED lights and I converted 5 fluorescent ceiling lights to two power level LED lights for les than 20 bucks for a 15 foot strip from eBay.


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Lwiddis

Quartzsite, AZ

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Posted: 06/04/21 04:41pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

“Anyway,I'd love to cut that back even further and give the ability to run a coffee maker, TV, and other devices off 12v.”

Four batteries and 600 watts of solar will accomplish all of the above 98 days out of a hundred without any generator use. Depending on how late you sleep solar will be recharging your batteries before you wake up. The “payback” is you don’t worry about electricity, gasoline, oil level or changes. I’m at 75 days with no generator use.


Winnebago 2101DS TT & 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 LTZ Z71, WindyNation 300 watt solar-Lossigy 200 AMP Lithium battery. Prefer boondocking, USFS, COE, BLM, NPS, TVA, state camps. Bicyclist 14 yr. Army -11B40 then 11A - (MOS 1542 & 1560) IOBC & IOAC grad


theoldwizard1

SE MI

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Posted: 06/04/21 04:57pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The very FIRST thing you need is a GOOD battery monitor. Victron makes several from basic to ones with lots of "wiz bangs". Even the basic one, BMV-700, is good !

Once installed you will know how much energy you really ARE using !

Boon Docker

Mountain Foothills of Southern Alberta

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Posted: 06/04/21 05:06pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If you boondock a lot solar is the best way to go.

dieseltruckdriver

Black Hills of SD

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Posted: 06/04/21 05:44pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have 400 watts of solar, two 12 volt AGM batteries, a Victron BMV 702 battery monitor, Victron 375 watt inverter and LOVE IT!

Last night it paid for itself in full. Just like last summer. No worrying about the generator noise, hauling gas, and we can watch as much tv or run the furnace as much as we want. The inverter only powers one outlet, and that is for the tv and a power strip to recharge laptops etc. It also has a remote switch so I can turn it off when it isn't needed.

I am going to add a couple hundred more watts of solar, but mainly for early spring or cloudy days. Honestly 400 watts is all we need, I just want more.

Coffee is always done with the percolator. That makes the best coffee ever!


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wanderingaimlessly

Buggs Island lake

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Posted: 06/04/21 05:45pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

On the coffeemaker
If you want a drip unit many of the small ones only used around 500 watts to start and after a couple minutes drop to 300 or so. And the "keep warm" cycle on mine uses about 300 watts for 10 seconds on and about 30 seconds off.
Otherwise use a single cup unit which only needs about 4 minutes to make a cup.

pianotuna

Regina, SK, Canada

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Posted: 06/04/21 06:16pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi,

This website may help design a good system:

https://freecampsites.net/adding-solar/


Regards, Don
My ride is a 28 foot Class C, 256 watts solar, soon to have SiO2 batteries, 3000 watt Magnum hybrid inverter, Sola Basic Autoformer, Microair Easy Start.

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