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Buzzcut1

Norcal

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Posted: 07/29/21 06:33pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

With the exception of when I needed AC in the boonies, with 200 watts of solar and two group 31 AGM batteries I have not used my generator to recharge the batteries since 2015 when I installed the panels.


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2oldman

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Posted: 07/29/21 06:35pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

jimh425 wrote:



It’s probably years before a payoff for most people. Well, it’s years or decades for most solar systems.
The payoff can also be considered not having to rent space in an RV park for power. Priceless.

Bedlam

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Posted: 07/29/21 07:39pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Even if you do hookups all the time, a little solar works great as trickle maintainer of batteries when in travel or storage.


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jimh425

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Posted: 07/29/21 07:52pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

2oldman wrote:

The payoff can also be considered not having to rent space in an RV park for power. Priceless.


I agree with that.


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pianotuna

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Posted: 07/29/21 09:32pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Solar is the nearest thing to a free lunch you are likely to find.


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.

deltabravo

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Posted: 07/29/21 10:26pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Back in 2011 I spent about $1500 on a nice solar system for my Arctic Fox 811, which I owned up until last September. I had 300 watts. I had the solar dealer install it because I simply didn't want to do it, that's why it cost so much.

Camping in WA state, I'm in the shade all the time when I remote camp, so solar didn't do me a whole lot of good.

I already owned a Honda EU2000i at the time, so that's what did a good percentage of my battery charging duties.

Where solar was a small benefit was to help offset the discharge of my batteries when my inverter was providing AC power to the fridge when I was traveling.

Another small benefit was to recharge after a night of dry camping when I was traveling from point A to point B and stopped in the middle of the trip. However, the amount of discharge on my batteries was pretty minimal since I was just stopping for the night, usually parking for the night not long before dark.

Over 11 years of truck camper ownership, It's very rare that I take a trip where I end up in the sun while dry camping.

In August of 2020, I bought an AF992 to replace the 811. I have no immediate plans to install solar on it, even though I do still have an inverter onboard.
I did opt to upgrade my truck to truck camper charging system by adding a Victron DC to DC Charger. I went Victron because it's small and compact, unlike the Renogy and RedArc units.

Victron installation video


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HMS Beagle

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Posted: 07/29/21 11:40pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Back in 2011, $1500 for 300 watts wasn't that outrageous. I doubt I would have paid for that, weighing the benefits. But today that would be $300. Same benefit, 1/5 the cost.

I went about 5 years without anything else charging the batteries - no charger, not hooked to the truck. Only the solar. 2 or 3 days in the deep shade and you do need something else. I usually drove enough or parked enough in the sun. That was with 200W.


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valhalla360

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Posted: 07/30/21 05:39am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If you boondock a lot and have low power consumption, solar can make a lot of sense.

If you stay at parks with electric or you have higher power needs, it starts to make far less sense.

Shade is a killer for solar. Because of the way they are wired, even a small patch of shade on a panel almost completely kills the output.

As far as cost...if it keeps you from staying at paid parks, it makes some sense but if you are boondocking regardless, the person who mentioned years/decades was correct. It's absolutely not free.


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pianotuna

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Posted: 07/30/21 08:36am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

deltabrano,

In 2005 I spent 1700 for 256 watts of solar. It has paid for itself time and time again. But then, trees are rather rare on the prairies, and the panels I have are still be best for shaded situations. Max output is about 17 amps--and in leafy shade I get 7 amps.

StirCrazy

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Posted: 07/30/21 08:44am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I wouldnt be with out it now. most of the places I go to with the truck camper have no services. I did change all my interior lights to LEDs, but not with the energy savings as the primary concern but rather for increased brightness and ya a bit for the power savings. I do not have a low power consumption when i go out in the spring and fall. I have the furnace running, lights radio and so on and by noon my GC2 batteries are full again. I have camped in shade and still charged well. the right pannels make a huge difference, ie. go for 24V split cell panels.

as for cost, I think to many people are stuck at pricing that was 5 to 10 years ago. it cost me 600 cdn to put my system on my camper, so even the difference between booking serviced to unserviced sites (50-65 to 18-25) thats less than 20 nights of camping to pay for its self, if I am boondocking then I can pay for its self in about 10 nights.

I started out with a single 325 watt panel to test it out and will be increasing it to a second one and going to LiFePo4 batteries for more capacity. right now I can go 3 days with out sun before I start to get concerned, in the fall using the furnace at night. I want to get that up to 7 days min.

I have 450 watts on my 5th wheel and I dont worry about what I paid for that either as normaly we are looking for services when we take that as its to big for a lot of forestry sites, but for the times when we do take it where there are no services it is priceless, the solar lets me run my margaretavill, bar fridge and icemaker for a few hours a day, which can lead to some pretty good times in the middle of nowhere. this two is in the plan to upgrade the panels to around 1200 watts and go to about 800ah of Li batteries.

Steve

Steve


2014 F350 6.7 Platinum
2016 Cougar 330RBK

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