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Old 03-02-2016, 04:52 PM   #1
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Going green as much as possible

I need some help. I'm very good with mechanics, and pretty much everything else on the machinery, but I definitely lack knowledge in electricity! I need a "little" help. I searched, I watched Youtube.....the works, and I still don't have the answer.

I don't like propane. I don't like to run my genset (10KW Isuzu diesel), because I like peace and quiet. My generator is NOT noisy, per se, but still.

I would like to rip the propane tank out, and everything else that comes with it (two burner stove, leak detector, etc.).

So here is the rundown. The coach is 40'DP, with Freedom 25, three stage inverter/charger (2500 watts). Generator is Isuzu diesel, rated at 10KW. I have four Interstate 6V batteries, each rated at 232AH, hooked in parallel. I have side by side fridge, convection/microwave, and usual entertainment (two radio/CDs, and two TVs). I also have Webasto, and Aquahot, so not concerned about running the heater on electric. I also don't need to run A/C off the inverter (shore power available when needed).

I would like to be able to operate EVERYTHING (including two burner induction cooktop rated at 1800W) except A/C, off of the battery bank I have, and charge batteries with SOLAR! I am not opposed to adding another 6V battery bank (if I absolutely have to!), although I would have to forgo one of the storage compartments to do that.

And that's where I get confused.

So for the people that installed solar on their MHs.........how many Watts (panels), and what size charge controller do I need? I would like to be able to boondock for couple of days, without running the genset (I am not cheap, but I'd like to be quiet/green in the wilderness). Going down the road, obviously, everything will get charged, and parked at the friends house, shore power will be provided (I never stay in campgrounds).

Please guide me in the right direction.

Thank you.
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Old 03-02-2016, 11:18 PM   #2
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Old 03-03-2016, 10:43 AM   #3
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Suggest you take sometime and read many sources.

AM Solar has good overall education. Starlight Solar has good info too.

BatteryPro, Reed, CountrFit, Vsheetz, Twinboat, Jackfish, others

Read IRV2's Going Green and also Boondocking forum. Under Going Green, keep an eye on the posters mentioned in this thread, IMO, they speak with wisdom!

Go slow. Keep doing what your doing on accumulating data. Figure out what you feel our future power needs will be, energy audit, add contingency to this. Say 150AH of usage per day, add 25% contingency to that. (Those are made up numbers as an example.)

Then look at your budget, and if required, phase in your project to end up where you want to be.

Considerations to think about are:
> Wet vs AGM vs Lithium
> Battery Bank Size
> Purse Sine Wave vs Modified
> Meter/Monitor (Magnum BMK, Bogart, etc.)
> Solar Panel - Tilt or flat mounted
> Etc., etc.

If this is a project you feel is better handled by a pro, well then also read up on who you want to help you with it.

Starlight and AM Solar have good reputations. I'm in California and had good support by Temecula Valley RV. Their are independents that follow the crowds (Quartzite, Yuma, Tucson, etc.) (Florida too!).

Wheeling It – Living the Fulltime RV Dream with 12 Paws, 40 Feet and the Open Road

Nina has a good thread going on a new system they're installing. But also read their first blog, on what they did 5 years ago.

Best of luck to you. And for sure, you will find many fellow RV'ers willing to share their opinion. As I did too! Sort out what is important to you, and plan accordingly.

Smitty
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Old 03-03-2016, 10:54 AM   #4
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Since I'll probably die in this coach, budget is of no concern (not hoping to recoup the cost if selling).

I know what I want, and what I don't (flat panels on the roof, as many as needed). My house batteries will have to be replaced this year, and I am going to install Trojan T125s. I'd like to stay with four, to keep the storage space I have. Not looking to replace the inverter.

Like I said, I'd like to be able to use everything I have (except heat) during the day/night, and recharge the bank during the day. I'll use Webasto when I need heat. IF the day doesn't provide enough sunlight, I'll run the genset.

I THINK 400w panels will give me enough to keep the batteries healthy, but I'm not sure.
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Old 03-03-2016, 11:14 AM   #5
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The biggest draw is going to be the cook top. At 1800 watts, you would have about 90 minutes of operating time from a full charge to 50% depletion of your batteries. You need to get some idea of your total power draw in order to do the math. Take all of your loads and calculate the wattage needed to run them and then multiply by the % they are on in a 24 hour period to get your total watt-hours you need.

I'm assuming your batteries are not 4 in parallel as you stated but two in series and those in parallel. That gives you 464 A-Hr that should be limited to half that for battery life, or 232 A-Hr. At about 12.5 volts during discharge, you get 2900 W-Hr from the battery and about 95% of that from the inverter. You want to keep the total draw for the day at 2755 W-Hr.

That would take 3190 W-Hr to recharge normal wet cell batteries. If you got the full 400 Watts from your solar panels (you won't) you'd still need 8 hours to fully recharge them of direct sunlight. So either the power has to go way down, or you need a lot more solar.

A good solar install will lose about 8% of it's rated power in the wiring (3%) and in the charger (5%). The energy drops off if the panels are flat versus tilted directly at the sun and when the sun is at an angle to them (morning and afternoon).
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Old 03-03-2016, 11:38 AM   #6
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I do not own an RV and won't for a couple of years. I am trying to learn as much as possible before I purchase and hit the road full-time.

That said, you may be interested in checking out the Gone with the Wynns website. They recently posted a blog and video about their solar setup which allowed them to run their AC off just their solar charge.

Off Grid Solar Powered RV Air Conditioning - Is it Possible? - Gone With The Wynns

Technomadia. com has a lot of information on Solar as well.

Solar Electrical Systems for RVs | Technomadia
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Old 03-03-2016, 12:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrusselltx View Post

I'm assuming your batteries are not 4 in parallel as you stated but two in series and those in parallel. That gives you 464 A-Hr that should be limited to half that for battery life, or 232 A-Hr. At about 12.5 volts during discharge, you get 2900 W-Hr from the battery and about 95% of that from the inverter. You want to keep the total draw for the day at 2755 W-Hr.

That would take 3190 W-Hr to recharge normal wet cell batteries. If you got the full 400 Watts from your solar panels (you won't) you'd still need 8 hours to fully recharge them of direct sunlight. So either the power has to go way down, or you need a lot more solar.

A good solar install will lose about 8% of it's rated power in the wiring (3%) and in the charger (5%). The energy drops off if the panels are flat versus tilted directly at the sun and when the sun is at an angle to them (morning and afternoon).
THIS was very helpful, thank you! You are right (as I said,....I was confused!), I have two and two in series, and those couples in parallel (a LOT less than I thought!), and that's the only way to have 12V from 6V batts, of course!

I read "Gone with the Wynns", I watched Youtube, read "Going green"......but to me, it's all Greek. Now, if conversation turns to Roman Law, Constitutional Law, Criminal Law,.......different story!

I can "turn the wrench" (and very good for that matter, if I can blow my own horn here), and I plan to install all this by myself. If for nothing else, if I screw up something, I won't have to blame anyone else.

And to recap,.......IF I rip out propane, I'll have another bay to add batteries (directly on the opposite side of the battery compartment),......if I up the solar to 800w, my inverter should be able to handle it being rated for 2500w, right? I probably still won't be able to run a/c, and the induction cooktop, at the same time, but that's OK (time to decide whether we are going to grill outside, and keep the coach cool in the evening, or cook inside).

I don't want to play with portable panels (and flat on the roof is the only way to have them permanent, right?).

Since I don't plan to stay anywhere more than a night or two (out of the populated areas), parked in town on the open during the day (on my traveling days), or plugged in 50A outlet on my land (most of the time), I think this might work (adding batteries, and doubling the solar output). When we visit friends, we have 30A plug available for as long as we want.

Once the main house is built, coach will be parked inside, plugged in, and used as a spare bedroom (for RARE occasions when we have overnight guests).

Thank you all for responding, I really appreciate it.
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