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Old 08-04-2015, 12:37 PM   #1
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Lightbulb Looking to Add Solar Power

Hello,

I'm new to this whole Forum thing. I just baught a used 2002 Winnabago Adventurer 32V and I want to had solar power that can possibly run my rv to the max. If not to the max then at least enough to run my AC / Heat, lights, and fridge.

Any thoughts and suggestions on the amount of Watts I'll need to make this happen?
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Old 08-04-2015, 12:45 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gossett6 View Post
Hello,

I'm new to this whole Forum thing. I just baught a used 2002 Winnabago Adventurer 32V and I want to had solar power that can possibly run my rv to the max. If not to the max then at least enough to run my AC / Heat, lights, and fridge.

Any thoughts and suggestions on the amount of Watts I'll need to make this happen?
Welcome to iRV2!

There are dozens of threads regarding the running of AC from solar, I'll let you dig those out for details. The summary is, can't be done inexpensively or for long, the power draw is just too great.

That said, running most everything else from a battery bank which is charged by solar is generally possible. I'm assuming you have propane/LP heater that uses a 12 volt fan. The short answer is that you need to figure out what your power requirements are (daily use) and install a battery bank, solar panels, and charge controller to support that need. Lots of places discuss that - my write up on the topic is here.

Good Luck!!
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Old 08-04-2015, 12:47 PM   #3
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My first gut is that while this is possible, it is not practical in an RV. The number of panels and batteries adds much weight.

With that said, there is a guy on the RV Tips group in Facebook who run his 5th Wheel Trailer 365 days a year in the desert areas boondocking. Jim Denning is his name. The pictures of his trailer show at least 6 large panels being used as shades of his windows. And no one knows how many batteries. He admits it is a little extreme but works for him.


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Old 08-04-2015, 12:48 PM   #4
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The cost to have solar run the AC in your RV will probably be more than what you paid for your RV.
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Old 08-04-2015, 05:17 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by shiggs68 View Post
My first gut is that while this is possible, it is not practical in an RV. The number of panels and batteries adds much weight.

With that said, there is a guy on the RV Tips group in Facebook who run his 5th Wheel Trailer 365 days a year in the desert areas boondocking. Jim Denning is his name. The pictures of his trailer show at least 6 large panels being used as shades of his windows. And no one knows how many batteries. He admits it is a little extreme but works for him.


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This is his web site. I don't think he runs AC on Solar either.
https://handybobsolar.wordpress.com/
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Old 08-04-2015, 07:09 PM   #6
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Running AC off of solar on an RV is not really practical. Typical AC unit uses 1600 - 1900 watts. With efficiency losses you would need 2500 - 3000 watts of solar panels in ideal sun conditions. You would be better off with a generator to operate AC. That said solar can provide ample power for most of the lighter duty items in the coach (TV, lights, pump, residential fridge, etc) and even the microwave for short periods of time.
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Old 08-04-2015, 07:48 PM   #7
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www.gonewiththewynns.com
This is a good place to start!
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Old 08-05-2015, 02:22 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Gossett6 View Post
Hello,

I'm new to this whole Forum thing. I just baught a used 2002 Winnabago Adventurer 32V and I want to had solar power that can possibly run my rv to the max. If not to the max then at least enough to run my AC / Heat, lights, and fridge.

Any thoughts and suggestions on the amount of Watts I'll need to make this happen?
As mentioned, forget about running your A/C system off the batteries and most likely running your furnace all night too. There are ways to install a solar system correctly without putting up 8 panels in the process but you need to adapt to a leaner life style. I believe this is one of the most educating sites to read and learn from, he knows what he is talking about. https://handybobsolar.wordpress.com/ Good luck with your project.
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Old 08-06-2015, 07:39 AM   #9
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On a 32' footer, depending on what's already on the roof....vents, A/C unit, TV antenna etc., there won't be a whole lot of room for the amount of panels you would need to do what you want to do. It's not just the expense of the panels you have to look at, it's the cost of a good battery bank, and where you would put them, along with a good PSW inverter. There's a lot to consider before making that leap.
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Old 08-06-2015, 08:12 AM   #10
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A Coleman Mach 8000 series AC unit pulls 83 amps from a standard 12volt battery bank according to my meter, this was measured using an amp clamp meter placed between my 675 amp hour batter bank of T-105's and 3000 watt inverter with only the inverter and AC running. So, maximum run time prior to hitting the 50% SOC wall is 4 hours tops.

One of the full timer couples that I follow on YouTube has 15 solar panels on their RV and a 400 watt windmill. They have double my storage capacity using 2 battery banks of 4 batteries each, 250 amp hours per. In a recent "first boondocking" video they woke up with both banks at or slightly below 50% SOC because, you guessed it, they ran the AC's and whatever else.

Of course it can be done, there are people right here on this very forum who are doing it and they will probably chime in soon enough, but I think it would require a lithium battery bank.... the 6 T-105's I have cost me $810, and that is a bargain basement fire sale blue light special kinda price when comparing it to the cost of a lithium battery bank.

I believe if Tesla's 7kw power wall is ever proven viable for RV's it will solve this riddle for only $3000.
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Old 08-06-2015, 05:46 PM   #11
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This is his web site. I don't think he runs AC on Solar either.
https://handybobsolar.wordpress.com/

No, that is someone else's web site. This guy has like 7 panel on the roof and as window shades. Runs 365 days a year in the desert boondocking. While extreme, he does do it.


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Old 08-07-2015, 10:03 AM   #12
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15 solar panels, a 1000 watt wind turbine, 8 battery bank. Check this out...

https://youtu.be/JbBNC-jCV7E
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Old 08-07-2015, 11:27 PM   #13
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Have discussed on other threads.

We have a 34' 5th wheel and have 1400 W of solar, 8.6 kW-hrs of LFP (48 V nominal but 54 V actual = 9.6 kW-hrs) of which 7.5 kW-hrs are usable. LFP can be run to 20% SOC for several thousand cycles.

We have run Dometic (1750 W) for 4 hours several times. Prefer to go where it is cooler and not have to do this: "Goldilocks paradigm", aka "not to hot and not to cold, just right!"

We took off the TV antenna since we usually boondock where reception is zero. This freed up a lot of space on roof. Attached photo (attached previously on other threads) shows the six x 235 W panels, and demonstrates that we could place two to three more. But then we would have to get another 4.5 kW-hrs of LFP to utilize the energy. Power goes to MPPT at 90 V.

I liked the sliding panels on the Youtube presentation. Have a friend with over 2 kW projected on his camper/motorcycle trailer combination. He plans to have panels that fold out onto frames. There was another thread on this forum that discussed doing this.
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Old 04-29-2016, 01:28 PM   #14
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Theres a reasonable comprimise I did.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gossett6 View Post
Hello,

I'm new to this whole Forum thing. I just baught a used 2002 Winnabago Adventurer 32V and I want to had solar power that can possibly run my rv to the max. If not to the max then at least enough to run my AC / Heat, lights, and fridge.

Any thoughts and suggestions on the amount of Watts I'll need to make this happen?
You've probably already made your decision on this but thought I'd throw in an in between alternative in case you gave up via all the negative comments. Namely if you do NOT use solar for your big uses (ac, microwave, coffee, pot, etc) you can get away with system thats not astronomically expensive, heavy and roof space expansive. My wife and I put something in that covers most of our other needs given sunny SW skys for around $2600 (2016 dollars). We use our generator for the big items. The key is to do coffee in the morning using the generator for a couple hours to charge the system after a hard night of TV watching, lights, CPAP, etc. Then the sun charges you up for the next night. With out doing it this way I would think you would be in for another couple of thousand $ and likely not enough roof space unless you are up over 40ft in length. I know we at 35ft would not have the room. We figure to recoup our money in less than 3 years if we dry camp say 8 times a month for 3 months a year (at about $50 / nite savings).
Ps. If you do go for it and are thinking of doing it in Quartzite Az. DO NOT go to Solar Bills. They are either incompetent or crooks.
Good luck.
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