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Old 06-05-2016, 05:55 PM   #57
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dphaynes - I don't know what you use your PC for, but I might share with you the following: We used to use an HP Pavilion a6650 desktop that consumed 220wats like yours does, but we have "downsized" yet "up-powered". Our HP Envy 17.3" laptop uses only 60watts max when plugged in, and when its batteries are fully charged it lasts about 9 hours unplugged. It easily handles anything we could do on the desktop, and more. When at the S&B we plug in an AOC 27" LED monitor that uses only 55watts max. With this set-up, in our coach we could feasibly run our computer unplugged at night, using only 55watts for the monitor if we want or need it.

If one adds our laptop (plugged in) and the monitor that's only 115watts usage; nearly half of our 220watt pc alone, not including the monitor. Maybe a review of your technology would save you additional usage at night. Just a thought.
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Old 06-06-2016, 08:30 PM   #58
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Originally Posted by peggwn View Post
dphaynes - I don't know what you use your PC for, but I might share with you the following: We used to use an HP Pavilion a6650 desktop that consumed 220wats like yours does, but we have "downsized" yet "up-powered". Our HP Envy 17.3" laptop uses only 60watts max when plugged in, and when its batteries are fully charged it lasts about 9 hours unplugged. It easily handles anything we could do on the desktop, and more. When at the S&B we plug in an AOC 27" LED monitor that uses only 55watts max. With this set-up, in our coach we could feasibly run our computer unplugged at night, using only 55watts for the monitor if we want or need it.

If one adds our laptop (plugged in) and the monitor that's only 115watts usage; nearly half of our 220watt pc alone, not including the monitor. Maybe a review of your technology would save you additional usage at night. Just a thought.
Tragically, I'm a mega-geek. I work on server-side stuff that uses clusters of servers and I sometimes emulate a cluster on my computer, so I've got 32GB of RAM and 7TB of disk in it (1TB of SSD and 6TB of the spinny ones) so it's just going to suck power. I just ordered a 32" monitor for it to replace my two 24" displays, though I failed to check power consumption on the new one. Hopefully it's less than two 24" displays.

A laptop with enough oomph to replace my desktop would be cost prohibitive to say the least, and I don't think it'd consume that much less power.

I guess one thing I didn't think about - some part of that 220W is my UPS. Is there usually a significant hiccup in an RV if it switches from shore power to the inverter? Or are the outlets always fed via inverter so I wouldn't take a power hit?

If the power doesn't get interrupted I could eliminate the UPS, though I don't even know how much juice it draws on its own.

Just looked up the specs on the monitors, looks like I'll be going from 2 x 34W to 1 x 46W, so it should drop me down below 200W...and give me some serious porn surfing power (2560x1440 resolution) Wait! I meant serious "Carmageddon Reincarnation" playing power! No, wait, it's actually a highly responsible expenditure of necessary funds in order to prevent eye strain due to long hours spent in front of the computer trying to figure out why some servers on the other side of the planet decided to simultaneously go foop and start singing "Daisey, Daisey..." or something like that. Them's my stories and I'm sticking to whichever one is politically expedient at the moment!

Thanks for the input!
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Old 06-11-2016, 06:40 PM   #59
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- The washer is ~1,300W, draws max 11A
- The dryer is ~1,300W, draws max 10.5A
Is there really a washing machine out there that uses more electricity than a dryer?
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Old 06-11-2016, 09:14 PM   #60
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Personally, I wouldn't set up my tower in my RV without an UPS, just as I wouldn't in the house. It would likely see less use in the RV, but if you are moving around a lot it keeps you from having to shut down before switching power sources. If you get distracted and run out of power at least it will keep the computer going so you can switch power sources or shut the computer down correctly. Of course, that's just me.

If you're doing this kind of work regularly I'd imagine you're going to need steady, reliable internet. Definitely something else to keep in mind, it can be tough to get reliable internet in "out of the way" places.

As far as boondocking goes though, I think that's been pretty well covered. I looked at it and figured it was too much money invested (solar system) for the amount of time I wouldn't be hooked up. For the $5,500 you're looking at spending you could run the generator for almost 3,700 hrs non stop. Meanwhile, I could get by over a few days just fine if I don't use the washer/dryer or the dishwasher. Granted my coach has propane for the fridge, stove and water heater so I can still shower, cook and keep food cold. Running out the awnings, opening the windows, and putting the shades over the front windshield and side windows helps keep the inside cool. Then house batteries on the inverter can run the TV/DTV, computer, lights, ice maker, and a few other things for quite a while. I imagine that with an all electric coach that will not be as easy to achieve.

If you really want to commit to solar though, you can always go for a "portable" solution. I've seen set-ups where you have the panels mounted on folding frames. You store them in the basement and then when you park just set them up in the sun and plug them into the coach. This would allow you to load up the roof with flat mounted panels and then have as much or more that can be pulled out and set up next to the coach. Of course having supplemental panels that store in the basement means less basement storage, so it's another trade off.
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Old 06-13-2016, 09:20 AM   #61
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Is there really a washing machine out there that uses more electricity than a dryer?
I'm guessing those are peak, not average values. I could see a washing machine motor having a really high starting current since it's got to be able to start spinning a drum full of soaking wet clothes that are sitting in water.

The dryer's max draw is probably closer to its average draw since once the drum is spinning it has to supply power to the heating element.

Those are just guesses, it has been a very long time since I studied electronic design and technology has changed a hell of a lot during that time. I've heard rumors that even the dinosaurs died off during that time...
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Old 06-13-2016, 09:45 AM   #62
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Personally, I wouldn't set up my tower in my RV without an UPS, just as I wouldn't in the house. It would likely see less use in the RV, but if you are moving around a lot it keeps you from having to shut down before switching power sources. If you get distracted and run out of power at least it will keep the computer going so you can switch power sources or shut the computer down correctly. Of course, that's just me.

If you're doing this kind of work regularly I'd imagine you're going to need steady, reliable internet. Definitely something else to keep in mind, it can be tough to get reliable internet in "out of the way" places.

As far as boondocking goes though, I think that's been pretty well covered. I looked at it and figured it was too much money invested (solar system) for the amount of time I wouldn't be hooked up. For the $5,500 you're looking at spending you could run the generator for almost 3,700 hrs non stop. Meanwhile, I could get by over a few days just fine if I don't use the washer/dryer or the dishwasher. Granted my coach has propane for the fridge, stove and water heater so I can still shower, cook and keep food cold. Running out the awnings, opening the windows, and putting the shades over the front windshield and side windows helps keep the inside cool. Then house batteries on the inverter can run the TV/DTV, computer, lights, ice maker, and a few other things for quite a while. I imagine that with an all electric coach that will not be as easy to achieve.

If you really want to commit to solar though, you can always go for a "portable" solution. I've seen set-ups where you have the panels mounted on folding frames. You store them in the basement and then when you park just set them up in the sun and plug them into the coach. This would allow you to load up the roof with flat mounted panels and then have as much or more that can be pulled out and set up next to the coach. Of course having supplemental panels that store in the basement means less basement storage, so it's another trade off.
Thanks for the input! It helps since I have no f'n clue what I'm doing - yet.

I'll go with the UPS until I know what the actual issues are. I don't imagine it's a lot of draw to charge that battery but it's a continuous draw so it may be an issue.

I actually decided to go with a bigger solar system (1,280W) and get it installed by a third-party who specializes in RV solar even though it's more expensive. I could probably do the install myself for half the cost, but I'll sleep better knowing it's designed right and installed right.

The generator running issue is more an aesthetic one than a cost one, plus it's a bit of future-proofing. The solar power is available, it's quiet and it's clean, why not use it? I also suspect that when fuel prices recover from their exceptional lows, they're going to go right through the roof. I expect in the not-too-distant future I'll be paying $5 to $6 a gallon for diesel. I believe the solar is going to have a much shorter payoff than most folks would calculate.
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Old 06-13-2016, 03:34 PM   #63
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For fun and a second opinion please post the engineering document provided by your solar vendor.

It should state many things such as charge rate and controllers wire sizes and a host of other details.

Many could learn from this or if something looks wonky someone here may see something that needs attention.

Call it trust but verify...
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Old 06-14-2016, 08:00 AM   #64
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Originally Posted by dphaynes View Post
I'm guessing those are peak, not average values. I could see a washing machine motor having a really high starting current since it's got to be able to start spinning a drum full of soaking wet clothes that are sitting in water.

The dryer's max draw is probably closer to its average draw since once the drum is spinning it has to supply power to the heating element.

Those are just guesses, it has been a very long time since I studied electronic design and technology has changed a hell of a lot during that time. I've heard rumors that even the dinosaurs died off during that time...
I think you will find you are incorrect. The washer is handling a heavy load at speed with a higher horsepower motor. The dryer uses a much lower power motor to spin the drum at a low speed thus most of the energy is for the heater. Both draws are generally measured as the average while the most energy consuming cycle is running. Starting current would be higher.
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Old 06-14-2016, 10:41 AM   #65
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I apologize if this has been pointed out before (I admit that I haven't read the entire thread) but from the research I have done on solar installations, the most common problem most installations have is they are under wired. For example, one poster stated that for a 1200 watts of panels at 24 volts and a 50 foot run, #8 wire would work. Yes it will. You will also loose 13.08% (157 watts) of your 1200 watts in just wire losses. That is what, one full panel? Using #4 wire will reduce that loss to 5.17%. Something to consider I think.
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Old 06-14-2016, 12:50 PM   #66
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I'm guessing those are peak, not average values. I could see a washing machine motor having a really high starting current since it's got to be able to start spinning a drum full of soaking wet clothes that are sitting in water.

The dryer's max draw is probably closer to its average draw since once the drum is spinning it has to supply power to the heating element.
I'm not sure where you were getting the numbers for the electricity used by the washer and dryer, and I brought this up because recently, someone was looking at a refrigerator and the manufacturer's website gave the electrical usage and it was wrong. But you wouldn't realize it was wrong unless you really thought about it.

Here's the post about it (it's in the second half of the post):

http://www.irv2.com/forums/f93/boondocking-on-solar-with-a-residential-fridge-292926-5.html#post3098361

I have a front-loader Splendide combo washer/dryer and did a lot of testing with a kill-a-watt to figure out exactly how much electricity a load of laundry would use.

The washer ramps up to 150 watts when it's turning the drum and washing. When the pump is running without spinning, it's 100 watts. When the drum is spinning and the pump is running it's 240 watts. When it's on super-fast spin (~1,000 rpm) at the end of the cycle and the pump is running, it's 400 watts, which is the maximum it ever draws.

On "high heat," the dryer uses 1,350 watts if the pump is running, and 1,250 watts if it's not.

You're obviously are looking at different machines, but to be safe, I would double-check the numbers before relying on them. Since the number you have for the washing machine is probably higher than the actual draw, you won't be in danger of under-sizing your solar system if you use that number, but when calculating all this, it's best to have accurate numbers.
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Old 07-16-2016, 02:26 PM   #67
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I don't know if you proceeded with your solar install yet or not but here's some good reading. This full-timing couple boondocks and dry camps a lot and solar is very important to them.

We also used solar and it is absolutely wonderful. We didn't go extensively as you planned because we didn't want a washer/dryer or residential refrigerator. We also don't care about the television. It served our purpose very well. It's quiet and works in the background without any fussing.

Good luck with your project!

Solar Power €“ Wheeling It

Here's another good post on solar:

http://www.jackdanmayer.com/rv_electrical_and_solar.htm

...and yet another:

http://www.technomadia.com/category/technology/

These are all full-timers who really use their solar.
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Old 07-17-2016, 10:52 AM   #68
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Call me skeptical. By the time you factor in the investment cost of solar and its maintenance, you'll be money ahead to buy diesel. The notion of future proofing is a bit ironic given your computer is outdated the day you take it home. I'm not trying to rain on your parade, however. Useful battery life will not be ten years and the demands for the system you mention is like a small house. Last time I checked they could easily run $25k. The reality is you can easily power small loads, as in lights, etc. there are other factors that will limit your parking location besides temperature. Things like dirt roads and terrain that your ADV bike took with ease. Not to mention that efficiency claims for panels and batteries are as much smoke as reality. While solar prep sounds like a good idea, before you drop $10k on solar, get your lifestyle and motorhome together and see how you use it. Buy a small Honda inverter genny and see how much you use/need it. Then if cost/values justify, buy your megawatt solar. Believe half of what you see and nothing of what you hear.

IMHO
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Old 07-17-2016, 11:53 AM   #69
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I admit that I've only spot read this full thread, and yeah, thread creep is evident!

You mentioned adding more batteries, and cutting back on solar. Depending upon how serious you are on this wanting to be off grid for extended periods, suggest you research the differences between Wet, AGM and Lithium Batteries usage - before investing in new batteries. Lots of opinions on this, but I'll share my opinion. A lithium battery bank provides a few advantages: Less weight, deeper safe discharge and to me the key much faster recharging times. And while the costs are still the highest of the three battery choices, they have come down, and with a properly sized system, their useful life should be better then the other battery choices - and thus the higher costs are rewarded somewhat by longer life.

The other advantage of a lithium bank, is you can recharged them with a smaller solar panel system, so you can save a few bucks on that end.

I'd first recommending the energy audit, add say 25% to what you feel your daily needs are for usage growth, and contingency. Determine Wet, AGM or Lithium - as you need to design the total solar system based upon if Lithium or not.

If you do elect to go less Solar to start, don't cut back on your controller and cabling choices, as it's easier to add solar panels down the road if you have the rest of the components and system designed to handle more wattage of solar.

And finally, I also recommend a 'grand design' that also provides a minimum of 25% more solar panels then you feel you need. Again IMO, you can never have too much solar panel wattage. (Classic example. We have 800AH's of Lifeline AGM's for our battery bank. (Lithium RV banks were just not quite stable enough for me when we upgraded our battery bank, and installed our solar system.) We have 1200W of 48V high efficiency solar (Higher efficiency and quality solar panels, pay dividends by producing more power in less then optimum conditions.). As as further FYI, we have the MidNite Classic 150 controller, which I like. So my classic example? We're at Apgar Campground in Glacier National Park as I type. We found a spot that allows us at most, 60-70 minutes of full sun on all five of our panels - IF we're not covered by clouds at the time, which we have 3 out of the last 5 days. So, we're getting combos of full sunshine for brief periods, shaded sunshine via cloud cover, and partial sunshine filtered thru the trees. The end result is that we depend upon the generator and solar combo, to top off to 100% SOC at least once every three days. (My policy, some stretch this to 4 or even 5 days.) As we usually like to get out and going during the day, the 8:00-10:00AM and 12:00-2:00PM times are quite often missed, or only small amounts of time if we get a late start in the AM. The 5:00-7:00PM window is not enough to bring us back to full 100% SOC..... So my long winded story is to point out that quite often while 'boon docking', you may find yourself in a situation where you get less then ideal recharging of battery bank capability. Either generator time restriction if in a controlled park setting, and or, shading or heavy clouds. Oh, and I found out on our way to Alaska in 2014, that a few inches of snow on the solar panels - will really drop their output!).

So, do your grand design with lots of extra capacity. Build your system in budget required phases if needed.

And just one last comment on water usage. Our little all in one washer dryer does not use much water, off of memory about 3-4 gallons.

Enjoyed reading the parts of the thread that I did, and wish you the best of luck...
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Old 07-17-2016, 04:12 PM   #70
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I've already been doing what your doing, e.g. working from the RV. I'm an Infrastructure Architect and also do development on the side.

I used to have grand dreams of going full solar etc. but in reality that 50amp plugin at an RV park and solid internet is going to be your bread and butter for what you have in mind to do. Many RV park wifi's are spotty at best too, however the upside is many of them offer cable. If you are long term you can actually rent your own cable service and a modem right at your ped at some parks, definitely at mobile home places.

You might be able to do some light work boondocking with a laptop, but you still need internet to turn that work in so to speak, and generally boondocking means spotty cell signal too. Granted this can be done in short spurts, but in my case it's more hassle to do that than just hooking up at an RV park or a long term mobile home park that accommodates RV's and staying put for the most part until my contract is up.

My advice: save the money and plug in when working, and go boondocking when you want to take a break from work and get away from everything for a couple weeks. You wont need all that solar or diesel when taking a break from running that mega tower.

Just my 2 cents for what it's worth.
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