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Old 09-01-2014, 02:58 PM   #1
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Possible solar power add-on

Replacing a bad alternator and will be installing 4 new 6 volt batteries. Will probably go with sams club. I am planning in the not to distant future of installing some solar panels. We are no huge energy users, mostly lights, water pump etc. The only big draw that I could see us using is the furnace. Although it is propane it stills has a dc fan. Any suggestions as to how big of a panel? I realise that this may be an impossible question to answer, but here goes.
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Old 09-01-2014, 03:21 PM   #2
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200 - 275 watts I would consider "entry level". If you get a larger controller than you need, it will be easy to add panels in the future if you desire.
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Old 09-01-2014, 03:39 PM   #3
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Here Isa write-up of my solar installation, might find it useful. Also is suggested to visit AMSOLAR's web site as they have good sizing information in their education section.

Some folks use a catalytic heater to preclude the furnace fan power requirement.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf VSheetz - Solar Setup for my RV v1.1.pdf (473.7 KB, 84 views)
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Old 09-01-2014, 05:23 PM   #4
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We have six 6v batteries, a residential refrigerator, all LED's, gas heaters, water heater and gas range and 560w of solar on the roof through a MPPT controller. Unless we hit VERY cloudy days we can go indefinitely off grid. Decide what level you want to go for.
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Old 09-01-2014, 05:42 PM   #5
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You don't want to know how big a panel to get you want to know how many (-:

How ever many you decide on I would suggest a MPPT controller and one that has the excess capacity available to add more panels without having to buy another controller in the future. There are a lot of good panels to choose from I have 6 Kyocera 235w panels and they do a great job hitting 42-43a on a nice sunny day.

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Old 09-01-2014, 07:28 PM   #6
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You don't want to know how big a panel to get you want to know how many (-:

When referring to how big, I meant how many watts would one panel be, 100watts 150 watts etc.? Sounds like you guys have a great setup. Did you do the work yourself or have someone do it for you? I am a very handy person in this regards would take a lot of research to do it though. What would be some of the better makes. When you refer to the MPPT controller, it would be enough to handle how many watts I want to expand to?
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Old 09-01-2014, 07:49 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaminman View Post
You don't want to know how big a panel to get you want to know how many (-:

When referring to how big, I meant how many watts would one panel be, 100watts 150 watts etc.? What would be some of the better makes. When you refer to the MPPT controller, it would be enough to handle how many watts I want to expand to?

This company and the products they sell are well regarded.

The most popular panel is the 100 watt. It's physical dimensions allow more flexibility in placement on an RV roof.

Click image for larger version

Name:	ImageUploadedByiRV2 - RV Forum1409618701.294550.jpg
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Size:	567.2 KB
ID:	72670

This is one of the most popular solar controllers. They come in different sizes (amps).
At 45 amps max capacity, you could combine about seven (7) of the above mentioned solar panels before you max out. You can start with just a panel or two, and add more as your budget and needs allow.

Click image for larger version

Name:	ImageUploadedByiRV2 - RV Forum1409618852.428981.jpg
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Old 09-01-2014, 09:24 PM   #8
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If you want a good education on solar look up Handy Bob's blog on Google. Be prepared for some heavy duty reading, but his posts are about as accurate as you can find. I've used both MPPT and PWM controllers and have found the MPPT definitely works better for me and how we RV. Bob's comments on wire size is also right on. We have 4 140w panels wired in parallel and spliced together and fused for the downrun to the controller and then batteries. Whatever you decide on, read the installations for each piece of equipment closely before you buy. The instructions should give you good info on sizing controllers and fusing. I found Morningstar wire recommendations a bit light and went with Handy Bob's instead.

Also, be aware where you buy your equipment. For example, solar items bought in Arizona are fully tax free, snd if you happen to snowbird there and can pick them up, the shipping and tax saving can be significant.

A good site to check is Arizona Wind and Sun at Solar Charge Controllers

Quality equipment at reasonable prices and they won't try to "sell" you anything. Good luck in your solar education.
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Old 09-01-2014, 09:35 PM   #9
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I have a 40 foot and I put 300 Watts on last summer which I consider entry level purchased from am solar they were great work
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Old 09-02-2014, 06:29 AM   #10
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Definitely read Handy Bob's. He relates many years of trial and error and has found what works.


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Old 09-02-2014, 07:24 AM   #11
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Providing I can do all the work myself and I install 300watts how much would it cost for everything assuming I will be buying from the suppliers that you recommend? Just want to get a rough idea. Thanks
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Old 09-02-2014, 08:46 AM   #12
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Possible solar power add-on

Quote:
Originally Posted by jaminman View Post
Providing I can do all the work myself and I install 300watts how much would it cost for everything assuming I will be buying from the suppliers that you recommend? Just want to get a rough idea. Thanks

Take a look at the pictures I posted above....


Qty (3) 100 watt panel. @ $249 = $750 (GS100 premium. Only 14.5 pounds)
Qty (1) 45 amp Morningstar controller MPPT = $450 (add up to 400 more watts
In the future with same controller)

Lots of wire, misc connectors, combiner box, etc


Rough idea = $1500


Remember....you can buy cheaper....BUT better to buy the quality stuff the first time.

MPPT controllers cost more.....but perform better. The items quoted above allow
for upgrade ability in the future
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Old 09-02-2014, 09:57 AM   #13
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Go to windsun.com and search. They are a very good reliable source. I have purchased all my equipment from them.

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Old 09-03-2014, 01:37 AM   #14
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I have purchased from both windsun Solar Electric Power Systems For On & Off Grid and amsolar Welcome to AM Solar_Your RV Solar Specialists since 1987 both good companies. Before you buy give each one a call and ask questions. Buy from the one that gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling. You want to have someone you can call or email with technical questions if your going to do a self install.

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