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Old 08-06-2013, 12:52 PM   #1
wanderlusty's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 42
Solar for a couple of newbie fulltimers

Hello folks!

We have been officially full timing for three days now. To our surprise, the house batteries wore down quicker than expected when we were not inside the motorhome. We have a 2012 Thor Daybreak 34KD. Totally loving the coach other than real minor used motorhome glitches.

We want to have a solid setup to support the energy needs of our motorhome. Not only when we are parked and boondocking, but also for when we are parked and the rig is not in use for a few days. Here's why... We have two cats and need to keep the rig cool on hot days and there are various electronics that seem to be drawing current even when we thought all was shut off.

Help some newbies out. How do I figure out how much current the home is drawing without anything "on"? How should I translate that to solar stationary/day-to-day living needs? Considering the Go Power Elite and the Solar E Cube 1500, would love thoughts on those too for RV use.

Thanks! Hope to see you on the road!

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Old 08-06-2013, 02:05 PM   #2
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 1,137
wander....you are in an excellent place to learn a ton about solar and thus move into the reality of what a MH mounted solar system is capable. I will share some links with you to help you discover the realities and simplicity of solar. Boat / RV Solar Tutorial - Understanding the Basics of Solar Power
Welcome to AM Solar_Your RV Solar Specialists since 1987
HandyBob's Blog Making off grid RV electrical systems work

So the balance you will be constrained to is space, weight, cost ... If you have enough room to mount enough batteries, enough panels and a big enough invertor.....( plus an unreal budget) you can run everything in your rig including your roof top AC unit. Take the roof top unit away from your scope and most (under $3000) installs will do you like living at home.
I am in middle of building a two 100w panel install with a Mppt charge converter and some monitoring equipment and will have about $900 invested. Now my inverter (will be a second project)....will be a 2200w unit that will add about $1100 to the project....I will be able to run the refrig, coffee pot , TV, stereo, laptops, medical equipment, water pump, interior lights and microwave. But not the roof top AC..... My 4 battery system could not store enough to handle that. In the end you will decide the type of service you can afford.

Craig Gosselin
1994 Fleetwood 33H
1995 Fleetwood 30H (parts vehicle)
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Old 08-06-2013, 02:20 PM   #3
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Ford Super Duty Owner
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: SoCal
Posts: 8,390
The AMSOLAR site has some very good usage and sizing information, suggest you give a good read there.

We have four 6v batteries and six 100w panels (used via Craigslist), Morningstar TS60 PWM controller, battery charge monitor, and a good size inverter that allows for microwave usage. Additionally there is another 100w portable panel we can set out if needed to help with shading issues. Even with some shading or marginal weather for multiple days we keep up, and we are not overly frugal with electric usage.

Air conditioning cannot be supported of course.
Vince and Susan
2011 Tiffin Phaeton 40QTH (Cummins ISC/Freightliner)
Flat towing a modified 2005 Jeep (Rubicon Wrangler)
Previously a 2002 Fleetwood Pace Arrow 37A and a 1995 Safari Trek 2830.
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Old 08-07-2013, 09:27 AM   #4
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What vsheetz says
1999 National Dolphin
1995 Range Rover County SWB.
Sailor, Dickens, Zooki, Koko.
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Old 08-07-2013, 09:49 AM   #5
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We have two cats and need to keep the rig cool on hot days
Only option you have for that. Is to keep plugged into shore power or run the generator for the roof AC. And hope your AC can keep up on real hot days.
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