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Old 07-20-2014, 05:15 AM   #1
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Solar question

I have a 2000 national tropical class a. There is a small solar panel on top, which we have not been able to figure out what it actually does. How to I trace it down to know what it powers? The next part of my question is, what is the main thing people use solar panel on top of their coaches for? Are they worth the money? If so, what size? I know nothing about solar power or panel, and am looking for any advice on them.

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Old 07-20-2014, 06:33 AM   #2
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If you only have 1 small solar panel it's primary purpose is to maintain the batteries from the parasitic drain. On my Monaco the solar panel came as an option, I believe it was 85 watt, which will produce ~2-3 amps charging on a sunny day.

Depending on your controller you may have the option to add additional panels. I have 2 more 125 watt panels on my roof which will recharge the batteries provided the load hasn't been too high. I cannot keep the inverter on all the time but I can run the Cool-matic fan pretty much continuously and recharge the batteries.

You should be able to find the information as to the set of your solar wiring and charger and what capability it may have.

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Old 07-20-2014, 06:45 AM   #3
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That information is in the actual owners manual for the coach? Or was that an aftermarket it put on later? We the 2000 coach used from a dealership used in 2005.
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Old 07-20-2014, 08:14 AM   #4
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The small single solar panels on top are just for keeping the batteries from going completely dead while MH is in storage. Had one on the roof of my 97 Dolphin. Don't know if it was factory or aftermarket installed but it worked.
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Old 07-20-2014, 08:26 AM   #5
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Old 07-21-2014, 11:09 AM   #6
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The small solar panel National install on top of the AC shroud is about useless fod keeping the batteries charged. No controller needed to small no way it will over charge the batteries.

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Old 07-21-2014, 12:50 PM   #7
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Those small solar power units are there just to keep batteries charged, assuming the parasitic drain is very small.

You have to ask yourself what are you going to do with your MH. If you will spending most of your times at CGs then you don't need a lot of solar. If you are planning to do a lot of boondocking then you will need more.
Those small units are usually about 5 watts and don't do a whole lot. Stepping up to 60w will give you ample charging to maintain your battery, if you're not boondocking. You can spend a fortune on solar and find out it was overkill.

Get an assessment of your needs then you will be able to determine what system you will need.
Good luck.

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