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Old 09-10-2019, 03:33 PM   #1
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Solar or Generator

Ok so need some advice here.
Just got a 23DBS and am trying to decide if I want to add solar or a Generator to it.

Currently I have two SRM-31 DeepCycle Batteries with 210 Reserve Capacity each.

We dont use the AC or Microwave at least not yet. So we can live on 12Volt power alone. May use the TV on rainy days....

If I added two 160 watt solar panels would that be enough to charge my batteries on a regular basis if I am camping in the woods without direct sunlight?

I found a 2200 watt Dual Fuel Generator for under 600.00 Its a Duromax and the price is right, not sure if they are reliable or not....But it has a 3 year warranty so I figure it cant be a total lost

I have never had solar before so kind of lost as to what the capabilities are for the solar in shaded locations.

Thanks!
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Old 09-10-2019, 04:02 PM   #2
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If it's the XP2200EH model, that one looks good *except* there is no 30 amp connector on it like our Champion. Dogbone plug a must in this case.

2200 Watts would be pushing the limit on 2 ac units or micowave use.

I always buy with future use in mind. If I did serious boondocking (we don't), I would go with solar and a generator. No sun, no charging.

We have 100 watt portable solar that charges at 7amps in good sunlight.
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Old 09-10-2019, 04:12 PM   #3
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We have both. 300 watts of solar does diddly squat when we are camped in the rain forest, so out comes the genny. When we are camped further inland where there is sun all day, the genny stays tucked away.
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Old 09-10-2019, 04:18 PM   #4
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Get a generator first . It will charge your batteries in all kinds of weather. Add solar later on.
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Old 09-10-2019, 04:36 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camper8251 View Post
two 160 watt solar panels would that be enough to charge my batteries on a regular basis if I am camping in the woods without direct sunlight?
There might be enough there to float already charged batteries but not to run anything of substance. My personal preference is to be in the shade where it's cool than bake the RV in the sun to keep the panels happy. If you don't need the A/C, a small/quiet inverter genset is plenty to top off your batteries as needed.

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Old 09-10-2019, 04:37 PM   #6
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Both

I have 300 watts solar, works great in direct sunlight, works good with indirect sunlight "partial shade". 2400 Yamaha generator for winter camping, deep woods camping, or just plain rainy drizzly few days, after 3 - 4 days of constant rain I'm either looking to fire the generator up, or just pack up.
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Old 09-10-2019, 04:37 PM   #7
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Solar doesnít work well in the shade.

Perfectly sunny day, ZERO shading, with a cool breeze keeping the panels cool is best. Even the angle which the sun hits the panels is a consideration.

The description of camping in the woods without direct sunlight is a vote for generator.

Iím parked in the woods today...and got about 100 watts of photovoltaic energy on average today...(thatís on a 1,440watt System). If you had two 160 watt panels in the woods...you might not even be able to charge a cellphone.
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Old 09-10-2019, 05:08 PM   #8
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We use both solar and carry a genny. I would think the 2200 might be boarderline. Our genny is 3500 and even then will not carry the AC at any elevation over 6500'.
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Old 09-11-2019, 05:56 AM   #9
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As already said, if solar panels are in the heavy shade, they don't do much. Although I've had some success in the dappled shade of our Eastern forests (with 690W rooftop solar).

We don't have a generator but do have both rooftop and portable solar. I have longish cables for the portable solar so if there's a patch of sunlight nearby we're good. We also look for the sunnier camping spots when the weather is mild and avoid really hot weather/places where an A/C is necessary.

If you need a generator, having solar as well can really cut down on the generator time needed to fully charge your batteries, as the last few hours of charging can be at low currents.
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Old 09-11-2019, 07:17 AM   #10
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Just a heads up when it comes to Solar. All is not equal across the board when people discuss solar. Some are talking:
1. Mounted flat on roof
2. Mounted on roof but tilt-able
3. Remote suitcase Solar placed in the sun
4. Factory installed Solar, that almost never has large enough conductors
5. And some are talking about a super well installed solar that has lots of wattage, a great controller and large conductors.

My point is, there is a point that Solar can't keep up, and a generator will be necessary to make it to the end of the trip and be comfortable. But not everyone that says their Solar can't really has a good system to make what I consider a fair comparison. And before I get back lash.........I'm not calling out anyone on this forum as I have no idea what anyone here actually has. And for the record, I do everything I can to not run a generator..............but I have one!
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Old 09-11-2019, 04:35 PM   #11
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Also: the OP's Interstate SRM-31 Deep Cycle 12V batteries are 98Ah ea or 196Ah total @12V. If he switched to four 6V GC2s he could get 430Ah @ 12V and last twice as long when boondocking before charging. Or even get a couple more SRM-31's, but they're not really deep cycle and will not last as long as golf carts (GC2s) when deep cycled.
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Old 09-11-2019, 05:03 PM   #12
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Thanks everyone for the input.. Looks like I am going to by a Generator for now and see how it goes.
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Old 09-12-2019, 07:41 AM   #13
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Thanks everyone for the input.. Looks like I am going to by a Generator for now and see how it goes.
Check out the Champion duel fuel unit with electric start. It's been great for us for 3 years now. Not as expensive as the Honda.
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Old 09-12-2019, 03:37 PM   #14
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Thanks everyone for the input.. Looks like I am going to by a Generator for now and see how it goes.
FWIW: My recommendation is to look at the decibel rating before you buy a generator. Even the quietest ones are irritating when they are running and the noisier ones are nearly intolerable. An increase of only 1 or 2 decibels is quite noticeable. For me, it's worth the extra bucks to decrease the noise, especially if you are going to be running it for a few hours to charge the batteries.

I love my Honda 2000. It was the quietest thing out there when I bought it, but I think you can match the sound level with less expensive generators now.

Oh, also, think about where you are going to carry the generator. The difference between lifting (for example) a Honda 2000 and a Honda 3500 into the back of a 3/4 ton truck is significant! For me, at least, it's the difference from a one person job to a two person job.
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