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Old 09-20-2017, 07:43 PM   #1
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Critique my solar and battery strategy

Hi all, new to the forum, but certainly not to Rving!
Currently have a Jayco hybrid (Jayfeather 26L) but moving to a Denali 5th wheel in the spring (2012 DE324LBS).
Currently have 4 Trojan T125s with 550 watts of solar, with a Kisae 2000 watt pure sine inverter, we primarily dry camp.
Plan for new trailer is to upgrade batteries and solar. Batteries are 5yrs old, serviceable but nearing end of life. Would like to go with 1000 watts solar, and possibly 6 x Crown 6CRV 220 AH AGM batteries. Ive heard that AGM handle heavy loads better than FLAs. Typical use of inverter now is coffee maker morning and evening, plus TV and occasional limited use of microwave. My end goal is to have enough capacity to run the inverter pretty much any time (i.e. not switch on/off all and ideally run the fridge on 120 during the day to reduce LP use and leverage excess solar during the day.
Inverter is wired to batteries with 4/0, plan for solar is either a single 60A converter with 24v panels or 2x 30 (already have them, but willing to upgrade that too, one is MPPT, the other isnt.
Got time to plan, so thoughts?
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Old 09-20-2017, 09:27 PM   #2
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Leave the fridge on gas or get a residental one.

Running a gas/electric fridge on AC, will cost you 40 amp DC draw when running. A residental only draws about 15 amps DC, running and will run less time.

I built a " work around " for my gas/electric fridge to run on my inverter. It only switchs to AC if the batteries are seeing 13.4 volts or more from my charging sources, otherwise it go to gas.

Driving and on shore or generator power it runs on AC, but I don't yet have enough solar to keep it on AC. If and when the old fridge fails, the solar will be enough for a residental fridge.
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Old 09-21-2017, 06:28 AM   #3
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Twinboat, thanks for the feedback. I'd be very interested in understanding your work-around, that sounds like exactly what I'm looking to do - run the fridge only when I have spare capacity. No plans to switch to residential fridge any time soon.
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Old 09-21-2017, 06:34 AM   #4
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I agree to stay on gas when boondocking. The fridge uses very little gas - look at the flame.

AGM batteries charge faster and supply heavy inverter loads better - but cost twice as much.

I have 480 watts of solar and 390 AH of AGM batteries. Running the furnace on 55 degree nights only drops me to 70% SOC. Back to 100% by early afternoon.

LED lighting is your most cost effective power management move.
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Old 09-21-2017, 06:47 AM   #5
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Not sure I understood the solar controller options. Unless going with 12 volt panels in parallel a MPPT controller is needed. A MPPT controller converts higher voltage panels to battery 12volt.

Refrigerator on gas as others have commented. It will use too much electric and uses little propane.

LED lighting, at least for the most often used fixtures. Uses 1/10 the power of others.

AGM batteries are good to have. But i don't mind wet battery maintenance so have stayed with them and kept some money in my pocket.

My PV system is 1500w of panels in three strings to a Midnight Solar combiner box with DC breakers and a Midnight Solar Classic 150 controller. Batteries are six GC2 wet batteries.
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Old 09-21-2017, 08:00 AM   #6
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Quote:
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Twinboat, thanks for the feedback. I'd be very interested in understanding your work-around, that sounds like exactly what I'm looking to do - run the fridge only when I have spare capacity. No plans to switch to residential fridge any time soon.
I used a voltage sensing relay

http://www.yandina.com/c100InfoR3.htm to control a 12 volt coil, 120 volt relay.

https://m.grainger.com/mobile/product/1YCZ1?cm_mmc=PPC:+Google+PLA&s_kwcid=AL!2966!3!166 591437759!!!!81032003877!&ef_id=Wah69gAABC6Uf1CV:2 0170921133135:s&kwid=productads-adid^166591437759-device^m-plaid^81032003877-sku^1YCZ1-adType^PLA

I wired a male and female ( actually cut a short extension cord in half ) into a box, to the relay. I plugged that in between the fridge plug and wall outlet.

The combiner, wired to the 12 volt supply for the fridge, only closes the relay after it senses 13.3 volts.
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Old 09-21-2017, 10:29 AM   #7
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Hi ! Welcome to IRV2! We're sure glad you joined the gang!

Sorry I can't advise you on the solar. Keep her between the ditches!

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!
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Old 09-21-2017, 06:21 PM   #8
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vsheetz, that's exactly my setup today, essentially 2 arrays in parallel, one 12v for 290 watts, another at 24v for 250. I could keep the existing MPPT controller and add another, or consolidate into a bigger amperage single unit.
LED was the first thing I installed about 8 years ago
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Old 09-21-2017, 07:08 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phemens View Post
vsheetz, that's exactly my setup today, essentially 2 arrays in parallel, one 12v for 290 watts, another at 24v for 250. I could keep the existing MPPT controller and add another, or consolidate into a bigger amperage single unit.
LED was the first thing I installed about 8 years ago
I would consolidate into one larger good quality MPPT controller. I think more effecient and better battery charging. Simpler setup and wiring. Imho.

Vince
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Old 09-21-2017, 07:58 PM   #10
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Tend to agree. The MPPT I have is a good quality model (Rogue MPT 3024), old but solid, if I can sell it for something then that’s the route I’d take. Suggestions on good quality 60 amp controller, preferably with remote display?
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Old 09-24-2017, 08:18 PM   #11
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I would prepare to run both supply and storage in both series & parallel. Prepare for lithium ion storage that can charge past 120 volts. The problem with that 600 lbs of lead acid is it is going to hit the ceiling of charge rate even at 18 volts.

If you are going to 1000 solar do it in a way to run say 3 panels in parallel. Then run 3 sets of those panels in series. This jacks the voltage & amperage, and is something lithium Ion storage likes both charging at a high rate & discharging at a high rate.

Use time it'self to measure the value VS cost.12 volt lead acid just can not keep up, or, down with quickly emerging tech. Remember Lithium Ion batts are falling in cost of 1% a month. In a year or so we are going to be in a wash of Lithium Ion batts, just like we are in a wash of Natural gas today.

Even if you don't go this route, at least buy a controller that is Lithium Ion compatible. Future proof.
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