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Old 03-14-2018, 07:20 PM   #1
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Gas class A residential fridge battery bank and solar questions

Hi,

Hope all is well today.

What size solar and battery bank would
be recommended to run a residential fridge, LED lights, furnace and occasional TV/radio for one week?

Thanks,

Stephen
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Old 03-14-2018, 07:26 PM   #2
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Without knowing more about what you may use, I would suggest a minimum of around 600 amp hours of batteries and 800 watts of solar panels. This combination would provide ~ 230 amp hours per day of solar power in a place where the sun shines most of the day.
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Old 03-14-2018, 07:42 PM   #3
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Without knowing more about what you may use, I would suggest a minimum of around 600 amp hours of batteries and 800 watts of solar panels. This combination would provide ~ 230 amp hours per day of solar power in a place where the sun shines most of the day.

Thanks,

So that would mean finding space for six batteries in a gas coach. Already have 200w of portable solar so would nees 600w on the roof.
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Old 03-14-2018, 08:00 PM   #4
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What I posted was the minimum. Cloudy days or more usage would require more batteries or panels. I would still have a back up generator. If you are only going for five days, and running a generator is allowed where you will be camping, I would just get a generator and run it as needed.
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Old 03-14-2018, 08:21 PM   #5
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What I posted was the minimum. Cloudy days or more usage would require more batteries or panels. I would still have a back up generator. If you are only going for five days, and running a generator is allowed where you will be camping, I would just get a generator and run it as needed.

Thanks Paul,

Current coach has a 5.5kw generator and 200w portable solar.

I am looking at newer coach's and trying to figure out if its worth getting a residential fridge.
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Old 03-14-2018, 08:52 PM   #6
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If your talking about a full size like the very common Samsung RF 18, it can use 200+ Ah in 24 hours. Add that to your other usage and that would push your solar even further.
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Old 03-14-2018, 09:03 PM   #7
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Get the residential fridge and plan to run your generator. Over the life of your coach it is almost always less expensive to use the genny for 2 or 3 hours a day than buy enough solar to make up for it. Unless you are consistently in a situation that prevents you from running the generator, this is what typical "all electric" owners do. Once you get used to the philosophy change, it won't bother you at all. It took me a little while, but now I am very content to do just that.
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Old 03-15-2018, 06:42 AM   #8
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If your talking about a full size like the very common Samsung RF 18, it can use 200+ Ah in 24 hours. Add that to your other usage and that would push your solar even further.
Thats a lot of power, I often would use that amount in 3 days
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Old 03-15-2018, 06:52 AM   #9
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I am a fan of go big with RV solar arrays. Internal / external shading, flat mounting, low winter sun hugely impact real world production vs. calculation from panel ratings.

Add another pair of batteries to accommodate the RR need.
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Old 03-15-2018, 06:53 AM   #10
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Get the residential fridge and plan to run your generator. Over the life of your coach it is almost always less expensive to use the genny for 2 or 3 hours a day than buy enough solar to make up for it. Unless you are consistently in a situation that prevents you from running the generator, this is what typical "all electric" owners do. Once you get used to the philosophy change, it won't bother you at all. It took me a little while, but now I am very content to do just that.
My buddy does that already but has a quiet honda. Mine is a 5.5kw generac gas model. I think I will stick with a propane fridge for the next coach.
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Old 03-15-2018, 06:56 AM   #11
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I am a fan of go big with RV solar arrays. Internal / external shading, flat mounting, low winter sun hugely impact real world production vs. calculation from panel ratings.

Add another pair of batteries to accommodate the RR need.

Hi Vince,

I would love to use our coach in winter but alas it does not have 6 wheel drive and a snow plow :-)

We are still working and living up North.
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Old 03-16-2018, 09:53 AM   #12
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My buddy does that already but has a quiet honda. Mine is a 5.5kw generac gas model. I think I will stick with a propane fridge for the next coach.
Yup, a problem. If you're changing coaches, any reason not to find one with a quiet genny? Like you said the Hondas and the quiet Diesel Onan's are quite acceptable.

Not trying to be snobby here, just trying to address practicalities.
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Old 03-16-2018, 10:15 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scottybdivin View Post
If your talking about a full size like the very common Samsung RF 18, it can use 200+ Ah in 24 hours. Add that to your other usage and that would push your solar even further.
I'll confirm Scotty's observation about the Samsung. For planning purposes, I used 180-200A as high side of the usage point. Lots of factors effect actuals. Weather & humidity, number of opening and losings, is fridge side of the coach baking in the sun, ice maker in use or not, Energy Saver on or not, etc.

I just finished a Kill-A-Watt 45 hour check of our RF18 power consumption. Moderate temperatures from 53 to 80 degrees, low humidity, we do not use the ice maker (Removed it for more storage, and use cube trays.), Energy Saver On.

We consumed 5.31A per hour average during this cycle.

I also use a full 12 hours of potential non sun solar help or generator charging, again for planning purposes. So under 65 AH's for 12 hours of overnight usage.

I compared this with my notes from when we first installed the Samsung and I did a 4 day energy audit tests. The short of it, I rounded everything up, and added some contingency, and said to plan to use 80 AH's for overnight usage. (I'd rather be on the high side, and under use, then be on the low side or have some fluke that causes higher consumption.)

So that is some timely updates on the RF18 from just the last three to four days of checking a now four year old RF18!

Planning battery bank and solar support sizing comes down to choices, and of course $$!

I sized our battery bank to handle two things. 1) Living on the top ~25% of a full charged discharge. (Or, waking up to 75% SOC level in the AM.) 2) Contingency for days of clouds, or shading.

We've done the LED conversions, but also I did not want us to be so undersized that the use of electricity at night became a hinderance on our lifestyle. We do very little conservation of energy in our living in the RV.

We went with 800AH of house batteries, and 1200 W of Solar. (4 panels would have been 960 watts, but the wholesaler knocked another $20 off per panel when I bought 5, so we ended up with X's 5 240W 48V High Efficiency panels.)

I did go the AGM route with X's 4 L16's Lifelines. These fit where the previous X's 2 8D's had been. With a little cabinet modifications, I could have put in X's 5 8D's for 1200 AH's of house batteries. (Two would have been on their side to make these fit. And I would have needed to relocate the Magnum MS2812 Inverter/Charger too.). But my energy audit said that 600AH's would have supported us, so just bumped that to 800AH's and have been pleased with the size.

Generator running? We do like the quiet while boon docking. Our trip to Alaska, we ran the generator more to exercise it then to charge the batteries. That being said, I have no problem with firing ours up if we have a real need for it. As long as I'm following the rules of a camping area - I never feel sorry for firing up our generator. Our's is the Onan QD8000, and it's not as quiet as say a Honda in a isolation sound box. But certainly more quiet then some of the older diesel generator's we've heard over the years!

I think for people who only plan to boon dock ~25% of the time, planning a battery bank and solar size that expects a few hours of charging in the AM to do the heavy Bulk/Absorb charging, then letting the Solar finish things off - is a very reasonable balance.

Best to all,
Smitty
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Old 03-16-2018, 11:08 AM   #14
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Interesting numbers from the RF18. We've got the Whirlpool 10 cu ft. fridge. We did our own audit and we're using about 60 Ah a day but that includes turning it off at night. Add those 8 hours back in and you're looking at realistically 75-80 Ah (cooler temps at night, no opening and closing, etc.) but more like 90-100 to be conservative.

But we only use 60-70 in practice and shutting the fridge down at night has had no adverse effects. We'll typically get 39-42 degrees on the cheap remote thermometer when we shut it down and it's only up to about 42-45 in the morning. Frozen food is still hard and we've had no spoilage. In fact, we monitor the temp on the door shelf but in the back, we often get really close to freezing at times (slushy water, frosty carrots, etc.) So we're probably holding at 40 degrees or below in the middle of the fridge.

We run our four stock 12v Interstate batteries that give us 160 Ah usable. We've got 300w solar that produces 8-12 amps. And we run our 5.5k gennie three to four hours a day. We could probably run it less but we've yet to install our battery monitor. We never let the battery voltage get below about 12.2 or 12.3 to be safe, though the batteries could really be at 40% or 80% for all we know, depending on loads. With a battery monitor, we suspect we could lose and hour or two of generator run time, especially when the sun and temps are favorable.

We're plan to upgrade our solar to 600 watts and our batteries to four 6v giving us 220-ish Ah usable. At least for now. We'll still need the gennie but much less of it.

IMHO, the residential fridge if worth it. You're going to run a generator unless you're willing to throw $10-15,000 at the solar/battery problem. Generator runs might be an hour or two, save cloudy days, but that's cheap power at $2-4 bucks a day. For us, the problems that come with a propane fridge aren't worth it and the residential fridge's power consumption can be overcome with simply four or six 6v batteries, 600-800 watts of solar and minimal generator time.

But to each their own.
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