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Old 04-28-2012, 11:36 AM   #1
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Solar Finally Done - Am I missing anything?

Alright solar gurus - do you see any gotchas or missing items in this setup? The idea is extended boondocking with only breaks to fill/dump tanks as necessary. We both have extensive electronics that we run all day long (4 laptops, tablet, multiple repeaters and multiple broadband and radio connections). We use the microwave in the morning and a couple pots of coffee - those are our heavy loads. All coach halogen lighting has been switched out to LED, and I'm slowly switching out the flourescents to LED although we rarely use them.

The only thing I know that I want to add right now is a relay driver that turns on the Trik-L-Start to charge the chassis batteries once the house batteries hit float. Something else that I thought would be really cool would be to swap out the 120v element on the water heater with a 12V element and use it as a diverted load also once we're at float, but I haven't done enough research to see if this is doable or not.

Right now we're parked in a partly shaded area, so we're not hitting float until mid-afternoon as we're usually only putting out 700-800 watts. In full sun we've seen 1500 watts, so I'd think that we'd be at float sometime right around lunchtime.

J
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Old 04-28-2012, 03:12 PM   #2
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I don't think you need a relay for the Trick-L-Start, that battery is basically charged all the time so is only getting a small trickle charge. With the capacity you have it would probably at most be only a few minutes more before it went into float mode.

I have pretty much the same needs as you but less than half the capacity and it meets our needs.
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Old 04-28-2012, 10:03 PM   #3
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I've discovered that I have a 3 amp parasitic drain that I can't easily isolate, is that pretty common for a coach this size - CO2 detectors, etc?
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Old 04-28-2012, 10:08 PM   #4
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IMHO there is no way a solar system sitting on top of an RV is going to handle two pots of coffee and microwave use, plus all those computers. Just aint going to happen. You need to learn to not use the microwave and get a stove top coffee maker. Corel used to make a great perk machine and Coleman sells a stove top drip machine. Get one of those and learn to use it. Cut down on the draw from all those computers and then you should be OK.
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Old 04-28-2012, 10:13 PM   #5
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I don't see info about your coach. You can add that to your sig line from the USER CP.
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Old 04-28-2012, 10:17 PM   #6
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My little 25' coach has a 1.7 amp parasitic load with frig, frig fan, ipad and cell chargers, detectors, etc.
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Old 04-28-2012, 10:41 PM   #7
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We can certainly cut back on microwave usage, but we both work on the computers 10 hours a day for work, without them we can't afford all this nonsense anyway We don't watch TV at all, so we figure the laptops make up for the difference. I have toyed with the idea of boiling water and using a french press rather than the coffeepot, without coffee we can't work on those computers all day long anyway

Our coach is an '02 Travel Supreme Select 41' DSO diesel pusher. We just started fulltiming in 2011 Nov, and are planning on doing this for another 5 years or so until we're retired and trade 4 wheels in for two hulls and a sail and head for the Caribbean. Then we won't have the problem of the microwave and computers

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Old 04-28-2012, 11:05 PM   #8
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Hitting float by lunchtime on a sunny day seems fine to me. That's pretty much how our system functions and it works well for all-day internet usage for us (we have a 600 watt system and we're usually in float by about late morning). Once the sun goes down you'll be working off batteries so just depends how much juice you've got there.

We do have a stovetop coffee maker which we like.

Do you have a tilting solution for the panels? That would be my only other suggestion. Makes a HUGE difference in winter output.
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Old 04-29-2012, 07:33 AM   #9
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if you have 1,500 watt in full sun you should be good.. lap top computers don't use much power.. the coffee pots use a bunch..
i'd go for the 12vdc waterheater as a dump load might cut usage enough to cover going to stove top coffeee pot
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Old 04-29-2012, 08:26 AM   #10
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The parasitic drain - Check the 12v solenoids in your coach 12v distribution system to see if any are warm, energized. They pull about 2.5 amps when powered up.
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Old 04-29-2012, 08:44 AM   #11
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Nice Setup

What's you typical daily usage? I'd guess that you have adequate power. And that includes coffee pot and MW which are short time usage. If you have a res refer then that's a big draw. BTW Your diagram shows 1400W solar and you got 1500? And tilted panels perhaps? Pictures of the installation could be helpful for others for ideas.
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Old 04-29-2012, 09:28 AM   #12
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Power Usage +

Have you considered a bidirectional BIRD instead of the TrikLStart which would charge both banks, driving or parked? Keep the switch in case you need it.

3A idle seems reasonable. Some of my draws: Disconnects on 0.9A, inverter on no loads except MW display and TV remote add 2.8A, propane refer 2 inside fans running add 1.2A (I have not found any rear fans). Aqua Hot 6.8A pumps running no fans (haven't measured them yet).

My factory lights are a disaster: 20A w/o trying and keep leaving lights on 40A+.

For 15 minutes of usage: Coffee maker 66A = 17AH, MW 110A = 27AH, MW convection 144A = 36AH. Which is why I don't see a problem with your 950AH batteries.

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Old 04-29-2012, 09:30 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garym114 View Post
The parasitic drain - Check the 12v solenoids in your coach 12v distribution system to see if any are warm, energized. They pull about 2.5 amps when powered up.
They should be latching solenoids and draw 0A.
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Old 04-29-2012, 10:09 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roaming
I've discovered that I have a 3 amp parasitic drain that I can't easily isolate, is that pretty common for a coach this size - CO2 detectors, etc?
Seems pretty standard to me. We have 4 amp drain in our rig. Most big rigs run about 3-5 amps parasitic. Should be no problem handling that with a system as large as yours.
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