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Old 07-31-2012, 07:39 AM   #15
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I will start with a quote directly form his blog. " Yes I have an agenda: It is to stop the fleecing of all you in the rv community by dealers and manufacturers out to take your money. This is the plain truth."
With all the excellent information in the blog, This is one statement he should have edited.
If thats not lumping all into one basket, what is? There are reputable dealers and quality manufacturers that will stand behind their products and services.
Our first motorhome,( 1992 Airstream Land Yatch) was equiped with solar. Sold it in 2008 and purchased new coach. Thats 20 years of experience so far. We are fultimers and 90% of our time we are off grid.
Currently have 4-205 watt panels and 3-245 AH AGM batteries. Coach and batteries are only three years old.
One 32" TV and one 17" TV. 17 cubic foot residential refrigerator with icemaker. 1500 watt microwave. Two Dell laptops and printer.
Never kept a log on use of appilances. Suffice it to say we live in it 24/7 and use them.
Yes we have a generator and at times we have to use it.
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Old 07-31-2012, 10:16 AM   #16
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He didnt say '...by the dealers and manufacturers.', he said the ones '...out to take your money'.

At least thats they way I read it... In any case, he does point out that there are a few who are pretty honest and knowledgeable.
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Old 07-31-2012, 10:45 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Midniteoyl View Post
He didnt say '...by the dealers and manufacturers.', he said the ones '...out to take your money'.

At least thats they way I read it... In any case, he does point out that there are a few who are pretty honest and knowledgeable.
Go to post #14 and hit the clicky (this). Go to the bottom of the page and read it . I gave a direct quote.
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Old 07-31-2012, 10:49 AM   #18
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I think it's possible to do both. Before we did our solar we spent a lot of time reading and understanding the problems, and handybob's site was very helpful. However we did not feel comfortable installing ourselves so when we finally installed we went with a commercial company (AM Solar). We went armed with information about correct wiring size (we asked for an upgrade on what they offered at the time) and we were very involved in the installation including critical placement of the panels to make sure we had zero shade points, short wire runs, and placement of the controller close to the batteries. And we did of course make sure our battery charging profile followed the battery specs. We even had conference calls with the owner and did detailed voltage drop measurements on the installation to make sure it met our standards. The net result was a great system that's worked perfectly for the last 2 years (we've never needed to use the generator).

we were happy with our experience and would recommend AM Solar to others, but understanding what you need is key, no matter who does the installation.
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Old 07-31-2012, 10:57 AM   #19
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You may have seen it already, but if you haven't, I highly recommend The RV Battery Charging Puzzle HandyBob's Blog for simplicity in understanding the RV solar system.
+1

Handybob's blog, to me, is the gold standard when it comes to RVs and solar. The one thing I took away from it is: 'don't believe anything someone who SELLS solar tells you' . Because their motivation is to SELL solar, not get you the most bang for your buck.

My dad used to say: "Never get your eyes examined at a place that sells eyeglasses." Dad was a wise man.
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Old 07-31-2012, 11:49 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by WheelingIt View Post
I think it's possible to do both. Before we did our solar we spent a lot of time reading and understanding the problems, and handybob's site was very helpful. However we did not feel comfortable installing ourselves so when we finally installed we went with a commercial company (AM Solar). We went armed with information about correct wiring size (we asked for an upgrade on what they offered at the time) and we were very involved in the installation including critical placement of the panels to make sure we had zero shade points, short wire runs, and placement of the controller close to the batteries. And we did of course make sure our battery charging profile followed the battery specs. We even had conference calls with the owner and did detailed voltage drop measurements on the installation to make sure it met our standards. The net result was a great system that's worked perfectly for the last 2 years (we've never needed to use the generator).

we were happy with our experience and would recommend AM Solar to others, but understanding what you need is key, no matter who does the installation.
Well said; Use all the resources available.
We have had seven continuous days of rain so very minimal solar, Sure glad we have the genny.
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Old 07-31-2012, 11:55 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by az bound View Post
Go to post #14 and hit the clicky (this). Go to the bottom of the page and read it . I gave a direct quote.
But, read you quote again..:
Quote:
" Yes I have an agenda: It is to stop the fleecing of all you in the rv community by dealers and manufacturers out to take your money. This is the plain truth."
Just pointing out that in that quote there is not a 'blanket' statement that ALL OEMs and dealers are bad. Only some.. He does go on to point out in other areas of the blog that there are good ones and gives them a reference..




edited: on phone and didnt want to leave msspellings
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Old 07-31-2012, 12:08 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Ramblin View Post
+1

Handybob's blog, to me, is the gold standard when it comes to RVs and solar. The one thing I took away from it is: 'don't believe anything someone who SELLS solar tells you' . Because their motivation is to SELL solar, not get you the most bang for your buck.

My dad used to say: "Never get your eyes examined at a place that sells eyeglasses." Dad was a wise man.
If you believe totaly in that philosophy you would never buy anything from anyone.
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Old 07-31-2012, 12:29 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by WheelingIt View Post
... (we've never needed to use the generator).

...
Is if fair to assume you run the genny periodically as outlined in your operator's manual to ensure it is properly exercised and in good working order? That would provide some assurance that in a worse case scenario you have that option as well as protecting your investment?

BTW...do solar panels stand up well in hail? That is kinda one of the reasons I would think a well planned solar array would still have to be used in a pinch.
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Old 07-31-2012, 12:47 PM   #24
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If you believe totaly in that philosophy you would never buy anything from anyone.
Only in the absense of independent research. If you don't want to be bothered with the details and just want someone else to do what you want, by all means, do so. Just drop it off at "Billy Joe Bob's Solar, Bait and Tackle" and tell them to slap some panels on it.

They might know what they're doing, and they might try to give you the best system for the money instead of the most profitable system they can assemble. They might.

I prefer to go into things like this with a little knowledge from diverse and independent sources. It's easy to drop $10K on an elaborate solar system. Would you hand $10K to someone without knowing anything about their product or the technology?

For instance, they could install 4 panels and under sized wire far more profitably than oversized wire and 2 panels. Both would get you the same result. Functionally, you'd never know the difference. But panel cost would be double.

I admit, I'm about as cynical as they come. I believe many businesses are motivated first by self interest, just as many people are. There are exceptions, I could name a few, but they are the exception rather than the rule.
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Old 07-31-2012, 12:55 PM   #25
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Is if fair to assume you run the genny periodically as outlined in your operator's manual to ensure it is properly exercised and in good working order? That would provide some assurance that in a worse case scenario you have that option as well as protecting your investment?

BTW...do solar panels stand up well in hail? That is kinda one of the reasons I would think a well planned solar array would still have to be used in a pinch.
I will let WheelinIt answer to the first question.
We have had hail as large as large as 1/2" diameter hit our panels and no damage. Quality panels are built with tempered glass and can withstand quite an impact.

There are some panels that were available at less than $1.00 / watt . I would really question their quality before purchasing.
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Old 07-31-2012, 01:24 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by athuddriver

Is if fair to assume you run the genny periodically as outlined in your operator's manual to ensure it is properly exercised and in good working order? That would provide some assurance that in a worse case scenario you have that option as well as protecting your investment?

BTW...do solar panels stand up well in hail? That is kinda one of the reasons I would think a well planned solar array would still have to be used in a pinch.
Yes, we do run the genny monthly for maintenance. We usually run it while driving and load it with the aircon or something like that.

We haven't had to deal with hail, but the panels have held fine with all kinds of weather. We do go up to clean them, and use tilt bars in winter to optimize generation (tilt bars make a *big* difference in winter).
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Old 07-31-2012, 02:07 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Ramblin View Post
Only in the absense of independent research. If you don't want to be bothered with the details and just want someone else to do what you want, by all means, do so. Just drop it off at "Billy Joe Bob's Solar, Bait and Tackle" and tell them to slap some panels on it.

They might know what they're doing, and they might try to give you the best system for the money instead of the most profitable system they can assemble. They might.

I prefer to go into things like this with a little knowledge from diverse and independent sources. It's easy to drop $10K on an elaborate solar system. Would you hand $10K to someone without knowing anything about their product or the technology?

For instance, they could install 4 panels and under sized wire far more profitably than oversized wire and 2 panels. Both would get you the same result. Functionally, you'd never know the difference. But panel cost would be double.

I admit, I'm about as cynical as they come. I believe many businesses are motivated first by self interest, just as many people are. There are exceptions, I could name a few, but they are the exception rather than the rule.
Had ours installed at the Flagstaff Municipal Airport & Tire Shop. They must have done something wrong. 7 days of rain and overcast and we are only getting an average of 8 amps.
Thinking of shining a flashlight on them to save genny run time and burn less fuel, but DW refuses to go up there. You would think with all the lightning we have had the batteries would be fully charged.
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Old 07-31-2012, 08:04 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by "az bound"
We have had seven continuous days of rain so very minimal solar, Sure glad we have the genny.
Seven days of rain would tax just about any solar system! We've had superb luck with weather boondocking (we do alot of dry camping in the SW desert in winter -> pretty much guaranteed sun), but it's nice to have a genny as back-up just in case.
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