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Old 07-31-2012, 09:07 PM   #29
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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.
This rain is welcome. Nice steady showers and ocasional heavy. All fire and camping restrictions have been lifted and the fishing is good.
Dont get better than that.
We also winter in Arizona three to four months, generally hitting the road in April.
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Old 07-31-2012, 10:36 PM   #30
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Retmotor; Saw you were viewing the thread earlier. Wanted to let you know that We also have a garbage disposal.
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Old 08-01-2012, 12:30 PM   #31
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az bound / wheeling it

Can any of your all give us that want to have Solar Power an idea about how much to expect to spend on a good system that works???? This is something that I will be saving up for and installing on my camper before I retire. I know that with out all the info like how much watts drawing from my needs and so on. But like total cost per watt of solar. That's every thing one needs to operate on solar. ( wires, charger, batteries, meters, panels & ect. ) Thanks, This would be something good to know for us want to be's!!!!
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Old 08-01-2012, 12:44 PM   #32
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...Can any of your all give us that want to have Solar Power an idea about how much to expect to spend on a good system that works???? ...
Not addressed to me, but I'd think you would have to further define 'works' before anyone could start to give you prices.

What do you expect to achieve? Do you want to be able to run TV's, coffee maker, and microwave for 7 days without sun? Or do you just want to be able to make it through the night?

If you carefully map out the loads and expected runtimes, you should be able to size a system that 'works' for you. Figure out the amp draw of your loads, and how long you need to run them, and you'll have required amp-hours. This will help you decide how many batteries you need. Once you know the number of batteries, you can determine how many panels you need to charge them each day.

Then you can start looking at reducing your amp-hr requirements. Switch from halogen to LED lighting, replace those CRT tvs with LED/LCD panels. etc. The money you spend here will save you money in solar equipment and batteries. You would have to do a cost/benefit analysis to see if it's worth it. I imagine it would be.
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Old 08-01-2012, 12:49 PM   #33
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I know there's a lot of dicussion about this but it seems to get very technical and I'm pretty much looking for a simple explanation if y'all could. My question is, if I were to have two marine batteries hooked up in parallel (not those T6? batteries) and hooked a 3000W power inverter to those batteries, would I be able to supply power to the trailer? Also could I keep those batteries charged with a solar panel say around 145W?

Thanks,
DC
Getting back to your original questions.
As a general rule most recommend a minimum of 75 watts of solar for each 100 amp hours of storage capacity. 400 AH battery bank/ 300 watts solar.
The good thing is it is very easy to add another panel to the grid if more wattage is desired. I always recommend around 150 watts as a good starting point if funds are availanle.
I see no deed for a 3000 watt inverter in your TT. 1000 watts should be more than sufficient.
When purchasing batteries amp hours is the name of the game. Buy deep cycle batteries with the highest reserve AH rating that will fit the available space.
I am partial to the Morningstar charge controllers but I am sure there are other quality ones available. You will need one if the solar array exceeds 15 amps total outpout.
Nothing very complicated about installing solar and most dealers will supply a wiring diagram. They can also be found on many solar websites.

If you can supply a little more information such as;
Do you have an exhisting charger/inverter, and what is output raing of the inverter. Manufacturer/ model number would also help.
Total AH rating of any exhisting battery bank.
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Old 08-01-2012, 01:23 PM   #34
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az bound / wheeling it

Can any of your all give us that want to have Solar Power an idea about how much to expect to spend on a good system that works???? This is something that I will be saving up for and installing on my camper before I retire. I know that with out all the info like how much watts drawing from my needs and so on. But like total cost per watt of solar. That's every thing one needs to operate on solar. ( wires, charger, batteries, meters, panels & ect. ) Thanks, This would be something good to know for us want to be's!!!!
All those AH usage figures look real neet on paper, but unless you are prepared to monitor the usage over a considerable time they will not be very accurate anyway. Furnace fans are one of the largest consummers of power and would be very difficult to make anything like an accurate estimate.
I assume you will be spending a good deal of your time off grid or you would have little need of solar.
The nice part about solar is the array can very easily be upgraded as desired, with a few basic components necessary for initial set up. ie. Solar panel/s, charge controller, possibly a combiner box.
Going with moderately priced quality panels with a 10 year warranty, you are looking at $1,500. to $2,000 for a workable system.
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Old 08-01-2012, 02:01 PM   #35
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...
Going with moderately priced quality panels with a 10 year warranty, you are looking at $1,500. to $2,000 for a workable system.
You were reading my mind...I literally was going just about to ask for some idea of pricing.

Could you provide a rough idea of what equipment you would look at to get for that price range? I would assume labor would not be part and maybe a few odds-n-ends like upgraded wiring and such.

Here is how I see it. We think we MIGHT boondock some. Might like to do more but we are just learning. But, if we follow the normal pattern of a month here and a month there where we pay for electricity separate, it would seem that we could still see a fair amount of savings in electricity considering CG rates appear to be on the high side. Obviously, if we are running AC we have to either be on a genny or shore power.

I suppose the trick when it comes to CGs is whether or not there is a way to prioritize use of solar energy over shore power when AC is not in use. If I understand this correctly, with boondocking this would be simple through use of an automatic starting generator. Not sure there is an equivalent system in conjunction with shore power.
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Old 08-01-2012, 03:06 PM   #36
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I will assume that you have an onboard inverter/charger.
There is no need for any wiring upgrades and it is possible the coach has existing wires for solar. Someone with a winnebago may know.
Prices vary greatly and so does quality. Evergreen panels are what I have. Came with a 10 year warranty.
I have not done any researching for panels recently, but I will say several companies have been forced out of business trying to compete with imports.
As a general recomendation, look at the strength of the frame, some are very flimsy.
Some of the real cheapies have single strength glass. You want double strength tempered.
In addition a charge controller will be needed for any system exceeding 15 amp.
Possibly a combiner box to connect multiple panels.
Post #33 has some additional info.

An AGS system is a great addition. It will monitor and maintain the battery bank, starting and stoppng the genny as needed,
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Old 08-01-2012, 03:13 PM   #37
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Not addressed to me, but I'd think you would have to further define 'works' before anyone could start to give you prices.

What do you expect to achieve? Do you want to be able to run TV's, coffee maker, and microwave for 7 days without sun? Or do you just want to be able to make it through the night?

If you carefully map out the loads and expected runtimes, you should be able to size a system that 'works' for you. Figure out the amp draw of your loads, and how long you need to run them, and you'll have required amp-hours. This will help you decide how many batteries you need. Once you know the number of batteries, you can determine how many panels you need to charge them each day.

Then you can start looking at reducing your amp-hr requirements. Switch from halogen to LED lighting, replace those CRT tvs with LED/LCD panels. etc. The money you spend here will save you money in solar equipment and batteries. You would have to do a cost/benefit analysis to see if it's worth it. I imagine it would be.
Just curious what your solar system consists of?
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Old 08-01-2012, 03:18 PM   #38
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Just curious what your solar system consists of?
I don't have one.
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Old 08-01-2012, 04:31 PM   #39
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I will assume that you have an onboard inverter/charger.
There is no need for any wiring upgrades and it is possible the coach has existing wires for solar. Someone with a winnebago may know.
Prices vary greatly and so does quality. Evergreen panels are what I have. Came with a 10 year warranty.
I have not done any researching for panels recently, but I will say several companies have been forced out of business trying to compete with imports.
As a general recomendation, look at the strength of the frame, some are very flimsy.
Some of the real cheapies have single strength glass. You want double strength tempered.
In addition a charge controller will be needed for any system exceeding 15 amp.
Possibly a combiner box to connect multiple panels.
Post #33 has some additional info.

An AGS system is a great addition. It will monitor and maintain the battery bank, starting and stoppng the genny as needed,
Another dead giveaway on cheaper panels is the lack of MC4 or equivelent,waterproof connectors, making it necessary to solder and heatshrink connections.
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Old 08-01-2012, 05:29 PM   #40
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I would certainly not base my choice of panel on whether it had two little plug in connectors or not. There are a lot of good panels out there. I have Kyocera brand and they are well made and put out what they say they will. My first two are now 7 years old and put out the same as new ones.There are several good controllers. I like Blue Sky brand. I started out 7 years ago with two 130w Kyocera panels and a Blue Sky Solar Boost SB2000e MPPT controller and it worked very well. New coach two more panels and upgraded to a Blue Sky Solar Boost 3024iL MPPT controller. Newer coach again.two more panels same controller. I see 40a on the rare occasion when we get bright sun here in NW Washington (-:.

The price of solar panels is kind of a moving target. The price keeps falling. I paid $625.00 each for my first two Kyocera's. The last two were $350.00 each.

Jim
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Old 08-01-2012, 06:22 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by az bound
Going with moderately priced quality panels with a 10 year warranty, you are looking at $1,500. to $2,000 for a workable system.
I would probably say that's a basic system. My range would have been more like $2,000 to $4,000 depending on how much you want to do. It really depends a lot on how many panels, how many batteries, whether you install it yourself etc.

I agree with az bound that it's good to size around 75-100 watts for each 100 amp hours of batteries. we have 440 amp hours of batteries and 600 watts of solar, so I would say our solar is somewhat over-sized, but we did it that way specifically so we would have the option of adding extra batteries down the line or just have a little extra lee-way on charging. On a good sunny day we're usually fully charged before noon and the solar keeps up with all-day Internet usage after that, so it's worked well for us.
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Old 08-01-2012, 07:04 PM   #42
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None of the estimates I gave included labor. All installation was DIY.
Started out with 590 AH battery bank and 410 watts solar.
We now have 735 AH battery bank and 820 watts of solar. that figuers out about 106 watts/100 AH.
Served us well untill we hit all this rain. The sun came out today and making power.
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