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Old 09-25-2014, 04:48 PM   #169
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Originally Posted by Harley1994 View Post
Hi Gordon, Yes I am going with LED, I actually am experimenting in my house with LED, but my question is which would be more efficient, 120 volt or 12 volt.

Hands down 12 volt is more efficient
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Old 09-25-2014, 04:53 PM   #170
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pasdad1, thanks for the reply, I kinda thought that was going to be the answer, rather then running thru an inverter.
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Old 09-25-2014, 07:37 PM   #171
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Hi Terry;
Yes I used 12 volt. I bought some cheap ones to experiment with and the worked from 8 - 12 volt. As soon as they went above they went dim. I could have run them in series to manage the voltage but it became too problematic. Bought better lights and they work fine.

I started with the existing switches in the trailer walls and the wiring in the roof. I added some wire to connect the lights on the circuits I wanted. I created numerous circuits so I could light individual areas. Using the wireless remote I only had to find a hot wire in the roof. I can use them in any combination I want. I put quite a few over the kitchen counter and stove. I like to see what I am cooking.

As mentioned I installed a remote on one circuit with a dimmer. Really trick so I can set any level of light from a soft glow to I can read a newspaper. Because I had existing walls I put the reciever in one of the closets. The model I bought has the ability to be mounted on the wall or left free. So far I have left it free. I am selling the trailer so the new owner can decide where or if they want to mount it.
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Old 09-25-2014, 09:16 PM   #172
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When you go from 12VAC threw an invertor the ratio is 10:1 so you are using 10 times more amperage from the batteries. And its closer to 11X because of losses in the invertor.

So you really want as many things as possible to be 12VDC.
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Old 09-26-2014, 05:19 AM   #173
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Thanks guys for the replys, I think I have my answer as to what to use, I haven't done any research in the losses ect. in inverters and converters, I think I do eventually want to set up a solar system, I'm trying to keep as much off the roof as possible, to free up space for panels. Huntinghawk very good info, really something to think about when trying to make the most efficient system. As soon as the exterior is done I'll be laying out the wiring and plumbing, (the plumbing is easy) the wiring requires alot more thought when you throw in solar, inverters, converters oh my!!!
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Old 09-26-2014, 05:49 AM   #174
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Invertor is DC to AC. Converter is AC to DC, like a battery charger.

Think about the maximum amount of amperage you will have from solar panels & use the 12VDC wiring chart for the length of the run. Where are the batteries going to be located? That is where you want the wiring to come to via the controller. Batteries need to vent gasses outside the 5th wheel. If you can do the floor plan with as much of the electrical on one side so much the better.
Solar panels to the controller. Controller to the batteries. Batteries to 12VDC outlets & invertor. Invertor to 120VAC outlets.

Questions, you are welcome to PM me.
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Old 09-26-2014, 06:02 AM   #175
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Here is the reference for running 12VDC.

Amps and Wire Gauge - 12V Circuit
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Old 09-26-2014, 07:39 AM   #176
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Some items will be listed in watts consumed while others will be amps. You will want to know both total amps & watts. Watts because that will tell you what size invertor you will need. Amps because batteries are rated in amphours (AH).

P=EI
watts= voltage times amps.
120volt tv that uses 2amps would be 240watts.

I=P/E
amps= watts divided by voltage
12v tv that uses 500watts would be 500/12=42amps. Just random numbers used.

You really want to set up different fuse blocks for 12VDC & 120VAC coming out of the invertor.

I've a hurricane shelter set up with solar & wired for both 12VDC & 120VAC. For the 12VAC I have some double cigarette lighter sockets which came with in line barrel fuses.
Though your invertor will have its own protection you still want external breakers to protect it.

I've a 520watt system & three 120AH batteries. Plenty with extra to operate a 5cuft chest freezer. But my solar panels are adjustable so a lot more efficient then flat on a roof will be. Food & drinks in coolers & chest freezer makes ice. I do have a tiny frig in there but is very inefficient use of power. There is also a 10,000BTU air conditioner which my system will run but the solar isn't enough to keep up so need to run the generator to operate it.
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Old 09-26-2014, 10:41 AM   #177
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HuntingHawk, thank you so much, it really helps to have someone whose "been there done that" when your doing a project such as mine ,its hard to know everything, and easy to miss something. Not like I normally do this everyday (although I have been lately)
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Old 09-26-2014, 02:35 PM   #178
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October it will be three years since I have had the solar system up & running. Framing for my panels was scavenged bed frame angle iron.

Some might say to use 6V golf cart batteries. Two in series gives you 12VDC. Problem is, if one battery fails you actually loose two batteries. But if you have 12VDC deep cycle batteries hooked up in parallel & one fails you only loose one battery. Both situations the batteries would need disconnected from the system.
When hooking up your inverter to a string of 12VDC batteries you want to attach the negative to one end of the batteries & positive to the other end of the batteries. Draws a more even load off the batteries.
MPPT controller is the way to go.
Long term power draw an inverter with a transformer is the way to go. Tripp-Lite is the way to go. There are a lot cheaper invertors but not meant for full time use.
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Old 09-26-2014, 02:51 PM   #179
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I suggest 80-120watt panels. You want them large enough to produce some good power but not so heavy it takes a forklift to get them up on the roof.

This place usually has a special sale once a month.
12 volt solar panels Solar Cells, Solar Panels, Renewable Energy, Wind Energy, Charge Controllers, Solar Trackers - Solarblvd

BTW, with the panels fixed angle on the roof you want to always try to park the trailer east/west to get the most sun to them.
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Old 09-26-2014, 03:09 PM   #180
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When you go from 12VAC threw an invertor the ratio is 10:1 so you are using 10 times more amperage from the batteries. And its closer to 11X because of losses in the invertor.

So you really want as many things as possible to be 12VDC.
That should be "When you go from 12VDC ...."
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Old 09-26-2014, 03:49 PM   #181
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Just saw this, thread, Impressive!!
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Old 09-26-2014, 04:18 PM   #182
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Wherever you have your batteries, make sure you have space above them to be able to remove the caps & fill the cells with distilled water. I use a kitchen/BBQ basting ball to fill mine.
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