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Old 09-01-2015, 09:15 PM   #57
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Solar Generators

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Originally Posted by elkski View Post
outside air refer bypass.. that may be something we see in new RV's in 5 years.
several pages back I did ask if larger propane tanks were allowed. I thought the OP said his fridge was 240 watt?
While we are hijacking this thread. When I stayed in a small seaside trailer park/ rv campground in
N Portland this past July many of the more permanent looking residents had funny home build wooden boxes extending out from the side of their trailers. Any idea what this was for? Larger propane tanks? I wanted to ask as I am always a guy to try to figure out everything I see. I pulled in late for a 10$ park, shower, sleep, and go.
There are still many parts of Oregon that are very remote with no grid power. These are generator baffle boxes as we discussed before. It is common practice in places where grid power is not used for residents to use wooden baffle boxes to keep generator noise down. Fresh air is piped in and generator exhaust is piped out. These people run their generators 24 hours a day. some for years on end without ever shutting them off. These are also common place in Alaska in areas where it is impossible to receive grid power. These places get very little sun so solar energy is very unreliable. In situations like this a permanent generator setup seems to be the best solution. Many people run them for years, trouble free. These are also found in many mobile military installations overseas. Solar power can be very iffy. You have to have brilliant sunlight for them to work well. I have had solar panel installations that failed more than once. I have never had a gas generator fail me yet, and I have owned a few. So many people still share the opinion there is nothing better than a good reliable gas motor.


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Old 09-01-2015, 09:30 PM   #58
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Thank you for your many replies. I am closing this thread now. After reading your replies I have decided it is to my advantage to stick with generator power for the time being. So thanks again for your input.


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Old 09-01-2015, 09:59 PM   #59
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Well I think I finally found the root of cimplexsound's problem 😃
Get a 100 pound propane tank delivered to your site for the winter, and use that for
your absorption type fridge and furnace. Then your electrical needs will be very modest
for the night time hours, and easily be handled by your batteries and generator.



"It's not really practical to run an absorption refrigerator from the batteries. Absorption refrigerators work by using heat (from a flame or an electrical heating element) to provide the power to run the cooling unit. This is much less efficient than using a motor driven compressor to do the same thing.

An absorption refrigerator uses heating elements that draw between 350 to 600 watts, depending on the size of the refrigerator, or about 10 times as much power as a conventional compressor driven refrigerator uses."

http://www.rvforum.net/SMF_forum/ind...?topic=28638.0
The Dometic fridge has no mechanical parts. This fridge is rated at about 230 watt 2.4 amps. It takes very little power on the electrical side. Again A battery bank is a very limited supply of power. Which is why I am now seeing that solar power is a very unpractical solution.


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Old 09-02-2015, 08:06 AM   #60
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Solar Generators

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The Dometic fridge has no mechanical parts. This fridge is rated at about 230 watt 2.4 amps. It takes very little power on the electrical side.

This is actually a LOT of electrical power, which is why it would not be practical to run on solar/battery power.

The Dometic fridge should only be run on electric when you can plug into the public utility grid. It uses electric resistance heaters to simulate the heat from a propane flame, and based upon your figure of 230 watts, it will consume 5.52 KWh per day ! A conventional electric refrigerator/freezer of larger size (18 cubic feet storage) will use on average 1.6 KWh per day

You should return your Dometic to propane usage, and then you might be able to run on solar/battery for your other remaining loads.

Gasoline price is at a 6 year low price, but still you are burning between $2.50 - $5.00 a day on gasoline. Solar power once it is purchased, costs NOTHING to generate electricity. You will recoup your investment if you continue this lifestyle "off the grid" for very long.


Check out this link for more interesting info.
http://www.sunfrost.com/blog/off-gri...ic-vs-propane/
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Old 09-02-2015, 08:08 AM   #61
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Cimplexsound--I feel your pain--59 posts and still going[thanks to me[smile]]. I continue to look at "reasonable" solar solutions that I can: 1--understand and 2--feel good about the price and reliability. Tend to agree with your overall assessment--the discussion on wht type/size/number of cells, batteries, controllers, and cable sizes are kind of overwhelming--to me anyway.
In my humble opinion [IMHO], its pretty hard to be truely off the grid unless you are in the 600watt cell/600 amp/hr storage range--that's a lot of cells, bats and $$$$. Sure it can be done and camping in the southwest during the winter is ideal. I do see advertisements for "suit-case" units and "solar generators" but I think they are at best misleading and at worst, a rip-off--unless you have minimal needs for power over night.
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Old 09-02-2015, 09:43 AM   #62
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This thread is insane - examples below. I wish I could drop it but the conclusions are rediculous.

Initially, I thought we were talking about the legitimacy of a "solar generator". I thought we proved that the existing/referenced offerings ("solar generators") are not very economical as compared to adding some amount of solar to your RV. We then switched to trying to figure out what battery capacity and solar components you would need to meet your overnight requirements (I think this was done as a way for you to compare the differences in cost). From there, it got really crazy as you cannot tell us exactly what your needs are (I'ved asked several times and you give numbers that mean nothing). Finally, we seem to have gotten around to arguing about how "great" a two-stroke generator is and how bad a solar system is. We were trying to help. Apparently, as previously mentioned, this was all just a waste of time as your mind is already made up and about what is good and bad, what works and doesn't work, and how you intend to operate your system. Too bad, it seems much could have been learned. Maybe someone else will come along and learn something from this thread.

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What I meant by unlimited power is unlike a solar battery bank, I will have a unlimited supply of power as long as there is gas in the genny.
If having an unlimited supply of power is your goal, why did you not state this at the start of this thread? The solution would have been very different than the direction it went. A nuclear reactor is probably your best bet if that is your goal. However; even that isn't "unlimited", sadly.

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the furnace which only takes 1 amp of power to run on 12 volt blower motor
Really? That must be some blower.

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Originally Posted by cimplexsound View Post
Well it is true that a 2 stroke generator is more expensive to run than any solar system, your average solar generator is extremely expensive to buy.
"Solar Generator" kit - maybe. But completely wrong in regards to a solar system for an RV. You can certainly MAKE it complex and expensive but it doesn't need to be.

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Originally Posted by cimplexsound View Post
Places Like Oregon and Alaska and not to ideal for solar energy unless you get high on the moutain because they don't get much sun.
I thought we were talking about you dry camping in Arizona? Why the sudden change?? Just to argue the point? You are validating my point above.
See this map if you would like some factual information as to the solar energy "available" in various parts of the country. I am sitting in cental Montana at the moment and there is pleny of solar energy. Direct sunlight is not required though it is the most efficient.


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The 2 stroke genny is reliable wherever you go. Even in places with no sunlight.
Wow - someone that considers a two-stroke motor reliable and solar not reliable. Very... interesting... Never mind that you yourself have stated that you cannot run it during quite hours which is why you were originally looking for another option (or so we thought).

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Originally Posted by cimplexsound View Post
My mistake. The generator only puts out 49db. I tested it already.
The specs says 91 db. How are you testing it? At what load, at what distance??

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You just need gas and 2 stroke oil, that's it.
Is it just me or is the irony of this quite humorous?

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Originally Posted by cimplexsound View Post
These are also common place in Alaska in areas where it is impossible to receive grid power. These places get very little sun so solar energy is very unreliable. In situations like this a permanent generator setup seems to be the best solution. Many people run them for years, trouble free. These are also found in many mobile military installations overseas.
I have no first hand knowledge but I strongly suspect neither the military nor many civilians are using generators with two-stroke motors for years at a time. Do you have any references as to the anticipated operational life of this specific generator? I'm sure you are well aware of the typically limited life of two-stroke motors. Regardless, you said running a generator overnight was not an option due to the campground/site rules.

[QUOTE=cimplexsound;2725730]Solar power can be very iffy. You have to have brilliant sunlight for them to work well.

If that's what you need to convince yourself that a two-stroke generator is better, go for it. However; it is incorrect - "brilliant sunlight" is not required for solar. I'm not sure what "iffy" means nor to what it is in reference.

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I have had solar panel installations that failed more than once.
Really?? Tell us about them please. Panel brand, panel voltage, charge controller make/model, failure mode, etc...

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Originally Posted by cimplexsound View Post
I have never had a gas generator fail me yet, and I have owned a few. So many people still share the opinion there is nothing better than a good reliable gas motor.
Oh yeah, a gas motor with all those moving parts is the epitomy of reliability - especially a two-stroke motor. Everything fails at one point or another, MTBF is the only number that is useful.

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Originally Posted by cimplexsound View Post
the fridge which is 2.4 amps 200 watt
Quote:
Originally Posted by cimplexsound View Post
This fridge is rated at about 230 watt 2.4 amps. It takes very little power on the electrical side.
Are we talking about the same refrigerator? Why did the numbers change? How in the world was either of these figured???? I've asked similar questions many times on this thread. It seems that understanding of basic electricity and the math involved is missing. There is absolutely no way that these two numbers make any sense together (assuming typical 12 volt and 110/120 volt RV systems). 2.4 amps at 12.5 volts is 30 watts. 2.4 amps at 110 volts is 264 watts.


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Again A battery bank is a very limited supply of power. Which is why I am now seeing that solar power is a very unpractical solution.
For "unlimited supply of power", a 12 volt battery bank is probably not ideal. For a typical RV (even a big one with lots of electronics), a 12 volt battery bank is plenty sufficient and works just fine. Yes, we all want more but we actually have it pretty good. Most dry campers have a pretty good understanding of their power 'needs' and adapt their electrical system to meet these needs. Part of this adaptation, is optimizing the components and their use of these components. You seem pretty convinced to continue doing things as you always have.

A battery bank and solar power are two different things. One is the storage, and is the means of filling the storage. Your conclusion makes little sense, which is consistent.
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Old 09-02-2015, 09:57 AM   #63
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Quote:
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Tend to agree with your overall assessment--the discussion on wht type/size/number of cells, batteries, controllers, and cable sizes are kind of overwhelming--to me anyway.
Hi Old_Scout,

The first step should always be determining your power "needs". This is fairly easily done with an energy audit. Once you know what you have and need, you can start figuring out what you can do without, what you can change, and how much power you actually need each day. IMHO, your "needs" are a combination of what you must have to survive (truly a need) and what level of comfort you are willing to live with. I certainly do not "need" everything that I include in my list (like TV) but it is my "comfortable living power needs list" and I come in about 2000 watts per day.

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Originally Posted by Old Scout View Post
In my humble opinion [IMHO], its pretty hard to be truely off the grid unless you are in the 600watt cell/600 amp/hr storage range--that's a lot of cells, bats and $$$$. Sure it can be done and camping in the southwest during the winter is ideal.
It is based on your "needs" not a random number. I know people that live on a few hundred watts of solar. Yes, they have very minimal equipment/needs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Scout View Post
I do see advertisements for "suit-case" units and "solar generators" but I think they are at best misleading and at worst, a rip-off--unless you have minimal needs for power over night.
I agree. Something like that may make some sense for someone without an RV - maybe car camping with a tent or something. In our RV's we already have most of the basic components and duplicating them would be silly (batteries, inverter, etc...). To me, it makes far more sense to add PV panels and a charge controller to what already exists (possibly expanding that is necessary too).
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Old 09-03-2015, 12:49 PM   #64
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It's my lucky day!! It's cloudy in paradise - I can prove that solar works when cloudy.

See this post - I included photos of the clouds, battery monitor, and charge controller monitor. It is working. I know... must be smoke and mirrors.
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