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Old 02-14-2014, 11:03 AM   #15
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We have a 10 watt panel on the roof that provides a trickle charge. We also use a portable 120 watt panel that reliably puts out around 5 amps. Like wincrasher, it has proven to be very useful in its flexibility and ease of maintenance.
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Old 02-14-2014, 02:41 PM   #16
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More info with specific advise on system design and construction:
RV Electrical
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Old 02-14-2014, 06:08 PM   #17
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3-4 amps of Solar Panel per Battery is in the ball park
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Old 02-15-2014, 04:14 AM   #18
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Seems to me there are several apples and oranges conversations here. A Class C is not going to have 400ah of battery unless the OP is running a Super C.

For storage purposes only, it totally depends on what phantom loads the coach has as to what will keep the batteries alive. We have a DP with a CAT C7 that has an ECU, and the Allison also has one. Add to that the radio, and anything else with push button power. It takes current to run that stuff: on or off. I chose not to shut the chassis batteries off, so I had to add solar to offset those loads. For the house side, I just kill the batteries with the master swx., but it took only about two weeks to notice a difference on the starting batteries. And even though there is a Trik-L-Charge installed, the OEM 15 watt panel on the roof was useless at keeping the batteries charged.

So I installed a 100w panel solely for storage maintenance, and another 400w since then. But bottom line is you cannot take someone else's experience and expect it to be the same. I once had one of those little 5w panels and it wouldn't even keep a GP27 charged in So. Cal.. If you're not going for a 100w panel to start, you MUST know your storage loads to make sure the panel is going to offset the loads and keep the batteries topped off.
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Old 02-15-2014, 05:03 AM   #19
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I used rule of thumb of 100 watts per battery and after use of last summer I added one more battery. We have 200 watts and never been more satisfied, they sit on the roof and do their work with no attention. MPPT controler never needs attention.
The other day while cloudy they were giving me 25% load. That is flat on the roof. Never moved them yet though I could slant them.
All summer my 2 batteries were fully charged by noon. Something that never happened using my power plant for 4 hrs per day.
There are kits now available that makes solar very affordable. My setup cost less then $500.
More like 2 of 135 watts might be assurance.
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Old 02-15-2014, 06:32 AM   #20
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Here are some RV Solar kits for example. Personally I would only go with MPPT controllers and from my experience would start with this kit and a battery monitor.
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Old 02-21-2014, 09:33 AM   #21
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You can buy 140 watt panels for 139.00 U.S. Dollars, you are going to go through the process of mounting and wiring everything why not get some extra, you will be happy down the road and it works better in marginal conditions. And you do not need a MPPT controller, PWM works just fine and is cheaper.
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Old 02-21-2014, 11:21 AM   #22
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If your trying to get the most out of your system especially in the limited roof space of an RV you run as fast as you can from PWM. This video should close this discussion once and for all.

MPPT vs PWM

Want more?

MPPT vs PWM 2

This alone should convince anyone never mind the savings in wiring by connecting two panels in serial.

Jeff
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Old 02-21-2014, 04:29 PM   #23
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If your trying to get the most out of your system especially in the limited roof space of an RV you run as fast as you can from PWM. This video should close this discussion once and for all. MPPT vs PWM Want more? MPPT vs PWM 2 This alone should convince anyone never mind the savings in wiring by connecting two panels in serial. Jeff
Aside from the shading issues of wiring panels in series, right?
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Old 02-21-2014, 04:33 PM   #24
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Aside from the shading issues of wiring panels in series, right?
No, there are no shading issues wiring two panels in series. If you have 4 then two pairs of two.

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Old 02-21-2014, 05:22 PM   #25
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No, there are no shading issues wiring two panels in series. If you have 4 then two pairs of two.

Jeff
So more than two panels in series are all affected by shading, but not if just two? Help me to understand this.
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Old 02-21-2014, 05:37 PM   #26
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So more than two panels in series are all affected by shading, but not if just two? Help me to understand this.
The area taken up by two panels is not so great that you can't park in a way to not shade them. I plan on doing 4 panels next to each other in one big array over my garage area and there will be no shading unless I park under a tree.

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Old 02-21-2014, 06:23 PM   #27
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The area taken up by two panels is not so great that you can't park in a way to not shade them. I plan on doing 4 panels next to each other in one big array over my garage area and there will be no shading unless I park under a tree.

Jeff
So if you have two panels side by side, there is no way one could be partially shaded and no shade on the other? Well, maybe if you carefully park or always park in a totally unshared area... But not supported is a general statement of two panels can be wired in series without any possible shading impact whatsoever.
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