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Old 05-29-2016, 10:52 PM   #15
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99phantoms, you should get a Kill-A-Watt meter and run your fridge for a week in conditions similar to your normal use (ambient temp, how many times you'll open and close it, amount of items inside, etc., and see what the true energy consumption is.
P3 P4400 Kill A Watt Electricity Usage Monitor - Low Temperature Alarms - Amazon.com
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Old 05-29-2016, 11:11 PM   #16
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The fridge in my house is a 17-yo clunky built-in, so getting to the plug would be difficult... and I'm not sure the results would be representative, as old as it is.
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Old 05-30-2016, 12:34 AM   #17
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Best of luck. You're gonna need it and maybe a lot of help.
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Old 05-30-2016, 01:01 AM   #18
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Best of luck. You're gonna need it and maybe a lot of help.
How so?
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Old 05-30-2016, 01:20 AM   #19
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7 c.f. apartment size, frost free fridge. Energy rating of 365 KW per year. Installed in galley down, 35 ft trawler.

3 X 225 watt panels, flat mounted, series run, 36 volt panels.

TS 60 MPPT controller.

8 peice 6 volt series/parallel wired for 12 volt, Sams Club 205 AH, flodded batteries.

AGM or flooded don't make a difference in AH rating.

While sitting on a mooring in Marathon FL., from October to April, for the last 5 years, generator time was 3 hours, every 3 days, during the 6 weeks of the shortest days.

Before and after the short days, no generator time, unless 2 days of heavy rain.
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Old 05-30-2016, 01:50 AM   #20
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The residential Fridge and boondocking set-up is a kinda' new thing.
There are too many variables for the set-up (Fridge, solar array and batteries) for a positive answer.

So, as said above, you will need to get the numbers for the set-up you desire to see if it will work.

Here is an example set-up tested for comparison:

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Old 05-30-2016, 02:01 AM   #21
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99phantoms

How are you configured?
> type of coach & refrigerator

We have a Monaco Signature coach with a Whirlpool refrigerator.
RV GS Series Inverter/Charger RV3012GS / RC/GS remote control panels.


> battery bank size & type of batts

We have 1350 Ah Trojan T-105-RE batteries
and, yes I know the weight of the batteries and my coach, (someone always brings this up).


> solar system - # of watts, series or parallel

We have (6) Kyocera KD145 145 Watt Solar Module
(6) Kyocera KD140SX-UFBS 140 Watt Solar Module,
(2) panels in Series with (6) parallel sets.
to a MidNite Solar Classic 150 MPPT Charge Controller with a Whiz Bang Jr is a current sense module.
We also use a Trimetric TM-2025-RV Battery Monitor System
We also have a (1) Isofoton Module I-100 Watts panel
and a Heliotrope RV-45D Solar Controller


> generator use, etc.

OWAN 12.5 KW Quite Diesel
Our generator run time is 1.44 hr. / day.
We do keep a daily record of our generator run time, battery and solar voltage.
My goal is to be under 1.0 hr. generator run time by the end of this year.



Then tell us how well YOUR set-up works for what you are trying to do?? What would you change or recommend to the nooob looking to do what you're doing?
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Old 05-30-2016, 06:00 AM   #22
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I still believe an energy audit is mandatory for anyone who wants to install solar and boon dock. To the OP, I previously gave some suggestions on those. Have you taken the time to look at them?

Again, as others have said, what is your intention? Are you going to conserve as much as possible? Are you going to run everything as if you were connected to the cord? Do you not want to run the genny at all?

Those are very simple answers. IMO any discussion before that is going to just be "in general".

OP, if you don't even want to do the basics (buy a kill-a-watt) and get some real numbers on your usage the comments here are not much help to you. There are tons of members here who are willing to help and we need more information to help properly.
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Old 05-30-2016, 07:33 AM   #23
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>snipo< .... through 6-225 AH batteries, monitored by a Magnum BMK, has been very satisfactory. ... By the end of the day, the batteries are fully charged, despite the system having powered the coach all day. ...

Prior to mounting the solar panels we had to run our generator 6 hours per day to charge our batteries while using the same electrical demands. ....
I'm guessing that you're talking about AGM batteries and not lithium?
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Old 05-30-2016, 07:59 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 99phantoms View Post
Take a 38-ft all-electric coach with residential refrigerator, and add 960 w of solar.
Can you boondock without having to run the generator?


The set-up would be -
- Whirlpool refrigerator - EnergyGuide rating is 618 kWh per year
- 8 AGM batteries - 880 Ah total capacity, 50% available at 12.5 v nominal
- Magnum MS series 2800w PSW inverter - 90% efficiency, & 25 w power consumption


Energy required to run just the refrigerator is 618 kWh/year -

618,000 Wh / (365>whacko<.....

So, is it really practical to carry a residential refrigerator when your goal is to boondock to the max without having to run the generator?

BTW, how good are those Norcold gas refrigerators?
Since I'm in about the same boat as yourself I think, here's what I've come up with so far... I'll send any links you want but to save time here's the Reader's Digest version:

First, go solar/lithium. At least a 24v solar system. At least 1000Ah (I'm going for 2000 myself) of lithium batteries (weight savings, usable Ah per cycle, no voltage dropoff, etc., etc., etc.) and a sizeable generator for cloudy spells, bonus power. You can even add a "marine" portable wind turbine on a collapsible pole mounted to one corner of your trailer...

From what I've seen of Technomadia and the Wynns, with enough panels (and decent weather), you should be able to live reasonably for some few days with zero generator use. What I was seeing on the Wynn's A/C on battery test was falling behind on the use vs. gathering rate and some generator time to "top off" the batteries because their solar system was only 960 watts (they also had far less battery than I will).

Starlight, I believe, has a system by which if you have low profile A/C units you can literally cover the top of the trailer with panels, probably nearing 2000 watts worth. I should think that coupled with 2000Ah of battery (1600 usable), I'll be able to do pretty much what I want re: fridge and other high draw appliance use as long as I have good weather. When I don't, suck it up and fire up the generator a couple hours a day to keep the batteries up unless my burn rate vs amount left in the batteries is enough to get me through until pulling out where my vehicle spare alternator can bring the batteries back to full. whew... run on sentence anyone?

Just my general thoughts...not inexpensive, but for long term sustained use this is the direction I'm focusing my research.

On the Norcold.... I've been reading a lot about experiences with propane/RV-style fridges and it seems like the biggest issues are getting them installed correctly so they actually work and not trying to have them keep your food at 34 degrees inside a 110 degree trailer because you're too cheap to run the A/C. Iwant my "normal" fridge, too, but might be willing to compromise to help my electrical use profile a bit. Still on the fence on this one....
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Old 05-30-2016, 08:33 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by computerguy View Post
I still believe an energy audit is mandatory for anyone who wants to install solar and boon dock. To the OP, I previously gave some suggestions on those. Have you taken the time to look at them?

Again, as others have said, what is your intention? Are you going to conserve as much as possible? Are you going to run everything as if you were connected to the cord? Do you not want to run the genny at all?

Those are very simple answers. IMO any discussion before that is going to just be "in general".

OP, if you don't even want to do the basics (buy a kill-a-watt) and get some real numbers on your usage the comments here are not much help to you. There are tons of members here who are willing to help and we need more information to help properly.
Very true, if you do not do your homework first, and know your # (energy audit) Your system may not work the way you thought it should and you will probably install the wrong equipment.

If you are thinking using lithium battery, you will need to know the charging system and the battery temp control limits are. Lithium battery are nice, except the $$$$$ for them. When we need to replace my T-105-RE batteries we will serially look at them again.
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Old 05-30-2016, 10:44 AM   #26
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To answer your questions:

Since having the solar system installed we have only briefly used our system with full "occupied" loads for about 10 days during our trip home from Yuma to 53.544 North latitude. While we were in unshaded conditions in the desert S.W. the system ran the fridges, morning "news" T.V., lights, water pump, coffee maker, toaster, lap tops etc. before we left the coach for the day. After having run our fridges and night lights through the previous night, and with all those day time draws, the system had our batteries fully charged by 4:30 p.m. each day. We have yet to use the coach with fully "occupied" loads yet here at home, but the system lets us run both fridges all night and recharges to batteries by about mid day while un occupied. It also of course has eliminated my need to visit the coach in storage to run the generator for 6 or more hours every two weeks to replace the parasitic draws on the batteries not controlled by the "salesman" disconnect switch above the steps. This is one of the major reasons we had the solar installed, as we can now leave the coach in storage anywhere and fly home to be with family for Christmas without having to have someone periodicaly run the generator for us.

On our way home while at an RV Park near Zion National Park we camped under a heavy canopy of trees. We had to use shore power to augment our solar. The same need occurred while in a site heavily shaded by spruce trees at Cypress Hills Provincial Park. Sorry but I don't have the relative figures here to let you know how the percentages (solar/shore) met the needs. Due to the configuration of the sites and trees I don't believe we could have operated just on solar even if we had had some portable panels we could have placed in a sunny spot. We did park for 3-4 days in Medicine Hat, AB. and even though some days were overcase the solar met all our needs.

A feature of the Magnum Controller/BMK is that is can be configured to provide all your power from the solar/battery system until you turn on an unsupportable load, like A/C or the washer/dryer. This feature saves costs when connected to shore power is metered and billed to us. It will likely take half a century for this feature to pay for the system at the rate we use it though. The larger savings come from reduced operation and maintenance costs on our generator, and elimination of the noise/smell. The REAL PLUS is being able to leave the coach all day when not connected to shore power without the worry that our batteries will be over discharged when we return, particularly when we return after generator hours are over.

So far we only have the 6 X 225 Ah factory supplied lead acid batteries.

All panels are mounted flat to the roof, fixed in place. Any of the panels that could have been shaded by an A/C unit or Fantastic fan cover were mounted on a raised rail system. Had we chosen to elevate all panels on the raised rail system above the roof vents and other obstructions, we likely could have mounted 14 to 16 panels.

We just use the Magnum Controller and BMK to monitor the in-out of power, and are happy with the results.

We would have added more panels to compensate for cloudy days.

Again, we are very happy with the set up and encourage you to continue with your learning to chose your best set up for your style of use.
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Old 05-30-2016, 11:06 AM   #27
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Notice everyone says they still use a generator or shore power. What's the point of spending thousands on both solar and generator? Solar is still too expensive in my opinion. You have to replace batteries and parts are fragile. I'll keep spending $5 a night to run my generator until solar is cost effective and reliable enough.
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Old 05-30-2016, 11:23 AM   #28
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We have to run our generator to run our induction stovetop. It is not wired into the inverter circuits. Running the generator on a regular basis under load is good for the generator I am told.
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