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Old 05-07-2013, 07:57 PM   #29
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Don't forget, boon docking (in your case mostly in New England presumably) you need to remember that solar energy requires direct sunlight for maximum output, something that trees and hills make really difficult.
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Old 05-07-2013, 09:00 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by CapnMorgan View Post
I watched the videos of the fireplace that you picked out. In one of the vids i could see smoke entering the living space when the door was open. I would love to have a fireplace, but not if it put excessive smoke in the living space.
As someone with vast experience using wood heat to heat my home (as the primary heat source), a little bit of smoke is just something you contend with. I don't think there is a stove out there that will not put out a bit of smoke on occasion.
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Old 05-07-2013, 09:03 PM   #31
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[QUOTE=Murf2u;1559610]Don't forget, boon docking (in your case mostly in New England presumably) you need to remember that solar energy requires direct sunlight for maximum output, something that trees and hills make really difficult.[/QUOTE

I am interested to see how effective the panels will be for me. I don't remember having camped in the sun very often, and this could be an issue. I am interested to see what kind of output you get in shady and cloudy conditions. You should get some, but I am not sure if you get 10% of output, or 0.00000001% of rated output.
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Old 05-07-2013, 09:08 PM   #32
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In case you do not know, an aluminum stud wall is less thermally efficient than a wood stud wall. Aluminum is a great conductor for heat. The wood provides a mush lower heat loss than does the aluminum.

Ken
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Old 05-07-2013, 09:50 PM   #33
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I'm envious of your ability to design and build an RV from the wheels up. I'm in the process of having some new cabinetry made to replace the hated U-shaped dinette and a new sink cabinet to accommodate a dishwasher in place of the never used range/oven.

Before you build and instal your built-ins you might want to live in your shell and see what you will actually use and enjoy. AND, see if you can get it all into the 8' x 17' space you have planned. I have learned the hard way that making it fit on paper and enjoying the final product are 2 different animals.

Oh, and a ? Does the heat pump you mentioned run on 110v AC? I get the impression from what I read that it requires 220v. That could be a problem.

I look forward to hearing more about your build and actually seeing some pictures when you get to that stage. You can list some of your design ideas in your signature by going to the USER CP. That way folks will be better able to offer concrete suggestions when they can just look at the bottom of your posts for info.

Good Luck!
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Old 05-07-2013, 10:04 PM   #34
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My solar system is made by Unisolar and is self adhesive flexible panels stuck to my roof.

Amazon.com: 272 watts Solar Battery Charger Kit for 24V batteries. Includes all major components.: Patio, Lawn & Garden

This type panel has been a great choice for me. It is not as impacted by partial shading as typical panels and I have never had a day, regardless of how cloudy, that the charging didn't exceed my 4 - 4.3 amp phantom load.

I paid $1200 for mine, but it's on sale now for $888. You will need to add fuses, a combiner box and some cable to make it work. Adding a Trimetric battery monitor was a good investment.
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Old 05-08-2013, 07:09 AM   #35
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I'm envious of your ability to design and build an RV from the wheels up. I'm in the process of having some new cabinetry made to replace the hated U-shaped dinette and a new sink cabinet to accommodate a dishwasher in place of the never used range/oven.

Before you build and instal your built-ins you might want to live in your shell and see what you will actually use and enjoy. AND, see if you can get it all into the 8' x 17' space you have planned. I have learned the hard way that making it fit on paper and enjoying the final product are 2 different animals.

Oh, and a ? Does the heat pump you mentioned run on 110v AC? I get the impression from what I read that it requires 220v. That could be a problem.

I look forward to hearing more about your build and actually seeing some pictures when you get to that stage. You can list some of your design ideas in your signature by going to the USER CP. That way folks will be better able to offer concrete suggestions when they can just look at the bottom of your posts for info.

Good Luck!
Great suggestions. You are absolutely correct that often times the theory (or the paper), does not equate to reality. I am trying to build into the prototype the ability to make changes.

The mini-split system that I will be using does require 220. I will be using an inverter that can handle 220. The nice thing is that it only draw 580 watts and it does not spike, or require more than that on startup which is nice.

Thanks for the suggestion on the signature. I will try to get that on here.
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Old 05-08-2013, 07:15 AM   #36
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My solar system is made by Unisolar and is self adhesive flexible panels stuck to my roof.

Amazon.com: 272 watts Solar Battery Charger Kit for 24V batteries. Includes all major components.: Patio, Lawn & Garden

This type panel has been a great choice for me. It is not as impacted by partial shading as typical panels and I have never had a day, regardless of how cloudy, that the charging didn't exceed my 4 - 4.3 amp phantom load.

I paid $1200 for mine, but it's on sale now for $888. You will need to add fuses, a combiner box and some cable to make it work. Adding a Trimetric battery monitor was a good investment.
Thanks for the comment with real world experience. I looked at the thin film photovoltaic cells, but I can't get the wattage I want on the amount of roof space that I have. With the Helios 400 watt panels I can get 3 of them on the roof. I really like the flexible panels you mention and wish I could use them. It looks like installation would be a breeze. Thanks again!
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Old 05-08-2013, 07:20 AM   #37
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In case you do not know, an aluminum stud wall is less thermally efficient than a wood stud wall. Aluminum is a great conductor for heat. The wood provides a mush lower heat loss than does the aluminum.

Ken
I am well aware of the conductive properties of aluminum. Part of the design is to avoid studs that would go all the way from the interior of the trailer to exterior. I am building more of a "cage" design so that the insulated panels provide an envelope and barrier between the aluminum structural elements. This should help on the conduction issue. Thanks for the comment.
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Old 05-08-2013, 07:38 AM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by okmunky View Post
My solar system is made by Unisolar and is self adhesive flexible panels stuck to my roof.

Amazon.com: 272 watts Solar Battery Charger Kit for 24V batteries. Includes all major components.: Patio, Lawn & Garden

This type panel has been a great choice for me. It is not as impacted by partial shading as typical panels and I have never had a day, regardless of how cloudy, that the charging didn't exceed my 4 - 4.3 amp phantom load.

I paid $1200 for mine, but it's on sale now for $888. You will need to add fuses, a combiner box and some cable to make it work. Adding a Trimetric battery monitor was a good investment.

I'm confused, in the description that your link points to, it has this bullet.
  • Includes 136 watt Flexible Solar Panel, Morningstar Charge Controller and 30' MC Cable
but the title says 272.
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Old 05-08-2013, 07:30 PM   #39
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Typo? should be 2 panels, but best to double check before ordering.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CapnMorgan View Post
I'm confused, in the description that your link points to, it has this bullet.
  • Includes 136 watt Flexible Solar Panel, Morningstar Charge Controller and 30' MC Cable
but the title says 272.
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Old 05-08-2013, 07:52 PM   #40
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Alex,

motorized single axis solar panel design
The pic in post 4 on this page gave me an idea of how I could expand my solar array even though my roof is full. The Uni-solar panel is only about 15 wide. It would be easy to stick it to 1/4 plywood or anything and then hinge/hang them from the drip edge on the south side of the coach. An added advantage would be adjustment for low wintertime solar angle.

While searching for a replacement part, I realized that without the bulk pricing advantage, you are going to need a LOT of small parts at retail prices. OUCH!

Have you considered buying an insurance totaled trailer just for the parts? I remember reading about an Airstream that was totaled, when still relatively new, due to a problem with it's skin. There should be a gold mine of good hatches, tanks, etc. in something like that.
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Old 05-08-2013, 08:46 PM   #41
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For expertise in boondocking and trailers designed for them Australasian's and one US were the sources I found before making the decisions on ours. Bushtracker :: Real caravans for the outback Kimberley Karavans - Best Australian Off-road Caravans Kimberley Karavans - Best Australian Off-road Caravans Our teardrop was designed for boondocking 320 W solar 150AH Lifeline AGM all LED, pump and water filters to take water from lakes and streams, variable suspension for more ground clearance, Espar diesel heater, adapted 5,000 btu window shaker. The trailer is all aluminum and the cabin frame is 1X1.5X.060 aluminum and strong enough to stand on. Every thing used is easily obtainable KISS
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Old 05-09-2013, 07:23 AM   #42
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Alex,

motorized single axis solar panel design
The pic in post 4 on this page gave me an idea of how I could expand my solar array even though my roof is full. The Uni-solar panel is only about 15 wide. It would be easy to stick it to 1/4 plywood or anything and then hinge/hang them from the drip edge on the south side of the coach. An added advantage would be adjustment for low wintertime solar angle.

While searching for a replacement part, I realized that without the bulk pricing advantage, you are going to need a LOT of small parts at retail prices. OUCH!

Have you considered buying an insurance totaled trailer just for the parts? I remember reading about an Airstream that was totaled, when still relatively new, due to a problem with it's skin. There should be a gold mine of good hatches, tanks, etc. in something like that.
I like the concept of the panels on the side like that. You can dramatically increase your yields with a tracking system. I had considered installing one but the only one I have found for an RV is expensive ($2,500 I think it was). I have a hard time spending more on the tracker than I would on the panels.

Interesting idea on purchasing a trailer for parts. I may have to look into that. Fortunately I have some fabricators that work very cost effectively, so I will be able to custom build a lot of the things I need.
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