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Old 03-26-2013, 12:31 PM   #15
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In putting together my solar setup for my RV and then my house I visited websites like Handy Bob's and while they were interesting they were either too general or too specific to a particular installation or philosophy to be of much value when it came to actually sizing my system and locating the necessary parts to put it all together.

I found that the rv.net and goodsamsclub.com websites archival areas with post of people's individual installations was more helpful. Looking at how a dozen installations were done, including running the wiring and attaching the panels to the roof, provided insights when I tackled my own. Running the wiring and safely attaching the solar panels (with no basement and a TPO roof) were by far the most difficult and time consuming aspects of the project.
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Old 03-28-2013, 05:55 AM   #16
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Your getting some great advice here. I would 2nd (3rd) the motion to first figure out how much power you need. If I had it to do over I would first get a minimum of the Trimetric 2024-RV installed and go camping with a battery charger. You may want to driveway camp so you can charge up the battery every few hours as you learn real quick just how much power everything uses. This was me. First thing will be converting the lights you actually need to LED and remove thoughts of AC, microwave, curling irons, etc from your mind.

Now that I've done it ass backwards and spent way too much money I'm have a lot of fun with this science project. You can to.

If you don't understand electricity your in for a surprise. Take a 100w light bulb. 100 watts divided by 120 volts is 0.83 amps. Now take that same light bulb and run it off an inverter. 100 divided by 12 is 8.3 amps. 8 amps continuous draw will drain a tiny group 24 RV/Marine battery in no time.

- Jeff
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Old 03-29-2013, 09:01 AM   #17
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Hi,

No need for a trimetric to do an energy audit--there is a great page for that on the spreadsheet I posted a link to.
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Old 03-29-2013, 09:12 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pianotuna View Post
No need for a trimetric to do an energy audit
Agreed but most will probably end up with one anyway so why not start there. Either/Or the big thing is determining power usage.
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Old 03-29-2013, 11:45 AM   #19
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I am a solar believer! When I decided to put together a solar charging system for my small class A, I had quite a few limitations to work with. Mainly not enough space for a lot of panels and no space for additional batteries (I have 2 right now) I spent many hours searching around for the best methods. Pianotuna was VERY helpful! Thanks!!

I ended up writing a 6(!) part article that starts at the most basic decision making process and goes all the way up through the install and use of the system.

It's available here:

WanderMan: A Better Solar Charging Mouse Trap.PART 1

The system is up and running for 2 years now without a hitch. I haven't run out of power yet and I boondock almost exclusively. The only change that is coming up is a swap to Lithium Phosphate batteries to increase my storage, reduce the weight and give me additional safety margin for bad weather.

Hpe it helps,

Rich "The Wanderman"
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Old 03-29-2013, 11:45 AM   #20
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I am a solar believer! When I decided to put together a solar charging system for my small class A, I had quite a few limitations to work with. Mainly not enough space for a lot of panels and no space for additional batteries (I have 2 right now) I spent many hours searching around for the best methods. Pianotuna was VERY helpful! Thanks!!

I ended up writing a 6(!) part article that starts at the most basic decision making process and goes all the way up through the install and use of the system.

It's available here:

WanderMan: A Better Solar Charging Mouse Trap.PART 1

The system is up and running for 2 years now without a hitch. I haven't run out of power yet and I boondock almost exclusively. The only change that is coming up is a swap to Lithium Phosphate batteries to increase my storage, reduce the weight and give me additional safety margin for bad weather.

Hope it helps,

Rich "The Wanderman"
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Old 03-30-2013, 09:07 AM   #21
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Hi Again,
I have always been a believer in Alternate Energy and oddly enough I have worked in the oil business for 30 years. It occurs to me that I was completely ignorant of Solar maybe six or seven months ago and just like you sought out advice on the forums. You have obtained a tremendous amount of excellent advice. I read all the sources that have been quoted here and more. In the end, I wanted to learn more and more but I wanted to understand the system and the capability. I spent a bunch and would do it again in a minute. I installed the Inverter Charger ( magnum 2000 watt pure sine) and the trimetric 2025 at the same time and then went on a trip to evaluate exactly what my consumption was. I think this was an excellent way to do it because it allowed me the time to understand not only consumption but also what steps I could live with in terms of conservation. That can be a component in this. Then after a reasonable time we finished the system. We now have 5 - 150watt panels and a Tristar 60 amp controller. We only have 432 amps of storage but I may add another 216 this year. My sense is that it is overkill but from everything I understand, we should not take the batteries below 50%, and I think I will stay in that range quite nicely.
There you go, it is not a bad thing to want to understand how everything fits together. Everyone has given great advice and great opinion!

Jeff
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