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Old 04-08-2016, 10:56 AM   #1
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Quick poll on solar set ups.

I know this is difficult as everyone is so different but I thought I would ask anyway and get a feel for dry camper's power consumption.

I have calculated that I will use up 157Ah or 1.89kWh per day. That's if we are at the MH every day, which is unlikely but I had to start somewhere. That's a whopping 700 to 750W solar array. I don't read about many RV'rs with arrays that size. Am I off in left field? There are just 2 of us. On the DC side there is the usual draws (circuit bds and the like), 12v fridge, usb chargers, a fan, mostly LED lights, furnace fan, water pump. On the AC side there is the router, WiFi and Cell boosters, chargers, and TV with usages of 2 to 4 hrs a day. The larger wattage items are 10 - 20 minutes at a time. For this I am planning to go with a 750W solar array and, not following the 3 day rule of thumb about 500Ah of battery.

Again, I know everyone is different but for you dry dockers out there, what is the size of your solar array, battery bank, generator usage and your daily consumption rate?

Thanks in advance,
Steve
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Old 04-08-2016, 11:14 AM   #2
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Hi Steve,

650 Watt solar array with Morningstar TS-MPPT-45 charge controller.
440 Ah battery bank (4, 6 volt batteries)
No generator use.
Consumption on a fairly typical summer day: 100 Ah (more on a coolish winter day)

Several posts that you may find useful:
Solar Power Winter Update - JdFinley.com
Solar Power and Clouds - JdFinley.com
Energy Audit - Watt For? - JdFinley.com
Solar Charging System - Take Two - JdFinley.com

I don't know what type of rig you have but your numbers don't look out of line to me. A 750 watt array is really not that big anymore. You should be able to find PV panels for less than $1/watt. My 650 watts is accomplished with two panels. Remember that you will rarely/never get full rated power out of the panels, certainly not if flat mounted, and even less in the winter months.
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Old 04-08-2016, 11:23 AM   #3
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We have 600 watts of solar and four Trojan T-105s giving us about 440 amps hours. We use about 50 to 150 amp hours per day. On the days when we use close to 150 amp hours, and will probably use about the same the next day, I will run the generator for an hour or so in the morning. In order to meet our needs on the 150 amp hour days, I figure I would need 800 watts of solar and two more T-105s that would give us about 660 amp hours of batteries.
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Old 04-08-2016, 11:25 AM   #4
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Furnace uses a lot of juice, but on a summer night, just put on a nice sweater and if you can, get used to it being a little chilly in the camper. Snuggle up with someone or a dog, and see if you can learn to like it.

If the panels will tilt to a good angle for energy collection, you'll do much better then if they are flat.

I'm in a 21 foot long travel trailer, and my power needs are fairly minimal as long as it is not too hot or cold. I have a 100 watt solar panel that collected enough power to keep my batteries fairly happy while boondocking in the AZ desert. I used another 200 watt set and a 115 amp/hr battery for the laptop and to charge other little devices, like cell phone or headlamp.

Depending on where you are camping, you might get shorter energy collection days, adn might need more collection square footage to get what you need.
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Old 04-08-2016, 12:04 PM   #5
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Current system is on a 34' 5th wheel: 1420 W of panels
About 9 kW hrs of LFP

we are thinking of getting a Roadtrek to compliment our travels. To many place on Mexico where big is just not doable. Probably go with 300 to 600 W of solar and perhaps 3 to 5 kW hrs of LFP. Need to determine power and energy storage requirements.
Reed and Elaine
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Old 04-08-2016, 02:59 PM   #6
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I'm the same solar setup as PJStaugh. Use 150amps/day w/residential fridge. generator 1-2 hrs in the a.m.
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Old 04-08-2016, 03:56 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JFNM View Post
Hi Steve,

650 Watt solar array with Morningstar TS-MPPT-45 charge controller.
440 Ah battery bank (4, 6 volt batteries)
No generator use.
Consumption on a fairly typical summer day: 100 Ah (more on a coolish winter day)

Several posts that you may find useful:
Solar Power Winter Update - JdFinley.com
Solar Power and Clouds - JdFinley.com
Energy Audit - Watt For? - JdFinley.com
Solar Charging System - Take Two - JdFinley.com

I don't know what type of rig you have but your numbers don't look out of line to me. A 750 watt array is really not that big anymore. You should be able to find PV panels for less than $1/watt. My 650 watts is accomplished with two panels. Remember that you will rarely/never get full rated power out of the panels, certainly not if flat mounted, and even less in the winter months.
Thanks for the links JFNM. I have read a lot about solar but I will certainly give them a read. I just noticed that I never completed my signature. Have to get on that. I have a FourWinds Chateau Sport 25C. 28ft. I am in Canada where everything seems to be more expensive but I did find 3 255W panels for $.90/W which I find to be a reasonable price. Pricing is finally declining while output is increasing.
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Old 04-08-2016, 04:00 PM   #8
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On our boat but same components.

675 watts solar. 800 AH of battery. 150 to 200 AH a day used. Usage tracked with a TriMetric monitor.

We don't skimp. Toaster, micro., 2 computers, cell phone chargers, shavers, crock pot and Sat. TV for 4 to 5 hours a night.

No generator time except short winter days and some cloud cover. Then every 3 days for a 3 or 4 hours.

Keep in mind that during solar charging, with enough solar, there is no AH drawn from bank. Your panels should charge and cover the AH use for part of the day.
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Old 04-08-2016, 05:20 PM   #9
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most we have harvested was right at 9kW-hrs in mid July; pretty much to see what we could do. Ran fridge overnight and all day on AC., ran hot water on AC, and ran a/c just for the heck of it. We are generally far more circumspect but 5 kW-hrs is normal if we have full sun. Camping in the woods means inverter is on only when required and a bit OCD in observing the meters. We only got about 600 W-hrs in Olympic National Forest
Reed and Elaine
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Old 04-09-2016, 08:37 PM   #10
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480 watts of solar. I use anywhere from around 40ah in a 24hour period (that is doing next to nothing, just the rv being the rv) up to 200 or so day if watching tv a few hours and making coffee, cooking in the crock pot and other living in it stuff.

480 AH LITHIUM-ION-IRON PHOSPHATE battery. Almost never run the gennie. I find if i sit 3-5 days i am fine even on low sun days and by then i am either ready to move along and the alternator will charge it up or i run the gennie for twohours and be topped back off. More battery.............never enough battery and i have a habit of paying attention to my power usage all day everyday. Not like i do not use it, i just watch it close and be sure I am not just running something for no damn reason if I am not making sun power.
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Old 04-09-2016, 09:04 PM   #11
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PA: 600w with Morningstar TS-60 PWM controller, plus additional 200w portable set out as needed. Four Trojan 105 six volt batteries. Seldom use the generator, unless air conditioning is needed.

Phaeton: New to us and have not yet put solar on it. Planning likely 1200-1600w with Midnight Classic controller. Six GC2 six volt batteries, would like to maybe expand to eight batteries or six of higher capacity.
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Old 04-10-2016, 12:22 PM   #12
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i am using 1200w panels 700ah li batts for now. i have an extra set of wires buried already and another mppt controller in hands. i am in the lookout for 3 more 240w sunpower panels to make the system of 1920w in total. when i did the main wires last year i had a mind to increase the capacity (have more space on rooftop) so i buried the second set. love sun power!

current system breakdown:
1) 240w x 5 sunpower e19 panels (40v in parallel)
2) 700ah lifepo4 pack with 28 calb cells
3) midnite classic 150 mppt controller

future add-ons:
1) 240w x 3 sunpower e19 panels (in serial thus 120v)
2) generic 60a mppt controller
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Old 04-10-2016, 02:24 PM   #13
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We have 1040 watts of solar that works well for us. Just don't short yourself.
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Old 04-10-2016, 03:21 PM   #14
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We have about the same as you for consumption. We have 605 watts of panels, a Morningstar Tristar PWM 60 controller 375 amp/hr of battery. We average about 70 amp/hrs over night. Most of our day time use is excess power generated by solar. We don't use microwave, toaster or electric frying pan on inverter. For those we start the generator and usually run for an hour if we start it.
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