Go Back   iRV2 Forums > CAMPING, TRAVEL and TRIP PLANNING > Boondocking
Click Here to Login
Join iRV2 Today

Mission Statement: Supporting thoughtful exchange of knowledge, values and experience among RV enthusiasts.
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 12-24-2015, 01:31 PM   #1
Senior Member
 
Ron_H's Avatar
 
Newmar Owners Club
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: White Rock, BC
Posts: 753
Solar Install Questions ??

I am thinking about having some solar panels installed on our coach during our upcoming trip to Quartzsite and I was hoping to get a little insight and information from those more in the know in this area. Installing a system on my own is pretty much out of the question as the roof of my coach is off limits for me and my electrical knowledge has only a 1 out of 5 rating.

Our coach, a ’05 43 ft. Mountain Aire, has 6 wet batteries that are about 3 years old. I use a CPAP machine that requires us to run our converter each night which in turn means I have to run our genny each day to recharge the batteries when we’re boondocking. Our fridge is switched to propane and all other electrical is powered down at night and about the only other 120 A/C electrical we use is for our TV and laptops and a few LED lights.
  1. How much solar would be required to have a significant impact and reduce the need to run our generator when boondocking?
  2. What are the key things to look for in a solar panel installation?
  3. What type of budget might I need for the panels and installation?
__________________

__________________
Retired and livin' the RV dream!
2005 Newmar 43 ft. MADP, Cummins ISL 400HP, 2008 Honda CR-V toad
Ron_H is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 RV Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

iRV2.com RV Community - Are you about to start a new improvement on your RV or need some help with some maintenance? Do you need advice on what products to buy? Or maybe you can give others some advice? No matter where you fit in you'll find that iRV2 is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with other RV owners, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create an RV blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 12-24-2015, 01:44 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
Outdoors RV Owners Club
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Nowhere, now here. Freedom!
Posts: 3,003
You could find a 12V cord for the CPAP, which will reduce the need for the converter and/or inverter and their losses. This might not solve your greater issues or desires you have, but it's something to think about.

I ran my CPAP machine for two nights on a 110 amp/hour deep cycle battery wiht no problems using a 12 volt cord for my machine.
__________________

__________________
ORV 19B Full Timer, '14 Ram 2500 Diesel and a GSD. This signature updated, May 1, '17.
Currently funemployed in Vancouver WA de K7NOL 146.52Mhz Safety? (CLICK ME!)
1bigmess is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-24-2015, 01:49 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
PJStough's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 620
1. I would say the minimum solar to reduce generator run time would be 400 watts.
With your six batteries, which should give you ~600 amps of power, and with most recommendations of one watt of solar for each amp of battery power, 600 watts would be about right.

2. The biggest problem with most solar installations is that often times the wire is undersized, and therefore not as efficient as it could be.

3. For budget of 600 watts of solar and an MPPT controller plus wire and other odds and ends I would expect that you would pay $2500 to $3000, maybe more. I would guess installers get ~$100 per hour labor.

You didnt say you if you had an inverter or not. If you dont have one, add another $300 to $2000 to the project depending on how big an inverter you buy.

Also, in Quartzsite the only place I would get an installation done is Discount Solar - Alternate Energy for an Alternative World. The other place that does installations is Solar Bill's, and I have not heard anything good about his installations.

Before I made any decisions, I would real this website: RV Electrical

The more you know about solar systems, the more likely you are going to get a system that works best for you.
__________________
Paul & Ann Iowa
2005 Winnebago Voyage 38J
http://stoughrvadventure.blogspot.com/
PJStough is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-24-2015, 01:55 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
JFNM's Avatar
 
Newmar Owners Club
Solo Rvers Club
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Mountain West
Posts: 1,060
Howdy Ron,

You probably run your inverter at night (for your CPAP). The converter is the battery "charger" that works from 110 volt power. Have you looked to see if you really need to run the CPAP from 110V? Many CPAPs are actually 12 volt DC powered and use a brick/wall wart type power supply. I have wired my CPAP directly to the house 12 V DC system.

It is usually best to do an energy audit to get a firm grasp on how much power you are consuming. Without that information in hand, you are just guessing. That said; I live in a similar coach with 650 watts of panels providing all my electrical power (minus air conditioning) - that may give you some ideas.

There are so many variables that one "best" recipe doesn't exist. For some people, the space available on the roof is the limiting factor. For others, battery capacity is the constraint. If I were paying someone to install a system for me, I would have a short list of requirements. I would not accept 12V PV panels - I would demand at least 24V panels. I would expect a reasonably simple mounting system (if they start talking about electric motors and sun following capability I would go elsewhere). I would require name brand components - particularly the charge controller (MorningStar, Outback, etc.).

You can read (here) what my system cost with me doing all the work. I would expect a good bit of labor to have someone install such a system.
__________________
JD & Buddy (the ferocious feline) - Full timer out west
2005 Newmar Dutch Star 4023 | 2010 Wrangler (daJeep) | 650 Watts Solar
My Adventures
JFNM is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-25-2015, 10:47 AM   #5
Senior Member
 
OLYLEN's Avatar
 
Monaco Owners Club
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Olympia, Wa
Posts: 2,342
A quick rule of thumb is 100 watts per battery. Q is very expensive and not really a good buy. AM solar a very reputable firm that know what they are doing, you can do a search here for thoughts on their installs and they have a reasonable web sight. Plus it's right on your way south in mid Oregon. Another help for the Cpap is to wire 12 volts to the bed area and use a smaller inverter for my just the Pap.

LEN
__________________
2004 Clss C 31' Winnebgo
OLYLEN is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-25-2015, 11:10 AM   #6
Senior Member
 
ChallengerRN's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 2,079
When I was out there in 2014 the solar installers were book out a couple weeks past the show. If interested I d make that my first stop to get on their schedule.

Russell
__________________
ChallengerRN is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2015, 12:01 AM   #7
Senior Member
 
dons2346's Avatar
 
Country Coach Owners Club
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 4,487
You drove by one of the best installers if you drove down I5 through Eugene,OR. AM Solar is in Springfield and is highly rated Welcome to AM Solar_Your RV Solar Specialists since 1987

Another good thing about AM is that there is no sales tax in Oregon.


If you are going to Yuma, then take a look at Starlight Solar Home They are also highly rated.

I would not get solar in Q because the tax rate is 10 to 11% plus I am not overly impressed after watching some installations.

I spent almost 2 hours talking to AM and will spend some time with Starbright and then make my decision but I know it won't be anyone in Q
__________________
Don
2002 Country Coach Intrigue
dons2346 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2015, 09:22 AM   #8
Senior Member
 
Outdoors RV Owners Club
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Nowhere, now here. Freedom!
Posts: 3,003
Quote:
Originally Posted by dons2346 View Post
I would not get solar in Q because the tax rate is 10 to 11% ...
There is no sales tax on solar energy equipment in AZ.

Arizona Solar Center - Your Guide to Solar and Other Renewable Energy Sources in Arizona - State Tax Credits

It's called a tax exemption, and the seller needs to be registered with the state. Some cities have a small sales tax is not exempted.
__________________
ORV 19B Full Timer, '14 Ram 2500 Diesel and a GSD. This signature updated, May 1, '17.
Currently funemployed in Vancouver WA de K7NOL 146.52Mhz Safety? (CLICK ME!)
1bigmess is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2015, 11:48 AM   #9
Senior Member
 
Ron_H's Avatar
 
Newmar Owners Club
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: White Rock, BC
Posts: 753
Thanks for the input everyone.

I emailed AM Solar in Oregon but their auto-reply email advises that they are closed until January, after we'll have pass thru the Eugene area.

I also contacted StarLight in Yuma and I plan on having a phone conversation with him on Monday or Tuesday. We were not planning on going to Yuma this time but what the heck, it's not far out of the way. Unfortunately he has only one opening in his install schedule for early Feb.

I have gotten a 12v converter to plug my CPAP into now I'll have to figure out how to install it. I know the basics of connecting the 12v leads but I'll need to find a 12v power source with sufficient amperage in our rear slide.
__________________
Retired and livin' the RV dream!
2005 Newmar 43 ft. MADP, Cummins ISL 400HP, 2008 Honda CR-V toad
Ron_H is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2015, 12:13 PM   #10
Senior Member
 
Outdoors RV Owners Club
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Nowhere, now here. Freedom!
Posts: 3,003
If you don't use the heating element for humidity, it should be about five amps max. More if you use the heating element and how high you set it. You won't go wrong if you find the max amps or wattage use rating for the CPAP and heater and go with those numbers for wire size and socket rating.
__________________
ORV 19B Full Timer, '14 Ram 2500 Diesel and a GSD. This signature updated, May 1, '17.
Currently funemployed in Vancouver WA de K7NOL 146.52Mhz Safety? (CLICK ME!)
1bigmess is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2015, 12:13 PM   #11
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 42
Contact Discount Solar in Q. 928-927-4551 I don't think there is tax on solar in az. stay away from solar bill
__________________
RDAYZ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2015, 04:55 PM   #12
Senior Member
 
RV Vagabond's Avatar


 
Winnebago Owners Club
Texas Boomers Club
Solo Rvers Club
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Fulltime Traveler
Posts: 599
CPAP's run on 12 volts so converting to 120 is not necessary. I got 4 extra 12 volt plugs installed so I could use them throughout the home plus one outside, for various devices. For long term use, go with 600 to 1000 watts. Check this out, a system with (4) 250 watt panels
1000 Watt Candian Solar Kit
__________________
RV Vagabond is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2015, 06:12 PM   #13
Senior Member
 
CountryFit's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Between the Oceans
Posts: 3,543
Blog Entries: 2
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron_H View Post
Thanks for the input everyone.

I emailed AM Solar in Oregon but their auto-reply email advises that they are closed until January, after we'll have pass thru the Eugene area.

I also contacted StarLight in Yuma and I plan on having a phone conversation with him on Monday or Tuesday. We were not planning on going to Yuma this time but what the heck, it's not far out of the way. Unfortunately he has only one opening in his install schedule for early Feb.

I have gotten a 12v converter to plug my CPAP into now I'll have to figure out how to install it. I know the basics of connecting the 12v leads but I'll need to find a 12v power source with sufficient amperage in our rear slide.
Larry from starlight frequents "go green" forum; his id is "batterypro". you may send hime a private message he should get in touch with you very quick. his profile is here iRV2 Forums - View Profile: BatteryPro.
__________________
2000 Country Coach Intrigue 40', ISC 350
2014 Ford C-Max Energi
CountryFit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-03-2016, 06:40 AM   #14
Senior Member
 
MattTaylor's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 134
Hope this helps.

As you can see from my signature line, we have 600 watts feeding a 675 amp hour battery bank. Our solar is fully integrated, includes a smart switch to decide where the power is coming from (solar, shore, or gen) and switches to it automatically, includes a 4 stage 75 amp charger that replaced the coach's old one, and power from the bank is delivered to the coach via a 3000 watt PSW inverter. This is the 480 watt Go Power Extreme solar kit with an additional suitcase style 125 watt ground mount panel.

I purchased everything from Amazon, no taxes, free delivery. I installed everything myself but hired an electrician to hook the system into the RV's power panel which cost me $75 and I bought the 6 T-105 batteries local for $135 each. Start to finish I spent within cents of $5000 even.

The result - Park it anywhere, hook up to nothing, everything works. If we didn't have to dump the tanks, buy food, and fill the water tank, we might not ever been seen or heard from again
__________________

__________________
2017 Winnebago Forza 36G (Puff The Magic Wagon)
2004 Jeep Wrangler 4x4 (Golden Eagle)
YouTube Channel - Nomadic Native
MattTaylor is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
install, solar



Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Solar setup observations wanderer69 Going Green 9 11-30-2015 11:09 PM
Suitcase Solar and semi-permanent install bjsweeney Going Green 3 11-12-2015 07:20 AM
Solar install questions mwiley Going Green 55 04-25-2015 02:55 AM
Add solar? Or portable genny? Or forget it? jdwky Entegra Owner's Forum 59 04-23-2015 08:54 PM
Solar help please GSGracie RV Systems & Appliances 10 03-15-2014 04:48 PM

» Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:39 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.