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Old 10-19-2010, 09:20 PM   #71
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now you guys have the solar down, how do we get water???

what ideas and systems work for collecting rain water , as the situation arises

and filters !

thanks in advance

I've actually been working on just this idea lately. I spend alot of time out in the boonies and fresh water is at a premium.

At first I was going to use my roof as a collection system, by siliconing plastic 1" L channels running from front to rear, and across the width of the coach. In essence, a very shallow box with a drain at the rear coming down. From there it could be channeled into the water tank via a hose with a filter on it, or into a collapsible water bag and sent to your water tank via a pump. Doable, but I'd always need to make sure the drain in the back was SLIGHTLY lower than the front. If you had one of those sloping roofs already, it would help alot.

Then I realized a simpler, less permanent solution would be a lightweight waterproof plastic tarp clamped to my awning with little plastic clamps. You could use clothespins too, I guess.

Raise the Roller tube a bit, and one side to create a "cup". Most RVers try to avoid this situation...here, it works to your advantage.

My filler port is on the same side of the coach as my awning, so I just rubber band the plastic around a hose at the lowest point. The hose can connect to a filter if you like, but a clean tarp should be good enough as long as no debris from nearby trees falls into the water. Then, straight into your tank. So far, there has only been enough rain here to try this once, but it worked pretty well once I got the rubber bands tight enough around the hose. I got about 15 gallons in a half hour.

Everything rolls up real small to stay clean and fits into one of my small storage areas.

Just to give you an idea...For every one inch of rainfall, about 50 gallons falls on a typical 10 ft awning. That's about an 80 sq ft surface area. Just use those numbers to multiply whatever catchment area you have to figure how much you could collect. You'll be shocked to find just how much you can collect in a typical downpour!
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Old 10-19-2010, 10:57 PM   #72
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I'll take 2 five gallon jugs of dehydrated water. How much does it make when re-hydrated? ;-)

Thanks for the info on the amps and volts. My house batteries must be wired in series than since they are 6 volt golf cart batteries.
Maybe you should contact the dehydrated water guy. Probably depends on what it's mixed with....
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Old 10-20-2010, 07:30 AM   #73
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I'll take 2 five gallon jugs of dehydrated water. How much does it make when re-hydrated? ;-)

Thanks for the info on the amps and volts. My house batteries must be wired in series than since they are 6 volt golf cart batteries.

Yep...two 6 volts will be wired in series. The Neg of one will attached to the Pos of the other. The two remaining empty posts on each battery will be the Pos and Neg of the 12 volt system and that's where you attach the charging leads.

Remember that the total Amp hours of each battery is NOT added together in this case, since they are combined to increase voltage instead. So if each says 220 AHs, you'll still only have 220 total.

As for the dehydrated water, that's the genius of my company's packaging...once re-hydrated using a simple garden hose, you will have exactly 5 Gals of water! We've thought of everything for our valued customers...
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Old 10-20-2010, 07:46 AM   #74
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Yep...two 6 volts will be wired in series. The Neg of one will attached to the Pos of the other. The two remaining empty posts on each battery will be the Pos and Neg of the 12 volt system and that's where you attach the charging leads.

Remember that the total Amp hours of each battery is NOT added together in this case, since they are combined to increase voltage instead. So if each says 220 AHs, you'll still only have 220 total.
So...when I hook up the wires from the charge controller to my batteries....which battery posts do the positive and negative leads attach to? Do I just hook them up to the same posts as the inverter?
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Old 10-21-2010, 10:20 AM   #75
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So...when I hook up the wires from the charge controller to my batteries....which battery posts do the positive and negative leads attach to? Do I just hook them up to the same posts as the inverter?

Yeah, if you have an inverter already hooked up, I'm sure it's drawing 12 volts. I'm assuming you have just (2) 6volt batteries.

If you have four, make certain they are not hooked up in a 24 volt configuration. It's unlikely, but for high wattage applications on some larger coached, I've seen the 24 volt inverters being used.

Otherwise, your 12 volt posts (Neg & Pos) are going to be on separate batteries. The two terminals that are joined together to make 12 volts are not used. The two remaining posts are now your 12 volt posts.

Here is a simple diagram of how batteries are hooked up in series or parallel...

http://partsonsale.com/learnwiring.htm
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Old 10-21-2010, 09:17 PM   #76
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This is very helpful....now I've got to figure out how mine are wired. The RV system uses 12 volts and I have four 6 volt house batteries.

Sounds like I've got the 'Series/parallel' setup as described in Wetboys link. I'll chekc it out further.

By the way....got the wire routed from the roof to the basement compartment last night. It was pretty easy using the rear of the diesel pusher like my RV mechanic described. It's a straight shot from the rear of the coach and around the engine compartment. Drilled a small whole on the roof and had to cut a small piece of plywood on the side of the engine compartment. The hardest part was surveying everything before cutting, etc to ensure no cut wires or hoses.

I'll take more pictures this weekend and once finished will post them here.
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Old 10-22-2010, 08:40 PM   #77
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This is very helpful....now I've got to figure out how mine are wired. The RV system uses 12 volts and I have four 6 volt house batteries.

Sounds like I've got the 'Series/parallel' setup as described in Wetboys link. I'll chekc it out further.

By the way....got the wire routed from the roof to the basement compartment last night. It was pretty easy using the rear of the diesel pusher like my RV mechanic described. It's a straight shot from the rear of the coach and around the engine compartment. Drilled a small whole on the roof and had to cut a small piece of plywood on the side of the engine compartment. The hardest part was surveying everything before cutting, etc to ensure no cut wires or hoses.

I'll take more pictures this weekend and once finished will post them here.

Yeah, you'll def have the Series/parallel' setup then.Each pair will be their own 12 volt battery, in essence.

I'm sure you've been told already, but make sure you use more 100% silicon sealant then you think you should in and around that roof hole. And spread it out several inches from the hole after thoroughly cleaning the surrounding area for good adhesion. The reason to spread it is that normal roof and wire flex can lift small sections and rain will eventually find it's way in there. Also, make it taper down from the wires to edges, rather like a volcano so the water can't pool in the silicon.

Looking forward to seeing your pics.
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Old 10-24-2010, 11:09 AM   #78
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Just talked to friends boondocking at Imperial Dam, AZ and they are upgrading their solar panels and will sell me their existing 4 - 64v ones (for ca $200, I think). With the existing system of 250w, wind generator of 500w and with these I'll have a max of 1KW going into 4 - 12v deep cycle batteries. Current 100amp controller for the wind generator will also work for the new (used) panels. Sure glad I used #2 wire for most of this install. Looking into a tracker that uses a small PV panel set at 90 degrees to main panel, hooked into a DC motor that, when the sun hits it, it will move the main panel into the sun until the small panel is shaded (by the large panel) and will then turn itself off. Of course, I'll have to build a rack that I can put on the ground since I do not have room on the roof for 4 more panels. Also looking into a Trimetric monitor. New project! Great fun!
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Old 10-24-2010, 06:00 PM   #79
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Well the project is getting closer to completion.

All of the wires have been run down to the compartment next to the batteries. Used a ton of sealant on the roof, along with the spray foam in the engine compartment to keep any diesel engine fumes where they belong.

Now...my final HUGE question is running the wires. I've got the Morningstar 45 charge controller mounted as well as a quick disconnect that uses two fuses.

My questions surround where to route the + and - cables from the solar array. If anyone has directions on where the wires run that would be great.

Also...does the fuse box need to be grounded?
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Old 10-25-2010, 09:21 PM   #80
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Well the project is getting closer to completion.

All of the wires have been run down to the compartment next to the batteries. Used a ton of sealant on the roof, along with the spray foam in the engine compartment to keep any diesel engine fumes where they belong.

Now...my final HUGE question is running the wires. I've got the Morningstar 45 charge controller mounted as well as a quick disconnect that uses two fuses.

My questions surround where to route the + and - cables from the solar array. If anyone has directions on where the wires run that would be great.

Also...does the fuse box need to be grounded?

It's kind of tough to tell you where to run the rest of your wires...without a picture of your setup, it's just guessing.

I'm a bit confused. Do you have the wires already connected to the panels on the roof? Or do you have them run UP from the battery, then the controller, through the roof, and just waiting to be connected TO the panel?

If that's the case, then you will have a exposed connection of some type, and I'd recommend putting that connection in some type of weatherproof plastic box siliconed to the roof. Nothing fancy, even a cheapo $3 electrical box with cover from Home depot will do. Obviously you don't want rain getting into the connections. Also, hit it with some UV protective paint, as plastic breaks down quickly and crumbles up there in the sun.

can you post a pic to get a better idea of where you are right now?
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Old 10-25-2010, 09:23 PM   #81
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OH, BTW...if anyone is looking for cheap cables...Today I just picked up 20 ft of 4 Ga jumper cables at Sam's Club for only $20!!! That's only 50c / ft for 4 guage! Sweet!
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Old 10-25-2010, 09:33 PM   #82
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It's kind of tough to tell you where to run the rest of your wires...without a picture of your setup, it's just guessing.

I'm a bit confused. Do you have the wires already connected to the panels on the roof? Or do you have them run UP from the battery, then the controller, through the roof, and just waiting to be connected TO the panel?

If that's the case, then you will have a exposed connection of some type, and I'd recommend putting that connection in some type of weatherproof plastic box siliconed to the roof. Nothing fancy, even a cheapo $3 electrical box with cover from Home depot will do. Obviously you don't want rain getting into the connections. Also, hit it with some UV protective paint, as plastic breaks down quickly and crumbles up there in the sun.

can you post a pic to get a better idea of where you are right now?
Thanks for the offer....got a chance to speak with Handy Bob via the phone today (thanks Bob) and he hooked me up.

Just waiting for the shunt to arrive so I can finish the hook up and we should have power.
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Old 10-25-2010, 09:41 PM   #83
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Thanks for the offer....got a chance to speak with Handy Bob via the phone today (thanks Bob) and he hooked me up.

Just waiting for the shunt to arrive so I can finish the hook up and we should have power.

Please post pics of the final assembly!
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Old 10-26-2010, 09:08 PM   #84
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Please post pics of the final assembly!

Will do. This has been quite a learning experience and taking it slow and easy has been the key. I'm asking a friend to stop by on Saturday to help me hoist the two panels up onto the roof. They're not really heavy but they are large due to being 200 watts each.

Been taking pictures with my handy digital camera as progress is made so I'll post them once the panels are mounted and the system is running.

I do have a question for the pros here. My battery box and controller set up are in the last 2 basement storage spots on the curb side of the coach. I want to mount the battery monitor near the front end of the coach for easy monitoring. For a Moncaco brand coach (or any others) what's the best way to run a small thermostat sized wire roughly 30 ft? Do you run it underneath and then drill through the floor? I was also thinking about something up through the refrigerator vent.

Any tips on how to run this final wire would be very helpful. Thanks gang!
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