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Old 06-01-2021, 09:20 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr.tommy View Post

3) How many amps does the WEN 2000 bring into the coach



A LITTLE BACK GROUND:
We spend summers in the Northeast and live off 15amps by plugging into a 15amp garage outlet that's available to us.
Watts = amps/volts

2000 watts/120 v = 16.6 amps.

15 amp wall outlet x 120 v = 1800 watts.

Essentially any ~ 2000 watt generator will be the same as plugging into a 15 amp house outlet.
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Old 06-01-2021, 09:33 AM   #16
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So what’s your plan if it’s cloudy for a week at a time and the solar has 10% output?

Do you just let it do it’s own thing or are you still monitoring the charge “in case” you need to plug in or run the genny.

Don’t get me wrong solar is great for a lot of people but I will never believe that “hey I put solar on so I don’t need to monitor the charge level any more” too many things can go wrong between no sun, bad connection, charge controller goes out, ect.
As stated above, for extended bad weather I do run the generator.

If I am living in the RV I do monitor the conditions because I can draw more than I am producing if the weather is bad. On the flip side, in the summer, by the time I get out of bed I am already making some power. I have enough reserve capacity that even after running a CPAP, and a fan all night, plus parasitic loads my wife can easily run the coffee maker with no concerns. Want to run the microwave to defrost stuff or the air fryer for 15 minutes, not a problem. One thing I hated about my last RV was being dependent on the generator to run large loads for short periods.

I never claimed that solar was a do it all, no other systems needed.

I spent about 100 nights in my RV last year with about 80 of those boondocked. I remote work with and draw about 25 amps (12 v) during that time. We are power aware but do not really "conserve" power, we use what we want when when need it. Even with all of this I only put 150 hours on my generator last year and most of that was to run the air conditioners.
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Old 06-01-2021, 09:57 AM   #17
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Most of power consumption depends on the type of fridge you have. If you have absorption, little batt power used. If you have residential, it’s a lot of power being drawn through inverter. If you have 12v compressor, it’s gonna be about 25-30ah/day ( I have one and I measured). I really don’t see how you can consume 125ah/day unless you’re staging a rock concert every night at your campsite. When we are full glamping boondocking, we eat about 40-45 ah/day, including cpap, tv, and laptop.
My first suggestion is that you measure your consumption using a battery monitor. Knowing what you actually use will allow to make intelligent decisions about how much electrical upgrading you need. BMs are not expensive, and you’ll need it anyway after upgrading.

And the first step in upgrading is always to increase useable ah bank. If you have enough useable ah, everything else is easy, depending on how many consecutive days you want to boondock without running a generator. If you upgrade to LiFePo4, your charging time will be very low. That means less time running the generator, and/or lower total pv voltage. We can go almost 5 days without running the generator. Topping off without sunshine takes less than an hour. But you need a very good charger that can charge at 80amps, and a very good mppt controller. On solar, higher pv input voltage = more charging amperage from mppt, so wiring panels in series will normally produce more charging amps unless panels are shaded.
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Old 06-01-2021, 12:49 PM   #18
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The advice posted above is excellent. It is one of the best threads I have seen on this subject.

I use about 125 amps a day - and that is a generous allocation.
I therefore bought 2x AGM 190 Ah batteries. This gives me 190ah per day. The store I bought them from seriously recommended not running them down to 50%, so at 125amps a day I am under that limit.


I assume you bought 6 volt batteries. Doing the numbers, you can see you are drawing the battery bank down below 50%. Below 50% is a minor issue, but it does leave limited reserve for when things don't go as planned.
190 - 125 = 75 amp hours reserve.


I have a 2000w inverter.

You may have a 2000 watt inverter or it may be an inverter/converter/charger. The inverter function would provide 2000 watts or 16 amps at 120 volts. The converter would convert 120 volts AC to 12 volts DC for lights, water pump, etc. The charger would convert 120 volts AC to 12 volts DC for charging batteries.

I don't know what the charger maximum charging current is in your rig. Check the manual for you inverter/converter/charger.

190 amp deep draw batteries will not be able to handle a 2000 watt inverter while it is supplying 2000 watts. You can get 700 watts OK or peak at 1000 when batteries are fully charged. More than that will probably trip the inverter low voltage cut off. At least double your battery bank if you are going to use more than 700 watts at 120 volts AC.

I have a 6.5kw Onan generator that puts out 54 amps.

This is more than adequate to supply a 30 amp 120 volt system while charging batteries and running air conditioning and microwave. It is about half of a 50 amp 240 volt system capability. No issues here.

Question: Do I need solar panels?

The shop I bought the battery from said I'll be running the generator for ten hours to recharge those batteries. Really? I thought it would be 4 hours at most (54 amps x 4 hours. Does that make sense or am I stupid?).

You are They recommended purchasing solar cells, but unless I have 500+ watts of solar, what difference is it going to make to that 10 hour estimate?


You are clearly not stupid. You need more information about how lead acid batteries work.

Even 200 watts of solar can be helpful when used in conjunction with a generator. Run the generator for 4 hours in the morning possibly less before sun is high in the sky. This provides fast bulk charge when batteries are low and accepting high current.

As the sun rises late in the morning, the solar can provide enough to finish the charge. Batteries may absorb 50 amps when discharged to 30% state of charge (SOC). By the time the batteries reach 80% four hours later, the batteries are absorbing 10 or 20 amps and 8 hours into the charge the batteries are only absorbing 3 to 5 amps. Late afternoon solar provides that just fine.

It takes 14 to 18 hours to get a full clean charge of any lead acid battery. That is the nature of lead acid chemistry. You can get to 90% SOC in 9 or 10 hours which is fine for long life. Just make sure you have a full clean charge before putting the rig into storage.

Question: I found a good guide online for wiring the batteries to the inverter, but how do I include the generator in the circuit?

The generator is probably already connected in. It runs the built in inverter/converter/charger. So theoretically a 50 amp 120 generator could provide enough power to run a 500 amp 12 volt charger. You can see that this is more than enough to charge batteries.

In reality, your built in inverter/converter/charger will limit charging. I don't know what the capacity of your inverter/converter/charger is. It may be between 50 and 100 amps.

This is why an above post recommended adding a small portable generator for just battery charging. A 2000 watt inverter generator is often quieter and uses much less fuel than a big Onan.

A 2000 watt 120 volt generator can theoretically provide 160 amps 12 volts. This is more than enough charge your batteries and run a few more small appliances like computer and monitor. Again, your inverter/converter/charger will limit charging.

I use a 1000 watt Honda inverter generator for battery charging. It is light weight, compact, and amazingly quiet.

You can use just your built in Onan generator for boondocking or dry camping. You should try it to see what it does for you. Maybe set it up in your driveway or camp where full hook ups are available without hooking up.

The optimum plan is to run the generator for a long time when the batteries are at their lowest. The high charging capacity of the generator running the inverter/converter/charger will be at optimum.

So maybe four or more hours. Some people split the time to 2 hour morning and 2 hours evening. That is a little less efficient at charging, but may fit their life style.

If the system can't keep up, you can just plug in for now. Later, add batteries if needed. For your situation I recommend something near 400 amp hours. So, double your battery bank.

Run the generator longer or add solar if necessary. Experience will be your best guide. 200 watts of solar will add the finishing charge in Arizona. 400 watts will greatly reduce the need for long generator time. 600 watts will probably eliminate the need for the generator. It all depends on your usage. In all cases, 400 amp hours of batteries will work for you a lot better.

I wish you good luck and happy trails ahead!
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Old 06-01-2021, 01:28 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by mr.tommy View Post
If you could please, I'd like some clarification on how you hook up and use your WEN 2000
1) Your 50amp like us, so do you just use a dog bone adapter to plug your 50amp cord into that steps down to a 120V plug and plug right into the WEN 2000

2) If above is true, once hooked up and Gen is running, what can you/do you run in the coach

3) How many amps does the WEN 2000 bring into the coach

4) I see that the WEN 2000 has some parallel ports, a ground outlet and others. Do you use any of these other ports and if so how

5) Is the onboard inverter a Pure Sine

Just trying to understand the real daily application of how you use it and what can you power with it

A LITTLE BACK GROUND:
We spend summers in the Northeast and live off 15amps by plugging into a 15amp garage outlet that's available to us. We use a dog bone to step down and use and extension cord. It's totally enough energy because we don't need to run AC and we just manage our power. Once in awhile we'll forget and turn a couple of to many things on at the same time and pop a breaker but then we just go and reset it. By being plugged in, our batteries are always being charged like they normally would be, our propane/electric fridge is always running on electric, we watch TV/Netflix every night etc etc. I mean it's amazing how much we can run off 15amps.

But I have been looking for a back up system (other than solar) to produce power to the coach either to produce more power than 15amps when really off grid, or in an emergency—like last winter when ALL power was out in Texas. I would normally use my onboard Onan 5500 onboard genny but looking for alternatives. I like what I'm hearing about the WEN 2000.



I just plug into the 50a with a 110 dogbone, i dont run a/c or microwave, but it does top off the house batteries, make coffee, run lights and Dish TV as well as outside lights. I also use it to power a smoker by plugging that directly into the WEN. If i need a/c - i run the onboard gen. This set up works great for me for camping at race tracks without hookups for a week at a time. When the WEN 200 is running, it will be exactly as if you were plugged into a 110 15a outlet. And a LOT cheaper than the name brand Honda.
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Old 06-02-2021, 08:24 AM   #20
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Thanks for the input so far. I'm glad this has created healthy discussion.

RV'ing is fascinating because it draws in people from opposite ends of the economic spectrum. There are folks with $200,000 rigs talking about solar to people living in a $3500 camper van (who also have solar). I'm somewhere in the middle.

I'm holding off on replying because I haven't yet made a decision, but I am leaning towards incorporating solar into my rig.

To Clarify

I have 2x 190ah 12v batteries AGM. Lithium batteries are great but they are prohibitively expensive for me. Dollar for dollar, you get more AH from lead acid than lithium. Yes, I know the weight, usage, recharge etc., is all better with lithium ion, but that price point just doesn't justify it for me right now.

I use 125 ah over an 8 hour work day. After that, I have LED lights (which I don't really use right now because sunset is so late during the summer) and my phone and computer will be charged if I want to use them.

The generator that I have came with the motorhome, so I don't understand the point of buying another one. It's an old Onan with only 500 hours. It's 6.5kw. Perhaps the replies encouraging me to buy one thought I didn't have a generator.

This is what I've learned from this group:

Solar is useful to me because it keeps the batteries topped up. If I'm using 15 amps per hour, I can reduce, match or exceed that with solar panels, thereby sparing me the need of running the generator.

Running the generator isn't inherently bad, but it is noisy and can take a long time to charge the batteries. It can take multiple hours to top off the batteries, so it seems to be an excellent idea to keep them topped off with solar.

I'm not going to be relying on solar. If there is a thunder storm, I can always just run the generator to power everything I need.

By going with a reputable used dealer, it seems I can get 500-600 watts of solar with an MPPT for just under $1000.


Summary
I'm probably going to get 5-600 watts of solar (two panels), and incorporate that into my battery bank and generator. I still have to figure out how to wire it all together, and I am only missing the panels and MPPT.

Thanks everyone - I really appreciate all the input!
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Old 06-02-2021, 08:43 AM   #21
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I agree you have a good plan. Get good solar installation instructions and all should go well.
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Old 06-02-2021, 09:16 AM   #22
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Thanks for the input so far. I'm glad this has created healthy discussion.



RV'ing is fascinating because it draws in people from opposite ends of the economic spectrum. There are folks with $200,000 rigs talking about solar to people living in a $3500 camper van (who also have solar). I'm somewhere in the middle.



I'm holding off on replying because I haven't yet made a decision, but I am leaning towards incorporating solar into my rig.



To Clarify



I have 2x 190ah 12v batteries AGM. Lithium batteries are great but they are prohibitively expensive for me. Dollar for dollar, you get more AH from lead acid than lithium. Yes, I know the weight, usage, recharge etc., is all better with lithium ion, but that price point just doesn't justify it for me right now.



I use 125 ah over an 8 hour work day. After that, I have LED lights (which I don't really use right now because sunset is so late during the summer) and my phone and computer will be charged if I want to use them.



The generator that I have came with the motorhome, so I don't understand the point of buying another one. It's an old Onan with only 500 hours. It's 6.5kw. Perhaps the replies encouraging me to buy one thought I didn't have a generator.



This is what I've learned from this group:



Solar is useful to me because it keeps the batteries topped up. If I'm using 15 amps per hour, I can reduce, match or exceed that with solar panels, thereby sparing me the need of running the generator.



Running the generator isn't inherently bad, but it is noisy and can take a long time to charge the batteries. It can take multiple hours to top off the batteries, so it seems to be an excellent idea to keep them topped off with solar.



I'm not going to be relying on solar. If there is a thunder storm, I can always just run the generator to power everything I need.



By going with a reputable used dealer, it seems I can get 500-600 watts of solar with an MPPT for just under $1000.





Summary

I'm probably going to get 5-600 watts of solar (two panels), and incorporate that into my battery bank and generator. I still have to figure out how to wire it all together, and I am only missing the panels and MPPT.



Thanks everyone - I really appreciate all the input!


I’ll chime in here now. I agree with what you said in this quote ... it echoes the conclusion I came to a while ago. I just finished putting 600 watts of solar onto my rig... my intent being almost exactly what you said above - to finish the charge started by the generator being run for a while first thing in the morning, and to keep the batteries topped off while in storage. I will be adding another 400 watts in a little while (I already have the panels) ... but that is mostly to give me more “oomph” when light conditions are lower or shorter.

Lithium batteries might sound nice from a charge perspective.. but I still do not trust them from a fire risk perspective ... so I will stick with the AGM batteries and a hybrid generator/solar approach.
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Old 06-02-2021, 09:36 AM   #23
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Try what you have and see how it works. You have a generator.
But I think you will find some solar would be nice.

We were set up like you for awhile. we now have solar and 4 batteries. Maybe run the generator once a week in good weather.

It does not sound like you need the interverter on. They waste a lot of amps turned on.

Do you have LED lights, if not plan on changing the bulbs.

Since your fridge, stove, water heater is on propane. I would follow the old rule of thumb for solar sizing of 100W solar for each 100 AH of battery. Maybe add 50%.

You could get by with just running you solar for 3-4 hours a day. But do you want those hours on the generator, or do you want to hear it running??
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Old 06-02-2021, 09:43 AM   #24
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In our mind, solar is all about trying to replace some or all of the amps you used in a day, thereby increasing boondocking time. Similarly, switching to LiFePo4 was all about increasing boondocking time with no genny. If you’re not boondocking, I don’t know why you would need solar or lithium. We would have preferred the lower cost of AGM, but like many bumper pullers, we are limited by tv payload, and two AGMs would have used up so much payload that we wouldn’t be able to carry other important camping gear. So, yes, more bucks, but we’re happy because with the extra bucks we’re getting benefits way superior to AGM. Fast charging, deep discharge, built-in BMS, low weight, and imperviousness to cold come with the bargain. When I install our new mppt, we’ll be able to go 5 days no genny. That’s the ideal camping situation for us. Not for everybody.
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Old 06-02-2021, 09:54 AM   #25
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It does not sound like you need the interverter on. They waste a lot of amps turned on.
Ok, someone mentioned the inverter size earlier and I want to clarify this. Given the devices I'm using while boondocking (laptop, phone, router, LED lights), I feel that 2000w is more than sufficient. I'm not using microwaves, heaters, etc. However, I'm going to have to include the inverter amp draw to my 125ah estimate!

But based on what you wrote, how would I be able to use household electricity without an inverter? My understanding is that the inverter is changing 12v from the batteries to 120v for household appliances.

Maybe I could use the MPPT, but I thought those just wrangle the irregular output from the panels and convert it to 12v to charge the batteries.
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Old 06-02-2021, 11:20 AM   #26
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Some thoughts. Does your existing inverter properly power your devices?
Many inverters are modified sine wave verses more expensive pure sine wave inverters. Pure sine wave inverters are better for electronics.

The reason for the small generator is it uses less fuel and of course makes less noise. Your large 6500W generator will do the job, but you are not using most of its power and using more fuel.

Solar is nice but only works during peak sunlight hours. And that means not parking in the shade. Solar power is used to charge your battery bank.
Also, do not fall into the classic mistake of confusing solar watts with amps. A typical 600W solar setup will only produce about 20-30 amps during peak sunlight.
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Old 06-02-2021, 01:19 PM   #27
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Get a laptop car adapter, you say phone but what type if a cell phone car adapter also or direct wire some USB ports to the 12v side. There are a lot of routers that are 12v native cut off the brick and use a car adapter also.

Most all of that list can be 12 v native.

Also inverter loss on new ones is not bad my new magnum is 95-98% effective and the overhead is about 10 watts I believe so look at the efficiency of your inverter.
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Old 06-02-2021, 01:31 PM   #28
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Modern RVs don’t need ac for most things because almost everything nowadays runs on dc. Unless you have a residential fridge. And everything depends on whether you want to use hookups or boondock. If you want mostly hookups, don’t bother buying upgrades. If you want to boondock, determine how many consecutive days you want to go without using a generator and then size your camping style and equipment to match. If you want to be stingy with power, there are many strategies to conserve energy. If you want to boondock as if you had hookups, open checkbook and go for it.
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