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Old 06-06-2021, 02:57 PM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark_K5LXP View Post
I don't think the power requirement is out of line for what he's trying to do. 125Ah over an 10 hour period amounts to 150 watts, which I could easily see being soaked up by a PC, monitor, networking, a few other gadgets and some lights over the span of a work day.
125 Ah over 10 hours at 12v is 15 kWh. Then if you are using an inverter to convert that to 110v, you have to de-rate it due to the inefficiency of the inverter.

Some advice:
- move as much as you can to 12v, for example, get a 12v power brick for your computer, get a 12v broadband modem etc. You get much better efficiency this way compared to using 110v and the inverter
- I would not go with Lithium batteries, I would just stick with the traditional wet cell/AGM house batteries and get some big solar panels

We have a Honda 1k for charging drone batteries in the woods, and they are definitely quiet. Probably cheaper than solar but then you have to put gas in it, turn it on etc. For boondocking and car/tent camping it is good option too. But for a class A with a bunch of roof area, I'd go solar.
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Old 06-06-2021, 03:03 PM   #44
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After skimming this thread, I haven't noted any discussion about battery management systems. The very first thing to do in order to fully understand exactly the Amp Hours going in / out of your batteries.



I use this little gem: https://www.thornwave.com/products/b...dc-power-meter


They have a phone app using bluetooth to monitor all vital stats of your batteries.



I also have the RVWhisper system which allows the power mon plus all sorts of other useful sensors to report readings and set alarm thresholds for remote (i.e. wifi / internet) based monitoring. https://rvwhisper.com/


Good luck!
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Old 06-06-2021, 03:33 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by cb750 View Post
Hey folks,

I'm one month in to full-time rving. Campsites are great, but the only thing holding me back from boondocking is electric. I work remotely so I do need reliable electricity.

I just wanted to run my plan by some other rv'ers and see if I have any gaps.

I use about 125 amps a day - and that is a generous allocation. That is leaving my laptop, phone, and two wireless routers plugged in for 8 hours. Heating and refrigerator are on propane, I don't use hairdryers, microwave, or AC.

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 have a 2000w inverter.

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

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?). 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?

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

All input is appreciated! Thanks
We use a Etrailer 2000 1600 running inverter generator which works just great even powering our AC.(soft start equipped) I also purchased the high altitude jets, 3-6K and 6-8K for when we venture into the mountains,$10 apiece with gaskets.
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Old 06-06-2021, 03:50 PM   #46
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Lithium Batteries are the way to go

I agree with the others on Lithium batteries. As someone mentioned, Solar and lithium should go together. I have a Tiffin with factory installed solar and lithium and you don’t have to be concerned with running the batteries below 50% and damaging them, cycling, etc. Solar and lithium are ready to go and of course quiet unlike generators…… for you and your camping neighbors.
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Old 06-06-2021, 03:56 PM   #47
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I only boondock and do so for months at a time. I use a mix of solar and generator with the generator being the most important. I have about 200 watts of solar and a 4 battery bank. I have a 1000 watt Yamaha inverter gen. and a Honda 2200 should I need AC and that is rare as I camp at high elevation.
What I have learned is to never drain the battery bank below 12.3 volts with a light load. Run the little gen. on eco mode until it drops to an idle and shut it off until the voltage drops and fire it again. The run time will vary depending on how much battery draw and your solar output. I have long battery life and need very little gas, usually less than a gallon a week. All my lighting is LED and I run the fridge on auto mode to save some propane while the gen, is running. I have two inverters of 150 and 300 watts and use the one that is most efficient for the load.
I don't mind keeping a constant watch on the volts and starting the little gen. 5 or 6 times a day as it is easy to start. I do not like buying batteries because the price of replacing just one will buy a lot of gas. This probably will not work for a coach with a large watt draw but you might try it by upping the size of your gen. A 2200 burns more gas but would work for most coaches.
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Old 06-06-2021, 03:57 PM   #48
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Just one point....

You say that your heater and fridge are on propane. That's great, but the electronics of the fridge are going to require feeding as is the blower on your heater unless you are using a separate stand alone unit.

Just some food for thought in case that matters to you.



Quote:
Originally Posted by cb750 View Post
Hey folks,

I'm one month in to full-time rving. Campsites are great, but the only thing holding me back from boondocking is electric. I work remotely so I do need reliable electricity.

I just wanted to run my plan by some other rv'ers and see if I have any gaps.

I use about 125 amps a day - and that is a generous allocation. That is leaving my laptop, phone, and two wireless routers plugged in for 8 hours. Heating and refrigerator are on propane, I don't use hairdryers, microwave, or AC.

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 have a 2000w inverter.

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

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?). 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?

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

All input is appreciated! Thanks
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Old 06-06-2021, 04:00 PM   #49
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I have been with solar for about 10 years. Running your generator to charge your batteries is not efficient because as the batteries approach the float, the charger slows down the charge. The generator will use more fuel running than charging. I suggest you mount a 300 watt panel and get a $100 solar controller. You will need to turn off your charger (so the charger does not try to charge your batteries) and plug your rig into your 2000 watt inverter with a regular extension cord. I have three 200 watt panels and 6 200Ah 6 volt batteries. I replaced all my lighting with LEDs. I rarely drop below 80% charge.
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Old 06-06-2021, 04:03 PM   #50
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Personally, I would get a small, quiet generator and plug into it with a 15a cord to carry your needs by daytime, let the batteries take you through the night. It will take less fuel than the big guy (use that when you want to run the microwave, hair dryers, and an AC unit or two all at the same time. )
Many of them have a remote control, so you won't even need to go outside to fire it up.
Heed the word of the battery guy - don't draw your batteries down past 50%, and you will get max life out of them.

When I 'boondock' (I know, I'm really really cord mooching) I have a 15 amp circuit that meets most of my needs until the DW fires up hair dryers and straighteners in the morning, the big generator takes care of that.

Have fun!
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Old 06-06-2021, 04:09 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by cb750 View Post
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!
Northern Arizona Wind and Sun have the best prices, service, selection, and products for enabling you to go solar at very attractive prices. I'm looking at their 1300 watt system for $2k (they're having a 5% off sale atm) which should prove more than adequate for your needs. They also have larger, and smaller setups too, so it pays to look around and see what best meets your needs. Safe and hoppy travels from the Boondocking Brewer™!
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Old 06-06-2021, 04:38 PM   #52
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I agree with the others on Lithium batteries. As someone mentioned, Solar and lithium should go together. I have a Tiffin with factory installed solar and lithium and you don’t have to be concerned with running the batteries below 50% and damaging them, cycling, etc. Solar and lithium are ready to go and of course quiet unlike generators…… for you and your camping neighbors.
If none of the following things matter to you, you should buy AGM, not LiFePo4:
1. You never ever have to replace them....ever
2. Impervious to cold. Important if you camp 32F or below
3. Weight: 1/3 to 1/2 the weight of LA batts. Important for payload challenged.
4. Charging time. Charge twice as fast as AGM, three times faster to 100%
5. Will accept as much solar amperage as you can throw at it. Up to 100amps.
6. Smart: Internal BMS will shut them down for low voltage, high temp, etc.
7. Safe: cannot expel toxic gases because there are none
8. Totally recyclable
9. Not sensitive to cycling. 2,500 or more cycles common.

I often recommend AGM. It’s good chemistry for many. Maybe for most.
But all of the above matter to me, so it’s worth paying a little more.
I really didn’t want to spend the extra bucks for LiFePo4, but for me, it was a no brained.
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Old 06-06-2021, 04:52 PM   #53
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Not sure if allowed if not sorry. On the full time RVing I purchased 6 12V 200AH Lifepo4 with BMS batteries, using 2 and have 4 to pass on at $750 each. If the AGM can be used in the chasis then these would be great for the house.
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Old 06-06-2021, 09:22 PM   #54
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Yes, you need solar minimum 600 watts with 12-24 volt moot controller expandable to 1200 watts
Easy install for diy and only $800 dollars for parts
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Old 06-06-2021, 09:23 PM   #55
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Yes, you need solar minimum 600 watts with 12-24 volt mppt controller expandable to 1200 watts
Easy install for diy and only $800 dollars for parts
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Old 06-06-2021, 09:34 PM   #56
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I do solar with the generator as backup. In running the generator you need to count gas consumption, oil usage (yes a four stoke still uses a small amount of oil as it runs) and maintenance (oil change, air filter, spark plugs etc.). Solar has a some what high start up expense but has a low long term cost and is silent. After setting up my solar (less than $800, 2-250 watt panels, a 40 amp MPPT controller, 4 100 amp hour sealed batteries, and a 3.5kw pure sine wave inverter) I have not had to start up the generator once. I use the microwave, tv, lights, radio, computer with no issues, however until I get a soft start system for the a/c, I will need to run the generator for it. Everyone has an opinion, but this is how I went and it works for me. I have a 24 foot class c rv.
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