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Old 06-09-2020, 10:24 PM   #1
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How much solar are you using and is it helping?

How many amps per day can you get from a 275 watt solar array on a good day? Say, 6 to 7 hours of full sun.

Are you using solar and what system seems to work well for you?

I'm running Zamp Solar panels with a 5 stage microprocessor and will be upgrading soon from a single 160 watt solar panel adding a second panel of 115 watts to jump me up to 275 watts.

Right now, I've been getting about 30 to 40 amp hours per day on the existing 160 watt, so, I'm hoping to get another 30 amps possibly per day for a total of 60-70 amp hours on a good day.

I'm told that the recovery time to charge my two 6 volt AGMs at 224 amp hours will be a lot faster with the additional panel, I hope they are right.

When I first purchased the RV, I intended to have two 160 watt solar panels on the roof for a total of 320 watts, but, there was not enough space for two panels. Since then, the company has introduced new products featuring different configurations allowing me to add the second panel. I also have a generator in case the sun is not shining, but, I'd rather enjoy the peace and quiet and it's free energy.

How is your solar going if you actually use it, or what do you use for power mostly?
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Old 06-09-2020, 10:38 PM   #2
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For basic math you get about 5 amps/100 watts. So you should be getting about 15 amps at max.

At max power of 15 amp during 7 hours you get 105 ah.

If you have 224 ah of batteries, and you never drop below 50% then you would need 112 ah to charge that 50%. Obviously this is with no other power draw.

I love my solar. It is my primary power in my last 2 trailers and my current one. I have 675 ah of batteries and 960 watts of panels. On a good sun day I typically make at least 50 amps. On the flip side, with everything turned on I will be drawing between 15 and 20 amps.

I have a built in generator that I mainly use when I need AC. If I am not making enough solar I will typically run it 2x per day for about an hour. My inverter charges at 125 amps so it does not take long to charge.
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Old 06-09-2020, 11:29 PM   #3
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Lots of variables.
And they vary.

Flat mounting will lose about 10-15% from rated. Add January low winter sun and the lose is upwards of 50%
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Old 06-10-2020, 03:02 PM   #4
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Flat mounting will lose about 10-15% from rated. Add January low winter sun and the lose is upwards of 50%
I've never seen 10A from my "300W" of solar panels. Not happy, but on the other hand, it doesn't really matter to me. It's more than enough to keep the battery up with light use, including the 12V fridge/freezer running round the clock. But that's about all it's good for.
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Old 06-11-2020, 07:25 AM   #5
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On a sunny summer day you should see 5 - 5.5 amps per hour per hundred watt panel with a PWM controller under peak conditions. The sun is in peak position roughly 4 hours per day. I currently have 190W solar with 200 amp lithium and this usually powers everything I need for days as long as I don't need the AC or don't use the convection oven to cook a meal. My next van will have a massive battery bank and a second high output alternator with 380w solar. The solar will contribute very little in this set up, but it's cheap and nice to have a little passive gain.
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Old 06-29-2020, 01:32 PM   #6
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On a sunny summer day you should see 5 - 5.5 amps per hour per hundred watt panel with a PWM controller under peak conditions.
Update - I washed the panels with a little soap and a soft brush on a pole, and rinsed well, then tested at solar noon (about 1:15 pm that day) in full sun. Got to about 10.5A. Still not so hot for 300W.

Tested the panels individually today, and they all test well within specs for open circuit voltage and short-circuit current. But when only the rear panel was connected to the system, the Go Power controller showed 0A and 13.2V. The other two individually show 4.5 and 5.0A at some higher voltage (can't remember off hand). One solar panel seems a little mottled, and that's the weaker one, but still within manufacturer's limits. The panel that's not connected measures almost exactly the same as the front panel at 5.5A and 19.0V open-circuit.

The sun was about 30 degrees behind the van, per some NASA site (I'm up north on Lake Ontario), plus another few degrees for the north tilt in the driveway.

So it looks like someone at Coachmen didn't hook up the third panel, which is some distance away from the other two.

Now I have to figure out how to fix that.
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Old 06-29-2020, 02:48 PM   #7
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That's odd. I routinely pull in over 10amps during summer months with my 190w of panels. I have two 95w gopower panels and the 30amp gopower solar controller. Of course, I spend a lot of time in southern states, but I was getting close to 10 amps in wisconsin and South Dakota just last week. Either my system is wrong or you're pulling in too little.
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Old 06-29-2020, 03:04 PM   #8
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Either my system is wrong or you're pulling in too little.
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So it looks like someone at Coachmen didn't hook up the third panel, which is some distance away from the other two.

Now I have to figure out how to fix that.
Maybe you missed my last comment, but the third 100W panel is doing nothing, even though the leads measure as they should when removed from the system. So I basically have 200W of Go Power flex panels into the controller instead of 300W.

I'm going out there tonight to open the panel with the solar controller and hopefully see a wire pulled out of its termination or something.
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Old 06-30-2020, 05:37 AM   #9
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I'm going out there tonight to open the panel with the solar controller and hopefully see a wire pulled out of its termination or something.
Pulled the access panel out of the cabinet, and whadayaknow, I found a 10-gauge red wire marked "USE-2 PV WIRE 10AWG", and after rummaging, a black one, too. Pulled them out, and it's clear they were pre-cut for stripping, probably at the factory, but never terminated and landed on the solar controller by Coachmen. They measure the same 19V as the other two panels do (open circuit voltage). Way to go, Forest River.

That 5.4A was at 6:00 pm, so sun was pretty weak. Hopefully I can get at least 15A once I terminate those leads at the controller, which I assume just get landed with the other two existing leads.

I'll get back to addressing the OP's original question about daily amp-hours after I fix this. Probably Thursday, as it's forecast to be clear here.
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Old 07-02-2020, 06:45 PM   #10
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How much solar would you need to power your RV? Some simple questions, they ask to estimate the size of your system in a few moments.
https://gpelectric.com/calculator/
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Old 07-02-2020, 07:29 PM   #11
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Got the third panel connected, and the system peaked at a shade over 15A the other day, and a little less today as we had a bit of haze. Registered 102 amp-hours today, with a little haze, and with the van at a little more than 30 degrees to the sun at solar noon up here (and tilted a few degrees to the north in my driveway). I'm happy.

I shouldn't have to plug in when visiting family, especially down south. More than enough to keep the compressor fridge running, plus some A/C time while watching cartoons with the grand daughter.
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