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Old 02-27-2014, 10:42 AM   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnnyreno View Post
I will buy solar panels and bounce them around the country when they get to a point where they actually work. And are unbreakable, wont cause leaks falling debris damage ETC, ETC , etc, etc. Snake oil proof,

Not trying to be offensive, but this isn't helpful to anyone here, not sure how or why you think it is. In this case it's probaby better to read and learn if you're interested since it appears you don't have any experience with the technology. Photovoltec cells have been working successfully for at least 25 years. It's all a matter of installing the right components for use in a sunny environment and configured to do what you need it to do. There are plenty of successful installations. Costs have come down dramatically in the past 10 years making it more cost effective than ever.

A lot of us here are trying to figure this out and whether it's right for us or not, hence this type of post isn't helpful.


Quote:
Originally Posted by vsheetz
For help with several of your questions the write up of my system I included earlier in this thread may help to answer.

As for changing out your converter, I opted not to do so, rather let the solar charge controller do most all the charging. I have not turned on my converter for a very long time.
I think I've seen you post this same thing on every solar thread on the forum.

I've read thru it a couple of times as well as all of the other off-Irv2 sites and thus my questions were spawned. I got good info from your report - thank you. However it's about what you chose more than the why's of what you chose. For example, 12v vs higher voltage panels and why, fixed vs portable - you have both so which one gets used the most, which do you like better and why? I don't think I need 800watts of solar panels, looking for help for around 200 as I think that's what will cover my needs. Will only buy 4 batts if I find the 2 I've been living with for the past 5 years should suddenly become inadequate.

You selected a particular brand of controller - why and how does it compare to others. There's Blue Sky, Renogy, and a host of others - what's the difference, what is better, and why? Thank you on the advice for leaving the single stage converter and just going to a solar charge controller. I'm thinking though, since I already have a low-time built in generator that's quiet, I would install an Iota charge converter that would fulfill charging needs much better for now. I was just thinking for a few dollars more I could get started with a panel or two of solar and a proper charge controller - still weighing that and was looking for specific advice.

I don't need a 2300watt inverter - I already have a 1200 built in for the entertainment system - that's all we really need, plus maybe wire a couple of 12v outlets for portable small-cap inverters for computer, tablet, etc. like you have explained. Our unit only has a couple of cigar lighter sockets and both are on or near the front dashboard.

So, anyone? Looking for expert opinions and answers to what I thought were legitimate questions on the subject.
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Old 02-27-2014, 11:26 AM   #58
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Originally Posted by CJBROWN View Post
Not trying to be offensive, but this isn't helpful to anyone here, not sure how or why you think it is. In this case it's probaby better to read and learn if you're interested since it appears you don't have any experience with the technology. Photovoltec cells have been working successfully for at least 25 years. It's all a matter of installing the right components for use in a sunny environment and configured to do what you need it to do. There are plenty of successful installations. Costs have come down dramatically in the past 10 years making it more cost effective than ever. A lot of us here are trying to figure this out and whether it's right for us or not, hence this type of post isn't helpful. I think I've seen you post this same thing on every solar thread on the forum. I've read thru it a couple of times as well as all of the other off-Irv2 sites and thus my questions were spawned. I got good info from your report - thank you. However it's about what you chose more than the why's of what you chose. For example, 12v vs higher voltage panels and why, fixed vs portable - you have both so which one gets used the most, which do you like better and why? I don't think I need 800watts of solar panels, looking for help for around 200 as I think that's what will cover my needs. Will only buy 4 batts if I find the 2 I've been living with for the past 5 years should suddenly become inadequate. You selected a particular brand of controller - why and how does it compare to others. There's Blue Sky, Renogy, and a host of others - what's the difference, what is better, and why? Thank you on the advice for leaving the single stage converter and just going to a solar charge controller. I'm thinking though, since I already have a low-time built in generator that's quiet, I would install an Iota charge converter that would fulfill charging needs much better for now. I was just thinking for a few dollars more I could get started with a panel or two of solar and a proper charge controller - still weighing that and was looking for specific advice. I don't need a 2300watt inverter - I already have a 1200 built in for the entertainment system - that's all we really need, plus maybe wire a couple of 12v outlets for portable small-cap inverters for computer, tablet, etc. like you have explained. Our unit only has a couple of cigar lighter sockets and both are on or near the front dashboard. So, anyone? Looking for expert opinions and answers to what I thought were legitimate questions on the subject.
Yes, my write up is from my perspective. One must apply it to their needs and perspective.

Why I used 12 volt panels? Physically smaller for best fitment on the roof / shading avoidance, less expensive PWM controller vs MPPT, and can sometimes be found used in expensively as I did.

Fixed vs. portable? I have both. Use the fixed panels on the roof most often. Only deploy the portable when needed to augment the fixed - typically a shaded location, low angle winter sun, or cloudy weather. YMMV depending on where and when you camp.
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Old 02-27-2014, 11:41 AM   #59
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Chris:

Check out this website, it has some good no BS information. http://thewanderman.com Once at the website do a search for solar in the top left to get to the section of interest.
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Old 02-27-2014, 12:03 PM   #60
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Chris:

Check out this website, it has some good no BS information. VR-X Weblogs | A Little Bit About Everything! Once at the website do a search for solar in the top left to get to the section of interest.
That link comes up as VR-X Blogs (VR-X Weblogs | A Little Bit About Everything!) and none of the available blogs have solar related content, and there's no search function that I could find.





EDIT: Nevermind...did a google search for 'the wander man' and it came up here: http://www.thewanderman.com/search?q=solar

I'll read thru and report. Thanks!
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Old 02-27-2014, 12:26 PM   #61
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Old 02-27-2014, 12:28 PM   #62
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The Wanderman...

Read thru his 6 segments, talks about flexible panels and how his first ones were aluminum backed and corroded and shorted out the cells. Then he got new ones and spent a lot of time explaning how he got the old ones off and the new ones on but didn't say where they came from nor what their specs were other than they were 24v instead of 36 - he has an mppt controller. Cool. Just not much info.

In segment 3 there's a photo of the label showing 'Solartech Renewables' and they do have a website but don't sell online, don't show flex panels and only have an email contact.

Segment 4 shows he has a Tristar charge controller. He also has a photo of an e-meter but I can't tell which one it is or who makes it. there are a few around, the Tristar one is popular as is Midnight. Xantrex makes the old e-meter round gauge and it's still available for about $220. Some of the others are quite a bit less.

He mentions not discharging flooded cells more than 50% has been stated in many threads and posts, but golf cart batts have thick enough plates to withstand 70-80% discharge, not that I would want to do that all the time, but do-able nonetheless.

So I got thru the 6 segments and found it somewhat entertaining but highly lacking is specific content. I thank you for the link anyway.

One of my RV buddies has 6 85w panels, they are 12v tempered glass style mounted on aluminum rails, Blue-Sky pwm controller, e-meter, 4x 6v220ah batts and 2500watt inverter. He has installed swampcoolers over two roof vents so he can run them off batts up to about 95deg and be comfortable and never run a generator. Based on his experience and others I'm good with glass panels mounted to my fiberglass roof. Yep, gotta drill four holes for each panel installed...oh well.

Hopefully someone will come along and address my original query/questions. Like why not source a reasonable cost mppt and use a 250+/- watt panel. I'm betting that's all I'd need for my 220ah battery bank. Plus the higher voltage panel is less susceptible to voltage drop to the controller. Add an e-meter and go.

There seem to be some good buys on panels on ebay and craigs, even some used take-off stuff that looks like new. I'd rather just buy new stuff and not have to worry if it works or not 'till I get it all mounted and connected. Yikes!
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Old 02-27-2014, 12:57 PM   #63
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MPPT Charge Controller

What do you guys think of this one?
MPPT 20A Solar Panel Regulator Charge Controller Power Boost Remote Meter LCD | eBay

That's a 20a mppt controller with remote meter for $159. They have a 10a for $115 and 40a for $229.

This way any panel could be utilized.
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Old 02-27-2014, 06:59 PM   #64
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I am all for free power, however with solar panels. Its not ever free. EVER
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Old 02-27-2014, 08:48 PM   #65
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I am all for free power, however with solar panels. Its not ever free. EVER
Johnny, we all know there's no free lunch. But there are a lot of advantages to quiet power so I'm not sure why you're so negative about it. Maybe you had a bad experience or something. I've never had an active solar array but thinking about putting about 5Kw on the house to offset our grid usage. And it got to me to thinking it might work for the RV too when we're dry camping. We mostly go to the dez here in so-cal where you can camp for free, so being independent of power or self sufficient is a big component. There's lots of ways to do it and we've been doing it for about 45 years. We always haul a lot of firewood and a washer machine basket. Sometimes we don't need the basket.


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Old 02-27-2014, 08:58 PM   #66
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Hey cj im going to Pahrump for 2 weeks other side of death valley, in march I see you like the desert. You and I need to sit down for a couple days and get really jacked up and have this conversation it will take a couple days to actually fact check each other, However u and I will get to the bottom of it. Drinks are on us as we are always well stocked with the good stuff then were off to vegas to lvmc resort 4 awhile
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Old 02-27-2014, 09:00 PM   #67
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Oh cj don't run your genny in the dust of the desert lay a rug or fake grass under the genny so you don't clog stuff up bro. especially the exhaust pipe just a FYI
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Old 02-27-2014, 09:01 PM   #68
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Hey cj im going to Pahrump for 2 weeks other side of death valley, in march I see you like the desert. You and I need to sit down for a couple days and get really jacked up and have this conversation it will take a couple days to actually fact check each other, However u and I will get to the bottom of it. Drinks are on us as we are always well stocked with the good stuff
That would be fun. I see you have a Entegra. My sis just got a cornerstone and they'll be in vegas about that time. They're from WA state and spend about 6 months a year down here. I can't get them to dry camp though...they are 'park campers'. LOL.

Nice coaches though. If only...
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Old 02-27-2014, 09:11 PM   #69
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I notice that quite a few are of the opinion that ANY shade will GREATLY reduce the output of a solar panel, or even of the array. This was true if the early days, but it's no longer true of the better panels. Some degradation, but not really great. I have 420 rated watts on my sailboat. To 60 watt Kyocera panels are on the dodger under the sail. These were the first two I installed. in 2005 And yes, there was some loss when some of one panel was shaded, but not much. The other four 75 watt Kyocera panels are my bimini cover, installed in 2006, so they get no shady from the sail until the sun get quite low. But they almost always have the shade of the backstay and frequently from the mast. Again the loss is minimal. And the degradation with age has been also very minimal. At noon in the Sea of Cortez in 2006 I was getting 28 amps. In Pittsburg CA 6 years later and 14 further north I've obtained 23 amps.
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Old 02-27-2014, 09:15 PM   #70
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JohnnyReno - You're correct that solar power isn't free, but after the capital expenditure it is almost (except for maintenance). But it sure is quieter than ANY genset, and stinks less too.
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