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Old 02-25-2021, 06:34 PM   #1
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Planning on going Solar

Kind of torn right now on how to configure batteries. Currently have one group 27 12 Volt battery. If I use a shoehorn I can get to 2 6 volt golf cart batteries in that compartment and can easily mount 2 or 4 more in front of basement next to the front legs of my fifth wheel. The rub is those will be about 6 or 7 inches away from current battery box. Torn between mounting 2 or 4 6 volts in addition to the 12 Volt group 27 and adding 2 to 4 more in the basement, and mounting 2 6 volts in the compartment where the 12 volt sits. That makes for 330 440 550 or 660 amp hours depending on the route I go. Thinking AGM as battery compartments are outside and addition to high cost lithium do not play well with cold.

Additionally plan on sticking solar panels on the roof for something like 800 watt or maybe a bit more depending on layout. Still need to climb up and map free space.

Primary use of trainer 6 to 8 days in elk or deer woods at a time if I get drawn. Want to go to AK next summer as economically as possible boondocking mostly with occasional full hook ups for long showers and replenishing water if necessary

Your recommendations please
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Old 02-26-2021, 07:18 AM   #2
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Seems you'd have a finish line for what kind of power you want to store rather than just arbitrarily stuffing batteries in every available spot. Six batteries is getting pretty hefty, at a minimum it's going to diminish your remaining cargo capacity.

Counting on solar I think is asking for trouble. When it works, it's great. If not, you're shutting stuff off. If that's an acceptable tradeoff then fine, but since it appears your mission for this trip is something other than futzing with house power, I'd want to make this as seamless as possible.

My take on it would be to create a realistic power requirement, install the needed Ah and take along a small generator. If you want to add solar for extra credit you can always do that, but I wouldn't bet my trip on it.

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Old 02-26-2021, 12:09 PM   #3
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Agree with Mark, you can buy a small Honda generator https://www.campingworld.com/honda-g...E&gclsrc=aw.ds for just over a $1,000.to charge your current batteries. It will cost you all of that and more to get all the batteries you are talking about and you havent even got solar panels yet
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Old 02-27-2021, 07:18 AM   #4
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There are a lot of questions needing answers before firm recommendations can be given.

That said, we run 450W of solar, which I'd now deem a minimum for self-sufficiency on our 32' rig. We also run 3 group 27 AGM batteries, also a minimum as we plan more for the next rig.

I carry a small and old Honda 600W generator. I will occasionally run it to directly power the converter but the 55A converter trips the genny often in the beginning. Planning on buying a 30A converter so we can reharge the batteries painlessly in cloudy locations. That's my recommendation for minimum gear and self-sufficiency. That small genny will run hours and hours on a gallon of gas.
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Old 02-27-2021, 07:43 AM   #5
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800 watts is a fairly large system , I would NOT be looking at flooded lead acid battery! one or 2 group 8 lithium or 4 group 31battery . Battleborn or some one like them. your going to spend $3500 in battery that are much lighter and have twice the storage. The system is going to cost over $4000 + battery that you still should have a small generator for days the suns not out.

Adding 500 to 600lbs to the RV in solar and battery what is your cargo rateing ?
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Old 02-27-2021, 10:55 AM   #6
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800 watts is a fairly large system , I would NOT be looking at flooded lead acid battery! one or 2 group 8 lithium or 4 group 31battery . Battleborn or some one like them. your going to spend $3500 in battery that are much lighter and have twice the storage. The system is going to cost over $4000 + battery that you still should have a small generator for days the suns not out.

Adding 500 to 600lbs to the RV in solar and battery what is your cargo rateing ?
Aren't the lithium batteries much lighter for the same Ah rating? 800W in panels isn't very heavy, maybe 100 lbs, add 15 lbs in aluminum hardware? 3 or 4 group 27 AGM batteries, maybe 150 to 220 lbs total? Add 50lbs of wiring and doodads. I figure you're in the 300 to 400 lb range total.

I agree, cargo capacity should be checked. Since we have around 3500lb or more it was not an issue. The small genset we carry is maybe 55 lbs but it'll do the job except for the A/C unit. If we are dumb enough to camp in direct sunlight and 35 Celsius temps we'll opt for a campground to plug into.
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Old 02-28-2021, 09:26 AM   #7
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my biggest issue right now is my 2000 watt Mc generator runs out of gas about 0400 necessitating a cold as hell fuel refill and restart when hunting in November and December. Yes Virginian the hight country in AZ does get cold in the winter time. The current group 27 battery will not last the night with heater running and my CPAP machine.

The lithium batteries are ideal in terms of delivered power as well as long term cost per watt, the down side is the approx $900 a pop cost for 2 or 3 or 4 batteries. If I were staying in AZ for all my camping 400 watts might be enough solar as we have probably 340 good solar days a year here. Other places that might drop to 180 or fewer so will take 800 or so watts to make 400 on a 50 percent solar day. That is what was going into my thinking about putting 800 watts on the roof. I continue to research solar components and batteries
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Old 02-28-2021, 09:38 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by diddlyv View Post
my biggest issue right now is my 2000 watt Mc generator runs out of gas about 0400 necessitating a cold as hell fuel refill and restart when hunting in November and December. Yes Virginian the hight country in AZ does get cold in the winter time. The current group 27 battery will not last the night with heater running and my CPAP machine.

The lithium batteries are ideal in terms of delivered power as well as long term cost per watt, the down side is the approx $900 a pop cost for 2 or 3 or 4 batteries. If I were staying in AZ for all my camping 400 watts might be enough solar as we have probably 340 good solar days a year here. Other places that might drop to 180 or fewer so will take 800 or so watts to make 400 on a 50 percent solar day. That is what was going into my thinking about putting 800 watts on the roof. I continue to research solar components and batteries
We run 2 CPAP machines all night with our setup. We are currently running them on the 2500w/5000w (peak) inverter. We also watch movies at night and usually have enough juice to run the 12 cup coffeemaker for 1 hr in the AM. This is 3 group 27 AGM batteries and 450w solar.

The small genny will be great once I buy a smaller 30A converter. All it will do is run the converter to replenish batteries when stuck in bad weather or shaded areas.
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Old 02-28-2021, 09:44 AM   #9
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my biggest issue right now is my 2000 watt Mc generator runs out of gas about 0400 necessitating a cold as hell fuel refill and restart when hunting in November and December. Yes Virginia the high country in AZ does get cold in the winter time. The current group 27 battery will not last the night with heater running and my CPAP machine.

The lithium batteries are ideal in terms of delivered power as well as long term cost per watt, the down side is the approx $900 a pop cost for 2 or 3 or 4 batteries. If I were staying in AZ for all my camping 400 watts might be enough solar as we have probably 340 good solar days a year here. Other places that might drop to 180 or fewer so will take 800 or so watts to make 400 on a 50 percent solar day. That is what was going into my thinking about putting 800 watts on the roof. I continue to research solar components and batteries
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Old 02-28-2021, 09:53 AM   #10
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We are far, far North vs you, solar is not an issue. Storing the energy is key. I did my calculations and AGM was the best bang for the buck for our usage. 1200$ CDN got us the 3 group 27 deep cycle AGMs. They recharge pretty fast vs standard flooded batteries and practically zero maintenance.
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Old 02-28-2021, 06:57 PM   #11
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You might want to check out Will Prowse's youtube channel. He had a recent video on a DIY lithium battery for less than $1,000 US that I think was in the 3,000 watt hour range. If you're comfortable with the DIY aspect it might be worth a look. Batteries are by far the most expensive part of the system. The good thing about LiFePo batteries is they can live were you do and if you need to you can get a heating pad to keep them above freezing. Just a thought. Whatever you do good luck and keep us posted with pictures.
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Old 03-01-2021, 12:06 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by xc-mark View Post
800 watts is a fairly large system , I would NOT be looking at flooded lead acid battery! one or 2 group 8 lithium or 4 group 31battery . Battleborn or some one like them. your going to spend $3500 in battery that are much lighter and have twice the storage. The system is going to cost over $4000 + battery that you still should have a small generator for days the suns not out.

Adding 500 to 600lbs to the RV in solar and battery what is your cargo rateing ?
dry weigh 8723 gvwr 10500. Guess I should take over the scales to see how much more weight above what normal load is available.
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Old 03-01-2021, 05:09 AM   #13
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That is a really low cargo weight. You better take it over the scales loaded up and ready to go. Just water weight, batteries, propane and your clothes and I bet you are at the top of your GVWR.

Not many of these light and ultra light trailers are meant for carrying much.
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Old 03-01-2021, 07:03 AM   #14
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If I am understanding correctly.

If you add another battery and use your current generator to re-charge then you will be able to make it thru till morning, yes?

If so and that is the goal then adding solar can decrease your gen. run time.

If weight is a factor and you want to increase your storage amps then Lithiums are the option. Given your cold weather camping you’ll need to keep them above freezing temps for charging. As mentioned already you can place them indoors, in a heated bay if you have one, run a duct to a storage place, buy batteries with built in heaters, use a controlled external heating device or mount them near an internal wall and create an opening for warm air to reach the battery. Lots of options.

If you are a do-it yourselfer then you can drop the cost of Lithium from roughly $10/amp for BB to $3/amp if you are willing to wait several months for delivery. Again, lots of options in between those two.

Another option are Sio2 batteries of which I know very little. Not cheap, but apparently cold does not bother them and they can discharge to 0% without damage.

Putting cost and spacial/weight restraints aside for a moment what is it your “dream” scenario?
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