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Old 06-08-2023, 05:06 PM   #1
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Solar Power Questions

I have a 17 foot camper it takes 30amp service what solar system do I need to be able to run it like I do when Iím plugged in to power.
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Old 06-08-2023, 05:35 PM   #2
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Solar only charges batteries. You really don't run anything directly from solar.
Solar charges batteries during the day so you can use batteries at night. Basically unlimited charging during the day.
Unless you add an inverter, you only have 12 volt DC power.
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Old 06-08-2023, 08:19 PM   #3
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Look in the "going green" section of this forum.
https://www.irv2.com/forums/f56/

Short answer, is it depends. You have to figure out how much power (watt hours) you use when you are plugged in. Then you can figure out how much battery you need and how much solar to charge them.

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Old 06-09-2023, 04:58 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by scrapperjohn View Post
Solar only charges batteries. You really don't run anything directly from solar.
Solar charges batteries during the day so you can use batteries at night. Basically unlimited charging during the day.
Unless you add an inverter, you only have 12 volt DC power.
thanks so if I get inverter then I would have power to run camper without plugged in right.
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Old 06-09-2023, 05:20 AM   #5
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The roof of a 17' camper is too smal for sufficient solar power.
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Old 06-09-2023, 07:25 AM   #6
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thanks so if I get inverter then I would have power to run camper without plugged in right.
What are you trying to run? If only lights and water pump, then yes. If you want to use a microwave or tv or air conditioner then no.


The thing to keep in mind with solar is the type of batteries used, the number of batteries, and the total wattage of the solar panel output to keep those batteries charged.


I can't wait to replace the 2 deep cycle batteries with a light weight lithium of greater capacity.
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Old 06-09-2023, 08:09 AM   #7
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I have a 17 foot camper it takes 30amp service what solar system do I need to be able to run it like I do when I’m plugged in to power.
The better course is to carefully manage power consumption and install a much smaller system. See posts above for good advice.

A 400 watt solar system with a 400 amp hour battery bank is usually more than enough. Most people can get by with a 200 watt solar system and a 200 amp hour battery bank. Some will say 400 amp hour lead acid battery or 200 amp hour lithium battery bank.

Use a generator for higher loads and for periodic full 14 to 18 hour lead acid battery charging. Only run the generator for battery charging on cloudy days or for air conditioning.

Electric air conditioning and heating is too much for off grid solar. Heating appliances that are intermittent like a microwave can work with a large solar system. Use propane as much as possible for heating devices like water heating and cooking.


Full Electric RV
30 amp 120 volt shore power is 3600 watts. You would need 3600 watts times 4 = 14400 watts of solar power to be the same as a shore power connection. (Solar typically provides full power for only 6 hours per day, so 4 X 6 = 24 hours.)

You would need a minimum of 10800 watt hours of 12 volt battery capacity to cover the 3 times 6 hours the sun is not bright enough to provide 3600 watts.

This of course is much more solar than can be installed on an RV of any type.
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Old 06-09-2023, 08:15 AM   #8
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While lithium is great, I just can't justify the cost. I have 2 6 volt golf cart batteries & 160 watts of solar on roof. I can run everything but AC, microwave & outlets. Make coffee in percolator when dry camping. Most electronics now days have car chargers to recharge batteries.
Personally, I don't see the need for an inverter.
I would add some solar & pick up a generator for when you have bad weather or need to run the AC.
Champion has had a 2500 watt duel fuel generator on sale on Amazon for under $500.
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Old 06-09-2023, 12:19 PM   #9
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The better course is to carefully manage power consumption and install a much smaller system. See posts above for good advice.
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Originally Posted by scrapperjohn View Post
While lithium is great, I just can't justify the cost. I have 2 6 volt golf cart batteries & 160 watts of solar on roof. I can run everything but AC, microwave & outlets. Make coffee in percolator when dry camping. Most electronics now days have car chargers to recharge batteries.
Both of you guys hit the nail on the head with your posts.
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Old 06-09-2023, 01:14 PM   #10
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thanks so if I get inverter then I would have power to run camper without plugged in right.
What do you want to power that doesn't already run from the batteries? In my camper the only thing I can't use is the A/C and microwave. Powering even the microwave is a big jump in system size/cost/complexity - more batteries, and large inverter. Everything is powered by batteries, solar is just one way to recharge them.

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Old 06-09-2023, 02:06 PM   #11
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You should get yourself a Victron multiplus 3000w inverter. Add a cerboGX and plug it into your existing batteries for now. It'll log your usage and then you can determine what solar and battery bank you'll need. Typically you buy an inverter and batteries first then add solar to charge.

Solar panels are cheap about a buck a watt but only a piece of the equation. Ideally you get as many solar panels as you can fit on the roof and a mppt controller that fits that wattage.

Solar panels connect to a MPPT to charge batteries. Inverters switch DC (battery power) to AC (shore/outlet power). Batteries store the power. So if you use 5000w a day and have a 5000w battery then it'll last a day without any charge. If you have 1000w of solar you'll make about 5000w per day so would have power most days. Cloudy, rainy days obviously would have a lot less so you can either cut usage or use a genny to recharge batteries for a couple hours a day.
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Old 06-09-2023, 02:16 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by scrapperjohn View Post
While lithium is great, I just can't justify the cost. I have 2 6 volt golf cart batteries & 160 watts of solar on roof. I can run everything but AC, microwave & outlets. Make coffee in percolator when dry camping. Most electronics now days have car chargers to recharge batteries.
Personally, I don't see the need for an inverter.
I would add some solar & pick up a generator for when you have bad weather or need to run the AC.
Champion has had a 2500 watt duel fuel generator on sale on Amazon for under $500.
Nope I wouldn't want to sacrifice comfort just to save a few bucks. A 400AH lithium battery is $1400 which is like twice the price of 4 GC2 batteries. Difference is they're 1/4 the weight and will last 5x as long as well as have BMS protections with a circuit breaker and temp sensors.

I have 20kw of lithium batteries (4 rack mounts) with 10kw inverter power an 1800w solar (soon will be 3600w) I can leave lights on and run whatever I want without worrying about electricity.

For example yesterday my 50amp shore cable busted when I pulled up to a cg. I'm able to set it to use 15amps and use a normal extension cord to the pedestal. There's a huge tree next to us so only pumping 600w solar but it's plenty to run 3 AC's and everything else. Have 84% battery and when it cools down and just uses 1 ac cycling it'll charge back up.
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Old 06-09-2023, 04:23 PM   #13
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Nope I wouldn't want to sacrifice comfort just to save a few bucks. A 400AH lithium battery is $1400 which is like twice the price of 4 GC2 batteries. Difference is they're 1/4 the weight and will last 5x as long as well as have BMS protections with a circuit breaker and temp sensors.

I have 20kw of lithium batteries (4 rack mounts) with 10kw inverter power an 1800w solar (soon will be 3600w) I can leave lights on and run whatever I want without worrying about electricity.

For example yesterday my 50amp shore cable busted when I pulled up to a cg. I'm able to set it to use 15amps and use a normal extension cord to the pedestal. There's a huge tree next to us so only pumping 600w solar but it's plenty to run 3 AC's and everything else. Have 84% battery and when it cools down and just uses 1 ac cycling it'll charge back up.
Hate to say it, my 2 GC batteries were around $300. My 2500 watt generator was $500.
Can go off grid till my water runs out.
The OP says they have a 17 foot trailer, not a big MH.
No real need or room for that kind of system.
Sounds to me like you have close to $10,000 in solar,batteries inverter & such.
Too rich for my blood.
I like to actually camp. Not hide in trailer watching TV after dinner.
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Old 06-10-2023, 10:30 AM   #14
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Thanks
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