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Old 01-08-2015, 07:55 AM   #1
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Vintage(1996) Solar system upgrade questions/recommendations........

My '96 Flair came with a 45 watt Siemens panel and a Specialty Concepts Mark 3 charge regulator/monitoring system. I want to bump the system up to it's max capacity of 15 amps(right now I am under 5 amps). The existing solar panel seems to be working fine, so should I add another panel, or just go ahead and replace this one?

There is also a small solar panel on the A/C unit which looks to be damaged so I will be removibng it;

plugged into shore power:
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Old 01-08-2015, 04:48 PM   #2
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You have not stated your intended use of this RV. If it is boondocking then your current system is not much better than a battery maintainer. It is underpowered to charge your 1 or 2 batteries, guarantied to be underwired and with components far from where they optimally need to be.

I'd suggest a full update of your solar charging system.

Due to era, plan on updating your converter also if you have one.


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Old 01-08-2015, 05:26 PM   #3
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I think I am a bit ahead on the converter....I have an Inteli-Power PD-9055. However It looks like I am limited to two Marine deep cycles which are mounted in the lower front portion of the engine compartment. I would prefer two T-105's and I am not sure I could fit them up there.

Anyway, Yes I am thinking of going with a Tristar 45 and re-wiring everything from the roof to the batteries(if I find the gauge is too small). I also have a 265 watt panel that is not being used(pond pump quit), so I am thinking of moving this panel to the MH.

As far as use, yes light boondocking(we don't watch much tv), make coffee, power some interior lights, power an inverter on the fridge, and keep the battery's charged...that's about it.
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Old 01-09-2015, 08:16 AM   #4
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You could add one or two of the 100 watt panels from Windy Nation or Renogy. Just add them in parallel. That would max out your controller. You could do that for about $130/ panel.
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Old 01-18-2015, 11:17 AM   #5
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Hi Motor7,

Look at the Vmp of the label of your existing solar module. If you are going to choose an MPPT charge controller, you will want all other modules in parallel to have about the value within about .3 volts. The closer the better.

The wire size should be calculated based on distance, current and Vmp.

If you want to use the 265 Watt solar module and it has a much higher Vmp, you can run a separate controller for that one module. Blue Sky Energy makes the best RV charge controllers and you can network up to 8 controllers together to act as one. With their IPN Pro remote, you will have battery capacity meter and a system that will charge far more efficiently than any other because it will stay in the absorb charge until all AH's are returned and other learned (the controllers learn about your battery over time) parameters are met.

I have a vast knowledge about PV solar, batteries and inverters. I'll try to provide the best answer if I know it and hopefully correct some "Campfire" talk. Full-time 1999-2004. Part time now. '92 Hawkins, 360AH Lithium Battery, 1480 Watts PV solar.
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Old 01-18-2015, 12:34 PM   #6
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Here is a write-up of my solar and power distribution.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf VSheetz - Solar Setup for my RV v1.1.pdf (473.7 KB, 36 views)
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Old 01-18-2015, 08:49 PM   #7
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Thanks for the info> I hate to admit this, but I can't remember what size panel I have on my pond so I have to trudge out there and take a look. The solar water pump quit working on it last year after 4 years of constant daytime running. I will report back asap..........
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vintage, solar, upgrade

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