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Old 11-11-2016, 08:27 AM   #1
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100 Watt Solar Panel

Still researching motor homes, and I;m interested in comments on Solar Panels. Admitably I'm a novice, and not real technical. I'm vacillating between the Tuscany xte36mq, and the new Aria Model (which includes ta single panel 100 Watt Solar Panel) Some of my questions are:
1) Purpose and advantage of Solar Panel?
2) Is 100 Watt Panel providing a significant advantage when you boondock?
3) Are they hard to maintain, and operate?
4) Are they simply an economical way to charge batteries?
5) Any input on either the Tuscany XTE 36mq vs. The Aria

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Capt. Rich
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Old 11-11-2016, 09:52 AM   #2
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A 100W solar panel will keep batteries charged without having to have a shore cord connected when stored. It requires no real attention when in use. When using the RV off grid, the 100W panel won't really restore all battery drain after overnight use, except over long bright daylight.
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Old 11-11-2016, 10:05 AM   #3
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5) Any input on either the Tuscany XTE 36mq vs. The Aria

...I believe that the XTE is going away, replaced by the Venetian and/or Aria Diesel models. The Tuscany XTE has always been a confusing name because for most manufacturers adding the 'xte' would mean an upgrade to the original name, but Thor used it as the opposite, a 'lower' line model of the full blown Tuscany.

I also believe that 100w solar, if installed as part of the ARIA models, would be a nice benefit over other typical upgrades - the solar can help recharge the batteries when off-grid and off-generator, and also provide enough to run typical fridge power, tvs and receivers, device charging, etc. without the need for shore power or generator. It just gives you greater flexibility and quiet power when off-grid...

I would like solar for our Palazzo, but when crunching the numbers, it looks like it would take several years, or more, to break even, over running the generator in those same scenerios. So for us, it would probably not be a financial gain, but it would be nice because it is certainly quiet compared to running a generator...
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Old 11-11-2016, 10:10 AM   #4
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I've got the 100 watt panel on my 2016 LTV. It does provide some amount of recharge during the day while parked, but certainly not a full recharge. I noticed the 2017 LTV models now come with a 200 watt panel.

I think it is a good option to have if it is available to you.
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Old 11-11-2016, 03:59 PM   #5
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100w PV panel will provide for battery charge maintenance. Not enough for battery recharging during boondocking usage.
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Old 11-21-2016, 02:37 PM   #6
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I can go three days on my 100 watt solar panel. batteries go from 100 % to around 75% So it wont recharge them, but my batteries will last without using my generator for long periods of time.
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Old 11-21-2016, 03:13 PM   #7
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Back when solar panels were expensive, I had a 130 watt panel. It certainly cut back on generator time, but as mentioned wasn't capable of a full recharge after a night of inverter use. It will certainly maintain the batteries while in storage if exposed to the sun. If you don't have a Tril-L-Start or similar it will only charge one bank. With the 130 watt panel and Trik-L-Charge I was able to maintain both the house and chassis batteries.
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Old 11-21-2016, 07:59 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by BFlinn181 View Post
A 100W solar panel will keep batteries charged without having to have a shore cord connected when stored.
If the battery/ies are nearly fully charged already. 100 watts will provide less than 8 amps at the very maximum, more or less. That really isn't very much. If you have four good sized batteries, it will take a long time to charge them even in the best of energy collection circumstances. Almost 7 amps of power could already be getting used by a few lights and other things that are always on.

Get at the very minimum 200 watts worth of solar. This is what I use with my travel trailer, and it keeps up with my usage and charges two GC2 batteries in nearly perfect sunlight and energy collection conditions.
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Old 11-21-2016, 08:26 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by 1bigmess View Post
If the battery/ies are nearly fully charged already. 100 watts will provide less than 8 amps at the very maximum, more or less. That really isn't very much. If you have four good sized batteries, it will take a long time to charge them even in the best of energy collection circumstances. Almost 7 amps of power could already be getting used by a few lights and other things that are always on.

Get at the very minimum 200 watts worth of solar. This is what I use with my travel trailer, and it keeps up with my usage and charges two GC2 batteries in nearly perfect sunlight and energy collection conditions.
I was saying 100W was enough to keep batteries charged during storage. It certainly wouldn't recharge batteries during daylight that are discharged during use at night.
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Old 11-21-2016, 08:39 PM   #10
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I don't think I said anything disapproving of your post. The point you made was clear.
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Old 11-22-2016, 12:12 PM   #11
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As little as 100 watts will extend the time you can go without a generator if you are judicious in your electrical needs. When boondocking we rarely turn on the trailer lights. We save the battery for water pump, fridge, etc. We have a pair of $10 LED lanterns from Walmart. They use 4 "D" cells and last for 10 hours on a set of batteries. That allows us to play games in the evening, get ready for bed and the batteries last for 3-4 evenings that way. 8 batteries will last us a week, and the trickle of the solar will keep the TT 12 volt good enough for most of that time.

We don't use television or microwave or really any of the trappings of modern civilization when we are camping. At most we might plug in our phones, and usually do that in the TV on daytime sightseeing trips.
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Old 11-23-2016, 01:15 PM   #12
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As little as 100 watts will extend the time you can go without a generator if you are judicious in your electrical needs. When boondocking we rarely turn on the trailer lights. We save the battery for water pump, fridge, etc. We have a pair of $10 LED lanterns from Walmart. They use 4 "D" cells and last for 10 hours on a set of batteries. That allows us to play games in the evening, get ready for bed and the batteries last for 3-4 evenings that way. 8 batteries will last us a week, and the trickle of the solar will keep the TT 12 volt good enough for most of that time.

We don't use television or microwave or really any of the trappings of modern civilization when we are camping. At most we might plug in our phones, and usually do that in the TV on daytime sightseeing trips.
I like your last paragraph! Camping to us is pretty much what you are saying here. Our microwave has turned into bread/chip storage. Go figure.
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Old 11-24-2016, 09:11 PM   #13
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if you are not quite familiar with the large solar system install, get one of this - New 300 Watts 12 Volt Fold Out Solar Panels New; better than a 100w on the roof, jmo.
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Old 11-25-2016, 07:11 PM   #14
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Bought the Renogy 100 watt portable suitcase solar ($279 on Amazon). Comes with a zippered padded storage bag, 15' cord and a built in controller. Money well spent because, being portable you place it where the sun shines. During our Alaska trip was enough to keep the one group 29 battery charged and some days two cell phones and a IPad.

Picture of being used in Vermont last summer
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