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Old 07-01-2018, 12:12 PM   #1
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Do any of you boondock full time? 48V solar off grid system?

I plan on becoming a solo full timer with a home base and will sell my town house and move out to my low tax acreage when I retire in ten years. I will let the weather direct my travels so I wont need heat or AC, maybe.

Ten years is a long time, but some of the things I want aren't for sale or hard to find. The main thing I cant buy is the converted 14' narrow track cargo trailer I want to live out of.. It's 7' wide and the wheel track match's my truck's.

I used to own a 24' featherlite TH I loved, but sold it because to was to big to pull to the remote area's I want to visit. My new 14x7 will get a 4" lift and a large wall tent which will attach to the rear door opening tightly with Keder rail for additional space.

That's about all I have set in concrete at the moment, and I wonder if I should plan on a solar system to keep the batteries topped off but will still have a eu2000i if I need the microwave or its a overcast day. In hind site, the microwave was handy for 1 week trips when you have pre-cooked meals. Not so much after you have been on the road for months unless Im making my regular morning oatmeal..

Anyway, do any of you full time boondock? And how are you setup to be more self sufficient to keep the bills low?


Thanks!
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Old 07-01-2018, 11:29 PM   #2
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Sounds like an ok plan. I also have low taxed land that I have boondocked on but I always owned a house also.

One thing, in the winter it gets cold at night just about everywhere in this country except maybe the Florida Keys.

There are a lot of people that boondock full time on BLM land around Quartzite Az. I thought about boondocking maybe 8 months a year and spend 4 in an RV park on the coldest 2 months and the hottest two months.

You could boondock in Arizona all year if you could stay warm in the winter. Quartzite in the winter and Flagstaff in the summer.



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Old 07-02-2018, 05:24 PM   #3
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There have been numerous write ups on 48 V systems for larger solar systems.

Have written previously that we have two RVs.

We have 415 W as a 12 V system on a 19’ Roadtrek which has probably has less real estate on roof than does your trailer.

Cut cardboard in shape of different solar panels (templates) and determine what will fit best on your roof.

Need to determine where batteries will go and much you can install within weight limits. If you plan to spend time in sub freezing areas, you might want to install them where they are kept warm in cabin.

We spent six weeks on west coast of Mexico with Roadtrek a year ago and never plugged in or used on board generator. We do have 4.5 kW if LFP with Riadtrek and the combination is sufficient for microwave and up to two hours of air conditioning.

We have plugged in once with 34’ fifth wheel (1420 W of solar) in three years.

You note that you would travel where it is neither to hot nor to cold. This is our method aka “Goldilocking”. We spend winters in Yucatan and heat of summer in mountain west. There is a map made that shows how you can travel to have the max temperature of 75 F every day if year
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Old 07-03-2018, 10:59 AM   #4
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Sounds like an ok plan. I also have low taxed land that I have boondocked on but I always owned a house also.

One thing, in the winter it gets cold at night just about everywhere in this country except maybe the Florida Keys.

There are a lot of people that boondock full time on BLM land around Quartzite Az. I thought about boondocking maybe 8 months a year and spend 4 in an RV park on the coldest 2 months and the hottest two months.

You could boondock in Arizona all year if you could stay warm in the winter. Quartzite in the winter and Flagstaff in the summer.

Thanks tuffr2.. A clarification. I own two properties and will sell the expensive high tax town house and move out to the low $650 tax property with all utilities.. Those low taxes will go up after I break ground out there, but never rise as high as the $5k taxes here in town.. Plus, it's so quiet with a beautiful view wildlife and no neighbors or permits!

Quote:
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We have 415 W as a 12 V system on a 19’ Roadtrek which has probably has less real estate on roof than does your trailer.
Need to determine where batteries will go and much you can install within weight limits. If you plan to spend time in sub freezing areas, you might want to install them where they are kept warm in cabin.

We spent six weeks on west coast of Mexico with Roadtrek a year ago and never plugged in or used on board generator. We do have 4.5 kW if LFP with Riadtrek and the combination is sufficient for microwave and up to two hours of air conditioning.

We have plugged in once with 34’ fifth wheel (1420 W of solar) in three years.

You note that you would travel where it is neither to hot nor to cold. This is our method aka “Goldilocking”. We spend winters in Yucatan and heat of summer in mountain west. There is a map made that shows how you can travel to have the max temperature of 75 F every day if year

Sounds like your living my dream Reed Cundiff, and I should pay attention to your setup. But I imagine in ten years solar power will have either had many new advancements or been replaced by a better cheaper energy source..

“Goldilocking” huh? OK lol count me in!! But I don't think I have the guts to travel out of the country to Yucatan even though the ferry sounds very reasonable.. Have you ever encountered "bandits"?


My luck, I would get kidnapped.. lol
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Old 07-03-2018, 11:41 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rerod View Post
... and I wonder if I should plan on a solar system to keep the batteries topped off but will still have a eu2000i if I need the microwave or its a overcast day. In hind site, the microwave was handy for 1 week trips when you have pre-cooked meals. Not so much after you have been on the road for months unless Im making my regular morning oatmeal..

Anyway, do any of you full time boondock? And how are you setup to be more self sufficient to keep the bills low?
In my opinion, solar is extremely worthwhile. I live entirely on solar power and boondock in excess of 80% of the time. I have an all electric coach and solar and battery bank make it possible. This is my third coach with solar and I would do it again.

You can build a solar/electrical system to achieve just about anything these days but if willing to skip A/C, it really doesn't take an awful lot (of course, that depends on your and your style of living). I find my microwave/convection oven (and residential refrigerator and induction cooktop) to all run very nicely from battery. However; it is quiet a battery! Details in my signature.
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Old 07-03-2018, 06:09 PM   #6
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Rerod - no bandits. There are far fewer RV parks and it is necessary to remain over night at all night PEMEX truck stops for one or two nights. Ask the workers if it is OK and always directed to well lighted spot where they can observe us. Everyone we know that goes to Yucatan does this. We turn 78 next
month and we plan to go down again this winter

Solar costs go down each year. Lithium iron phosphate is great today but even more energy density batteries are being developed.

Reef and Elaine
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Old 08-19-2018, 03:53 PM   #7
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48V system take up a lot of physical space, but you will be able to store a lot of power if you have a large enough solar array to charge it.

When battery shopping, do NOT fall into the trap of buying "dual purpose" marine batteries. They are a compromise. The only widely available, reasonable cost, true deep cycle batteries are 6V golf cart batteries. Available at Costco or Sams.
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Old 08-19-2018, 11:38 PM   #8
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48 volts can make sense, but unless you are dealing with huge amounts of stored energy or running that 48V some distance, 12V works just fine. My battery is 300 AH (3.9 kWH) and two solar controllers, a 60 amp charger, and a 1000W inverter are nearby. Only the inverter requires a lot of current (up to 100A), so it is just a foot from the battery. So, only a couple of feet of heavy cable was needed. The RV is all 12V so very standard and economical stuff.

I use a Panasonic 950W inverter type microwave (~$100). It needs over 1200W when set to full power. But when I turn it down the power draw drops substantially and does not cycle to 100% like most microwaves. Used on level 5 or below it draws just 450W. I double the cooking time on level 5 to make it equivalent to using 100%.
Lead acid batteries waste a lot of energy in battery heat at high current, so running the microwave at low power makes the battery go further.
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Old 08-20-2018, 12:28 AM   #9
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We dry camp in the southwest desert areas quite a bit of the winter. Our cadence is to usually dry camp for a week or ten days, then drop into a FHU CG for a day or two. Where we catch up on laundry, take long showers, dump and fill tanks, etc.

1500w solar flatvon the roof. A 12v system. Seldom need a genny run.
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Old 08-20-2018, 08:34 AM   #10
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I boondock for 5 months, 8 times, so far, on my 35 ft boat. Its on a mooring anchor, in the Florida Keys, every winter.

I have 3, 225 watt panels, MPPT controller and 800 AH of GC2, 6 volt batteries.

Have a 8 c.f. CF residental fridge, small microwave, Satellite TV, computers, phone chargers and all of the12 volt items needed for lights and water.

All is run off a Xantrex ProWatt 2000 watt inverter.

Only issue is if microwaving, the fridge start up will trip the inverter. If the fridge is running, we can microwave, its just the start surge. A bit bigger inverter will fix that.

Our back up for consecutive cloudy days is the 100 amp engine alternator or a Honda EU2000 running 70 amps of chargers. 3 or 4 hours gets us back to 80-85 % charged.

We need the backup a few times a month during the short winter days but rairly in spring and fall.

We could drop down to 600 AH of battery but the 800 AH gives a cushion when the battery bank starts to loose capacity after 4 or 5 years.
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Old 08-20-2018, 09:51 AM   #11
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48 V battery suite requires a much smaller controller and cabling. We run up to 1400 W at 90 V to controller(16 Amps) and then to 48 V nominal battery suite. (29 Amps). This does require 48 V to 12 V converter
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Old 08-23-2018, 10:23 PM   #12
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I am on solar and/or generator pretty much year round. Currently I'm at my daughter's place in the suburban Seattle area. Her house is too far from the only place I can park to get electricity. Unfortunately it's under a tree so I have 2 panels, each 100 watts on a 25í cable that I need to move twice daily to catch enough sunlight. There's also 272 watts on the roof that gets good sun in the afternoon when there's not too much smoke in the air.

Winters we spend in Quartzsite. Solar is much easier there, so is finding a level spot.

I donít know what advantages a 48V system would have over a 12 volt solar array. I run everything except the A/C and the microwave with solar. The generator goes on when I need the microwave, we move when the weather gets too hot.

In the last year I've made 2 big changes for how we live. I bought an Empire Vent Free propane heater. It's silent and has a much more accurate thermostat than the propane wasting RV furnace. And I added a DC compressor refrigerator after dumping the Dometic AC/propane fridge. It fit the same space but we gained half again as much capacity going from 6 cubic feet to a 9.1 cu ft Nova Kool RFU9000. Cooling is much more consistent now.

Here in Seattle I have water and sewer connections. While traveling or in Quartzsite those take a bit more work, but once you get into a routine it's not much of a challenge.

Eventually I'll add a dedicated electric circuit for the RV at my daughter's, but electricians must first redo most of the power to their 95 year old home. Those guys arenít cheap! For now solar provides about 90% of our power and when the rains return in October we'll head south.

I've used about 50 gallons of unleaded gas to run the onboard generator since May 21st. So I'm spending about $50/month.
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Old 08-24-2018, 11:56 PM   #13
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...............

I run everything except the A/C and the microwave with solar. The generator goes on when I need the microwave, we move when the weather gets too hot.
..................
OK, take a look at the Panasonic inverter microwaves the next time you are in a Fred Meyer (if they sell them). They do not cycle on/off at full power like others when you "reduce power." When you turn them down to 50% power, they draw about 54% power (more or less) continuously.

We usually set ours at 50% and double the cooking time when we would otherwise use full power.

https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Here's the power draw on the linked Panasonic microwave.

Level --- Power in Watts

10 ----1460
8 ------1260
6 ------960
5 ------790
4 ----- 680
3 ------416
2 ------416
1 ------416
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Old 08-25-2018, 05:51 AM   #14
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OK, take a look at the Panasonic inverter microwaves the next time you are in a Fred Meyer (if they sell them). They do not cycle on/off at full power like others when you "reduce power." When you turn them down to 50% power, they draw about 54% power (more or less) continuously.

We usually set ours at 50% and double the cooking time when we would otherwise use full power.

https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Here's the power draw on the linked Panasonic microwave.

Level --- Power in Watts

10 ----1460
8 ------1260
6 ------960
5 ------790
4 ----- 680
3 ------416
2 ------416
1 ------416
There is no energy savings in running the microwave at 50% power for twice as long.

I understand that you do it due to an undersized inverter, but if the inverter can handle the full load, I would use full power.
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