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Old 05-13-2020, 05:18 PM   #1
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Solar Panel System which really preferred ?

This may have been posted prior to this post. However, I looked and could not locate it, if in fact it was.


I have a 2002 Fleetwood Terra 32' MH. I am retired and am getting ready to Road Trip, Boondock I guess, for awhile, (get away from cities for once). I am studying putting in a solar AC/DC system. I wish to hear from those of you have one, what system you think is best.



I have watched many YouTube videos and read a lot about this. Now I am ready to purchase and install. I just want to make a somewhat good choice.


thank you for you response
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Old 05-13-2020, 05:26 PM   #2
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Your Budget will determine how much Solar you can get. I have a small 400 watt system that I installed myself and have just over $1000 in it and don't have an inverter yet. for a really big nice system you can figure $10,000 and up
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Old 05-13-2020, 05:29 PM   #3
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Don't think there is any real "system". You need panels, solar controllers, batteries and an inverter, and a battery monitor to complete.
Pick the components you like and install them. Personally I am using LG panels, Victron solar controllers and inverter and monitor, but use which ever you like best.
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Old 05-13-2020, 05:44 PM   #4
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We had only 300w for our 40' motorhome and boondocked just about 90% of our full-timing years. It was plenty for us. However, we're not power hogs - didn't watch TV - didn't have a residential refrigerator - just the minimum which made us comfortable... always had the radio on.
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Old 05-13-2020, 05:59 PM   #5
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Like others have said there is no real "system" but there are many dealers that do packages. Like most packages they work for some people, but not most.

You need to decide what you expect you system to do and design it from there.

Solar is nothing more than a battery charger. At peak performance (right conditions) you get about 5 amps of 12v charging. The typically charger built into your RV is 45-60 amps, yes, some are larger or smaller.

Do you need something to just do light to medium charging of a standard battery bank then 100-200 watts would likely work well for you.

If you are trying to maintain a large battery bank and use a lot of inverted power you are looking at 1000 or more watts. At 1000 watts you are getting at least 50 amps of charging at peak.

I have 6 large 6v batteries and last year I had 640 watts, or about 35 amps of charging and it did ok most of the time. I found a great deal on 2 more panels so now I have 960 watts, or about 50 amps of charging. I use a lot of power because often when we travel I am still working. We only plug in a few days each year, 99% of what we do is boondocking. With this system I am able to use inverted power for all my small items and never worry. My inverter is on all the time. I run CPAP all night, and often a fan. I do use larger items like toaster oven, microwave, coffee pot but I do some monitoring of time of day and length of use.
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Old 05-13-2020, 06:30 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trek8288 View Post
This may have been posted prior to this post. However, I looked and could not locate it, if in fact it was.


I have a 2002 Fleetwood Terra 32' MH. I am retired and am getting ready to Road Trip, Boondock I guess, for awhile, (get away from cities for once). I am studying putting in a solar AC/DC system. I wish to hear from those of you have one, what system you think is best.



I have watched many YouTube videos and read a lot about this. Now I am ready to purchase and install. I just want to make a somewhat good choice.


thank you for you response
While there are kits out there you likely save half the price if you build your own system. Lots of info around on how to do that.

Do you know how many amp hours per day that you would use?
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Old 05-13-2020, 07:09 PM   #7
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Wow! Such Fast great Replies Already

My Goal is to Travel and Boondock. I do not like Paying just to park and I like to travel the back roads. I am single, retired, do not plan on taking anyone with me, I love the solitude at times.

I plan on using Solar instead of my generator. I do not really watch TV at all but I use my coffee maker, microwave, Fridge, Laptop Computer, cell phone and components charger, etc. If I am out in the country somewhere I do not wish to be looking gas or propane too often.

Thank you for all the information you gave me so far.
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Old 05-13-2020, 08:11 PM   #8
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I'm also retired, travel solo and LOVE the solitude, I may be borderline reclusive. Do you have a propane/12v fridge or residential? One advantage to solar, you can start small and add on as you go. There are the engineer types who will figure out, to the amp, how many panels they need - me, not so much. I'll start with a 100 amp panel with a good MPPT controller and add panels if and when I need to.

Long ago, I'd dive in and learn 'everything there is to know' about it but I'm worn out and why I don't have anything yet. I've been traveling and stopping at a different RV park almost every night, so solar was irrelevant to me but that itch has been scratched; my 'new' plans are to head somewhere and park for a week or two or three, exploring the area in my side by side. Not moving every day will probably necessitate some sort of auxiliary power since I'd rather not run the gen set.

Sorry for this tease - there's a beginner's solar site with tons of info but I don't remember where it is.

This one might get you started -
https://www.mobile-solarpower.com/

Another -
https://amsolar.com/diy-rv-solar-instructions/
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Old 05-13-2020, 08:35 PM   #9
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I too have begun the journey and it is a bumpy ride. I've concluded the industry markets to installers and not so much joey six-pack. I found it amazing one solar panel only puts out about 5 amps per hour... My battery experience is...was fairly deep in recharging batteries meaning if one wanted to recharge say 4/6 large batteries it would take about 5/7 hours At 30/40 amps to get that job done. Meaning simply it would take at least 8 300 watt panels to get that charge rate up and going..then there is the component switching lol.

3/5 k might get you up and running nicely which is not as bad as a 60 amp hour generator which is about 8/10 k...
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Old 05-13-2020, 10:47 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hebhere View Post

I plan on using Solar instead of my generator. I do not really watch TV at all but I use my coffee maker, microwave, Fridge, Laptop Computer, cell phone and components charger, etc.
.. and that is basically what we managed to use with our 300w. We could use the microwave just for heating up; not long-term cooking. We did use a stovetop perculator which made awesome coffee and for toast we buttered the bread and plopped it in a fry pan.. better than a toaster. We used the rooftop Fantastic fan at night, if needed. The laptop we charged with a small portable inverter plugged in the car. It's always easy to add more panels or batteries if you have the room.
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Old 05-14-2020, 06:07 AM   #11
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Your Budget will determine how much Solar you can get. I have a small 400 watt system that I installed myself and have just over $1000 in it and don't have an inverter yet. for a really big nice system you can figure $10,000 and up
I see that you have a Cedar Creek.
We had a 2007 34SATS .
We loved it. I still have a 3x5 foot thermal pane window with limousine tint. Need to find a home for it.

I also have a solar system.
Very simple
1 , 220 Watt solar panel (portable)
1 , morning star dou 25 amp charge controller.( Can charge two different battery bank at the same time and correct charge)
1 , Magnum ms2812 converter/ inverter. 125 amp charger. Two 15 amp circuits.
4 , deka group 31 AGM batteries totaling 440 amp hours. ( I purchased the factory 2nds called the "Useable".
1 , 5500 Onan Marquis lp generator.
I could send you pictures of my set-up if you're interested.
It's not a difficult set-up.
305-536-9917 this is the telephone number to Sun Electronics in Miami FL.( Ask for Pierre )
They had the best price.
$130.00 for the Sun Saver duo With remote.
$400.00 for the batteries
$125.00 for the solar panel.
My Magnum ms2812 I got out of the trash and fixed it for $180.00. ( replaced PET BOARD charge board)
I opted for portable solar to extend the life of the panel, it's 12 yrs old and still looks New.
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Old 05-14-2020, 07:06 AM   #12
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Thank you for your inputs


I have a gas/12 volt fridge
Microwave
coffee maker
12 volt lights
laptop computer I use alot


I have an Onan Generator but I try not to use it much, (gas)


RV is 32 foot


gas water heater




I want to be able to Boondock and not worry about having to fill up or how much I am using. I want to be "free as much as possible", and away from cities.
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Old 05-14-2020, 07:30 AM   #13
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I don't see that you've mentioned your budget yet.

For panels, look at used residential panels at Santansolar.com. You will save a lot. I have 2 250 watt high efficiency panels. High efficiency equals less weight per panel.

Get an MPPT type charge controller, rather than PWM. More efficient. I have a Renogy Rover 30 amp MPPT controller.

Replace your lead house batteries with lithium iron phosphate ones, I have 2 100 AH Battle Borns. Higher charge density, lighter weight, and can be drawn down farther with no damage. LiFePO batteries also take a full charge much faster than lead ones. (See inverter section below)

You'll likely want or need a decent battery monitor, like a Victron 702 or 712, something that actually measures amp-hours in and out of the battery bank.

Then, you need an inverter. If you get the lithium batteries, get an inverter charger, and disconnect your converter. I have a Xantrex Freedom X/C 2kW pure sine wave inverter/charger, capable of 100 amps of charging current, which will fully charge my half depleted battery bank in an hour, lessening generator run time if the solar system can't keep up or is compromised by shade or cloudy weather.

My system could easily be designed larger by adding more panels, bigger controller, and more batteries.
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Old 05-14-2020, 09:04 AM   #14
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Awesome information.

Thank you for the detailed Informatioin



Yes, I have been looking at Lithium Batteries. They are the ones.


Your information is great.


All of you, your information is very much appreciated here.


My Fleetwood Terra is on a GM P30 chassis with a GM Workhorse Engine 495 ci and an Allison transmission. I purchased this one specifically for the Engine and Transmission Combination. I am averaging currently 10 mpg; regardless of driving conditions. I just purchased this one the beginning of April, had 18000 miles on it; like new. 32 ft.
My prior MH was an 40ft Executive, also on a GM P30 Chassis


Therefore I am wanting to retain this one for a lengthy time. I am solo and am getting ready to live and travel in it, Boondocking most of the time, (I do not like crowded camped parks). Give me 60 acres and solitude and I will be content.



I was asked about my budget for Solar. For the most part I am not concerned about that. I just want quality and to work for me first and foremost, I will not put price above that; which is why I am asking all about it now, before I purchase anything; I do not want to just go out and listen to some unknowing sales person.


Thank you all for your assistance
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