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Jerry Burks 02-15-2021 05:39 PM

New 5th wheel, when/how to install solar
 
We are going to get our new 5th wheel (Alliance 310RL) soon. We already ordered from the dealer to install an Onan generator, but supposedly they have a 6 week lead time. No problem, we are not planning to travel that soon, anyway.

Now... I want to have a small/mid-size solar system installed with sufficient battery to run the espresso machine or the microwave for a few minutes without cranking the generator so I guess I would need a 2kW inverter and a decent sized battery. Of course also run the lights and TV for a while.
I don't think the trailer dealer has the best deal for that but then, he will be in the wiring anyway for the generator.

I am looking for recommendations what to get, where to get it in general and what I am looking at in terms of cost. Even better if somebody knows a good place in Northern Colorado.

Thanks!

kdauto 02-15-2021 06:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jerry Burks (Post 5637688)
We are going to get our new 5th wheel (Alliance 310RL) soon. We already ordered from the dealer to install an Onan generator, but supposedly they have a 6 week lead time. No problem, we are not planning to travel that soon, anyway.

Now... I want to have a small/mid-size solar system installed with sufficient battery to run the espresso machine or the microwave for a few minutes without cranking the generator so I guess I would need a 2kW inverter and a decent sized battery. Of course also run the lights and TV for a while.
I don't think the trailer dealer has the best deal for that but then, he will be in the wiring anyway for the generator.

I am looking for recommendations what to get, where to get it in general and what I am looking at in terms of cost. Even better if somebody knows a good place in Northern Colorado.

Thanks!

I would recommend at a minimum 2x 165w panels but 3 would be better. I figure you can expect to pay around a buck a watt for panels. 2 decent sized batteries are a minimum, but I'd recommend 3 for high drain usage. We use AGM as they recharge faster, easier and last longer with little maintenance. They are 2x to 3x the price of a golf cart battery though. Expect 350$-450$ PER battery for a group 27 or 31.

An inverter in the 2000 watt range will cost 500$ for a super basic to 1200$+ for better quality ones. You'll need a transfer switch for hassle free usage. Expect several hundred $ in cables, connectors and doodads, but we feel it was super worth it.

Andy69Morris 02-15-2021 07:16 PM

Solar
 
In the long run you need to know how many amp hours you will be using in a day and then build the system to match the amp hours used. Here is a good resource: https://www.technomadia.com/2014/12/...umption-audit/

You can get an idea from multiple sites on the cost of a system once you know haow many amp hours you are using. If you are handy you can install it yourself and save quite a bit. I like the 200 watt Hitec panels, you can get them from https://www.continuousresources.com/. This guy on Facebook does a lot of setups and he travels and is helpful, check out: https://www.facebook.com/gotsolarinstalled

I have done some small ones and getting ready for a large one on a New Aire for a friend.

If you don't have a lot of money to throw into solar look at the following, I have had good luck on a limited budget with the following: Hitec panels, EPEVER MPPT charge control, Xantrex Prowatt SW inverter. If you have the money, Victron MPPTs and Inverters are good but expensive.

Another resource is to contact Northern Arizona Wind and Solar and tell them how many watts and they will send you a complete list of everything you will need to install.

NH3Guy 02-15-2021 08:19 PM

My .02 is I agree with everything above especially Victron MPPTs. I would suggest drawing out your roof and see what panel's measurement fits the best. For my requirements I felt the Panasonic 330watt for the foot print worked better. I run a residential refrigerator and haven't had a generator for +/- ten years. Take a look at altestore.com/ as well.

NH3Guy 02-17-2021 09:04 PM

I thought I better add one more note. The solar industry doesn't necessarily approve of the R/V industry. Here is a fine print note from Panasonic's warranty.

Limited Warranty Exclusions: f. Marine (e.g. boats), recreation vehicle, or mobile installations of any kind.

Check the product warranty or call on the components your installing.

I here good things about AM Solar Inc. in Eugene Or. worth a call.

BajaFog 02-17-2021 09:51 PM

Hey Jerry, I'm also in Northern Colorado and hoping to add solar to my rig. We should collaborate. PM me?

monitormix 02-17-2021 11:38 PM

On my Cougar X-Lite I added 3-175w HiTec Panels all fed parallel to a Bogart Engineering SC2030 PWM charge controller. It's controlled by the Tri-Metric TM-2030 battery monitor. It's a very clean, small and inexpensive way to add solar. This feeds 4 Trojan 125Plus 6v batteries. They are set up in a series/parallel config. Also have a small Magnum Energy MM1212 I picked up really cheap from a local Tiffin owner upgrading to a 2000 watt inverter. It's a very inexpensive way to start and can be upgraded to a second SC2030 for another 30A of solar power or down the road I would upgrade to Morningstar MPPT. It's been a great system so far. The wifey and I are looking at either a Alliance Paradigm 370FB (her) or a 372RK (me). Although would be happy with a 340RL.

Jerry Burks 02-18-2021 09:36 AM

Thanks for the info. I was wondering if there is anything wrong with the *relatively* inexpensive systems one can buy on Amazon like this:https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08FR1JPDC/ or this:https://www.amazon.com/Renogy-Solar-.../dp/B07CTKT56Yhttps://www.amazon.com/Renogy-Solar-.../dp/B07CTKT56Y

NH3Guy 02-18-2021 11:17 AM

Check their website they seem to be on sale around $680. Somebody questioned the weight, appears to be the weight of each panel.

Like Andy69 said compare it to N.AZ wind and sun's 400watt R/V package and see what you feel comfortable with.

Andy69Morris 02-18-2021 07:12 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Keep in mind a lot of the prepackage systems may have items you don't need or can go with alternative items that will work just as well. For instance, see the attached, it is a list for a 1200 watt system I am getting ready to install, on a Newmar New Aire. There are no Z brackets, the panels will be mounted onto a Aluminum angle grid. There are a lot of little things that are not listed like terminal lugs, nuts, bolts etc.. My friend wants the higher end Victron components, so that is why the cost is higher. They can be swapped out for other manufactures and save some $$. My current system was done on a budget for less than $1000.00 (400 watt), but I used some items so I can expand it down the road and used a larger charge controller, so my system can go to 1000 watts with 12V batteries in the future (probably this year).

NH3Guy 02-25-2021 10:43 AM

Hi Jerry,
Found a webinar you might find helpful for planning if project is still in works.
"Have Questions About Using Solar for an RV or Marine Application?"
Thursday, March 4th at 2:00 PM - US EST
morningstar@morningstarcorp.com


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