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Old 02-17-2018, 02:58 PM   #1
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Question all New 'ALL SOLAR' Motor coach from...

:

Introducing the all New 'ALL SOLAR' Motor coach from ...

pick you favorite manufacturer
(well, it's a good idea. Let's see what everyone thinks about this 'crazy' idea...)


ALL SOLAR Motor coach:
- 100% roof coverage with 1000w Automated Tilt Solar array.
Travel height 2", Deployed height 12"
- 4) 15'-20' 500w Automated roof mount roll-up Solar Awnings
- 2) 150amp MPTT Solar Controllers, and integrated LCD interior panel
- 2) 3000HB Hybrid Inverters*, with integrated 150amp Chargers
- 24) 6v Deep Charge Lithium House batteries, mounted on front triple-level
Slide Out
- 2) 150amp Chassis Heavy-Duty Alternators
* all items are wired thru the Inverters, including Air Conditioners


optional:
- 50amp Shore Power cord, and ATS switch
- 6000QD Onan generator, mounted in driver side bay#2, on slide out

Pricing:
- is the Sun out? about the same as your favorite new coach
- no Sun? very negotiable

just a 'thought'....hmmmm..... Game Changer


**the photo below is a sample and not indicative of what your coach will look like! Maybe.
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Old 02-17-2018, 05:03 PM   #2
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Solar Coach ideal in the showroom!

Yea I am going to sign up tomorrow for a solar coach to park next too my solar impulse airplane. These are for people with more money than brains or common sense. Sorry we have an electric car and have had 4 hybrids and understand the technology better than most. My RV is for travelling and worry free flexibility. The solar coach reminds me about the principles of aircraft design, light, fast and cheap. Choose 2 because all 3 are impossible. For cheap you can substitute durable or fuel economy...

Some folks look for features, I prefer durability and simplicity and ease of maintenance. Nothing ruins a trip quicker than stuff breaking and sitting somewhere waiting for service on the road that breaks more than it fixes.
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Old 02-17-2018, 05:24 PM   #3
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...And when you awoke from this dream: did you also have a hangover?


Sorry...
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Old 02-17-2018, 05:28 PM   #4
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Sounds more "all electric" than "all solar", which I can somewhat understand wanting to own (all electric that is). With 50-Amp shore power, 2 engine-driven alternators, and a 6,000-Watt generator, I'd hardly call it all solar.
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Old 02-17-2018, 10:11 PM   #5
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I'm going to also add a serious question to the 'tongue-in-check', but slightly serious 'All Solar' coach, above:

- for those who are interested in, or already deploying, SOLAR for your RV, would a manufacturer who engineers, builds, and offers a new 'All Solar' motor coach give you another option, versus either typical coach builds, or the newer 'all electric' coaches? The new heavy battery bank would replace the generator in the front slide/compartment. Awnings would be 'roll-up' solar arrays.

- what market would the manufacturer find the most interest for an 'All Solar' coach: Full-Timers? Weekenders? Resorters? Dry-Campers? Exclusive Off-Gridders?

- if enough Solar amps were expected on any given average 'day' to provide similar electrical requirements as our typical 50a rv service, or typical Generator output, and enough batteries were included for storing that power for extended periods, would anyone consider this an option to the typical coach builds of today that do not include Solar?


One of my thoughts has been that while we have come to expect a generator and shore power as typical parts of our current motor coach builds, and add Solar as an 'option', why not flip the idea and build an 'All Solar' coach from the get-go, giving owners the 'option' for a generator and shore power instead. While the financial offset might not yet be similar, those of us who have paid to deploy our own 'solar systems' have spent extra money beyond what we paid for the coach already.

Builders would have use of their own engineering for the amperage needs, panel requirements, wiring runs, and battery placement, and would have 'buying power' for all the elements of the system, and maybe the ability to possibly create more 'designs' of how to mount, deploy, and tilt the arrays.
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Old 02-17-2018, 10:18 PM   #6
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I LIKE your idea of potentially replacing the generator with a bank of batteries: assuming that you could make them plenty large for storage, yet light enough to keep the rig from tipping over...
You'd need a whole lot of solar panels. Musk has got a factory in New York State, that is supposed to produce "solar shingles" for the housing industry.
There is probably a lot of useful technology available there!
Question: Are you planning to keep the traditional chassis powerplant for over the road usage?
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Old 02-17-2018, 10:40 PM   #7
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I LIKE your idea of potentially replacing the generator with a bank of batteries: assuming that you could make them plenty large for storage, yet light enough to keep the rig from tipping over...
You'd need a whole lot of solar panels. Musk has got a factory in New York State, that is supposed to produce "solar shingles" for the housing industry.
There is probably a lot of useful technology available there!
Question: Are you planning to keep the traditional chassis powerplant for over the road usage?
You'd want to keep a conventional power plant at this point..although we're getting close (see Tesla Semi truck).

The batteries included in modern EV's are pretty charge dense and lighter than your average lead-acid batteries for a given amount of storage. You probably could have a decent amount of battery storage for a comparable weight to the genny.

If you were to replace the powertrain and go fully electric you'd have to really find room for batteries (which would probably also lower the CG of the RV which isn't a bad thing). You'd have some extra room because an electric motor of equivalent power to the gas/diesel engine is much smaller (especially if multiples are used to drive more than 1 axle).
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Old 02-17-2018, 10:57 PM   #8
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yes, typical Cummins/Allison setup as currently in most diesels... but the triple deck of 24 batteries and their weight would offset the current weight of the generator... Gas units could use the area where their generator currently sits, or move it to a triple slider deck underneath the rear, similar to where the engine sits in a diesel.

A 'Tesla' type coach might be in the future, but I'm looking at why manufacturers don't seem as if they are yet considering an 'Solar' based coach, at least as an option. I know that I'm oversimplifying things here, and I'm not a Solar engineer for sure, but I can see that if the thoughts switched from a 50aShore/10kwGenerator based coach to a 3000wSolar base coach, the factory might have a viable option for those who want to go that direction - no longer relying on Shore power or Generator, at least as a primary electrical source.

There MUST be enough storage - 24 batteries that are typical to today's 4 batteries would provide 8 times the storage capacity. If I currently have 4 x 200amp hours x 50% capacity of use, then 8 times that would give me a tremendous amount of TIME off-grid, even without considering the incoming wattage from the panels that can be used instantly with a Hybrid Inverter system, allowing the overflow to continue to provide charging to the battery bank.
The question of how to power large draw items, typically air conditioners, is going to be everyone's big concern. Is it possible. Yes. The reason we don't run our a/c units through our Inverters now is because no one has the battery capacity to hold enough amp hours to make it reasonable to use them for continuous hours as we expect, or even sometimes 24hours a day. But, if you have enough battery storage/capacity, enough incoming amperage to keep the batteries charged, and enough Inverter capability to handle the amperage during the high points of the day, it's feasible.

Like any power source, though, there are potential 'end points': Shore power can be lost. The Generator can run out of fuel. The sun may not be out.

There will always be 'some' drawback to any power source, but we've relied so long on Shore power and Generator power that we still look at Solar as the 'option', instead of looking at it in a new light as the PRIMARY power source, using the others as 'back ups'.
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Old 02-17-2018, 11:37 PM   #9
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I guess that we're all just waiting for technology to catch up to our wish-lists...
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Old 02-18-2018, 05:01 AM   #10
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Nope!
I'll just keep on turning dead dinosaurs into smoke and noise....
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Old 02-18-2018, 11:30 AM   #11
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It would be nice to figure out if you have the roof covered with solar panels if that would help keep the coach cooler in the hot summer sun. That way you also save power from not using the air conditioners as much.
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Old 02-18-2018, 12:10 PM   #12
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.....cut....

The question of how to power large draw items, typically air conditioners, is going to be everyone's big concern. Is it possible. Yes. The reason we don't run our a/c units through our Inverters now is because no one has the battery capacity to hold enough amp hours to make it reasonable to use them for continuous hours as we expect, or even sometimes 24hours a day. But, if you have enough battery storage/capacity, enough incoming amperage to keep the batteries charged, and enough Inverter capability to handle the amperage during the high points of the day, it's feasible.

.....cut.....
I've looked at this for my own use for years from an engineering standpoint, and the reason you don't see what you're describing is that there isn't much of a middle ground when it comes to power consumption.

Everything in a motorhome can easily be run electrically today -- that's not the issue. Many units do it already. And everything electrical can be easily run off batteries and inverters, including air conditioners, heat, hot water, etc... That's also not the issue. And it's relatively affordable today. As long as duration is short, there can be enough battery energy to power A/Cs and just about anything else.

The real limitation (deal breaker for most people) is when you want to make up electrical consumption with "solar". If you don't need A/C or heat (unless heat supplied by propane), you can add enough panels to run lights, fans, pumps, entertainment devices, etc. without too much trouble. Even microwave, coffee pot, and cooktop that don't run very long can be included if necessary. However, when we include air conditioners that use from 1,000 to 3,000 watts of power, 24-hours a day, electrical consumption takes such a jump that it's not practical to recharge from solar. We'd be looking at roughly 50 kWh of electricity daily, and that's just not possible on solar.

If you camp on an energy budget like it was a tent, what you describe is already being done, particularly by DIY Class B builds. Once you turn your motorhome into your house on wheels, game over. Numbers don't lie.
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Old 02-18-2018, 12:29 PM   #13
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Looks like the industry average is 15 watts per sq ft. (this is home panels, not sure if RV panels are any different). Assuming a Sunny day in California.

Thus replacing a 5kW genny would require about 333 sq ft of panels.

The roof of our Axis is ~178 sq ft (25.5ft X 7 ft). Include the awning (17 x ~7) adds an additional ~120 sq ft for 298...almost there

Ok how about the biggest Aria: ( 41 x 8.5) ~348 almost there but an Aria has a 8kW generator which would require 533 sq ft.
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Old 02-18-2018, 12:47 PM   #14
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Not even close.
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Old 02-18-2018, 12:52 PM   #15
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Looking at instantaneous power production is one thing, but a generator can make power 24-hours a day, where solar averages just a few hours. Then you have to factor solar angle, controller inefficiency, battery in and out loses, inverter efficiency, etc.

You just can't get enough power to run air conditioners throughout the day. Not yet anyway.
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Old 02-18-2018, 02:55 PM   #16
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right, and we also have the same 'issues' with other power types: campgrounds and drycamping with NO 120v connection, and generators that run out of fuel... there is a 'drawback' to any type of power - Solar just provides a quiet and 'easy' power source, but, of course, only when the sun is out, and/or when you have your battery bank fully charged.

24 batteries would go a long way to helping solve the 'problem' with our current ideas surrounding RV solar. If you remove the generator, you have a lot of room to fill with storage for Solar power. Now, sure, there will be times when you need a generator to get thru a rainy or cloudy period, and your batteries need charging, but we have the same 'issues' with our current power sources, we just are more 'accustomed' to it's realities and how to deal with it.
A campground with 'Quiet Time' for generators is a prime example. No matter how much generator power you could generate, you can not during those hours, usually many, many hours, especially overnight.

I'm just wanting the industry to look at whether Solar is a viable alternative to our 'normal' Generator/Shore Power builds... as it seems Solar is very popular, as both discussions and deployments, yet builders seem to continue to look at it as something the 'owner' will need to deploy, versus designing a coach totally around it.

With a 'roof full' of panels, especially if tiltable, and awnings on both sides that are 'roll up' solar arrays(flex panels)... then I think we're on the way to generating the possible amps we need. Add 24 batteries for storage, a Hybrid Inverter system to make use of incoming Solar amps, and existing battery power, and they may have something to consider.

Individuals buying solar panels is not normally a cost-effective solution, but the RV industry buying solar systems in bulk could change the financial aspect tremendously.

enjoy your day : )
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Old 02-18-2018, 04:07 PM   #17
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Nope!
I'll just keep on turning dead dinosaurs into smoke and noise....
Recycling at it's finest...
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Old 02-18-2018, 04:25 PM   #18
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Great discussion.

However, you're not being completely realistic in my opinion. Not only because the technical numbers don't support it, but also because the vast majority of RV buyers would never pay the cost premium. It's nice to dream, but for now that's all it is.

As an engineer I'm all for pushing technology to the max, but at same time see that it's both technically impractical and cost prohibitive to build a motorhome that can operate as at present but fueled by the sun. I would personally settle for a motorhome that could run my A/C overnight from batteries (presently very doable), but the cost is hard to swallow even if you have lots of money to spend.

We'll get there (or mostly there) but it will be over time and accomplished in small steps. Buyers will have to first expect and want to pay a cost premium for lithium batteries, high-efficiency A/Cs, additional insulation, dual pane windows, etc.... With enough conventional improvements to make RVs much more energy efficient, I think solar can play a major role for everyone, not just those on energy diet. Presently, very few pay for alternatives when cheaper solutions work "good enough".

I'm not against what you want -- to the contrary. If I were building my own van conversion, I would not install a conventional generator. And it would be all-electric with lithium batteries. But battery charging for us (in very hot south) would come from shore power at campgrounds or while driving during the day from engine 2nd alternator. Solar would play a minimal role because I'd need the other system regardless, making solar investment a poor one for us.
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Old 02-18-2018, 04:48 PM   #19
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Great discussion.
It's nice to dream, but for now that's all it is.

As an engineer I'm all for pushing technology to the max, but at same time see that it's both technically impractical and cost prohibitive to build a motorhome that can operate as at present but fueled by the sun.
We'll get there (or mostly there) but it will be over time and accomplished in small steps.
But given the time: Anything is possible!
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Old 02-18-2018, 05:00 PM   #20
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Don't forget too that while camping you could setup a portable windmill and generate some electricity that way--even at night.

Yeah yeah ok a windmill (Home Depot) has similar size issues that solar does (to get somewhere around 4k - 5k it is too big to haul around with an RV).
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