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Old 01-29-2016, 01:24 PM   #1
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Outfitting solar on Axis/Vegas

Hi,

Does anyone have experience or research with solar panels on the Axis/Vegas? It would be helpful to know:
1) Is this vehicle pre-wired for solar?
2) Has anyone sized a solar-panel solution for the Axis/Vegas?
3) Do you have a recommended solar provider? Pricing estimates?

Thanks in advance!

Peter
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Old 02-15-2016, 01:01 AM   #2
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Solar

Plan to go to RVSOLARVENTURA.com tomorrow (Monday) Will let you know.
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Old 03-18-2016, 12:07 AM   #3
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I got two estimates: A B
250w panel - $410 $399
Control Panel 40amp $245 $285
Wiring/connectors $42 $95
Installation 3 hrs@95 6hrs@85
$285 $510
Totals $985 $1289

Additional - 200 amp hr 12v lithium battery 1700.00

One 12 Volt Lithium battery for an RV can replace up to 3 8D batteries and the size is smaller than a standard 8D.
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Old 03-19-2016, 10:11 PM   #4
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Lithium batteries are still new to the RV industry, be careful, they are not proven yet. I have no doubt they will be, just be careful.


The size or panels needed are based on your needs. Have everything you want to run with the inverter so whomever does it, can determine what how many watts you will need. Figure proper batteries along with the panels and controller. Don't overdo it, remember the more batteries you have the longer it will take to charge them on a given day - or two.
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Old 03-20-2016, 02:24 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Baddad53 View Post
....cut....

Additional - 200 amp hr 12v lithium battery 1700.00

One 12 Volt Lithium battery for an RV can replace up to 3 8D batteries and the size is smaller than a standard 8D.
Will you share more information on proposed lithium battery?

That works out to around $700 per kilowatt-hour, which is much lower than the retail cost for some others I've been keeping an eye on. Some remain at around $1,000 per kW-hour.
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Old 06-26-2016, 09:52 AM   #6
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awesome
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Old 06-26-2016, 11:29 AM   #7
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re: Outfitting solar on Axis/Vegas

I'm wrapping up a solar installation on my 2016 Axis. I'm super excited to see what it can do. I bought the components separately from Amazon. Here's the set up. Each item links to the corresponding Amazon page.

3 x Grape Solar 160w panels; $230/piece = $690
1 x Renogy Tracer 4210 MPPT Solar Controller = $210
1 x Renogy Tracer MT5 remote meter = $40
1 x AIMS 2000 watt pure sine inverter (low frequency) = $588
1 x AIMS Power Remote Meter = $139
3 x 3M VHB RP45 Tape; $12ea = $36
100' MC4 cable = $47
Various electrical fuses & materials = $100
Aluminum angle brackets from Home Depot = $100

Total for 480 watts solar power and 2kw inverter =~ $1950

Thankfully I had a good friend to help with the installation. He made a custom fabricated sliding drawer for the electrical equipment and flush mounted the meters to the wall. Took us about 4-5 days for the complete installation. Nice to have handy friends

Hope this helps someone. We're wrapping up installation this weekend. Will post photos soon!
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Old 06-26-2016, 01:36 PM   #8
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Sounds great! Waiting for the photos! Are you going with the lithium battery or did you decide to try the regular batteries before you changed? will the lithium fit in the existing battery tray or would you have to mount it somewhere else? I dry camped about three months last year and your new setup would have been great to have.
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Old 06-26-2016, 02:01 PM   #9
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Just remember solar power cannot be stored except what your batteries can hold. Don't over do it just a waste of money if you do. Check winnabago videos.
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Old 06-26-2016, 03:24 PM   #10
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The 2016 Axis we bought isn't prewired.
The first thing that you need to do is an energy audit. This is a bit of a pain but is very important. There are several spread sheets on the internet that will give you a ball park idea.
The energy will determine battery bank size. From this you determine the amount of solar.
Review this link RV Electrical

also this one for an introduction to 12 volt The 12volt Side of Life (Part 1), his SOC table is incorrect for most 12 volt lead acid batteries.
See here for SOC http://http://batteryuniversity.com/...tate_of_charge and other important battery facts.
Don't expect to run things like the A/C, MW, drip coffee maker, or hair dryer.
Currently we have two 100 watt panels in a portable configuration.
25 feet of marine grade 8 AWG wire between the panels and the charge controller, CC. It covers our conservative needs barely; lights and 12 volt fans.

The batteries that came with our Axis are unknowns, possibly a cheap Exide, not on a par with Exide's normal deep cycle batteries.

Here is some math to think on.
WH usage based on battery bank



210 AH * 12 volt * 0.85 AC inverter eff * 1/1 days storage * 0.50 maximum discharge = 1071 WH per day (RV/Boat)
210 AH * 12 volt * 0.85 AC inverter eff * 1/2 days storage * 0.50 maximum discharge = 535 WH per day (off grid cabin)
210 AH * 12 volt * 0.85 AC inverter eff * 1/3 days storage * 0.50 maximum discharge = 357 WH per day


Charging wise--Two ways to calculate the solar array size. First, is based on a 5% to 13% typical rate of charge. 5% is OK for weekend/seasonal use, 10% or above is recommended for full time off grid charging (and if you have "significant" day time inverter/battery loads:
210 AH * 14.5 volts charging * 1/0.77 panel+charge controller derating * 0.05 rate of charge = 198 Watt array minimum
210 AH * 14.5 volts charging * 1/0.77 panel+charge controller derating * 0.10 rate of charge = 395 Watt array nominal
210 AH * 14.5 volts charging * 1/0.77 panel+charge controller derating * 0.13 rate of charge = 514 Watt array "cost effective" maximum



These numbers are based on two 12 Exide Stowaway batteries for the Ah and the rest comes from the solar-electric.com forums.

A pair of American made 150 watt panels on Ebay are $330.
Use a major brand of CC such as Morningstar or Bluesky.
Midnight Solar 150 Vdc breakers can be found on the solar-electric.com sales and run about $11 a piece. You can also get a breaker box with din rail mounting for the breakers from them. These folks are Northern Az Wind and Sun and my personal dealings with them have been good. They also have solar panels and mounting systems but are expensive.

Donot use in line glass fuses for the solar system they will fail. Breakers are best.
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Old 06-26-2016, 04:01 PM   #11
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Donot use in line glass fuses for the solar system they will fail. Breakers are best.
This is the only thing I have to disagree with. Mechanical breakers will fail, each time they have to be reset is a bit off their lift time use. A glass fuse has only one element, it breaks you change it out. Just make sure you get the proper size fuse rated for the system you decide to use. None of my "glass" fuses have ever failed. I run 600w on top, with a Bogart Engineering Monitor (Trimetric Monitor) with charge controller.
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Old 06-26-2016, 04:29 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Oneilkeys View Post
Sounds great! Waiting for the photos! Are you going with the lithium battery or did you decide to try the regular batteries before you changed? will the lithium fit in the existing battery tray or would you have to mount it somewhere else? I dry camped about three months last year and your new setup would have been great to have.
Loved the idea of Lithium, but cant justify the cost. Technology will improve so I don't want to be so heavily vested in the current offerings.

The 200ah bank that came with the Axis may tide me over. If not, I'll probably opt for Agm.

Regardless, the battery tray is very small and not likely to accommodate an upgrade. There's a lot of wasted space under the coach, so I'd look at welding a custom box.
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Old 06-26-2016, 04:43 PM   #13
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.....cut....

Don't expect to run things like the A/C, MW, drip coffee maker, or hair dryer.

....cut....
Could you add some technical context to above statement?

I get not wanting to run an air conditioner (cost prohibitive) from solar, but I don't understand why microwave, coffee maker, or hair dryer must be excluded.

These things only run for a few minutes each, so the total amount of energy used/required isn't that great. As long as the inverter and battery bank are sized to handle the power for a few minutes, why won't solar make it back up over many hours?

If not for these things, what do you use solar for? Lights, TVs, fans, etc.?
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Old 06-26-2016, 04:55 PM   #14
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Loved the idea of Lithium, but cant justify the cost. Technology will improve so I don't want to be so heavily vested in the current offerings.

The 200ah bank that came with the Axis may tide me over. If not, I'll probably opt for Agm.

Regardless, the battery tray is very small and not likely to accommodate an upgrade. There's a lot of wasted space under the coach, so I'd look at welding a custom box.
I agree cost is still high but it's getting closer. When I factor 80% capacity usage versus 50%, and also many times the number of cycles, the cost over 1000s of cycles is competitive.

My problem with justifying the cost is that I wouldn't likely use more than 20 to 50 cycles a year, so the initial investment wouldn't pay back based on added cycle life. If we were on road constantly, the economics would make more sense for us.
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Old 06-26-2016, 05:17 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pghali View Post
Loved the idea of Lithium, but cant justify the cost. Technology will improve so I don't want to be so heavily vested in the current offerings.

The 200ah bank that came with the Axis may tide me over. If not, I'll probably opt for Agm.

Regardless, the battery tray is very small and not likely to accommodate an upgrade. There's a lot of wasted space under the coach, so I'd look at welding a custom box.
I got two 29's in the battery box of my Axis and that was a tight fit. I think even a 4D would be too wide for the box. If Thor is still using Harris batteries, I wish you luck. I replaced mine the first year and when I bought my 2016 Axis, one of the provisions was that I could transfer my coach batteries to the new unit.
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Old 06-26-2016, 05:28 PM   #16
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Solar Install Info

I highly recommend that anyone looking to install rv solar first read every word of
Handy Bobs Blog. His opinions on solar are based on years of actually installing units, and having them WORK. WORK is the key word.

I don't have the url, but google that link and it turns up, read it cover to cover. One of the insights that may save you half the cost of your install, is his conviction that mppt for rv systems is unnecessary, and expensive.

I am a firm believer in Bogart engineering, and their solar products, check them out as well.
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Old 06-26-2016, 08:01 PM   #17
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Photo album is here...
https://goo.gl/photos/rpL2LyoFjYX4etTz5
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Old 06-26-2016, 08:07 PM   #18
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Just an idea. You can claim your rv as second home. With your main home you get fed tax breaks for adding solar. Wonder if anyone has tried that with there rv.
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Old 06-26-2016, 10:27 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Yosemitebob View Post
This is the only thing I have to disagree with. Mechanical breakers will fail, each time they have to be reset is a bit off their lift time use. A glass fuse has only one element, it breaks you change it out. Just make sure you get the proper size fuse rated for the system you decide to use. None of my "glass" fuses have ever failed. I run 600w on top, with a Bogart Engineering Monitor (Trimetric Monitor) with charge controller.
Glass fuses will fail from vibration, or heat from volt drop in fuse holder/fuse interface connection. Happens everyday in RV's.
Midnight Solar breakers are also designed to be used as switches, they are far more durable then house breakers.
If one is going to use a fuse get the holder and fuse that Blue Sea make.
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Old 06-27-2016, 02:24 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by winder1 View Post
I highly recommend that anyone looking to install rv solar first read every word of
Handy Bobs Blog. His opinions on solar are based on years of actually installing units, and having them WORK. WORK is the key word.

I don't have the url, but google that link and it turns up, read it cover to cover. One of the insights that may save you half the cost of your install, is his conviction that mppt for rv systems is unnecessary, and expensive.

I am a firm believer in Bogart engineering, and their solar products, check them out as well.
What a great blog. Everyone should read his take on RV converter chargers. Does anyone know the model number of the converter charger used in the Axis and whether it is a multi stage charger. From Bob's blog, he indicates that basically all converter chargers are nothing more than battery maintainers and will not bulk charge your batteries long enough to fully charge them. I come from the world of boats where I had true multi stage chargers that charged my large batter banks relatively quickly. I have not been impressed with the time it takes to fully charge my house batteries on shore power or the generator. Reading the info on "converter chargers" I better understand why my batteries take so long to charge.
Has anyone "upgraded" the converter charger in their Axis/Vegas (or ACE if they have the same converter charger)?
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