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Old 02-13-2020, 08:50 PM   #1
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Exclamation ...7 reasons you don't need SOLAR : )



a good, realistic, read...
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Old 02-13-2020, 09:01 PM   #2
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He addresses this is as if people know nothing but just go out blindly and spend thousands on solar. I think most do just as he did....research it out, purchase a system that fits their needs an build it. Kinda funny to see his camper that looks like a charging field for Tesla...stand there and tell people they don't need it. YouTube is full of geniuses.
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Old 02-13-2020, 09:06 PM   #3
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I have to slightly disagree: there are MANY, MANY on these forums where that is the FIRST questions they ask - and they've not even left their driveway yet!

I think he has a good, conservative, and hardly accusatory approach to his information - he's a solar owner, and user, and know the benefits, but also can see the negatives for those who just want to buy it because 'everyone else is doing it'. : )

it's all good.
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Old 02-13-2020, 09:28 PM   #4
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One thing that does not cease to amaze me are the number of folks that deploy their solar systems, roof mounted and portable, while their rig is connected to the power pedestal at a campground. Why? What are they thinking?

I installed solar so I can keep the batteries charged while the coach is in the driveway winterized and unplugged during the winter. During the summer while in the driveway it is plugged into 50 amp so I can keep it cool.
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Old 02-13-2020, 09:50 PM   #5
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I have owned a RV since 1981 and have never needed solar. The only solar I have ever had on a RV was a battery tender 2 coaches ago. If I camped more in places with BLM land and no hook ups, solar may be warranted. But for me, my standard batteries with inverter handle the occasional overnight stop with out power. I didn't get into RVing to stay in the boonies without modern conveniences.
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Old 02-13-2020, 10:23 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Lt Keefer View Post
I have owned a RV since 1981 and have never needed solar. The only solar I have ever had on a RV was a battery tender 2 coaches ago. If I camped more in places with BLM land and no hook ups, solar may be warranted. But for me, my standard batteries with inverter handle the occasional overnight stop with out power. I didn't get into RVing to stay in the boonies without modern conveniences.
That's about the same my rv works.
If it lived outside with no shore power, OK, the solar keeps the fridge going.

My 19' toy hauler had a hell of a solar array.
I can't find a slight use for it on the 24.1


Auto Gen start, v10 uses just over half gallon an hour at idle, inverter... Solar would just be a 'hey, look at me' toy, just like the folks who use it while on shore power.

Shore electric here is 8+ and 11 cents pkw.
I can't make shore solar make sense either.
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Old 02-14-2020, 01:51 PM   #7
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...

your replies reinforce the idea that 'solar' is not the realistic power source that many dream of it to be... something like a silent 'knight in shining armor'. It seems to me to be more of a 'need' because 'others are doing it, so I guess I should, too' perspective.

Now, not that solar in itself is anything negative, it's simply another power source, but really also an expensive one. Sure, you can purchase a $100 'solar system' to deploy out near your rig once you've arrived at your picturesque, though unrealistic, off-grid vacation site, as seen on many 'advertisements' about 'going camping', but that equates to having a 120v outlet that only allows up to 1 1/2 amps of usage, with full sun, and only has power 'when' the sun is out, and almost directly overhead... for a few short hours, if that.

There are certainly some adventurers, with deep pockets, that have deployed fully-built-out solar 'systems' that are capable of much, much more - yes, but that's like equating building your own electrical substation at your home - some will do it, but most never will - it's not realistic for most 'campers'. Does the solar industry want this thought to permeate all campers, no matter what their 'real' situation is? Yes. It's across the board: 'You Need Solar', and your new camper is already 'solar ready'!

Having solar is good. Not having solar is good. Neither is right, or wrong, but it seems that the conversations tend to be one-sided, always showing the 'great solutions' that solar brings to the camping community, yet never really go into discussions about the reality of the downfalls of solar, or the relatively expensive cost, versus the 'pay back' timeframe, or much discussion that it does not power anything 'directly', but is more of a battery charger, for the most part.

For most campers, if they have any 'concerns' over being able to have a night without 'shore power', having an additional battery is probably a much easier, quicker, and much more cost-effective measure. Having 'solar' for those few and relatively infrequent, if ever, 'needs' is highly over-rated, and very expensive for the little overall usage.

This is not really a discussion about disagreeing over the validity of solar in certain situations, but more of a balancing of the conversation, giving more of a 'reality check' for most RV owners.

When it comes to solar, being 'mobile', like with RVs, creates actually the hardest cost to financially figure - there are just too many variables. With homes, though, where many of these 'solar cost comparisons' arise, that is a whole different story - a fixed position solar panel, with never any shade, and not moving around, is certainly a much easier cost and financial payback to compute, even though it, itself, is not exact, and can vary depending on 'guesstimates' made at the time of purchase.


it's all good : )
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Old 02-14-2020, 02:20 PM   #8
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One thing is certain when you "go solar"...
You have just guaranteed that every camping trip will be rainy!
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Old 02-14-2020, 03:50 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TurnerFam View Post
...

your replies reinforce the idea that 'solar' is not the realistic power source that many dream of it to be... something like a silent 'knight in shining armor'. It seems to me to be more of a 'need' because 'others are doing it, so I guess I should, too' perspective.

.....cut....
I canít justify solar because we mostly drive during the day, and when boondocking at night solar doesnít do anything anyway.

I would add a few negatives as they apply to me:

Parking in shade to reduce air conditioning.
Getting on roof to clean panels.
Making it harder to maintain RV roof under panels.
Added weight.
Mass at highest elevation raising Cg.
More stuff to inspect, test, maintain, etc.


Having said that, I get solar for some campers. We have to remember that solar was first adopted by younger van campers, most of them not having a generator. Thatís a big deal ó makes huge difference.

Without a generator, if they boondock most of the day while hiking or cycling (versus driving around) they would need just a little electricity to power the 12VDC refrigerator, fan, water pump, LED lights, and charge phones, etc. All these combined loads are well within the energy level of a normal solar system, and would avoid having to idle the vanís engine for an hour or two a day.

Personally, I think even this type of use would be easier (not cheaper) to meet with higher-capacity alternator(s) and larger battery bank; provided youíre not boondocking for more than a few days at a time.

For the average RVer who is not technical and or enjoys tinkering with equipment just for the fun of it, I think the simpler the motorhome the better, even if not quite as efficient. For example, owning a 250-Amp alternator is no more difficult than owning a 130-Amp alternator, and doesnít require any more attention or work. The same goes for a 200 Amp-hour battery versus a 100 Ah.

For most campers, motorhomes can be built with fewer systems even if the remaining systems have to be upgraded in size somewhat. For example, for campers that go from campground to campground, there is little need for solar or for a generator. In that case, no generator transfer switch, or auto generator start. Instead, an upgrade to a larger inverter/charger and battery bank is required.

In my opinion motorhomes got too complicated for ďaverageĒ owners. Manufacturers need to think about benefits of KISS.
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Old 02-14-2020, 04:41 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Chance View Post
I canít justify solar because we mostly drive during the day, and when boondocking at night solar doesnít do anything anyway.

I would add a few negatives as they apply to me:

Parking in shade to reduce air conditioning.
Getting on roof to clean panels.
Making it harder to maintain RV roof under panels.
Added weight.
Mass at highest elevation raising Cg.
More stuff to inspect, test, maintain, etc.

.....cut......

If Iím plugged into 30amp service, I park in shade and run my AC. If no 30 amp available, and itís hot, I park in the shade and run my AC via generator.
But, generally, we are at Beach all day in 70 degree weather here in sunny California and boon-docking without 30 amp. Generally, no AC is needed so we are grateful for Solar on our roof.

Cleaning panels...Just spray off with pressure nozzle.

Roof maintenance...not sure whatís needed under the two panels

Added weight...Flexible panels are just 3#, solid panels are 15#

Mass at highest elevation... ??? (I do not follow)

More stuff to inspect and maintain...well, once youíre in the RV business, a lot of maintenance goes with the territory

In conclusion, different strokes for different folks. But your points are valid.
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Old 02-14-2020, 05:02 PM   #11
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If Iím plugged into 30amp service, I park in shade and run my AC. If no 30 amp available, and itís hot, I park in the shade and run my AC via generator.
But, generally, we are at Beach all day in 70 degree weather here in sunny California and boon-docking without 30 amp. Generally, no AC is needed so we are grateful for Solar on our roof.


.....cut.....

You didnít say what would happen if you didnít have solar on days you donít run generator? Obviously on days when generator is run for A/C, it can do job of solar at same time (i.e. ó charge batteries).

Do you boondock at beach multiple days, or only during day and then drive home, etc.? The thing about solar is that unless you have a lot of it installed on roof, itís normally no more energy per day than the energy of one typical battery. Given a choice, Iíd add an extra battery in lieu of solar panels. But thatís based on my use of RVs.

Iím strictly being objective in saying that I havenít found a single time in last 20 years (that I recall) where solar would have made a significant difference to me. Iím not judging at all and acknowledged that for some campers itís a great fit. Just doesnít work for me.
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Old 02-14-2020, 05:20 PM   #12
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again...it's obviously not for you. and it's not for everybody.
but, it's definitely for me.

the cost was minimal for materials ($300: two 100 watt panels, controller, wire, mounts), and I installed myself.
my battery compartment only supports two batteries, so I have two COSTCO Interstate flooded that cost about $80 each.

and for what we do, (60-80% boondocking in 70 degree sunny weather, 1-3 days) my batteries stay charged 24hrs/day even after using an inverter at night for TV/DVD.

so for me, it's perfect.

and yes, if I'm boon docking and wife wants to run microwave, I turn on generator for 3-5 minutes.

would lithium batteries and more panels make it better? yes! but so would a $350K Tiffin DP with eight 6 volt Trojans.

again, I see your points. it's not for everyone.

again, different strokes for different folks.
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Old 02-14-2020, 05:33 PM   #13
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One more thing...

We could start Threads which say the following, and get various responses:
- 7 reasons why you don’t need SUMO Springs
- 7 reasons why you don’t need Anti Sway Bars or Saf T Plus
Or Cheap handling fix
Or AGM or Lithium batteries
Or an Inverter

All of these are seen as value added to some but others not

And that’s the fun of this fabulous Forum
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Old 02-14-2020, 05:40 PM   #14
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Or ......

7 reasons you donít need a slide
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Old 02-14-2020, 05:45 PM   #15
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As the picture says...

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Old 02-14-2020, 06:14 PM   #16
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Bob kinda defined our situation, but not entirely, when he mentioned coffee.

My entire inverter install is SOLELY to not torment people parked near us with our generator. Yup, we spent a stupid amount of money on the xantrex ws3012 and installation and the soon to come batteries to match were for spousal units coffee and a microwave breakfast, all so as to not be a 10 minute slight potential of a pain in a strangers ass when camped at a place where we'll never meet or even see exampled stranger while there, or ever again.

My stupidly expensive inverter is exactly the same as the money spent on solar except I'll idle that v10 for decades instead of installing solar.
I will eventually get a solar panel or two as I believe' one is none' and if I ever have to store for a prolonged period away from shore power, I'd be a fool to not have a right sized solar backup. I have small panels on the trucks and tractor and even my trailers for the winch batteries. I have a 150w system on the greenhouse because I bought it with a huge new battery included for fifty bucks at a yard sale.
Hell, I might even go completely stark raving rv solar if I get panels dirt dirt cheap. I'm open minded and I already have the stupidly expensive inverter. I passed on used 100w panels last year for 100 bucks each.



I used to have a huge 800w solar array on a tiny trailer. I didn't pay for it, the loss was the trailers previous owner. It had a ws3012 with solar and controllers of the utmost expense. I paid for the 2 year old toy hauler with the solar, for about half of book value and got the Solar for free. We LOVED it. We never turned on the generator except to excercise it. It ran the microwave and coffee pot at the same time any time we wanted it.

I am in no way against solar.
I am aware of how I have a deep animus for bandwagoneers.
I believe 80 percent of rv solar is a 'me too' thing.
If you have to find forced situations to use your solar... Guess what.


The 80 percent will adamantly deny.

This has been a LOT of words to clarify a stance of:
RV Solar adds value as a tirtiary system but has no added value as the added toy it is to most who've added it.

Punchline:
The cool kids don't dictate. Your needs dictate.
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Old 02-14-2020, 07:41 PM   #17
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I'm still debating with myself about a 200 watt solar system basically to support the residential fridge when we go to model airplane events that don't have power where we camp for several days at a time. On the flip side we often need AC anyway. One real test will be Oshkosh this summer with 10+ days of only generator power.
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Old 02-14-2020, 07:46 PM   #18
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I'm still debating with myself about a 200 watt solar system basically to support the residential fridge when we go to model airplane events that don't have power where we camp for several days at a time. On the flip side we often need AC anyway. One real test will be Oshkosh this summer with 10+ days of only generator power.
It is unbelievable how inexpensive an auto Gen start is.
I THINK a whisper 4000 onan is a three wire hookup spliced into the coaches normal start button.

That won't cure all of the ills but it'll charge your depleted batteries without you having to be there and do it again and again. AND they can be thermostatically controlled to kick your ac or heat on if you're not there.

Something to keep the fridge running is the perfect use for solar.
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Old 02-14-2020, 07:55 PM   #19
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We do have the Magnum generator auto start so its more a convenience and noise thing vs.a NEED. Which is why I'm still debating. I also suspect my attitude would change if the two coach batteries weren't crap that needs replacing. Right now they will run the fridge for about an hour off the inverter.
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Old 02-15-2020, 01:40 PM   #20
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I'm still debating with myself about a 200 watt solar system basically to support the residential fridge when we go to model airplane events that don't have power where we camp for several days at a time. On the flip side we often need AC anyway. One real test will be Oshkosh this summer with 10+ days of only generator power.

Quote:
Originally Posted by petefoss View Post
We do have the Magnum generator auto start so its more a convenience and noise thing vs.a NEED. Which is why I'm still debating. I also suspect my attitude would change if the two coach batteries weren't crap that needs replacing. Right now they will run the fridge for about an hour off the inverter.

You should look at fridge energy rating. Larger RV residential refrigerators (the models built for houses) use well over 1 kWh of energy daily (many around 2 kWh), and 200 Watts of solar panels wonít be enough. A rough estimate for 200 Watts of solar panels may be around 600 Watt-hours daily, and as far north as Oshkosh maybe less. Obviously youíd need good batteries regardless since they would need to power fridge for most of day/night.

Some of the new smaller RV-specific residential-type compressor refrigerators use much less power and should make it much easier to power solely with solar (provided favorable sunny weather conditions). Even so, the 10-cubic-foot DC compressor refrigerators require ~ 1 kWh, which means youíd need at least 300~400 Watt solar just to power fridge.
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