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Old 08-05-2018, 03:48 PM   #41
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The problem with the flex panels is they are amorphous cells which peel off the backing.
While they can be glued the problem is the heat build up. As panel temp increases output goes down.
Some folks ty-rap the flex panels to pvc frames as portables with some success.
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Old 08-07-2018, 04:51 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by jpmihalk View Post
Here is our roof (taken from my drone) leaving room for more panels.
Attachment 11810

:::jealous:::
Beautiful setup!
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Old 08-07-2018, 05:04 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by Calico View Post
:::jealous:::
Beautiful setup!
Thanks!
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Old 08-07-2018, 05:09 PM   #44
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John,
Do you ever get the impression that the birds consider solar panels to be nothing more than targets?
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Old 08-07-2018, 05:25 PM   #45
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John,
Do you ever get the impression that the birds consider solar panels to be nothing more than targets?
Hahaha... with as much rain as we have had lately here in NYS, not so much. Plus it is parked out in the open and not in the shade under trees or wires... But I like where you are going with this... I need to draw a bullseye on the roof just for fun.
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Old 08-07-2018, 06:05 PM   #46
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I have 2 360 AH Trojan 6v batteries. I have 3 160 watt panels, a 3000 watt inverter, Morningstar controller with remote, 6 g wiring run in flex conduit, 2/0 between inverter andbatteries. Everything is fused.

I just finished 5 days dry camping with the wife and two teenage granddaughters. We run toasters, TV, DVD, -hone chargers, slide, hair dryers, curlers, hair straighteners, air pumps; everything but the AC and the converter. Never started the generator. Solar panels should go directly to the battery. Oversized the wiring and be happy. Oversize the controller and be happy. Undersize something be sad. I have literally no loss, well 0.01. Iíve seen 27 amps ~ my theoretical.

Iíve seen installers use 16 g wiring from panel to controller, 14 gauge from controller to inverter tie in. System didnít work. This was a trailer with a 20 to 25í run from the battery to the inverter with factory wired 12 g.

There are several on line voltage calculators. Use them. Factory presided usually goes to the inverter not the batteries.

You can figure 1 watt solar for each Ah of battery. I went slightly over that.
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Old 08-09-2018, 09:14 PM   #47
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right, but it would probably take you 3 to 5 years of running the generator Ďevery-now-and-thení to offset the great up-front costs of solar versus the little fuel the generator uses... it is very efficient, and youíve already paid for it - so make use if it before you put more money into other things that might not have the net-effect you are thinking they do. Itís not the magic pill many assume.

I have both, and speak from experience
He's right. Look up (Google) cost vs. benefit of RV solar compared to a generator and the pay back period will certainly disappoint. Be sure to reference more than two sources.

If the goal is peace and quiet, still getting a battery charge and the sun is in a good mood most of your travels, then you're talking opportunity cost - the cost of spending money on peace and quiet vs. dumping it in the gas tank. The angle of the panels is important. Someone stated 8 hours of sun. In reality, you will only get maximum exposure for about 3-4 hours out of the day given absolutely clear skies. A tilt mechanism will help increase that time and that puts you on the roof twice a day. It'll be really nice when tilt panels can mounted with a motor and follow the sun like they do in a solar farm (yeah baby!).
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Old 08-09-2018, 10:11 PM   #48
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yes, and not to be terribly 'dissuasive' of the Solar debate, but it's actually more of a cost to most than the benefit it is prescribed to 'give'...there are just too many variables....

but, with a generator, as 'loud' as they may seem to be(not really, but that's certainly the general perception!), it is really a simple and easy power source - ready when you are, no matter whether Sun or not... use it for only 30 minutes, as needed, or let it run 24/7 as a few might do.

The Solar discussion will always continue, as many of us DO like it's 'quiet' power, but the true nature of solar in 'mobile' situations, like RVs are, is just not a scenario where you can use the same 'numbers' most people do to justify the Solar up-front cost. It 'feels' good, but it's also a little hard to quantify it's true benefits, compared to not having it and using your generator instead.
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Old 08-09-2018, 10:22 PM   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Forest Grump View Post
I have 2 360 AH Trojan 6v batteries. I have 3 160 watt panels, a 3000 watt inverter, Morningstar controller with remote, 6 g wiring run in flex conduit, 2/0 between inverter andbatteries. Everything is fused.
I just finished 5 days dry camping with the wife and two teenage granddaughters. We run toasters, TV, DVD, -hone chargers, slide, hair dryers, curlers, hair straighteners, air pumps; everything but the AC and the converter. Never started the generator. Solar panels should go directly to the battery. Oversized the wiring and be happy. Oversize the controller and be happy. Undersize something be sad. I have literally no loss, well 0.01. Iíve seen 27 amps ~ my theoretical.
There are several on line voltage calculators. Use them. Factory presided usually goes to the inverter not the batteries.
It's much better to over-design, and under-repent: than find yourself in the reverse situation...
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Old 08-09-2018, 11:01 PM   #50
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Isn't the real benefit of solar for periods of extended dry camping and off the beaten path when no one or nothing else is around? That's when running the generator for intermittent periods would be fine and by my standards, a pleasure. Mine is very quiet and the exhaust is way up front behind the front left tire. I also carry a Champion 3100 for short bursts of power for microwave, hair dryer, battery charging, etc. I use generator mostly for A/C and just to keep it running periodically. Based on my use, the cost of solar will buy tons of diesel. There are those environmentalist that see things different and that's OK...to me, tree huggin' only gets ants in your pants.
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Old 02-19-2019, 07:54 PM   #51
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Solar System for a 2015 Thor 23H Freedom Elite

We are in Northern Florida and have been looking into what we would need for a 500-watt system. Pricing has been all over the lot with installed backed up for months. Our RV came with the "standard" WFCO WF-8900 Series power center. Can anyone point us to a company who can sort out what components we need?

Last year we spent several months NM/AZ 4 days per week "off the grid" and ran low on gas a few times even with our "back up" Honda 2000i generator. We installed Deka 6v deep cycle batteries which have worked well. We spent two nites a week in State Parks hooked to shore power to top off batteries but would like a little more freedom from "The Grid". Suggestions?

Many Thanks
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Old 02-19-2019, 08:22 PM   #52
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I been looking into a small solar system for my RV.

Why did you desided on "500 watts"? Are you going to add two more batteries anytime soon? 500 watts is overkill for just two batteries.

200 watts should be fine (you can always add more later esp if you add two more 6V batteries).

Your WFCO converter chargers if fine so you dont have to mess with that.

So really all you need is like TWO (or more?) solar panels on your roof, wired down to a fuse/curcuit breaker then to a Solar contoler (PWM or MPPT) then another fuse / Curcuit breaker then wired to the batteries. I might have simplifed it some but basicly that all you have. You could add some sort of blue tooth monitor and/or inside displays and a battery temp probe.

So first you need decide how big of a system you "need" or "Want" and how many batteries you want to charge, then decided on which solar controller (I like MPPT the best) then how many bells and whistles you want.

Plus how much money you want to spend and if you can install your self or if you know of some buddies that can help you OR find a local company that install solar by you (Perhaps the local RV dealer if you trust them).
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Old 02-19-2019, 08:24 PM   #53
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well, I can't help you with finding 'someone' to do your install, but I will admit that by your own admission of wanting to 'off grid' for longer without the 'hassles' of propane and generator fuel, etc., you'll need quite a bit of 'solar' and, even more importantly, much more battery storage(more batteries)... you can have a lot of solar, but if you have nowhere to store that 'mid day' power generation, you've really wasted the power of the panels. More batteries, though, is not what most folks want to hear, they only hear 'solar panels' and make that their priority rather than where they are going to store it.


enjoy : )


batteries, batteries, batteries...galore!
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Old 02-19-2019, 08:35 PM   #54
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I like the idea of being independent of 'the grid', but the realities of a mobile home creates issues to make that a reality, UNLESS you are really parked somewhere for a long time where you have the ability to have solar panels OFF the RV, and even battery banks not necessarily 'installed' within the coach, such as in a storage shed, or such.

Homes and cabins that are off grid many times have plenty of roof space to handle the number of panels to provide the amount of amps they need, or they have enough 'yard space'... they also don't have the typical issues of the weight of a large battery bank, like we do, or even 'where' to put those batteries. RVs have a tough time with all of this, unless your RV is parked somewhere where this same design is more possible.

I saw something a while back that peaked my own interest about how to better design the ability for RVs, motorhomes in particular, to 'carry' their own portable Solar energy systems. There are several manufacturers of 'portable' solar trailers that are designed not only for corporate needs where shore power is not nearby, such as at a new construction site, but also for anyone wanting to 'carry' or tow their own solar system trailer - with it's solar panels mounted not only on the roof of the trailer, but also tiltable arrays that travel on the sides of the trailer, and the self-enclosed interior which is roomy and well designed for the battery bank and the Inverter(s) and solar controllers, etc.
Those options sound able to potentially provide a 'portable' off-grid capability for those truly wanting a 'mobile' off-grid lifestyle, even powering air conditioning and heating.
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Old 02-19-2019, 08:45 PM   #55
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Solar System for a 2015 Thor 23H Freedom Elite

Many thanks! Man that was fast! Our two batteries are on a rack system under our stairs........ where I could fit two more batteries is the question of the day.

Understood MPPT controllers are more $$ but quicker charge rate,etc. 500 watt system was based on 1 watt ='s 1 amp. Two Deka 230 amp batteries or 460. I also viewed several online blogs with systems needs, etc. to come up with 500 watts. We are new to this and can't locate anyone around here to help. I ran out of Camping World back in April after they quoted me $175.00 to switch out factory locks on our basement,elec connection, dump valves....4 locks!

Thanks for the feedback. Very much appreciated.
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Old 02-19-2019, 09:22 PM   #56
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Ok, I see what your saying. I also have TWO 6v 220 amp battery. So thats 440 in 6 volt but only 220 in 12volt configuratoin.

So you only have 230 amp hours.... so 200 - 250 watts of solar is enough.
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Old 02-19-2019, 09:28 PM   #57
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I been looking at replacing all of my outside storage locks as well (all 10 of them) and amazon sells kits for $50 for all 10 locks - all keyed the same way. You have to measure the lenght of the shaft and make sure they are the ride size etc. But it should only take you 10 - 15 min per a lock to replace yourself. Not rocket science.

Dont pay anyone to do that lock job. Save it for your solar install.

And on the solar install....I would get your son/son in-law/neigbor (ETC) to help you with it. Just look at a ton of you tube and read all you can about it the install .... its not very hard IMO.

And you always have use here to help you with any question.
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Old 02-19-2019, 09:53 PM   #58
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Originally Posted by Long & Winding road View Post
Ok, I see what your saying. I also have TWO 6v 220 amp battery. So thats 440 in 6 volt but only 220 in 12volt configuratoin.

So you only have 230 amp hours.... so 200 - 250 watts of solar is enough.
I've got two 180 AH batteries... Does that mean I should be looking for about a 400 watt setup?
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Old 02-19-2019, 11:34 PM   #59
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6 volt? 2x180 = 360 but divide by 2 in order to convert to 12 volt so you at 180.

No.... The general rule is 1watt per 1 amp hour. So 200 amp hou= 200 watts.... So 200 watts of solar is what I would look at for you.
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Old 02-26-2019, 05:06 PM   #60
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Originally Posted by Long & Winding road View Post
6 volt? 2x180 = 360 but divide by 2 in order to convert to 12 volt so you at 180.

No.... The general rule is 1watt per 1 amp hour. So 200 amp hou= 200 watts.... So 200 watts of solar is what I would look at for you.
Remember, with AGM/Lead Acid batteries, you should NEVER use more than 50% of the available AH of the batteries without damaging the battery bank. So if you have 180AH of 12V battery bank (2 @ 180AH 6V in series), you should ONLY use 90AH before charging (Shore, Generator, idling). Then you are only replenishing the 90AH used, and can get away with less solar.



All that being said, Solar panels are relatively cheap (at about $1 per watt), I would buy more solar for when you have to replace your battery bank, then choose larger AH/storage capacity or even the Cadillac of storage.... lithium.
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