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View Poll Results: Are Solar Panels Worth it?
Adding solar panels is a MUST! 11 20.75%
Add only if boondocking often. 22 41.51%
Add only if the RV is already prepped. 7 13.21%
Neutral. 4 7.55%
Not enough gained to deal with it / another system to maintain. 12 22.64%
Stay away from them! 0 0%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 53. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 08-27-2020, 03:27 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by EA37TS View Post
Boon docking or storage. For anything else donít waste the money.
Forget all that other crap I said.
The quote above is what I really meant.
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Old 08-27-2020, 03:49 AM   #22
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Solar

Not worth it to me. It won't run the air conditioners/heat pumps. Everything else will work on the inverter and the generator.
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Old 08-27-2020, 12:43 PM   #23
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Serious boondocking or battery maintaining have been documented as the two areas that are valid improvements
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Old 08-27-2020, 12:52 PM   #24
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I'm looking at it from the perspective that I'd prefer to get battery maintenance power from a "cleaner" source of energy.

...Not that I'm ready to "go green" just yet!
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Old 08-27-2020, 05:14 PM   #25
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I'm looking at it from the perspective that I'd prefer to get battery maintenance power from a "cleaner" source of energy.

...Not that I'm ready to "go green" just yet!
Same here, that's why we put solar on our main house. We certainly never expect that to pay for itself but, $20-$30 electric bills in the heat of a Texas summer aren't a bad thing.

Someone on here needs to come up with a roofing material for RVs that's nothing more than the flexible solar panel material. Kill two birds...
That And, figure out a way to only use energy efficient mini split DC powered A/Cs instead of those noisy rooftop units.
Surely in all these years RV A/Cs have had some sort of technological advancements? They seem to be stuck in the dinosaur days.
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Old 08-27-2020, 06:03 PM   #26
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I'm trying to keep track of what Elon Musk is doing up in "Solar City".
I think that his Solar Shingles are starting to look pretty viable in the marketplace.
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Old 08-27-2020, 07:11 PM   #27
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Same here, that's why we put solar on our main house. We certainly never expect that to pay for itself but, $20-$30 electric bills in the heat of a Texas summer aren't a bad thing.

Someone on here needs to come up with a roofing material for RVs that's nothing more than the flexible solar panel material. Kill two birds...
That And, figure out a way to only use energy efficient mini split DC powered A/Cs instead of those noisy rooftop units.
Surely in all these years RV A/Cs have had some sort of technological advancements? They seem to be stuck in the dinosaur days.

Modern RV air conditioners are available with much higher energy efficiency ratings than those from years ago. They are not stuck in past.

The challenges roof-top RV A/Cs face compared to others include size, weight, and cost. To improve efficiency like mini-splits requires larger heat exchangers that add significant size and weight. Those mini-split are huge and heavy for their capacity compared to RV units. For RVs, buyers want sleek low-profile units that donít stick 2 feet in the air above the roof.

Additionally, newer A/Cs use inverters or DC power to slow compressor and fans down as load on A/C decreases. This doesnít increase EER in itself, but can increase the SEER significantly. For an RV it wouldnít help much in middle of hot day, but it would help a lot to cool at night. We are now seeing inverter technology applied to small window air conditioners, and could easily be applied to RV air conditioners. The problem is that RVs generally donít get used enough for energy efficiency to matter as much as residential applications if one expects a payback. Itís only now that there is interest in powering RV air conditioners from batteries that A/C manufacturers are getting serious about offering higher-cost options that can reduce energy requirements.
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Old 08-28-2020, 03:50 AM   #28
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If you like the smell and noise of a generator donít get solar.😂😂
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Old 08-28-2020, 12:52 PM   #29
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Solar is NEVER the prime path for a power solution if you can use other sources.
I come from the sailing boat community and even there, when you need to spend 26 days to cross the Atlantic, solar is only part of the equation, wind and diesel generator supplying the big part of power.

There is a reason why solar have not taken over and the reason is that even with all the modern technical advances, a little 2000w gas generator is still way less expensive to run than solar.
On a bigger picture, cheap energy is what you want to improve people's life and solar is still not the solution even in that bigger aspect .
20 years to pay off is not a solution.
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Old 08-28-2020, 02:17 PM   #30
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If you like the smell and noise of a generator donít get solar.😂😂

This is key ó ďIFĒ solar can eliminate or drastically reduce generator usage, then adding solar is probably ďworth the hassleĒ.


Iíd start with an energy audit and see how realistic that goal is. Many people camp off the grid without generators so itís obviously achievable under right conditions.
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Old 08-28-2020, 02:57 PM   #31
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Those mini-split are huge and heavy for their capacity compared to RV units. For RVs, buyers want sleek low-profile units that donít stick 2 feet in the air above the roof.
Yeah, I'm not really sure in this scenario you'd ever want to put the thing on the roof as it is. Actually I was more thinking they could design a special unit just for RV use and not just buy a mini split off the shelf and slap it on an RV.

Surely a system could be built with a low profile horizontal condenser coil and fan, they use this setup on some commercial rooftops so obviously it can be done.

It is funny how RV manufactures are always so Reactive to people's demands and never Pro active. Our 2015 has 0 USB outlets in the entire unit, the very next year the things had USB everywhere. I'm pretty sure even in 2015 smart phones were kind of a thing. It's like the people that design these things never use them.
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Old 08-28-2020, 03:05 PM   #32
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If you like the smell and noise of a generator donít get solar.😂😂
If you like the smell of the sweaty body lying next to you in 95 degree heat use solar and not the generator running AC.
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Old 08-28-2020, 03:08 PM   #33
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...It is funny how RV manufactures are always so Reactive to people's demands and never Pro active. Our 2015 has 0 USB outlets in the entire unit, the very next year the things had USB everywhere. I'm pretty sure even in 2015 smart phones were kind of a thing. It's like the people that design these things never use them.
Design changes don't happen quickly.
In order for the design staff to implement a change: They've got to run it through the entire team in order to make sure that there aren't any unintended consequences.
They might be working two or three years out...
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Old 08-28-2020, 03:25 PM   #34
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I think I'm missing something on the storage argument...
Where I live 4-5 months of the year my boats and RV where in storage and my batteries would never discharge during that time and I never had it on trickle charge , just turn off the battery disconnect ...
Am I missing something on Motorhomes? (Its my first MH)
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Old 08-28-2020, 03:30 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by RACarvalho View Post
I think I'm missing something on the storage argument...
Where I live 4-5 months of the year my boats and RV where in storage and my batteries would never discharge during that time and I never had it on trickle charge , just turn off the battery disconnect ...
Am I missing something on Motorhomes? (Its my first MH)
What seems to catch most folks off guard on the motor homes is the disconnect switch on most is for the chassis batteries. The house batteries typically dont have one due to a few items that many like to leave powered up. That leads to battery banks being depleted and therefor the use of solar to maintain them.
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Old 08-28-2020, 03:51 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by RACarvalho View Post
I think I'm missing something on the storage argument...
Where I live 4-5 months of the year my boats and RV where in storage and my batteries would never discharge during that time and I never had it on trickle charge , just turn off the battery disconnect ...
Am I missing something on Motorhomes? (Its my first MH)
This may sound complex but rather than explain it here's a quote .....

You can store a sealed lead acid battery for up to 2 years. Since all batteries gradually self-discharge over time, it is important to check the voltage and/or specific gravity, and then apply a charge when the battery falls to 70 percent state-of-charge, which reflects 2.07V/cell open circuit or 12.42V for a 12V pack. (The specific gravity at 70 percent charge is roughly 1.218.) Lead acid batteries may have different readings, and it is best to check the manufacturerís instruction manual. Some battery manufacturer may further let a lead acid to drop to 60 percent before recharge

The only time you might really worry is if your lead acid battery levels got low in cold weather. The cold then sucks the energy out, they're liable to freeze and then it's game over.
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Old 08-28-2020, 04:02 PM   #37
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Yeah, I'm not really sure in this scenario you'd ever want to put the thing on the roof as it is. Actually I was more thinking they could design a special unit just for RV use and not just buy a mini split off the shelf and slap it on an RV.

Surely a system could be built with a low profile horizontal condenser coil and fan, they use this setup on some commercial rooftops so obviously it can be done.

It is funny how RV manufactures are always so Reactive to people's demands and never Pro active. Our 2015 has 0 USB outlets in the entire unit, the very next year the things had USB everywhere. I'm pretty sure even in 2015 smart phones were kind of a thing. It's like the people that design these things never use them.
Yeah, I knew what you meant, and wasnít thinking of literally placing a mini-split on RV roof.

I have seen videos of a few DO-IT-YOURSELFERS who have installed mini-splits on RVs by mounting condensing unit off the back of RV, but itís not something Iíd do.

The RV industry seems highly focused on lowering costs due to competition, and rooftop units are cheap. Unless thereís something else driving the need, weíll continue to see the standard RV A/C on most motorhomes and trailers.

There are central air conditioners that are installed on very high-end luxury motorhomes, but they havenít filtered down to regular RVs. That would add significant cost.

The only exception Iím aware of in US market is the 20,000 BTU/hr 12-Volt rooftop A/C that claims to have a much higher EER and can also run at partial capacity. It is very expensive compared to a regular Coleman, but itís designed and marketed for motorhomes powering the A/C directly from batteries. It takes a need that different to make the higher cost worthwhile because you can save even more on batteries and charging systems. And if added A/C efficiency extends run time, that has great value to many buyers. All this technology is being tested on higher-cost Class Bs with high-capacity lithium battery banks that eliminate conventional generators.
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Old 08-28-2020, 04:04 PM   #38
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If you like the smell of the sweaty body lying next to you in 95 degree heat use solar and not the generator running AC.
That would depend upon who is in that sweaty body...
I can think of a few... never mind!

We actually went to bed a couple of times this Summer when it was 96 degrees in the camper. We just opened up all of the windows, and ran all of the top vent fans. By morning we were pulling the covers back over us.
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Old 08-28-2020, 05:52 PM   #39
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I realize that weíre drifting off-topic, but I wanted to add that my first RV experience was in 1970 as a teenager.
My parents owned a í70 - Champion
It had an underpowered 318 Dodge chassis
No dash AC
No roof AC
It was truly a ďhot metal boxĒ
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Old 08-28-2020, 06:08 PM   #40
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I'm looking at it from the perspective that I'd prefer to get battery maintenance power from a "cleaner" source of energy.

...Not that I'm ready to "go green" just yet!

Making power Baby!! It's my new high! ha

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