Go Back   Thor Forums > Thor Tech Forums > Modifications and Updates
Click Here to Login
View Poll Results: Are Solar Panels Worth it?
Adding solar panels is a MUST! 7 18.92%
Add only if boondocking often. 18 48.65%
Add only if the RV is already prepped. 3 8.11%
Neutral. 4 10.81%
Not enough gained to deal with it / another system to maintain. 8 21.62%
Stay away from them! 0 0%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 37. You may not vote on this poll

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 08-28-2020, 05:09 PM   #41
I Think We're Lost!
 
Bob Denman's Avatar
 
Brand: Still Looking
Model: Tiffin Wayfarer 24 BW
State: New York
Posts: 16,271
THOR #8860
But it sure got you hooked: didn't it?
__________________

__________________
Good Sam Member 843599689
Current coach: Tiffin Wayfarer 24 BW
"History shows again and again; how Nature points out the folly of Man!"
Bob Denman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-28-2020, 05:28 PM   #42
Senior Member
 
Brand: Still Looking
State: Texas
Posts: 4,698
THOR #2121
Quote:
Originally Posted by taylorbob1 View Post


I realize that we’re drifting off-topic, but I wanted to add that my first RV experience was in 1970 as a teenager.
My parents owned a ’70 - Champion
It had an underpowered 318 Dodge chassis
No dash AC
No roof AC
It was truly a “hot metal box”

Exactly, many people camped without A/C and generators, and still do. Practically all tent campers make do without, and in Europe where it’s generally a little cooler most motorhomes don’t have A/C or generators. And many of those don’t have microwaves either, so electricity requirements are very low.

I know quite a few van owners who camp without A/C or generators by avoiding summer heat. It’s a choice made easier for them with solar to power refrigerators, pump, lights, fans, and electronic gadgets.

By the way, I’m spoiled and need my A/C so for now depend on shore power or small inverter generator. In the future I want a high-capacity battery bank, and solar won’t be enough to charge it anyway.


P.S. — I agree thread is drifting off topic, but adds badly-needed context to a subject matter that is not black and white.
__________________

__________________
Chance is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-28-2020, 08:02 PM   #43
Senior Member
 
Brand: DRV
Model: 44' Santa Fe
State: Montana
Posts: 334
THOR #2053
Not an RV story BUT=I am a retired electrical engineer. We have lived in the same place for over 40 years. Raised 3 kids here. 2800 sq ft, 100 year old farm house. IF I had installed solar on the place the first year and had 0 problems or equipment failures EVER we would have started to get "FREE" electricity last summer. That's in south central Nebraska. I found better ways to invest our money. Therefore we were able to afford retirement at 55, and enjoy the rv lifestyle. Again without solar. YEMV

Bill
__________________
If you are afraid to speak the truth out of fear of what others may think, it says a lot about who you are and what you will settle for.
Porkchop is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-29-2020, 09:35 PM   #44
gmc
Senior Member
 
gmc's Avatar
 
Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Hurricane 32A
State: Florida
Posts: 1,869
THOR #2829
Quote:
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)

Quote:
Originally Posted by lwmcguire View Post
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.

Actually current coaches have the disconnect on House/Coach - and not on the chassis/engine battery...
My 2000 Infinity had both a chassis and house disconnect, and spent winter in Michigan without power, under snow/ice with no issues... Easily could sit 2-3 months in that state.

My current Hurricane doesn’t have a chassis disconnect, but the house is still a complete disconnect.
If I didn’t have power nearby, I would have installed a chassis disconnect. The chassis can still sit for weeks...

Many find their house disconnects aren’t ‘complete’ - still leaving a parasitic draw... To me it is mis-wired, as there is by definition no one in the RV when in Store, and no source of ignition, so no need for any detectors, etc to be powered...
Easily fixed by adding a manual disconnect...
__________________
Greg
Not yet retired...
Florida (Michigan transplant)
2014 Hurricane 32A
2000 Infinity (previous)
gmc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-29-2020, 09:53 PM   #45
Senior Member
 
Brand: Thor Motor Coach
State: Missouri
Posts: 879
THOR #6903
Quote:
Originally Posted by gmc View Post
Actually current coaches have the disconnect on House/Coach - and not on the chassis/engine battery...
My 2000 Infinity had both a chassis and house disconnect, and spent winter in Michigan without power, under snow/ice with no issues... Easily could sit 2-3 months in that state.

My current Hurricane doesn’t have a chassis disconnect, but the house is still a complete disconnect.
If I didn’t have power nearby, I would have installed a chassis disconnect. The chassis can still sit for weeks...

Many find their house disconnects aren’t ‘complete’ - still leaving a parasitic draw... To me it is mis-wired, as there is by definition no one in the RV when in Store, and no source of ignition, so no need for any detectors, etc to be powered...
Easily fixed by adding a manual disconnect...
Interesting as most class A coaches are just the opposite. The switch by the door closes or opens the solenoid but that isn't a battery disconnect and catches many people by surprise. It does disconnect the battery banks and a number of items but don't completely disconnect the batteries.

The disconnect that is a true disconnect shuts off the Chassis batteries
__________________
lwmcguire is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-29-2020, 09:56 PM   #46
Senior Member
 
Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: '17-Vegas 24.1
State: California
Posts: 1,009
THOR #13362
These types of disconnects have been discussed on the Forum.
Both can be found on Amazon.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	B0203F83-D078-47F6-A1C9-3B1C1345D87B.jpg
Views:	16
Size:	95.0 KB
ID:	25854   Click image for larger version

Name:	F8AF4A37-F317-4F35-B6B3-1D81372A4586.jpg
Views:	20
Size:	85.3 KB
ID:	25855  

__________________
'17 Vegas 24.1
taylorbob1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-29-2020, 10:05 PM   #47
I Think We're Lost!
 
Bob Denman's Avatar
 
Brand: Still Looking
Model: Tiffin Wayfarer 24 BW
State: New York
Posts: 16,271
THOR #8860
I've got the bayonet disconnects on both input and output ground cables. The batteries are good for a Month; before they need some juice.
__________________
Bob Denman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-29-2020, 10:10 PM   #48
Senior Member
 
Brand: Still Looking
Model: Newmar Bay Star Sport 300
State: Alabama
Posts: 2,633
THOR #6826
I used a disconnect for years but one time this year the slide wouldn’t go out. Finally (finally!) traced it to corrosion in the disconnect. I’d read 12V just fine but it wouldn’t carry the current needed by the full wall slide. Argh. That’s when I decided to just add solar and skip the disconnect.
__________________
Pete'sMH is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-30-2020, 12:12 AM   #49
Senior Member
 
Brand: Thor Motor Coach
State: Massachusetts
Posts: 559
THOR #12830
Quote:
Originally Posted by Porkchop View Post
Not an RV story BUT=I am a retired electrical engineer. We have lived in the same place for over 40 years. Raised 3 kids here. 2800 sq ft, 100 year old farm house. IF I had installed solar on the place the first year and had 0 problems or equipment failures EVER we would have started to get "FREE" electricity last summer. That's in south central Nebraska. I found better ways to invest our money. Therefore we were able to afford retirement at 55, and enjoy the rv lifestyle. Again without solar. YEMV

Bill
Payed off the investment in five years. No electrical in last six, check for about $250 a quarter for four more years. And continued free electric. Then i’ll probably need a converter replacement. Good deal for me.
__________________
Yaktop is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-30-2020, 12:46 AM   #50
Senior Member
 
ducksface's Avatar
 
Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: 2018 24.1 AXISSIXxSIX
State: Arizona
Posts: 2,404
THOR #13932
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yaktop View Post
Payed off the investment in five years. No electrical in last six, check for about $250 a quarter for four more years. And continued free electric. Then i’ll probably need a converter replacement. Good deal for me.


The average person owns a home for 7 years.
That means they got back their money in five and saved a bit for two. That's ok
But:
I've NEVER HEARD of a five year payback ever.

You're a needle in a haystack.
__________________
Below is a link to most of my modifications either accomplished or pending.
https://www.thorforums.com/forums/f2...n-18996-3.html

Click on my pictures then click the pop-up for a full screen zoomable picture.
ducksface is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-30-2020, 01:03 AM   #51
Senior Member
 
Brand: Thor Motor Coach
State: Massachusetts
Posts: 559
THOR #12830
Quote:
Originally Posted by ducksface View Post
The average person owns a home for 7 years.
That means they got back their money in five and saved a bit for two. That's ok
But:
I've NEVER HEARD of a five year payback ever.

You're a needle in a haystack.
Fed tax credit and Mass srecs. 👍
__________________
Yaktop is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-02-2020, 07:10 PM   #52
Junior Member
 
GordSanClemente's Avatar
 
Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: ACE 30.3
State: California
Posts: 29
THOR #17673
Payback on solar can vary wildly based on a couple of items...

Where are you? Further north, less power. Days of clear days etc.

What is your price per KW? Some parts of the country have cheap power, others... not so much.

My buddy in Hawaii ended up below 5 years. That is why you see so many there.
Even our condo complex(in Hawaii) purchased solar for the common use areas. You know they looked at the payback pretty hard when you have to justify.
__________________
GordSanClemente is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-02-2020, 07:16 PM   #53
Senior Member
 
Brand: Thor Motor Coach
State: Massachusetts
Posts: 559
THOR #12830
Quote:
Originally Posted by GordSanClemente View Post
Payback on solar can vary wildly based on a couple of items...

Where are you? Further north, less power. Days of clear days etc.

What is your price per KW? Some parts of the country have cheap power, others... not so much.

My buddy in Hawaii ended up below 5 years. That is why you see so many there.
Even our condo complex(in Hawaii) purchased solar for the common use areas. You know they looked at the payback pretty hard when you have to justify.
Southern Massachusetts. Between the 30% Federal tax credit and the State Srecs this proved fruitful for us. With subsidy it would had been many years to break even but costs have come down a lot. Everyone needs to figure out there own but I wouldn't lease funder any circumstances for myself.
__________________
2017 Mercedes Chateau Citation 24SR, flat towing at times a 2013 Honda CRV or two Rad Power electric bikes depending on the trip.
Yaktop is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-02-2020, 08:13 PM   #54
Senior Member
 
Dilley Dilley's Avatar
 
Brand: Thor Motor Coach
State: California
Posts: 105
THOR #16919
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Mr Beaumont View Post
Like many, I have the solar prep kit but am unsure if installing the solar panels is worth the hassle. I will have the batteries on a battery maintainer when it isn't being used at home. If I'm on the road, I will be plugged in, driving or using the APU. The last three scenarios will be charging the batteries anyway if I understand correctly.

If I am boondocking without the APU or engine generator, will the solar panels keep up with the electrical withdraw. Most of that would be at night when using the lights which is when solar is no good anyway.
From the way you initially ask your question it sounds like you already made your determination that solar is a hassle And that you would be using other electrical sources anyway. If that’s the case then you’ve answered your own question. But, then when you explain your boondocking scenario there is a major flaw in your scenario. You need to consider solar as a house battery charging system. You are not going to be drawing power directly from the solar panels to the electrical items you are using. The solar provides the charge and the batteries are where the electricity is stored for use. Depending on how many house batteries one has and what electrical appliances are wired through the DC/AC inverter that will determine what you can accomplish. During the daytime when electricity is being used the solar is charging the batteries as electricity is being drawn out of them at the same time. Depending on the size of your solar and the size of your battery bank will determine if you have enough residual energy in the batteries to make it through the night. So if that sounds like too much of a hassle then I guess boondocking is out.
__________________
Brian Dilley
Retired Firefighter
California
2017 Thor Miramar 34.1
Crimson Quartz
Dilley Dilley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-02-2020, 11:20 PM   #55
MLP
Senior Member
 
Brand: Thor Motor Coach
State: California
Posts: 162
THOR #17478
Quote:
Originally Posted by EA37TS View Post
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.
I hope you are a woman talking about your man and not a man talking about your woman!

Now purchased solar panels from the previous owner. Will be putting them on later this year. They will keep the house and starter batteries topped off in storage even when disconnected with the house auto disconnect switch and the starter batteries manual switch. That is the way the previous owner had it set up. It is for storage that, since solar controller was already wired, I purchased the solar panels very cheep from him. The panels are 190W each and I have four. Boon docking I have only done once with my old fifth wheel. But cheep to install so why not.
__________________
MLP is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-02-2020, 11:39 PM   #56
Member
 
Bill Johnson's Avatar
 
Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Thor Ace 33.1
State: Illinois
Posts: 47
THOR #20274
solar controller

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Denman View Post
It really does depend upon your individual needs.
I will be adding a 350 watt kit that uses a pair of 175 watt flexible panels, and a 40 amp MPPT controller...
But there are other items ahead of it on the "Wish-List".
I just bought a new Thor ace 33.1. Anyone know where the controller is on this unit? I called Thor to find out many things about my motorhome and their tech didn't know anything. Low point drain on my motorhome I'm guessing is the outside shower. If I can find the solar controller I'll let everyone know how the solar works. My batteries were low when they tried to show me auto level even though the motorhome had been sitting in the sun for months. It came with one 100 watt panel on the roof
__________________
Bill Johnson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-02-2020, 11:42 PM   #57
Thor Palazzo 33.3 diesel
 
TurnerFam's Avatar
 
Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Palazzo 33.3 34'bunkhouse
State: Georgia
Posts: 2,402
THOR #4735
does it even HAVE solar?
__________________
TurnerFam is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-02-2020, 11:47 PM   #58
Thor Palazzo 33.3 diesel
 
TurnerFam's Avatar
 
Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Palazzo 33.3 34'bunkhouse
State: Georgia
Posts: 2,402
THOR #4735
with a single 100w solar panel, it might not even NEED any controller, though if it has one, it's probably right with the House Batteries, which it is attached to in order to charge them.

a single 100w panel is not going to go far in 'charging' the batteries, even with full sun - but it will help just a 'tiny' bit - just don't 'over expect' - it's not going to 'run' anything in the RV, either, it's only to help 'trickle charge' the batteries.
__________________
TurnerFam is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-02-2020, 11:54 PM   #59
Member
 
Bill Johnson's Avatar
 
Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Thor Ace 33.1
State: Illinois
Posts: 47
THOR #20274
Quote:
Originally Posted by TurnerFam View Post
with a single 100w solar panel, it might not even NEED any controller, though if it has one, it's probably right with the House Batteries, which it is attached to in order to charge them.

a single 100w panel is not going to go far in 'charging' the batteries, even with full sun - but it will help just a 'tiny' bit - just don't 'over expect' - it's not going to 'run' anything in the RV, either, it's only to help 'trickle charge' the batteries.
I was reading about a month ago that a 100 watt panel only puts out about 70 watts. Thor said I had a 30 amp controller somewhere. I looked down by the batteries and didn't see anything but the hydraulics for the levelers and two batteries and two large fuses
__________________
Bill Johnson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-03-2020, 12:30 AM   #60
Junior Member
 
Brand: Thor Motor Coach
State: Washington
Posts: 6
THOR #16395
Going solar

Using solar panels when shore power is not available is a good choice. I use a portable system so I don’t have to climb on top of the RV and adjust the panels every few hours. Plus I like to park in the shade as much as I can. Several companies sell folding dual panels and I would recommend no less than 100 watts. Solar charging during the day helps to recharge usage at night. I also went a step farther and replace my wet cells with lithium nickel batteries. Very pricey but well worth it. Less than half the weight and last 4x longer on a charge.

QUOTE=The Mr Beaumont;251415]Like many, I have the solar prep kit but am unsure if installing the solar panels is worth the hassle. I will have the batteries on a battery maintainer when it isn't being used at home. If I'm on the road, I will be plugged in, driving or using the APU. The last three scenarios will be charging the batteries anyway if I understand correctly.

If I am boondocking without the APU or engine generator, will the solar panels keep up with the electrical withdraw. Most of that would be at night when using the lights which is when solar is no good anyway.[/QUOTE]
__________________

__________________
Striderking is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by Thor Industries or any of its affiliates. This is an independent, unofficial site.




All times are GMT. The time now is 05:28 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Content Relevant URLs by vBSEO 3.6.0 PL2
×