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Old 08-02-2020, 01:54 PM   #1
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solar power

Will my 100 watt solar panel keep my house battery charged at night? I shouldn't be using that much power during the day, so I wonder if it stores power for use at night?
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Old 08-02-2020, 02:02 PM   #2
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That's a good question... but it's one that we can't answer just yet.
What model coach do you have, and what will you be running during the overnight hours?
Do you have a residential refrigerator?
Will you be running your air conditioner(s)?

Give us a few more details,m and you'll have all sorts of opinions popping up in here!
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Old 08-02-2020, 07:19 PM   #3
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100w is not a lot and, of course that is itís optimal output. If there is any shade or cloudiness the output will fall off dramatically. A rainy day could put you into a deficit that 100w canít recover from. It might be adequate if all you need is to run a few lights for an hour or two before bed. Bob is right, we need to know what will be using your battery at night. Any solar web site should link to a calculator that will help you determine how much solar you need to meet your needs. Good luck
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Old 08-02-2020, 07:29 PM   #4
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I'm looking at a pair of 175 watt panels for the roof of mine. They'll keep the batteries charged during storage, and allow me fewer hours of running the generator when we're not hooked up to shore power.
(One a/c unit, and a three-way fridge)
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Old 08-03-2020, 01:51 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Bob Denman View Post
That's a good question... but it's one that we can't answer just yet.
What model coach do you have, and what will you be running during the overnight hours?
Do you have a residential refrigerator?
Will you be running your air conditioner(s)?

Give us a few more details,m and you'll have all sorts of opinions popping up in here!
I have a Freedom Elite 22HEC. I would like to run some lights, and the fridge would be nice.
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Old 08-03-2020, 02:27 PM   #6
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I am certainly no expert on all of this.
(I'm still deep in the learning process also...)
But a couple of 100 watt panels should do the trick for you.
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Old 08-03-2020, 02:38 PM   #7
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Will my 100 watt solar panel keep my house battery charged at night? I shouldn't be using that much power during the day, so I wonder if it stores power for use at night?
100 watts is around 5 or 6 amps of power during day with good light.

what you trying to run? just one battery?

I have 200 watts of panels, four house batteries and it can keep the frig running all the time, lights, TV.

These RVs have ton of ghost power sucking off the nipple also! I got most of my isolated now!
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Old 08-03-2020, 04:04 PM   #8
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I have a Freedom Elite 22HEC. I would like to run some lights, and the fridge would be nice.

Lights yes, fridge no.

Your motorhome should have a propane refrigerator which can operate on electricity, but if you try that, it will require around 300 Watts of power (more or less). Absorption refrigerators are not very efficient when running on electricity.

With 100 Watts of solar panels, on a good day, you may get enough electricity to power an absorption fridge an hour or two. I would not even try it. Leave the fridge on propane unless youíre connected to shore power, or are driving and your batteries are already 100% charged (in which case alternator can run fridge while driving).

Refrigerators designed to run on minimum of electricity so they can operate on reasonable amount of solar are compressor refrigerators (similar to residential) and not absorption, which uses electricity to make heat in place of propane flame.

The most efficient compressor refrigerators run directly off 12V battery so they donít even require an inverter. Your motorhome model suggests you have a propane absorption fridge, and if so, I would not try boondocking on electricity. Itís not worth the tiny bit of propane youíd save.
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Old 08-03-2020, 04:13 PM   #9
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I'm looking at a pair of 175 watt panels for the roof of mine. They'll keep the batteries charged during storage, and allow me fewer hours of running the generator when we're not hooked up to shore power.
(One a/c unit, and a three-way fridge)
It is nice, 200 watts keeps our 5 batteries always charged up!
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Old 08-03-2020, 04:14 PM   #10
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The absorption Fridges need 12 volt power to monitor the temperature...
Power use is pretty minimal.
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Old 08-03-2020, 04:21 PM   #11
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Control power is indeed very minimal, but when new-to-RVing people try to cool the fridge from batteries (assuming the fridge has that capability), results are usually dead batteries. Itís just not practical or worth the propane one can save.
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Old 08-03-2020, 04:25 PM   #12
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Switch to propane, and all is good...
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Old 08-03-2020, 09:08 PM   #13
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Switch to propane, and all is good...
Thanks everyone, I'll make sure my refrigerator is running on propane.
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Old 08-03-2020, 09:25 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Chance View Post
Lights yes, fridge no.

Your motorhome should have a propane refrigerator which can operate on electricity, but if you try that, it will require around 300 Watts of power (more or less). Absorption refrigerators are not very efficient when running on electricity.

With 100 Watts of solar panels, on a good day, you may get enough electricity to power an absorption fridge an hour or two. I would not even try it. Leave the fridge on propane unless youíre connected to shore power, or are driving and your batteries are already 100% charged (in which case alternator can run fridge while driving).

Refrigerators designed to run on minimum of electricity so they can operate on reasonable amount of solar are compressor refrigerators (similar to residential) and not absorption, which uses electricity to make heat in place of propane flame.

The most efficient compressor refrigerators run directly off 12V battery so they donít even require an inverter. Your motorhome model suggests you have a propane absorption fridge, and if so, I would not try boondocking on electricity. Itís not worth the tiny bit of propane youíd save.
Sounds to me like there's a mis-understanding...

His Fridge is a propane or electric Dometic (I believe).
And, unless he added an integrated inverter to his electrical system that can run the fridge, he can only run the fridge on electricity if he's plugged into shore power or he's running the generator. Otherwise, the fridge runs on propane (using very little battery, as someone above referenced).

So, the 100 watt panel will be more than enough to keep your one house battery charged (during day-light hours), while also charging the chassis battery.

And while sitting at night without shore power or generator, your fridge will be running on propane and you should have plenty of juice to hold you until the next day.
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Old 08-03-2020, 11:54 PM   #15
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Sounds to me like there's a mis-understanding...

His Fridge is a propane or electric Dometic (I believe).
And, unless he added an integrated inverter to his electrical system that can run the fridge, he can only run the fridge on electricity if he's plugged into shore power or he's running the generator. Otherwise, the fridge runs on propane (using very little battery, as someone above referenced).

So, the 100 watt panel will be more than enough to keep your one house battery charged (during day-light hours), while also charging the chassis battery.

And while sitting at night without shore power or generator, your fridge will be running on propane and you should have plenty of juice to hold you until the next day.
I looked up his fridge and specs only stated propane and electric. There is no mention of whether itís a 2-Way or 3-Way absorption fridge. However, since he mentioned that heíd like to be able to power from solar (meaning battery) power, I assumed 12V is an option. Regardless of whether itís a 3-Way fridge or 2-Way powered by inverter, itís a bad idea to run from batteries while boondocking instead of from propane.
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Old 08-04-2020, 12:13 AM   #16
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A two-way Fridge runs on 120, or propane.
A three-way adds 12 volt power to the equation.
But when they're running on the gas: they still use 12 volt power only for the purpose of temperature monitoring.
But the propane does the heavy-lifting.
Three-way Fridges use their batteries not only for temperature monitoring; but also for cooling.
Just like they'd use 120. :thumb
I've got a three-way, and it's a real trip to fire it up.
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Old 08-08-2020, 07:05 PM   #17
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For us, in Ireland where its never that sunny, I find 2 x 100w panels, 2 x 110ah batteries and a 2000w inverter is plenty. This allows lights on and TV watching for 3 or 4 hours, I have added a Propex gas/blower heater, much more efficient that the standard one, and we can have it on also if it gets cool.
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Old 08-08-2020, 07:44 PM   #18
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Thanks everyone, I'll make sure my refrigerator is running on propane.
The best advice I've gotten from this forum was to buy a State-of-Charge battery monitor. Somebody here said "once you get one of those, all your power questions are answered for you". Man, was he right.

After I installed four AGM batteries and a 2500W inverter, I wanted to know exactly how much power each appliance uses and how long my batteries would last. When you have an inverter, that includes both 120vac and 12vdc appliances because they both ultimately draw from the battery bank when there no shore power and the generator isn't running.

A State-of-Charge meter has a "shunt" installed in series with the negative terminal of the battery. No current is able to enter or leave your batteries without being measured by the SoC calculator. It knows the type and capacity of your battery bank and how deeply you will allow it to be discharged. By simple math, it is able to calculate how long your batteries will last under specific conditions. This is far a superior method compared to just taking a voltage reading.

Any time I think about it, I can press a button on my Victron BMV-700 to see the percent of battery remaining, the current flowing into or out of my battery bank, and how many hours my batteries will last under the current load.

After I got the SoC installed, I ran some tests and learned exactly how much DC power each device draws in Watts:
  • 2 . . CO/LP detector
  • 46 . Inverter with no load
  • 44 . Jensen 12vdc TV, 32"
  • 26 . six overhead LED lamps
  • 17 . stove hood light
  • 16 . stove hood fan
  • 18 . dashboard radio
  • 90 . awning motor
  • 6 . . under awning LED lights
  • 20 . water pump
  • = = = = = (from here down are 120vac devices)
  • 1465 Air Conditioner
  • 40 . . coffee maker
  • 42 . . 19v laptop charger
  • 320 . ammonia drip Reefer
In a future post, I'll take some measurements of the charging current from various sources such as the stock converter, the charger integrated into the AIMS inverter, the vehicle alternator at idle, and the vehicle alternator at highway speeds. I don't yet have any solar panels to test but they are on my wish-list.

I can tell you that the best thing about having a good inverter is being able to drive long distances with your reefer running on AC power. The vehicle alternator can almost keep up if there aren't too many other devices running. A couple of solar panels would definitely help on a clear day. Solar power is free but gasoline isn't.
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Old 08-08-2020, 08:06 PM   #19
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Control power is indeed very minimal, but when new-to-RVing people try to cool the fridge from batteries (assuming the fridge has that capability), results are usually dead batteries. Itís just not practical or worth the propane one can save.
My electric frig runs like a champ! 88 watts!

4 house batteries
2k inverter
200 watts of solar power.

runs all the time!! Cause My beer is always cold!
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Old 08-08-2020, 08:07 PM   #20
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100 w panel

I have 6 - 100 watt panels under test with fairly good instrumentation.
Only under perfect conditions will you ever get 100 watts output--
in my experience even under good conditions you can hope for 50 watts or maybe a little more... so you have to know the load you are trying to supply.
Incandescent lighting can draw a lot of power compared to LED lighting.
Suppose you have 4 batteries each being a top of the line AGM 12 v battery rated at say 250 amp hrs. These would be unusually big batteries for the typical Rv. First off you should normally not draw your batteries below 50% capacity or life span shortened significantly. SO best case 125 amp hrs x 4 batteries x 12 v = 6000 watt hrs. under best conditions. Consider your 100 w panel. under BEST conditions maybe 60w x 5 = 300 watts input to your battery. All batteries have some degree of self discharge. So single panel 100w panel is barely going to provide some lights and a refrigerator would be almost hopeless.... Just my 2 cents
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