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Old 06-19-2016, 03:28 PM   #21
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Well, we are leaving Friday for two weeks in Glacier, so I should be able to give a good report on it. We are staying in the National Park Campgrounds, no hook ups, so it will be a good test. We'll set up the panels to catch the sun while we are off hiking. We'll have the generator with us just in case, or if the dw feels the need for the hair drier one day, or if we need air conditioning while over niggling on the way out our back.
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Old 06-29-2016, 08:27 PM   #22
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Update from 3rd day of use in Fish Creek Campground in Glacier National Park:

My site kind of sucks for solar. Can only get a couple hours of direct sun. Tried several places and all end up shaded quickly. If I had 25' extension cables, I'd be better off by getting the panels out behind the 5th.. But even with the less than stellar conditions, my 200 watts have been keeping my batteries pretty close to 90%. One day we were down to 75%. This has been with just parasitic loads, fridge on propane and reasonable usage of lights. I never would have had enough juice to run my half fridge off an inverter full time like I was considering (I'll have to catch up on how Klassic is getting by). So the good thing is that we are replacing what we are using everyday and i don't have to worry about getting to the campground for generator hours.

We are moving to St. Mary's tomorrow, so we'll see what kind of solar conditions I have there.

The poor gentleman across from me has learned the pitfalls of a deep cycle/marine battery and less than adequate chargers built into campers. I gave him some gas since I haven't had to run my generator, other than to run some 110v items occasionally.
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Old 06-29-2016, 08:39 PM   #23
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My 260 watts cannot replace what I used with the residential fridge.
I need to see if filling the fridge/freezer with many days of food instead of 2 days will help. I'm going for 10days this weekend. I'll have shore power, but I can test again, I will be in full sun all day.
But if I had a partially shaded site like you just described, then there is no way.

So far I can last 1 day...through the night..until the next evening. If I didn't have a reserve 12v battery, then I would never get it back on the truck and the slides closed.
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Old 06-30-2016, 09:27 PM   #24
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At our new site in St Mary now. Lots of open space. I should be able to harvest direct sunlight
from shortly after sunrise until about 7 pm. We'll see how the numbers go here.

One thing is for certain, I need to add a fantastic vent to the vent in the bedroom, and likely the one in the bathroom. That will up my power consumption.
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Old 07-01-2016, 03:00 AM   #25
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Thanks for sharing the info guys. A swamp cooler could be a good solution for keeping cool. They can run on solar. We always move around so we never know what kind of site we will get but we usually have power so solar isn't always an issue for us. Just a few times a year we camp without power but that's enough to make me want one.
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Old 07-03-2016, 11:12 AM   #26
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Sunday morning

Panels are getting sun pretty much all day here. At night, I tilt them towards sunrise, then lay them flat when we leave for the day, then tilt them towards the sunset when we get back.

Mostly normal electricity usage, but yesterday, ran the Bedroom slide in and out, plus used the water pump to country fill five 6 gallon jugs of water through the system and a couple hours watching a DVD while powering the TV through a cheap 400 Watt inverter. Batteries were still in great shape this morning.

I've been really happy with the results so far!!

With my experience so far, my future plans are to keep this as a portable system. I'm going to add 25' extension cables to my arsenal, make a stand for the panels (pvc piping probably) and may consider upgrading the controller at some point.

I think I'm going to add an inverter as well. Mainly to run the TV and still toying with the idea of running the outside half fridge....

I'll update my post in the solar community when I get home.
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Old 07-15-2016, 09:20 PM   #27
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After getting home from Glacier, I decided to pull my system apart to make the layout better and clean things up a touch. I originally had done it in a hurry without much thought to layout. So this time I planned a bit more and made it cleaner.

Finished product is attached.

I'll take this outside tomorrow and install it. I am going to tap into the solar on the side wiring. I'll pull it from the auto breaker it's currently connected to and attach it to my junction blocks to feed the controller. This will allow me to hook up my panels through the solar on the side connector and not have to run wires through an open compartment door.

It will also allow it to be removable. I'm going to loan it out for some friends to try while they go on a long trip.

I'll add install pictures after I get it in.
Attached Thumbnails
20160715_213728.jpg  
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Old 07-15-2016, 09:49 PM   #28
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Looking good man! I'm planning to go in and "pretty" up some wiring tomorrow as well. Glad your system got all sorted out. My battery waterer is showing up tomorrow, noticed one of my new batteries is only just over the plates where the others are topped off. Keep on top of those batteries, I've read horror stories from lack of maintaining them.
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Old 07-15-2016, 10:27 PM   #29
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Do you have a link to your battery waterer Screwby?
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Old 07-16-2016, 08:23 PM   #30
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Got things done today!

Got my revised and cleaned up system installed. For any newcomers, It is my 200 watt Renogy Starter kit that I am using as a portable system. Includes two 100 watt mono panels, a 30 amp Wanderer Charge Controller and the mc4 cables. I had installed it hastily before our summer trip and redid it to be a bit cleaner.

I replaced the wire from my solar on the side connector. I got a chunk of interior 8/3 wire and hooked that to the connector and then ran it overhead to my charge controller hooked in through the junction posts. I can now plug my panels into the solar on the side port.

I also added hinges connecting my 2 solar panels. They'll fold up for storage in the original box with foam in between the glass. I wanted them connected for ease of handling.

The only thing left to do is to make a stand for the panels for tilting. Still need to figure out what I want to do for this.

I'm pretty happy with how everything is laid out now. Just need to get out to do more dry camping now!

Attached pictures show:
The mounted charge controller and wiring. This is behind my battery compartment.
The new wiring between my solar on the side connector and my charge controller.
The hinges added to my panels.
Attached Thumbnails
20160716_172510.jpg   20160716_172547.jpg   20160716_172519.jpg   20160716_181036.jpg   20160716_181349.jpg  

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