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Old 03-07-2015, 09:00 AM   #1
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Solar/Refer question

We are picking up our new Pinnacle 36FBTS in a few weeks with the household refrigerator, which we have never had in previous trailers. We are also installing a 200 watt solar panel with four 6 volt batteries. I know that the refer will run about 16 hours with a 12 volt battery. What can we expect from the four 6 volts with solar? We live in Southern California so sun is not usually an issue, be when we travel I'd like to know what happens when we get 3 or 4 cloudy days and we are dry camping. From our experience, two 6 volt batteries have more power than one 12 volt and we just want to know what to expect. Any help is appreciated!

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Old 03-07-2015, 09:47 AM   #2
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You will need to provide some specific information about the amp hours of the batteries, and the amp usage of all of the devices connected

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Old 03-07-2015, 10:05 AM   #3
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The batteries are 231 amps each. I don't know amps of what we will be using, but it will be the refer, lights, water pump, slides. We use power very conservatively when dry camping.
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Old 03-07-2015, 10:55 AM   #4
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Without doing all your calculations of amp hours, etc. I think you will be a little light on solar panels. A rule of thumb is 100 watts per battery, which would equal 400 watts of solar for your four batteries.

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Old 03-07-2015, 04:04 PM   #5
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A general rule of thumb is if you have (4) 6VDC batteries, assuming that they are about 230Ahr rating (T105's) you have a total of 460Ahr. Of which, you can only use 230Ahr which is 50% (12VDC level.. close enough for government work).

The problem is you can not get any accurate suggestions as to what you need for batteries and or SOLAR, until you sit down with a pencil and paper and calculate your RV's loads. I have (2) T145 batteries for 260Ahr, and we make it.. but we calculated everything out before making the purchases. So that we can have a little more buffer zone, I am getting ready to add 2 more batteries and 2 more SOLAR panels for 770watts of SOLAR and 520Ahr of battery. Plenty for us,but maybe not enough for your lifestyle.

The summer sun is not an issue, but the real challenge is when you get out of summer and the SOLAR power starts to drop (a lot) and that is where you need the extras. If you mount your panels on the roof with no angle, your not going to get full power, throw in a few trees, clouds and you cut that down even more.. you only have about 2-3 full power hours of sun each day, after that it is about 50 - 70%, based on my charge controller history.

A SOLAR life style is a lot different than just plugging in a generator or shore power, you can kill your batteries in a short time($$$$) by running them down past the 50% level, and if they do not get charged above 90% you can cut even more time from their life.

When you get the new Pinnacle start calculating, get a KILL A WATT meter and plug your shore power into it (without AC of course).. this will give you a ballpark Kwh for the RV (#'s will be a little higher but close enough, will also be minus the inverter #'s). Then you can start looking at battery power needed.. and if SOLAR will be a good option for your life style, but do not rule out a generator for those extended cloudy/rainy days.

My TT's battery charge controller has been turned of since installing SOLAR, even saves a few electric $$$ when parked by the house.

Once your start adding solar, it is hard to stop:-)

Just my thoughts
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