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Old 07-26-2013, 12:20 AM   #1
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Question regarding solar panels

I have a question about solar panels as they are totally new to me in what they can do. I'm wondering if a 20W panel would be sufficient to keep a 12V battery charged? We are not heavy power users when camping without power to the site. I wouldn't mind being able to keep the battery charged up though. The panel I was looking at is currently on sale and if it will do the job then I will pick one up.
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Old 07-26-2013, 03:17 AM   #2
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No, I had a 45 w panel and it didn't even touch it and I too don't use much power, if you're going to go solar, plan on making a worth while investment and get every thing you need to do it right, including the 6 volt deep cycle batteries, for me, I found it easier and cheaper just to buy a 2000w inverter generator and run it for an hour or so each day camping, that's my opinion
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Old 07-26-2013, 07:46 AM   #3
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As flyrotor mentioned, even a 45 watt system will not be enough. I would not invest in any system less than 100 watts. The panels do not operate at 100%, so 45 watts is at full sun light. I would go with at least a 100watt panel and you can always add another 100 watt panel if necessary. I have a 250 watt panel with a MPPT charge controller and 2 Trojan T-145 batteries. It completely charges the system by 2 or 3 PM each day. I plan on adding one more 250 watt panel to the TT. I do not use the 120VAC TT charge controler any more. The nice thing is that when I return home, i plug the TT panel into my home solar system and save some money there.
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Old 07-26-2013, 07:49 AM   #4
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A 20 W panel is just to maintain a battery.. it would be useless if you are trying to recharge.. U need a 100 watt minimum (with a charge controller) to do any real good.. Leave the generators to those that love stinky noisy things..
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Old 07-26-2013, 08:19 AM   #5
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Okay then...good advice. Sounds like it would have to be a minimum of 100 watts to even consider adding a solar panel system. Thanks everyone.
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Old 07-26-2013, 09:16 AM   #6
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Hi new rvguy, here is my post from a previous thread i started.

So far so good. I spent 3 nights boondocking with 2 propane tanks one for the fridge and hot water. The other one for my propane fire pit. Came back with enough propane left to go again. 2 golf cart batteries with one 40w solar panel and each day I went to bed with as much power as when I arrived. Used the water pump sparingly as well as using the lights only when necessary, they are all LED. We will have to use the campground bathrooms more often, because my small black tank was full by the time we left. Water was running low as well. I had to bring water in to refill the fresh tank. I'm very please with my set up now.
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Old 08-24-2013, 03:55 AM   #7
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A good primer on rv solar electric installations can be found at:

http://roadslesstraveled.us/rv-solar/
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Old 08-24-2013, 06:56 AM   #8
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I boondock often and use just a 7W solar panel to charge my batteries during the day. I run twin series 27 deep cycle 12V batteries and a Wagan 400W MSW inverter at night and watch TV and DVD movies and have never had a problem keeping batteries topped off during the day with my solar trickle charger. (that's right...7W)
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