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Old 02-10-2016, 03:15 PM   #11
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We are light electricity users in general. It is only about the toddlers / kids and their needs where I see potentially higher power consumption. I would like to build a system with some power margin. One of the reasons is that I would like to use 30% solar tax credit, so it makes sense to invest more now into lithium batteries than later.

As I mentioned, I am planning to install at least 200Ah lithium inside the trailer. If it would be OK to run AC with 300-400Ah, I would go for it. Just trying to learn for people who know more than I do. I am not afraid about abusing batteries. I always care about my things
400Ah is not going to get you very much AC and the backside of that is your batteries will be drained considerably for any night time use. The RV AC can draw 16 amps when the compressor is running and depending on how long it stays running that equates to 16 amps @ 110VAC = 1760 watts, now convert that to 12VDC (1760 Watts / 12VDC = 146 amps of power being drawn from your batteries (by your inverter) while the compressor is running. If the outside temp is around 90, you can bank on the AC running for at least 30 - 40 minutes an hour as TT are not well insulated and if the windows are facing the sun they generate over 100 degrees of radiant heat into the TT (hint window awnings are well worth their $$). Well you can do the math, that is not good for the batteries. Constantly doing a fast drain on deep cycle batteries will shorten their life, they are designed for a slow long term drain, unlike car batteries.

There is not enough room on the roof of your TT full of SOLAR panels to keep your AC running.. For AC there is no way around a generator... or is there another posibility... Ahhhh but wait... being that it is dry heat in CA, you are a prime candidate for a SWAMP COOLER.. yes they do work in a dry climate.. down here in FL they would be totally useless (HUMIDITY). Look into it. DIY TV had a program on them about a year ago (a home made one from scratch) and had fantastic results with it. Look into buying or making one. Now SOLAR can handle the swamp cooler fan with no issues at all. Being in CA it will be WELL WORTH THE RESEARCH!!!

I would recommend using GridTie Panels (high voltage) as they start producing usable power a lot sooner that the lower voltage panels. I would not look at anything less than 500 to 800 Watts of SOLAR (min) to start with, but plan for future panels and batteries. Mornignstar is a good MPPT controller, but there are others out there. Just stay away from the Chinese cheap products, you get what you pay for.

Just my thoughts,

Don
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Old 02-10-2016, 04:56 PM   #12
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Suspect the no generator thing has something to do with saving the environment, so NO GENERATOR it is. Put simply you are wanting 10 [maybe even 15 lbs] of stuff in a 5 lb bag. Like others have said, going solar as a rookie is a learning experience and expecting what you are expecting is not a realistic place to start. You will need lots of batteries to store the power that the solar generates. They will cost and weigh a whole lot. In addition were are you going to put 4 or 6 batteries inside your rv??

Maybe you just need to start with "hook-ups" and a basic solar array/system. No offense but thing you are really trying to bite off more than you are ready to chew.
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Old 02-10-2016, 05:21 PM   #13
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Don - many thanks!

Bassdogs - no generator on my list, for sure. It is not about the environment. I just do not like when people are using generators on the campgrounds and I am not planning to be one of them. No offence to anybody!

I really appreciate all comments from you guys. The setup with batteries and AC is probably not something I should start with. However, I have a hard time to understand why a good setup of solar with batteries (good components / installed by somebody who knows what he is doing) would not be a good place to start?

Weight? Size of the batteries? With lithium that should not be a problem. I was thinking about putting them under the bunk bed in 28DSBH.
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Old 02-10-2016, 06:08 PM   #14
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I have some information on this topic that might help with your decision:

- Lithium-ion, and Lithium-cobalt oxide CELLS need a special "brain" for them to "act" like a lead-acid battery when charging. This is very important for your decision. The "brain" will be a small set of chips that will control the charging of it, protection of it (over voltage), and monitor/control the discharge rate of the SET of lithium cells - which makes up a 'battery'. This brain may not allow you to discharge past 16AMPS, charge past 12AMPS. (check this carefully).

- This "brain" will allow charging with solar, DC12V, trickle charger, and a AC converter...no problem. The PROBLEM will be when you hook it up to a LEAD ACID battery that is tied into your system. Maybe the charge line from the Tow Vehicle? What about the house (RV) lead acid batteries? They cannot be mixed. The BRAIN will freak out and SHUT DOWN the Lithium batteries (because it senses damage about to occur). That means you CAN'T charge it with your truck or RV engine (any vehicle alternator).

- Lithium batteries (of this type) cost about $2000-$2500 for 200AH of battery.

- If you want A/C and solar, buy an Earth Roamer.
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Old 02-10-2016, 06:54 PM   #15
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I have an AM solar system on my 2015 26BHS. In fact, this is my second system from AM Solar. I sold the last system with my last trailer...a 2000 Jayco Qwest 26BH! The wiring AM Solar provides is perfect. I would recommend getting one of their signature system cores. You really want the IPN Pro monitor. Without a monitor, a solar system is worthless (IMHO). On my current trailer, I have two of the 160 watt panels. I paired this with the Blue Sky 25amp controller and two 6 volt batteries. I can use my lights, pump and furnace at night. I will be down to around 75% battery charge in the morning when I wake up and usually recharged by 12pm even if cloudy or have some shading from trees. I would forget AC on batteries...the suggestion of fantastic fans is a good one. One more note is that installation is not too difficult. It took me one full day. Best of luck and let me know if you have any questions.
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Old 02-10-2016, 08:09 PM   #16
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I have an AM solar system on my 2015 26BHS. In fact, this is my second system from AM Solar. I sold the last system with my last trailer...a 2000 Jayco Qwest 26BH! The wiring AM Solar provides is perfect. I would recommend getting one of their signature system cores. You really want the IPN Pro monitor. Without a monitor, a solar system is worthless (IMHO). On my current trailer, I have two of the 160 watt panels. I paired this with the Blue Sky 25amp controller and two 6 volt batteries. I can use my lights, pump and furnace at night. I will be down to around 75% battery charge in the morning when I wake up and usually recharged by 12pm even if cloudy or have some shading from trees. I would forget AC on batteries...the suggestion of fantastic fans is a good one. One more note is that installation is not too difficult. It took me one full day. Best of luck and let me know if you have any questions.
Sounds like good advice from someone with experience. I'd listen to him if I were you and forget the a/c. Its pretty difficult to boondock anywhere close to others without some generator chatter. I'd be one of them but my use would be in the am when I fire up the coffee maker and run it for a couple or 3 hours to recharge the batteries. Then again for an hour or 2 going into the evening. At sundown or so the genny is off and I'm running on the inverter to power up the tv/sat system for the rest of the evening. My twin 6volts do very well and will run the above along with lights, and the furnace fan if needed with plenty of charge left in the am.

Good luck with your solar and happy camping.
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Old 02-15-2016, 11:27 PM   #17
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Hey Guys,

I just received a quote from an installer. 33 hours to install: 4 solar panels, controller, lithium battery. Installation of inverter is optional: additional 20 hours.

This kind of job is outside of my expertise. What do you think about the estimation of the time required to complete installation? To be honest, it sounds on a high end for me...
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Old 02-16-2016, 07:41 AM   #18
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What type of controller are they installing as Lithium batteries take a SPECIAL unit for charging. Get the make/model and research it.

Is the installer a licensed Electrician? Is the company one that installs SOLAR on RV's? How many systems have they installed. Can you research them? Get referrals?

The total hours seems rather high for the amount of work. The mounting and hooking up the inverter should only take 3 or 4 hours total, at the most. Installing and wiring the panels does not take much time and should take a lot less than the number of hours listed.

I would recommend getting another quote if at all possible.

Stay away from installers that do not have solar installation experience.
Don
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250Watt Grape Solar Panel, MorningStar MPPT 60 Charge Controller
1500 Watt Ramsond PSI, 2 Trojan T145 Batteries (260Ah)
2 - AirSight Wireless IP Cameras (used as rear view cameras)
EnGenius WI-FI extender, D-Link wireless (n) modem
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Old 02-16-2016, 08:07 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by bono View Post
Hey Guys,

I just received a quote from an installer. 33 hours to install: 4 solar panels, controller, lithium battery. Installation of inverter is optional: additional 20 hours.

This kind of job is outside of my expertise. What do you think about the estimation of the time required to complete installation? To be honest, it sounds on a high end for me...
55 hours???? holy poop batman he is ripping you off... Try contacting Solar Mike at www.thesunworks.com he is here in "beautiful" Niland California did my install in less than one day (4 panels, charge controller, 2000 watt whole house inverter 6 golf cart batteries) He sells and installs great systems at a very reasonable price... tell him you were talking to Seann... if you need I can get you his phone numer
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Old 02-16-2016, 12:41 PM   #20
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Thanks Guys!

The suggested controller is Signature 40/MPPT/4 solar controller core from AM Solar offering. This is licensed electrician, recommended by many Air Stream owners and also one of the AM Solar recommended installers.

I will at least get other quotes, just to compare.

Thank you again!
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