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Old 02-09-2016, 11:57 PM   #1
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Solar with lithium batteries

Hi Guys,

I am making plans in relation to the solar system I would like to have on my 28DSBH (I will order when 2017 model is on the market).

Objectives:

- not to use generator – we will be mostly boondocking, 90% in California,
- to use solar panels to recharge batteries,
- batteries will need to be in the trailer (need to reduce tongue weight),
- if possible, to run AC for a limited time – two toddlers may need to take a nap during a warm day, 1-2 hours of AC would be great. But I think we will survive without AC.

I do not know a lot about solar system / electrical systems. From my research it results that I would need to buy:

- solar panels: question is how many W? I want to have additional power on the roof and not to be restricted. I would start with 4x100W or 4x160W from AM Solar.
- batteries: lithium 300-400Ah
- Magnum MS-2800 Inverter
- Morningstar TriStar 60 MPPT controller

What do you think about it? What else I would need to buy for this setup?

If running AC from lithium batteries is feasible (I am reading that it is), should I get the smaller AC 13500 BTU or upgrade to 15000 BTU when ordering a new trailer?

What kind of wires do you recommend? I read that this is pretty important part of the system. I will not be installing this by myself, but I do not like to rely on installers and what they suggest / trying to sell.

Would you recommend buying a ready to install kit from e.g. AM Solar (which is just reseller, but they have custom made panels) or just to buy everything from different sources, what can result in some savings?

Do you have any place you can recommend in the SF Bay Area to install the system? How long should it take? Is it a one day job or three days?

Thanks!
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Old 02-10-2016, 08:25 AM   #2
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Pretty sure you can forget about running AC using the setup you've given...

This article: The (Almost) Fantasy of Solar-Powered RV Air Conditioning | Technomadia

Lays out what's required for AC without a genny...
2000+ Watts of solar
1000+ Ah of battery
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Old 02-10-2016, 08:34 AM   #3
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Another good read...
Living the Lithium Lifestyle – 3.5 Year Lithium RV Battery Update | Technomadia
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Old 02-10-2016, 08:38 AM   #4
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I read these articles before. I am not sure if they are saying that I can't use AC for a 1-2 hours with lithium batteries. There are other articles on this topic online and based on what I read, it is possible. But as I said, running AC would not be must condition.
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Old 02-10-2016, 09:02 AM   #5
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Bono I have 3 roof vents and all 3 now have Fantastic Fans mounted in them.. by keeping the windows on the shaded side of RV open and running the fans I can keep it nice in the RV even on 90+ California days.
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Old 02-10-2016, 09:10 AM   #6
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buy a generator and use it sparingly as needed. Lets say your set up will run your AC for 2 hours [and I doubt it], then what? Your batteries will be drained and will need to be recharged for the evening use. Solar would have to do a quick recharge which likely would take longer than the remaining sunlite will deliver.

What is your real motive here? I will admit that I am not a solar advocate, but realize it can be a viable alt power generator in the right situations. What most do not understand, is that to get a solar system powerful enough to meet an all solar set-up, and in your case A/C, you will need a lot of solar and a huge battery bank to store the power. The cost is great for such a set up as is the weight of the batteries. You are not going to accomplish your goal with a couple batteries. You might want to do a good solar system and back it up with a small generator like a Yahama or Honda to handle 100% of your needs.
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Old 02-10-2016, 09:16 AM   #7
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What is your reason for wanting to go with Lithium batteries. They cost a $$$ more, they need special charging and they are temperature sensitive.

Don
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Old 02-10-2016, 11:35 AM   #8
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Thank you Guys!

Generator is not an option – I just do not like generators.

Seann45 – thanks for this suggestion. I believe you mentioned this solution earlier and I have this in my mind.

Mustang65 – I will need to relocate the batteries to the trailer anyway. I was thinking about AGMs, which are a good solution (I hope), but deep cycle AGM cost as well.

I am doing the solar setup from the scratch. I am big fan of doing right things from the beginning without the need to change things down the road. Even if my further research proves that I can’t use AC (for a short period of time), I think I will go with 200 Ah lithium batteries and maybe smaller solar.

Thanks!
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Old 02-10-2016, 01:28 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bono View Post
Mustang65 – I will need to relocate the batteries to the trailer anyway. I was thinking about AGMs, which are a good solution (I hope), but deep cycle AGM cost as well.
How many batteries are you planning on installing, that you need to relocate them (weight)? Even if you go with SOLAR, and if you do not install enough SOLAR panels (to cover 2 or 3 days of cloud cover), you will need a secondary charging source. I never recommend that someone with no SOLAR or dry-camping experience (battery usage) dump a lot of money into batteries, because you will kill them the first time around. It is better to learn ALL you need to know by abusing inexpensive batteries... after the first or second year switch over. By then you will know if you need to add more SOLAR, Ah's or both. The first time around is a learning experience.

You can get a little more SOLAR setup info here on our Social Group "RVing with SOLAR"

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
MagicJack Internet Phone
2012 Ford F150XLT, EcoBoost w/3.73
157" Wheel base, HD Towing Package

Our Solar Album https://www.jaycoowners.com/album.php?albumid=329
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Old 02-10-2016, 01:47 PM   #10
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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
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