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Old 05-24-2014, 10:00 AM   #1
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X17Z solar requirements?

Hello,

I want to be able to access non electric sites when camping. I was looking at a solar panel. There's someone selling a 50w panel here and I'm trying to figure out what I need. We run a single battery, have a fridge, lights, microwave, etc...

Anyone have any ideas?

Thanks!
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Old 05-24-2014, 12:30 PM   #2
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Do u plan to plan to use everything the trailer is equipped with? For instance the microwave, if like mine, only works on shore power/120volts. So u will need an inverter to convert the battery dc power to ac. U will definitely need more than one battery if planning to use everything. As far as what size panel, I'm sorry someone will have to chime in.... But it all depends on what u plan to use and for how long....
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Old 05-24-2014, 02:15 PM   #3
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Solar options

Quote:
Originally Posted by Azildonian View Post
Hello,

I want to be able to access non electric sites when camping. I was looking at a solar panel. There's someone selling a 50w panel here and I'm trying to figure out what I need. We run a single battery, have a fridge, lights, microwave, etc...

Anyone have any ideas?

Thanks!
A 50w solar panel will do little for you. Don’t waste your money.

The 3 part to going solar:
(1) Enough solar panel output
(2) A good solar charge controller
(3) Enough battery Ah to support your needs

Before you look at solar for your dry-camping needs, you need to look at your current usage, and what can you change to transition over to Solar TT Living.

Tv?
Microwave?
Fridge?
AC?
Vent Fan?
Heating System (fan)?
Interior lights?
Charging - iPhone, laptops, tablets?

What can you live with out?
AC - Not going to happen with solar (any basic solar setup)
Microwave - Not going to happen with solar (any basic solar setup)
Anything with a motor - (motors drain batteries fast)
Charging - iPhone, laptops, tablets (only during the peak sunshine of the day)
Tv - Will need a PSW inverter to convert your 12VDC to 120VAC

So what do I recommend? First item is how much do you plan on spending on solar. As the saying goes, "YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR", and that is SOOOO true with solar. You need to sit down and plan your system around your needs/budget.

I do not recommend any system that will be used for dry-camping that is less than 160 watts (very basic system). Anything less will be a challenge charging your batteries in a reasonable amount of time. (There is only so much sunshine each CLEAR day) As for batteries, I would recommend starting out with at least (2) 12 volt batteries. Consider them training for a better combination of batteries. Experimenting on 2 cheaper batteries will not be as bad as killing 2 expensive batteries.

If you will be planning on increasing your solar output in the future, you need to insure that the original equipment that you purchase has the capabilities for adding additional solar panels and batteries, or you will be trashing the old and purchasing replacement equipment. $$$$

Have you changed your interior lights to LEDs. That should be your first project. Each regular bulb uses close to 1amp...

You can view my solar setup by clicking on the link below.

If I can assist you in any way, just let me know

Just my thoughts,

Don

Oh, and do not rule out a small generator...
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Old 05-24-2014, 02:43 PM   #4
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Minimum I would recommend is a 135 watt panel with a 30amp charge controller.. I say the 30 amp model as I am sure you will want to expand the system in the future and this will save you many $$$. Those under 100 watt panels are only good for learning with.. and the first thing you learn is they are not enough..
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Old 05-24-2014, 09:30 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mustang65 View Post
A 50w solar panel will do little for you. Donít waste your money.

The 3 part to going solar:
(1) Enough solar panel output
(2) A good solar charge controller
(3) Enough battery Ah to support your needs

Before you look at solar for your dry-camping needs, you need to look at your current usage, and what can you change to transition over to Solar TT Living.

Tv?
Microwave?
Fridge?
AC?
Vent Fan?
Heating System (fan)?
Interior lights?
Charging - iPhone, laptops, tablets?

What can you live with out?
AC - Not going to happen with solar (any basic solar setup)
Microwave - Not going to happen with solar (any basic solar setup)
Anything with a motor - (motors drain batteries fast)
Charging - iPhone, laptops, tablets (only during the peak sunshine of the day)
Tv - Will need a PSW inverter to convert your 12VDC to 120VAC

So what do I recommend? First item is how much do you plan on spending on solar. As the saying goes, "YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR", and that is SOOOO true with solar. You need to sit down and plan your system around your needs/budget.

I do not recommend any system that will be used for dry-camping that is less than 160 watts (very basic system). Anything less will be a challenge charging your batteries in a reasonable amount of time. (There is only so much sunshine each CLEAR day) As for batteries, I would recommend starting out with at least (2) 12 volt batteries. Consider them training for a better combination of batteries. Experimenting on 2 cheaper batteries will not be as bad as killing 2 expensive batteries.

If you will be planning on increasing your solar output in the future, you need to insure that the original equipment that you purchase has the capabilities for adding additional solar panels and batteries, or you will be trashing the old and purchasing replacement equipment. $$$$

Have you changed your interior lights to LEDs. That should be your first project. Each regular bulb uses close to 1amp...

You can view my solar setup by clicking on the link below.

If I can assist you in any way, just let me know

Just my thoughts,

Don

Oh, and do not rule out a small generator...
X2

I started with 100 watt for being able to maintain the battery bank while in storage, and it works well for that purpose. I'm already ready to add two more panels. My controller is ready for that upgrade.

Don is spot on.

Even with solar, a small Genset is also a good idea, even if it's only 1000w
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Old 05-25-2014, 08:10 AM   #6
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All good information. Not as simple as plugging a panel into my battery. I'm going to keep my eyes on this though. Sounds like a little reading will go a long way in this department. It's unfortunate that "you get what you pay for". Is soo true. I'm camping in an x17z....so sadly I'm on a budget....come on lotto!
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Old 05-25-2014, 12:18 PM   #7
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I'm camping in 12-foot box OFF ROAD POPUP camper which is probably real close to your floorplan layout in your 17 foot TT trailer.

I went thru baby steps to become very successful camping off the power grid.

First thing is changing over to smart mode converter/charger unit and adding more batteries. My battery bank is 255AHs...

I also invested in a 2KW Honda quiet mode generator. To me this is must have item for camping off the power grid as the generator will re-charge your batteries under ANY weather conditions. Solar panels will only charge your batteries weather permitting.

Have been camping off the power grid since 2009 so we now know exactly what to expect and do it very successful with the game plan being we run whatever we want to run from the batteries with the exception of the air conditioner and high wattage microwave. Everything else is fare game.

My goal was to run all the these items usng an inverter and direct connected to the battery bank where I would reduce my 255AHs battery capacity to around 12.0VDC by 8AM the next morning. This is approximately the 50% charge state of my batteries. Then during breakfast I will connect my trailer 30AMP Shore Power Cable to the 2KW Generator using a RV30AMP-15A adapter (WALMART) and allow my smart mode on-board converter/charger recharge my battery bank up to the 90% charge state. This will take right at three hours of generator run time.

Now we can do all of this all over again the next day/night run off the batteries.

Adding solar for us is just to supplement the battery charging routine. We can reduce the amount of generator run time if we are going to have good high sun all day and let the solar panels help in re-charging my batteries back up to their 90% charge state before the sun goes down.

I am planning to adding two 120WATT panel on one end of my roof top whic is about the same as yours. These two 120WATT Panels will sit on both sides of the roof mounted fantastic fan. Then I want to add a bigger 240WATT Panel across the other end of the roof between the air conditioner and the end of the trailer. These three panels will give me around 480WATTS of solar panels. This will relate to the solar controllers providing my batteries 14.4VDC @ around 30AMP of DC charge for the high sun period of about 5-6 hours while the sun is high. Maybe longer...

The game plan for me is to re-charge my battery bank back up to its 90% charge state so I can run the next night without dropping my battery bank below 12.0VDC.

This is my planning of course. Solar to me will only supplement what I have now in keeping my batteries charged. If I don't have at least a 90% charge state on my batteries I probably would not make it until 10PM at night and then things will go dark on me...

This is what I have been planning for and just now at the point to start looking into using solar panels to help out...

Roy Ken
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Old 06-26-2014, 10:02 PM   #8
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Most of my trips are boondocking, often when I am fishing. I tend to treat the "X-Box" as a glorified tent. We are outside most of the day and evening, coming inside to sleep or if the weather is bad. All lights are switched to LEDs but I often just use lanterns. Hot water and fridge/freezer are gas operated, so the battery gets minimal use. I just returned from a 9 day trip and the battery was still going strong. I do carry an extra battery and have an 80 watt solar panel that does a pretty good job of keeping the battery up. I realize that the way I use my trailer is different than most, but my point is that you can actually go off the grid for a long time if you are careful. We don't expect, or want, our trailer to be a motel room. We like to camp.
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Old 06-26-2014, 10:08 PM   #9
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Good info. My kind of camping!
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