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Old 09-25-2015, 06:59 PM   #41
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Tom48

We Berkshire owners have Magnum Energy Inverters in our coaches. One question I have had is with solar would you wire the solar controller directly to the coach battery pack. Is there any issue with it feeding back into the Magnum Inverter? Do you need something like a shunt/diode block to protect the Magnum Inverter?

Have ou any experience here? I have seen nothing written regarding this.
Silver,besides you existing Magnum Inverter/Controller, you need a separate solar charge controller for the panels. I don't know much but that's what I was told by a very well known and respected solar dealer in Yuma, AZ. Also, you may need/want to upgrade your battery stack to double or triple the AH capacity.

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Old 09-25-2015, 07:23 PM   #42
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I feel that RV solar makes more sense for those with residential fridges, because during the sunny daylight hours, the fridge's depleting of the battery will be augmented by the solar.

I have solar on the house and what I do not consume when the solar is producing, is fed into the electrical grid, which I get credit for. When the solar is not producing, I use the credits up. The grid is my battery.

I get all my credits back, but with an RV, if the battery bank is not large enough, all the solar production may not be saved if there isn't enough room in the batteries.
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Old 09-25-2015, 07:32 PM   #43
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Hi Boo,

I agree about the controller. My intent is a system to keep current battery packs charged. I do not feel I need more. Used a lot of fuel last summer running generator in the am to charge batteries and now with the coach in repair for the past month the batteries have taken quite a beating. I currently am looking at 200 watt system from Renogy or 160 watt from Go Power (Carmanah). I don't like the idea of back feeding the Magnum Inverter. I need to make some calls and ask some questions. Probably not do anything until next spring. Just beginning to investigate.
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Old 09-25-2015, 08:27 PM   #44
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I have about $1,500 in this 600 watt Renogy system with 50 amp Odyssey MPPT controller. I had a 40 amp Tracer MPPT controller, but was pushing the envelope with 6 panels and have plans to add two more. This pumps all the juice I can use into 700 amp hrs of batts. I have yet to need a gen to refill the batts even during cloudy conditions. It has rained here every day for the last 6 weeks and I can still eek out enough juice to keep the batts at or above 12.2 vdc. Generally buy 4:00 each day, the batts are at 13.8.
IMHO Renogy sells the best panels I've seen for the money. Great customer service too. 100 watt panels for $150 each through Amazon.
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Old 09-25-2015, 08:33 PM   #45
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Black Hat Like the picture. So are those panels all hooked up in a series with one cable going down to controller ?
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Old 09-25-2015, 09:08 PM   #46
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Black Hat Like the picture. So are those panels all hooked up in a series with one cable going down to controller ?
The panels are hooked 3 each in series, then the two strings are hooked in parallel. This keeps the volts up [approx 62vdc] and the amps down [variable up to 10 amps]. They connect to two wires [ + and - ] and enter the roof, down the interior walls to the controller. From there, two wires out to both ends of the 4 batt bank.
I run a 5,000 watt industrial grade AIMS inverter off the bank to power the 110vac appliances. Fuses everywhere!! I'm very happy with Renogy as this is my second solar project and their products really hold up well....so far. It's been almost a year and no problems.
OBTW, if you use an inverter, you will need a transfer switch. I recommend the Progressive ATS503 unit.
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Old 09-27-2015, 07:59 AM   #47
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To add a tiny bit of fuel to this discussion:

Consider that the supply must be 220 VAC with Neutral and ground.

This means that the current on the Neutral alternates (every 1/60th of a second) between L1 and L2 such that L2 is "OFF" when L1 is "ON". This allows all wires (including the Neutral) to be the same gauge to carry a maximum of 50 amps.

If you tried to supply two common phase 120 volt 50 amp circuits to the camper, the Neutral could be required to carry 100 amps (50 from L1 and 50 from L2) and burn up.

It is also why an "Open Neutral" is so damaging to camper circuits as all AC equipment will "see" 220 VAC instead of 120 VAC.
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Old 09-27-2015, 11:26 AM   #48
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To add a tiny bit of fuel to this discussion:

Consider that the supply must be 220 VAC with Neutral and ground.

This means that the current on the Neutral alternates (every 1/60th of a second) between L1 and L2 such that L2 is "OFF" when L1 is "ON". This allows all wires (including the Neutral) to be the same gauge to carry a maximum of 50 amps.

If you tried to supply two common phase 120 volt 50 amp circuits to the camper, the Neutral could be required to carry 100 amps (50 from L1 and 50 from L2) and burn up.

It is also why an "Open Neutral" is so damaging to camper circuits as all AC equipment will "see" 220 VAC instead of 120 VAC.
Herk, you are such a smart a**. Obviously just kidding....
I learn more from you than anyone else on these forums. Some of it I barely understand however.

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Old 09-27-2015, 12:01 PM   #49
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We

Second question trackers. I'm not aware of anything that you could use in a mobile environment as a tracker and the pole mount systems that I have looked at for a ground-based system are not cheap. I have never explored the retail cost of an automatic tracker for small panels. The industrial stuff you see in big fields it is pretty expensive looking. Good luck with that. I'm just happy for my 200 laying flat on the roof and hope I can squeeze one more up there someday soon for a total of 300. Again, the rule of thumb that I have read it is 100 watts per good deep cycle battery. Both renegy and windy nation show you various pacages to look at. The best thing is the packages come with mounting brackets wires connectors everything. The packaged system from go power might be a little nicer but it's nearly twice as expensive. For me, those are the options. And if you have a reasonable amount of DIY skill, I can see no reason to pay an installer. Best of luck
A tracking system is something I looked into. From what I could find out it is not feasible for use in or on a RV.

When you consider solar one of the first things you need to decide is how you are going to set it up. Are you going to keep it portable or mount it on the roof. I prefer portable. Many of the CG I go to have trees I end up parked under. The panels are not very efficient laying flat and being in the shade. With being portable I have half a chance of getting in the sun.

Often I am not at the site most of the day. This means I am going to lose a lot of the efficiency of the individual panels. Even though they say a 100 watt panel will handle a single 100 ah battery I think 200 watts per battery makes more sense. I could aim two of the panels at the morning sun and angle the other two for the afternoon sun. I think this gives me a much better chance of fully charging my two batteries each day. The two additional panels were less expensive than any tracking system I checked in to.

Of course being portable has its disadvantages. There is always the possibility of theft. I guess nothing is perfect. I am not going to do anything till next spring so may change my thinking between now and then.

Jim
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Old 09-27-2015, 12:08 PM   #50
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OBTW, if you use an inverter, you will need a transfer switch. I recommend the Progressive ATS503 unit.
Why do you need a transfer switch? Can't you use the inverter while charging the batteries from the solar panels?

Jim
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