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Old 07-11-2019, 03:48 PM   #21
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OK, OK. If I can keep you kids from spatting long enough and on subject, I'd appreciate your input on the rest of my thoughts as the Thread Starter.


Again, we just have a small Coachman 16B and we are not full time campers (will not retire until next year). In general, moving slowly, do you think this path is reasonable?


1) Add (yet to be fully determined) about 150 Watts of solar, properly sized and length wires, a good quality charge/controller, and true battery monitor now. (Use with my current group 24, 12V basic deep cycle battery.)



2) 6-12 months later (after retiring), upgrade to 2-6V TRUE deep cycle/golf cart type batteries.


Or should I reverse that order? Will the current camper charger/converter properly and fully charge the 2-6V TRUE deep cycle batteries as is and just plan on them being my supply/reserve since I only dry camp 3-4 days at a time right now?


Thanks for you solid input.
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Old 07-11-2019, 03:52 PM   #22
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With my 700W system, I run it through a Victron MPPT solar controller. Since I have them flat mounted, I can expect 25% less most of the time. In June, I can get in the 600W region.


With 25% derating for flat mounting, 700W x .75 = 525W. At a 14V charge, that is 37.5A. With a 5 or 6 equivalent sun hours that's 187AH or 225AH. More than enough to charge up my 200AH bank of Battleborn batteries. My batteries can be discharged almost completely vs flooded batteries which shouldn't be discharged past 50%



You can use similar calculations for your system based on your battery capacity
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Old 07-11-2019, 04:01 PM   #23
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With 150W flat mounted and an MPPT controller, if you de-rate 25% for flat mount, you will get 8A. With 5 hours equivalent sun, that would be 40AH. For what you are describing as your usage, that would be fine if you had sun every day. If you wanted to fully recover from a 50% discharge with 2 6V batteries, you would obviously need more than that.
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Old 07-11-2019, 04:09 PM   #24
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SOLAR INSTALLATION GUIDE - BHA Solar

I had a pretty simple system on my last 5th wheel, I am in the process of upgrading it right now on my new 5th wheel. I am a full-timer, have been for 10 years, lovin every minute of it. I found that guide above recently, I liked it because it showed me how to build my own "Combiner Box" cheaply at Home Depot (which I did) and there were a ton of links on this site to explore which I liked. Very easy to understand. I am not going to re-hash everything everyone has already said - I am obviously pro-solar. One thing that has not been said, there are campgrounds out there that have limited full hookup sites but are very desirable - I am at 1 now - Key West - so there is a lot of Dry Camping. The catch is you can't run your generator's after a certain time at night, or before a certain time in the morning. Well, I don't care about that, I have fans, and I have batteries. I can watch TV all night long if I want. Anyway, just a thought, I am retired from the Military and I am on a Military Base. Not sure if there are other places with rules like this or not.
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Old 07-11-2019, 04:13 PM   #25
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One additional note, I do not plan to mount the solar panel at this time. It will be portable and I will be able to better select the sun and the angle for more efficient charging.
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Old 07-11-2019, 04:21 PM   #26
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One additional note, I do not plan to mount the solar panel at this time. It will be portable and I will be able to better select the sun and the angle for more efficient charging.
That will help a lot. You might get up to 10A then so 50AH with a 5 hour equivalent sun day.


Just to explain what equivalent hours is...Sun may be out 12 hours but since it is low on the horizon and is going through a lot of atmosphere while its not overhead, the output of the panel looks like a bell shaped curve over those 12 hours. Converting the area under that curve to a 100% output case is how the equivalent hours comes from.
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Old 07-11-2019, 04:49 PM   #27
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In the discussion non engineers are unaware of the most difficult problem.

Since the invention of the wet cell batteries there has been little improvement in batteries since the 1800ís. The problem is we cannot store electricity well. Yes better now but, not enough. Diesel tractors will be around for a while.

People out west in the desert states think their solar farms are so cool. So do I.

But, did you notice their electricity rates are really high?

Well that is because of the storage issue. Thus all solar farms need a second large fossil fuel plant back up. They need back up likely 60% of the time. So they are environmentally friendly 40% of the time.

Second big engineering problem is transferring electricity from here to there has large losses. So you cannot buy our excess power in Ohio at night!

Solar collectors are sort of big. Rvís are not big enough to do a lot of solar.

Likely except in limited situations solar is still an interesting dream for the rv world.

Until they figure out how to run my ac in Houston in the summer off of solar, Iím out.
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Old 07-11-2019, 06:29 PM   #28
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In the discussion non engineers are unaware of the most difficult problem.

Since the invention of the wet cell batteries there has been little improvement in batteries since the 1800ís. The problem is we cannot store electricity well. Yes better now but, not enough. Diesel tractors will be around for a while.

People out west in the desert states think their solar farms are so cool. So do I.

But, did you notice their electricity rates are really high?

Well that is because of the storage issue. Thus all solar farms need a second large fossil fuel plant back up. They need back up likely 60% of the time. So they are environmentally friendly 40% of the time.

Second big engineering problem is transferring electricity from here to there has large losses. So you cannot buy our excess power in Ohio at night!

Solar collectors are sort of big. Rvís are not big enough to do a lot of solar.

Likely except in limited situations solar is still an interesting dream for the rv world.

Until they figure out how to run my ac in Houston in the summer off of solar, Iím out.
You really don't think lithium batteries are an improvement over wet cells from the 1800s?

Of course the rest is mute since we are talking RV usage here for the OP's small trailer.
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Old 07-11-2019, 07:08 PM   #29
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Want to add solar to my small Coachman 16b TT. Doing the planning now but can't find a good chart of what the power usages are on all the 12V items in the camper. I also plan to add a small inverter just for a little TV or radio/CD/DVD occasionally.


Anyone have a link to a good power usage chart?


Thanks.
Below are a couple images that might help, too. I see some formulas were already provided in a reply from someone else.
Look at the bottom of your appliances and such. Watts are usually put on the items. Then, you can convert to amps to calculate draw. Once you get used to your consumption needs and replenishment time, you will be able to tweak and adjust as necessary. Inverters draw power as well, and yes, as some have mentioned, depending on what you are running, your battery can go fast. See if you can get a DC TV. Might help lessen the inverter draw.

Fact is ...solar works. Donít believe all the nay-sayers and negativity. Some here are so dead against it. They seem to become incensed and do not really help people that are wanting to use solar, for whatever reason.

I have 2 Ė 12v batteries and 2 Ė 100w solar panels, and I do not have a generator. One panel on the roof and one mobile to move around so I can park in the shade when I want to. I have no power issues and even pull charging amps in the rain.
As long as you do want to run your air conditioning or power a unit that takes more juice than your house, you donít need to put much money into a system. My whole solar system is less than $500.
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Old 07-11-2019, 08:34 PM   #30
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I used the term better.

Lithium hold more per pound. Easier to charge. Not good in cold. But, better.

expensive.

We need a bigger step before the gasoline engine is put out of business. We need much more to make solar a reality anywhere. When California gets rid of fossil fuel back up. Not in my lifetime likely.

Note the lithium represents more that 100 years in the making. Closer to 200.

I like the term better.

The advantage for my fiver is faster charging and less weight. Not worth $2000+. My batteries cost $400. They will last five years. Likely I would have replaced my fiver by then.

If I lived in Cali I might feel different. I can last as long as you can without solar. 460 amps as I remember. Then I would have to run a tank of gas thru the generator or plug in.

In the Midwest residential refrigerators are the new thing. Everyone is plugged in all the time. Those fridges would wipe out our battery banks in a day in warm weather.

We engineers have to look at the total picture and all customers. I just think the solar thing for most of us is decades away. In your case I agree with your choice. But, you are the minority.
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