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Old 02-06-2013, 07:40 PM   #1
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Ontarians using solar to charge batteries

Is there is anyone from southern Ontario that keeps their r.v. fridge running for the camping season and is not plugged into shore power?

I am considering a 40 watt solar panel to keep my battery topped up while it is at the storage lot (110 is not available). I hope to hear from someone that is doing this successfully.

Will this work if I run the fridge on propane (D.S.I. Ingition) along with the propane detector? My stereo would also have a small draw on the battery also.

Thanks in advance for your experiences,
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Old 02-06-2013, 08:04 PM   #2
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As far as I know, it is not possible, unless you get into very powerful solar panels, like 135W panels.

But in any event I am curious to see what others will say.

Good luck.
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Old 02-07-2013, 10:17 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by miatared View Post
As far as I know, it is not possible, unless you get into very powerful solar panels, like 135W panels.

But in any event I am curious to see what others will say.

Good luck.
I guess all our fellow Ontarian's must be hibernating!

It is cold and snowy after all. Camping season seems a long way away!

Seriously,

I've gotten that a propane fridge will require 12 amp hours per day, the propane alarm 6 amp hours per day. A typical 40 watt solar system will supply 21 amp hours per day (from my internet investigations ). The math seems to work...
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Old 02-08-2013, 08:19 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by shineysideup View Post
I guess all our fellow Ontarian's must be hibernating!

It is cold and snowy after all. Camping season seems a long way away!

Seriously,

I've gotten that a propane fridge will require 12 amp hours per day, the propane alarm 6 amp hours per day. A typical 40 watt solar system will supply 21 amp hours per day (from my internet investigations ). The math seems to work...
I am puzzled as to where you found the power needs of your fridge to be 12 amp hours per day. How did you get that number? For that matter, where did you find the power needs of the propane detector?

My propane detector draws 500 ma 24/7.
For example, 500 ma for 24 hours is 12 amp hours; not 6
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Old 02-08-2013, 09:26 AM   #5
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I am puzzled as to where you found the power needs of your fridge to be 12 amp hours per day. How did you get that number? For that matter, where did you find the power needs of the propane detector?

My propane detector draws 500 ma 24/7.
For example, 500 ma for 24 hours is 12 amp hours; not 6
Hey Herk,

I found my info on an internet site. It listed an Rv fridge at 500 ma/hr. the detector at 250 ma/hr.

That's a significant difference from your detector. The fridge is likely on the light side also, right?

My trailer is tucked away for the winter at a storage barn far from home... I can't get into it to see model numbers for my equipment to give me an accurate number. I know I should be doing this in the spring but the solar panel and controller is on sale for a 100 bucks...

It's starting to sound like my 40w panel isn't going to cut it... I only want to keep the fridge and detector powered while it is at my storage place. I searched forest river forums but I couldn't find much info similar to specific needs (operator error, no doubt ).
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Old 02-08-2013, 10:47 AM   #6
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If you are looking at the coleman from canadian tire, it is not realy 40 watts. I'ts only 2.3 amps O/P. So at 12V that is 27.6W. They rate the wattage at 17V which unless you have a mppt controller that can run at the higher voltage you will never get the full wattage out. I camp with four 15 watt (rated) solar panels. We camped last summer for 10 days at Grundy lake with no hookups and the battery was still full at the end. We had almost perfect weather for solar with clear skies every day and a sight that had full sun for 7-8 hours a day. I did see that canadian tires has there 15 watt panels on sale this week. A couple of those may work for you. Are you planning on leaving the fridge on full time? If so you wll go through alot of propane.
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Old 02-08-2013, 12:03 PM   #7
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OK, here is the "always" current draw on propane. 800ma or 0.8 amps 24/7.
When the gas solenoid valve is open (calling for cold) the total draw is 1.5 amps DC.

normal appliance amp draws

0.8 amps x 24 = 19 amp hours without the gas valve opening.
If it calls for cold 6 hours total per day it will consume an additional 4.5 amp hours. or an average of 23.5 amp hours per day.

The propane detector is 50 milliamps (not 500 sorry ) so it is about 1.5 amp hours per day. Safe T Alert RV Propane Detector and LP Detector

The real issue is with the solar panel.

I also question where you got the 21 AH per day production out of a 40 watt panel.

Is this full sun? Clouds reduce production considerably.

Does the panel rotate with the sun's progression across the sky?
The rated output is based on 90 degree solar ray impact on the cell.

The "standard" for solar panels is 0.3 times the wattage rating for amp hour production per standard day. You may get less if cloudy.

0.3 times 40 = 12 amp hour produced on an average day.

how many amp hours from a solar panel or wind generator - Cruisers & Sailing Forums

Using the above requirement of 25 amp hours you will need a minimum or 85 watts solar and unless you have a solar drive you will most likely need a 100 watt panel to keep up with the other parasite draws (like the battery's internal resistance and the radio's instant on feature).
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Old 02-08-2013, 12:30 PM   #8
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I guess Herk that my fridge uses less current than yours. I measured my current draw at less than 0.5A with the fridge and propane detector on. don't know if the fridge was calling for cold when I measured. My setup that worked had about 4 amps output in the sun (not optomized just pointed at the sun) so at 4 X 7 hours =28 amp hours I was able to keep my battery fully charged, this included some lights and water pump.
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Old 02-08-2013, 12:58 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Happy Vibe View Post
I guess Herk that my fridge uses less current than yours. I measured my current draw at less than 0.5A with the fridge and propane detector on. don't know if the fridge was calling for cold when I measured. My setup that worked had about 4 amps output in the sun (not optomized just pointed at the sun) so at 4 X 7 hours =28 amp hours I was able to keep my battery fully charged, this included some lights and water pump.
Obviously, your experience is different.
The OP asked for input.
That is what makes the world turn.
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Old 02-09-2013, 03:01 PM   #10
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Herk and Happy Vibe,

Thanks for your experiences. As you two agree to disagree, you can see (no pun intended) why I'm asking for actual experiences!

The solar panel numbers I came up with were from a post on a website (evidently I did not look hard enough for a more realistic capacity). The person had a 120watt setup and claimed 65 amp hours per day from his rig (I divided that by 3 for my application...)

There is so many variables such as how long the fridge will run (dependant on outside temperature, sun etc.) and even the propane detectors series 30 and 40 are listed at 46 and 76 milliamps.

I'm certain that Herk's fridge is much larger than the 4.2 cu.ft. unit in the R-pod.

This is why I was hoping to find someone who is actually doing what I would like to do...

Happy Vibe mentions using a lot of propane... would you estimate a 30 lb tank would last a week, two weeks, a month (for the fridge only)?


Thanks,
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