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Old 10-27-2015, 06:15 AM   #111
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Originally Posted by Tom48 View Post
Oh and while the panels are about the same inexpensive China stuff, the windy nation package that has their $50 30 amp pwm controller is a nice simple step. It has a display with battery state of charge displayed graphically. Not the same as the expensive monitor systems but more accurate than my factory display of state of charge. These days the only time our generator come on is when we want the a/C
Thanks Tom, I've been looking at Windynation or Renology for the panels. Whatever we buy it has to be expandable. I like the idea that the Windynation 100 & 200 watt kits come with a 30 amp controller included so we can add on panels as needed. They also give the same warrantee for their lightweight flexible monocrystaline panels as for their standard polycrystalline panels. As our dealer has informed us that drilling into our roof will void the warranty we're looking at a portable system at least for now. The light weight would be a plus but they have drawbacks; pricier, less durable and if mounted on the roof problems with heat build up.

Since money's an issue and our original battery is pretty new and we had concerns about the weight carrying capacity of the bracket, we decided to add a matching group 24 battery to double our amp hours. So far so good. We hope to get a year or two out of them. At that point we'll upgrade to 6 volt, have someone weld another support onto the bracket and will hopefully be in battery heaven.
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Old 11-07-2015, 11:14 PM   #112
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Originally Posted by Mountndream View Post
Alot of people here use 2 6v Trojan t105's. they have 225 amp hours and if you look around can be had for relatively little more than standard 6 volts batteries. if you compare the amp hours, you get ALOT more with the T105s
Might want to try this site for high amp hr batteries. I've tried to argue with some that these batteries exist, but to no avail. Yes they do make a 175 amp hr AGM battery and even larger in 12vdc units.
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Old 11-07-2015, 11:21 PM   #113
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I could be wrong, but I have never heard of a Group 31 battery having a 200 ah rating, usually they are around 100-120 ah.
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Old 11-07-2015, 11:44 PM   #114
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There is no such thing as a Group 31 AGM rated at 200ah, the average AH rating for a Group 31 AGM is around 100 - 110 AH.
There are 200ah AGM, they are Group 921 and weigh about 120 lbs compared to a Group 31 at 70 lbs.
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Old 11-08-2015, 01:01 AM   #115
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Ditto Boondocking...
....now show me a VMax group 31 with the specs you are challenging BlackhatMike.
The only one close is about twice the size of a G31. You are talking about & recommending things you don't understand and this misleads others. The 20 hour capacity of a group 3 deep cycle is between 105 & 115 amp hours. Some mfr's may exaggerate a little for marketing purposes...but none comes close to the numbers you are suggesting exist.
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Old 11-15-2015, 05:02 PM   #116
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Go Big with Batteries, ditto on Victron

I have a pretty massive solar system on my Coachmen 380DS. For Batteries, I modified the battery holddowns to install 4 L16 Sun-Extender AGM batteries at 125 pounds each. I have added 6 of the Kyocera 140 Watt panels on the roof (2 more since the pic) giving me a whopping 840 Watts of power. This produces about 40 amps an hour in full sunlight. Per my Victron (highly recommended) we use about 125 amps a day. That includes making coffee in the morning, running the microwave at night, watching TV, and also running my CPAP. LED lights make a difference. For wet batteries, Trojans have a great reputation. Whether you go 6 volt in series or 12 in parallel, or some combination thereof, is not really relevant and will produce pretty much the same storage capacity either way. Just stuff the biggest batteries that you can into the available space and get the best you can afford. Deep Cycle of course.

While you can go portable, its a pretty big pain to setup every time. We look for sites that give minimal tree coverage, but you can't always avoid it. Its just the way it is. Larger capacity means I can go with less sunlight. If going solar, go with paralleling your panels rather than series connection, along with an MMPT controller. In series, if one panel gets shaded, all panels go down. In parallel, only the shade panel is lost. The MPPT controller will max your output. Less voltage may mean that you need bigger cables. Its all a tradeoff, but shading is almost always an issue and I went with the approach that minimizes that effect.

The Victron is a great unit. It tells you your current draw, lets you cut things on and off to see what is drawing heavily, lets you know your state of charge and your rate of re-charge. Lots of fun for a numbers oriented guy like me.

Good Luck with whatever you decide!

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Old 11-15-2015, 05:16 PM   #117
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Wow Big. Wish I had room and money for something like that. BIG
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Old 11-15-2015, 07:06 PM   #118
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Nice post Charlie...should be helpful to both big & small systems. Now for a couple of questions.
You are capable of 840 watts out of the panels which should average 200-225amp hours per day in a reasonable sunny place.
Your batteries are 740 amp hours at 12V...or 370 usable to 50%.
Your daily needs are described as 125 amp hours....so your batteries will give you 3 days in full darkness.
Why so much overkill in both batts and panels? Looks like you're ready for the grid to go down and the volcano to blow.

Glad you like your Victron... Trimetric gets good reviews here too but I'm a Victron fan.
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Old 11-15-2015, 08:14 PM   #119
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Good Questions. When I first designed and installed the system, I was pulling about 225 amps a day on average. Then I realized that I could knock off just under 100 amps a day by cutting off the inverter whenever I really didn't need it. The only downside is that I keep having to reset the microwave clock. I've also replaced most of my lighting with LED, reducing the load. The Victron really helps your general awareness of your load.

I also found that on overcast days, or in medium to heavy trees, I really didn't make much power. Since we prefer national and state parks, avoiding commercial parks whenever possible, the big system just lets us get more time. Plus, I don't run down the system as low as I might otherwise, saving battery longevity. I can really be pretty much as piggish as I want. While I also have a 7.5K genset, I almost never use it.

Adding the last two panels was really a no-brainer. I had the space, and other than some mounts, the two panels, and a little wire there was minimal marginal cost, relatively speaking, to increasing my output by 50%.

I'll admit that I like to tinker, often just because I can. I've had this thing for 3 years, but have replaced the TVs, the radio, the satellite antenna (so I get HD), the water pump (better pressure), fixed most everything that bugged me, the lighting with LEDs, added the solar, redone the lines to the LP tank to resolve a leak, replaced the camera system with a 3 camera color, added a CB radio (I really wonder why I did that), replaced the useless fog lamps with driving lamps, heck that's just what I remember. I drive my wife a bit crazy, not that its a long drive.

Next, I'm adding an installed brake system to the wrangler toad and adding the blue ox steering stabilization. I'm thinking about the comfort ride control valves for the airbags, but need a bit more research.

No, I'm not retired. I run four different businesses and volunteer as a paramedic 14 hours a week. I just like to tinker when I can.

So really, I made it that big just because I wanted it that way.
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Old 11-15-2015, 08:34 PM   #120
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Thanks for the explanation... makes good sense. Sounds like it's all relaxing for you. Some people like to fish...others like to play with their tool bag...others like to watch and give advice. Heheh.
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