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Old 09-27-2015, 07:12 AM   #61
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I've been finding that out myself

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Originally Posted by Blackhat6mike View Post
Even Peukert's Law isn't a solid constant! I'm not trying to build a watch, I just want to know what time it is. I'm interested in the real life, no BS, no hype ability of some of my batteries including the ones in my home solar bat bank [D cells] I'll be happy with a generalization and not a carved in stone #.
There was a time when real deep cycle bats came with the amp hr rating stamped on the top. This seems to be a practice has been greatly reduced to only a few brands. Trying to explain to the guy behind the counter that CCA means squat in an RV or storage bank. They just don't get it.
Sears guy stared at me like I had two heads. I walked out, no sense in letting the blind lead the blind. Too bad, once upon a time they used to have knowledgeable people working there--maybe I caught a bad one--or maybe he's jus uncomfortable with women in the automotive department. Walmart--no one there to advise me--didn't think there'd be--I'm not going that route anyway.

Batteries + guy got it once I explained to him that it wasn't going to be a starting battery. He was willing to cut me a two for one deal on some Duracell 6 volts so that sounded promising. Then there's a local company called Tekris which sells both Interstate and Trojan batteries. They specialize in inverters and solar systems. That guy knew what I was looking for. I think we'll contract our dealer and find out what if any weight restrictions there are on our battery bracket before we make a final decision.
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Old 10-07-2015, 01:08 PM   #62
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OK. First step done. Installed LED throughout. Next up battery. The cheapskate in me says "get a battery to match the current group 24 dual purpose. It's only a few months old. You'll double your capacity for half the $. When they die in a year or two get the battery of your dreams. Meanwhile
Use the $ to buy a 100 watt portable solar panel and use the generator as backup. The librarian in me says get what your research tells you you need. Right now the cheapskate is winning.
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Old 10-07-2015, 01:11 PM   #63
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Originally Posted by brooklyncowgirl View Post
OK. First step done. Installed LED throughout. Next up battery. The cheapskate in me says "get a battery to match the current group 24 dual purpose. It's only a few months old. You'll double your capacity for half the $. When they die in a year or two get the battery of your dreams. Meanwhile
Use the $ to buy a 100 watt portable solar panel and use the generator as backup. The librarian in me says get what your research tells you you need. Right now the cheapskate is winning.
I'm on 5 years with my "dual purpose" interstate batteries "group 24"

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Old 10-07-2015, 02:26 PM   #64
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Originally Posted by brooklyncowgirl View Post
OK. First step done. Installed LED throughout. Next up battery. The cheapskate in me says "get a battery to match the current group 24 dual purpose. It's only a few months old. You'll double your capacity for half the $. When they die in a year or two get the battery of your dreams. Meanwhile
Use the $ to buy a 100 watt portable solar panel and use the generator as backup. The librarian in me says get what your research tells you you need. Right now the cheapskate is winning.
I like your thinking. When you see what solar can do for you there is a good chance you will expand and get something that mounts on your rig so you don't ever have to fool with it again. If you do that well you can say goodbye to the generator and its noise forever.

A couple of month old battery won't be a killer for a brand new one (unless you really fried it by draining it to zero too many times). Certainly be good enough for a time, perhaps a couple of seasons.

When you are ready to expand to better solar, look at my blog and Handy Bob's blog.

Kelly
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Old 10-07-2015, 04:57 PM   #65
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Originally Posted by brooklyncowgirl View Post
OK. First step done. Installed LED throughout. Next up battery. The cheapskate in me says "get a battery to match the current group 24 dual purpose. It's only a few months old. You'll double your capacity for half the $. When they die in a year or two get the battery of your dreams. Meanwhile
Use the $ to buy a 100 watt portable solar panel and use the generator as backup. The librarian in me says get what your research tells you you need. Right now the cheapskate is winning.
I don't understand how a 100W panel is the answer to your needs. You will get at most...an average of 25amp hours a day from that panel...less than your single battery can provide and not enough to recharge it fully from 50% depletion. I think you need to understand FIRST...how many amp hours use you have daily when you are not plugged in somewhere. Then build your battery system to 2x that capacity....then get a solar panel set up rated at 4x the watts as the daily amp hours you need. (i.e. if you use 50 amp/hours a day you need 200 watts of panels. )

In the meantime...if you don't intend to do THaT analysis over the near term...the librarians decision should be the same as the cheapskates.
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Old 10-15-2015, 06:52 PM   #66
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We took a trip this weekend and found we used around 35 amps a day--we're doing better now that we have the LEDs. No big problem since we had a generator with us but we hate the noise. Brings back memories of hurricane Sandy.

I found a 6 volt side by side battery box from Century Plastics that will fit my trailer bracket so right now I'm leaning toward spending the money and buying two 6 volt batteries.

As far as solar panels go, I agree at least 200 watt would be ideal for our needs but as I said, I am cheap and want to do this a bit at a time. Whatever we end up doing we want to make sure we have the ability to expand to 200 even maybe 300 watts. If I understand this correctly the controller has to be at least a 30 amp controller or do I have this all wrong.

Has anyone had any experience with these sort of flexible monocrystaline panels? They're more expensive than the standard panels of course but I love the weight of these and the fact that they can be installed by adhesive or even (I'm not sure if I'd trust this) Velcro.

100 Watt Flexible Solar Panel with SunPower Solar Cells=
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Old 10-15-2015, 11:14 PM   #67
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How did you measure that you use 35 amp hours a day without a battery monitor??

Remember that only 2 6 volts means if ONE fails...you trip is interrupted till you can get a new one. Not so with a pair of 12V's...but as long as you are comfortable with that...the 6V's will give you a lot of bang for your bucks.

If the goal could be 300 watts of solar in the future...300 watts divided by 12V is a 25amp current. Most panels are 17+volts which get converted to 12V (with some loss) so 30 amp controller should be more than enough. Try to get an MPPT type charge controller. Since it would be a miriacle to actually get the rated output from a panel...You could most likely get away with a 300 W setup and a 25amp controller. Important to use all the same panel for best performance.
I would not use flexible panels. They don't last as long and the lack of two sided ventilation reduces output significantly on hot sunny days.

(Those with some interest in actual performance of specific panels under lab test conditions may be interested in this link....actual measured wattage is the PTC value) Incentive Eligible Photovoltaic Modules in Compliance with SB1 Guidelines - Go Solar California
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Old 10-16-2015, 05:53 AM   #68
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How did you measure that you use 35 amp hours a day without a battery monitor??

Remember that only 2 6 volts means if ONE fails...you trip is interrupted till you can get a new one. Not so with a pair of 12V's...but as long as you are comfortable with that...the 6V's will give you a lot of bang for your bucks.

If the goal could be 300 watts of solar in the future...300 watts divided by 12V is a 25amp current. Most panels are 17+volts which get converted to 12V (with some loss) so 30 amp controller should be more than enough. Try to get an MPPT type charge controller. Since it would be a miriacle to actually get the rated output from a panel...You could most likely get away with a 300 W setup and a 25amp controller. Important to use all the same panel for best performance.
I would not use flexible panels. They don't last as long and the lack of two sided ventilation reduces output significantly on hot sunny days.

(Those with some interest in actual performance of specific panels under lab test conditions may be interested in this link....actual measured wattage is the PTC value) Incentive Eligible Photovoltaic Modules in Compliance with SB1 Guidelines - Go Solar California
Thanks for the input and the link. The 35 amps was very much a ballpark figure. I used a battery tester (one of those $15 Solar things and figured that when the battery got down to 50% that we had used 35 amp hours of power) as my battery is rated at 70 AH. At any rate 24 hours of camping pretty much depleted the battery by 50%. As we do not have a battery charger except for the controller on the trailer I can't guarantee that it was fully charged to begin with. According to my crappy little tester it was at 100%.
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Old 10-16-2015, 09:04 AM   #69
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Originally Posted by brooklyncowgirl View Post
Thanks for the input and the link. The 35 amps was very much a ballpark figure. I used a battery tester (one of those $15 Solar things and figured that when the battery got down to 50% that we had used 35 amp hours of power) as my battery is rated at 70 AH. At any rate 24 hours of camping pretty much depleted the battery by 50%. As we do not have a battery charger except for the controller on the trailer I can't guarantee that it was fully charged to begin with. According to my crappy little tester it was at 100%.
You're welcome....and all I'd add is that without an accurate assessment of your TRUE power use before investing in panels and a controller, you could make a very expensive mistake. Assuming you get the batteries first...suggest you get a REaL monitor second since you'll need one with panels anyway...then you'll know how much you really use and how much panel and controller power you need. Good luck.
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Old 10-16-2015, 11:52 AM   #70
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I had 2 12v and one failed and drew the other down. I couldn't tell which one failed. I now have 2 6 v and had the same batteries in 2 different trailers for 3 yrs.
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