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Old 06-19-2011, 04:20 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by polkatronron View Post
I don't believe in taking batteries out in fact I think cold is better than warm for them as long as there is a trickle of current going into them..any recommendations
I, for one, would be curious to know what led you to this belief?

As to a good trickle charger the Battery Tender series of chargers do a great job. Of course you would need 120 VAC to run them. 10 watt Solar chargers don't do a good job and are a total waste of money.

The 10 watts is in full sun with the ray incidence being 90 degrees. Unless you constantly adjust the angle for time passage (solar drive motor) and Latitude, you will not get anywhere near rated output.

10 watts (FULL output) at 12 volts is less than 100 milliamps. Not enough to keep up with internal resistance loss let alone temperature degraded capacity loss.

Best practice for cold climates is to remove the battery to a warm place and put a battery minder on it.
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Old 06-19-2011, 04:57 PM   #12
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I have just purchased a 2011 Sabre Silhoette 25 foot fith wheel and am looking at installing a solar system. My last unit had been prewired for solar conection...is this also the case with the Sabre? I have taken a quick look at the fridge vent and there dosent seem to be anything in this area.
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Old 06-19-2011, 05:16 PM   #13
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Solar RV systems

One of many threads on this forum. There are also dedicated web sites for solar power and off grid RVing like:

Solar Cell, Solar Panel, Renewable Energy, Wind Energy, Charge Controller, Solar Trackers

Solar Blvd has an EXCELLENT FAQ and Blog regarding solar systems.
I, and one of my friends, have done business with them in the past. I bought an inverter from them and my friend bought one of their 275 watt panels and a charge converter for it. They were fast and provided excellent tech support after the sale.

No, I do not have a financial interest in Solar Blvd. (but maybe I should look into it!)
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Old 06-19-2011, 10:00 PM   #14
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Sorry to say Herk, I disagree with you. Batteries sitting dormant (not being used) will sulfate quicker than one sitting in freezing temps. I have had deep cycles in all my rv's and never have I taken a battery out over winter and we get cold winters. I did however disconnect the negative terminal on the batts. Deep cycle's fair well in sub zero temps as long as you have them full charged before you park the rig.
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Old 06-19-2011, 11:07 PM   #15
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All kinds to make a world, they say.
I just play an "expert" on the internet in any case.
You were just the first to have offered that point of view.
Always looking to learn. Do you have a source for that?
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Old 06-21-2011, 11:26 AM   #16
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Lou,

Stop being a solar snob!

There are people out there that would prefer not to pay upwards of $500+ for a solar kit for their RV. I for one don't see the cost benefit of a good sized solar system on my RV. My wife and I go camping 4-8 times a summer and although I have been tempted, I just can't bring myself to spend the money for something that would not be used a great deal. I don't generally run electronics when we camp and if I do, I'll kick on the generator for a short time.

As it happens, my RV came with a 15W solar panel. Not sure why the previous owner installed a small panel (oh, he installed it "in" the rubber roof) but it is there and I intend to put it to use.

The truth is, I envy your system (yes, I have solar envy) but to each his own.
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Old 06-21-2011, 12:02 PM   #17
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Costco had a Coleman 55W Solar Back-Up Kit for around $219, was wondering if anyone had any experience with it. Walmart.com: Coleman 55W Solar Back-Up Kit: Tools (Walmart site, but same unit, for less)

We just don't dry camp enough to justify a full blown solar system, or probably even a generator.
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Old 06-21-2011, 12:28 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by MikeInColo View Post
The truth is, I envy your system (yes, I have solar envy) but to each his own.
Sorry, no hab solar system on my rig. Hab BIG HONKIN generator.

A 15 watt panel is a trickle charger (and I do mean trickle). I doubt it would provide enough current to keep your battery warm in the winter.

Your envy (and mine) is misplaced. Still waiting for prices to come down further (they will). You can easily get a 200 watt system (smallest I would consider) for under 300 bucks including the controller.
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Old 06-21-2011, 12:36 PM   #19
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Generally you can figure about half of the rated wattage from solar panels. And that is on a sunny day. Any clouds and you won't even come close.

A lead-acid battery will lose charge just sitting idle. And this is what the small 15 to 30 watt solar panels are meant to prevent.

As for a system to move the panels throughout the day...It is generally cheaper and easier to just use more panels and keep them fixed.

If you want to use serious solar power system, make sure the charge controller has MPPT (maximum power point tracking). This will give you much more charge into the batteries than a non-MPPT charger.

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Old 06-21-2011, 12:50 PM   #20
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Excellent tutorial:
Solar Tutorial
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