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Old 06-23-2015, 11:25 AM   #11
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Solar gives you convenience and the freedom to camp anywhere you want, but you need enough solar to do it and the batteries it takes to do it, then just food and water. A large enough solar system and battery bank is only a part of the solar system equation. You need very large wiring, fusing, transfer switching to go from shore power to inverter power to generator power, a large true sine wave inverter, a good charge controller, remote monitoring of the charge controller and battery bank from inside your RV. Properly sized wiring to reduce voltage drops. Along with my large solar array I have on board a 5500 watt Cummins Onan generator as a back up with a 30 gallon fuel tank for it. I have everything monitored thru a 50 amp Progressive Ind. hardwire surge protector. To give you an idea of the cost of my solar system with TSW inverter, transfer switched, surge protector and Morningstar 60 amp MPPT charge controller and all remote monitors I have $3500 to $4000 or a little more but (no labor cost included in this amount, free labor of my own) in it which does include $1000 in AGM batteries. With a $1000 dollar battery bank you will want the best charge controller you can buy. I could have went cheaper on the batteries but didn't want the acid fumes in my RV enclose or worrying about venting the acid fumes. My battery bank weighs about 300 pounds which is another consideration to take into account when putting solar and a large battery bank in your RV. I probably added 600 pounds to my RV with the batteries, solar panels, charge controller and inverters and other devices and wiring. Large wiring is also very heavy. You will need to make sure your RV can take on the additional weight along with the other items you carry including water. I carry 130 gallons of fresh water when I go boondocking.
I can produce 35 amp with out a problem with my panels and when you consider I'm watch my 42" flat screen TV, Blue-ray DVD player for movies at night with all my LED lighting on inside and outside and running the furnace if needed, 4 door refrigerator, coffee pot, microwave, stereo just like I was plugged into the shore power without hesitation and without a worry of running out of battery bank. Only thing I need shore power or generator for is the 2 roof top A/C units which is this time of year for us. For 8 or 9 month out of the year though it is all solar and for the other 3 or 4 months genny or shore power.
Will my system ever pay me back money wise? Not likely, but in convenience and freedom it already has. I find my self going out in the RV at home and watching movies and eating popcorn just to us the free electricity. LOL We love our solar system!!!
An expensive solar system isn't for everyone, but a smaller Solar system like 100 or 200 watts with fusing and a couple true solar deep cycle batteries is easy and do able for less than a $600 to just keep your batteries topped off and always ready to use for the weekend.
Research it and don't get taken by those Zamp portable system they advertised they are way over priced. Look on ebay under RV solar kits. Renogy has a 100 watt kit which includes a charge controller and wiring for about $250 then all you need is fusing and batteries of your choice and a location for a couple of batteries and wherever you choose to mount you panels. Don't be discouraged get a little solar you will be glad you did and proud of it.
Good luck and Happy Camping!!!!
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Old 06-23-2015, 11:25 AM   #12
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Disagree with some points of the Gen as the one I have as long as you do not run air will run for 24 hrs and it's db is about as good as a Honda and a heck of a lot cheaper to buy
It's not so much the initial cost of the genset that gets expensive.. it's the ongoing fuel cost. Solar is a one time expense, and once it's in place and tuned up it just ticks along all by it's lonesome year after year.
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Old 06-23-2015, 11:34 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Yarome View Post
It's not so much the initial cost of the genset that gets expensive.. it's the ongoing fuel cost. Solar is a one time expense, and once it's in place and tuned up it just ticks along all by it's lonesome year after year.
Yes Sir virtually maintenance free but you will find yourself looking at it in awwww a lot if your anything like me.
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Old 06-23-2015, 05:03 PM   #14
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But can you justify the expense of solar. Takes an awful lot of camping to pay for it, just like buying a diesel truck. I could not justify the cost as we are seasonal campers and go during the year about 2 times per month. As I mentioned I can run 24 hrs on about 5 gal of gas. But that was an exception as most days you may run a couple of hrs or less. With the years I have left on this planet and for camping not worth it.

However lots of good info. Thanks. Later RJD
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Old 06-23-2015, 05:32 PM   #15
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But can you justify the expense of solar. Takes an awful lot of camping to pay for it, just like buying a diesel truck. I could not justify the cost as we are seasonal campers and go during the year about 2 times per month. As I mentioned I can run 24 hrs on about 5 gal of gas. But that was an exception as most days you may run a couple of hrs or less. With the years I have left on this planet and for camping not worth it.

However lots of good info. Thanks. Later RJD
Like I said Solar isn't for everyone and if 5 gallons of gas last you 24 hrs then you don't need solar anyway. I burn a gallon per hour running 2 A/C units.
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