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Old 04-23-2016, 10:35 AM   #1
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Solar re-charging, what gear do I need?

Thanks in Advance for the advice. FR 2016 Chaparral 29MKS
I have a dual battery (Factory Installed), battery isolation switch and a factory solar hook up connection (Pic attached). I will use additional batteries during boon docking in cooler weather, when the heater will be in use. I have a large portable generator to do the heavy recharging, when we are in remote camp.

I'm looking at Purchasing a solar panel system from Samlex. It is their 3 panel portable system (MSK -135). Decent price at $499. It's 135 watts at 8.52 amps. Will that get the job done? I know the generator will finish the job if necessary.
The Trailer has a built in converter. Do I need extra equipment, such as a charge controller? Any other suggestions?

I have a 6 watt trickle charger during storage. With the isolation switch, do I hook directly to the batteries and by pass the solar input?
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Old 04-23-2016, 12:29 PM   #2
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You will never get the full wattage/amperage out of a solar system unless conditions are perfect which often they are not.

The samlex system you are considering is a bit pricey for its capacity.

May I suggest spending a little more money for a complete Renogy 400 watt system?

http://www.amazon.com/Renogy-Monocry.../dp/B00BSZUHRC

A much more capable system which gives you a lot of room for growth!

We have the one with the MPPT controller but a PWM will work ok too at additional savings.

With this setup all you need is 4 golf cart batteries, an inverter, battery selector switch, battery monitor, and you may never need to run the generator again! Solar systems are like pickup trucks. Buy a small one at first and you'll regret not going large later and then ending up spending more money when you realize you need more capacity.

Batteries are as cheap as 85 apiece form Sams Club but I recommend spending 112 apiece and get the premium (more lead, heavier plates) golf cart batteries instead-they will last longer.

Good luck!

BTW, what kind of batteries do you have? Most RVs come with dual purpose batteries which aren't good. If they have a cold crank amperage rating (CCA) on them, they are not true deep cycle batteries.

My system has my 2 group 27 batteries in addition to my 2 banks of golf cart batteries for a total of almost 600 amp-hours of battery capacity. The two 12 volt batteries are just for emergency use when the sun isn't doing enough to charge the batteries or if a 6v cell goes bad. I also may run all 3 battery banks if wife is using the hair dryer in the morning or if we are running the microwave longer than a minute or two. Not a good idea to run mixed battery capacities at the same time continually which we don't unless we are drawing a large load.

Don't forget, you should not go below 50% of the batteries capacity or you'll give the batteries in no time. Our Group 27 batteries would last a single season due to the fact that the heater runs all night where we camp in the summers-above 10,00 feet in elevation.
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Old 04-23-2016, 05:04 PM   #3
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Thanks Tony. I will do the research. I would rather buy nice, than buy twice (and ultimately spend more)!!!
The batteries came with the trailer, so I'm sure their are not the best (I'll look up the batteries) . My third battery is an "Optima Yellow Top" - cold cranking deep cycle (Ca 870 CCA 750). It sounds like, I'll get through this year with these batteries and I'll have golf cart batteries in my future.
I can test the batteries over Memorial Day weekend. I'll have electrical hook up to recharge. I'll be at 9,100'. A few less than hunting base camp. Although hunting will be first week of November and a lot colder! I'll stay in touch.
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Old 05-08-2016, 10:07 AM   #4
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You and your spouse are welcome to give me a holler and come down if you wish to view my solar system setup. I am more than happy to give you some pointers. I recommend solar as a do it yourself project. Installers do the job quick and cut many corners. They often use too thin wire which increases voltage loss and often makes a solar system ineffective and they often install controllers and chargers too far away from the battery bank which also negates the solar system.

The hardest part of the installation is cutting wire, attaching lugs to wire, routing wire to desired locaiton. It is very time consuming.
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Old 05-08-2016, 10:25 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by MurphyIRE View Post
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You are going to need a charge controller as well. That connector goes straight to the batteries and they assume that the charge controller is with the panels. The Renology system is much bigger and not portable. If you are committed to portable, the system size that you chose will top off the batteries with the generator doing the heavy lifting or taking care of your needs on lousy days. The great thing about solar is that it will get your batteries up to 100% silently and running as long as the sun is out.
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