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Old 05-21-2016, 02:20 PM   #1
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Solar vs Generators

Ok I'm not very well versed in how this works. My question is has anyone set their rv to run on solar while parked for a length of time. My issue is I want to live in my Wildcat bunkhouse 5th wheel while our house is being built. The 5th wheel is currently in my barn out of the Wyoming weather. When I go up on weekends (a couple of time during the summer I use one of several Honda generators) this is will not work for six month stay as running 24/7 (I have a cpap I run at night) I'm not sure if my refrigerator runs on 12v, I have a tv, microwave, coffee pot, and A/C that require 110/220. I will be off grid when the house is built at this time there is no electricity except what the generators provide. Any advice is appreciated.
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Old 05-21-2016, 02:52 PM   #2
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Unless you are going to invest in a major solar farm, Solar will not work. Those here using solar ( few hundred watt) to recharge batteries during the day have battery banks ( 2-4 batteries) and are running minimal appliances. This is very different than full time living and using a CPAP. If you have a propane fridge, you can run it an WH with minimal drain, but you have issues with the microwave, and will not be able to run the AC. If the 5er is on the lot where the house is being built, I would suggest having a power run early in the construction and adding a temp box for 5er.
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Old 05-21-2016, 03:16 PM   #3
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The problem is there is no power to the property and a solar/wind system is going to be part of the construction when the house is being built. I was thinking that I would have to put in a mini(sub) solar system for the trailer later to be used for the barn. Thanks I'll check the refrigerator for propane usage.
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Old 05-22-2016, 08:32 AM   #4
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Don't see how you can avoid using the generators. At least you have some Hondas so you should be able to depend on them if you have maintained them properly. (I have a 16 year old EU1000i that still starts on the first pull!)
Is it possible to have your power system built before the house? If it is to be in a small building away from the house you could use it for the trailer as soon as it was finished and it would let you work out kinks in it before you finish the house and start living in it.
Solar panels will charge the batteries during the day but if you have to have a generator running for the a/c then there is no point in spending extra money on them. 24hrs a day for 6 months is about 4000 hours so if you have two Hondas 2000 hrs each is not a big deal. If you have a large enough battery bank and an inverter you should be able to run the cpap off 12V and not have to run the generators at night unless you need a/c then also.
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Old 05-22-2016, 09:15 AM   #5
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You should consider importing a clone of a Lister generator. The Lister is a slow speed diesel generator that can run on diesel, vegetable oil (waste veggie oil), or biodiesel. There are stories of them lasting 25 years at an almost continuous use rate which is not surprising since they run at 650 rpm.

EPA banned their import but you can order the generator in parts or even order the main components as a air compressor which then needs some small modifications to convert the air compressor into a diesel motor.

They are fairly quiet and a barn or basement is all you need for virtually noiseless operation.

When I build my cabin in the back country, A lister is what I'll own. It'll make a good generator when the zombie apocalypse occurs.
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Old 05-22-2016, 11:05 AM   #6
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If I was going to do that I would run my refrigerator off of LP and my hot water heater off of LP. I have a coffee maker that you heat on the stove, a coffee percolater. The tv will not pull to many amps. If I could afford it I would put in 6 solar panels and run at least four six volt batteries, if money was not to much of a problem instead of four batteries I would install eight. You can usually buy your batteries at SAMs or cosco for under a @100.00 apiece. I like Trojans but they cost more. For AC you have to have a generator. You can install a Fantastic fan and will keep you somewhat cool and a low amp draw, you just open a window and get a breeze going. Some of the people on this blog know a lot more about solar than I do. You can also Google solar and you will get a ton of information. I see things on YouTube all the time


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Old 05-22-2016, 11:18 AM   #7
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Oh I would also install a inverter, I have a 3,000 watt inverter for running the lights which are led and the tv and the microwave. You would need the inverter to run your machine. I have looked at some threads that some have a low amp draw. If I was going to run the generator for air then I would skip the solar and buy a really good battery charger, now days you can buy two chargers and hook them up together. Run the generator in the daytime and use the batteries at night. It's normally cooler at night


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