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Old 12-20-2012, 10:08 AM   #1
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Thinking about a small solar system

I have been looking at purchasing a small solar panel system for my trailer. I am looking to run a 26" LED television and a Dish reciever for a few hours in the evening and gain some charging capability. I primarily boondock and use my generator most the time, but would like to be generator free in the evening. I have already converted all my interior lighting to LED and have a substantial battery bank consisting of 2 Trojan SCS225 12v batteries. This is what I am looking at. What do you solar guru's think of this for a " starter" kit? Seemed like a reasonable price to me. I already have a 400 watt inverter waiting for this.

Unlimited Solar - GO RV ! - 130 Watt 12V RV Solar Power Kit
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Old 12-20-2012, 10:55 AM   #2
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I am floored TWICE!

1) I thought you were talking about a mobile "solar system" (with planets and all) - Duh ...

2) That is an AWESOME price. Go for it. Just make sure you have a good spot on the roof before you buy it.
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Old 12-20-2012, 11:36 AM   #3
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Herk, Do you think the 130watt would fit my needs for the equipment that I mentioned? I have a great spot that it will fit. Actually the one big panel would fit better than two smaller panels.
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Old 12-20-2012, 12:30 PM   #4
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you might do all right. really depends on your expectations.

Realistically the proposed system would be too small for the way we camp. Also, its a bit small to properly charge those batteries. I read somewhere that a PV system should be able to produce 1 amp for every 10 AHr of battery. Finally, its PWM charger that works ok, but you'll get more from a MPPT controller.

Now here's what I think you can do with that system: first it will allow you to charge your batteries while camping, thus minimizing your generator run time. But you might have to plug in once home to equalize the batteries. Second, you'll learn a lot on the cheap. If you do your research while enjoying those no generator quiet hours, you'll be ready to build your ultimate system. Third, you can add another panel to the one in the kit, but you'll have to upgrade the charge controller.

Bottom line: if I wanted to dabble in solar without spending much, it's a good buy.
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Old 12-20-2012, 01:02 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RPAspey View Post
you might do all right. really depends on your expectations.

Realistically the proposed system would be too small for the way we camp. Also, its a bit small to properly charge those batteries. I read somewhere that a PV system should be able to produce 1 amp for every 10 AHr of battery. Finally, its PWM charger that works ok, but you'll get more from a MPPT controller.

Now here's what I think you can do with that system: first it will allow you to charge your batteries while camping, thus minimizing your generator run time. But you might have to plug in once home to equalize the batteries. Second, you'll learn a lot on the cheap. If you do your research while enjoying those no generator quiet hours, you'll be ready to build your ultimate system. Third, you can add another panel to the one in the kit, but you'll have to upgrade the charge controller.

Bottom line: if I wanted to dabble in solar without spending much, it's a good buy.
Thanks for the information! The research I have done led me pretty much to where you stated. I figured it was at least a good starting point that I may want to add to later. I am still trying to fully understand the MPPT controller verses the PWT controller. From what I have read, they say the PWT controller is okay with smaller systems but ultimatley the MPPT is more efficient. I guess that would be a viable upgrade down the road with another 130 watt panel. Thanks again for the information.
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Old 12-20-2012, 01:44 PM   #6
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You are getting good advice.
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Old 12-20-2012, 05:05 PM   #7
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here's one for ya ... Solarblvd.com has a 245watt 24volt panel for $184, add to that a Phocos MPPT 100/30 controller for $334 and you can have 33amps of charging current for a little over $500! Thats good.
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Old 12-21-2012, 08:59 PM   #8
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Other good choices for MPPT controllers at low cost are the BZ Products MPPT 250 for $160 retail (made in USA), and the Blue Sky Energy (formerly RV Power Products) SB2000E for $285 retail. Of course the Morningstar SS-MPPT-15 is a great controller as well in the $230 range (internet search).

All are great companies with long history in solar electric.



MPPT Charge Controls

Blue Sky Energy Inc. | Solar Boost 2000E

Morningstar Corporation » SunSaver MPPT


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Old 12-21-2012, 09:44 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rkswyo View Post
I have been looking at purchasing a small solar panel system for my trailer. I am looking to run a 26" LED television and a Dish reciever for a few hours in the evening and gain some charging capability. I primarily boondock and use my generator most the time, but would like to be generator free in the evening. I have already converted all my interior lighting to LED and have a substantial battery bank consisting of 2 Trojan SCS225 12v batteries. This is what I am looking at. What do you solar guru's think of this for a " starter" kit? Seemed like a reasonable price to me. I already have a 400 watt inverter waiting for this.

Unlimited Solar - GO RV ! - 130 Watt 12V RV Solar Power Kit
I pulled the trigger on this setup last night. It ended up being $295 with shipping. I figured this was a decent starting point. Thanks for all the advice from everyone. One more question. If I choose to add another panel later, does it need to be the same wattage/specs as the first panel? I will probably upgrade to the MPPT controller at that time. Thanks!
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Old 12-22-2012, 01:12 AM   #10
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What a fantastic thread!
Thanks, you guys! Will you please keep the updates coming?
I'm ignorant about solar but am eager to learn!
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