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Old 12-06-2012, 11:49 AM   #11
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I bought my setup from SolarBlvd. Good prices there, shipping is a little slow sometimes. They are great to talk to.

One of the most important things to buy with a solar system is a battery monitoring system. it doesn't matter much which one is used, they all do about the same thing. Mine is all in one, the Blue Sky system with IPN Pro controller. Without such a monitoring system, there's no easy way to see what your system is doing.
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Old 12-06-2012, 12:19 PM   #12
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Thanks for the information. What I had in mind, bear with me, is mounting the solar panels so that they hang on the side of the camper and are hinged at the top. I still plan on the system being anchored on the roof but I'll use knob type screw in fasteners on the bottom. So when I'm going down the road they are anchored to the side and covered (no damage due to rocks please). When I'm camping they'll play awning and I can adjust via different length rods depending on where the sun is. This way they won't get in the way and I won't have to stumble around on the roof. I will be able to clean the roof easily also as well as the solar panels. If a storm is coming, I'll just drop my panels to the side. An aluminum frame will be made for the solar panels also so that when I lift them they all go at once.

I may even do 4 panels. Whatever it takes to be honest. Probably only two for now though. I'll just try and buy a charge controller that will be capable for an increase in amps.
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Old 12-06-2012, 12:22 PM   #13
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Something to consider, is sun angle.

I have not always had the luxury of parking so one side of the camper always faces south. If you have to park with your cells facing north, even with the panels fully elevated you might not get the output you desire.
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Old 12-06-2012, 12:57 PM   #14
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I really put some thought into tilting the panels. I wanted to be ready for any scenario. well, one season with the panels, I am not gonna bother with tilting them. no need to. my system easily makes enough power, so I'm happy.
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Old 12-06-2012, 01:21 PM   #15
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Here is my big unknown. I understand "Solar Panel --> Charge Controller --> Batteries <-- Inverter <--- Appliance" but I have no idea how the electrical system in a camper works nor where to connect everything. In my mind I put solar panels in and a charge controller connected to the batteries. Then by magic I can use my normal outlets for 120v appliances and everything is hunky dory. So, I'm tarded on getting my nice cheap solar generated electricity going through the existing electrical system of my camper.

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2) What came with your camper is, most likely, a "converter" not an "inverter." A converter takes 120 Volts AC and "converts" it to 12 volt DC required to charge your battery and run the 12 volt items (like lights). An "Inverter" is usually an after market add-on that "Inverts and boosts" 12 volt DC battery power and "makes" 120 volt AC. "Pure Sine Wave" inverters are preferred as they make the smoother waveform AC (makes computers and electronics more reliable) than the cheaper "Modified Sine Wave" inverters that make a "choppy, more square wave like" waveform. Most electronics will work with a Modified sine inverter, but some, like microwave oven magnetrons, hate it.

Herk
I've only done a couple days reading on solar panels, charger controllers, and looking at installs on rv.net (I think that is the site). Still a ways to go but I got a little fundamentals down before I came here to post.
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Old 12-06-2012, 01:24 PM   #16
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Something to consider, is sun angle.
I have not always had the luxury of parking so one side of the camper always faces south. If you have to park with your cells facing north, even with the panels fully elevated you might not get the output you desire.
It won't be a problem. I'm at work and not inclined to waste too much of my day drawing pictures but I may once I get home. I'm all for simplicity when I can make it happen. Or, complexity, that makes for simplicity later.
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Old 12-06-2012, 01:54 PM   #17
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5) Since a 1200 watt AC load on your inverter (say a TV and computer) will require 100 amps from your battery bank (12 volts DC X 100 Amps = 1200 Watts), you will need quite a large bank of deep discharge batteries to feed that inverter. The solar system will reduce the load on your batteries from 1200 watts to 1100 watts; extending their useful life before needing recharge.

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The 32" TV says 51w (1w standby) and the laptop (alienware M11x netbook) is reported to pull 30ish watts while gaming (much less when streaming a movie or DVD). The laptop has a 65 watt charger. Is my math flawed? I'm thinking 100 watts total draw vs the 1200-1100 watts you mentioned earlier. No problems admitting that there is a good possibility of lack of understanding on my part. Once I know how it all works though I'll stop asking people questions.
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Old 12-06-2012, 02:45 PM   #18
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that'll put you at about 10amps from the battery. Bear in mind those wattage numbers are for maximum current draw. So you should be slightly less than 10amps.

oh, its only 10amps from battery if panels aren't generating.
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Old 12-06-2012, 03:48 PM   #19
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Quote:
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The 32" TV says 51w (1w standby) and the laptop (alienware M11x netbook) is reported to pull 30ish watts while gaming (much less when streaming a movie or DVD). The laptop has a 65 watt charger. Is my math flawed? I'm thinking 100 watts total draw vs the 1200-1100 watts you mentioned earlier. No problems admitting that there is a good possibility of lack of understanding on my part. Once I know how it all works though I'll stop asking people questions.
Not at all. Just saying that inverters have big appetites for battery amps. Remember also that those two items won't be the only two items demanding juice from your 12 volt DC system.

I found that out the first time I tried to make coffee with my 2400 watt inverter. My 2 battery (140AH bank) was dead before the coffee finished brewing.

See attached graph for the rapid decline of battery capacity plotted against amp draw.
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Old 12-09-2012, 12:38 PM   #20
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Hi all, I'm new to the forum and just getting ready to set up solar in our new Winnie 2013. We previously had a Class C with 415 watts of panels on the roof running to a TriStar 45 MPPT controller and feeding three 12 volt AGM batteries. We lived full time on the solar for the last two years (except a few months in the winters) with no problems, of course we didn't use the microwave except for an extra cupboard. We also got a mellita drip coffee pot where you heat water on the stove and then pour through the filter. I'm no expert on this and very challenged with the math, but I'm a little handy and willing to give it a try. We were amazed at how freeing the solar panels were. We bought most of our stuff from Northern Arizona Wind and Sun and bought these panels from Solar Panels, PV Systems and Inverters Distributor we're going with more power on the roof this time, but could probably get by with less. Anyway, I guess I'm just encouraging you and offering to answer any specific questions you may have.
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