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Old 05-31-2016, 01:10 PM   #1
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Solar panels

Who has installed a solar panel in their RV to keep a charge on the coach batteries and did you consider it worth the investment?
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Old 05-31-2016, 01:21 PM   #2
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I just did it last month and it is definitely worth it. I put a 100 watt Renogy on the roff and ran the wires down the fridge vent and under the trailer to the battery box. We don't store our trailer at the house so I would have to remove the 2 batteries each time we park it and bring them home to charge. Our electric power is mainly from solar. We had two panels that are deployed on the ground and now we have the third panel on the roof for even more amps.
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Old 05-31-2016, 02:08 PM   #3
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I just installed a 200-Watt flex panel kit from Go-Power and a 1000-Watt Inverter to power small appliances (slow cooker, Ice maker, etc.) while boondocking. Well worth the effort and cost in my opinion.

I don't like generator noise if I can avoid it. I just use the outlets on the inverter to power the appliances when needed; it allows me to quietly fish for a couple of hours without having the generator running.

The system does keep the batteries charged and conditioned.
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Old 06-01-2016, 12:21 AM   #4
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Thanks guys, I'm scheduled to get them installed on Tuesday.
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Old 06-01-2016, 11:33 AM   #5
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Desert Kicker did you install a battery monitor readout? We have the Go pro portable solar panel 120W the 1000W power inverter which we just installed and are all connected directly to the batteries. We want it just for TV in the evening while boon-docking. Do I need to turn off the house power when the inverter is on? Currently I have nothing telling me the battery charge level and usage other than the little lights on the stock panel. I know I have to turn off inverter before charging the batteries. Suggestions and how to appreciated. Pictures are even better. Thanx
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Old 06-01-2016, 12:14 PM   #6
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I installed 2 265w mono panels on the roof with an outback flex80 controller. We boondocked this past weekend and when I looked at the meter, the panels were pumping 14A into the batteries so it definitely was worthwhile. My next addition is to add a battery monitor (Victron BVM700) to give me a future run time analysis. I have a AC transfer switch and a 2K inverter but I'm struggling on the placement given the current wiring and the enclosed underbelly.
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Old 06-01-2016, 01:04 PM   #7
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My 200-Watt solar kit included a solar controller which tells current battery charge, amps coming in, and volts. I also have a remote controller for the inverter that tells me state of the battery while the inverter is in use. The setup is not a true battery monitor however. I can't tell how many amp-hours any particular device uses, but I can tell if the batteries are getting low and get a good estimate of how fast they are draining.

I do not have my inverter connected to the house circuit. I use the outlets on the inverter to power whatever device I want to use, and typically for fairly short durations. I've never tried running a TV off of the inverter. I primarily use mine to power a small ice maker, slow cooker, or the occasional air pump.

I decided on my setup as based on the desire to not have the generator running while I was away from the motorhome for two or three hours, and still having the ability to have a meal cooking in the slow cooker or be making ice in the ice maker.

The Go Power site has a handy calculator to help decide what is needed for what applications, and there's a real informative video on the Gone with the Wynns site.

Gone With the Wynns

Mobile Power Systems and Solutions for RV, Utility, Fleet and Marine Application
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Old 06-01-2016, 01:12 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skip1954 View Post
Thanks guys, I'm scheduled to get them installed on Tuesday.
I have installed the panel on the roof in the past but on my newest trailer I find it must better to keep it "portable".. another words, you can move it into the sun if RV is parked in the shade.. works must better..get more power from it..
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Old 06-01-2016, 01:19 PM   #9
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I tried posting pictures, but I'm having trouble doing the uploads. I do not turn off the house while running the inverter, but keep in mind that your solar will not be charging at night, so running a TV might run your batteries down fairly quickly.

I really like flymhi's setup, and there's a world of difference between having over 500-Watts of solar and only having 200, but it depends on your needs and budget.
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Old 06-02-2016, 12:50 PM   #10
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Thank you for the quick response. We plug the TV directly into the inverter. The inverter is directly connected into the batteries. I've seen the Wynn's and Go pro videos and a lot of others. I was just concerned about how I would know if the batteries are fully charged or drained down enough to stop (without getting under the coach with an amp meter continuously) . I guess I will have to get a monitor and figure away to install it. Just leary of these stock deep cycle batteries and hate to ruin them on first outing. I know they don't hold a lot of amp hours. I looked all over the batteries and see no markings at all as to the make or amperage so I must assume about 70 amps each =140 amp hrs. (not much) about 50 amp hrs usable. About 4hrs of TV with the heater & Fridge on per night. Next day would be dedicated to charging up with panel and gen if needed. Living on a shoe string with battery power till we upgrade to 6v batteries and figure out a way to build a bigger battery box in the same location. Like most we want 4 6v batteries Like always, projects over run the cash flow
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