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Old 07-21-2014, 10:05 AM   #11
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That is good to know. I suppose that makes more sense. I must have misinterpreted the explanation of my RV prep rep during my orientation... or he gave me some misinformation.

So what dose the the CGFL all stand for?
The chart explains it:

C - Charging
G - Good
F - Fair
L - Low
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Old 07-21-2014, 10:12 AM   #12
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Yeah, that was my biggest fear was traveling and having it get ripped off. Maybe they will make an adhesive solar panel that will just stick like tape to the roof. But then you can get the correct angle depending on the time of day needed to charge the batteries efficiently as Herk mentioned. You might have the right idea here
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Old 07-21-2014, 10:13 AM   #13
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FYI - In full sun your 200 watt panel set will generate 200 watts/13 volts of amps (or about 15 amps max possible). A dual battery set up of 150 AH at 50% discharge would require 10 hours of full sun to replace that much power used.

That also assumes 90 degree incidence (you have a system that turns to direct the correctly angled panels (for the latitude you are at) as the sun progresses across the sky. While I have an astronomer friend who built one of these, they are not for the faint of heart.

Most sites say to assume a 15-20% loss average for a non-tracking system.

Another factor is the solar charge controller will cut back on charging current as the battery bank fills to avoid over charging the batteries. I seriously doubt you are replacing 100% of your daily usage, but you should allow several "extra" days of camping until you need a full equalization charge from a true battery charger.
Thanks again!!! I must admit that some of that solar jargon goes over my head. But I think I know what you're saying.

When looking at the right side of my control panel... the indicator will show 'Charge' as long as there is light on the panels. So at night will be the only time that I can get a true reading of what my battery charge level is. So, the indicator was showing 'Good' to 'Fair' at night (mostly 'Good').

Now... when the indicator first showed 'Charge' in the morning the sun was not up yet. So, the control panel was showing 'Charge' before the panels got direct sunlight. The sun was not yet even visible at this point.
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Old 07-21-2014, 10:52 AM   #14
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Now... when the indicator first showed 'Charge' in the morning the sun was not up yet. So, the control panel was showing 'Charge' before the panels got direct sunlight. The sun was not yet even visible at this point.
Remember the display is just showing voltage.

Your battery's voltage may have been much lower than the voltage being generated by your panel even with indirect light. Your particular solar charge controller might be able to manipulate the output voltage sufficiently to charge the battery even in sub-par light conditions.

There are two types of controllers MPPT and PWM.

Maximum power point tracker (MPPT) charge controllers are the latest and best development in solar charge controller technology. These charge controllers assess the optimum operating voltage and amperage of the solar array and matches that with the battery bank. Essentially it converts a higher voltage DC output from the solar panels down to the lower voltage required to charge the battery array.

PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) charge controllers are typically used in smaller systems where additional power is not often needed.

If your solar panels are rated at more than 12 volts (some generate as much as 48 volts in full sun!) and your controller uses the MPPT technology, even partial sun can generate a charging voltage (but not a lot of charging amps until the sun gets going).
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Old 07-21-2014, 11:16 AM   #15
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Lou:

First of all... thank you very much for your information.

Secondly... I have a charging question: After several days of boondocking or after/before a trip like this... how is the best way to fully charge a dual battery system?

If I just plug into a 30 amp outlet will that fully charge the batteries? Do you recommend a battery charger?

Thanks
Steve
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Old 07-21-2014, 01:53 PM   #16
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Secondly... I have a charging question: After several days of boondocking or after/before a trip like this... how is the best way to fully charge a dual battery system?
Steve,

If you have a 3 stage converter, you could just plug the camper in and let it sit for a week. That will top off the batteries to 100% just fine. If not, or you can't, using a good quality high output external charger for a day or so will also do it, but it will be much harder on the batteries.

There are excellent threads here about step (stage) charging and why it is needed.

Non-Technical answer is that as the battery "fills" you have to slow down the "flow" to keep from battery from filling too fast and "boiling" the electrolyte due to the heat generated by the electrons trying to brute force their way into the lead plates.

Technical answer:
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Old 07-21-2014, 02:39 PM   #17
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because we dry camp in primarily wooded campgrounds and that the DW likes to use the microwave occasionally, we prefer our Honda 2000w to any solar setup.

only need to run the Honda for a couple of hours a day. and it has been able to run the a/c on occasion.
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Old 07-21-2014, 04:45 PM   #18
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because we dry camp in primarily wooded campgrounds and that the DW likes to use the microwave occasionally, we prefer our Honda 2000w to any solar setup.

only need to run the Honda for a couple of hours a day. and it has been able to run the a/c on occasion.
I hear ya...

If my DW wanted to use the AC or microwave then I would have to carry along my generator too.

The places where we like to camp are remote and quite and I don't want to listen to a generator for a few hours... even our Honda. That's why I got the solar system... for the times that I do not want to use our generator. The solar system works great... just plug it in and forget it. It kept us charged for a week and I didn't even have to chase the sun around all day by moving the panels.
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Old 07-21-2014, 06:05 PM   #19
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I hear ya...

If my DW wanted to use the AC or microwave then I would have to carry along my generator too.

The places where we like to camp are remote and quite and I don't want to listen to a generator for a few hours... even our Honda. That's why I got the solar system... for the times that I do not want to use our generator. The solar system works great... just plug it in and forget it. It kept us charged for a week and I didn't even have to chase the sun around all day by moving the panels.
200 watts is a pretty good setup (especially in a portable) and your charge controller is top notch.
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Old 08-01-2014, 07:19 PM   #20
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Hi folks. First post here; big thank you for the informative thread. We presently have a 2006 Jayco Jay Feather 23B hybrid, but are looking at a Roo 233S as a replacement, so have been looking on your excellent forum.

Optipro, saw your earlier thread regarding roof mounting the panels. Looks like you went a different direction and happy with it. Just adding our experience for others who are considering roof mounted panels.

Our older Jayco has a similar roof system to the Roo, consisting of (from the top) TPO rubber membrane, 1/8" luan ply, Styrofoam type bead board, 1/8" luan ply c/w headliner material. Like the Roo, the whole assembly is vacuum formed at the plant. Main difference is the Jayco roof was flat rather than radiused. Jayco has since changed their roofs to a curved truss system.

At any rate, we have had two 80 watt rigid solar panels on the roof for eight years with no issues. I think we have a pulse width controller Herk mentioned. They were mounted professionally, so I don't know the exact fastener used, but they are held on with four brackets on each panel, and stand off the foot about an inch. No fasteners protrude in to the interior, so some type of anchor.

In my experience the bonded panel roof is OK for this mounting method as long as it is not compromised by a roof leak, which is kind of a whole different issue. For forested camp site applications I can see the advantage of the high quality portable setup Optipro has. We like the roof mount as freight space in the trailer is generally at a premium.

We tend to dry camp at fair grounds for dog shows. As we are usually out in the open in a playing field or similar, the roof panels get plenty of sun, and we don't have to use any additional setup room for the panels. We never run out of power in a four or five day show, and never have to run the generator for charging, just for grooming the dogs.

Our local RV stores have displays showing very thin flexible panels. Here is a link; this is the Canadian company that supplied our system years ago, but sure you have similar panels in the US.

http://gpelectric.com/products/solar-flex-kits-modules

I am not sure how these would work for attaching to the EPDM membrane on the Roo hybrid, but might be worth a look. They will certainly fit the roof curve well, just not 100% sure on fastening to the EPDM so they are removable for maintenance / repair and whether there would be a heat buildup behind the panel?

Anyway, thanks for a great forum and sorry for length. We will be deciding on our new trailer in about a month; gotta say the Roo is looking pretty good against a new Jayco.

Stu
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