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Old 12-14-2015, 07:52 PM   #11
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Ablindmule, x2 Thanks for posting Bob's site. I have it bookmarked and look often. Long reads, but awesome stuff! Yes, he is very informative. I like his ideas about how to do it right the first time-despite what so called experts have to say!

I have extensive electronic and electrical knowledge, and am new to a real RV. Great to hear another guy telling it like it is.

Thanks to all on this forum that are so eager to pass on information to the rest!
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Old 12-14-2015, 08:43 PM   #12
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To summarize.... I think...

Key points.
Heavy wire from the panels.
Crank up the controller.
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Old 12-14-2015, 08:56 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pbalmer65 View Post
Looking to put solar on my 5er. Want to run lights ( I'm all LED lighting ) heater and if posable a coffee pot or 900watt microwave. I have put a second battery aboard already. Need the right inverter and total watts needed of panels to keep up.
I think you will be surprised at how much a coffee pot draws. I checked mine with a Kill-a-Watt meter and it topped out at 850 watts. That's is pulling for the whole time it is on. A microwave is generally only run for short periods, but can draw 1,300 watts depending on its output. Mine pulls 1,100 on microwave and I've never checked it on convection.
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Old 12-14-2015, 08:59 PM   #14
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Those are the key points. Also be sure to make very good ( low resistance) connections on the DC side. For your example of a 900W microwave (90A DC from batteries) if you have as much as 0.02 ohms of resistance ( this is not much) in wire and connections you will lose almost 2VDC.
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Old 12-15-2015, 07:39 AM   #15
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More on Solar

Spend the little extra $ and get a good controller. It will more than pay off in a short time. My actual research has the Morningstar units far ahead of several cheapies I have tried. MPPT if using a larger setup (300 plus watts or so) -OR if you are using solar panels other than 12volt (17voc) panels. If you hunt, you can find many used panels from home solar upgrades or the like for cheap. But, these have the higher Voc and really require the more expensive MPPT controller.
Basically, PWM and 12 v panels for lower wattage systems, panels are smaller and lower wattage, but take up a bit more space due to more being needed. MPPT for larger systems or if using high output panels. Each panel is larger, but outputs a lot more wattage and current. Also, fewer mounting points (holes) in the roof. Total cost for either is pretty close to call once you get above 2-300 watts. Find out the charging requirements and voltages for your battery set, and set up the solar charging system according to that information? Keep your runs short, fuse everything, use good wiring and termination, and enjoy!
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Old 12-15-2015, 08:40 AM   #16
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My solar system I put in my 42' 5er; 4 monocystillin solar panels totalling
520 watts, 3) 12v AGM SLR batteries total 435ah, 2000 watt Cotek true sine wave inverter with transfer switch, Morningstar 60 amp MPPT charge controller, all fusing and disconnects, 2/0 sealed welding cable on batteries and to inverter, remote Morningstar panel, Remote Cotek panel, 4 gauge from Morningstar to batteries fused and disconnect, you can see pics of my set up on my profile page albums. I run my coffee maker, convection microwave, convection uses less amps but takes longer so we use the microwave part to heat up stuff and make pop corn, run our central heater, run a fan by the bed all night, run 30' of awning LEDs all night and step lights, run our 42" TV all day with blue ray DVD player watch movies with surround sound stereo, no issues yet but if the sun doesn't come out cause it's raining then we just conserve a little. I think I'm going to add 2 more 160 watt panels just for those rainy days. I've seen my panels put out 10 amp while its raining but 10 amps isn't much compared to what we drink up in power at night. Most I've seen my solar panels put out is 36 amps. I put this system in a year ago and it's worked excellent so far and very convenient to be able to camp anywhere you want with out shore power. We do have a Onan 5500 generator with 30 gallon fuel on board if needed and did use the Onan once to charge the batteries because of a 4 day rain storm, but the Onan needed excercising anyway. We have a 60 amp Progressive charge converter that works great charging my battery bank.
Investigate what you want and the costs add up quick. I have about $5000 in my system includes the $1k in batteries. It won't ever pay for itself except for the convenance it provides. I will move the system to another RV if and when that day comes. I park or 5er right by the house and I have a 50 amp service with water for it but haven't hooked it to the 50 amp power at home since installing the solar cause there is no need to unless I want to run the A/C units. You can install a cheaper system I just wanted the best components I could find so it would last till my days on earth are done. LOL I also wired my Cotek inverter to my breaker panel so it's very convenient to turn on and use the 120v appliances in the 5er and all safety devices are in play at all times weather on solar, shore power, or generator and all are fed thru transfer switching and my Progressive Surge device.
Have fun with it and you will love the convence it provides. When the electricity goes out in the house we move to the 5er and I run a extension cord to our freezer and fridge in the house and we never miss a beat. Don't forget a solar battery can only put out so many amps at once just as it can take in so many amps at once. Example, one of my 155ah AGM batteries are rated to take in 35 amps and put out 35 amps each. So 3 of them is 105 amps out and 105 amp input at a time. They will do more but that gives you an idea of your battery banks limitations when your asking them to crank out 150 amps at once to run appliances. So 4 batteries would really be better for me and I do plan on adding 2 more and they are in my barn waiting on me to getter done. LOL
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Old 12-15-2015, 09:40 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pbalmer65 View Post
Looking to put solar on my 5er. Want to run lights ( I'm all LED lighting ) heater and if posable a coffee pot or 900watt microwave. I have put a second battery aboard already. Need the right inverter and total watts needed of panels to keep up.
Hi,

Just put a system on our 5er and it works great. We have Solar Elite by Go Power.

This unit works great. We use our Nespresso machine (1200 W) in the mornings and can make easy 6 cups in the morning. The wife uses the hair dryer and curling iron no problem. We even have the fridge on electric while traveling on sunny days (the truck feeds any extra power). Longest stretch whith the fridge running on power is 10 hrs while driving from Ensenada to Guero Negro (Baja, MX)

We are currently in Mexico and all is working fine, customer support (I always have tons of questions) is excellent.

The only thing I will add is two more batteries. I now have two large 6 volt and next year we will add two more.

Good luck,

Anders
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Old 12-15-2015, 11:25 AM   #18
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I like this handy bob guy....


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Old 12-15-2015, 11:50 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pbalmer65 View Post
Looking to put solar on my 5er. Want to run lights ( I'm all LED lighting ) heater and if posable a coffee pot or 900watt microwave. I have put a second battery aboard already. Need the right inverter and total watts needed of panels to keep up.
I did a lot of research on this and found some very helpful members here. I haven't done it yet though but know what I need.

Two batteries and 400 watt of solar will work well. 400 watt might sound high but it will charge your two batteries in one day on a slightly over cast day. 200 watts will not do that.

As for the microwave I would forget it. Your batteries won't last one day unless you have four batteries. You would kill two batteies in less than a half hour. An electric coffee pot will do the same thing.

Using two batteries I figure I am good for about three days using led lights, running my tv for a few hours a night, and charging my phone, camera and laptop. Remember you do not want to discharge your batteries below 1/2 their charge. Any lower and you will destroy yourbatteries in short order.

Jim
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Old 12-15-2015, 06:15 PM   #20
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Kenny, take some of what he says with a grain of salt. He does seem to have seen a lot of the crap installs out there. Maybe not everybody is lying all at once, but if you research a lot of what is said "out there" it does add to a lot of misinformation. Handy Bob parallels just about everything I found out before I came across his blog (courtesy of someone on this forum, thanks!) I found him very informative and accurate with his points. I bought the Morningstar MPPT 60. Bigger than I need, but room to expand, and I have been given 4 192watt higher Voc panels, so the MPPT can maximize the output of those. I probably could have gotten away with a PWM charger, but.....hate to cut corners at this point.
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