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Old 08-01-2014, 04:56 PM   #1
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Solar power

Hey all, I recently purchased a Sandstorm 232 toy hauler with the 160 watt solar kit. I was hoping to convert to full solar so I don't run the generator as much but can't seem to understand what all I need to do that. Also, if anybody has rough estimates as to how much that would cost, that would be greatly appreciated as well! Thank you in advance!
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Old 08-05-2014, 02:57 PM   #2
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Hello
I have the sandstorm slc 240 with the same kit and it works great. The only time I use my gen is to nuke popcorn or run Air Condition. Also changed inside lite bulbs to led type to cut down on power use at nite. During daylight solar keeps batts charged. I installed a 2000watt inverter so I can watch television and my wife can blow dry her hair in the morning and we can make coffee....all without using gen. My best friend has an older 23ft Attitude that he added the same solar kit but installed two 160w panels and 2500watt inverter and installed himself for around 900. He also added outlets around the rig for the ac power where I just use a conveniently place extension cord as I didn't want to tear up my rig too much. I think your main issues will be extra battery capacity or larger inverter...an extra solar panel would be like 3rd on list...generally it's only my wife and I so we get by very nicely with our setup...
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Old 08-05-2014, 11:38 PM   #3
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Awesome, thank you! So if I read correctly, your 2000 watt inverter is enough to transfer enough energy for a tv and a microwave? How many and what size batteries are you running off of? And one last question is where did you put your inverter?
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Old 08-06-2014, 02:16 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by RVing it out View Post
Awesome, thank you! So if I read correctly, your 2000 watt inverter is enough to transfer enough energy for a tv and a microwave? How many and what size batteries are you running off of? And one last question is where did you put your inverter?

I use gen for microwave and air conditioning as these items draw around 2000w to 5000w. You would have to add another set of batts and larger inverter and probably another solar panel to charge the extra batts if you wanted to add everything in trailer...even then you might still have issues with air conditioning as even my 4500w gen groans as the air starts up because of the high startup current required by the ac unit.

My trailer came with 2 220amp 6v batts in series...probably similar to yours. The television is an 31 inch led which which draws about 1 or 2 amps and when on areas of no signal I bought a tiny USB media player to store movies and pics on and it uses less than an amp. Even added an xbox to play games once in a while. I can usually watch television for a couple of hours after sun goes down and still have batt reserve to run coffee pot and hair dryer in morning...this is all contingent on a good sunny day prior or not having to run heater all night...

My trailer has a storage area in front next to generator and I installed there to keep the distance to the battery to a minimum and I installed a battery cutoff switch In the gen compartment to control power to inverter. I would recommend at least a 2000w continuous inverter. I included a pic from inverter manual showing some example loads.

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We spent 7 days recently up in the Sierra's fishing and hiking and camped at a usfs campground which has water but no sewer or electricity. I turned my gen on once for 3 minutes in that entire week to make popcorn. I used inverter for coffee, television, hair dryer (wife), and even vacuum cleaner.




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Old 08-06-2014, 11:00 PM   #5
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That is awesome! Thank you so much! You were a great help!
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Old 08-06-2014, 11:55 PM   #6
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The good news is prices are coming down fast, but it is still very expensive.

We have 960 Watt of solar on the roof, 6 6Volt 230 Amp batteries wired in series parallel (12 Volt system). We have a factory installed 1800 Watt msw. inverter for our res. fridge plus a 3000 Watt psw. inverter for the heavy loads. Our 2 AC's are on a dedicated panel, the rest goes through the convenience center and can be run by either inverter (switchable). Later this week will be the first time in 5 weeks on a campground with electric hookups. The temp. in the freezer is maintained at -19 deg. C (-2.2 deg F.) and in the fridge at +3 deg. C (37 deg. F.).
Sometimes I turn on the electric water heater in the morning, only because I can, and run it of of the inverter.
Trees and clouds are the enemy of solar, moderate temperatures and clear skies it's friend.
Because of the power sharing capability of the larger inverter I can still run 1 AC + coffee maker + electric water heater and then some on 30 Amp shore power.

Is it worth it - no, is it fun - yes (It would be totally worth it if the AC's could be run on solar.)

Would I do it again - yes, but it did cost a small fortune .

B.t.w., I have room for 2 more panels .
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Old 08-08-2014, 11:28 PM   #7
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Nice setup! You're right it can get expensive and you might not get a complete return off of the investment, but it is fun and cool to run off the sun as long as the sun is out😊
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Old 08-28-2014, 05:02 PM   #8
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question for all who have converted to solar: Did you find a need to vent the area where you installed the inverter? I located mine in the rear storage area, with the batteries on a storage rack on the bumper. I noticed this summer that area was getting really how and now I am considering adding some type of vent. suggestions?
thanks
jere
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Old 08-28-2014, 11:15 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeres View Post
question for all who have converted to solar: Did you find a need to vent the area where you installed the inverter? I located mine in the rear storage area, with the batteries on a storage rack on the bumper. I noticed this summer that area was getting really how and now I am considering adding some type of vent. suggestions?
thanks
jere
I just checked the manual for my Xantrex FreedomSW 3012 (3000 Watt) and this is what it says:
Operating Limits for Inverter Operation
Temperature The Freedom SW series of inverter/chargers will operate at
rated power continuously at 25 °C with some models capable of continuous
operation at much higher ambient temperature. However, the continuous
power rating at elevated ambient temperature may differ between models.
See “Specifications” on page 77 for full details. In higher ambient
temperatures, if the loads draw full power for an extended period of time,
the unit may shut down to protect itself against overheating.
The Freedom SW series of inverter chargers feature a surge rating of 200%
of rated power for 5 seconds at 25C. Operating the inverter/charger in
conditions outside of power and temperature limits, however, will result in
thermal shutdown and/or significantly decreased performance. In addition,
operation in this range is outside the ratings covered by the regulatory
approvals of the product.


This seems vague but common sense tells me, it works best at room temperature, when it heats up it loses performance and gets even hotter. So when you feel the area is rather warm then by all means ventilate it. Ours is installed in the belly in a wide open space, the remote panel gives me a temp. reading between low and high 80s' F.
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Old 08-29-2014, 04:54 AM   #10
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Did you find a need to vent the area where you installed the inverter?
There might be other issues at play.. outdoor install... cable size... but electronics and heat just don't play well together. It sure can't do any harm to ventilate your box. I might consider just putting in a couple of household vents and tacking in some furnace type filters. Not the paper type, but like that 1" synthetic breathable foam stuff. KWIM? Something that will take water but won't let all the grime though.

What type of venting do you currently have?

I tried to figure out how to include a picture, but I think I might have screwed it up. It says there's an attachment, but darned if I can find it. I stuck my 2000watter under the bed. I cut and installed just a simple unpowered vent cover, but I also left a good 6-10 inches of ventilation space. If you can find the picture you'll see it's just a standard ol vent cover. It's been down there for a year and a half or so with no issues. I don't really put it under any heavy persistent loads, but the built in fan rarely kicks on and seems to do just fine keeping the unit cool.

~Cheers
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