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Old 06-10-2013, 01:33 AM   #1
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Anybody use solar panels?

I was looking at some on ebay, the portable ones for charging, not to run the whole trailer on. Was wondering if they are worth it? Was thinking i could use it on my boat to extend the usefulness of my trolling batt. Any one brand that works better?
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Old 06-10-2013, 05:09 PM   #2
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I was looking at some on ebay, the portable ones for charging, not to run the whole trailer on. Was wondering if they are worth it? Was thinking i could use it on my boat to extend the usefulness of my trolling batt. Any one brand that works better?
I used to have a small panel on my sail boat which took all week to recover what I used on the weekend. It worked well for that purpose.

I'll be watching this thread for reviews. I think it will take a good exposure to the sun and more than a day to recover the use from a night before unless we use many panels that could be more costly than a generator.

It might be the green thing to do but common folk can't usually afford green or we'd all be driving Chevy Volts.
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Old 06-10-2013, 05:19 PM   #3
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It might be the green thing to do but common folk can't usually afford green or we'd all be driving Chevy Volts.
If you drive an appropriate number of miles, you could lease a Volt for less than $200 per month, taking gasoline savings into count.
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Old 06-10-2013, 05:44 PM   #4
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If you drive an appropriate number of miles, you could lease a Volt for less than $200 per month, taking gasoline savings into count.
Not bad but I'll bet that's a low milage lease on a $40k car with a daily limit on range per charge.

Same comparison to solar panels. Practicality vs cost. If it takes $2k for panels and converters to charge 24 hrs worth of use I'd rather buy a $1k Honda and charge in 2 hours on a rainy day.

I'm curious to see the comments here because I'd love to find the panels practical.
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Old 06-10-2013, 06:06 PM   #5
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Not bad but I'll bet that's a low milage lease on a $40k car with a daily limit on range per charge.
It is a lease, so if you're over 12k miles per year, you don't want it. In order to get the savings, you have to drive close to that however (eg, at 5k per year you're not spending much in gas anyway).

No official daily limit, but your daily commute would need to be less than 50 miles if you only charge at home, or less than 100 miles if you can also charge at work. (You're not limited to that mileage, but you start paying for gasoline so your savings go away.)

Now back to solar panels.
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Old 06-10-2013, 06:33 PM   #6
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Tons of good panels out there now, much cheaper than they use to be. Siemens and BP are good long term in the business, but there I think there are others. Many technical details to long for this discussion.

If you go this route you really should first consider how many total amphours you want to generate each day in order to size your panel(s). A pretty standard 80 watt panel that fits many locations is capable of about 6 amps in full sun oriented correctly and you can expect about 50 amp hours per day MAX, with more like 30 or so unattended. If you can live with that, it should work fine.
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Old 06-10-2013, 08:30 PM   #7
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LOVE my solar. I'm on my second solar equiped TT, and I'll never have one without. My first was a kit I bought from Costco in Canada 5 years ago for under $1000. It came with 2-80W Sharp panels, a 30A charge controller, wiring and even a small 200W inverter. Solar panels with 2-6V golf cart batteries and all interior bulbs swapped out for LEDs. With LED bulbs installed house batteries rarely drop lower than 80% even with watching a couple hours of TV at night. And in my experience they are back at 100% within a couple of hours the next morning. (this of course with sunny weather) Solar panels CAN'T "run your whole trailer", they just charge the batteries. The secret for me has been to find ways to cut power consumption.
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Old 06-10-2013, 09:55 PM   #8
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I have one of these
Portable Solar Systems | Zamp Solar
To be honest, I don't know how well it works for our dry camping style YET!
We will be out for a week next month in a dry CG.
I have used it for a couple days to get familiar with it. I like it because it is quiet, clean and needs no support gear. We also have a genny - it is noisy, heavy, smells and needs gas.
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Old 06-11-2013, 01:06 AM   #9
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My thinking was a 100watt panel, to lessen the use of the generators. I use 2 yamaha 2kw inverter gen. Tied together. They work great, really arnt that noisy and dont use much gas but i am just always looking for a better way.
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