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Old 04-28-2011, 06:18 PM   #1
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Solar RV systems

I am seriously thinking about adding Solar panels to my 2011 Rockwood 2604 to be able to boondock, when and where I want. I have just ordered a Solar panel for keeping my batteries charged when in storage. Here is what I got: 10 Watt Solar Panel 12 Volt + Battery Charge Controller - eBay (item 130511608765 end time May-21-11 14:21:41 PDT)

I assume that there are members on this forum who have such systems, or are in the middle of designing/building one. I suggest that members post info/details about their systems and the advantages/shortcomings of what they have so that we can all learn from them
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Old 04-28-2011, 06:37 PM   #2
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10W is almost nothing - plus in real life it will be more like 5-7W as the 10W is when it is angled perfectly and not a single cloud in the sky (some coulds you don't visually realize) sitting right at the equator. With a full day of sunshine (calculated as 8 hours) you're likely to charge 40W (= about 3.5amps) into your battery per day. That should be about enough to run a light for an hour but nothing else.

It might be enough to keep your battery nicely charged in storage but won't do a thing for you when boodocking. You first need to figure out how much electricity you need per day when boondocking and then calculate the proper size of solar panels that you need. But don't expect to be able to use anything <100W.

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Old 04-28-2011, 06:46 PM   #3
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10W is almost nothing - plus in real life it will be more like 5-7W as the 10W is when it is angled perfectly and not a single cloud in the sky (some coulds you don't visually realize) sitting right at the equator. With a full day of sunshine (calculated as 8 hours) you're likely to charge 40W (= about 3.5amps) into your battery per day. That should be about enough to run a light for an hour but nothing else.

It might be enough to keep your battery nicely charged in storage but won't do a thing for you when boodocking. You first need to figure out how much electricity you need per day when boondocking and then calculate the proper size of solar panels that you need. But don't expect to be able to use anything <100W.

Reiner
Reiner,

The package I ordered is just to keep a charge on my batteries when the TT is in storage. I have a disconnect wired already, so there should be no phantom draws. I am not expecting this unit to do anything from a boondocking perspective. However, I do want to learn how to outfit my trailer with solar for boondocking, hence this topic.
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Old 04-28-2011, 06:50 PM   #4
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Just wanted to make sure you were not expecting it helps when boondocking. Glad you've bought it for the right purpose.

We're planning to outfit our MH with Solar as well one of these days, so it will be interesting to see what others have done. The biggest consideration is finding space on the roof for the solar (those panels aren't small - apart from being expensive).

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Old 04-28-2011, 06:53 PM   #5
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I am cheap and thus waiting for prices to come down.... currently and from what I have read - one needs to invest between $1500-$2000 for a decent solar system for boondocking.

Regards,
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Old 04-28-2011, 06:55 PM   #6
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I am cheap and thus waiting for prices to come down.... currently and from what I have read - one needs to invest between $1500-$2000 for a decent solar system for boondocking.

Regards,
I am curious, can you provide a list with prices of what you are/were assuming?
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Old 04-28-2011, 07:01 PM   #7
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Check out solarblvd's web site. I believe you will be pleasantly surprised with what you can buy within your budget.

If you expect to go 100% "off grid" you will find the panels are not the expensive part. It is the storage and maintenance of the infrastructure to provide power after the sun goes down.

http://www.solarblvd.com/Solar-Panel...duct_info.html

is less than 2 dollars a watt!
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Old 04-28-2011, 08:34 PM   #8
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I am looking at 2 new Trojan deep cycle batteries T105 6V, for approx $300 for both

2 good quality PV panels - like the Kyocera 135W selling for $800 for both (and that's a great price)

A decent charge controller $275 with a display

Cabling, blocking diodes, junction box, roof mounting brackets and the rest for $200.
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Old 04-28-2011, 08:54 PM   #9
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Well, the single 205 watt panel below is 400 bucks, but the rest is the "Devil in the details" for sure.
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Old 04-29-2011, 06:02 AM   #10
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For decent performance, I have read that one should look at 60-140 watts of PV for every 100 AH of battery bank. Which is why I am considering 2 X 135W.

Finally, considering the mounting area - the roof of a box travelling at highway speed, good quality panels and solid brackets are a must. Many RVers have recommended the Kyoceras, their price have dropped by close to 50% in the last 2 years.

Looking better and better.
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Old 04-29-2011, 06:56 AM   #11
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Denis,
I just bought my TT 4 weeks ago, and I had the dealer swap the 12 V Dual Purpose battery he was gonna supply with 2 6V Interstate batteries right from the start, so I already have 220 AH of capacity.

The way I looked at it, the extra battery capacity was a useful addition to the TT regardless of a Solar power system, and a relatively inexpensive and uncomplicated decision.

WRT Trojan batteries. Last week I spoke to a Battery dealer nearby, who was advertising Gold cart batteries on his outdoor sign!! He carries Deka. Used to carry Trojan. Trojans now are made in Mexico, and apparently Club Car recently switched to Deka from Trojan and then so did this battery dealer due to quality problems. maybe it was a line of BS, but Dekas are made in Pennsylvania.
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Old 04-29-2011, 08:41 AM   #12
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I know Deka quite well, and here in Canada their subsidiary is called East-Penn Canada, only a few minutes from my home.

I bought my TT last year and not knowing better at the time, I have a single 12V. I take good care of it, but eventually I will go for 2 X 6V and Dekas are on my radar too. My brother just went full solar for his cottage and have learned a lot from him, he has 8 X 200W Kyoceras and his system works incredibly well.

Thanks for this.
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Old 04-29-2011, 10:39 AM   #13
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Deka or Trojan I think really depends on the price. At least I've not seen an objective comparison saying that one is significantly better or more longer lasting than the other. I imagine the golf cart guy changed over because of cost and not because of quality, but that's a guess because the Deka's around here are similar or more expensive than the Trojan IIRC.

Deka and Trojan have comparable 6V's with the GC15 and the T-105, respectively. Both look similar in their capacity and specs. Although the Deka is 2lbs heavier so maybe its very slightly beefier.
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Old 05-06-2011, 10:53 PM   #14
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Holy Cow! Check this out!

Got this in the mail today.
220 WATT panel AND FREE CONTROLLER
Less than 500 bucks

Solar Cell, Solar Panel, Solar PV, Solar Products, Charge Controllers, Solar Trackers
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Old 05-07-2011, 05:35 AM   #15
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My prayers may have been answered, with a price drop from $1279 to $489.

Now that is A deal.

Thanks for sharing.
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Old 05-08-2011, 12:27 PM   #16
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Looks like they only offer UPS as a shipping option. So watch out for the customs brokerage fees.
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Old 05-10-2011, 01:01 AM   #17
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Holy Cow! Check this out!

Got this in the mail today.
220 WATT panel AND FREE CONTROLLER
Less than 500 bucks

Solar Cell, Solar Panel, Solar PV, Solar Products, Charge Controllers, Solar Trackers
So... Has anyone ordered this yet? Please post pictures!
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Old 05-10-2011, 05:29 AM   #18
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The expense was rejected by my Board of Directors, was pushed to the next fiscal year - in short SWMBO (she who must be obeyed) said No!
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Old 05-10-2011, 06:41 AM   #19
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I have a friend who purchased a smaller unit and controller (180 watts if I recall correctly) from them. We were dry camping in Key West this winter and he had the panel delivered to his neice's house on the Key.

We were amazed it came in within a week and worked exactly as he had hoped. He mounted the controller in a wasted space in a cabinet and just used a long cord to get power from the panel. His plan is to make a stand with motor drive this summer so the panel would always stay 90 degrees to the sun's rays.

He plans to make it here and I will be watching him do it; camera in hand. He should be home from Texas this month.
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Old 05-10-2011, 10:42 AM   #20
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I have a friend who purchased a smaller unit and controller (180 watts if I recall correctly) from them. We were dry camping in Key West this winter and he had the panel delivered to his neice's house on the Key.

We were amazed it came in within a week and worked exactly as he had hoped. He mounted the controller in a wasted space in a cabinet and just used a long cord to get power from the panel. His plan is to make a stand with motor drive this summer so the panel would always stay 90 degrees to the sun's rays.

He plans to make it here and I will be watching him do it; camera in hand. He should be home from Texas this month.
Sounds great. I really would love to get a solar system too. I have done a little research and found people are having lots of problems with this charge controller.
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