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Old 11-15-2015, 09:51 PM   #121
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Originally Posted by CharlieS3 View Post
Good Questions.

Adding the last two panels was really a no-brainer. .... I made it that big just because I wanted it that way.
I love it All I can say is WOW and JEALOUS.

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Old 11-16-2015, 06:42 AM   #122
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I have a pretty massive solar system on my Coachmen 380DS. For Batteries, I modified the battery holddowns to install 4 L16 Sun-Extender AGM batteries at 125 pounds each. I have added 6 of the Kyocera 140 Watt panels on the roof (2 more since the pic) giving me a whopping 840 Watts of power. This produces about 40 amps an hour in full sunlight. Per my Victron (highly recommended) we use about 125 amps a day. That includes making coffee in the morning, running the microwave at night, watching TV, and also running my CPAP. LED lights make a difference. For wet batteries, Trojans have a great reputation. Whether you go 6 volt in series or 12 in parallel, or some combination thereof, is not really relevant and will produce pretty much the same storage capacity either way. Just stuff the biggest batteries that you can into the available space and get the best you can afford. Deep Cycle of course.

While you can go portable, its a pretty big pain to setup every time. We look for sites that give minimal tree coverage, but you can't always avoid it. Its just the way it is. Larger capacity means I can go with less sunlight. If going solar, go with paralleling your panels rather than series connection, along with an MMPT controller. In series, if one panel gets shaded, all panels go down. In parallel, only the shade panel is lost. The MPPT controller will max your output. Less voltage may mean that you need bigger cables. Its all a tradeoff, but shading is almost always an issue and I went with the approach that minimizes that effect.

The Victron is a great unit. It tells you your current draw, lets you cut things on and off to see what is drawing heavily, lets you know your state of charge and your rate of re-charge. Lots of fun for a numbers oriented guy like me.

Good Luck with whatever you decide!

Charlie
Thanks for the advice.

Sounds like you have a great system. I'm planning to order the Victron monitor this month barring unexpected expenses.

Due to our tight finances we have to go piece by piece with this thing. We have also decided that Santa will give us at least two 100 watt solar panels and a controller that's large enough to add a third panel in the future.

Our dealer informed us that installing panels on the roof of our brand new trailer would void the manufacturer's roof warranty. We'll buy the kit, use the panels as portable units for now and when the warrantee expires we'll mount them properly.

One question, one of the kits I'm looking at comes with a choice of 12 or 10 aug cable. If we go with this kit, I'd go with the 10 gauge upgrade but is that a large enough cable or should I order 8 awg cab
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Old 11-16-2015, 07:27 AM   #123
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Originally Posted by CharlieS3 View Post
I have a pretty massive solar system on my Coachmen 380DS. For Batteries, I modified the battery holddowns to install 4 L16 Sun-Extender AGM batteries at 125 pounds each. I have added 6 of the Kyocera 140 Watt panels on the roof (2 more since the pic) giving me a whopping 840 Watts of power. This produces about 40 amps an hour in full sunlight. Per my Victron (highly recommended) we use about 125 amps a day. That includes making coffee in the morning, running the microwave at night, watching TV, and also running my CPAP. LED lights make a difference. For wet batteries, Trojans have a great reputation. Whether you go 6 volt in series or 12 in parallel, or some combination thereof, is not really relevant and will produce pretty much the same storage capacity either way. Just stuff the biggest batteries that you can into the available space and get the best you can afford. Deep Cycle of course.

While you can go portable, its a pretty big pain to setup every time. We look for sites that give minimal tree coverage, but you can't always avoid it. Its just the way it is. Larger capacity means I can go with less sunlight. If going solar, go with paralleling your panels rather than series connection, along with an MMPT controller. In series, if one panel gets shaded, all panels go down. In parallel, only the shade panel is lost. The MPPT controller will max your output. Less voltage may mean that you need bigger cables. Its all a tradeoff, but shading is almost always an issue and I went with the approach that minimizes that effect.

The Victron is a great unit. It tells you your current draw, lets you cut things on and off to see what is drawing heavily, lets you know your state of charge and your rate of re-charge. Lots of fun for a numbers oriented guy like me.

Good Luck with whatever you decide!

Charlie
Thanks, sounds like you have a great system. We'll be ordering the Victron monitor this month.

We just took our first trip with the two 70 AH batteries and the LED lights spending four days at Assateague National Seashore. Using my little hand held monitor it looked like barely drew the batteries down the first night but on our second night out DH left the outside light--one of the only incandescent lights we still have son all night--he was being kind, I was coming back from walking the dog--of course I didn't notice that the light was on so he's not solely to blame. That drew the batteries down to a little over 50% so we had to haul out the generator. We apparently did not run the generator long enough to fully charge the batteries so we had to run it again the next morning.

The good news is that if we're careful, we can keep the lights on, and even use the furnace a little at night and in the morning without depleting the batteries too much. We really want those solar panels even more now.
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Old 11-16-2015, 10:59 AM   #124
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Wire size in a solar system can make a significant difference. The main reason installers will use series rather than parallel connections is that the voltage drop is less significant with a higher voltage. However, the loss is much greater (possible total) if any of the panels becomes even partly shaded. Partial shading can take out the entire panel's production, or series string, not just the shaded percentage.

I installed my system using 8 gauge wire. It was only a little more expensive in the overall scheme of things. But, I also tend to overbuild and I chose a parallel installation. If your system is going to be portable, you will want to use a flexible stranded cable, not a solid cable. Portable systems can give you better access to sunlight, but at the cost of added cable length. A larger gauge will help reduce any loss. 10 gauge for sure. 8 gauge won't hurt but will be bulkier and heavier. 10 is probably fine, even 12 if the total output is small, but you really need to run the numbers.

You can calculate the loss here

Voltage Drop Calculator

Charlie
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Old 11-16-2015, 06:49 PM   #125
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Thanks, this is an education for sure.
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Old 12-01-2015, 04:33 PM   #126
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Update. I just ordered my Victron monitor. Got a good deal at $158.10 with free shipping.
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Old 12-06-2015, 10:28 AM   #127
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http://www.balqon.com/store-2/#!/12-...egory=12286436

9kw would be 900ah??

Really?


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Old 12-06-2015, 10:54 AM   #128
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Balqon Electric Vehicle Manufacturer

9kw would be 900ah??

Really?


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NO...9000 watt/hours @ 12V is 750 amp hours. Of course there is no mention of the discharge rate to acheive this figure or the composition of the battery which might be lithium ion. Given the weight ...if it WERE a lead acid battery...you'd probably be looking at 4-500 amp hours @ the 20 hour rate. Maybe 750amps using the reserve capacity rating system.
It's all speculation but given the pricing I'm betting lithium ion electric car battery since the charge/discharge amp rates are so high. For when your Prius gives up the ghost.
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Old 12-06-2015, 10:56 AM   #129
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Yes. They are lithium


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Old 12-12-2015, 06:19 PM   #130
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In installed my Victron monitor today. If anyone's concerned about buying one, it's easy to install even by someone whose electronics experience is limited to replacing light switches and installing bulbs and fuses on cars. Our next step will be to see what each appliance draws and get a real idea of what sort of power we are using. By the way, Santa will be delivering the first stage of our solar system next week. I'm starting with a 100 watt panel with a 30 amp controller. I'm guessing we will need one or two more panels but that can wait for now.
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Old 12-12-2015, 08:15 PM   #131
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Glad the install worked out well for you. It will be interesting to see your daily useage and how much the single panel cuts into that on a sunny day.
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Old 12-13-2015, 06:40 AM   #132
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Thanks. We're planning to take our big cross country trip when we sell our house, hopefully in February. We'll see then, obviously the longer the day the more electric is generated. We'll make adjustments as we go along. At any rate I built expansion into the system.
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Old 12-15-2015, 04:57 PM   #133
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Has anyone heard or had anything to do with these guys?

Seems to be the right fit for my camper, inverter, campsites.

http://www.precisioncircuitsinc.com/...cs-controller/


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Old 02-27-2016, 09:12 PM   #134
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I hooked up my solar panel today!

There were a few problems. I didn't crimp some of the connectors properly and therefore did not have current reaching the controller (fortunately I bought extras). I took my multimeter and quickly discovered where the problem was. I redid the bad connections and hooked everything up and Voila!

It was late afternoon by the time I got it together and working. Tomorrow morning I'll let it charge all day and see what happens.
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Old 03-02-2016, 04:26 PM   #135
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We own a Tracer Air 252 trailer. The trailer came equipped with an Exide group 24 dual purpose marine battery. We've found that even without using lights (we're planning to upgrade to LED) that we had to run the generator every day when camping without shore power.

Since our plans are to do a lot of boondocking and camping in national parks and forests, etc. we want to upgrade our battery capacity and add a portable solar panel and use the generator for backup when solar fails.

The battery bracket is on the tongue behind the gas canisters. It consists of two pieces of L iron, the shorter of which is 26" set 9" apart welded onto the tongue from underneath (I'm a bit concerned about the strength)

The cheapest option would be to add another group 24 battery. I'd like to go with a true deep cycle battery instead of a dual purpose. Can I mix the two or would I have to buy two deep cycle batteries?

I'm also looking at the possibility of going with two 6 volt golf cart batteries. These should fit in the space we have and give us more power. Batteries Plus near me sells Duracell 6 volt batteries at a pretty good price. This would be more expensive but give us more battery for the buck.

At any rate, any advice would be greatly appreciated.
I went with the battery plus duracells. The 230 amp/hr fro $99 with the 10% online discount. (one other member just got these also). I haven't really used them yet. Duracell's are made by the same company that makes Deka's (East Penn). I bought an inline box like this one below to put them on the tongue, pretty much like your tongue.

Century Plastics: White Heavy Duty Battery Box - (part#: GCE-G)
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Old 03-02-2016, 05:55 PM   #136
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I went the 6V golf cart batteries route after my dual 12V Interstate install from the dealer crapped out. I bought mine at Costco (Costco-tagged batteries rated highly by Consumer Reports) for $75 each, including tax, and after turning in the old 12V. Rated at 232AH, which gives me 116AH usable instead of 80AH usable from the 12V. Plug and play into my existing battery box - the 6V actually fit better. But I did measure before I bought to make sure they fit. The golf cart batteries do weigh more - adds another 50# of tongue weight or so. And I had to rig a rope lifting handle to set them/get them out of the battery box.


But I am a very happy camper with the new batteries. Especially if I get 5 years + out of them.


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Old 03-02-2016, 07:48 PM   #137
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You can get these for about 5 bucks. I got mine with the batteries. Makes handling those big batteries easier.

http://www.amazon.com/Trojan-Golf-Ba.../dp/B00JA0FXKS
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Old 03-03-2016, 07:52 PM   #138
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The battery bracket is on the tongue behind the gas canisters. It consists of two pieces of L iron, the shorter of which is 26" set 9" apart welded onto the tongue from underneath (I'm a bit concerned about the strength)
I was looking at this today as I'm ready to install my new battery box and the two six volt batteries. The angle iron you mentioned on mine has one weld on each end where the angle iron meets the frame. They did not weld the angle iron on the bottom of the frame. So I share your concern. I debating whether I want to weld the bottom (overhead) on each side. that would pretty much insure the frame won't break. I think it's ok as is but i'd ate to drop batteries and battery acid all over the trailer and road.
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Old 03-04-2016, 04:34 AM   #139
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I was looking at this today as I'm ready to install my new battery box and the two six volt batteries. The angle iron you mentioned on mine has one weld on each end where the angle iron meets the frame. They did not weld the angle iron on the bottom of the frame. So I share your concern. I debating whether I want to weld the bottom (overhead) on each side. that would pretty much insure the frame won't break. I think it's ok as is but i'd ate to drop batteries and battery acid all over the trailer and road.
If you think it should be done then do it, you know Murphy's law....
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Old 03-04-2016, 06:09 AM   #140
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I was looking at this today as I'm ready to install my new battery box and the two six volt batteries. The angle iron you mentioned on mine has one weld on each end where the angle iron meets the frame. They did not weld the angle iron on the bottom of the frame. So I share your concern. I debating whether I want to weld the bottom (overhead) on each side. that would pretty much insure the frame won't break. I think it's ok as is but i'd ate to drop batteries and battery acid all over the trailer and road.
Yeah that's kind of what I was thinking. If I went with the six volt batteries the frame would need reinforcement.
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