Journey with Confidence RV GPS App RV Trip Planner RV LIFE Campground Reviews RV Maintenance Take a Speed Test Free 7 Day Trial ×


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 03-16-2023, 10:00 AM   #1
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2022
Posts: 5
Solar and Battery Upgrade Plan Questions and Suggestions

Looking for suggestions and answers to a few questions on upgrading my existing solar and battery setup in my 2022 16BH Geo Pro.

Goals:
  • Be able to boondock for 5 days, with no generator use.
  • Relocate batteries to the interior of my camper. There is room under the dinette next to the inverter on my model.
  • Upgrade to LiFePO4 batteries
  • Utilize and add onto existing GoPower 190watt roof mount solar panel
  • Size everything to expand in the future

Current Plan:
  • Purchase 1 - SOK 206ah Battery, leaving room for 1 additional 206ah Battery to be purchased in the future
  • Install a Victron BMV 712 battery monitor
  • Install a HQST 190W solar panel, and leave room for additional panel(s) on roof for future expansion
  • Purchase a portable "suitcase" solar panel and utilize the solar on the side port (undecided on what size/ brand suitcase)

Estimated 12v amp draws:
  • Refrigerator (12v) @ 50-60% duty cycle 3 Ah * 24 hours = 72 Ah-per day
  • Furnace (Suburban NT-20SEQ) 2.7 Ah * 8 hours = 21.6 Ah-per day
  • Water Heater (Suburban) 12 Ah * 0.5 hours = 6 Ah-per day
  • Water Pump 4 Ah * 0.5 hours = 2 Ah-per day
  • Go Power Solar Charge Controller 0.016 Ah * 24 hours = 0.38 Ah-per day
  • Max Fan (low) 1.5 Ah * 1 hours = 1.5 Ah-per day
  • CO/LP Detector 0.017 Ah * 24 hours = 0.41 Ah-per day
  • 5 Lights 0.2 Ah * 1 hours = 0.2 Ah-per day
  • Stereo (iRV 36 4-10amp) 4 Ah * 2 hours = 8 Ah-per day
  • TV (Furrion 22") 3.25 Ah * 2 hours = 6.5 Ah-per day
  • Range Hood 2.5 Ah * 1 hours = 2.5 Ah-per day
  • Victron (Bluetooth) 0.001 Ah * 24 hours = .024 Ah-per day
  • Victron (Display) 0.004 Ah * 24 hours = .096 Ah-per day
Total Estimated Ah per Day = 121
Thank you @ptrusheim for the amps/hr list in another post
Want to state that I do not plan to use my 1000 watt inverter while boondocking.

If I have a total of 580 watts of solar panels (2 -190 on the roof, and 1- 200 watt suitcase) at 3 peak sun hours per day @ 65% efficiency, I estimated I can restore 90 Ah per day. Assuming that I get the full 90Ah's from solar and use 121Ah's a day, the 1 - 206Ah battery will be around 20% SOC on day 5.


Questions:
  1. Does my math make sense?
  2. Should I wire the 2 rooftop panels in series, or parallel? I camp in Michigan, lots of shady trees and cloudy days. Hence why I would want a portable on this setup.
  3. Should I switch to a MPPT controller for the rooftop panels?
  4. If I want to expand the solar on the roof in the future (have room for 2 more panels) should I wire them in a series-parallel configuration?
  5. Should I purchase a solar suitcase with a built-in solar controller, or purchase and mount a dedicated controller next to the batteries?
  6. Any suggestions/ recommendations?
jhetcel23 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-16-2023, 10:41 AM   #2
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Gainesville, FL
Posts: 4,060
If you have the skills to install all of this yourself, considering building the solar suitcase, as well. Hardware such as hinges and closures are readily available on Amazon and elsewhere.

Full disclosure: I have no experience building one. I planned to but went with fixed-mount, instead.
__________________
TV: 2016 Ford F-150 RWD Lariat Crew w/ 3.5L EB, MaxTow and tow mirrors.
RV: 2020 Rockwood Mini-Lite 2507S, Propride 3P hitch w/ 1400# spring bars


chriscowles is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-16-2023, 11:50 AM   #3
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: North of Seattle, WA
Posts: 15,800
Quote:
Originally Posted by jhetcel23 View Post
Looking for suggestions and answers to a few questions on upgrading my existing solar and battery setup in my 2022 16BH Geo Pro.



Goals:


  • Be able to boondock for 5 days, with no generator use.
  • Relocate batteries to the interior of my camper. There is room under the dinette next to the inverter on my model.
  • Upgrade to LiFePO4 batteries
  • Utilize and add onto existing GoPower 190watt roof mount solar panel
  • Size everything to expand in the future



Current Plan:
  • Purchase 1 - SOK 206ah Battery, leaving room for 1 additional 206ah Battery to be purchased in the future
  • Install a Victron BMV 712 battery monitor
  • Install a HQST 190W solar panel, and leave room for additional panel(s) on roof for future expansion
  • Purchase a portable "suitcase" solar panel and utilize the solar on the side port (undecided on what size/ brand suitcase)



Estimated 12v amp draws:
  • Refrigerator (12v) @ 50-60% duty cycle 3 Ah * 24 hours = 72 Ah-per day
  • Furnace (Suburban NT-20SEQ) 2.7 Ah * 8 hours = 21.6 Ah-per day
  • Water Heater (Suburban) 12 Ah * 0.5 hours = 6 Ah-per day
  • Water Pump 4 Ah * 0.5 hours = 2 Ah-per day
  • Go Power Solar Charge Controller 0.016 Ah * 24 hours = 0.38 Ah-per day
  • Max Fan (low) 1.5 Ah * 1 hours = 1.5 Ah-per day
  • CO/LP Detector 0.017 Ah * 24 hours = 0.41 Ah-per day
  • 5 Lights 0.2 Ah * 1 hours = 0.2 Ah-per day
  • Stereo (iRV 36 4-10amp) 4 Ah * 2 hours = 8 Ah-per day
  • TV (Furrion 22") 3.25 Ah * 2 hours = 6.5 Ah-per day
  • Range Hood 2.5 Ah * 1 hours = 2.5 Ah-per day
  • Victron (Bluetooth) 0.001 Ah * 24 hours = .024 Ah-per day
  • Victron (Display) 0.004 Ah * 24 hours = .096 Ah-per day
Total Estimated Ah per Day = 121

Thank you @ptrusheim for the amps/hr list in another post


Want to state that I do not plan to use my 1000 watt inverter while boondocking.



If I have a total of 580 watts of solar panels (2 -190 on the roof, and 1- 200 watt suitcase) at 3 peak sun hours per day @ 65% efficiency, I estimated I can restore 90 Ah per day. Assuming that I get the full 90Ah's from solar and use 121Ah's a day, the 1 - 206Ah battery will be around 20% SOC on day 5.





Questions:
  1. Does my math make sense?
  2. Should I wire the 2 rooftop panels in series, or parallel? I camp in Michigan, lots of shady trees and cloudy days. Hence why I would want a portable on this setup.
  3. Should I switch to a MPPT controller for the rooftop panels?
  4. If I want to expand the solar on the roof in the future (have room for 2 more panels) should I wire them in a series-parallel configuration?
  5. Should I purchase a solar suitcase with a built-in solar controller, or purchase and mount a dedicated controller next to the batteries?
  6. Any suggestions/ recommendations?
Your math seems realistic.

A little pessimistic perhaps on solar production. That of course will depend on where and when you are camping.

As for your portable solar setup, right now Renogy is selling a 200w kit including controller for ~$385. Several years ago I built a similar setup and when tallying up the costs for panels, controller, wire, hardware, I saved very little. Consudering time involved in rounding up parts and pieces, along with my labor, if Renogy had the same price back then would have just bought the ready made kit.

With the proposed rooftop setup your portable will need it's own controller which can be mounted inside and left connected to the batteries. Just "plug in" portables as desired.

The portable will be a great addition to rooftop panel charging when they are shaded yet you can still reach a patch of sun.

FWIW I'll share my recent experience with my current 240w portable panel kit, 200ah lifepo4 battery bank, 2kw Inverter, and 2-way refer.

I spent 14 days in January at Quartzsite. Half the time with overcast. During that time the furnace ran at night, I used the microwave several times a day, and watched movies at night. During that time I never ran my generator as the panels took care of my total electrical needs.

Point being, smaller panels pointed at the sun can produce more power than one might expect, even during overcast days.

Here's a graph showing solar production for that period. With your roofop panels you could easily see twice or more production.

(Note: bright part of graph's bars are Bulk charge rate and lighter are absorption and float. Peak was 1400 wh with daily average ~700 wh. Just divide wh by 13 v if you are more interested in amp hours.)


Click image for larger version

Name:	Screenshot_20230212_210830.jpg
Views:	168
Size:	25.5 KB
ID:	284843
__________________
"A wise man can change his mind. A fool never will." (Japanese Proverb)

"You only grow old when you run out of new things to do"

2018 Flagstaff Micro Lite 25BDS
2004 Nissan Titan
TitanMike is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-16-2023, 01:02 PM   #4
Site Team
 
bikendan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Goodyear, Arizona
Posts: 30,664
Moved thread from the General Community Discussion section to the Electrical, Charging Systems and Solar sub-forum since the OP's questions are specific to that sub-forum and not general questions.
__________________
Dan-Retired California Firefighter/EMT
Shawn-Musician/Entrepreneur/Wine Expert
and Zoe the Wonder Dog(R.I.P.)
2016 PrimeTime TracerAIR 255, pushing a 2014 Ford F150 SCREW XTR 4x4 3.5 Ecoboost w/Max Tow Package
4pt Equal-i-zer WDH and 1828lbs of payload capacity
bikendan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-16-2023, 01:02 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2022
Location: Tarpon Springs FL
Posts: 1,592
another fan for portable panels
not hard to do purchase parts from hardware store to make some sort of leg/tilt mechanism


source some used panels if your nice news ones.. go on walkabout.



https://www.forestriverforums.com/fo...ml#post2831456
__________________
Tarpon Springs FL
2022 Salem 24RLXL
Aussieguy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-17-2023, 05:51 AM   #6
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2022
Posts: 5
Thank you all for the suggestions on the portable panel setups. I am leaning more toward what TitanMike suggested on purchasing a already built kit that is more or less plug and play.

TitanMike - appreciate the real world example. I see that the renogy portable 200 Watt is now on sale at ~$330, so even cheaper. Also, on the graph you showed, is this from a victron smart solar controller?

Anyone have recommendations on my other questions on what way to wire the rooftop panels, and if I should switch to a MPPT controller over the PWM factory unit?
jhetcel23 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-17-2023, 08:54 AM   #7
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: North of Seattle, WA
Posts: 15,800
Quote:
Originally Posted by jhetcel23 View Post
Thank you all for the suggestions on the portable panel setups. I am leaning more toward what TitanMike suggested on purchasing a already built kit that is more or less plug and play.

TitanMike - appreciate the real world example. I see that the renogy portable 200 Watt is now on sale at ~$330, so even cheaper. Also, on the graph you showed, is this from a victron smart solar controller?

Anyone have recommendations on my other questions on what way to wire the rooftop panels, and if I should switch to a MPPT controller over the PWM factory unit?
Yes, the graph is from my Victron Smart Solar Controller. The controller stores the last 30 days of power output and it's a nice tool to monitor the system.

As for MPPT vs PWM, my portable panels are wired in series and the controller is MPPT. Since shading is pretty much a non-issue as I can place them where they get full sun this is the best method.

For rooftop setups where shading could be an issue then parallel connection is generally preferred. I still prefer MPPT controllers over PWM due to their greater efficiency. Since you are considering multiple rooftop panels I would consider going with an even number and connect them in a series/parallel configuration. This will maximize the power output by mitigating (somewhat) any shading issues (that aren't already handled by the bypass diodes in the panel's junction box).

FWIW, if one is planning on their solar panels providing all their electrical needs it's rather counter intuitive to park in the shade

If unavoidable due to wooded campsites then more portable capability with long power cords from panels to controller is highly recommended.
__________________
"A wise man can change his mind. A fool never will." (Japanese Proverb)

"You only grow old when you run out of new things to do"

2018 Flagstaff Micro Lite 25BDS
2004 Nissan Titan
TitanMike is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-18-2023, 03:20 PM   #8
Open Space Wanted
 
RedRoverComeOver's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2021
Location: X
Posts: 527
Have a '21 G16BH and mostly boondock with OEM 190W roof panel and 200W suitcase(s). Longest trip was 6 days and every trip the last couple of seasons had rain; some more than others and mostly camp in wooded areas.

The worst trip was when the dealer-installed flooded batteries died after the 2nd night. It rained on the way there and didn't stop until we were on the way home on the 4th day. Didn't help we were in a heavily shaded area and the Renogy panel decided to fail in less than a year. Customer service experience was horrible and wound up with two 100W panels since they don't appear to have parts for the Eclipse series (not same ones mentioned here.) Having issues with those now but haven't had time to troubleshoot. I'd recommend one larger panel over two since it's less of a PiTA. Had to get a negative ground controller for the suitcase since a positive ground caused issues. Have 20 and 30ft. wiring for the suitcase and been times where the latter one wasn't long enough. Mountain/forest camping is what is close since we're not sand people. We also throw in some beach camping but not having AC is bothersome at times.

Been reluctant adding another panel on the roof since there really isn't enough room for a good location. The only spot I'd attempt is next to the other one but it gets shadow by the AC unit (there goes the series theory.) Ideally I'd like it on the opposite side to get something during the day depending on the orientation, but there isn't room. The only other place it could fit is across the front but you're not supposed to bend them more than 30 and too much surface on the leading edge. The bigger problem is below from GP solar panel install guide:

Solar panels should be located a minimum of 3 from the front of RV to reduce wind load on the panels.

I went with two 100Ah Enduro batteries since they fit in the OEM battery box. You can get the 200Ah model and still fit in the battery box. The unit has little storage space and using it for batteries isn't an option for me. Took out the rear fridge for storage and still thinking about removing the convection microwave when I'm bored enough to figure out a door solution for that space; currently use the inside of it for storage.

https://www.enduropowerbatteries.com...baja-12v-200ah
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	2.jpg
Views:	14
Size:	383.5 KB
ID:	284898   Click image for larger version

Name:	1.jpg
Views:	13
Size:	319.4 KB
ID:	284899  
RedRoverComeOver is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-20-2023, 05:29 AM   #9
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2022
Posts: 5
Thank you all for the replies. Going to stick with my plan of adding 1 roof top panel wired in parallel, and will keep the go power pwm controller for now. And will utilize a portable setup to capture the most sun where I typically camp.

Thanks again.
jhetcel23 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-20-2023, 11:21 AM   #10
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2020
Posts: 647
I can't see the water heater using 12Ah to run on LP if its not an on-demand unit.

More blankets and warmer clothes can cut down on furnace use.

MPPT is more efficient but PWM should be fine for the 380W on the roof. Once you add the two other panels, moving to an MPPT SCC would be better and a 2S2P wiring setup. For now parallel will be fine. FYI, my 4x100W panels are in parallel and working great for me.

I setup a 3400W dual fuel generator to run off the trailer's gas port. If I need to charge the batteries it would be really fast for me, but so far I have only needed it for long A/C runs more than 3 hours. A smaller 2kW unit would be great as a backup charger if needed
__________________
2021 Flagstaff 21DS
2015 Silverado 2500HD (overkill but convenient)

Renogy bits: 3000W Inverter/Charger, 400Ah LiFePo4, 40A DC-to-DC
Rich Solar bits: 400W of panels, 40A MPPT
Misc bits: LevelMatePro+, SolidRemote based wireless controlled LED storage lighting
jbflag21ds is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
battery, question, questions, solar, upgrade

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by Forest River, Inc. or any of its affiliates. This is an independent, unofficial site.



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:48 PM.