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Old 09-22-2022, 12:21 PM   #1
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Solar makes my head spin

We camp without shore power once a year. It's usually memorial day weekend when AC is not needed.

My goal is simple. I have and want to use Renogy 100 Watt 12 Volt solar suitcase with a built in charge controller to keep the battery charged in order to run the lights, propane water heater, water pump and propane furnace.

I do not care about the TV, AC unit, microwave, coffee maker, hair dryers etc.

I think the only thing I am lacking is the ability to charge the phones and tablets. Normally we would charge those devices while the generator was running but I want to get away from the generator.

Can I purchase a simple inexpensive sine wave invertor and connect that to my battery at the same time the Solar Suitcase is connected to the battery? I don't want to spend a lot of money on a full solar system for a once a year use.
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Old 09-22-2022, 12:36 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Moho81 View Post
We camp without shore power once a year. It's usually memorial day weekend when AC is not needed.

My goal is simple. I have and want to use Renogy 100 Watt 12 Volt solar suitcase with a built in charge controller to keep the battery charged in order to run the lights, propane water heater, water pump and propane furnace.

I do not care about the TV, AC unit, microwave, coffee maker, hair dryers etc.

I think the only thing I am lacking is the ability to charge the phones and tablets. Normally we would charge those devices while the generator was running but I want to get away from the generator.

Can I purchase a simple inexpensive sine wave invertor and connect that to my battery at the same time the Solar Suitcase is connected to the battery? I don't want to spend a lot of money on a full solar system for a once a year use.
use simple car chargers to charge them. if you don't have car style 12v lighter sockets just add some wired to the battery. this will be much more energy efficient than converting from 12vdc to 120vac with an inverter to then plug in a household 120v style charger which will then be converting down to 5v dc for usb charging of most devices.
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Old 09-22-2022, 12:40 PM   #3
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usb plugs can be done via 12v no need for inverter (if that was why you wanted a inverter)

otherwise YES you can add a small inverter and use it GENTLY to power an 120v appliance once in a while.

The best bang for your buck is to look at your battery... Is it a TRUE deep cycle not a marine hybrid starting /deep cycle

Find a battery with a good amp hour rating 100ah that can be deeply discharged (80%)

or 2 x 6v 200ah golfcart batteries hooked up in series to get 12v

100w panel not big enough try to get a larger one, especially if you get a better , bigger battery
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Old 09-22-2022, 12:41 PM   #4
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use simple car chargers to charge them. if you don't have car style 12v lighter sockets just add some wired to the battery. this will be much more energy efficient than converting from 12vdc to 120vac with an inverter to then plug in a household 120v style charger which will then be converting down to 5v dc for usb charging of most devices.
My only issue with that is my truck turns off all power after 10min. So I would have to leave the truck running in order to charge the devices.
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Old 09-22-2022, 12:46 PM   #5
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usb plugs can be done via 12v no need for inverter (if that was why you wanted a inverter)
USB plugs work off 12V and donít require 120V shore power without doing anything special? We have USB plugs in the bunk beds and in the front bedroom. Iíll have to test them out to see if they work without shore power. This would solve my problem.
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Old 09-22-2022, 01:15 PM   #6
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My only issue with that is my truck turns off all power after 10min. So I would have to leave the truck running in order to charge the devices.
has nothing to do with the truck, this would be in the camper itself you would do this.
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Old 09-22-2022, 01:18 PM   #7
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use simple car chargers to charge them. if you don't have car style 12v lighter sockets just add some wired to the battery. this will be much more energy efficient than converting from 12vdc to 120vac with an inverter to then plug in a household 120v style charger which will then be converting down to 5v dc for usb charging of most devices.
Exactly the right answer!
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Old 09-22-2022, 01:24 PM   #8
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has nothing to do with the truck, this would be in the camper itself you would do this.
OK, I am following you now. I think my problem might already be solved because the camper has USB ports in the bunks and the front bedroom. It sounds like those run off 12v.

I'm not home right now otherwise I'd be running outside to try it. LOL
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Old 09-22-2022, 01:29 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Moho81 View Post
We camp without shore power once a year. It's usually memorial day weekend when AC is not needed.

My goal is simple. I have and want to use Renogy 100 Watt 12 Volt solar suitcase with a built in charge controller to keep the battery charged in order to run the lights, propane water heater, water pump and propane furnace.

I do not care about the TV, AC unit, microwave, coffee maker, hair dryers etc.

I think the only thing I am lacking is the ability to charge the phones and tablets. Normally we would charge those devices while the generator was running but I want to get away from the generator.

Can I purchase a simple inexpensive sine wave invertor and connect that to my battery at the same time the Solar Suitcase is connected to the battery? I don't want to spend a lot of money on a full solar system for a once a year use.
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Originally Posted by Moho81 View Post
OK, I am following you now. I think my problem might already be solved because the camper has USB ports in the bunks and the front bedroom. It sounds like those run off 12v.

I'm not home right now otherwise I'd be running outside to try it. LOL
It sounds like you're probably good to go as long as it isn't too cold. I couldn't imagine those USB ports aren't running directly off the battery bank.

If your heater runs a lot on a couple cold nights, I could see the fans running your battery low very quickly. What type/size battery(ies) do you have?
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Old 09-22-2022, 01:38 PM   #10
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OK, I am following you now. I think my problem might already be solved because the camper has USB ports in the bunks and the front bedroom. It sounds like those run off 12v.

I'm not home right now otherwise I'd be running outside to try it. LOL
if they are separate from the 120v household style outlets then yes they run on 12v. if they are integrated into the household style outlets they run off 120v shore power. wither way you could easily add some 12v cigar lighter style sockets and use the chargers you could use in your car or truck. these are likely better performing than the built in usb ports will be when it comes to charging speed.
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Old 09-22-2022, 01:39 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Moho81 View Post
We camp without shore power once a year. It's usually memorial day weekend when AC is not needed.

My goal is simple. I have and want to use Renogy 100 Watt 12 Volt solar suitcase with a built in charge controller to keep the battery charged in order to run the lights, propane water heater, water pump and propane furnace.

I do not care about the TV, AC unit, microwave, coffee maker, hair dryers etc.

I think the only thing I am lacking is the ability to charge the phones and tablets. Normally we would charge those devices while the generator was running but I want to get away from the generator.

Can I purchase a simple inexpensive sine wave invertor and connect that to my battery at the same time the Solar Suitcase is connected to the battery? I don't want to spend a lot of money on a full solar system for a once a year use.
I think you will find that your trailer USB ports are hooked up to your 12v system in the trailer. Also, there are numerous versions of this:
https://www.amazon.com/Newport-Vesse...45323608&psc=1
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Old 09-22-2022, 01:46 PM   #12
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It sounds like you're probably good to go as long as it isn't too cold. I couldn't imagine those USB ports aren't running directly off the battery bank.

If your heater runs a lot on a couple cold nights, I could see the fans running your battery low very quickly. What type/size battery(ies) do you have?
Yes, I could see the fans being the only thing that would hurt me. Last memorial day the temps where perfect and we never turned the furnace on. If necessary I would only turn the furnace up to the bare minimum in order to not freeze. That's what blankets/ sleeping bags and extra clothes are for anyways.

Right now I am just running a 12v marine/RV deep cell battery. This may be my downfall but we shall see. I have some time to do some test runs in the driveway before actually needing to use the solar system.
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Old 09-22-2022, 01:46 PM   #13
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If you have a cigarette/power point in the camper itís 12V. USB ports should be powered by the 12V system also.

If you have a cigarette lighter style 12V plug you can buy and use a small inverter like this one for small little 120V things.
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Old 09-22-2022, 01:55 PM   #14
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if they are separate from the 120v household style outlets then yes they run on 12v. if they are integrated into the household style outlets they run off 120v shore power. wither way you could easily add some 12v cigar lighter style sockets and use the chargers you could use in your car or truck. these are likely better performing than the built in usb ports will be when it comes to charging speed.
They are separate from the 120v household style outlets.

I am glad I asked this question. I was just going to go in the trailer and test every outlet and port without shore power and see what worked but I am at work and it was driving me nuts trying to figure it out. LOL
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Old 09-22-2022, 03:00 PM   #15
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The power hog in your scenario is the propane furnace. You may need more solar panels.
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Old 09-22-2022, 03:17 PM   #16
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Yes, I could see the fans being the only thing that would hurt me. Last memorial day the temps where perfect and we never turned the furnace on. If necessary I would only turn the furnace up to the bare minimum in order to not freeze. That's what blankets/ sleeping bags and extra clothes are for anyways.

Right now I am just running a 12v marine/RV deep cell battery. This may be my downfall but we shall see. I have some time to do some test runs in the driveway before actually needing to use the solar system.
You may consider buying two GC2 6 volt batteries and wiring them in series for 12 volts. This would likely more than triple your battery capacity. When I bought mine, they were $89 apiece at Sams Club. I just checked, and they're going for $109 apiece now. Still not a huge investment... But if only for one time a year, I'm not sure if it would be worth it to you.

And I just reread your OP. I didn't realize you already had the solar suitcase. I thought you were thinking of buying one. That will go a long way to helping you with recharging your battery if you're only using it minimally.

Just to verify, you don't have a 12 V fridge, right?
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Old 09-22-2022, 03:25 PM   #17
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The power hog in your scenario is the propane furnace. You may need more solar panels.
Or more clothes

Or more Bourbon
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Old 09-22-2022, 03:30 PM   #18
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The power hog in your scenario is the propane furnace. You may need more solar panels.
Yes a furnace does draw power but how much depends on it's size/output.

Mine is a 16,000 btu Suburban that draws a measured 2.8 amps. About the same amount as the lights over my dinette and folding couch.

Now if one has a large coach or 5th Wheel with a 20,000+ btu furnace, yes they draw a lot more.

Point being not all furnaces are power hogs.
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Old 09-22-2022, 03:32 PM   #19
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You may consider buying two GC2 6 volt batteries and wiring them in series for 12 volts. This would likely more than triple your battery capacity. When I bought mine, they were $89 apiece at Sams Club. I just checked, and they're going for $109 apiece now. Still not a huge investment... But if only for one time a year, I'm not sure if it would be worth it to you.

And I just reread your OP. I didn't realize you already had the solar suitcase. I thought you were thinking of buying one. That will go a long way to helping you with recharging your battery if you're only using it minimally.

Just to verify, you don't have a 12 V fridge, right?
I will see how it goes but the $218 investment isn't huge. I'd rather not but at least it's not a big deal.

The fridge runs off propane as well as 12v. That was one of the requirements when shopping for a new trailer.
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Old 09-22-2022, 03:41 PM   #20
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I will see how it goes but the $218 investment isn't huge. I'd rather not but at least it's not a big deal.



The fridge runs off propane as well as 12v. That was one of the requirements when shopping for a new trailer.
I doubt that your fridge runs off of 12v. Never seen a 12v/propane fridge in a RV. Only a 3-way fridge that is 110v AC/12v DC/propane. They are usually small and only found in folding trailers, small TTs and truck campers.
What you probably have is a 2-way fridge that runs on propane or 110v AC. It does use 12v to ignite the propane but it doesn'trun on 12v.


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