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Old 03-08-2014, 11:21 PM   #1
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SOLAR question, is this a good setup?

I do a lot of no power camping and I have a generator so running the microwave isn't the problem. I would like to invest in solar panels that would keep my batteries charged up everyday so we can enjoy stuff like tv(if we need) out door lights, whatever we want without the generator humming away.

I am in canada and panels appear to be a bit more expensive up here but I did come across a company in Quebec that does kits. Would anyone body be able to tell me if this kit is a good kit?

http://bit.ly/1k5oUaK

Currently I only have 1 battery but I plan on going to at least 2 6v golf cart batteries. Oh yeah I have a 2013 Salem 26tbuds. After I order my solar panels I will work on finding the LED lights I need to reduce consumption
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Old 03-09-2014, 05:08 PM   #2
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Not a bad price for the kit. You could spend a lot more for top-of-the line panels and controllers but for your use probably okay.

A good 135 watt panel will produce about 6-7 amps during the peak of the day. If you are pointed directly at the sun, no clouds. Maximum will be about 4-5 hours per day. As the sun rises and sets your actual output will be less. This will give you about 12-14 amps for 4-5 hours per day tapering off morning and evening.

Usual problem is not heavy enough wire for the wire run. The bigger the better.
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Old 03-09-2014, 07:25 PM   #3
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Not a bad price for the kit. You could spend a lot more for top-of-the line panels and controllers but for your use probably okay.

A good 135 watt panel will produce about 6-7 amps during the peak of the day. If you are pointed directly at the sun, no clouds. Maximum will be about 4-5 hours per day. As the sun rises and sets your actual output will be less. This will give you about 12-14 amps for 4-5 hours per day tapering off morning and evening.

Usual problem is not heavy enough wire for the wire run. The bigger the better.

Where is the problem with the wire that isn't heavy enough, I was planning on doing a roof mount and running the wires down the fridge and straight into the panel and have the controller mounted above the fridge. Like this video
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Old 03-09-2014, 08:35 PM   #4
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That will work. In the discussions I have had about solar panels the one biggest mistake made was the wire size. It is usually too small and has an effect on
efficiency. I your case more than a 15' run needs at least 8 gage wire.

Here is a website that might help. http://www.freesunpower.com/wire_calc.php#startGrn

And - http://www.rbeelectronics.com/wtable.htm
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Old 03-09-2014, 09:53 PM   #5
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That will work. In the discussions I have had about solar panels the one biggest mistake made was the wire size. It is usually too small and has an effect on
efficiency. I your case more than a 15' run needs at least 8 gage wire.

Here is a website that might help. [url=http://www.freesunpower.com/wire_calc.php#startGrn]

And - http://www.rbeelectronics.com/wtable.htm
Thanks so much, I just need to talk to the dealer and see if there I'd anyway for me to retain my roof warranty after drilling holes in it lol
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Old 03-09-2014, 09:56 PM   #6
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I purchased my setup from the same Ebay seller. I went with the MPPT controller, which can put more amps into your battery than the PWM controller can. I think that kit you want to buy has a PWM controller.

Have a look at this kit.

https://tinyurl.com/lcqkbt5

It is only 20 watts less and comes with an MPPT controller and a remote display.
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Old 03-09-2014, 10:12 PM   #7
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I purchased my setup from the same Ebay seller. I went with the MPPT controller, which can put more amps into your battery than the PWM controller can. I think that kit you want to buy has a PWM controller.

Have a look at this kit.

https://tinyurl.com/lcqkbt5

It is only 20 watts less and comes with an MPPT controller and a remote display.
Thank you, how do you like it and how long does it take to charge up your batteries, how long do they last, how many batteries so you have
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Old 03-09-2014, 10:22 PM   #8
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14 gauge should be enough for 15ft. for a 135 watt panel.
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Old 03-09-2014, 11:18 PM   #9
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Thank you, how do you like it and how long does it take to charge up your batteries, how long do they last, how many batteries so you have

I have two hundred watts of solar (flat mounted on the roof) and a 225 AH battery bank (2 - 6 volt jars). My batteries are usually sitting around 70-75% SOC in the morning (8:00 am) and are at 100% SOC within about 5 hours (early afternoon) on a sunny day.

Solar has got to be the greatest thing since sliced bread. We were boondocking for 90 days straight last summer and the only time I ran the generator was to use the microwave.

30 of those days were on the west side of Vancouver Island in amongst the big tall cedar trees. It took the solar about 8 hours to get the batterys to 100% SOC in the big trees.
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Old 03-09-2014, 11:40 PM   #10
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I have two hundred watts of solar (flat mounted on the roof) and a 225 AH battery bank (2 - 6 volt jars). My batteries are usually sitting around 70-75% SOC in the morning (8:00 am) and are at 100% SOC within about 5 hours (early afternoon) on a sunny day.

Solar has got to be the greatest thing since sliced bread. We were boondocking for 90 days straight last summer and the only time I ran the generator was to use the microwave.

30 of those days were on the west side of Vancouver Island in amongst the big tall cedar trees. It took the solar about 8 hours to get the batterys to 100% SOC in the big trees.
Wow that's great to hear!!! So if I go 4 6v batteries it will take longer to charge but should last longer as well. We use provincial parks here in sask but I'm not paying a extra 10 a night for power sites... I'm cheap. And these panels will last for years to come
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Old 03-10-2014, 01:45 AM   #11
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Yes, (4) 6v batterys with 270 watts of solar should work quite well for you unless you are a real power hog.

Those panels are rated at 18 volts max output. Mine are also, but I have seen them go as high as 24V (in direct sun) which will give you even more amps in the end.

With 270 watts of solar @ 18 volts and a MPPT controller you should be able to harvest on average around 18-20 amps on a sunny day. So 5-6 hours (peak time) x 18-20 amps would feed your batterys at least 90-120 amp hours in a day maybe more.
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Old 03-10-2014, 04:58 AM   #12
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Thanks so much, I just need to talk to the dealer and see if there I'd anyway for me to retain my roof warranty after drilling holes in it lol
I wouldn't ask my dealer, I would call FR direct and ask them. They are the one's who would have okay the warranty not your dealer.
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Old 03-10-2014, 09:23 AM   #13
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I wouldn't ask my dealer, I would call FR direct and ask them. They are the one's who would have okay the warranty not your dealer.
I might have a aftermarket warranty on it as well as the factory, one of those warranties where if you don't make a claim you get a percentage of it back. I believe I have one of those. I wonder if I paid my dealer to install the panels if they would still honor it. Never hurts to as Forest river and my dealer. I know my dealer sells the go power kits and they aren't cheap or else I'd buy from them.
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Old 03-10-2014, 10:44 AM   #14
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I might have a aftermarket warranty on it as well as the factory, one of those warranties where if you don't make a claim you get a percentage of it back. I believe I have one of those. I wonder if I paid my dealer to install the panels if they would still honor it. Never hurts to as Forest river and my dealer. I know my dealer sells the go power kits and they aren't cheap or else I'd buy from them.
After market or not, The third party will not honor the warranty because it is still warranty under FR. I still would call FR. Better to be safe then sorry....
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Old 03-10-2014, 10:56 AM   #15
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After market or not, The third party will not honor the warranty because it is still warranty under FR. I still would call FR. Better to be safe then sorry....
Yeah I'll give them a call in the bear future before drilling any holes
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Old 03-11-2014, 12:09 PM   #16
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I talked to the company that makes the solar panels and they said that the panels are made of tempered glass and is very Resistant to hail and falling branches.

They also said for best results have them pointed south at 30-40 degree angle
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Old 03-11-2014, 01:00 PM   #17
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I talked to the company that makes the solar panels and they said that the panels are made of tempered glass and is very Resistant to hail and falling branches.

They also said for best results have them pointed south at 30-40 degree angle
This is true, but would be bad for travel IMO. I would add a device that you would be able to move to that degree. Wouldn't be hard to do or design. I know that I had that on my sail boat, but it was automatic and keep the panels at the correct position as the sun moved. But that solar keep my battery bank up, and eveything ran off of 12v. Except my Ham Radio, and radar is why a inverter was added. They ran separate circuits for that. I had 6 battery installed golf cart size T8 If I remember. Also had a 150 amp alternator incase they where not putting enough power out to keep things running only had a 50 gal diesel tank, but carried 6-10 gal jerry cans, sometime I wouldn't see a shore line for weeks. But the engine only burned 1 and 1/2 gals per hour. 50 hp. @ 6.5 kts.
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Old 03-11-2014, 02:54 PM   #18
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This is true, but would be bad for travel IMO. I would add a device that you would be able to move to that degree. Wouldn't be hard to do or design. I know that I had that on my sail boat, but it was automatic and keep the panels at the correct position as the sun moved. But that solar keep my battery bank up, and eveything ran off of 12v. Except my Ham Radio, and radar is why a inverter was added. They ran separate circuits for that. I had 6 battery installed golf cart size T8 If I remember. Also had a 150 amp alternator incase they where not putting enough power out to keep things running only had a 50 gal diesel tank, but carried 6-10 gal jerry cans, sometime I wouldn't see a shore line for weeks. But the engine only burned 1 and 1/2 gals per hour. 50 hp. @ 6.5 kts.
Sounds like you have a great set up. I might try to build brackets that will adjust angle each way because we camp in two different spots and our trailers position with the sun will be different for each
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Old 03-11-2014, 07:28 PM   #19
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I was at costco today and saw these batteries, would 4 of them be good?

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Old 03-11-2014, 08:15 PM   #20
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I installed the 160 watt kit from go-power. Solar panel, cables and charger. Mounted it on the roof, ran the cables down the refridgerator chimney and mounted the charger/controller right above the fridge. Ran the wires from the panels, to the charger and then down to the DC terminals on the converter. We only have the 12V batter that came with the camper and it works good fr the weekends. Have not tested it out to see how long we can go without running the battery down yet. Pictures of the install below.
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