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Old 01-20-2022, 02:45 PM   #1
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Solar suitcase arrived!

My wife hates the generator. I have to fight to keep it running for a few hours a day. Running the gen set 2 to 4 hours per day we‘ve been fine so far up to three weeks dry camping.

We decided to see if we can figure out how to use solar and only use the genny if we need to run the ac, micro, or the kureg.

200 W Renogy kit I ordered before Christmas.


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Old 01-20-2022, 03:21 PM   #2
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Your generator typically charges the batteries at up to 50 Amps dc per hour. So running 2 hours is about 100 amps added to the batteries.

A solar collector like yours on its best day in the summer can provide 50 amps of charge.

Having a battery monitor is sort of important.

A my Joe from Amazon would eliminate the coffee machine when boondocking. We love ours.
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Old 01-20-2022, 04:25 PM   #3
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Congrats! I love my solar Aco suitcase. I'm not delusional and have always been a battery miser. My old camper I didn't have solar, so I would hook up the suitcase everyday--just to keep my battery topped off. I always want to make sure that I have power for the water pump -- the most important thing to me.
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Old 01-20-2022, 04:38 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by tomkatb View Post
Your generator typically charges the batteries at up to 50 Amps dc per hour. So running 2 hours is about 100 amps added to the batteries.

A solar collector like yours on its best day in the summer can provide 50 amps of charge.

Having a battery monitor is sort of important.

A my Joe from Amazon would eliminate the coffee machine when boondocking. We love ours.
That 50 amp dc per hour will only end up being 1/2 to 3/4 that amount actually stored in Lead Acid batteries.

A 100ah FLA battery, fully depleted (or two of them in parallel depleted 50%) will more likely than not require 4-6 hours or more to be fully charged.

A 200w portable solar "kit" might with full sun and very clear skies.

To the OP, best of luck but don't leave the generator home.

As I write this I'm sitting in an Arizona desert with crystal clear skies. My 200w solar "kit" has panels wired in series, feeding an MPPT controller. This setup maximizes solar output to my LiFePo4 batteries which charge almost on a one amp out, one amp in basis with almost no waste.

My discharge overnight was 62 amp hours. So far all but 25 ah of that has been replaced. Sun will go down in about 3 hours and with luck the batteries may be back to 100%

In my case the batteries are receiving 60 watts less than the panels are delivering with the rest going to whatever might be running in my TT like Stereo, light(s) charging USB devices, regrigerator (controls), etc.

Don't get me wrong, a 200w solar setup is a great tool but expectations need to be properly calibrated.

Lead acid batteries take a lot longer to recharge than LiFePo4's so be sure to consider that when "calibrating".


FWIW the "History Tab" in my Victron smart solar controller shows. an average of 1.1Kwh-1.2Kwh per day from my panels.
Charging starts around 8:30 am and ends around 5:30pm. For sake of discussion that's a 9 hour "solar day" and a 100ah battery is considered to have ~1.2Kwh of stored energy.
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Old 01-20-2022, 05:34 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomkatb View Post
Your generator typically charges the batteries at up to 50 Amps dc per hour. So running 2 hours is about 100 amps added to the batteries.

A solar collector like yours on its best day in the summer can provide 50 amps of charge.

Having a battery monitor is sort of important.

A my Joe from Amazon would eliminate the coffee machine when boondocking. We love ours.
Interesting. We make hot cocoa heating water on the stove. Nice.

https://www.amazon.com/Presto-02835-...23&sr=8-2&th=1
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Old 01-20-2022, 05:44 PM   #6
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That 50 amp dc per hour will only end up being 1/2 to 3/4 that amount actually stored in Lead Acid batteries.

A 100ah FLA battery, fully depleted (or two of them in parallel depleted 50%) will more likely than not require 4-6 hours or more to be fully charged.

A 200w portable solar "kit" might with full sun and very clear skies.

To the OP, best of luck but don't leave the generator home.

As I write this I'm sitting in an Arizona desert with crystal clear skies. My 200w solar "kit" has panels wired in series, feeding an MPPT controller. This setup maximizes solar output to my LiFePo4 batteries which charge almost on a one amp out, one amp in basis with almost no waste.

My discharge overnight was 62 amp hours. So far all but 25 ah of that has been replaced. Sun will go down in about 3 hours and with luck the batteries may be back to 100%

In my case the batteries are receiving 60 watts less than the panels are delivering with the rest going to whatever might be running in my TT like Stereo, light(s) charging USB devices, regrigerator (controls), etc.

Don't get me wrong, a 200w solar setup is a great tool but expectations need to be properly calibrated.

Lead acid batteries take a lot longer to recharge than LiFePo4's so be sure to consider that when "calibrating".


FWIW the "History Tab" in my Victron smart solar controller shows. an average of 1.1Kwh-1.2Kwh per day from my panels.
Charging starts around 8:30 am and ends around 5:30pm. For sake of discussion that's a 9 hour "solar day" and a 100ah battery is considered to have ~1.2Kwh of stored energy.
Most of that went over my head with the exception of leaving the genny at home. We bring it every time as we've ran into a few places where power was inconsistent at campgrounds with electric. We've used our current setup for years and have a good understanding of how to keep us up using the generator. Running low on grey storage and fresh well before power. Be interesting to incorporate the solar.
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Old 01-20-2022, 05:53 PM   #7
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coco

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Interesting. We make hot cocoa heating water on the stove. Nice.

https://www.amazon.com/Presto-02835-...23&sr=8-2&th=1
Hear is an old snowmobile rsp for coco. Just add hot water.
5 cups non fat powdered milk
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup non dairy coffee creamer.
That is the basic rsp,
For coco, add baking coco to the mix to what your chocolate taste is.
I keep just the base rsp handy, as about daily i make a shake.
I have a 22oz bullet container, and add 8 good size tbsps, and ltl water, what ever flavor one wants, strawberry, choc, carmel, and fill with ice, blend, and fill with ice and blend till full. Tastes great and all i need is ice. One does need the larger straws though.
I dont have any kids or grandkids, but would be easier to keep the dry mix around to make shakes/malts/coco, at any time.

Best of luck with your solar. I may go that route some day when i get sick of full hookups.
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Old 01-20-2022, 06:01 PM   #8
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Hear is an old snowmobile rsp for coco. Just add hot water.

5 cups non fat powdered milk

1 cup powdered sugar

1 cup non dairy coffee creamer.

That is the basic rsp,

For coco, add baking coco to the mix to what your chocolate taste is.

I keep just the base rsp handy, as about daily i make a shake.

I have a 22oz bullet container, and add 8 good size tbsps, and ltl water, what ever flavor one wants, strawberry, choc, carmel, and fill with ice, blend, and fill with ice and blend till full. Tastes great and all i need is ice. One does need the larger straws though.

I dont have any kids or grandkids, but would be easier to keep the dry mix around to make shakes/malts/coco, at any time.



Best of luck with your solar. I may go that route some day when i get sick of full hookups.
A group I used to snowmobile with used a recipe similar to yours. However they added a generous quantity of Peppermint Schnapps. No doubt the last ingredient was for it's "antifreeze" qualities.
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Old 01-20-2022, 06:05 PM   #9
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Todays world, they have flavored every thing to add.
One could also make a white or black Russion or a frozen mudslide.
Without having milk in the fridge or ice cream in the freezer. Just need ice.
For the adults of course.
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Old 02-23-2022, 07:50 PM   #10
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Solar suitcase arrived!

Moved the charge controller into the front compartment and added a circuit breaker. I have an in-line fuse at the panels. Coincidentally this compartment is big enough for two 100ah lifpo4 batteries.

Also added some lighting.

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As and added note: The solar on the side on this trailer was not hooked through the trailer 12v disconnect.
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Old 02-27-2022, 03:49 PM   #11
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My wife hates the generator. I have to fight to keep it running for a few hours a day. Running the gen set 2 to 4 hours per day we‘ve been fine so far up to three weeks dry camping.

We decided to see if we can figure out how to use solar and only use the genny if we need to run the ac, micro, or the kureg.

200 W Renogy kit I ordered before Christmas.


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What size and what brand generator are you using?
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Old 02-27-2022, 05:15 PM   #12
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What size and what brand generator are you using?
3500W Predator
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Old 02-27-2022, 06:42 PM   #13
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Congrats on your setup. That panel doesn't look much bigger than my 100w Renogy suitcase (I have 2, plus a GoPower 100w on roof). If the batts are low, generator is great to boost them through the bulk charging stage, then use solar to top off.
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Old 03-18-2022, 12:46 PM   #14
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Suitcase Solar Question

Hi Kris - what modifications, if any did you have to make with your suitcase solar panels - I have the same trailer and want to boost my solar input, with suitcase panels. 2021 Geo Pro FD - 190W solar panel.

Ron
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Old 03-18-2022, 01:55 PM   #15
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A group I used to snowmobile with used a recipe similar to yours. However they added a generous quantity of Peppermint Schnapps. No doubt the last ingredient was for it's "antifreeze" qualities.
Peanut butter whiskey is good too....
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Old 03-18-2022, 08:51 PM   #16
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Hi Kris - what modifications, if any did you have to make with your suitcase solar panels - I have the same trailer and want to boost my solar input, with suitcase panels. 2021 Geo Pro FD - 190W solar panel.

Ron
Bought Renogy cable set to parallel connect the 2nd suitcase to my first suitcase with the controller. 10 guage cables from suitcase to solar on side plug. When I got the Renogy MC4 to SAE adaptor, noticed polarity was reverse of what is should be at solar on side connector, so I just reversed leads coming out of suitcase controller.


I also added a 20 amp breaker to the positive cable from the first suitcase to the controller, so I could keep controller from powering up before connecting to batteries via solar on the side, as advised in Renogy manual.
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Old 03-26-2022, 11:18 AM   #17
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We’ll, I think I’m going to like solar.

We arrive at our camp site on Thursday around noon. Set up camp. By 3pm we decided to start setting up and testing the computer and mobile hotspot spot on the phone. Pulled out the solar suitcase then too to test as well.

Network stuff worked. Solar was making power.

After a few hours we shut off the solar as it was not making much power with the forest trees. Battery was showing 12.6 volts and 80 of the 81 amp hours. In the morning, the monitor was showing 56 amp hours remaining.

Set up the solar at 7am and moved it around every few hours. We did have to charge the computer the night before on the trucks inverter when we went exploring. We forgot to plan for a full day of computer work, so we had to run the generator for a few hours to keep it working. Definitely need to invest in a small inverter.

When we shut down the solar this day, the monitor showed 12.7v and 100% of the 81amp hours.

Took shower, furnace at ~60, 12v CPAP all night. Here is our use by 8am.

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Nice to have solar run all our day time use and add to power. The solar is quiet!!
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Old 03-26-2022, 11:27 AM   #18
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How do you like that Renogy battery monitor? Much better value maybe than expensive Victron. Do you program it with how many amp hours your batteries are so it knows how much you used/replaced? Too bad you are in bone dry Arizona, you'd be able to shut off CPAP heater and save a ton of power. I no longer use the heat/humidity.
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Old 03-26-2022, 04:59 PM   #19
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How do you like that Renogy battery monitor? Much better value maybe than expensive Victron. Do you program it with how many amp hours your batteries are so it knows how much you used/replaced? Too bad you are in bone dry Arizona, you'd be able to shut off CPAP heater and save a ton of power. I no longer use the heat/humidity.


Maybe. This was the 1st time out with it installed. As we were packing up, my wife comes out after retracting the slide and tells me there is a beeping sound.

It was the renogy monitor showing 0amp hours left. But it was also showing 12.4 volts. So, we’ll see.

Yes, you program the “usable” amp hours. Set high voltage and low voltage #’s.
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