Solar and Alternative Energy for RV's

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Solar and Alternative Energy for RV's (1,653 members)

A place to discuss solar and other alternative power technologies as it relates to our RV's. 

Solar and Alternative Energy for RV's Feed

  • Abe R.
    Abe R.:
    Can someone explain solar ready? I have a freedom express coachman with a solar plug . Can I just simply plug in a solar panel and boom shockalocka done?
    • July 9
    • · via Android App
    • Barry & Millie-Ambassadors and 1 other like this.
    • Abe R.
      Landsailor Compatible. Roof mounted PV requires mounts and wiring down to a charge controller and the coach batteries. Mine tilt and rotate
      • July 9
    • Abe R.
      Pianotuna Are the tilt and rotate motor activated, or do yoyu have to climb on the roof in a storm to stow them?
      • July 9
    • Abe R.
      John T Abe, good questions


      1) "Can I just simply plug in a solar panel and boom shockalocka done"


      Unfortunately the answer is NOOOOOOOOOOOOO.


      You need a) Solar Panel, wired to your &...  more
      • July 10
    • Abe R.
      Jeff & Wendy Unless the "solar ready" means something like this. 


      https://www.zampsolar.com/rv-solar-kits/solar-ready-rv-kit-srrv
      • July 10
    • Abe R.
      Spyderrider2000 Look at this way, kinda like generator ready. Wires are run in walls but you have to buy every thing that hooks to the wires for it to wirk
      • July 12
  • Driver David
    Driver David:
    Thinking about changing out lead acid to lithium and found smart battery, a direct exchange without any change to the rest of your system. Anyone have any experience with them?
    • July 2
    • · via mobile
    • Magee and 2 others like this.
    • Driver David
      Landsailor No knowledge of smart battery. Depending on battery chemistry, you may have to upgrade your charger/converter to properly charge these batteries. I added A GM batteries and had to either upgrade to a 4 level charger (Boondocker or equiv) or Battery Minder...  more
      Hide 2 Replies
      • Driver David
        Landsailor Another photo
        • July 2
      • Driver David
        Benji Progressive dynamics converters are great made right in NC
        • July 12
    • Driver David
      Jeneric Ramblings There are a several ( maybe a bunch?) of manufacturers of "drop in replacement" batteries. Smart and a few others sell what look like identical batteries with different labels. I have two 200Ah RELiON batteries, which look the same as the Smart, except fo...  more
    • Driver David
      Pianotuna perhaps better to consider the firefly batteries.
      • July 2
    • Driver David
      Driver David Thanks. Decided to go with firefly. They arrive tomorrow. Hide 1 Reply
  • Blankerson
    Blankerson:
    What are the first steps to take when going solar? I have a 2012 Thor Freedom Elite 31R, which is a Class C. No clue where to even start.
    • June 8
    • Chris & Jennifer [ThxHarvey] likes this.
    • Blankerson
      Pianotuna This may be a place for some plain english explanations: https://freecampsites.net/adding-solar/
    • Blankerson
      The Harveys Don’t rush, investigate options and understand pros and cons of each vendor and suggested layout. One thing that I found was using 24vdc PVs lowered the amperage, therefore the cable size from the roof to the equipment bay near the batteries. Then use a 2...  more Hide 1 Reply
      • Blankerson
        JLF Rather than searching for "24-12vdc BMS" a person looking to charge 12 volt batteries from 24 volt nominal solar panels would find a lot more options searching for an "MPPT solar charge controller".  All of the features that a Battery Management Syst...  more
        • June 9
    • Blankerson
      Seann The very first step is to determine how much power you use each day.   You can find charts and forms on the web. 
      • July 2
    • Blankerson
      Lola N Rush Songer Buy a Tri-metric 2030 Battery Monitor. Installation is a breeze even for a rookie like me.
      • July 6
    • Blankerson
      Pianotuna Better to use the Victron gauge which is, cheaper, smaller footprint, and more accurate than the Tri-metric.
  • Stephan
    Stephan:
    I'd like to go "ear to ear" regarding "set-up" for my Outback 80 Charge controller. Being new to this group I don't know if one can "PM" (private message) or not. So, just a little help here....Thank you.
    • May 31
    • Bruce & Linda (Omnibus) likes this.
    • Stephan
      Bruce & Linda (Omnibus) Hi Stephan!  Yes, you can PM people.  Not sure if you need to have a friend connection to do that, but painless enough to send a friend request.  I am not familiar with the Outback 80 Charge Controller, so I am not the person to help you wi...  more
      • May 31
    • Stephan
      John T I have no experience with that controller, do as the manual says versus myself. That being said, typically in "set up" you need to tell it your battery type such as Flooded Lead Acid or AGM,,,,,,,,,Perhaps the total Amp Hour capacity of the battery b...  more
  • sitruc
    sitruc:
    Hi Im trying to install a 100w solar system to my 2017 37' tiffin RED. My questions are best routing from roof, will the controller automatically turn off when I plug the rv into ac. I own a Coleman 100w unit which I would like to expand to at least 200w...  more
    • May 21
    • sitruc
      Seann Being hooked to AC does not matter. The solar charger will shut off when the batteries are topped off. Make sure your charger is large enough to expand later if you're looking at a larger array on the roof. I made the mistake of not doing that and ended u...  more
    • sitruc
      Jeff & Wendy Best routing is the shortest distance from the panels to the controller to the batteries. Think about adding a junction box on the roof to attach your panels to. From there you can run a single (larger) wire to the controller.

      I thought of a...  more
    • sitruc
      John T Good basic beginner questions, FWIW here's my opinion:


         1) My questions are best routing from roof             
           &nbs...  more
      Hide 1 Reply
    • sitruc
      sitruc Thanks for all these great comments, very helpful.
      • May 22
  • Gone_Feral (was LPS)
    Gone_Feral (was LPS) :
    Hello all--I need help!
    I have a 2017 Roadtrek with 700w on the roof, 2 controllers and 6 12v AGM batteries. Last winter I was plugged in to 30 amp at a campground when the transfer switch exploded and caught fire. Fortunately they put it in a good box...  more
    • May 18
    • · via mobile
    • Becca Ray likes this.
    • Gone_Feral (was LPS)
      Wncol P3 P4400 Kill A Watt Electricity Usage Monitor https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00009MDBU/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_tai_i_ch1.AbCC8KGK3 Hide 1 Reply
    • Gone_Feral (was LPS)
      LeeVormelker It appears you are using a conventional residential refrigerator.... yes 12v,120v too. You need a high efficiency solar style refer. Also a kill-a-watt is only usable on AC style refers. You want a xantrex DC load manager. Regards. Lee Hide 1 Reply
    • Gone_Feral (was LPS)
      Wncol I would first check voltages on the 120volt side at the outlets.  That meter will display volts and hz.  The see how much that refer draws in each mode.  120 volt, propane, 12 volt.   The power should be different in each mode.  T...  more Hide 1 Reply
      • Gone_Feral (was LPS)
        Gone_Feral (was LPS) Thanks. The curious part is that this is the THIRD Norcold fridge I've had. Now the company is balking, because, well, it's the third one in a span of 6 months. Last night it went into its holding pattern after cycling continuously for the whole day (c...  more
        • May 19
    • Gone_Feral (was LPS)
      LeeVormelker I think you missed my point. A 12v,120v refer are not typically very energy efficient. Unless it was designed for solar applications. Ie Dometic makes a very efficient chest style refer. You are trying to deal with two separate issues. Efficiency and...  more
      • May 19
      Hide 1 Reply
      • Gone_Feral (was LPS)
        Gone_Feral (was LPS) Actually I've been running this system for two years, and until 6 months ago it was doing great. Yes, the system is designed for solar ("Ecotrek" is their proprietary name). Worked fine off grid, and I stay off grid most of the time which is why I have ...  more
        • May 19
  • Halfloaf
    Halfloaf:
    When I bought my RV in October 2017 my AGM battery only went to 13.6 volt. My understanding was it was supposed to go to 14.2 volts so I complained and was told it was in normal specs. Now it has dropped dramatically and maxes out at about 12.3 volts. My ...  more
    • May 16
    • · via iPhone
    • Becca Ray likes this.
    • Halfloaf
      Halfloaf *I'm full-time.
      • May 16
    • Halfloaf
      Halfloaf And it will go higher- like right now I'm in sun and it claims to be at 12.4. But as soon as it stops charging it drops down to 12.2 very rapidly. And the other part of this that I don't understand is that once it is at 12.2 it will still last a long time...  more Hide 2 Replies
    • Halfloaf
      Michael & Mary Wallace Does your solar controller have the capability of removing the surface charge from your battery? You might try that before you condemn it!  Calciumifacition is another problem. 14 to 15 volts are when it is charging then
       12.5-v...  more
    • Halfloaf
      Halfloaf Ohhh... Im reading about surface charge and I had a strange thing happen the other day that apparently can be caused by surface charge. This might be something!
      • May 16
    • Halfloaf
      Halfloaf It was indeed surface charge. According to the mechanics and electrical engineers I talked to there are two fixes: a 20 amp draw for 3 minutes (if my wee little trailer could do that I probably wouldn't have developed this problem to start with!) or plugg...  more
      • May 18
      Hide 2 Replies
      • Halfloaf
        Michael & Mary Wallace You are welcome! I have seen low-cost battery chargers or maintainers that have that charge, online.
        • May 18
      • Halfloaf
        Michael Beck This is what I use; https://www.amazon.com/CTEK-56-864-Automatic-Battery-Charger/dp/B079P7X1N9  Jay Leno uses this brand and he has a whole warehouse full of cars. ;-))
        • May 18
  • JodyO
    JodyO :
    Well, my bubble just got burst. :-(
    https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/3797-end-the-green-delusions-industrial-scale-renewable-energy-is-fossil-fuel
    Verso
    • May 15
  • Bob & Kim Viva 23L
    Bob & Kim Viva 23L:
    I have a quick question regarding inverters can I plug my shore power into an inverter coming off my batteries. Also do I need to worry about how much eat and inverter puts out considering mounting it in a storage compartment but there is no ventilation u...  more
    • May 14
    • · via iPhone
    • Becca Ray likes this.
    • Bob & Kim Viva 23L
      Pianotuna yes you can plug in. Move fridge to propane and turn off the converter.
      • May 14
      Hide 1 Reply
      • Bob & Kim Viva 23L
        Bob & Kim Viva 23L Thank you all for the help. I have four 6 V golf cart batteries and I’m adding 200 W of solar power to the roof. I was hoping I didn’t need to dig into the electrical panel. Since my rig is set up so that my shore power plugs into my generator which then ...  more
        • May 14
    • Bob & Kim Viva 23L
      John T Bob & Kim, thanks for the update, based on your new info here are my latest thoughts.


      Those four 6 volt golf cart batteries may have somewhere around 450 Amp Hours of energy storage capacity meaning you should only use 225 Amp Hour...  more
      Hide 2 Replies
      • Bob & Kim Viva 23L
        Benji I don't know why you'd use an electric coffee pot when there are several other ways to make coffee when off the grid.
      • Bob & Kim Viva 23L
        Bob & Kim Viva 23L Wow John great info thank you!!
        • May 14
    • Bob & Kim Viva 23L
      John T You're welcome Bob & Kim. Congratulations and good luck with your system. I have received a ton of good info from the wonderful people on here and glad to help any little bit I can in return.


      John T
      Hide 1 Reply
      • Bob & Kim Viva 23L
        Benji More like you GIVEN a ton of good info to the people on here. I follow you closely and have 30 years as an industrial construction electrician under my belt.
    • Bob & Kim Viva 23L
      Wncol The inverter needs to breath.
      You can run your trailer off an inverter but disconnect the charger from the batteries or you waste energy trying to charge your batteries to discharge them to run the inverter.  
      Your inverter needs to be...  more
    • Bob & Kim Viva 23L
      Dreamers and Travelers/ Tom & Prescott Test your circuit breakers to find (& label) them accordingly while on shore power. Found ours is not labeled properly! Not sure about breaker amps for ac, microwave or concerter. I at least know which turns off when needed.
      • May 17
  • Wondering Wonda
    Wondering Wonda :
    This may be a dumb question but I’m ignorant of such things so I need an answer. I know you’ll help a novice out! Why can you not use the inverter that exist on the TTrailer? Instead of buying one.
    • May 3
    • · via iPhone
    • Wondering Wonda
      JLF Some of these threads can attract many comments that have to be based on assumptions.  If you provide the manufacturer and model number of the box that probably is a converter, but might be an inverter particularly if your trailer had a previous owne...  more Hide 3 Replies
      • Wondering Wonda
        Wondering Wonda Ok thanks.
        • May 3
      • Wondering Wonda
        Wondering Wonda It’s a standard keystone Springdale -old like me 2003. I doubt it had anything done to it.
        • May 3
      • Wondering Wonda
        Wondering Wonda JLF I ask John T and I will ask the same of you what is a good starter kit? Do you have a brand that you would recommend. I know it depends on what you want to do right?!
        • May 3
    • Wondering Wonda
      Micheal and Diane Whelan Mine had two inverters I do use one of them for my solar.
      • May 3
    • Wondering Wonda
      Ann & Paul How do you use your inverter for your solar?
      • May 3
    • Wondering Wonda
      Pianotuna Wondering Wonda try this series of articles. https://freecampsites.net/adding-solar/ Hide 1 Reply
      • Wondering Wonda
        Wondering Wonda You are the best! Thank you (Y) obviously I’m lost so this is extremely helpful!
        • May 4
    • Wondering Wonda
      John T Wonda, There are tons of Inverters out there I hesitate to suggest any certain brandt. But that being said and having no idea whatsoever of your loads and requirements I will still offer a pure GUESS:


       If you go to like Camping...  more
      • May 4
      Hide 1 Reply
      • Wondering Wonda
        Wondering Wonda Yes sir. I got you! You have found your niche on RVillage! Thank you!
        • May 4