Solar and Alternative Energy for RV's

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Solar and Alternative Energy for RV's (1,906 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

  • Curtis
    Curtis shared 3boxers's photo. Mon at 5:40 PMSomeone have some advice for these fine people?
    • Curtis
      Pianotuna Mon at 5:52 PM Remove all power from the Xantrex, including 12 volt and solar. Wait 20 minutes.

      then reattach 12 volt, then restore 120 volt power.
    • Curtis
      Robbie & Alice 13 hours ago Look for a RJ-45 plug (usually near a green flashing light)  Unplug it for a few seconds and plug it back in.  See picture of the plug.
    • Curtis
      Michael & Mary Wallace 13 hours ago Read your manual or google it on the web!
  • tootall
    tootall:
    September 15I have a small problem, I have power to everything except my outlets. I have checked the fuses , I have pushed the reset to the gfci outlet but it pushed in but feels like it did not reset. Any answers or does it sound like the gfci outlet went bad??
    • DanaNu likes this.
    • tootall
      Sewspcl September 15 You really have to push the reset button hard. Not the test button. Unplug everything. Will make a click sound. Then replug in appliance one at a time.
    • tootall
      John T Mon at 5:30 AM Robbie & Alice, I'm in Austin Texas around November then south central Florida area most of the winter. Sure stop by n say howdy lol.  I've owned RV's 49 consecutive years, was a used dealer at one time, and a retired electrical engineer so I've had ...  more
    • tootall
      Jeff and Sandra Doan Mon at 5:37 AM I had a similar problem. I found that my GFI outlet in the bedroom had failed. I am told that it is uncommon, but when I replaced the GFI outlet, my problem went away!
    • tootall
      John T Mon at 5:49 PM Hi again tootall, you most recently stated    "did all that and only thing as of now is to replace the outlet itself. going to try that tomorrow."   Well if you did "all that" and "all that" passed inc...  more
    • tootall
      John T Mon at 5:59 PM Jerry Beasler, regarding your post "I am having a similar problem only gfci only trips when running on inverter. Works with shore power and generator??"   Many don't realize or it never gets correctly wired that an Inverte...  more
  • Lois Michele
    Lois Michele shared DRPowers's post. September 13
    • Lois Michele
      Pianotuna September 13 Hi Lois,


      What you need is an absolute minimum of 30 watts of panel per 100 amp-hours of battery. 60 watts if equalization is better. This link may help: https://freecampsites.net/adding-solar/
    • Lois Michele
      Beemer1 September 13 I got my 100 watt solar setup from Harbor Freight. Controller and 4 panels. Normal price, $189.00. 25% off coupon, out the door for $150.00. Works great, no issues. Cords will reach about 20 ft. Can't go wrong at that price.
    • Lois Michele
      John T September 14 Beemer1, sounds pretty decent as far as ease of set up and use. Congratulations. I am a retired electrical engineer and 49 year RV owner so I opted to install my own system. I buy 305 watt panels for 80 cents per watt ($244) which is a good...  more
    • Lois Michele
      David & Lenka September 15 The panels have become extremely reasonable. I just added a 315 watt panel to my our system and it cost $180. 16 years ago my friend added solar to his cabin and a 100 watt panel was $700.
    • Lois Michele
      John T September 15 David, exactly, the price of panels has been dropping steadily (making solar systems more affordable and practical) although the price of the other components such as MPPT Solar Charge Controllers, Smart 3/4 Stage Converter/Chargers an...  more
  • Average Campers' Adventures
  • rick&dee
    rick&dee:
    September 7I so much appreciate all the responses that I get on all my newbie questions. Just do not like to do by trial and error, so here's another question. Running ONE device, well say a small coffee maker off batteries with a pure sine inverter. Does a 3000-wa...  more
    • Tony and Margie and 1 other like this.
    • rick&dee
      JLF September 7 A 3000 watt inverter will not necessarily use more battery power than a 2000 watt inverter to do the same job.  You can usually find something about efficiency in the specifications.  If you are lucky you might even find a graph of efficiency v....  more
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      • rick&dee
        rick&dee September 7 thanks, that helps
    • rick&dee
      Benji September 7 No. The larger inverter only has more capacity to convert more DC to AC. The quality of the converter comes from its efficiency. Better quality less losses
      Hide 1 Reply
      • rick&dee
        rick&dee September 7 thanks will look into that
    • rick&dee
      Seann ( the Canadian) September 8 The only time that will use more is when it's idling it has a higher idle draw then a 2000 Watt assuming you're drawing the same amount of current through each one. Idle draw is how much it uses when being turned on but not used.
      Hide 1 Reply
      • rick&dee
        rick&dee September 8 thanks was kinda thinking that
    • rick&dee
      John T September 9    Rick n Dee, The pure figure of how many watts of incoming DC battery power are required versus how many 120 VAC watts outgoing might be found in the EFFICIENCY specs or charts ,but I bet the difference in the same type brand and design o...  more
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      • rick&dee
        rick&dee September 9 thanks again, from what I can tell its not good to push to the max for overheating and longevity.  I think I will go with a 3000  big jump in price but should more than be sufficient
  • rick&dee
    rick&dee:
    September 6The learning rv journey continues!!!!!!!!!!!!
    So I read last night (researching batteries for solar) that some deep cycle batteries are not TRUE deep cycle. I have two 6v flooded in series this is the sticker on one of them. 1- are they true deep cycle 2...  more
    • Ray&Susy and 1 other like this.
    • rick&dee
      John T September 6   Based on the label alone, it would "appear" (no warranty absent specs and data) it is a Deep Cycle and at the 20 Hour (a commonly used discharge period for rating deep cycle batteries) rate it has an energy storage capacity of 230 Amp Hou...  more
    • rick&dee
      Pianotuna September 6 Remember you can only use 50% of that 230 amp-hours.
      Hide 1 Reply
      • rick&dee
        John T September 7 True, however I prefer to NOT draw down any deeper then 30% when possible, even if 50% is "acceptable". A battery only has X number of rated Life Cycles and I don't like to use up anymore then I have to lol  ...  more
    • rick&dee
      Pianotuna September 7 The Absolute life span of a lead acid cell is the rate of shaling of the positive plate. 50% depth of discharge there will be about 5x shaling, and at 30% there will be about 7x shaling. The shaling "piles up" at the bottom of the cell, and eventually sho...  more
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      • rick&dee
        John T September 7 I like it even better if my solar has achieved then maintained my batteries at the float maintenance level so I hardly draw from them at all. IE the solar is sufficiently supplying all my loads  Of course, that's during sunlight hours and o...  more
    • rick&dee
      Pianotuna September 7 John T, we are very much on the same page. I'd love to have lifeline AGM (Li are Out due to cold weather camping at -37c). My compromise is to choose reconditioned telecom jars. I went from 875 amp-hours of Marine to 556 Amp-hours of AGM. They are a bit u...  more
      Hide 1 Reply
      • rick&dee
        Ted&Sharon September 7 Please tell me what is a reconditioned telecom jar.  I am not familiar with that item.   Thank you.
    • rick&dee
      Pianotuna September 7 Ted &Sharon cell phone towers have back up batteries. They have the batteries in series. When one battery fails, the entire group is replaced. The good batteries are sold to a firm. The firm tests, and reconditions them. Then they are resold to the public...  more
      Hide 1 Reply
      • rick&dee
        Ted&Sharon September 8 Thanks for the explanation.  I have not heard of this before.  Are they always AGM?
  • Tony and Margie
    Tony and Margie :
    September 6One less thing to worry about even if not entirely necessary.
    Solar Panel Hail Protection - BACK ROADS AND OTHER STORIES
  • LarandSus
    LarandSus :
    September 2I have seen multiple times that people are planning on adding more batteries down the line. Isn't it better for all the batteries to be new/fresh at the same time? (Regardless of it being a solar application or not)
      · via Android App
    • Bruce & Linda (Omnibus) and 2 others like this.
    • LarandSus
      Robbie & Alice September 2 The old batteries will equalize the new batteries to their sub-parr state.  New batteries should be installed with new batteries.  
    • LarandSus
      Bill B September 2 Now - would that also apply to LiFePO4's? Lead's - well known fact 
    • LarandSus
      Wncol September 2 When my old bats crap out, I get new bats plus a few more. All at the same time, soooo. At that time, I upgrade the system. If I need to.
    • LarandSus
      John T September 2 Lara and Sus, Of course it's best if all the batteries are the same type, size, design, brand and even age. Next best might be all the same except for age, but same as a chain is no stronger then its weakest link an older battery may limit the banks ...  more
      Hide 1 Reply
    • LarandSus
      Benji September 2 Yes
  • rick&dee
    rick&dee:
    September 2Does it take more solar power (watts) to fully charge a lithium-ion battery vs a lead flooded or AGM battery? Do not have solar yet. Not satisfied with 2- 6 volts 230 ah I have now. Only have room for 3 batteries so 3-12v in parallel. Yes, the Battle Born...  more
    • Becca Ray likes this.
    • rick&dee
      John T September 2 Rick&Dee, you ask " Does it take more solar power (watts) to fully charge a lithium-ion battery vs a lead flooded or AGM battery?"                  ...  more
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    • rick&dee
      John T September 3 Rick and Dee, not wanting to bore you but here's a bit more engineering theory to answer your question:          "  Does it take more solar power (watts) to fully charge a lithium-ion battery...  more
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      • rick&dee
        rick&dee September 3 yes, that helps and I do understand. now looking at controllers for solar. MPPT,PWM 20 30 40 50 WATT some with heat battery sensors 25 to 200 $ I just opened another can of worms.   I do not have to do this until late next summer so ha...  more
    • rick&dee
      John T September 4 Rick&Dee, for sure I would go with an MPPT charge controller over a cheaper PWM. As far as the size, that depends on how many solar watts you end up with and you want enough controller capacity to handle all the solar bank can provide. Buy a controller bi...  more
    • rick&dee
      Pianotuna September 4 Temperature compensated charging with a sensor on the battery bank is a good feature to look for. If I were starting from scratch I'd plan on a 24 or 48 volt battery bank. There are inexpensive DC 48v to DC 12v converters to allow the 12 volt loads to be powered.
      Hide 1 Reply
      • rick&dee
        JLF September 4 Pianotuna, Rick&Dee's 35 foot class A motorhome very likely has a hydraulic leveling system and a generator.  Both use a considerable amount of amps at 12 volts.  When you mention that 48 to 12 converters are inexpensive I suspect that really do...  more
    • rick&dee
      Bruce & Linda (Omnibus) September 5 I would never “tap” a battery bank without the use of a battery equalizer device.  When I redid the house battery system on our coach I changed it from 12V to 24V so I could use a single, larger 24V inverter/charger (Magnum MS4024).  All of the ...  more
  • Christine l Garcia
    Christine l Garcia:
    September 1New to RV life bought one that has solar but don't know how it works or type it is how would I find out info on it
      · via mobile
    • Ed & Deb Whetstone and 3 others like this.
    • Christine l Garcia
      Ed & Deb Whetstone September 1 Right there with you. I have hook up but no clue 
    • Christine l Garcia
      Newlife September 1 Ray on YouTube "Love Your RV" has a bunch of videos on solar, from start to finish.
    • Christine l Garcia
      Jeff & Wendy September 1 Park in sun - recharge batteries ;-) I'd start by climbing up top and looking at the panel(s) to see 1) how many and 2) wattage. Then try to locate the solar charger to see what type/make it is. If it was a factory install then most likely only useful for...  more
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      • Christine l Garcia
        JLF September 2 Wattage is only on the label on the backside so not visible on the roof.  Rarely, but sometimes, the panel manufacturer name is visible on the frame and with it, and with a photo of the front, the panel specs can be found with research.  Ideally...  more
    • Christine l Garcia
      Robbie & Alice September 1 Take pictures of the solar panels, the charge controller and the batteries..pretty sure there will be someone here to tell you what you have on your rig.