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Solar and Alternative Energy for RV's (1,719 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

  • Mr. Wegas
    Mr. Wegas:
    Mon at 11:35 AMIs there anyone in Las Vegas who can help me define and design the solar power system for my rig? I have 32ft Sunseeker by Forest River. It has two batteries charged on alternator, and used only for the lights in the coach. My plan is to add a few solar ...  more
    • Mr. Wegas
      MeandHer Mon at 1:14 PM We are across the country, but we have a 31’ Sunseeker. We have 480 watts of 18 v panels on roof ( started with 80, then added 4 100 watt panels). We have 3 100 Ahr AGM batteries. We also have a 3000 watt inverter. This gives us enough for all our lights,...  more
    • Mr. Wegas
      Mr. Wegas Mon at 1:20 PM What is the max Amps/Watt you can use from your batteries?
    • Mr. Wegas
      Lee & Ann B Mon at 2:01 PM You might try jimindenver.com. He is a full timer that spends his summers in the Rockies and his winter's in the desert, this time of year he's likely in Eastern Arizona. You can also try Northern Arizona Wind & Sun, I think their website is solar-electri...  more
    • Mr. Wegas
      Tom and Lois Mon at 5:47 PM Boondocking with Solar group on here and on Facebook
  • Jim And Brandy Callahan
    Jim And Brandy Callahan:
    December 3In my motor home i have a 12 volt outlet that looks like a cigarette liggter. Two are on the dash. One in the bedroom behind a tv. One is were one would put a media center. They are not cigarette lighter’s they are 12 V power plugs from my understan...  more
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    • Ron&Theresa likes this.
    • Jim And Brandy Callahan
      Pianotuna December 3 depends on the size of the fuse.
    • Jim And Brandy Callahan
      Pianotuna December 4 best way to recharge long term is to add some solar panels.
    • Jim And Brandy Callahan
      John T December 4 Jim and Brandy, NO I don't know how many watts your 12 VDC outlets are rated for, the factory wiring diagram may ??? That being said heres the deal:


      1)  Some (not all) are typically ONLY rated for maybe 100 or 200 watts. <...  more
      Hide 3 Replies
      • Jim And Brandy Callahan
        John T December 4 Jim and Brandy, NO I don't know how many watts your 12 VDC outlets are rated for, the factory wiring diagram may ??? That being said, here's the deal:

        1)  Some (not all) are typically ONLY rated for maybe 100 or 200 watts.
        ...  more
      • Jim And Brandy Callahan
        Jim And Brandy Callahan December 4 Thank you with everyones help i was able to figure out it was low and connected to the house. Im looking to put some in connected to the main motor for driving and charging or running simple lights when the house and generator goes dead. Right now. The...  more
      • Jim And Brandy Callahan
        Jim And Brandy Callahan December 4 Thank you. Thank yo so much. Been studying up on electric stuff and I do understand what you are saying. What i want is a not Cigarette lighter plug that looks like a cigarette lighter but does not work as a cigarette lighter with high amps so I can ...  more
    • Jim And Brandy Callahan
      Pianotuna December 5 Jim and Brandy I've been running my laptop for 20 years on 'cigarette' lighter outlets. Charging takes even less energy than that. I now use a small wattage pure sine wave inverter.

       
      Hide 1 Reply
    • Jim And Brandy Callahan
      John T December 6 You ask "
      Pure sign wave in a cigarette lighter correct? "  While I prefer use of a Pure Sine Wave Inverter, many small cheap 100 or so watt units that plug directly into 12 VDC cigarette lighter looking outlets, especially if they aren't...  more
  • Guy&Kathy
    Guy&Kathy:
    November 30RV 12v Tank Heaters mounted on the bottom of solar panel to melt snow off? Anyone tried this?
    • The Easterbunnies likes this.
    • Guy&Kathy
      RV Medic and Solar November 30 Where would the 12 volts come from to melt snow? If panel is covered then heat must come from batteries. Will the solar gain cover the draw from the heater? 
      Not trying to be a buss kill but just questions to think about.
      Hide 2 Replies
      • Guy&Kathy
        Guy&Kathy November 30 I have run our RV tank heaters (3) all night and it didn't draw too much power, maybe dropped 1/4. would only need to run them for a short time just long enough to melt the snow then turn them off. I am thinking it might work. Even if it is long enou...  more
      • Guy&Kathy
        RV Medic and Solar November 30 Are the panels tilted? That would help.
    • Guy&Kathy
      Ann & Paul November 30 I would think these tank heaters would be very ineffective, and as it would take a lot of heat from the bottom of the panel to heat the glass on the top of the panel enough to melt any snow.
      Hide 1 Reply
      • Guy&Kathy
        Guy&Kathy November 30 They do keep a 40-gallon tank from freezing.
         
    • Guy&Kathy
      Robbie & Alice November 30 Keeping a 40-gallon tank from freezing is different.  We don't use tank heaters, and can go several nights below freezing in a row without any effect to the tanks.  Heating elements used against the battery bank use lots of energy.  I actua...  more
    • Guy&Kathy
      Seann ( the Canadian) December 3 Why not just tilt the panel's I've done that and never had snow stay on them
  • JodyO
    JodyO :
    November 29Anyone have any input on these? Solar-Cynergy/3868/SLP-320-J24
    • JodyO
      J Mitch November 29 Been working on solar fun project interesting on what it will do
    • JodyO
      Tom and Lois November 29 These are residential panels at 40 volts. They will work fine with an MPPT controller. My concern is that they are wired with small 12 awg wire. Look at size and cost as well.
      Hide 1 Reply
      • JodyO
        JodyO November 29 Interesting, she told me the opposite, that she purchased them for residential when they are really for RV. They got snapped up anyway, so it doesn't matter any more. Thanks for the info!
  • Kim&Robyn
    Kim&Robyn:
    November 28Does anyone here use an electric blanket with their solar? Any recommended low wattage models?
    • Becca Ray likes this.
    • Kim&Robyn
      Jeeptj5- Don November 28 I have been using a 120 Volt electric blanket in my coach for several years while boondocking with solar power.  I do have to use a sine wave inverter, the blanket controller will not work with the MSW inverter.  I find the blanket draws from 4 ...  more
      Hide 1 Reply
      • Kim&Robyn
        John T November 28 Jeep, you say " I do have to use a sine wave inverter, the blanket controller will not work with the MSW inverter"


        I find such is true so often when it comes to some (not all) sensitive electronic devices which is why I recommend us...  more
    • Kim&Robyn
      RVerDavid November 28 I just toss a second blanket on if I get to cool. Or I have a nice quilt for the cool weather.
      Hide 1 Reply
      • Kim&Robyn
        Becca Ray November 28 Or an authentic (German/European) Down comforter-can actually get too warm
    • Kim&Robyn
      The WE2's November 28 We find putting a fleece blanket between the mattress and top sheet, then top sheet and fleece blankets witha double sided fleece comforter keep us toasty!
    • Kim&Robyn
      Jeeptj5- Don November 29 Hi John T:
      My coach (2005) has a MSW inverter/charger, which as I mentioned, causes the controller on the EB to freak out.  That's about the only item except for a fan that hums loudly on MSW, that seems to have a problem.  I installed a...  more
      Hide 1 Reply
      • Kim&Robyn
        John T November 29 HiJeepDon, I'm running a 2000 continuous 4000 peak PSW Inverter myself  but no other MSW's. I use it often  dry camping to power my CPAP at night, my small 120 VAC extra fridge 24/7 for beer n pop, electronics etc. never a problem. I could ...  more
    • Kim&Robyn
      JLF November 29 According to the electric blanket institute you could expect a heated mattress pad to typically consume only about 57% of what a electric blanket does.  The reason being that a pad under you can be set to a lower setting to achieve the same comfort a...  more
  • RV Medic and Solar
    RV Medic and Solar:
    November 27Join us at Rally2.0
    Boondocking with Solar Seminar
    • Steve & Debbie Weishaar and 2 others like this.
    • RV Medic and Solar
      John T November 28 Cant wait to hear your seminar, I will be there "with bells on" lol


      John T   Retired Electrical Engineer and current solar user
  • KathieG
    KathieG:
    November 25Has anyone used a system like this for their air conditioning? www.hotspotenergy.com/solar-air-conditioner/ When boondocking I'm looking for a more efficient way to cool my unit with my (soon to be) solar setup. I have two roof mounted power guzzli...  more
    DC Solar Air Conditioner Heat Pump | Solar Air Conditioning | Solar Heating | Manufacturers
    • Karen and Steve Veneskey and 2 others like this.
    • KathieG
      Wncol November 25 Looks like it needs about 1000 watts of solar power.  Leaves very little roof space room for other solar to run everything else.  But it is an interesting option.
      Hide 1 Reply
      • KathieG
        KathieG November 25 well I have a Class A and wanted about 1200 anyway and these seem to use a lot less power then the original roof units I have now. So removing the old roof units does free up the roof for a lot more panels. I want to boondock when ever I can and only use ...  more
    • KathieG
      Wncol November 25 Also note, that 1000 watts is only for the ac unit. Not usable for anything else.  So look over it’s specs closely.  I doubt it is a 12 volt system.
      Hide 2 Replies
      • KathieG
        KathieG November 25 Well what I read this could run on the solar power on its own with 3 305 panels but one could set up the batteries to the system they call it a Hybrid ... just looking for now. It is definitely more efficient then what I have and I would need to run my ge...  more
      • KathieG
        Jeneric Ramblings November 25 KathieG - You should read the spec sheet more deeply. Three 305W panels lets it run primarily on DC from the solar, but you still need 220/240V AC to supplement the power coming from the panels. 

         In full sun in optimum conditions, ...  more
    • KathieG
      Jeneric Ramblings November 25 I know of a guy who switched over to a more conventional mini-split A/C for efficiency and runs his using an inverter and 1300W of solar on the roof. I don't know of anyone using this specific system, but it seems like it would be more efficient if there'...  more
    • KathieG
      James & Laurie Barbour November 26 I wonder if the condensing unit needs to be installed vertically (instead of flat on the roof)
      Hide 1 Reply
      • KathieG
        KathieG November 26 Not sure. Just trying to look into alternative A/C. Jeneric is correct when it comes to the setup. Where there's a will there's a way. There is always a way... just a matter of finding it. :)
    • KathieG
      Gone_Feral December 3 I know a guy who runs 2 X 5,000 BTU residential window AC units off 1150 W panels plus 2000 W inverter. Keeps his travel trailer nice and cool. I'm looking into a portable evaporative cooler, since beastly summers seem to be everywhere these days.
      Hide 1 Reply
      • KathieG
        KathieG December 3 That's where I got the idea. One unit is in a cabinet but my cabinets are not as big and deep then the window unit has to be lifted in the back window everytime you setup your camp and I do not have the strength to do that. I've seen units (ForestAire) bu...  more
  • Pianotuna
    Pianotuna:
    November 25I hope this will help some folks with their solar:
    https://freecampsites.net/adding-solar/
  • Lorri D.
    Lorri D.:
    November 11I read comments like "Turning off the converter and using solar to keep the batteries topped off is best." and "I would probably turn off the converter, and use all the 12v lights, fans etc. off the batteries." I do not have the skills that some of you ...  more
    • Jean Selene Sonoran Nomad and 2 others like this.
    • Lorri D.
      Lorri D. November 11 Yes, I am interested in the scenario I described to be off grid.  At times, my RV will be hooked up to electric at a campground, but I want the capability to be off grid when travelling in my RV, and also use my RV during winter power outages at my h...  more
      Hide 5 Replies
      • Lorri D.
        Chris & Jennifer [ThxHarvey] November 11 I am right there with you, so much to learn and process.
      • Lorri D.
        JLF November 11 For most RV's, converters change 120 volt AC to 12 volt DC. They automatically charge the battery and in turn power the 12 volt circuits.   Inverters change 12 volt DC to 120 volt AC.  They allow use of usually only the smaller 120 volt househol...  more
      • Lorri D.
        Tom and Lois November 11 The RVILLAGE group “Boondocking with Solar can be a great resource for learning as well as a Facebook group by the same name.
      • Lorri D.
        Texas_Nomads (Michael&Joan) November 11 Lorri - the CONVERTER is used to convert AC to DC and charge the the batteries. The INVERTER is used to convert DC to AC.
      • Lorri D.
        John T November 11 Lorri, more good questions let me take them one at a time. If you read my other answer it also answered your original questions:


        1) You ask   I think I need to read and learn what an inverter is and what a converter is...  more
    • Lorri D.
      Mike & Lu November 11 Welcome & Enjoy your new RV !!!!
    • Lorri D.
      John T November 12 Lorri, great questions, I will try my best to answer as short n sweet as possible, but as both an Electrical Engineer plus an Attorney that's not in my DNA lol


      1)  "I would like to use a battery power with solar system to only ...  more
    • Lorri D.
      Lorri D. November 22 Thanks so much for everybody’s comments. They helped me understand the basics of the RV electrical systems and the way the 12 v battery in the RV is associated with a solar charger and the 120 v power source.
    • Lorri D.
      Pianotuna November 25 yeti is terribly expensive
  • Jean Selene Sonoran Nomad
    Jean Selene Sonoran Nomad:
    November 4I was forced into downsizing a year ago, into a little Lance 810 truck camper, and I put 400 watts of panels on my roof with 2 deep-cycle batteries which served me very well. Last July, I HAD to have more space, and realized I wanted to try being in one ...  more
    • Mike & Lu and 2 others like this.
    • Jean Selene Sonoran Nomad
      Bill B November 4 I would, as JLF suggests, tie the 2 together. But, I would probably turn off the converter, and use all the 12v lights, fans etc. off the batteries. Monitor and see how it goes. Been doing that for several years.


      Grid tie inverters c...  more
      Hide 1 Reply
      • Jean Selene Sonoran Nomad
        JLF November 4 I agree.  Turning off the converter is the best way to take full advantage of the solar system. 



        I have four 1000 watt grid tie inverters in my home system.  They were $108 each.  The 600 watt version of t...  more
    • Jean Selene Sonoran Nomad
      The Easterbunnies November 4 I would use extreme caution with a grid tie inverter unless you comply with all local regulations. The legal ramifications could far outweigh any benefits your system will provide.

      On my S&B I have a 9K solar system with a top of the line ...  more
    • Jean Selene Sonoran Nomad
      John T November 5 Jean, sure in theory you can do that
    • Jean Selene Sonoran Nomad
      John T November 5 Jean, sure in THEORY you can do something like that HOWEVER there are several engineering issues you need to consider.


      1) If you configure it such that the fiver and truck batteries (complete parallel both systems) are st...  more
    • Jean Selene Sonoran Nomad
      Jean Selene Sonoran Nomad November 5 Thank you, Everyone!  My understanding of all this is a bit rudimentary, and I wasn't fooling myself that I'd just get up there and begin stringing things together.  No, I wanted to get exactly what you've all shared - enough info to let me know...  more