Solar and Alternative Energy for RV's

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Solar and Alternative Energy for RV's (1,801 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

  • Peter & Karen
    Peter & Karen:
    9 hours agoTrying to find the right battery for my solar setup in the Northeast is almost impossible. Shipping cost more than the battery's. There is a place in Conn that has crown batterys. It's a 12 volt 150ah golf cart battery. Two of them gives me a 300ah. The p...  more
      · via mobile
    • Peter & Karen
      Scott Esh 5 hours ago Some of the finest AGM batteries made. Buy them.
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      • Peter & Karen
        JLF 3 hours ago I suspect P&K are considering the flooded CRGC150 rather than AGM.  I think the 12v Crown AGM is only 110ah.  Good quality in flooded as well.  If space allows they might also consider the more popular 6v flooded battery.  I haven't lo...  more
    • Peter & Karen
      Bill&Ginny 3 hours ago Hello, I use Vmax tank agm batteries 155ah so I don't. have to maintain them. Can be shipped to your door. I've had mine 3 years, and use them with solar. I use the slr model. 
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      • Peter & Karen
        Peter & Karen 1 hour ago Ok I'm looking at vmax amg you are right they will ship them to my house. I have a 300 watt solar setup 2,000 watt inverter.
        Is that enough to power up those batteries?
    • Peter & Karen
      Peter & Karen 2 hours ago They are 12 volt 150ah flooded deep cycle golf cart batteries. I don't have the space or I would use 4 6volt batts
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      • Peter & Karen
        Bill&Ginny 2 hours ago I.m sorry, Mine are 12 volt, and I have two in my caper since they are a simular size to group 31 and gives me 310 ah total. I just like the maintenance free part.
    • Peter & Karen
      Bill&Ginny 1 hour ago They will do a fine job for you. In their lit they boast that you can discharge to 70%. I still like just the 50%. I have 800 watts of solar and 930ah of batteries in my pickup camper. it takes about 3 hours to re charge daily.
  • Lois Michele
    Lois Michele shared keysbottles's link. June 15
    • Kim&Robyn likes this.
    • Lois Michele
      Tom and Lois June 16 Why try to reinvent the wheel. There are a few really good solar installers that know exactly how to build you a well balanced system that meets your needs. Solar is a simple battery charger but balancing with the battery capacity, and a quality controlle...  more
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      • Lois Michele
        Michael & Dena June 16 I have tried to seek information on DIY from a few solar people on here and all I got was I sell this and this and that is what you have to use
    • Lois Michele
      Tom and Lois June 16 Take a look at www.rvmedic.biz/solar or Pm me for more info
    • Lois Michele
      John T June 16 Keys, if I were designing a solar system the very FIRST thing I would do is perform and Energy Audit to determine my energy requirements. Some of the considerations would be: How much energy I use from the time the su...  more
  • Peter & Karen
    Peter & Karen:
    June 12Solar is up and running ( 300 watt Renogy)works great charging the batterys. I Have a 2000 watt inverter there are two refrigerators one in the back near the grill 110 only and a dometic 110/ propane in the galley. If I run the Dometic on 110 from the i...  more
      · via mobile
    • Barry & Millie-Ambassadors and 2 others like this.
    • Peter & Karen
      Seann ( the Canadian) June 12 Go with pairs of 6 volt batteries they last longer and work much better than any 12 ever will.
    • Peter & Karen
      John T June 12   When dry camping if you have plenty of LP Gas on hand, I would for sure run that Dometic on LP. The thing is when you run them on battery power via an Inverter they really suck the battery down as you have observed. I have an extra Haier 120 VAC Co...  more
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    • Peter & Karen
      Ron Cook June 13 I would think about saving some pennies (!) and getting LIFePO4 batteries from BattleBorn. They are lighter, superior in performance, longer lasting, and safe. BUT they cost and the charger(s) has to be able to handle Lithium charging. That’s where I’m go...  more
    • Peter & Karen
      LeeVormelker June 16 Using the 110v feature of a Dometic Absorption refrigerator on your solar system is the worst of your operating options. You pay dearly for any solar energy and need to use it sparingly. Lee
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      • Peter & Karen
        Peter & Karen June 16 Jeeez your not kidding. I have a second fridge in the outside compartment (dorm)) the system doesn't even know it's on
    • Peter & Karen
      John T June 16 Peter and Karen, my small dorm sized 120 VAC compressor type battery and inverted fed fridge (runs 24/7 dry camped) only consumes around 40 to 45 Amp Hours per day. When  dry camping I run my regular LP Gas/Electric Dometic Absorption Fridge on LP Ga...  more
  • Peter & Karen
    Peter & Karen:
    June 5Who said this was going to be easy I'll tell you NO ONE. I want to run a shore power cord to my inverter I've been told I need to switch off the converter to do this. Easier said than done. I located the converter it was sharing a breaker. Took the conv...  more
      · via mobile
    • Peter & Karen
      Rick & Dorothy Myers June 6 That is almost the same as I did on my 5th wheel, I put a regular house type light switch next to the invertor on/off switch under one of my stairs. I had installed the invertor myself with a 30 amo outlet on the outside of the trailer. Turn invertor swir...  more
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      • Peter & Karen
        Peter & Karen June 6 I found a 15 amp breaker that fit the panel. The convetor shared a breaker. I just gave it's own circuit. I think I might have got lucky on this one.
  • John & Linda
    John & Linda :
    June 4Just had 3-300 watt solar panel installed on roof of motorhome with a Morningstar TS60 MPPT controler and breaker box with twin 60 amp breakers. I have 2-12 volt and 4-6 volt wet batteries and a Magnum energy ME series modified sine wave 2000 watt inverte...  more
    • Troy & Roxane likes this.
    • John & Linda
      Texas_Nomads (Michael&Joan) June 4 I would consider swapping out the inverter/charger for a Pure Sine Wave 2000 inverter/charger
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      • John & Linda
        John & Linda June 4 Thats next on the list, plus battery upgrades, but this is just the start, and we hope for better things to come.
      • John & Linda
        Fro June 4 Insure the charger is not engaged when you have power from the panels. You will draw from your battery bank to charge your battery bank...if you charge via the genset, (ac), disengage the solar charger and engage the charger.. . Some inverter/chargers ar...  more
      • John & Linda
        Tom and Lois June 4 It is not necessary to turn solar off when any other form of charging is present! The batteries are like a swimming pool and don’t care how many or what size hose is used to fill. When full the chargers will go into float to maintain full charge. I believ...  more
      • John & Linda
        Rich Seiffert June 4 I think what Fro meant is to disconnect the converter while on solar. If the magnum inverter is powering the panel, then it would also power the converter, which would then try to charge the batteries from the batteries. Hopefully the converter is on its ...  more
      • John & Linda
        Rich Seiffert June 4 Now that I'm reading closer, the magnum unit is an inverter/charger. Presumably the converter was disconnected when it was installed. It should just do the right thing.
    • John & Linda
      Tom and Lois June 4 Sounds like you have the basics although there is room to tweak your system for the better. Chances are the 2x12 volt batteries are your chassis (start) batteries and the 4 x 6volt are the house batteries. Although they all charge via an isolator relay, t...  more
    • John & Linda
      Jeff & Wendy June 4 Make sure the appliances you want to use while boondocking are wired to use the inverter. I had to rewire things like the microwave, washer/dryer, central vac and some outlets.
    • John & Linda
      John T June 4 John & Linda, Congratulations, sounds like you're off to a good start at boondocking. A few comments: Of course if you connect multiple batteries its best if they are all the same voltage, type, design, brand and even age and I'm like Tom, Id guess you ha...  more
    • John & Linda
      Warren Todd June 4 Since you are at a State Park, go out to your power pedestal and turn it off. Use your RV as you would in the boondock area and see if you are ready. If you get into trouble, turn on the power. Practice makes perfect!
      Hide 1 Reply
  • Kebamo
    Kebamo :
    June 4I’m also looking at solar and my buddy who is a welder is building me battery trays out of angle iron and gonna weld them to the rv frame rails so I can haul 8. 6 volt deep cycle and distribute the weight along the whole unit
      · via iPad App
    • Bruce & Linda (Omnibus) likes this.
    • Kebamo
      Bruce & Linda (Omnibus) June 4 If your buddy is arc welding, be sure ALL electronics, including engine and transmission computers, are electrically disconnected from the vehicle chassis, body, etc.  ~Bruce
    • Kebamo
      John T June 4  Kebamo, A safe secure mounting and especially HOLD DOWN feature including weight distribution is great to store batteries CONGRATULATIONS. If you're using conventional flooded lead acid I hope you can get to the battery tops for checking fluid level...  more
    • Kebamo
      Kebamo June 5 Sealed agm  glass mat and we are looking at 02 copper welding cable to make jumpers out of most reason agm is because I have a free set of 8 240 ah golf cart batteries that are new and were given to me and welding cable was free and the angle iron we...  more
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    • Kebamo
      John T June 5 Kebamo, hey FREE works for me and if in the same situation Id go that route. Depending on your energy requirements and your weight limitations you might get by with less then all 8 batteries, but if space and weight aren't problems WOW 960 ...  more
    • Kebamo
      Robbie & Alice June 5 You're going to love the solar.  We have been full time boondockers for 13 years and we have used solar since day one.
  • Peter & Karen
    Peter & Karen:
    June 3Just installed a Renogy solar RV kit in our TT ( MALLARD 28.) The product is really nicely put together everything works as advertised. The instructions and manual not so much. The print was so Tiny I had to use two pares of glasses to see what was +and -...  more
      · via mobile
    • Mike & Lu and 1 other like this.
    • Peter & Karen
      Mike & Lu June 3 How many panels and how long did it take you to install ? Thanks...
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      • Peter & Karen
        Peter & Karen June 3 Counting the time I just sat and looked at it and tried to figure out how to do it 6 days. Actual time 4/5 hours. It's three 100 watt panels.
    • Peter & Karen
      Michael & Dena June 3 You can run down through the fridge vent that’s what I did 
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      • Peter & Karen
        Peter & Karen June 3 I'd love to see a pic. I'm going back up on the roof tomorrow and look
  • Wncol
    Wncol:
    May 19Just a wondering thought here.
    Seams I have found. Just by chance and dumb luck.
    Installing solar on my rv just wasn’t an option for me. I ended up installing the heavy batteries in the back of my truck covered by my toolbox topper. To much weight f...  more
      · via iPad App
    • Mark and Nga and 3 others like this.
    • Wncol
      peterjw May 19 Great idea. Just a thought  - any plans to increase your solar panel wattage? If theres no room on the truck you can have them free standing and tilting them towards the sun definitely increases output by 50%
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      • Wncol
        Wncol May 19 Eventually,  maybe.   But to do so, will require an upgrade to my controller or at least a controller compatible with my much older one.  Which probably isn’t likely.   Roof still has some real estate space. Controller is maxed out. &n...  more
    • Wncol
      John T May 19 Id say that's GREAT for scrounging. Looks like your battery capacity and Inverter are greater in relation to your solar capacity, but hey you go with what you have is fine. If you ever decided to upgrade solar and if needed charge controller would be next...  more
  • Dave and Terry Clayton
    Dave and Terry Clayton :
    May 19So last month we spent about a month in the desert southwest (Utah and Arizona) and spent about 40% of the time boondocking with our 35 ft. Class A Newmar Bay Star. To people that say you can't boondock with a residential refrigerator I can say BS. I ha...  more
    • Bruce & Linda (Omnibus) and 6 others like this.
    • Dave and Terry Clayton
      Robbie & Alice May 19 We boondock 95% of the time and our residential refrigerator and freezer do just fine on our solar system.
    • Dave and Terry Clayton
      rvKnight (Doug) May 19 There are 12/24 volt Refrigerator/freezers available from Canada. Even 12/24/48 volt  air conditioners from Europe.  They are very energy conscience there.
    • Dave and Terry Clayton
      Bruce & Linda (Omnibus) May 19 Some of the most energy efficient refrigerators/freezers are made by Sun Frost in Arcata, California.  Renowned for their use in “off-grid” living situations.
    • Dave and Terry Clayton
      John T May 19 Hey as you already know SURE ONE CAN BOONDOCK USING A RESIDENTIAL FRIDGE, No Problem Well Duh lol. All it takes is sufficient solar panels and battery storage capacity. I'm running 1080 solar watts and 520 Amp Hours of AGM batteries, a CPAP each nigh...  more
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      • Dave and Terry Clayton
        Robbie & Alice May 20 Residential refrigerator/freezer.... 1600 watts of panels, 600 amps of lithium-ion power everything.  We hit 100% SOC most days.  We set a reminder to exercise our Onan generator once a month.  This system is 6 years old...and easily paid for itself.
    • Dave and Terry Clayton
      John T May 20 Robbie & Alice, isn't it great to reach 100% SOC in the mornings yayyyyyyyyyyy If one has sufficient solar capacity to achieve that, on days when its rainy or you're parked in the shade one still gets by.get by. As said, "Any solar is good solar and ...  more
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      • Dave and Terry Clayton
        Robbie & Alice May 20 Just this morning weather was 43*, cloudy and very gloomy.  We noticed we were absorbing 38 amps....a positive...made 100% SOC by early afternoon.  I like the days where I don't tilt anything and have 100% SOC before noon!
  • texastwostep
    texastwostep:
    May 11I installed solar (Magnum 3k, 4-6v Trojans t105, Morningstar, Trimetric, 430 watts of panels) in my fifth wheel 6 yrs ago and have used it traveling 6 mo. or do every since then. I have been at home base since Sept. 17 rebuilding daughter's house destroye...  more
      · via Android App
    • Becca Ray and 1 other like this.
    • texastwostep
      texastwostep May 11 Thanks for the comments. After having cleaned the terminals yesterday and batteries charging all night. I put a 20sec. microwave load on the batteries and they again dropped to 12.4v and haven't come back up. I thinking I need to replace them all. I can't...  more
    • texastwostep
      John T May 12 Texas, thanks for the feedback. Despite the batteries being 6 years old, an actual EQUALIZATION CYCLE per Trojans recommendations may be worth a try. FWIW I have done it before with two in series using a 12 volt charger even if that's NOT the recommended ...  more
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      • texastwostep
        texastwostep May 12 What kind of agm batteries did you get? I haven't got but 400 watts of panels so anything above that is too much. I would need something dimensionally the same size as t105s. My Magnum ts 2012 and Tristar ts45 will both handle agms.
    • texastwostep
      texastwostep May 12 Thanks for the comments everyone.
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      • texastwostep
        John T May 12 Texas, I ended up with 12 Volt Renogy AGM batteries. HOWEVER I had plenty of room so size wasn't as important as with you where you need to mount them in a particular size compartment. CAPACITY Since you had 450 Amp Hours before do you st...  more
    • texastwostep
      Bruce & Linda (Omnibus) May 12 There is not a 1-to-1 relationship between the total available wattage of the solar panels and the Amp-Hour capacity of the batteries.  The wattage of the panels determines how much current they can supply at a given voltage.  The Amp-Hour capac...  more
    • texastwostep
      peterjw May 19 You might try contacting Trojan and seeing if they can recommend   a dealer in the area that can recondition your batteries. Trojans are warrantied for 7 years I think and they might be just sulfated. If so  a really high current charge in ...  more