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#5793853 - 06/17/15 04:59 PM Solar powerd Camper
IBFishing Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 09/02/04
Posts: 140
Loc: Rowlett, TX
I bought the solar kit (45 watts) from Harbor Frieght, added battery and 1000 watt inverter for complete start up. With coupons and all, I got almost $300 invested. My new lease has no electric. Anbody been down this road yet. Just mainly want to run tv and lights.Ive got generater but would like to elimnate it when A\C is not needed. Im sure another battery will be needed at a later date.

Have not installed yet.

Just curious if any one has went down this road and can give advise.


Edited by IBFishing (06/17/15 05:01 PM)
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#5793903 - 06/17/15 05:32 PM Re: Solar powerd Camper [Re: IBFishing]
Cast Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 12/14/08
Posts: 14901
Loc: North Texas - God's Country
45 watts will be very slow to recover.
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#5794050 - 06/17/15 07:09 PM Re: Solar powerd Camper [Re: IBFishing]
Beaubien Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 02/18/15
Posts: 473
Loc: In the mountains east of ABQ
Yep, what he said.

I put a dual battery setup in my truck, one behind the seat tied into the main battery with welding cables. Circuit breakers on either end.

I put a 2500 watt inverter under the seat.

When in use I trip one of the breakers, that insures I don't drain the main battery. When input voltage gets low I reset the breaker and run the truck for a while. Doesn't take long at all.

If your heart is set on a solar panel, might want to look at a 180 watt panel.



Edited by Beaubien (06/17/15 07:11 PM)
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#5794190 - 06/17/15 08:31 PM Re: Solar powerd Camper [Re: Cast]
IBFishing Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 09/02/04
Posts: 140
Loc: Rowlett, TX
Box said 2 days to full recharge. Thanks for info
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Big Fish Cliff

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#5794257 - 06/17/15 09:25 PM Re: Solar powerd Camper [Re: IBFishing]
Scoop Offline


Registered: 01/13/09
Posts: 1953
Loc: North of San Antonio
I have panels with tractor battery to run lights in my 2 cabins. Also could use for charging phones and such. No way my system would reliably run electronics like tv/satellite. Lights dim if I run too many at once. Great for getting up in the morning and getting ready, or some auxiliary lighting at night, but I run the gen for anything more.

I keep it 12 volt wiring and bulbs with no inverter and separate 110v gen system. I hang pull strings on my solar outlets and chains on the 110 so they can be told apart.


Edited by Scoop (06/17/15 09:29 PM)

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#5794462 - 06/18/15 03:52 AM Re: Solar powerd Camper [Re: IBFishing]
fishbait Offline
Light Foot

Registered: 05/16/12
Posts: 27
Loc: Dewitt County
I have a popup camper and I run a setup about just what you described...I have two twelve volt batteries ..each have a rating of 125 amp hours. I run the lights tvs and a 400 watt converter. Very seldom so I run out of electricity. However, I am very frugal with usage. When I start getting low after watching too much tv I let the solar panel catch up. I also have a generator that runs on natural gas...perfect for the lease...no degrading gas to worry about...starts up easy after setting up for 6 months. I check the voltage every day while in use. If ya look up on the net for .." the battery guy" you will might learn a few pointers. Using this set up starts another fun project and that would be studying camping voltages. You will enjoy learning and using your setup. A little pricy at first but great when camping...you will learn how to conserve " amps " just as if you were using gas in a car.

have fun with your set up and good luck

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#5794878 - 06/18/15 10:52 AM Re: Solar powerd Camper [Re: IBFishing]
kry226 Offline


Registered: 01/11/09
Posts: 4783
Loc: Germany
I don't think you mentioned it, but what about the controller/charger? You want something that won't overcharge your battery(ies), a 3-stage to be sure that will scale back charging as the battery comes up. I'm seriously thinking about going solar on my travel trailer in the future.

Here's a great place to learn: http://www.amsolar.com/
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#5795708 - 06/18/15 08:01 PM Re: Solar powerd Camper [Re: kry226]
IBFishing Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 09/02/04
Posts: 140
Loc: Rowlett, TX
I just scored on another kit, it was a return and considerd open box. All still new $75. Now have 90 watts for recharge. Yes I still need a adapter kit now and regulater, another batt. $100 more bucks and should be good for what all I need it for. My generator is great , just a pain hauling ,noise and gas. Takes up so much room in the back of my truck, but still has its purpose when needed. $400 will be total with all discounts and coupons formy set up.
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#5795878 - 06/18/15 09:45 PM Re: Solar powerd Camper [Re: IBFishing]
Beaubien Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 02/18/15
Posts: 473
Loc: In the mountains east of ABQ
Now you are down to a one day charge time +\-. Might just work fine for you. Let us know how it works. Good luck.


Edited by Beaubien (06/18/15 09:45 PM)
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#5795960 - 06/18/15 10:51 PM Re: Solar powerd Camper [Re: IBFishing]
Hirogen Online   content
Tracker

Registered: 07/18/13
Posts: 684
Loc: Ontario, Grey County
I have 200 watts of panel and a 400 watt windmill at my camp. They are wired to 300 amp-hours of deep cycle battery via a 30 amp charge controller for the solar and the wind mill has a built in charge controller rated at 40 amps.

Lighting is 12 volt LED and the TV/DVD/Blue-ray is also 12 volt. The new LCD 12 volt TV/Video player combos are incredible. Mine is a 24 inch and pulls a whopping 19 watts (1.5 amps) when it is running. The LED lights are also very efficient. I have 8 light fixtures plus the TV and when everything is on the load is only 89 watts (just over 7 amps at 12 volts).

I also have a 12 volt well pump that draws 7 amps and produces about 2.5 gallons per minute. The run time on this does not amount to much per day and the system easily handles it. Pump is similar to the ones used in RVs and is on demand.

I can go 7 days using everything without sun or wind if the system is charged at the start of the 7 days. So far the system has never gone more than 4 or 5 days without sun or wind.

In spring/summer/fall I have an 1800 watt pure sine inverter that runs a small microwave or it can be used to run a circular saw. These are high current draws but are typically only for 1-2 minutes so the batteries can handle it. If you do something like this the wiring to the inverter has to be serious gauge (I am using number 2 gauge copper) as the current draw can be 150 amps at 12 volts for the saw.

This is probably overkill for you but being in Canada our winter sun is essentially useless - hence the windmill. There is a bonus to Canada - no A/C required and hence no need for generator backup. The wind is less reliable than the sun (except in winter) but when it blows it charges things up faster.

If you can be all set up for $400 bucks than you are doing great. I have about $2500 all in for my system but a significant part of that is the pure sine inverter, well pump and windmill.


Edited by Hirogen (06/18/15 11:10 PM)
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#5797039 - 06/19/15 06:04 PM Re: Solar powerd Camper [Re: IBFishing]
oldoak2000 Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 09/16/07
Posts: 2045
Loc: Denton, TX
X2 - use 12v LED bulbs, and 12v LCD TV ( skip inverter for maximum efficiency / battery time).

Also use a full-power charger on batteries when running generator (solar can help replenish battery but can't give battery max life like a full charger can)

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#5798431 - 06/20/15 10:38 PM Re: Solar powerd Camper [Re: IBFishing]
Cajunrotor Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 01/02/11
Posts: 312
Loc: Fairview, TX
Lots of good input to your query, especially about conserving energy by using LCD lights, etc.

I'm on my boat right now watching my LCD TV, running lights, stove vent, radios, and a 24 cu ft GE side-by-side fridge/freezer all using a 12v system. My requirements far exceed what you will require, but keep in mind that we spend as much as 5 months a year aboard this vessel in the Pacific Northwest while avoiding the Texas summer.

One of the best improvements I've made was to switch from using 12v deep cycle batteries and replacing them with 2 6v golf cart batteries wired in series for each of the original 12v batteries. The 6v batteries are rated for higher amp hours so when wired in series they provide more reserve than a single 12v. AND they are a lot lighter/easier to handle than a comparable 12v marine deep cycle.

The last 6v I bought was for a high-rise golf cart from COSTCO and I think they're rated 225AH for about $85 ea.

And if you really want maximum life out of any battery, limit your discharge to no more than about 50% of its amp hour rating. This will substantially reduce the sulfation which is the primary cause of battery failure.

Be sure to use only distilled water for filling them.

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#5802575 - 06/23/15 06:03 PM Re: Solar powerd Camper [Re: Cajunrotor]
IBFishing Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 09/02/04
Posts: 140
Loc: Rowlett, TX
Thats awesome info, going to install this weekend .
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Big Fish Cliff

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#5804800 - 06/25/15 05:40 AM Re: Solar powerd Camper [Re: IBFishing]
twinbubba Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 08/20/09
Posts: 2457
Loc: DFW
We have gone solar at our camp. Have small flat panel TV w/built in DVD. Watching a 2 hour movie will pretty much drain the 1 battery. We also bought a 10' LED rope light from LED City that is designed so you can cut it in half. 1 5'strip lights our outdoor kitchen and the other 5' lights our entire 16' trailer. Next time I will buy a bigger solar charger and add another battery.
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#5826292 - 07/10/15 01:58 PM Re: Solar powerd Camper [Re: twinbubba]
JESmith Offline


Registered: 03/03/09
Posts: 458
Loc: Allen, TX
Originally Posted By: twinbubba
We have gone solar at our camp. Have small flat panel TV w/built in DVD. Watching a 2 hour movie will pretty much drain the 1 battery.


Quick tip. DVD players suck a fair amount of power. Rip your DVDs to a flash drive. A 16GB USB drive will hold 4 DVDs and consume 1/20th the power.

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