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Old 09-28-2015, 02:37 PM   #15
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Inexpensive solar

Be sure not to add too much voltage when adding PV modules to your RV. You can purchase a few 50 watt panels on eBay for about $2-3 per watt and install them in parallel, not serial, to maintain a voltage of 14 to 18 volts DC. It is better to use all the same wattage panels. I swapped out my two wet cell deep cycle batteries for 4 12v deep cycle wheel chair batteries which charge more quickly and last longer when using them to power fans and LED lighting. You don't need marine cranking amps to power your RV's interior.
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Old 09-28-2015, 03:30 PM   #16
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Our dealer is running a special for a 200W with the controller, installed for 1500.00. I don't remember the brand.



Desert Autoplex, Mesa, AZ you can look them up on the Web

Be real careful with dealer installed systems. I'm re-working a 400 watt flex panel installation now where the dealer put 36.........yup........ COUNT 'EM......... That's 36 holes in the roof to mount the panels and screw in the P clamps for the wire runs. And that's not tho only problems.

If I had done the panel install, there would gave been NO HOLES IN THE ROOF !!!!!!!!!

On addition, due to the slope of the roof and the way the panels are mounted on the outside portion of the roof....... only 200 watts will see any solar radiance at any given time.

If you want a system done properly, find a seasoned and qualified professional or contact the folks at AM Solar for help for a DIY.


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Old 09-28-2015, 08:21 PM   #17
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For everyone that has solar in their AS:

Is it beneficial to buy the AS unit with the factory solar option or without it? Can the factory installed solar option wire be used to "upgrade" to a better system or do you have to rewire with the system of your choice?



Never mind! Post #7 of this thread is what I was looking for. Thanks Kaylorsan!
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Old 09-28-2015, 08:43 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Xicaque View Post
For everyone that has solar in their AS:

Is it beneficial to buy the AS unit with the factory solar option or without it? Can the factory installed solar option wire be used to "upgrade" to a better system or do you have to rewire with the system of your choice?

Never mind! Post #7 of this thread is what I was looking for. Thanks Kaylorsan!
Just to reiterate:

The Airstream factory-provided solar system for their trailers is a total piece of crap. The panels they use have been obsolete for several years (I can't even imagine how they can still get them,) the controller is a toy and the wiring is pathetic. Lew Farber pulled all that crap out of our 2014 trailer recently and installed a state of the art system. It wasn't inexpensive, but it does exactly what we want and it does it properly. If I had to do it again with a new Airstream trailer, I would save the nearly $3,000 that Airstream charged me for their toy solar system and applied it towards a proper A.M. Solar set up installed by Lew.

I should add that the factory solar system aside, I am basically very pleased with our 2014 Eddie Bauer.
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Old 09-30-2015, 08:28 AM   #19
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Thanks to all

Really appreciated the great information and advice from everyone. I'm hitting the AM Solar site and learning more about solar and install before I pull the trigger on an upgrade. I will definitely upgrade but not until I conquer the learning curve.
Doug Odom
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Old 09-30-2015, 10:17 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by thompooley View Post
Be sure not to add too much voltage when adding PV modules to your RV. You can purchase a few 50 watt panels on eBay for about $2-3 per watt and install them in parallel, not serial, to maintain a voltage of 14 to 18 volts DC. It is better to use all the same wattage panels. I swapped out my two wet cell deep cycle batteries for 4 12v deep cycle wheel chair batteries which charge more quickly and last longer when using them to power fans and LED lighting. You don't need marine cranking amps to power your RV's interior.
Just to add a few comments to the above:

There are many 100 watt panels available that will fit on an Airstream (20-21" wide). There is no need to use 50 watt panels, which by themselves are almost insignificant in their amperage output (2-2.5 amps Voc at most).

Matching the wattage of the panels doesn't matter as much as the output voltage....especially if you are using an MPPT controller. You can easily mix/match panel sizes for maximum coverage of your roof as long as you follow the voltage matching rule. And speaking of voltage, you want panels with a minimum of 17.5 volt output so that they provide sufficient 'headroom' to allow the solar controller to charge the batteries at a bulk/absorb voltage of 14.2-14.8VDC, depending on your battery type.

And speaking of batteries, true deep cycle, whether liquid lead acid or AGM, have proven themselves to be the best for RV applications. Avoid dual purpose deep cycle marine batteries, which also double as starting batteries.

PM me if you have an specific questions.
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Old 09-30-2015, 10:23 AM   #21
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before I pull the trigger on an upgrade.
Careful don't shoot yourself in the foot.🔫
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