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Old 07-05-2014, 09:12 AM   #15
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The 100 Watt AM Solar panels are narrow enough that we were able to place them outboard of the centerline of factory stuff on the roof (two skylights, two air conditioners, fantastic fan...). We have four on each side for a total of 800 watts. These feed into a TriStar 60 MPPT charge controller and then into four Lifeline 6CT 6Vdcx 300 amp-hour batteries mounted on the front of the trailer in a new stainless steel battery box. Power from the batteries is processed through a Magnum MS-2800 inverter. All the factory outlets plus ones we added are powered by the Magnum system.

We have the factory 50 amp service and installed a new primary electric panel to drop the front air conditioner and the AC power to the water heater and refrigerator when not on shore power as the Magnum inverters with dual contractors are only rated 30 amps. We put in a 240 volt 30 amp breaker to send shore power to the Magnum and then to all other appliances in the trailer. Note that a Magnum 2800 has the power to spool up the rear Air Conditioner from the batteries.

Our original battery box houses the hydraulic disc brake pump and it's controller for the trailer disc brakes.

I would think your installer could get three on each side of a 28' trailer. We did put a lower vent cap on the plumbing vent which is under one panel.
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Old 07-06-2014, 07:26 AM   #16
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This is a very interesting topic. Thanks.
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Old 08-02-2014, 10:29 PM   #17
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Soar array

Beech bum, do you have pics of the roof? What solar panels did you install. I'm planning to buy a 2015 FC 30 soon. Thanks, Ron
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Old 08-05-2014, 07:21 PM   #18
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Ron,


This is the best picture I have and it was taken in the middle of the install .....so that wire you see hanging there on the forward panel was properly run and secured to the pannel later.

I have have used the system for about 100 camping days and am very happy with the performance and installation.

I don't know what if any issues the new roof line for ducted AC may cause. Also if someone wants to drill any holes in your roof to install run do not walk away !!!!!!!!!!!! The only drilling and cutting needed is on the inside to run the cables and mount the equipment and displays.

Benn
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Old 08-06-2014, 09:41 AM   #19
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Solar install

Benn, that is a killer install! Thanks for the pics. Do you know where Airstream mounts the solar charge control panel on a factory solar install? Will this location be available for an after market install using the solar prewire that is standard? I only plan about 200 watts and factory wire gauge should be big enough. I'm planning to order a FC 30 and will select options. By the way, Colonial has an Int'l 30 with solar, and pics of the roof, and it has panels mounted similar to yours. Thanks, Ron
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Old 08-06-2014, 10:10 AM   #20
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Ron,

Thanks. Sorry not much help on the AS wiring. I'm not sure where AS puts the controller. I did not get the solar pkg from AS. Also, I did not use any of the AS solar pre wire too wimpy for 800w set up. I installed the solar control panel on the bulkhead behind the dinette. If you are ordering new you may want to consider a complete after market pkg so you get exactly what you want. You can call the folks at AM solar they are a wealth of info.
Benn
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Old 08-06-2014, 10:31 AM   #21
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Hope you don't mind if I join in? I did Benn's installation. Even with a 200 watt system, I would still use 8AWG solar cable and make your charging connections from the solar controller directly to the batteries and NOT to the bus bars as Airstream does.

We always try to maximize the efficiency of our systems and keep the voltage drop below 2% by using the proper sized cables and minimum number of connection points.


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Old 09-03-2014, 10:33 PM   #22
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Lew. Would Benn's install power an ac unit and all my electrical needs. What type of cost is this install? You can send me a private message if you prefer.

Thanks
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Old 09-03-2014, 10:53 PM   #23
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Lew, please send me the same.
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Old 09-03-2014, 10:55 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flht2k View Post
Lew. Would Benn's install power an ac unit and all my electrical needs. What type of cost is this install? You can send me a private message if you prefer.

Thanks
Powering an RV roof A/C is not a practical use of battery and inverter power. Can it be done......YES! But you will need a ton of batteries (well at least 350-500 lbs worth of AGMs) and a very large, quality inverter and still you won't run a roof A/C for an hour. You can thank the German physicist Peukert for discovering that the larger the draw in amps from a given battery bank, the smaller that bank effectively becomes.......by an exponential factor. This is why even a 600 or 900 amp/hour battery bank will have a very limited run for a roof A/C. I wrote a detailed explanation here some time ago. Let me know if you would like to see it again.

There is a new alternative, however.....the hybrid inverter/charger/ magnum makes the MSH-3012M, which will synch with an incoming 120VAC power source and will supplement the needed 120VAC required from the batteries to.....say.....run a roof A/C with a single Honda or Yamaha 2000 generator. this single genny will not start or run a roof A/C, but using the synchronized boost from the Magnum, it will now.

The hybrid inverter is also useful when plugged in to a 120VAC source that is less than 30 amps, say a 20 amp or 15 amp house outlet. The MSH-3012 will again supplement the deficiency in required 120VAC from the batteries to run the larger load.

PM me for more information on Benn's solar project.
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Old 09-11-2014, 10:23 PM   #25
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I thought I'd mention one alternative for batteries. I've not used these in an RV, my only application was an electric bicycle. They're incredibly popular among the radio controlled airplane crowd, for the same reasons as the bike crowd; light weight, great charge times, great discharge, and lastly safety.

The company is A123 systems. They use nanotechnology to make a lithium battery cell that you can drive a nail through without them exploding or catching fire. They also currently offer a module combining cells into a battery that is compatible with automobile batteries and chargers.

The only downside is the only auto-compatible module they offer for sale is small and only gives 4.6 AH. Here are the specs for that module:

Nominal voltage: 13.2 V
Max Discharge Current: 30 A
Charge Current: 10 A
Nominal Capacity: 4.6 Ah
Energy: 60 Wh
Power: 345 W
Cycle Life: >7,500 Cycles at 25°C, 0.8C/0.8C, 100% DOD
Core cell: ANR26650 Cylindrical Cell
Dimensions: 5.95 in/151.0 mm x 3.93 in/99.7 mm x 2.54 in/64.5 mm
Weight: 1.875 lb/0.85 kg
A123 Systems ALM 12V7

The main web site is annoying, they mention a 60 AH module as a replacement for 12v lead acid, but not a lot of info:

A123 Systems

They're purchase site could also use some work:

A123 Systems Cells and Battery Modules

The main thing is the cells can be stacked to around 13V and then can be charged with a standard car battery. They hit 90 percent surprisingly fast, the last 10 takes much longer.

I haven't sat down to do a cost or feasibility analysis for an RV. But I built an electric bike that could go way faster than I ever wanted to go on a bike.

Don't know if it helps, but back when I was involved in the electric bike community, it was hands down the leader.
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Old 09-13-2014, 07:44 PM   #26
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Lewster is spot on. I just had my solar install done in July with the new Magnum Hybrid. Between a good sunny day, battery and a single Honda very easy to run the 15K A/C.
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