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Old 06-27-2012, 12:18 AM   #15
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Like I said at the beginning, What are you trying to run? a tv. 100 watts will charge your batteries no problem during the day. 200-300 watt is more than you will probably ever want. If you need energy that bad get the generator and a propane kit for it.

Personally Solar for the house is not really cost effective, just like geo thermal. Takes to long to recoupe your money. Unless you live in the middle of nowhere and have no choice.

Same can be true for the AS. How much do you dry camp?
Generators are cheaper and provide more power. And are not effected by weather!!!!

I have a 15 watt panel on a tripod so I can move it around in the sun to recharge my battery. Cost me a $100 and works great. I like to camp in the shade if possible so having it on a stand makes since to me. If it was on top of the AS, it wouldn't work as well.
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Old 06-27-2012, 12:30 AM   #16
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Let's put this into perspective.

The system that was quoted contains quite a bit more than simply 400 watts of solar panels and a charge controller, but we can start there. Then add a Magnum MS-2012 pure sine wave inverter/charger with a 100 amp fully adjustable, temperature compensated 3-stage charging section and 2000 watts of inverter power.

Then add 2 new Lifeline GPL-6CT 300 amp/hour AGM batteries. Then re-wire the trailer to utilize the Magnum's battery charging capability and dump the garbage converter provided with the trailer. Then run a minimum of 6AWG wire (sorry, but the 10AWG from Airstream is good for one panel, maybe!) from the solar array to the controller, and then to the batteries. Use 4 AM Solar GS-100 panels which are the smallest, lightest and most efficient 100 watt panels currently available and mount them to the roof WITHOUT A SINGLE ROOF PENETRATION. After all, don't new Airstreams already leak enough right from the factory?

Then re-wire the AC circuits to power the inverter/charger and then connect it to the internal AC circuits that will be run by the inverter when no shore power is present.

Add in little things like proper fusing and circuit breakers in the charge lines as required by RVIA and NEC code, using 2/0 cable from the batteries to the inverter with a class T fuse and a new auxiliary 120VAC circuit breaker box for the new inverter circuits.

Add in 30-40 hours of installation labor plus materials and you now have a more complete picture of what is required for this type of system. This is a premium system and one that is generally not done by the DIY type. Also, the solar components from AM Solar are in a class by themselves and are not at all comparable with anything from the likes of Northern Tool of Harbor freight.

At peak sun, this system will put 30-35 amps into the batteries with the boost obtained by the MPPT controller and the 'hotter' voltages from the GS-100 panels.

Any questions?
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Old 06-27-2012, 02:22 AM   #17
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Here's what I really like about our 200W AM solar DIY installed system.... there's nothing to think about. I never worry about the noise rules, someone stealing my generator, carrying gasoline in my truck, etc. It just works; the batteries are charged 100% at the end of the day whether or not I remember that I've got solar panels.


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Old 06-27-2012, 05:21 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Ultradog View Post
Is this an attempt to go Green somehow or are you really doing that much boondocking?
It seems that a 2KW generator at $800 and 200 gals of fuel at $4/gal = $800 would last you about forever. And that's not counting the increased air drag from all the paraphernalia attached to your roof.
What am I missing here?
For the most part, a trailer isn't practical either.

As for the cost, premium jobs cost a lot. A sub-premium set up like mine costs a lot less and is the toy we wanted.

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Old 06-27-2012, 05:58 AM   #19
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I don't get it.
You've got a 3 ton camper being pulled by (I'm guessing) a 3 ton vehicle.
Probably gets 12 mpg on the road.
Is this an attempt to go Green somehow or are you really doing that much boondocking?
It seems that a 2KW generator at $800 and 200 gals of fuel at $4/gal = $800 would last you about forever. And that's not counting the increased air drag from all the paraphernalia attached to your roof.
What am I missing here?
In our case we really do boondock that much. In fact usually only see electric hookups at rallies.

It is also quiet and requires little or no maintenance ( a bottle of windex). No rope pulling, noise, loading and unloading, gasoline to carry, security of generator etc.
But I do have to agree a generator is cheaper and having solar does not .eliminate the need for a small generator occasionally.
For our style of camping I would not like to be with out the solar because of the convenience.
" Green" was not a consideration at all in our decision to go solar.

If finances was the only factor in these things we would be driving an econo car and staying in cheap motels
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Old 06-27-2012, 06:42 AM   #20
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I don't get it.
What am I missing here?

Not much.....

IMHO.....most solor installz are ego based, not greenly inspired. Seems a lot of folks have a real aversion to pull cord power, we do not.

For us the dollars spent on a Sol panel install would take much too long to recoup here in the NE.
For others, not so much.

Pull-n-play awhile a day....I'm fine with that.

TETO


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Old 06-27-2012, 07:10 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS View Post
Not much.....

IMHO.....most solor installz are ego based, not greenly inspired. Seems a lot of folks have a real aversion to pull cord power, we do not.

For us the dollars spent on a Sol panel install would take much too long to recoup here in the NE.
For others, not so much.

Pull-n-play awhile a day....I'm fine with that.

TETO


Bob
I know for us it's darn nice to have our batteries recharged without having to do anything - in fact, we were recharging the batteries while we were out hiking a couple weeks ago. I'm now keeping the converter off and will only use it when needed (heavy shade or multiple days of rain, that kind of thing) even with 120 volt power available. Since the solar cells are permanently mounted to the roof, I'm not worried about theft, and they're completely silent.

Of course, we didn't install the system, it came with the camper, so that makes it a lot easier and cheaper for us. I replaced the solar controller with a three-stage model, and that's all I've spent on the solar system.

On topic, though: I'm not surprised there was more to the story than we originally heard, like the inverter.
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Old 06-27-2012, 07:13 AM   #22
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WOW, thats crazy! Unless they are installing a system that could power a MIG welder! Who needs that in a camper?

I'm doing mine for $320 a panel x2 (240 watts per) and a Morningstar controller with all the bells and whistles. Throw in some shop supplies, mounts, wire, relays, Band Aids and ?? I'll tip the scales around $1200, and I have the satisfaction of doing it myself!

Run, don't walk from that quote!
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Old 06-27-2012, 08:03 AM   #23
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I wonder about the asthetics of having all that stuff on my roof too. But I do understand the part about the toys - how most of them are not all that practical but hey, who's to say I can't have my tractors the way I like them.
To each his own I guess.
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Old 06-27-2012, 08:21 AM   #24
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I bought 2x80w panels, wiring, charge controller with digital readout for $429 and here is their 405w set up for $1100:

Solar Panel Panneau Solaire KIT 405W Watt (3 * 135W) 405 Watt Mono 12V MC4 RV | eBay
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Old 06-27-2012, 09:17 AM   #25
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Let's put this into perspective.

The system that was quoted contains quite a bit more than simply 400 watts of solar panels and a charge controller, but we can start there.

Any questions?
Yeah, How do you know what was quoted? He didn't say what was quoted.. Is this what you would charge for the same thing? if someone came in wanting a 400 watt solar system? Just wondering.
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Old 06-27-2012, 09:27 AM   #26
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The system does include an inverter. Sorry, but I don't speak solar and was given the impression that an inverter was standard in such an installation. Next year we take off for probably two years on the road and I wanted a system that would be robust enough to handle all kinds of power needs. Given the cost, however, I'm now thinking along the DIY lines.
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Old 06-27-2012, 09:40 AM   #27
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The system does include an inverter. Sorry, but I don't speak solar and was given the impression that an inverter was standard in such an installation. Next year we take off for probably two years on the road and I wanted a system that would be robust enough to handle all kinds of power needs. Given the cost, however, I'm now thinking along the DIY lines.
Figure out what you want to do? Do you just want to keep the batteries charge? Run stuff of the solar while parked. 400 watt will run a small tv, laptop all kinds of stuff.

But figure out what you want to run that isn't standard such as the fridge and lights. Figure out the amount of watts it takes and then add a little extra for good measure to your system. DIY isn't always to bad. I have an inverter for the car to run the lap top and have used it in the AS when boon-docking. It works fine.
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Old 06-27-2012, 11:51 AM   #28
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Yeah, How do you know what was quoted? He didn't say what was quoted.. Is this what you would charge for the same thing? if someone came in wanting a 400 watt solar system? Just wondering.
INSIDE INFORMATION! I have spies everywhere
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