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Old 01-02-2015, 12:27 PM   #1
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Smile Solar panels vs portable generators

I plan on doing some good docking of 2-10 days, like things easy and trouble free/dependable. Assume a quality install of solar and proper products vs buying portable generators to top of batteies during the day. Needs for both AC and heat.

Assuming I am ok with cost of the right solution....what would you choose to use.
N
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Old 01-02-2015, 12:33 PM   #2
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Depends on a lot of factors; what devices and appliances are you going to operate while off-grid?

Existing batteries or new/larger battery bank?

Need 120VAC available?

What size is your trailer???

These types of questions will go a long way towards designing a proper solar charging system to meet your needs.


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Old 01-02-2015, 02:09 PM   #3
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I plan on doing some good docking of 2-10 days, like things easy and trouble free/dependable. Assume a quality install of solar and proper products vs buying portable generators to top of batteies during the day. Needs for both AC and heat.

Assuming I am ok with cost of the right solution....what would you choose to use.
N
If that "AC" means air conditioner, you are limited to the generator only, and you need at least 3600 watts, 4000 would be better.
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Old 01-02-2015, 02:15 PM   #4
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It also depends are where you are camping. I have both a generator and solar panels. When I am at the beach (Assateague) my solar panels keep my batteries charged. I use the 3 fans, radio lights (LED bulbs) etc. I don't run the AC and I currently don't have a microwave (mine bit the dust and I haven't found that I miss it - if I had one I would just run the gen when using that). When I am camping in the mountains, usually under a pretty good tree cover, then I need the generator. I never use my AC when boondocking, but if I did, I would have another Honda EU2000 to pair with my existing one. As stated above, you won't be able to run your AC off of solar. My solar panels are 150W and are more than a enough to keep me charged up at the beach. I may add another 100W to give me more charging on cloudier days etc. BTW, I purchased my solar system from AM Solar. They are RV specialist and put together a kit with everything you need.
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Old 01-03-2015, 04:50 AM   #5
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OK, this is helpful folks. I am not as concerned about AC (would be nice), most of my camping is in going to be in the US and Canadain Rockies and national parks in the west. Some on the East coast and Appalacahain mtns.
Trialer is 25 ft flying cloud rear bedroom and not inside space for extra battery bank unless I re do sitting and table area. I gues I could put under table on front wall and loose that sittine space.
My main concern is that I am not technical person and do not know how trouble free systems are if properly installed.
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Old 01-03-2015, 05:11 AM   #6
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How about a portable solar system?
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Old 01-03-2015, 07:21 AM   #7
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We 'dock a lot in the Adirondacks'....


My limited knowledge of solaria tells me you need light to make 'lectric.

I started with one 2000i Honda when we got the Classic, knowing we could pair-up in the future if needed. It hasn't been needed and we have all the 'lectric we require, (no AC or hi-use items), just a joe bean grinder.

I converted to dual use LPG after a year its been putting away in it's little tent ever since.


Before wiring our home pad I used 30w of flexible panels on the roof to keep the batt's up. Worked ok but not real consistant.


It really depends on how & where you camp and if you can successfully rationalize the cost/benefit.

FWIW.....the simple principal has worked for me, it's been pretty darn 'trouble free'.

Good Luck

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Old 01-03-2015, 08:22 PM   #8
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batteries/solar

I used a small Koeller generator for the extended camping trips;it wasn't quiet like a Honda so I set it 20-30 feet away after dark and only ran it for an hour or less to charge up the battery.
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Old 01-03-2015, 09:34 PM   #9
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We travel all over the country camping in the boonies, National Parks, rv parks, rv resorts, and sometimes truck stops and Walmarts. I like the simplicity of solar, so that's what we use whenever shore power is not available. We have a Honda 2000i but seldom bring it along, it's a nuisance.
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Old 01-13-2015, 07:48 PM   #10
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Has any tried out the GoalZero portable solar panels? Plan to do lots of California coast camping and thinking about getting one... thoughts?
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Old 01-18-2015, 12:35 AM   #11
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Has any tried out the GoalZero portable solar panels? Plan to do lots of California coast camping and thinking about getting one... thoughts?

They seem overly expensive to me. You can get a 100 watt panel for $100-$200 from lots of places, but goal zero wants $400 for a 90 watt panel.


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Old 01-18-2015, 01:11 AM   #12
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If that "AC" means air conditioner, you are limited to the generator only, and you need at least 3600 watts, 4000 would be better.

Hi, this generator has no problem running my air conditioner.
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Old 01-18-2015, 04:58 AM   #13
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Hi, this generator has no problem running my air conditioner.
Bob, What size is your air conditioner....how many BTU's?
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Old 01-18-2015, 05:39 AM   #14
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I think a combination of fixed and portable solar panels is the way to go as long as you don't need a.c. ( I have two solar panel set ups ) one on my house ,it provides aprox 35-40% of my electricity about 5-10 kilowatts hours per day (,depends on how much sun) that's from 1320 watts of panels and 12 (AGM)solar extender batteries made by concorde wired in series parallel conbo for a 48 volt system and a total amp hour capacity of 387 , and a second system totally off grid cabin it has 190watts in solar panels and about 200amp hour batterry capacity , its also a 12 volt system , so this would be a good comparison to a R.V. System , 200watts of solar panels is lots of power for us in the cabin as most of the time were outside enjoying nature , we. Run all our lights ,cell phone chargers ,camera charging, ipad charging, toaster, kettle, frying pan,we have a propane fridge, propane hot water heater, the well pump is powered by our 2000 watt generator and is a back up if we get several days of no sun, (you will have no problem running your R.v. Water pump on solar ) when using solar you must think ahead , charge all cell phones ,cameras,iPad durring the day when the sun is shining,this is to make sure you have lots of power for at night, because of the lower battery storage capacity ,like in a R.V. ( most are limited to two batteries unless you modify. Now to answer the question portable or fixed solar panels , a combination is the best , fixed panels charge the batteries any time the sun shines on them, so they will charge them on the road ,in outdoor storage, in the campground if parked in the sun , if the panels don't get sun they will charge the batteries but a lot less as much as a 90% less it all depends .so a portable panel is fantastic as you can move it into the sun and get full charging capacity out of it and park your trailer in the shade to keep it cooler . I would drill a hole in the solar panel frame so I could put a cable lock on it to lock the panel to a tree ,trailer ,etc so the expensive panel doesn't get stolen .

Don
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