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Old 11-08-2016, 09:55 AM   #1
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Solar Requirements

Im close to pulling the trigger on an install on the new rig. Curious as to the real world requirements (1)to watch a little TV or movies (2)keep the iPad/phones charged up (3)possibly run a crock pot.

Initially, we'll keep the factory 1000w inverter, but upgrade to larger AGMs. We will go with a suggested controller to accommodate possible growth in the future.

Where we are debating is 400w or 600w, given what our needs are. We are coming from 120w on a cheap inverter on our old rig, so we are pretty power frugal. So what say you? 4 or 6 and why? Thanks! It's a sizable investment so I'm trying to get input.
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Old 11-08-2016, 12:10 PM   #2
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I guess to answer your question you need to decide how much you will be off grid. We have our 2015 scheduled to get a power upgrade by Lewster in February. We are on the east coast near Washington DC and there is not as much opportunity for us to be off grid but we still decided on 400W of panels as well as 300 amp hours of AGM batteries. We are also going with the upgraded Magnum hardware that Lew recommended. Even though we will probably never "need" this much hardware I wanted to have the option down the road and only wanted to do this one time.

On the plus side, we live in a very wooded neighborhood with power lines above ground so it is nice to have the backup place to go if we lose power for any period of time.
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Old 11-08-2016, 03:07 PM   #3
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If you are frugal with power 400 watts of solar should be plenty for you if most of your camping is non-winter camping. Battery amps is your big decision. How many amps would you like and are willing to pay for ?
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Old 11-08-2016, 04:02 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meeks View Post
If you are frugal with power 400 watts of solar should be plenty for you if most of your camping is non-winter camping. Battery amps is your big decision. How many amps would you like and are willing to pay for ?
I believe we are looking at 300 amp AGM.
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Old 11-08-2016, 04:23 PM   #5
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I only have the factory 180 watt Zamp system swapped the batteries for Trojan 6V 225 amp. If I'm not running the furnace I never come close to 12.5 on the battery monitor which includes tv and satellite. With temps around 30 degrees at 9,000 ft the furnace will use most of my capacity, but I've never run out.

With 400 watts of solar and 300 amp AGM's, I would think you would have plenty based on your usage.
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Old 11-08-2016, 05:14 PM   #6
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You can also think of this as, how much are you willing to spend for insurance, to cover a multi-day stay with solid tree cover or cloud cover?

We have 435 watts of solar (and 200AH of AGMs). The solar is much more than we need for a reasonably sunny day in a campsite with only partial shade. 200 watts would usually be fine. But if you camp late in the year (low sun angle, short days), in dense forest, and want to keep it going for a run of dark, cloudy days, 200 watts will probably fall short.
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Old 11-08-2016, 06:41 PM   #7
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I have 300amps AGM's (6vx2) with 200watts solar - has worked great so far. On sunny days the batt.'s are recharged by noon - on overcast it takes longer, but have never had to run my Honda 2000i yet - starting to wonder why I carry it - insurance?
Anyway 300amps (6vx2) with 200watts is a good balance for me. Boondock mostly, usually only go to parks about once a week to empty tanks, wash cloths and take long, hot showers. Have 45 gallon fresh water in back of TV - found this was the limiting factor.
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Old 11-08-2016, 08:06 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Breezinalong View Post
I believe we are looking at 300 amp AGM.
300 amps of AGMs sounds like a solid plan. On lots of days, perhaps most, you probably won't have to be frugal with your proposed setup of 400 watts of solar power .
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Old 11-10-2016, 01:03 PM   #9
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We have all led lighting and 1 group 27 agm. 200 w solar has been ample for us, even if shaded quite a bit.
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