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Old 08-30-2015, 01:16 PM   #1
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Starting from Scratch - Help!

Hi everyone, newbie here..

I have completely gutted and am rebuilding a 1967 Ambassador Double. When I got it it didn't have a battery, and since I'm going to be having to purchase a new one anyways I feel like going all out. I'd love to incorporate solar panels to get a system where I can boondock for days at a time, but there is such a wealth of information out there about this that I feel overwhelmed slogging through it. Is there somewhere that I can find a specific list of things that I need to buy? Like a starter kit? Theres so many options for each specific component, the inverter, the battery, the panels - I'd just love to be able to run down a list and get things instead of losing my mind in all the research/options.. Can anyone help a lady out??

My intentions for the airstream are to make it my home for at least a year. I"m into living off grid but I'm not naive about how the lack of long hot showers/community might make me a little crazy, so I know that I will be spending plenty of time at campsites or staying with friends/family. I'm looking for a good reliable solar set up, but I'm not trying to Mad Max it over here.

Also, I haven't bought an RV fridge (the one it came with is a residential dorm fridge), or AC so if there are better/worse options for those in relation to a solar set up I'd love the advice! I"ve read that the Domectic and NOrcold refrigerators break a lot, and I may be better served just going with the residential one and getting an inverter for it..?

Thank you in advance for all advice!

Shannon
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Old 08-30-2015, 02:52 PM   #2
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You could talk to an expert at Amsolar

Tech Support 541-255-0630.. They have packaged system and can cater to your particular needs and budget.

The propane powered fridges are the way to go. They work for months on a single tank. An affordable solar system would struggle with the power needs of an electric fridge
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Old 09-01-2015, 02:49 PM   #3
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There is no way you are going to be able to run AC off grid without a big generator or more solar cells and batteries than your trailer can carry.

for solar check out this link https://handybobsolar.wordpress.com/...-other-things/

This guy lives full time off the grid and has lived for extended time in an RV. So you hopefully you can come away with some good tips here.
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Old 09-01-2015, 03:16 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by gator.bigfoot View Post
There is no way you are going to be able to run AC off grid without a big generator or more solar cells and batteries than your trailer can carry.

for solar check out this link https://handybobsolar.wordpress.com/...-other-things/

This guy lives full time off the grid and has lived for extended time in an RV. So you hopefully you can come away with some good tips here.

ABSOLUTELY NOT TRUE!!!!

A 400 amp/hour lithium battery and Magnum 3000 hybrid inverter will start and operate a Dometic 15K heat pump for roughly 3 hours with no other energy input.

Couple that with a 2000 watt generator and you can run the A/C all say if you like.


Lew Farber
RVIA/RVDA Nationally Certified Master Tech
Master Tech Energy Systems, Inc.
AM Solar Certified Installation Center
Lifeline Batteries**Magnum Inverters
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Old 09-01-2015, 03:45 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lewster View Post
ABSOLUTELY NOT TRUE!!!!

A 400 amp/hour lithium battery and Magnum 3000 hybrid inverter will start and operate a Dometic 15K heat pump for roughly 3 hours with no other energy input.

Couple that with a 2000 watt generator and you can run the A/C all say if you like.

Lew Farber
Could this be coupled with solar panels for those time no AC is needed?
And, what would be a ballpark cost, from scratch? (without the generator)
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Old 09-01-2015, 04:12 PM   #6
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All of the systems I have installed using this new technology have had 400-700 watt solar arrays and the required solar charge controllers as a central component.

Please PM me for more information.

Thanks!


Lew Farber
RVIA/RVDA Nationally Certified Master Tech
Master Tech Energy Systems, Inc.
AM Solar Certified Installation Center
Lifeline Batteries**Magnum Inverters
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Old 09-02-2015, 02:09 PM   #7
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Re Solar set-ups

Solar is more than amps and watts. You need to know that Depth of Discharge (DOD) significantly affects the life of your batteries. As a generality, 50% DOD is usually considered max. Solar is a poor source for large power sources. It is a great supplemental power and can run light loads (lights, computer, etc.) for sustained periods with sunny weather. I do not believe it should considered a power source for AC or large power loads. You will be disappointed. Solar is not cheap either. A well thought out system will be a great asset, but don't forget that gen set!
-Marc
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Old 09-02-2015, 03:25 PM   #8
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Good reading here ...
http://amsolar.com
I'd get a 3 way fridge.
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Old 09-02-2015, 04:44 PM   #9
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Good reading here ...
Welcome to AM Solar_Your RV Solar Specialists since 1987
I'd get a 3 way fridge.
With solar, I'd forget the poor performance and efficiency of ANY gas-absorption type fridge and go straight to a Danfoss compressor powered marine fridge.

Indel Webasto:*CRUISE Marine Refrigerators

OR

seaclassic

I use both of these on a regular basis in my installations to great user reviews!
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Old 09-02-2015, 05:38 PM   #10
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Awesome ...
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Old 09-02-2015, 09:16 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvr_Lining View Post
Solar is more than amps and watts. You need to know that Depth of Discharge (DOD) significantly affects the life of your batteries. As a generality, 50% DOD is usually considered max. Solar is a poor source for large power sources. It is a great supplemental power and can run light loads (lights, computer, etc.) for sustained periods with sunny weather. I do not believe it should considered a power source for AC or large power loads. You will be disappointed. Solar is not cheap either. A well thought out system will be a great asset, but don't forget that gen set!
-Marc
True for lead based battery systems. Lithium iron phosphate batteries are a whole new world. There is no disappointment with a properly designed, sized and installed solar charging system and a lithium battery large enough to suite your needs.

Since lithiums can be drawn to a minimum or 80% depth of discharge (DoD) and exhibit little to no voltage sag, even under very high amperage loads (no Peukert Effect), they are a game changer when discussing the use of battery power for air conditioner operation.

This is especially true when coupling a minimum 400 amp/hour lithium pack with a Magnum MSH3012-M 'hybrid' inverter/charger to a Honda or Yamaha 2000 watt generator, which will seamlessly supplement the output of the genny to start and operate a roof A/C with no effort. This combo will continue to work as long as you like to run the single generator with minimal draw from the battery.

The only limiting factor is the depth of your pockets (DoYP)
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Old 09-02-2015, 09:53 PM   #12
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quoting lewster, "The only limiting factor is the depth of your pockets " as with everything else airstream

"I'd love to incorporate solar panels to get a system where I can boondock for days at a time"
I think for this a few hundred watts of solar and a few deep cycle batteries, a good solar controller, converter, and inverter would do you well. And taking boondocking to heart; which to me means no AC and no microwave and thinking of the AS as a big shiny nice tent.
If you're going to be starting from scratch though I'd consider a solar charger and converter that are lithium ion capable so if you decide to get LIPO batteries you don't have to get new ones. Them LIPO batteries ain't cheap though!
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Old 09-02-2015, 10:01 PM   #13
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I'd give bestconverter and amsolar and lewster calls.

I'm not sure if LIPO converters can charge lead acid as well, it would be nice if there are selectable units.
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Old 09-02-2015, 10:18 PM   #14
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I'd give bestconverter and amsolar and lewster calls.

I'm not sure if LIPO converters can charge lead acid as well, it would be nice if there are selectable units.
All of the Blue Sky solar controllers and Magnum inverter/chargers are fully programmable for use in either lead based battery banks or lithiums. I use them in ALL of my installations, regardless of battery type........just different programming.
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