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Old 10-14-2016, 02:30 PM   #99
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The fact of the matter is that the energy use of an Airstream, and even all trailers combined, is all but inconsequential to the bigger picture.

Whether a person powers with solar or a generator is pretty much moot.


Gradiens super tenui glacie.
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Old 10-14-2016, 05:14 PM   #100
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Well my reply was not even directed to him to start with but yet he decided he would interject and not in an entirely appropriate manner. I was curious about another forum member did his combiner.

So if you feel I need to leave I am sure there is a way you can take care of that.
My Dear Mr. Tick,

Please forgive me if you feel that I 'interjected' into this thread in an 'manner that was not entirely appropriate' while I commented on your posting.

This is certainly the first time that anyone has implied that an INVITATION is required to post their thoughts to ANY thread here on this OPEN FORUM.

I'm sorry that you did not find the offerings from my 16 years of experience as a certified RV and marine professional with a Master's degree in engineering useful. Many folks on this forum and others have...... and do. Perhaps you would care to review the 'THANKS' comments that I receive?

Originally Posted by eartick
I would like to know what you are using for a "combiner" for all these panels. Do you have a way to monitor efficiency of a bank or each to determine a bad cell.


I also apologize for my interpretation of your comments above, especially the portion in bold type, as a casual observer could be led to believe (obviously MIS-led in this instance) that you were seeking to monitor the performance of not only individual solar modules (the proper industry term for a solar 'panel') but were also seeking to monitor the individual polycrystalline or mono-crystalline cells that comprise these modules.

I further apologize for my naive attempt to save you the trouble of trying to 're-invent the wheel' as the saying goes, even though many do sometimes find solace in the pursuit of same.

Please rest assured that any of your postings will not solicit a response from me in the future (invited or not).

Also please be advised that within these pages, you will find a handy little device that allows you to IGNORE the postings and even entire threads of any member that you wish. Perhaps you should avail yourself of this forums feature.

Thank you for your time...............

Have a pleasant day!
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Old 10-14-2016, 08:34 PM   #101
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J. Morgan View Post
The fact of the matter is that the energy use of an Airstream, and even all trailers combined, is all but inconsequential to the bigger picture.

Whether a person powers with solar or a generator is pretty much moot.


Gradiens super tenui glacie.
We just spent a wonderful (Canadian) Thanksgiving up here on beautiful Vancouver Island nestled amongst the tall pine trees. Due to the coolness mainly from the sun not reaching through the trees, we used the batteries quite a lot and over the 3 days and I would have challenged anyone not to have used a generator and relied on solar alone.
That's the reality in the Pacific Northwest I'm afraid.


George
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Old 10-14-2016, 10:32 PM   #102
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I'm sure my husband has probably had conversations with many of you concerning solar. We haven't completed our system yet, but Karl has decided to use portable modules, rather than roof-mounted, since they would give us some freedom to keep the aluminum cooking pot in the shade as much as possible.

Getting back to the original post, on environmental responsibility and justification, in my mind generators, solar or wind are not environmentally friendly. The weak link in the equation is those darn batteries. No matter what kind you use, they all have a relatively short life span. Yes, Lithium types weigh less, can hold more amp hours and live longer. But it's getting a bad rap in other applications right now and costs a lot more up front. Like Lead, Lithium is a "heavy" metal. Where do battery innards go after you turn the battery in for the core charge?

We don't look at solar as a way to justify what we want to do, AKA RVing. We have (2) 2000 watt inverter generators and the solar will be added as another energy source. If you like your electricity, can't have too many of those. Live thru any disaster (Hurricane Ike), even if your area isn't hit as hard, lack of electricity for a for a few weeks gets very old, especially in an all electric house. (No gas line here, can't install a whole house generator. Lot isn't large enough for a propane tank.) That experience has informed our decisions when making energy choices on our AS. Our new refrigerator doesn't run on gas. But when Hubby suggested an electric cooktop, I put my foot down. I not only wanted an oven, I also didn't want to be too dependent on electricity. By the way, I don't use a blow dryer. However, I occasionally use it on my long-haired rabbits to work off loose hair.

What would really impress me is if someone could come up with a way to provide electrical power without batteries or power lines/cords. Oh wait, Nicola Tesla was trying to do that. Westinghouse killed it, because he didn't see any way to make money off wireless electricity.
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Old 10-14-2016, 11:08 PM   #103
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It depends. If you want power like you are hooked up when you aren't for AC etc, a Generator.

Solar is great but IMO it is "opportunistic power" with several caveats with mobile use. Naturally the idea is appealing but you really need direct sun or almost direct light to make the panels really work well, you need clear skies, you need a parking position that allows for no shade from trees, etc, etc, etc. Then you get free charging from your expensive system. I do not know what you think about expense but people are now buying batteries that cost $1100 each- LI 75amp/hr. because of solar. The advantage? It can be drained lower without harm and be charged more times with a five year warranty though I question its value compared to a good $104 deep cycle Johnson Control's lead acid 98 amp/hr with two year replacement. While it is true that the LI can utilize almost all of the 75 amps for use (around 80%), the 49-59 amps the wet cell offers for use isn't bad (50-60%). Granted the charge cycling is 400-500 wet cell verses 2000-5000 LI cycles is huge, so is the price. Batteries are a big part of solar. Still, there are those who want a mammoth solar system and will pay any price to have it.

I have both but my solar system is for boon docking and powering my meager basic needs with an expected 4.5 hour daily recharge using 350 watts of portable and tilting roof panels.
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Old 10-15-2016, 07:12 AM   #104
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No matter the energy sources one uses, RVing probably wouldn't be listed as an example of "practical" if one were to look up the word in a dictionary. It's one of those "do it because you love it" kind of things. We try to make up for the used resources by being good guests wherever we stay. "Leave it better than you found it" seems a good policy. Nothing steams my clams more than finding garbage in fire pits, and elsewhere, on a campsite.
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Old 10-15-2016, 09:42 AM   #105
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We are based in Arizona and tour the SouthWest. Lots of sun down here, so a solar system makes sense. We can carry a limited amount of propane and water.

To make the best use of what we have, in both trailers we converted to an instant on Truma Aqua-Go comfort water heater that is propane powered only and a Vitrifrigo refrigerator with a 12Vdc powered Danfoss freon compressor that needs 59 watts and does not run continuously due to better insulation than we had in the Airstream installed Dometic.

Depending on our destination, we carry one 2000 watt propane only powered Honda for the 23D since the Magnum hybrid MSH-3012 can augment starting the AC if desired. Towing with the Mercedes ML320 CDI we are weight and space constrained. There are five 100 watt AM solar panels on the roof and a 300 amp-hour lithium battery.

We can take the pair of propane powered 2000 watt Honda generators for the 31' Classic since we tow with a truck and the Magnum MS-2812 does not have the power augmentation feature. We have nine 100 watt AM solar panels on the roof and a 600 amp-hour lithium battery.
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Old 10-15-2016, 11:29 AM   #106
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Originally Posted by J. Morgan View Post
The fact of the matter is that the energy use of an Airstream, and even all trailers combined, is all but inconsequential to the bigger picture.

Whether a person powers with solar or a generator is pretty much moot.


Gradiens super tenui glacie.



Moot - adjective - open to discussion or debate, doubtful.

From that perspective, virtually any individual action may be considered inconsequential in the bigger picture. Environmental or cultural degradation is a cumulative result of actions by a society. The environment degrades quickly when individuals think that their actions, good or bad, do not matter.

I am as pragmatic as anyone, and have a realistic sense of where my actions fit into the bigger picture. Society is made up of individuals, however, and individual actions contribute to cumulative results.

Shifting to cleaner energy, at any scale, is important. If in doubt, visit China.

Reducing environmental impact (noise, emissions) within a campground is particularly worthwhile, as appreciation of the natural environment is the legitimate reason, IMHO, for going to such a place.

Safe travels,
Joe
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Old 10-27-2016, 01:46 AM   #107
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I am not sure if you have ever watched the series "breaking bad". If you have, there is one episode where they and their RV are stranded in the AZ desert with a dead battery, the generator is out of gas, and they are low on water.

If they had even the most modest solar panel, correctly mounted or not, it could have been used to charge up the vehicle battery sufficiently to start the engine and allow them to drive back home.

IMHO, this by itself is sufficient reason to have at least a small amount of solar on your RV or trailer.

Even if you don't use the solar PV panels for power, they make a good shade.
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Old 10-27-2016, 01:55 AM   #108
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The weak link in the equation is those darn batteries. No matter what kind you use, they all have a relatively short life span. Yes, Lithium types weigh less, can hold more amp hours and live longer. But it's getting a bad rap in other applications right now and costs a lot more up front. Like Lead, Lithium is a "heavy" metal. Where do battery innards go after you turn the battery in for the core charge?

We don't look at solar as a way to justify what we want to do, AKA RVing. We have (2) 2000 watt inverter generators and the solar will be added as another energy source. If .
Hi, I will just comment to help ease your mind a little.

Lead is a heavy metal, Li is not.

Lead batteries have the highest recycle rate of any product on the market. It is so close to 100% that even the most environmentally responsible groups are impressed. They are very heavy, but a good quality, properly chosen lead based battery, along with the proper charging system, can last a long time.

There are a number of types of Li based batteries, IMHO, the proper ones for RV / camping use are LiFe based, and not some cheesy ones, but unfortunately only professional grade ones that cost $3000 / each for 140 A-hr. They are MUCH better and very safe, but expensive.

LiFe based batteries from professional grade suppliers can also be recycled, and frankly need to be if we want to keep using them. There is no reason that a good quality, professional quality LiFe battery with its own built -in BMS (battery management system) will not last 10 years in heavy use. Personally, I would not sell a Lithium based battery pack system that used an external BMS to anyone in the RV industry.

I hope that helps, not with the sticker shock, but with the environmental aspects.
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Old 10-27-2016, 07:41 AM   #109
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Hi, I will just comment to help ease your mind a little.

Lead is a heavy metal, Li is not.

Lead batteries have the highest recycle rate of any product on the market. It is so close to 100% that even the most environmentally responsible groups are impressed. They are very heavy, but a good quality, properly chosen lead based battery, along with the proper charging system, can last a long time.

There are a number of types of Li based batteries, IMHO, the proper ones for RV / camping use are LiFe based, and not some cheesy ones, but unfortunately only professional grade ones that cost $3000 / each for 140 A-hr. They are MUCH better and very safe, but expensive.

LiFe based batteries from professional grade suppliers can also be recycled, and frankly need to be if we want to keep using them. There is no reason that a good quality, professional quality LiFe battery with its own built -in BMS (battery management system) will not last 10 years in heavy use. Personally, I would not sell a Lithium based battery pack system that used an external BMS to anyone in the RV industry.

I hope that helps, not with the sticker shock, but with the environmental aspects.
Please clarify the last statement that you made in your post:" Personally, I would not sell a Lithium based battery pack system that used an external BMS to anyone in the RV industry."

Would you care to expand on the reasoning behind this position? It would seem that the majority of the lithium systems (LiFePO4) being installed into RVs now are of the 'external BMS' type, as there are very few companies that actually make an fully integrated drop-in lithium package.

What displeasure do you have with external BMS? I might agree that some companies that only make a BMS system as a universal application to a wide range of batteries might have some fitment and adjustment issues, but others like Victron, known world-wide for their complete systems integration techniques, use a proprietary BMS system.

All of their lithium sizes have communication cabling bonded to the batteries and emanating from the battery case. These cables are then daisy chained and fed to the BMS system to connect all of the internal sensors, which monitor temperatures, loads and charging to not only maintain the integrity of the lithium system, but will also cut the charge current if the ambient temperature drops into the 'NO ZONE' below 0ºC.

Further, what is your exact relationship to the lithium battery industry that leads you to your opinion? Do you sell or install lithium batteries? Do you have actual user experience with them?

I just can not accept blanket statements from folks with no direct experience or factual foundation for same to go unchallenged. Posting in this fashion is doing the members of this forum a disservice. We'll be looking forward to your response.

Thank you!

And BTW, $3000 for a 140 amp/hour lithium is a bit 'over the top'! Quality systems are presently available for significantly less, although are still expensive related to AGM systems.
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Old 10-27-2016, 11:02 AM   #110
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Our 300 amp-hour AM Solar lithium (LiFePO4) battery sold for under $3,000 in 2015 and our 600 amp-hour AM Solar lithium (LiFePO4) battery was under $6,000 in 2015 as well. That price included the complete BMS system with disconnects.

These are real world numbers, not hypothetical.
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Old 10-27-2016, 12:37 PM   #111
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Our 300 amp-hour AM Solar lithium (LiFePO4) battery sold for under $3,000 in 2015 and our 600 amp-hour AM Solar lithium (LiFePO4) battery was under $6,000 in 2015 as well. That price included the complete BMS system with disconnects.

These are real world numbers, not hypothetical.

Unfortunately, the cells used in your lithium systems are no longer available as SinoPloy is under contract to provide all of their production to the EV automotive industry.

Their lack of a consistent, reliable supply chain is one of the major reasons that AM Solar has partnered with Victron Energy for their present and future lithium needs.


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Old 10-27-2016, 12:50 PM   #112
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Ray's Tesla Coil experiences...

I feel I am actually receiving an education on Solar. Well done!

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Starstream Post #102 What would really impress me is if someone could come up with a way to provide electrical power without batteries or power lines/cords. Oh wait, Nicola Tesla was trying to do that. Westinghouse killed it, because he didn't see any way to make money off wireless electricity.

********

I had a Tesla Coil. It stood about five feet high, maybe six feet, and looked like the Empire State Building. Back in the 20th Century, circa 1989.

I used it on Halloween to spook the kids out of their stopping for candy and treats. It buzzed and the top zapped into the air creating Ozone you could smell. The florescent bulbs hung from wires would glow... without any wires.

The neighborhood was attracted to this like moths to a bright light!

Radio reception was impossible as the electrical field obscured any possible reception. I did not ask neighbors if their TV or Radio reception was compromised.

I did not see how it affected television at the time. It sure was not good for AM Radio. If you touched anything metal, like a control, it would give you an electrical burn. Bulbs with no filament still would glow on the unit with DC power jumping the gap.

The original thought, as I understand it, was to put electricity into a home without any wiring needed. You turn on the Tesla and it would power everything without plugging into an outlet.

My Tesla was plugged into AC and then transformers and tubes must have to converted to DC and transmit within a radius... in my case, maybe six to seven feet radius.

I can not imagine one large enough to power a house. You probably would find yourself not wanting any metal objects, any where. Within an Airstream...?

The caustic Ozone near the coil would burn your eyes.

This was a great novelty for Halloween, but outside. I rather miss having it, but it was large, heavy and had tubes. At least I can say I had a Tesla Coil and happy to have AC in the house and DC in our trailer.
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