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Old 11-15-2011, 01:39 AM   #43
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I got the dealer to install a 50W panel on our 2011 23FB when we got it. I just wanted to be able to drive away with a panel so I didn't need to worry about keeping the batteries topped off. I was convinced that adding more panel was going to be one of the first things on my list. But with the caveat that we've camped out west where trees are not a major issue so far I haven't felt the need for more wattage up there.

We have LED lights and I replaced the ones over the table with dimmer ones (warmer light and less wattage) and we're diligent about turning unneeded ones off. We also run the furnace as little as possible given how noisy it is. In the end even when we had lots of fog by the coast the batteries were nicely charged back up by the evening.

I'm sure I will eventually add another panel, but it has turned out to be much less necessary that I initially thought. Also, I don't quite understand what all the posts about A/C are about. Running a std A/C off an inverter off batteries seems insane. Technically possible, I know...

Oh, I do have a 2kw generator. I bought it because I thought 50W was going to be too little and I was hoping the A/C might start on it. I've used the gen 3 times so far: once to try the A/C (fail), once to recharge the SUV batteries (ouch), and once to run the microwave before we threw it out. A this point it's a 60lb insurance that I still carry around...
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Old 01-02-2012, 09:35 PM   #44
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We installed a 200W system on the Tin Pickle last year; I've really liked having the batteries charged every day as I need power for my CPAP machine at night. I've replaced almost all the incandescent interior lighting with either LED mr16 task lighting or indirect LED strip lighting; this is a huge win in terms of power consumption.


- Bart
Hey Barts, it would be great to get info on the LED lamps and strips you are using.

thanks

Peter
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Old 01-02-2012, 10:56 PM   #45
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If you plan on boondocking for any extended period, you will prefer some for of renewable energy, such as solar panels.

When I had a LY motorhome, I had a single 123-watt panel and 2 large 6-volt wet cells. It was barely sufficient (I use a CPAP machine at night and I need to have enough power to run it). As well, the on-board 6500-watt generator ran on liquid propane, and it didn't take long to go through an 80-lb tank. If you are drycamping, propane is critical for refrigeration.

I now have a 32-foot Excella that came with 3 75-watt solar panels, 4 AGM batteries and a 1400 VA Xantrex inverter. That, and having replaced all incandescent lighting with LED lighting, makes boondocking a piece of cake. Yes, I have a generator - however, I use it sparingly.

Last winter, I camped without hookups for 5 straight weeks. I'll be heading off next week for another month or so of dry camping (Quartzsite, here I come!).

There is also a small wind turbine generator available for around $600 that will produce 400 watts of power. The kit includes everything you need except the pole to mount it on. I looked into getting one of those, but I'll wait a while longer. It does have the advantage that, if there is some breeze it will charge at night when solar panels don't.
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Old 01-03-2012, 03:52 AM   #46
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Hey Barts, it would be great to get info on the LED lamps and strips you are using.
Warm white strips - 16' on sale now for $24.
www.LEDwholesalers.com - 16.4 ft / 5M Flexible LED Lighting Strip 300 SMD3528 with 3M Tape

MR16 bulbs
www.LEDwholesalers.com - MR16 240 Lumen 15 SMD LED Wide Angle Flood Light

also get the holders and sockets to go with 'em... they're hard to find locally, and these guys are cheaper.

- Bart
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Old 01-03-2012, 06:39 AM   #47
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Bart, have you had issues with some of the lights going out on your flexible lighting strips?

A friend of mine installed about 24 feet of cuttable/linkable strips (brand and source unknown). About 1 out of 20 of his lights don't work ... but if you push your finger against the non-working lights they start working again for several hours. All in all, the LED strip is really nice though. It puts out some serious light!

If it is helpful to anyone, some time ago I replaced the bulbs in the factory fixtures of our 2004 28' CCD with the following directly from Airstream ...
1 x LED Replacement - 1156 40x50 Pad Warm White (15751W-07)
35 x LED Replacement - Halogen Puck Style Warm White (15751W-09)
5 x LED Replacement - 1156 Socket 13 LED Warm White (15751W-12)
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Old 01-03-2012, 06:52 AM   #48
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Bart, I look forward to reading your blog as you chronicle the last two years!

Tin Pickle Adventures
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Old 01-04-2012, 04:05 AM   #49
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Bart, have you had issues with some of the lights going out on your flexible lighting strips?

A friend of mine installed about 24 feet of cuttable/linkable strips (brand and source unknown). About 1 out of 20 of his lights don't work ... but if you push your finger against the non-working lights they start working again for several hours. All in all, the LED strip is really nice though. It puts out some serious light!
No problems so far... all of the LED works just fine, but I've only had 'em in a year or so. They're pretty well protected from incidental damage.

I'm also working a design for the light to replace the ceiling lights in our '72... we have the indirect lighting above the overhead storage, but the front of the trailer needs more light. Perhaps more birch plywood, with designs laser cut into the center... definitely more LED strip lighting, though.

- Bart


- Bart
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Old 01-04-2012, 09:25 AM   #50
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The strips seem efficient, tight and produce a lot of light. Send us some pics once you create a solution for the front of your AS.
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Old 01-09-2012, 09:58 PM   #51
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I've used LED strips, tape, on a couple of projects, and find that the tape can be variable in quality. NORA makes some, and I had some issues with connections and quality. I've used WAC pucks, they're quite well made. The tape is sensitive to polarity, and you can fry it if you put it together backwards. I want to use it in our trailer for indirect lighting over the cabinets, and do away with the ceiling fixtures.
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Old 10-13-2012, 12:43 AM   #52
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I had the dealer install Zamp Solar panels and a charge controller when I bought my FC 25. They keep the batteries topped off with no effort and provide me with solid peace of mind knowing I will have power when I want it. Next is an inverter of 1800-2000w capacity, then 2 6v batteries for 490 amp hours of happiness. Finally, a 2000w generator will fill the bill to provide enough juice to feed the A/C. I'm very pleased with the solar panels - a great 1st step in building a system the factory should have engineered and provided in the first place.
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Old 10-13-2012, 05:45 AM   #53
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I had the dealer install Zamp Solar panels and a charge controller when I bought my FC 25. They keep the batteries topped off with no effort and provide me with solid peace of mind knowing I will have power when I want it. Next is an inverter of 1800-2000w capacity, then 2 6v batteries for 490 amp hours of happiness. Finally, a 2000w generator will fill the bill to provide enough juice to feed the A/C. I'm very pleased with the solar panels - a great 1st step in building a system the factory should have engineered and provided in the first place.
it sounds like those two 6v batteries will give you 490 watts at 6v which is half that at 12v.

a 2000w generator is not large enough to runnthe start up power required for the a/c.

you might was to did into the solar posts here and recheck your specs. so you're not short of your needs.
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Old 10-13-2012, 07:42 AM   #54
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, then 2 6v batteries for 490 amp hours of happiness. .
Keep in mind that for batteries in series, voltage adds but current stays the same. So two 245 A-hr, 6v batteries in series give you 245 A-hr at 12 volts.
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Old 10-14-2012, 07:30 AM   #55
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I don't know why people feel that Airstream should be designing solar systems on stock trailers. I have 4 panels totaling 445watts and a possible 26amps per hour in optimum conditions, all installed by the Factory.

Airstream does include the pre wire on all trailers and offers products to install, but the market of campers who need or can justify the expense of Solar panels is very limited.

So in regard to the comment made the other day that Airstream should have designed the Solar system, I just don't think that's a valid point
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Old 10-14-2012, 02:17 PM   #56
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I had the dealer install Zamp Solar panels and a charge controller when I bought my FC 25. They keep the batteries topped off with no effort and provide me with solid peace of mind knowing I will have power when I want it. Next is an inverter of 1800-2000w capacity, then 2 6v batteries for 490 amp hours of happiness. Finally, a 2000w generator will fill the bill to provide enough juice to feed the A/C. I'm very pleased with the solar panels - a great 1st step in building a system the factory should have engineered and provided in the first place.
Hello,
You might want to check the power requirements on your a/c. The 2012 were suppose to be standard with 15000 btu a/c unit. I think the Yamaha with 2500 watts might be a better choice
Pete
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