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Old 01-09-2013, 02:49 AM   #1
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Solar instead of A/C ? Am I Nuts ?

I have plans to put as much solar as I can fit on my 26', would I hurt my long term resale value by putting 2 panels where the A/C was ? I don't plan on needing A/C but do plan on lots of solar and there just isn't much room with all the vents, smaller solar panels go up in price per watt exponentially so big spaces are best, am I nuts to eliminate the A/C ?(its a no longer working original armstrong from 66' I believe)
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Old 01-09-2013, 03:52 AM   #2
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I've seen an AVION TT in CO for sale for a very long time when most are moving fairly quickly. The price is a little high, but the removal of A/C and addition of extra solar panels does not help, IMO. Punching holes in the roof or taped (the potential buyer doesn't know how installed or how well) plus all kinds of extra wiring is something of a flag to buyers.

OTOH, it's yours so don't worry about it. No TT ever returns what is spent on it. Valuation is not like a car. One must log number of nights aboard annually + miles in tow to have a more accurate rendition of "value delivered".

FWIW I wouldn't remove A/C. Whether humidity or temp control (not to mention dust), the A/C is more than just a bit of cooling capacity. And how well have you calculated loads? There is something of a limit to how much batt capacity (size & weight) that a given TT can carry or use. That is where I would spend more time.

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Old 01-09-2013, 06:01 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alumascoupe View Post
I...do plan on lots of solar and there just isn't much room with all the vents, ... am I nuts to eliminate the A/C ?(its a no longer working original armstrong from 66' I believe)
If you're talking solar you must be a boondocker. The only place I've ever used A/C is in Vegas and during a couple of dust storms at Burning Man. Despite that, I've got a working A/C on all my Airstreams. Duh.

If you attend a vintage rally, say, the RMVAC, you see a good percentage of the Airstreams without A/C units, mostly the pre-70s models. So it's not unheard of, at all. So I don't think it's a big deal to remove it, especially if it's not working. It's easy to skin over the 14" hole in a way that preserves its availability for a new A/C later.

BTW, many threads have commented that the original Armstrong is repairable.

Having said all that, I think most vintage Airstreams are over-vented. This is especially true if you replace a vent with a Fantastic Fan. If you have three vents, I would suggest removing and skinning over a vent, in addition to removing the A/C.

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Old 01-09-2013, 06:39 AM   #4
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I have been recently trying to educate myself about solar and in another thread someone recommended I read handy bobs blog about solar. It is long read but it details about a guy who lives off the grid both with his rv and house for many years now. Apparently there is a lot to setting up solar to make it work properly and be efficient. You should be able to keep the AC unit.
http://handybobsolar.wordpress.com/
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Old 01-09-2013, 07:03 AM   #5
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Why yes, I am building a boondocking trailer ! A temporary domicile for use during my dream home construction. I really like the thought of being green, building things to last and using our limited resources as wisely as possible, not too many more generations will be able to consume as we have, we should all be ashamed to be honest. Sorry for the rant. As much as I'd love to keep my "dreamstream" forever, I fear I will likely have to sell it eventually to fund the final stages of the house so I have to give some consideration to the future owner who preferably wants to boondock too. I have considered my loads and figure I can be more than comfortable using 150 amp/hours a day. The battery weight is an issue for sure. I still have a wide open floorspace so placement ideas are appreciated, probably 4 trojans 2 each side on the frame rails with huge cable between ? I'm open to ideas, I never considered removing a vent, but I like where this is going, the one in front is huge and both back ones are 14x14 I think. I do not have a 14x14 cut out for A/C as the original has only two small holes less than 2x3" each and I've already patched them. Unless I rebuild the Armstrong I would have to cut a much larger hole in the roof. If only there were ribs to support the heavy beast I'd put a newer A/C in the 14x14 vent thats over the kitchen area. I personally dont like A/C but if everyone else does now is the time to do it. I'm waiting to figure the solar panel mount set-up so I can finish insulating the roof and install the interior. Is boondocking/solar/and A/C too oxymoronic ? I might just have to fully commit to boondock special
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Old 01-09-2013, 07:52 AM   #6
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Do you plan to incorporate solar electric in your dream home? Just a thought, but if so have you considered erecting a free standing array to power the trailer and then reuse the panels for the home later?
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Old 01-09-2013, 07:56 AM   #7
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Talking Options

Can you park the 'stream in the shade where you are building? Can you do a separate battery storage and assorted electronics under the trailer with the panels on a ground mount in the sun?You can always repurpose the panels later for the house if they are not dedicated to the TT. Weight should not be an issue if the trailer is parked on your lot for the duration of the build.
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Originally Posted by alumascoupe View Post
Why yes, I am building a boondocking trailer ! A temporary domicile for use during my dream home construction. I really like the thought of being green, building things to last and using our limited resources as wisely as possible, not too many more generations will be able to consume as we have, we should all be ashamed to be honest. Sorry for the rant. As much as I'd love to keep my "dreamstream" forever, I fear I will likely have to sell it eventually to fund the final stages of the house so I have to give some consideration to the future owner who preferably wants to boondock too. I have considered my loads and figure I can be more than comfortable using 150 amp/hours a day. The battery weight is an issue for sure. I still have a wide open floorspace so placement ideas are appreciated, probably 4 trojans 2 each side on the frame rails with huge cable between ? I'm open to ideas, I never considered removing a vent, but I like where this is going, the one in front is huge and both back ones are 14x14 I think. I do not have a 14x14 cut out for A/C as the original has only two small holes less than 2x3" each and I've already patched them. Unless I rebuild the Armstrong I would have to cut a much larger hole in the roof. If only there were ribs to support the heavy beast I'd put a newer A/C in the 14x14 vent thats over the kitchen area. I personally dont like A/C but if everyone else does now is the time to do it. I'm waiting to figure the solar panel mount set-up so I can finish insulating the roof and install the interior. Is boondocking/solar/and A/C too oxymoronic ? I might just have to fully commit to boondock special
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Old 01-09-2013, 07:57 AM   #8
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Snap

Silver Goose we seem to be on the same wavelength
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Old 01-09-2013, 08:02 AM   #9
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Quote:
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... Is boondocking/solar/and A/C too oxymoronic ? I might just have to fully commit to boondock special
I think almost any 115V appliance is incompatible with boondocking. I carry a generator for those few minutes I want to run the microwave. Along those same lines, I think an inverter is a bad idea in an Airstream, except maybe a small one for charging a phone or running a laptop (hard to resist the internet).

You can put in your own braces in the 14x14 vent openings to support an A/C. Trim a couple of 2x4s to the outside and inside contour of the roof and use multiple screws to attach them to the outer skin. You will be surprised how stiff this is. Details in this post.

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Old 01-09-2013, 08:38 AM   #10
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150 amp hours a day seems like quite a lot. With a little care our use runs in the 30 to 40 amp hour per day range.
I have 250 watts of panels. Were I wanting to add more I would consider standing them off above the vents so the vent can still be opened for ventilation.
This would work well with the front vent large vent as they don't open that high anyway.
I would also consider making front and rear window covers of solar panels and hinge them up when parked like the window guards. This would not only give you more panel real estate but also keep you a little cooler like window awnings.

My own opinion is I have an older trailer that I will make do what I want. I will punch holes and make modifications to suit my life style and not worry about what the next owner might like.
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Old 01-09-2013, 08:58 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeppelinium View Post

If you attend a vintage rally, say, the RMVAC, you see a good percentage of the Airstreams without A/C units, mostly the pre-70s models. So it's not unheard of, at all. So I don't think it's a big deal to remove it, especially if it's not working. It's easy to skin over the 14" hole in a way that preserves its availability for a new A/C later.

BTW, many threads have commented that the original Armstrong is repairable.

Having said all that, I think most vintage Airstreams are over-vented. This is especially true if you replace a vent with a Fantastic Fan. If you have three vents, I would suggest removing and skinning over a vent, in addition to removing the A/C.

Zep
Zep

There is no large 14x14 hole for AC if you have a 66, just two small holes less than 2" in diameter. See post #35 in the following thread:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f427...y-91215-3.html

I am glad that I removed my Armstrong overhead AC. My window unit works fine.

I agree that they are overvented. I still have three overhead vents in my 24' Tradewind.

Dan
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Old 01-09-2013, 10:52 PM   #12
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Thanks everyone this is seriously helping to bounce some ideas around so keep the ideas coming ! So far it seems no A/C isn't very popular, while I've never considered myself one to "conform" I'm beginning to learn non-conformity leads to lost money on investments which is what I consider my AS to be. I want to keep it forever, but I need a house instead of a rent payment and I think the AS can help that process.
I didn't consider just keeping my solar when I eventually sell and that may well be what I end up doing. 12v isn't preferred for residential but it can work.
Eliminating a vent wont get me the room I need as I can fit the panels alongside of them, its the A/C is so wide the panels would hang halfway down the side and detract too much from the good looks its so famous for.
Until I realized the conflict I planned on running 4 panels down each side of the roof with hinged mounts on both sides of the 2 arrays, so each group of four panels could tilt in unison from the sides nearest the vents or the sides nearest the awning like this( / vent / ) or this ( \ vent \ ) so as long as I park on an east/west axis I can tilt 800 watts to the sun ! 800 seems like a lot but I want to see if its possible to keep the luxuries while being "green", better too much than not enough. Should I move this to the solar forum ? Now I'm thinking I need to leave room for the A/C .
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Old 01-09-2013, 11:33 PM   #13
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Yes
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Old 01-10-2013, 07:37 AM   #14
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I agree that the selling price of your Airstream will probably be higher with AC, but consider that some vintage Airstreamers would probably prefer the trailer without AC. I would never cut the hole and install the new AC now, but would instead leave the space for the AC and the wiring in place, so that you can cut the hole later and add AC if you (or the next owner) wants to.

We also never know the future. You just may end up keeping the Airstream. They really have a way of growing on you.

Dan
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