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Old 04-02-2006, 08:00 PM   #29
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A few corrections to the prior post:

1. Solar panels fit very well on most Airstream roofs over 22 ft and I've met Airstreamers who live full-time with solar as their primary power source when boondocking

2. With panels on the roof there's no need to put the panels away when you leave, unlike a genset

3. I've read RoadKing Moe's posts on solar. I don't run all the stuff he lists. His argument seems to be basically "if you use a ton of power every day only a generator will do" What if you don't use a ton of power?

4. Your generator won't charge your battery fully either. At least not in less than 8-10 hours. Doesn't matter how big of a generator you have. You just can't tell without a sophisticated amp hour meter. Voltage doesn't tell you the true story.

5. "physics won't allow" people to use microwaves with an inverter and battery bank? Better tell a few people I know who do that all the time. They are likely to get put in jail for violating laws of physics!

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Old 04-02-2006, 08:24 PM   #30
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I discovered this link a while back. It might have some relevancy regarding the portable solar panel discussion.

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Old 04-03-2006, 08:54 PM   #31
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Mobile 12v Microwaving?

Originally Posted by Pinky

5. "physics won't allow" people to use microwaves with an inverter and battery bank? Better tell a few people I know who do that all the time. They are likely to get put in jail for violating laws of physics!

Is the 12v microwaver in a trailer or a home, off the grid?

Does anyone else do this in an Airstream?

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Old 04-04-2006, 04:58 AM   #32
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To answer the original poster's question, a solar panel mounted horizontally on an RV roof, and not shaded by the air-conditioner, etc., puts out in daily amp-hours about 1/4 of its wattage rating around the summer solstice, and about 2/3 of that around the spring and fall equinoxes. This is a rule of thumb that has developed over the years and verified by many RVer's who measure battery input/output with an amp-hour meter. Charging is only about 90% efficient, so multiply your daily panel output by 0.9 to find your "usable" amp-hours.

Before you decide how much of that you can use, you have to subtract that used by your RV, for the LP detector, the circuit boards in the appliances like the refrigerator and water heater, and the radio remembering its station settings. One way to find this is to turn everything off in the trailer, remove the negative lead from both batteries, then using a multimeter than can measure DC current between one of the negative leads and the negative post on its battery. Multiply that times 24 hours to get daily amp-hours.

Many RV appliances today have electric solenoids that control the propane flow. While the multimeter is still connected, turn on the refrigerator on gas and the water heater, one at a time, and record any increase in current. This you will multiply by 24 hours and again mulitply by the duty-cycle, the percent of time the solenoid is "on." That's hard to estimate and one of the best reasons for using an amp-hour meter.

You can also turn one light or other appliance on, and note its current draw over the base amount. Just don't exceed the rating of your meter. The one appliance that will probably draw the most power would be your furnance, and on larger RVs its fan can exceed the rating of a 10A meter. So can smaller furnaces during fan start-up. One worth checking is the Fantastic Vent fan since using solar means you park in the sun.

You may be surprised, especially with a larger RV, just how much electric power you use.
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Old 04-04-2006, 07:14 AM   #33
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A few guys here at work have microwaves in their vans. One fellow I know only has a 750 watt inverter.
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Old 10-28-2006, 08:09 PM   #34
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Well, I’m getting closer to ordering a 23’ Safari with L-Lounge from JC…
With 2 Fantastic Fans… and I’m considering Solar Panel(s)…
Does anyone know if JC can put 2 Solar Panels up there on the 23’ model
And if the AGM battery(s) are typically placed in the battery box outside…
Or if the factory places them inside (under lounge) taking up more space?

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Old 10-28-2006, 10:51 PM   #35
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Pretty sure the batteries stay in the box outside on the A- frame just behind the LPG tanks.
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Old 10-29-2006, 01:04 AM   #36
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While winter boondocking I use a Honda 1000 and a battery charger hooked to the batteries. Very quiet and in a couple of hours I'm all charged up and ready to run the heater all night.

I'd rather be boon docking in the desert.

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