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Old 05-30-2009, 01:43 AM   #1
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Advice Needed: Solar For our 93 25' Excella

Hello Everyone,

I've been combing through the solar threads here on the forums but I'm still lost in regards to what we need so I'm asking for advice. My husband and I are about to head off on a 6 to 8 week adventure out west and we'd like to install a solar system to recharge our batteries to insure we can run our interior lights, TV and Leon's C-Pap machine (so I don't need to kill him due to his snoring). We will mostly be staying in national park campgrounds which means we will be boondocking and we don't have a ton of space available on the roof of our camper as it's a 25' narrow body. We are pretty conservative in regards to our power usage, what are our options?

Oh, we have 2 deep cell batteries on board and a small 450 watt inverter (whatever that means).

Thanks in advance!
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Old 05-30-2009, 06:07 AM   #2
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Hi there;
Well, my wife and I own a restored 69 land yacht that we power mostly with solar. I have one foldable 30 watt panel that I carry with us. When we arrive on site I just stick the rods in the ground that hold the array up, array facing sun, and away it goes. Never did like the thought of actually permanently installing panels on the stream, just another chance of leaks and dents, then you also have a hard time getting the panels oriented to the sun properly most times. The 30 watt is connected directly to the batterie(s) via a 7 amp charge controller which is more than enough for one 30 watt array.
This gives us enough power most days to do everything we need, water, LCD tv, sound system, exhaust fans, heater fan etc.
So, hope this helps;
James and Marcia
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Old 05-30-2009, 06:35 AM   #3
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Smile Sunshine

Hi Michelle,
A 30W panel may not provide enough power in the event of an overcast day or 2.
Many National Parks have alot of trees, which means shade, which is not good for solar.

On the other hand, some National Parks prohibit generators in primitive camp areas.
(That was the case in Yellowstone NP at the Indian _ _ _ _? camp ground.)

Those C-PAP machines come in a few flavors, some heat the air, which uses more power. looking in back, does it say how many (watts) and (Amps) it uses?

I'm a big solar proponent, and have been completely solar dependent for over a year, but considering your medical needs and if you only intend on boondocking occasionally, a little Honda generator might be an option.

The 1000 Watt Honda should be light enough for you to handle.

Michael
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Old 05-30-2009, 10:44 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyberfarmer View Post
Hi there;
Well, my wife and I own a restored 69 land yacht that we power mostly with solar. I have one foldable 30 watt panel that I carry with us. When we arrive on site I just stick the rods in the ground that hold the array up, array facing sun, and away it goes. Never did like the thought of actually permanently installing panels on the stream, just another chance of leaks and dents, then you also have a hard time getting the panels oriented to the sun properly most times. The 30 watt is connected directly to the batterie(s) via a 7 amp charge controller which is more than enough for one 30 watt array.
This gives us enough power most days to do everything we need, water, LCD tv, sound system, exhaust fans, heater fan etc.
So, hope this helps;
James and Marcia
Thanks! I'll take a close look at this option.
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Old 05-30-2009, 11:20 AM   #5
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Hi Michelle,
A 30W panel may not provide enough power in the event of an overcast day or 2.
Many National Parks have alot of trees, which means shade, which is not good for solar.

On the other hand, some National Parks prohibit generators in primitive camp areas.
(That was the case in Yellowstone NP at the Indian _ _ _ _? camp ground.)

Those C-PAP machines come in a few flavors, some heat the air, which uses more power. looking in back, does it say how many (watts) and (Amps) it uses?

I'm a big solar proponent, and have been completely solar dependent for over a year, but considering your medical needs and if you only intend on boondocking occasionally, a little Honda generator might be an option.

The 1000 Watt Honda should be light enough for you to handle.

Michael
Thanks Michael, I just looked at the back of the C-Pap machine Leon uses in the house and it doesn't list the wattage. I'll head down to the barn to check out the C-Pap machine that stays in the trailer to see if it lists it's wattage.

We own a Honda 2000i which we currently use to recharge our batteries when we boondock for more than a few days. We'd like to move to solar so that we don't have to lug the generator and gas container with us as we don't have a lot of space in the back of our TV because of our 75 gallon extended fuel tank. So I'm thinking a portable solar panel setup may not solve our problem if the unit(s) take up a lot of space - I'll need to research this. I do like the idea of portable instead of fixed because we'd be able to use one portable setup for both of our trailers.

Oh! We are planning to visit and camp at Yellowstone NP. I'm pretty darn excited about this.
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Old 05-30-2009, 11:24 AM   #6
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At MetroNY we happen to have a solar expert as a member (commercial and residential solar installations are his full time business).

If Leon is a bit handy (and I think he is), and you were to attend a MetroNY function (Fort Schuyler is in a couple of weeks):

WBCCI Forum -

we might be able to make a seminar out of a solar installation on your rig.

That typically means that you supply the labor (with some WBCCI friends) and he supplies the panels, charge controller, misc. supplies, plus the guidance, instructions, and free help (you could always get he and his wife a bottle of something nice)...

Typical installations at MetroNY are self-adhesive flexible amorphous solar panels (stick right to the skin) that will charge at nearly all levels of light, including overcast days. Or the more traditional line-of-sight flat crystalline solar panels (much higher charging capacity than the amorphous technology per square foot, but need direct sunlight for the best charging rates).

He doesn't just do them for anybody (which is why I'm not posting his info here), but he's a WBCCI fanatic, and if you'd like me to inquire, I will. Typically he's just helping out fellow MetroNY Unit members. He may already have a Fort Schuyler installation going on -- I would need to check.

He's typically happy to help, but you'll find him in a consulting role, not a getting-dirty-and-sweaty-at-a-rally role... Oh, and we have great shower facilities at Fort Schuyler too...

I plan on putting amorphous in our '53 Flying Cloud, just as soon as I get the roof painted white, and replace the front floor (road worthy issues), so I'd be happy to be a part of the installation crew so that I could go through this first hand, and then do my own installation when I'm ready for it...

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Thanks for the offer! We won't be able to take advantage of this due to timing issues. Also I want to do the research on portable solar as it maybe a better solution for us.
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Old 05-30-2009, 11:30 AM   #7
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Michelle,

The power requirements, both AC and DC, are in the instruction manual. You can always get a copy online, if you can't find the hard copy.

Bill
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Old 05-30-2009, 12:13 PM   #8
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Michelle,

The power requirements, both AC and DC, are in the instruction manual. You can always get a copy online, if you can't find the hard copy.

Bill
Hi Bill,

Thanks, I'm pretty sure Leon knows what the power requirements are for his C-Pap machines. I'll ask him once he gets back in the house, he's currently working on his outside "honey-do" list.
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Old 05-30-2009, 03:01 PM   #9
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Hi Michelle and Leon,

Here are a two links with lots of info and some internal links about the experiences of a couple that full time.

They have work camped and/or visited several NP out west including Arches. They have lots of pictures of the sites at Arches.

RV Electrical Systems
Our Electrical System

We hope you have a wonderful Time!
Kathy, Tex and Wags
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Old 06-09-2009, 04:53 PM   #10
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Great read...

Hi,

Check out this .pdf I found, I'm adding Solar to our Safari and this looks like a great setup for boondocking

Gregg
Attached Files
File Type: pdf 07mr14-solar-article.pdf (538.8 KB, 170 views)
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Old 06-11-2009, 11:55 AM   #11
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Hi,

Check out this .pdf I found, I'm adding Solar to our Safari and this looks like a great setup for boondocking

Gregg
Thanks! It looks like he placed his solar panels in the space where the TV antenna normally folds down on. I'm thinking the bat wing antenna could be switched out with a marine antenna - we'd need to move it in front of the AC instead of in back of it.

We are still researching our options. I'll add this to the list.
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Old 06-29-2009, 01:25 PM   #12
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We made our solar decision

Finally!

After lots of research and hand wringing we went with a 160 watt RV solar kit (roof install). Check out it's installation in my blog, link below.
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Old 01-01-2010, 08:17 PM   #13
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