Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 09-23-2007, 02:12 PM   #1
4 Rivet Member
 
BDandTTs's Avatar
 
2005 22' International CCD
Huntington , Vermont
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 309
Images: 49
Bandit's Solar

Bandit's solar system is now installed and I hope that some of you might be interested in descriptions of it and our experiences as time goes by.

Bandit is a 2005 22' CCD purchased new in September 2006. Options included in the purchase were a spare tire, a second Fantastic, and a dealer installed Equal-i-zer hitch. It was delivered with a single group 24 Harris battery and two 20-lb. propane tanks mounted on the tongue. The battery was 'maintenance free', meaning the water level could not be checked nor topped off. We doubt that it is in good condition, and found that we ran low on power rather quickly when boondocking. We used solar with our previous camper, a Scamp, and were able to go without hookups for at least 5 days on a group 27 battery. Since we'd kept the panel, the solution was obvious. We also decided to upgrade to two batteries, but it was not obvious where to install them.

The solar panel is a Siemens SP75. It was purchased in 2003 for $298. It is rated at 75 watts, 4.4 amps. Dimensions are 19"x46.1". Bob made a collapsible stand for it, and we have always used it as a portable unit. It can be transported in Bandit or the pickup. There is a photo in our Members Photo section of this site.

To accommodate two batteries without significant alterations, we decided to replace one of the propane tanks with a battery, and also discovered that Trojan T105 6-volt batteries had a footprint that was almost identical to the original equipment battery although they are taller. A larger battery would have required raising the battery platform for even one battery. Neither did we want to cut access door openings for mounting AGM batteries inside. The first photo shows our new tongue setup.


The batteries are Trojan T105s. Each weighs 62 lbs. and has a 20-hour rate of 225 Ah. They are wet cell batteries, and the fluid levels can be checked easily. They were $125 each (no additional core charge). Since it is a 6-volt system, our total capacity is 225 Ah. For installation, we purchased a battery tray and one extra cable to connect the two batteries, cost $20.

To compensate for the loss of one propane tank, we'll be carrying a 1 lb. canister strapped to the top of the second battery. Cost $5 for steak saver. When the large tank runs out of propane, the small canister will allow us just a bit of time to get a refill. Our plan is to travel with the small tank empty for extra safety, a full tank would be added only when necessary. A little bit of hassle, but we believe the system will work well for us. We could also carry an extra large tank in the pickup when boondocking in extra cold or remote places.

We've not weighed the new tongue yet, but believe that it has at most been increased by 40-50 lbs. since we removed one of the propane tanks. Our previous tongue weight was 582 lbs (no weight distribution attached).

In the second photo the propane shroud is in place, everything fits and it looks essentially like no modifications have been made. You'll note that the solar charge runs through an extension cord and is plugged in next to the A-frame and just aft of the front battery. The panel can be up to 25' from the trailer using another larger extension cord.


Bandit's solar charge controller is mounted in the closet wall, above the refrigerator. It is a GoPower 25 amp digital charge controller. It is a PWM type controller and cost just under $100, plus about $50 for extra wire.


That's the system. Total cost so far $723, and Bob has done all of the installation. Can't wait to try it out on International Show Your Airstream Weekend October 5!
__________________

__________________
Bob, Dianne, and Tess the WFT
BDandTTs
Bandit #14576 (WDCU/AIR)

http://www.RWChatelain-Woodturner.com
BDandTTs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-23-2007, 04:23 PM   #2
Naysayer
 
Boondocker's Avatar

 
1968 24' Tradewind
Louisville , earth
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 4,635
Images: 7
Send a message via Yahoo to Boondocker
Completely off topic reply

I took a look at the link at the bottom of your sig------WOW! That is some stunning work you have there!
__________________

__________________
Rodney

Visit my photography page
and the
Favorite camp grounds project map
My Blog

(The artist formerly known as General Disarray)

Boondocker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-23-2007, 04:41 PM   #3
4 Rivet Member
 
BDandTTs's Avatar
 
2005 22' International CCD
Huntington , Vermont
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 309
Images: 49
Thanks, Rodney. The admiration is mutual, we really enjoy your photos of wildlife and landscape. There is another (slight) connection, I believe. A couple of my pieces were featured in Bob Crutcher's Bell Buckle Art Festival. Don't you have family there? Thanks again.

Bob
__________________
BDandTTs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-23-2007, 04:43 PM   #4
Rivet Master
 
Crusty's Avatar
 
1992 34' Excella
Austin , Texas
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 562
Images: 10
Those Trojans are really a great battery. I had one set that lasted for 10 years installed in three different sailboats. A call to the Trojan factory will also confirm that those batteries should routinely be discharged to the 50% level, lower than any other battery that I'm aware of. FWIW, Trojan also makes T125s in the same case size so you get a little more oompah than the T105s.
__________________
Crusty
"If you come to a fork in the road, take it."
Austin, TX "Rancho Deluxe"
Crusty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-23-2007, 04:51 PM   #5
Site Team
 
azflycaster's Avatar
 
1975 25' Tradewind
Dewey , Arizona
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 12,124
Images: 62
Blog Entries: 1
Nice looking setup. The only question I have is, can a 1 lb bottle run things like the stove or the fridge? Have you tested the ability of the regulator to switch over to the small tank?
__________________

Richard

Wally Byam Airstream Club 7513
azflycaster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-23-2007, 04:53 PM   #6
Naysayer
 
Boondocker's Avatar

 
1968 24' Tradewind
Louisville , earth
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 4,635
Images: 7
Send a message via Yahoo to Boondocker
Quote:
Originally Posted by BDandTTs
Thanks, Rodney. The admiration is mutual, we really enjoy your photos of wildlife and landscape. There is another (slight) connection, I believe. A couple of my pieces were featured in Bob Crutcher's Bell Buckle Art Festival. Don't you have family there? Thanks again.

Bob
Family all about, I lived in Bell Buckle prior to going back to school back at the turn of the century.
__________________
Rodney

Visit my photography page
and the
Favorite camp grounds project map
My Blog

(The artist formerly known as General Disarray)

Boondocker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-23-2007, 04:55 PM   #7
4 Rivet Member
 
BDandTTs's Avatar
 
2005 22' International CCD
Huntington , Vermont
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 309
Images: 49
Trojans

Thanks, Crusty. Don't know how I missed the extra capacity with no increase in size. I probably just assumed that extra capacity meant a larger footprint. Thanks also for the usage tip. As a start, we plan to break the habit of plugging in a home. Hope Bandit's batteries last at least half as long as yours.
__________________
Bob, Dianne, and Tess the WFT
BDandTTs
Bandit #14576 (WDCU/AIR)

http://www.RWChatelain-Woodturner.com
BDandTTs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-23-2007, 05:03 PM   #8
4 Rivet Member
 
BDandTTs's Avatar
 
2005 22' International CCD
Huntington , Vermont
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 309
Images: 49
1 lb bottle

"can a 1 lb bottle run things like the stove or the fridge? Have you tested the ability of the regulator to switch over to the small tank?"

Uh, Oh. No, I think we'll be OK. Using a steak saver that connects a small, portable cylinder in place of the standard tank was a trick that we learned from Scampers. It was not uncommon to find Scamps with only one propane tank. We will, however, switch over tomorrow and test it on the Airstream which does have longer propane runs. Will let you know.
__________________
Bob, Dianne, and Tess the WFT
BDandTTs
Bandit #14576 (WDCU/AIR)

http://www.RWChatelain-Woodturner.com
BDandTTs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-24-2007, 11:40 AM   #9
4 Rivet Member
 
BDandTTs's Avatar
 
2005 22' International CCD
Huntington , Vermont
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 309
Images: 49
Propane load test

Yes, the 1 lb. cannister can run it all -- stove, refrigerator, hot water, furnace.

The test -- Started refrigerator and stove.
Switched supply lever from 20lb tank to 1lb canister.
Waited about 3 minutes, no fluctuations.
Started water heater. Lit, extinguished itself, then relit automatically.
Waited another 3 minutes.
Started furnace. No fluctuations in any of the appliances.
Turned off the 20lb. canister supply, and ran all appliances for another 5 minutes.
No fluctuations.

Thanks, AZFlycaster, for suggesting the load test. The little canister might not last very long under a heavy load, but it should buy some extra time in an emergency.
__________________
Bob, Dianne, and Tess the WFT
BDandTTs
Bandit #14576 (WDCU/AIR)

http://www.RWChatelain-Woodturner.com
BDandTTs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-24-2007, 01:22 PM   #10
Site Team
 
azflycaster's Avatar
 
1975 25' Tradewind
Dewey , Arizona
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 12,124
Images: 62
Blog Entries: 1
Great news. Who would have thought that you could run all that....
__________________

Richard

Wally Byam Airstream Club 7513
azflycaster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-2010, 01:38 PM   #11
Rivet Master
 
Mexray's Avatar
 
1978 28' Ambassador
Morada , California
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,583
Propane containers and battery boxes mounted together have always bothered me...your mounting of the propane bottle to the top of the battery box has elevated this concern...

Any 'explosive' battery problems could have the effect to launch your propane system into the unknown...

I know the likelihood of problems are remote...but...IMHO, why temp fate; an emergency jackknife, etc., could court disaster...

I don't know if I'd try to get through the vehicle inspection when crossing Hoover Dam with your elaborate component mounting...

Reading several stories on the Forum about standard propane mounting failures underway, allowing the tanks to come loose and fall onto the road with the hoses attached made me inspect and reinforce these areas on our AS - that kind of failure could spoil one's entire trip!...
__________________
Ray & Pat; Morada, CA
Mexray is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-2010, 05:17 PM   #12
4 Rivet Member
 
BDandTTs's Avatar
 
2005 22' International CCD
Huntington , Vermont
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 309
Images: 49
Actually, the 1-lb. cannister mounted on the battery is empty and full spares are kept in the truck with barbecue supplies. When we originally made the change we anticipated running out of propane more frequently than we have in reality.
I've also read of the propane tank catastrophe, and check the attachment frequently.
Thanks for expressing your concern.
__________________
Bob, Dianne, and Tess the WFT
BDandTTs
Bandit #14576 (WDCU/AIR)

http://www.RWChatelain-Woodturner.com
BDandTTs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-04-2010, 09:41 AM   #13
2 Rivet Member
 
musketeer's Avatar
 
1989 25' Excella
1998 36' Land Yacht Widebody
Kimball , Minnesota
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 71
Remote solar panel

I like your simple remote solar panel and am considering putting one together for myself. I find that I'm usually parked in the shade and a remote seems like the way to go for me. How long is the cable from the panel to the trailer? What guage of wire did you use? Any problems with theft or tampering while you are using it?

Currently my two standard group 27 deep cycle batteries will last 2-4 days before they drop below 12.3 V. Then I drag out my generator and run it for a hour and I'm good for another couple of days. I have a Honda EU2000, but I'm still tired of the noise and dragging it around. Seems like a 100W solar panel would work.

Thanks for your advice!
__________________
musketeer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-2010, 11:44 AM   #14
4 Rivet Member
 
BDandTTs's Avatar
 
2005 22' International CCD
Huntington , Vermont
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 309
Images: 49
solar extension cord

The remote panel has worked well for us and there have been no problems with security. To date most of our boondocking has either been at established campgrounds without electricity (ie, Vermont State campgrounds) or at rallies, not in isolated spots. If an area feels unsafe, we quickly move on.

We usually use a 25' 10 gauge extension cord between the panel and an outlet mounted on the A-frame that connects to the controller with 10 gauge wire also. Having a plug both at the panel and the A-frame makes storage convenient and allows us to use longer or shorter extensions.

A 75 watt panel and 2 6V golf cart batteries have supplied our 12volt needs. We do not use AC appliances when boondocking.
__________________

__________________
Bob, Dianne, and Tess the WFT
BDandTTs
Bandit #14576 (WDCU/AIR)

http://www.RWChatelain-Woodturner.com
BDandTTs is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Solar Help takeachance Generators & Solar Power 15 05-26-2007 08:26 AM
Best way to go solar? flynmike Generators & Solar Power 11 05-23-2006 07:01 AM
Solar neil.ervin Generators & Solar Power 6 09-05-2004 01:27 PM
Solar Charger Sneakinup Generators & Solar Power 1 10-07-2003 10:04 AM
solar 4 our AS lee Generators & Solar Power 10 07-05-2003 07:19 AM


Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 02:00 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.