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Old 03-09-2016, 02:39 PM   #1
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Data Gathering for Solar Install

So team of gray beards ... one of the first questions someone is going to ask when I eventually post questions about installing solar on our soon to be trailer is how much we use?

Well, looking to technology to monitor electricity in the home such as these two below how could they be adapted for the airstream and how would they be installed to monitor the entire trailer:

Neurio Home Energy Monitor

Or this:

Sense Home Energy Monitor

caw
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Old 03-09-2016, 09:04 PM   #2
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Your energy needs are important when you're running from batteries, not from shore power. So why bother trying to adapt a system that's only designed for measuring energy consumption with 110 V appliances?

With this in mind, you'll need a battery monitor that's going to measure the current going into and out of the battery with any solar installation that you may contemplate. You can go ahead and install the monitor even before installing the solar system to evaluate your energy consumption if you choose. This way you'll be able to tell how much battery capacity you use and perhaps help you decide if you need to install additional battery capacity.

There are several good vendors for battery monitors - all of them require a shunt resistor that's used to measure current. Take a look at Blue Sky IPN Pro remote, TriMetric and Victron to name a few.
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Old 03-10-2016, 07:26 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alano View Post
With this in mind, you'll need a battery monitor that's going to measure the current going into and out of the battery with any solar installation that you may contemplate. You can go ahead and install the monitor even before installing the solar system to evaluate your energy consumption if you choose. This way you'll be able to tell how much battery capacity you use and perhaps help you decide if you need to install additional battery capacity.

There are several good vendors for battery monitors - all of them require a shunt resistor that's used to measure current. Take a look at Blue Sky IPN Pro remote, TriMetric and Victron to name a few.

All very fair points.

Absolutely agree I'll need to understand typical usage in order to design a system appropriate for our use. That's why I'm looking for options that provide the level of detail simply to the systems linked above.

I liked the amount of data available on the system designed for home.

Do any of the brands you mention provide that level of detail and output? The closest I've seen in my hasty search is the Victron.

The data from the home products is exactly the level of detail we should be demanding from firms.

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Old 03-10-2016, 09:21 AM   #4
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Read all the posts by a member called Lewster. That will keep you busy for a bit. And by doing that many other members chime in about having done their own or use a different method.
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Old 03-10-2016, 12:51 PM   #5
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Data Gathering? Read, read, read!

My wife and I are just finishing up a six month full time stint in our 1985 Airstream Sovereign. We successfully kept our 500 amp battery set above 70% for the duration with the help of 2 older 50 watt pv panels and occasionally topping off with a campground's power. I gained most of what I know from extensive research and reading and based my batteries, charge controller, converter and inverter purchases on this information. What was right for me will probably not be right for you, which is why I do not detail my choices.

The best, most honest source of photovoltaic knowledge for RV'ers, in my opinion is Handy Bob's blog at https://handybobsolar.wordpress.com/

Along with some great advisors on Airforums with credentials, you should be up to speed in time.

Caveat: Handy Bob has seen a lot of stupidity in his time so he can sound angry. He has also seen umpteen vendors of batteries, pv systems and installers mislead their clients, so he trusts only a few proven entities. Read his entire blog before you even think about soliciting information from him.
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Old 03-11-2016, 05:18 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hittenstiehl View Post
Read all the posts by a member called Lewster. That will keep you busy for a bit. And by doing that many other members chime in about having done their own or use a different method.
I've definitely started reading all of the posts writ large about solar installs. The key before we even consider a system, though, is knowing what we use. How best to measure is critical to me ... I'm leaning towards the Victron Battery Monitor since it gives me connectivity to my phone for data collection. Paper and pencil is so 20th century .
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Old 03-11-2016, 05:22 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnkellygre View Post
My wife and I are just finishing up a six month full time stint in our 1985 Airstream Sovereign. We successfully kept our 500 amp battery set above 70% for the duration with the help of 2 older 50 watt pv panels and occasionally topping off with a campground's power. I gained most of what I know from extensive research and reading and based my batteries, charge controller, converter and inverter purchases on this information. What was right for me will probably not be right for you, which is why I do not detail my choices.

The best, most honest source of photovoltaic knowledge for RV'ers, in my opinion is Handy Bob's blog at https://handybobsolar.wordpress.com/

Along with some great advisors on Airforums with credentials, you should be up to speed in time.

Caveat: Handy Bob has seen a lot of stupidity in his time so he can sound angry. He has also seen umpteen vendors of batteries, pv systems and installers mislead their clients, so he trusts only a few proven entities. Read his entire blog before you even think about soliciting information from him.
Holy cow ... just started reading his site and totally digging it ... I've had some electrical theory during my undergrad and graduate program but that's been long forgotten. It's good to get taught again.

Thanks for chiming in ... I think we're going to monitor using the Victron battery monitor since it syncs with my phone, allowing me to place it anywhere really.

All of this is premature until we travel to get our Aluminum Dream tomorrow !
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