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Old 02-06-2011, 07:17 PM   #1
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1970 31' Sovereign
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Experiments with Solar Power - Part 1

Ok so today was my experimental Solar phase one day. What this means is that I started testing a few ideas. Next up - a few pictures. What I basically did was take a sunforce 30-amp charge controller from camper world, mount it in the side of the wall panel next to the refrigerator, and mount a small 15 watt solar panel in the upper window in the left side of the airstream. Figure that gives me a sheltered location to mount it and protect it from the elements, plus it's conveniently close to the DC outlet on that wall (so I can charge through that versus run wires all the way back to the battery.)


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Old 02-06-2011, 07:39 PM   #2
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The pictures are way too big, dude. Smaller 'em up.
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Old 02-18-2011, 11:16 PM   #3
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well I'm laughing also - not just the size of the pictures - I was taking those with a new phone - and had forgotten to remove the protective plastic over the camera lens!

More pics will follow - I want to post a few more pictures related to the actual appliances and furnace in another thread....

Rick
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Old 02-18-2011, 11:31 PM   #4
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Figure that gives me a sheltered location to mount it and protect it from the elements, plus it's conveniently close to the DC outlet on that wall (so I can charge through that versus run wires all the way back to the battery.)
Clever idea.

A grocery store near me chose to cover their oudoor patio - with solar panels. No roof, just built an A-frame to hold the panels and they doubled as energy and shade. I feel you are on the brink of a new invention - a silicon Airstream, where the entire trailer absorbs energy!

Looking forward to the next photos.
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Old 02-19-2011, 06:04 PM   #5
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well actually I had a decent idea I will share with you guys once I check the math. There may actually be a way to virtually turn the roof into one big solar panel. I've been thinking about it for a month or so. Just a few details I need to hammer out.

For anyone interested - any work you do with solar or 12-volt - at some point you'll likely want a 12V DC to 110V AC power inverter. I just picked up a 750-watt inverter at Sam's Club of all places - for ..... drum roll please......

32 dollars.

Couldn't believe my luck. I'm becoming more of a fan of that place after this find.
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Old 02-20-2011, 10:16 AM   #6
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Very inexpensive. Is it a pure-sine wave inverter? Power-loss from inversion becomes my main concern.
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Old 02-20-2011, 12:26 PM   #7
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Very inexpensive. Is it a pure-sine wave inverter? Power-loss from inversion becomes my main concern.
Honestly I can't recall off the top of my head. I was so happy to find a 750-watt inverter that low - I didn't even glance long. Had it off the shelf and into the cart fast as I could. In retrospect I should have picked up a second one at that price.

I still owe a picture of the inverter and the wiring chaos in the front behind the control panel. I've decided I'm ditching the original dashboard and building my own with custom gauges and such. The old setup is pretty fried.

The battery checker gauge stays non-stop at half - guarantee that's not accurate. The Ammeter doesn't work - and I've checked those lines. The waste and water tanks pretty much never move regardless of how full they are. The clock is fried and nearly melted down by a battery that appears to have exploded in it. The only thing I see that might be working is the dash panel light and the barometer.

I'm also considering putting in a different door system for the front storage area under that control panel. Maybe sliding doors or something...
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Old 02-21-2011, 08:48 AM   #8
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I've heard of a photovoltaic paint being developed the past few years. Don't know if it's available but wouldn't that be nice! Especially if a light color - paint the whole roof.
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Old 02-21-2011, 08:57 AM   #9
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I can't wait for flexable panels to sub for awnings!!
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Old 02-27-2011, 09:13 AM   #10
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I know you know - but lots of energy lost with the panel behind the window...
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