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Old 05-28-2014, 06:09 AM   #239
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Originally Posted by Gary W Wong View Post
Appreciate any answers as to what I did wrong or what when wrong for I will be dry camping again in October for the same amount of time but the sun may not be in full exposure at that October date.
Like AirSolarGuy said, there's a LOT going on here - you have (by my count) 5 people using battery power for several days, and that's a lot of load.

But one thing I saw: Definitely learn how to force your fridge into propane mode. It'll still use some 12 volt power for the electronics, but that's minimal. Running the fridge off the inverters will run down your batteries quickly. Our fridge has two settings - Auto and Propane. Auto uses electricity, unless it goes out, then it switches to propane. Propane mode means it stays in propane even if 120 volt power is available.
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Old 07-04-2014, 12:48 AM   #240
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Originally Posted by Gary W Wong View Post
These photos are of the airstream dealership install from fairfield ca and. They installed a 200 amp zamp solar system with ZS-30ap controller.

I am new to solar so I may have done something wrong while charging. I was out dry camping, boondocking this weekend from Saturday to Monday noon.

5 of us, my wife and three kids and I were at Lawson landing in tomalas bay and we had the sun out all day. Saturday we arrived at 3pm and set up camp with the airstream. Our first time boondocking and not saving much on utilities as we should have.

TV and DVD player on, heater at 67 degrees, charging our 5 iPhones, stove on cooking dinner, refrigerator in electric, water pump on, lights on after dark. Showering and washing dishes. Two fantastic fans running.

All fine the first night. Next day Sunday, we left the airstream after morning washing up, breakfasts from stove, tv on. We did turn off he heater. We thought after we leave solar would charge our batteries to full. While. We left .

I left the inventor on and airstream on instead of on store to shut down all systems. Came back around 7pm. We turned on the led lights, and wife washing dishes while I was outside bio camp grilling oysters and charging my cell phone with the heat exchanger component. My daughters were charging their iPhones and using them and also reading books. My son was outside with me playing. We went in after cooking the oysters and eat. Stove heated up the water for tea, heater was at 70 degrees, and now TV was on. Two Fantastatic fans running. I was concerned about the power but did not think of checking the level of charge on batteries. The zamp controller read 11.3 amp at time.

At around 10:30 pm the power dropped and shut down the DVD and TV. I may have made the mistake of not shutting everything down before leaving which may have caused some of the power usage.

We were going to shower and clean up also but we filled the grey water tank and were close to no water. I figured this would happen. So we went to bed and heater was still at 70 degrees.

Next morning, we woke around 8:30 am and stove working, inverter still on, refrigerator on electric, and iPhone charging on radio USB slot. TV and DVD player not working until I saw the batter meter read to orange and not red. And so kids wanted to finish the movie. Turned it on and it worked. The solar controller was at 4-6 for gain. Fantastic fans off and only movie playing. Water pump off. Refrigerator on. The batteries were gaining power as I see the meter read from red to orange to now green. In about 2 hours time. Sun was out full.

So the only thing I was confused about is the Sunday when our tv and DVD ran out and the batteries were not fully charged. Or did not family use it all before I get inside.

Lester you may have the answer but if anyone else has an answer also that would be great.

My airstream is a 2014 23 ft. international series.

Appreciate any answers as to what I did wrong or what when wrong for I will be dry camping again in October for the same amount of time but the sun may not be in full exposure at that October date.

Thanks ahead of time.

Gary wong
We had a similar experience at Grand Canyon National Park. We dry camp at the North Rim. Our refrigerator is on propane, but the original equipment fan to dissipate heat runs incessantly. We do not run the TV, minimal use of lights at night, and no fans, TV…ZIP. Despite full sun 160 watt 9 amp solar, and 80 in the day 40 at night temps, our fan never quit, and we were drained by AM. What we found was that the fan to dissipate heat should be replaced by a quieter and less energy draining fan. In addition, we realized that our OEM batteries were shot. We replaced these with AGM and upgraded the OEM solar to 320 watts/18 amps. We have a 30 amp Zamp controller. It should be on float when fully charged. I ordered a new more efficient refrigerator fan. Upgrading the fan + solar +AGM batteries, we hope to boondock for a long time….but just in case, we also travel with a Honda 2000 watt generator and a really large ice chest.
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Old 07-04-2014, 01:32 AM   #241
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim and Tam View Post
... the original equipment fan to dissipate heat runs incessantly... our fan never quit, and we were drained by AM. What we found was that the fan to dissipate heat should be replaced by a quieter and less energy draining fan... I ordered a new more efficient refrigerator fan. Upgrading the fan + solar +AGM batteries, we hope to boondock for a long time..."
Add a toggle switch and keep the refrig vent door open and you will be able to boondock for even a longer time!

See AirForums' thread, "Refrigerator fan".
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Old 07-04-2014, 02:03 AM   #242
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We installed a maximum capacity AM Solar system on our Classic. We have eight of their 100 watt panels on the roof, a TriStar 60 MPPT solar charge controller feeding the four Lifeline 6Vdc 300 amp-hour batteries mounted in a new battery box between the trailer and the propane tanks, We have a Magnum MS-2812 pure sine wave inverter.

The wire sizes were marine grade #10 pairs from each solar panel to the collector box on the roof and 2-0 from there to the disconnect switch in the refrigerator area to the TriStar and then to the batteries. The power from the batteries pass through a 400 amp fuse with 4-0 wire to the Magnum.

We rewired the trailer with a new main panel to shed the front air conditioner and the AC power to the water heater and refrigerator when not on shore power. This was necessary as the dual Magnum contractors are only rated 30 amps versus the 50 amp service in the trailer.

Web mounted the remote control heads for the Magnum and TriStar 60 on a custom panel along with the thermostat above the television.
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Old 07-05-2014, 01:07 PM   #243
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Atkinson Control Module Failed (Again)

My Solar Control Module (Atkinson Electronics PVCM25D) failed.

This is the second control module that has failed in less than a year. We replaced the control module in August of 2013, and have not had any problems until this week. It was replaced at no cost under warranty the last time.

I made a quick video of the unit when I was experiencing the problem this time, so I can don't have to make the 3 hour round trip my AS dealer.

So... A couple of questions:

1) Is here another control module that will work with a RJ45 monitor panel ?
2) Any other recommendations -- I guess I could replace the control module and mount a monitor between the twin beds?
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Old 07-05-2014, 01:11 PM   #244
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Originally Posted by tkowalyk View Post
My Solar Control Module (Atkinson Electronics PVCM25D) failed.

This is the second control module that has failed in less than a year. We replaced the control module in August of 2013, and have not had any problems until this week. It was replaced at no cost under warranty the last time.

I made a quick video of the unit when I was experiencing the problem this time, so I can don't have to make the 3 hour round trip my AS dealer.

So... A couple of questions:

1) Is here another control module that will work with a RJ45 monitor panel ?
2) Any other recommendations -- I guess I could replace the control module and mount a monitor between the twin beds?
Blue Sky 2412iX-HV MPPT controller ad Blue Sky iPN remote. This is my most popular combination for smaller (under 500 watts) solar installations and have yet to see one fail. Tons of great information from the integrated battery monitor system too.

If you don't want all of the bells and whistles, try the Blue Sky 3000i MPPT controller. Both have full temperature compensation too.
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Old 07-06-2014, 02:27 AM   #245
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Or perhaps the TriStar 45 MPPT charge controller with remote from AM Solar?
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Old 07-07-2014, 06:14 AM   #246
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Failed Control Module

Quote:
Originally Posted by lewster View Post
Blue Sky 2412iX-HV MPPT controller ad Blue Sky iPN remote. This is my most popular combination for smaller (under 500 watts) solar installations and have yet to see one fail. Tons of great information from the integrated battery monitor system too.

If you don't want all of the bells and whistles, try the Blue Sky 3000i MPPT controller. Both have full temperature compensation too.
Lewster,

Thanks,
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Old 07-27-2014, 03:01 PM   #247
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Hi Jeff
I was wondering if you could post pictures of your factory install solar panel on the roof of your 16 foot airstream, and specs of panel and also a picture of solar display panel inside of your trailer .
Thanks
Don (beachpei@hotmail.com ) air forums name ( scamp)
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Old 07-27-2014, 03:08 PM   #248
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Originally Posted by HootMon-Frau View Post
I notice that no one has contributed to this thread for a while but thought I would see if I could get some help. I have a 2008 16' Bambi DWR with the factory installed solar panel. This last trip the battery went dead and the display light started blinking. I have replaced the battery and the display is still blinking. What should I be checking first? Before the battery went dead I remember seeing the percentage condition of the battery but never any reading for solar at all.

Jeff
Hi Jeff
Was wondering if you could post some pictures of your factory solar panel and specs on panel wattage and size of panel,and also some pictures of display panel inside trailer.
Thanks
Don
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Old 07-27-2014, 04:15 PM   #249
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce B View Post
Hard to guess exactly what system a dealer might install so it is hard to advise. We only have a 16' Bambi but it has the factory system and it works fine. The controller Airstream uses has enough reserve capacity that I even added a connection for more panels when we are parked off grid. Works great...I would not hesitate to purchase the factory system again...especially when the warranty is nationwide. If you ever have a falling out with your dealer who will provide warranty work?
Bruce

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Hi Bruce
It would be nice if you could post pictures and specs of your factory installed solar system,panel ,size of panel dimensions and wattage,also a picture of your solar display panel inside trailer .
Thanks
Don
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Old 07-27-2014, 08:33 PM   #250
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Here is a recently completed Bambi 16 with 2 GS-100 panels (AM Solar) on the roof. The antenna was changed to 'JACK" from King Controls to allow for the additional space needed for the second panel. This system is coupled with the Blue Sky 2512 iX-HV controller and iPN remote with fully integrated battery monitor system. A single Lifeline 150 amp/hour GPL-30HT 12VDC AGM battery was placed on the tongue that effectively doubled the battery capacity.
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Old 08-23-2014, 01:53 PM   #251
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Factory solar

Perusing the Flying Cloud 12v wiring diagram, I found an answer to the limits of factory 'pre wire'. There is a 10 amp fuse at the bus bar to receive the solar charge controller feed. Too many panels and you will exceed this 10 amp limit. Also, the wire from the CC is 12 gauge, not the 10 gauge from the roof down the re fridge to the CC. That will be a further voltage drop with factory solar pre wire.
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Old 08-23-2014, 02:30 PM   #252
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But one thing I saw: Definitely learn how to force your fridge into propane mode. It'll still use some 12 volt power for the electronics, but that's minimal. Running the fridge off the inverters will run down your batteries quickly. Our fridge has two settings - Auto and Propane. Auto uses electricity, unless it goes out, then it switches to propane. Propane mode means it stays in propane even if 120 volt power is available.
Just a heads up on how the Auto/Gas switch works on newer Dometic refrigerators.

Unfortunately Dometic has changed how the auto/gas button works on the newer units. I do not know when this change took place, but on my 2014 FC 20' the dealer told me (and the manual confirmed this) that if you push the button to change from Auto to Gas, the gas flame is on full time, that is the thermostat is taken out of the circuit. So, everything will ultimately freeze up, unless it is very hot and the refrigerator is maxed out.

Who knows why they did this, but it is the way it is for the newer units. So, to force your new Dometic into propane mode, with the thermostat operating, you must leave the unit in Auto, and unplug the 120 volt power cord (or put a switch on it) so the electronics think 120 is unavailable, and automatically switch to propane. In Auto, the thermostat will still work, and no 120 volt power will change it to propane.

I can only speculate that Dometic did this change for ease of service diagnostics, or for some form of "limp home" reason. But it is a fact of life for those of us with newer units. I wish I could tell you when "newer" was.
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