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Old 05-16-2009, 06:11 PM   #71
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Cool "Factory Installed" ?

Just wondering if the Factory installation included factory authorized, as in dealer installed? My dealer has offered 53 watts solar with charge controller and inverter for around 2300. Does that sound reasonable, and does that sound like enough to free one from shore power with conservative use? 2007, 23 foot Safari SE-- willing to skip the AC and Microwave most of the time, like the lights and heat to be usable. Just got the trailer four months ago, so still learning what to expect.
Thanks for any feedback.
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Old 05-16-2009, 08:10 PM   #72
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Originally Posted by slpiotro View Post
Just wondering if the Factory installation included factory authorized, as in dealer installed? My dealer has offered 53 watts solar with charge controller and inverter for around 2300. Does that sound reasonable, and does that sound like enough to free one from shore power with conservative use?...
Factory installation means in this case that my two 53-watt solar panels were installed by the Airstream factory in Ohio at the time of the build of our 23' 2007 Safari trailer and became an integral part of it during the build (see page one of this thread for the details on the components and how the system is used and meets my needs).

I made a conscious decision to have a factory installation of solar to reduce the chance of a third party (dealer) causing leaks, dents, or other problems.

Again, if you review all of the pages in this thread, you will see that two, and I underscore two 53-watt solar panels, adequately meet our camping needs. Typically, this means that we can enjoy listening to the stereo, running two Fan-tastic fans, stove fan and light, water pump, charging cell phone and camera, etc. We usually do not turn on the LCD TV, but use a laptop to watch DVDs. You will not be able to run your AC or microwave unless you are hooked up to AC shore or generator power.

We use minimal light at night, at most the stove light and even that has been switched over to LED lighting. See more about this in the thread, "LED lighting retro-fit for interior lighting".

Also note that our camping is in southern California where we typically have abundant sunshine. On our latest trip to the beach our two AGM batteries typically went down to 85% late at night and were back to 100% at 13.5 volts by mid-to-late morning.

For you to be happy with solar, I think you will need two 53-watt panels or one 110-watt panel.
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Old 05-16-2009, 10:53 PM   #73
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Cost is relative.

My installation included the 110 v panel and the digital controler listed in my post. Cost, around $1700 at JC. The price on the parts was competitive, the labor a little more than some. I felt it was worth it to have the factory do the install over someone that may have never wortked on an Airstream before.

Note, no inverter, so I can't relate to tell you if the $2300 asking price is good or not. I may very well pick up an inverter to power the television in the future but I do have two Honda 2000's for the airconditioner so I am not fully dependent upon the solar. Really doubt that I could be with my set up without being really frugal.

Corky
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Old 05-17-2009, 08:39 AM   #74
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Just a note: I've been shopping for a small television with built-in DVD player. I've dicovered that there are ones by Toshiba, Sharp, etc. that operate via a 110v "adapter" much like a laptop power supply. And guess what? This little adapter puts out 12v DC to power the tele. ... looks to me like a simple adapter with Radio Shack parts will get me power directly from the Airstream's 12v system. Then the television is useable without shore power, generator, inverter, etc. They're also pretty low on power consumption, so won't run batteries down too fast if I want to watch a long movie, hockey game, etc.

Naturally, this won't work if you need a 54" plasma set with earthquake-simulating surround sound, etc.
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Old 05-17-2009, 12:25 PM   #75
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thanks for the feedback, I probably mistated, I believe the cost quote was for two 53 watt panels. I mostly want to be able to last at least four days (water runs out by then) with no hook up to shore power. In those cases, it will be just furnace, refrig, lights, water pump, and those sorts of things. Can do without music and tv, as long as I have lights to read by (2007 model 23 ft. with mostly LED lights, except for the reading lights). Thanks for the feedback.
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Old 05-19-2009, 11:25 AM   #76
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Hi Corky,

We are the provider of all the solar modules to Airstream. Just curious, did you request them to use the GP-RV-110 solar kit? Typically, Airstream installs our 50 watt solar modules. The GP-RV-110 is a great kit and will provide you with double the power.

AirSolarGuy (Mark)
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Old 05-19-2009, 10:08 PM   #77
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53 W vs 110W

I think it came down to the size of the trailer and how much room there is for the installation (28 ft.). We originally discussed two 53's but after they looked at the amount of room they installed the 110. It was their decision really not mine. From what I have seen so far I believe it will work out.

I have the gen sets so I am not completely at the mercy of the sun gods. What I really wanted was easier winter battery maintenance!

Corky
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Old 06-08-2009, 01:25 PM   #78
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I wish my AS came with solar panels pre-installed. I've been looking around for info to do it myself and it all looks pretty daunting. I'm going to have to learn a lot before I take the chance and buy all the parts. It's just that solar panel installers all seem to be either really expensive or don't work on vehicles, only houses. Anyone know someone in the north east that's relatively inexpensive?
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Old 06-08-2009, 02:19 PM   #79
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I had a similar experience trying to find a competent installtion site in Ohio. (Not exactly a hot bed of solar activity.) Being close to the factory does have it's advantages. Even though the price tag is a little higher.

There are some Camping World locations that can handle solar installs and are educated in what you need. Maybe a local Airstream dealer that could lean on the factory for info and support. Or, how about a marine dealer or high end motor coach builder that installs solar.

In all instances my fear comes back to the integrity of the install on the aluminum roof and mounting the controller, wire runs etc. on the interior. I chose the factory over others just because they were familiar with Airstreams.

Corky
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Old 06-08-2009, 04:21 PM   #80
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I have been wondering about installing solar on my 77 argosy mh.I am a full timer and have them on current mh. was thinking about trying it myself. Have some knowledge . I wasthinking of attaching the cells to a frame attached to the ribs in the mh.I have 3 cells all different dimensions. seemed liked the best way .any suggestions, any body done the work themselves.
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Old 06-09-2009, 10:36 AM   #81
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Hi Guys,

This is AirSolarGuy a.k.a Mark . I work for Carmanah Technologies Corp. and we are the solar supplier to Airstream. I wish they did install solar on every unit, but unfortunately they are not there yet. We also supply our solar charging kits to the majority of the RV parts distributors, who in turn supply them to the local RV Dealers. Most RV dealers will purchase products from any one of the RV parts distributors we sell to. So not all RV dealers stock solar or have a display, but they can order it in and install it for your, or you can install it yourself. When you look up Solar Installers on the internet the majority will be for Grid-Tie installers who don't have any experience installing solar on RV's. We have been providing training now for a few years to RV Dealerships and it's starting to grow more and more. If you have any questions about solar for your RV please let me know.

Regards,

AirSolarGuy
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Old 06-09-2009, 03:00 PM   #82
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Hello Solar Junkies: The 110-watt system sounds real inviting. I just picked up a solar kit from Amazon.com that's got 4 15-watt panels, a 7 amp charge controller, monitor, and mounting hardware. I'll probably get another couple panels to get my system up to 90-watts.

QUESTION: What's a clean way to run the panel cables into the coach? ... and, What's a good clean connection to the 12-volt system?
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Old 06-09-2009, 10:15 PM   #83
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Hello Solar Junkies: The 110-watt system sounds real inviting. I just picked up a solar kit from Amazon.com that's got 4 15-watt panels, a 7 amp charge controller, monitor, and mounting hardware. I'll probably get another couple panels to get my system up to 90-watts.

QUESTION: What's a clean way to run the panel cables into the coach? ... and, What's a good clean connection to the 12-volt system?
I would suggest running your 2 wires (yellow & black) from the PV down through and behind the refrig and then route to your power distribution center (under sofa ?) At the distribution center, mount your controller and from it tie into your power bus bar and secure a good ground. As far as the panel display, the only suggestion is the closer to the controller the easier the install. Wire routing is time consuming at best. Hope this is of some help. Would not be w/o solar. Good luck, Larry
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Old 06-10-2009, 10:16 AM   #84
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Electrical Connections from PV Panels to Power Distribution Center...

Larry,

Thanks for the suggestion, I had a similar idea. I've got the Inteli-Power converter/charger that replaces the Univolt. Need to figure out a good DC breaker or fuse buss arrangement... Any ideas?

Art
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