Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 03-10-2016, 01:44 PM   #1
1 Rivet Member
 
Los Angeles , California
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 17
Factory solar expansion options

Hello all,

I have recently picked up a 2016 25' Eddie Bauer with the factory solar. I would never have ordered factory solar myself but I wanted an EB for the hatch and it was the only one available.

I'm researching my near- and long-term options for expanding solar + storage capacity. I am full-timing now at an RV park and in the next few months will start moving around and boondocking a lot (primarily in sunny places).

The factory install uses:
  • 2 x GPL-24T Lifeline AGMs (80ah each)
  • An Atkinson Sunexplorer controller (PVCM25D, 25 amp short circuit current)
  • 2 x 50W panels by Ameresco (I have not confirmed which model, no ladder yet, heh. Might be this one: http://www.amerescosolar.com/50j-ameresco-50w).

I have been told by Atkinson that the controller can handle ~225W of panels in total.

Based on initial research, I see a few options:
  1. Fill out the capacity of the existing system by adding more roof panels
    - Pros: minimal effort and expense
    - Cons: low power ceiling
  2. Add a suitcase panel kit in one of three ways:
    A. Leverage the existing controller by wiring the portable panels into it directly, still with a max of 225w
    - Pros: same as #1 plus better sunlight yield from portable, angled panels
    - Cons: same as #1
    B. Use both controllers, assuming I can find a suitcase with similar voltage to the existing panels (per discussion in http://www.airforums.com/forums/f448...up-146405.html).
    - Pros: Higher max wattage (I'd probably get a 200w extensible suitcase for 300w total)
    - Cons: Have to make sure the 2nd controller doesn't create more problems than it solves
    C. Replace the existing controller and find some happy combination that suits roof + portable panels
    - Pros: Higher max wattage, better yield from an MPPT controller
    - Cons: More complex setup, additional outlay for a controller that will likely get replaced with a long-term solution (not that big a deal, )
  3. Total overhaul (wiring, converter, storage, everything). I would love to take this on as a project, but not until I have ample real world usage to plan by and have a better sense of my long-term plans (i.e. I am not sure how long I will be full-timing while working). I'm only estimating my power usage now (2 people, 2 laptops, 2 phones, weboost + mifi + soho, std appliances, no microwave, working part- to full-time).

I'm trying to understand how to maximize the short-term value, and see what if any extensibility I can build into that before hitting a ceiling. I am assuming my best option will be some version of 2B or 2C.

I am also thinking about storage with the same short/long term considerations:
Looking for any suggestions / wisdom. Thanks to BoldAdventure, lewster, ghaynes755 and the many others sharing their experience here already.

Matt
__________________

__________________
2016 Ram 2500 Cummins Diesel "Che (车)"
2016 25FB Eddie Bauer "Jia (家)"

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/travelingmonkeys
Blog: http://hellotravelingmonkeys.com
spelunkus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2016, 02:21 PM   #2
Rivet Master
 
2015 30' Classic
Pleasanton , California
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 617
Here's what I would do...

I would keep your factory panels and wire them in series to create one 100 W panel. The two 50 W factory panels are very close in spec to one 100 W Renology panel. I would then add three more Renology 100 W panels in a series/parallel arrangement for a total of 400 W on the roof. Doing so will allow you to reuse the existing solar pre-wiring and keep the voltage losses to less than 3%.

I would then replace the Atkinson controller with The Blue Sky 3024i controller and IPN Pro remote, shunt kit, and temperature sensor. You'll be able to replace your Atkinson controller remote head with the IPN pro remote and reuse (with a simple mod) the existing cat 5 cable already in place. You'll also have a proper battery monitor so you'll know the state of discharge and charge of your batteries.

All these changes are quite easy for a DIYer and won't break the bank.
__________________

__________________
Al, K6IV
2015 30' Classic, "Chez Nu"
2014 RAM 2500 w/Cummins Diesel
ProPride Hitch, 400 W Solar
alano is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2016, 05:18 PM   #3
Rivet Master
 
dkottum's Avatar
 
2012 25' Flying Cloud
Battle Lake , Minnesota
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 7,716
Thanks Al, we are also following. How would you match the battery storage to this 400w solar? We have only the two factory Lifeline Group 24 AGMs as well.
__________________
Doug and Cheryl
2012 FC RB, Michelin 16, ProPride 1400
2016 Ram 1500 Laramie Crew Cab 4X4 Ecodiesel 3.92 axles

The Truth is More Important Than the Facts
dkottum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2016, 05:21 PM   #4
1 Rivet Member
 
Los Angeles , California
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 17
Al,

Thanks, that option sounds like a great solution. I'll start looking into all that. I'm also eager to hear thoughts on storage. I was trying to keep batteries on the A-frame but am open to the bigger solutions as well.

Matt
__________________
2016 Ram 2500 Cummins Diesel "Che (车)"
2016 25FB Eddie Bauer "Jia (家)"

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/travelingmonkeys
Blog: http://hellotravelingmonkeys.com
spelunkus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2016, 06:32 PM   #5
Rivet Master
 
2015 30' Classic
Pleasanton , California
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 617
I haven't made the leap yet. My trailer didn't come with factory solar so I still have two group 31 flooded batteries in the exterior box. I thought I would see how my usage went before expanding in this area. I'm only a weekend warrior for the next couple of years, so I'll probably continue as is until my wife and I embark on more ambitious journeys when the last kid goes off to college. With that said, I have about 200 Ah of total capacity, so without exceeding 50% depletion, I can quite easily make it through the next day even running the furnace and have everything recharged the next day even if overcast. If I ran into dark skies, I'd probably need to pull out the generator but so far we've been lucky.

Depending on your configuration if you needed additional battery capacity, I would see if I could expand by adding additional AGM batteries inside the trailer. In my Classic, the battery box is right next to the couch, so I would probably sacrifice a pull-out drawer and see if I can add one or two additional batteries inside. Since I have flooded batteries, I would need to change the entire lot to AGM batteries since you shouldn't put flooded batteries inside the trailer and you shouldn't mix battery types.
__________________
Al, K6IV
2015 30' Classic, "Chez Nu"
2014 RAM 2500 w/Cummins Diesel
ProPride Hitch, 400 W Solar
alano is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-18-2016, 11:00 PM   #6
3 Rivet Member
 
fran&frank's Avatar
 
2016 27' Flying Cloud
Hartsburg , Missouri
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 193
So I have the same factory package and I'm considering a little less ambitious upgrade. Can I add one 100 W Renalogy panel and keep the factory controller? Would I still wire the two factory 50 W panels in series to effectively make a 100 W panel, and wire that in parallel with the new 100 W panel?
__________________
fran&frank is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-18-2016, 11:28 PM   #7
Rivet Master
 
2015 30' Classic
Pleasanton , California
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 617
The factory controller is only designed for 12 V panels in parallel. The two 50 W panels are already wired in parallel. All you will need to do is add the Renology 100 W and wire it in parallel. The only downside to having 200 W of solar, all in parallel, is that the voltage losses might be as high as 2-3%. I don't see this as terribly significant.
__________________
Al, K6IV
2015 30' Classic, "Chez Nu"
2014 RAM 2500 w/Cummins Diesel
ProPride Hitch, 400 W Solar
alano is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-19-2016, 07:08 PM   #8
3 Rivet Member
 
fran&frank's Avatar
 
2016 27' Flying Cloud
Hartsburg , Missouri
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 193
Al under the first arrangement you recommended to Matt with the Blue Sky MPPT controller and up to 3 additional 100 W panels, can you describe a little more fully what the series/parallel arrangement of the panels would be in terms of how they would be wired?
__________________
Frank & Fran
2016 27' FC FB with 400 W solar
2016 Ford F150 EcoBoost
Equalizer Hitch
fran&frank is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-19-2016, 08:46 PM   #9
Rivet Master
 
2015 30' Classic
Pleasanton , California
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 617
So you'll create two strings. The first string will start with your two 50W panels in parallel. To this string you will add one 100 W panel in series. The other string will be created from two 100 W panels in series. You will then connect the strings in parallel. Hope this is clear, if not I'll include a diagram next time.
__________________
Al, K6IV
2015 30' Classic, "Chez Nu"
2014 RAM 2500 w/Cummins Diesel
ProPride Hitch, 400 W Solar
alano is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-20-2016, 12:37 PM   #10
3 Rivet Member
 
fran&frank's Avatar
 
2016 27' Flying Cloud
Hartsburg , Missouri
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 193
Thanks Al, that was clear. I now understand my options from adding a single panel in parallel to the current factory configuration to replacing the controller with a mppt controller and adding additional panels in the series/parallel arrangement for even more capacity. Think I also understand now how the higher voltage in the series/parallel configuration with the mppt controller results in less voltage drop with the factory 10 gauge wire.
__________________
Frank & Fran
2016 27' FC FB with 400 W solar
2016 Ford F150 EcoBoost
Equalizer Hitch
fran&frank is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-2016, 02:30 PM   #11
1 Rivet Member
 
dbirdno's Avatar
 
2014 27' FB International
Denver , Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 12
Images: 5
So I have the same set up, and looking to add a single 100 watt renogy portable panel without the controller for when I am parked in the shade or to up my recharging capacity. Just ordered 2 Lifeline group 27's and the progressive dynamics 4655 converter as well and thought this would be a good time to upgrade solar charger as well. Per Lew advice, ordering the morningstar SS15 which will handle 200 watts of panels. Was wondering how people hook up the portable panel. Where to you tap into the current panel wiring? I hear that many do it through the fridge panel and leave a plug in there. If you have done this, do you have pics of what you did? Thanks for all your help
__________________

__________________
Fun, Love, Joy, Happiness, Freedom, and Airstreaming.... a few of my favorite things!
dbirdno is online now   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
Is this a factory installed solar panel ? I think it's factory installed and ... JacobMerridy Electrical - Systems, Generators, Batteries & Solar 1 01-14-2017 10:23 AM
Bathroom Expansion bruharNV 1993 Excella 1000 1 05-22-2013 10:23 PM
Expansion anchors instead of elevator bolts for shell on floor replacement? timzog Repairing/Replacing Floor &/or Frame 4 12-12-2011 06:43 PM
Aluminum expansion and contraction Rileybear Ribs, Skins & Rivets 16 07-05-2011 06:46 AM
Expansion and contraction of new flooring delquattro Repairing/Replacing Floor &/or Frame 2 09-11-2004 02:41 PM


Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:28 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.