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Old 09-10-2017, 01:10 PM   #1
D44
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Recommendations for solar install in Northeast US

Since we will likely be sticking with this 25FB for a while, I am starting to think about solar. Are there any recommended installers near the metro NY area? Would love to have Lewster / AM Solar do the install but traveling to Oregon/Florida is not in the cards at the moment.

Thanks for any recommendations -

Walt
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Old 09-10-2017, 01:13 PM   #2
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Hi

How complex a solution are you considering? For something similar to the stock system, a dealer can / will do the heavy lifting on parts you already have ordered in. For something fancy, that's probably not as good an idea.

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Old 10-10-2017, 06:43 AM   #3
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Not sure yet - just starting the “thinking” part. Would like to figure out the panel / battery requirements that would allow me to run a furnace or all the fans, etc. overnight and recharge the next day to extend a few “no hookups” weekend into the fall
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Old 10-10-2017, 06:46 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D44 View Post
Not sure yet - just starting the “thinking” part. Would like to figure out the panel / battery requirements that would allow me to run a furnace or all the fans, etc. overnight and recharge the next day to extend a few “no hookups” weekend into the fall
Don't forget that you can quickly recharge your house batteries with your TV alternator. Use jumper cables for a faster charge than the 7-pin umbilical.
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Old 10-10-2017, 06:52 AM   #5
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Walt-

I'm heading in the same direction. I've been thinking about doing it in the near future, to be ready for next late summer/fall. I'm not ready to go lithium, but want things to be lithium compatible for the future. Although the way things change, that's always hard to predict.

A simple problem has me the most concerned: how to get the cable from the roof to the components inside the trailer. I don't have a roof vent for the refrigerator, the usual route. I guess it's drill a hole in the roof covered my a junction box. But drilling a hole in the roof is scary.
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Old 10-11-2017, 07:45 AM   #6
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Don't forget that you can quickly recharge your house batteries with your TV alternator. Use jumper cables for a faster charge than the 7-pin umbilical.
Hi

.... errrr .... quickly ... hmmm .....

If you have a fairly standard "two batteries" setup, you have something in the 180 to 200 AH range. If they are at 50%, you will need 90 to 100 AH worth of charge.

A TV alternator puts out current proportional to the RPM's on the TV engine. At 1,000 RPM fast idle, you likely are getting < 30A (on a 100A alternator). You are doing very well if you *have* a 100A alternator.....

To get your 90AH from a 30A charge, you need to run for 3 hours. That's a *long* time to run the TV engine on idle. It's also a bit noisier than an inverter generator. A cheap 1KW inverter generator will give you full output from your converter / charger. It'll still take 2 hours to charge the batteries. It's a lot better solution ....

Bob
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Old 10-11-2017, 08:09 AM   #7
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Hi

.... errrr .... quickly ... hmmm .....

If you have a fairly standard "two batteries" setup, you have something in the 180 to 200 AH range. If they are at 50%, you will need 90 to 100 AH worth of charge.

A TV alternator puts out current proportional to the RPM's on the TV engine. At 1,000 RPM fast idle, you likely are getting < 30A (on a 100A alternator). You are doing very well if you *have* a 100A alternator.....

To get your 90AH from a 30A charge, you need to run for 3 hours. That's a *long* time to run the TV engine on idle. It's also a bit noisier than an inverter generator. A cheap 1KW inverter generator will give you full output from your converter / charger. It'll still take 2 hours to charge the batteries. It's a lot better solution ....

Bob
My TV alternator puts out 160 amps max, but at fast idle with a depleted battery will push about 14-20 amps. Will charge quickly to 80% - all you need. A lot more amps than either the converter charger or solar. I don’t have a diesel TV so IMHO it runs much quieter than any inverter/generator I’ve heard.

There is no harm in idling for a couple of hours. Also better for the environment as TV has pollution controls. Better to use equipment you already have than spend money on solar (which isn’t efficient in cloudy conditions or shade) or a generator that needs it’s own fuel source and adds extra weight to your load.
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Old 10-11-2017, 09:00 AM   #8
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My TV alternator puts out 160 amps max, but at fast idle with a depleted battery will push about 14-20 amps. Will charge quickly to 80% - all you need. A lot more amps than either the converter charger or solar. I don’t have a diesel TV so IMHO it runs much quieter than any inverter/generator I’ve heard.

There is no harm in idling for a couple of hours. Also better for the environment as TV has pollution controls. Better to use equipment you already have than spend money on solar (which isn’t efficient in cloudy conditions or shade) or a generator that needs it’s own fuel source and adds extra weight to your load.
Hi

I would suggest that your TV idling for a couple hours on a regular basis is not a really good idea wear and tear wise. The environmental impact (= TV is better) is highly debatable. The generator burns a *lot* less fuel in 2 or 3 hours than the TV does in the same time... less carbon in, less carbon out ....

Fuel wise, yes, you do need to haul fuel. You also have 30 to 40 pounds of added weight. In my case, I believe that there are other areas that 30 or 40 pounds *could* be shaved off ....

Bob
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Old 10-11-2017, 09:39 AM   #9
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If it's just occasional use, you can do well with a folding (portable) 100w system.
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Old 10-12-2017, 11:22 AM   #10
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We are considering adding Solar to our 2009 Flying Cloud 25' FB queen.

As it turns out, AM Solar has posted what they did on a 2016 25' FB queen:

http://amsolar.com/solar-panels-for-...ng-cloud-fb-25

Now this install was a "full meal deal" with 600AH Lithium battery bank and 3000W inverter in additon to solar panels.

We aren't so flush so are considering an initial 300 or 400 watt system that is upgradeable to the ultimate Lithium/Inverter system. After scurrying around the roof with some cardboard cut outs we think we could do (6) 100 watt panels and (2) 50 watt panels. Due to shading concerns, we would want all panels wired parallel, which requires an MPPT charge controller that can handle 700 watts at 12 volts.

Pricing out the good stuff at AM Solar gives a $2,000 bill for parts versus about $1,300 for Renogy, but the Renogy package would use RC4 connectors, inferior panel mounts (for curved roofs), and would be limited to 400 watts connected parallel.

Which brings up a generator, with its pros and cons, as a cost effective alternative. The big attraction of the genny is that we could use it to power the stick house refer during power outages and power tools on our various projects that aren't close to electricity.

Oh What To Do!!
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Old 10-12-2017, 11:37 AM   #11
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Recommendations for solar install in Northeast US

Could we please keep this thread focused on the OP's question?

Quote:
Originally Posted by D44 View Post
. . .
. . . I am starting to think about solar. Are there any recommended installers near the metro NY area?
. . .
We are also considering adding solar to the roof of our FC20, and would consider experienced installers, hopefully in the zone defined by DC-Pittsburgh-Albany-Boston.

There are plenty of threads about portable solar systems, batteries, DIY, generators, TV alternators, etc. etc., so feedback on these issues is not helpful IMO.

Thanks,

Peter

PS -- D44, if you disagree with this re-focusing of the discussion, please let us know.
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Old 10-12-2017, 12:07 PM   #12
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Walt-

I'm heading in the same direction. I've been thinking about doing it in the near future, to be ready for next late summer/fall. I'm not ready to go lithium, but want things to be lithium compatible for the future. Although the way things change, that's always hard to predict.

A simple problem has me the most concerned: how to get the cable from the roof to the components inside the trailer. I don't have a roof vent for the refrigerator, the usual route. I guess it's drill a hole in the roof covered my a junction box. But drilling a hole in the roof is scary.
Your trailer already includes the solar pre-wiring. There's a pair of #10 AWG wires that run from the ceiling to the batteries. True, you need to drill a hole to pass the solar pre-wires to a roof-mounted junction box. In my case, I simply dropped one of my interior lights where the wires terminated, drilled a hole from below and mounted the combo box on the roof with VHB tape. That's the only hole required for solar panel installation. The panels themselves can be mounted with VHB tape and Sikiflex 221. Add a disconnect switch, solar charger, fuse and shunt resistor if you want a battery monitor and "Bob's your uncle" as they say. Lots of folks here to help for the DIYers.
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Old 10-12-2017, 12:13 PM   #13
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I would consider a portable unit of 200 watts unless you park in the full sun
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Old 10-12-2017, 10:20 PM   #14
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Recommendations for solar install in Northeast US

Peter - thanks ,the refocus is fine
Alano - my trailer is a 2017 so it also already includes a roof-mounted junction box along with the pre-wire. I have read a lot of opinions that the pre-wire is not heavy enough gauge so didn’t know whether to just try to mount panels myself or to get a professional job. Also, given the problems I had with the “plug and play” swap of the PD 4655 charger I am not sure if i want to tackle the DIY install
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Old 10-12-2017, 10:25 PM   #15
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Your pre-wire is just fine for two 100 W panels in parallel or four 100 W panels in a series/parallel configuration with an MPPT charger. If you keep asking questions, we’ll keep answering them!
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Old 10-13-2017, 04:32 AM   #16
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I've done a converter swap and added solar. If you have the prewire ready to go (I didnt) the solar I installation is much easier from an electrical perspective. You do have to get on the roof if that bothers you.

Otherwise, if you did your converter you should be able to do the solar.
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Old 10-17-2017, 07:17 PM   #17
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Your pre-wire is just fine for two 100 W panels in parallel or four 100 W panels in a series/parallel configuration with an MPPT charger. If you keep asking questions, we’ll keep answering them!
My FC 23FB is pre-wired, with the panel end in the front Fantastic Fan vent. Should I be able to find the pre-wires relatively easily? When I went up to look, I didn't recognize anything of the kind. Or, do I need to dig out the sealant to get to them?
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Old 10-18-2017, 12:56 AM   #18
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Take a look at this thread for a photo showing the pre-wiring access.
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Old 10-18-2017, 05:26 AM   #19
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Great thread. We are in MD and also looking for knowledgeable solar / electrical installers.
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Old 10-18-2017, 07:02 AM   #20
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I agree with SCOTTinNJ, the solar install was easier than swapping out my Parallax converter and refitting with the Intellipower. Just mounted the two 125w panels (series for 24v), used the pre-wire, connected the solar charge controller and batteries and done. Instructions were good, mounting solutions are now better. And I didn't get on the roof on the re-install I did five years later, I reached everything from my portable ladder. (the panels are mounted on two feet each roof edge with a pair of rails spanning across the roof to the edge.)
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