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Old 03-10-2010, 06:21 PM   #15
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by simply adding a 3rd battery in parallel...

the juice available jumps by 50% and 2-3 MORE 'daze of power using your calculations.

what's the price of a 3rd battery of like size/make plus wiring for parallel connections?

that's the most bang for bucks and the best EXTENSION of camping days for the money...

it's like hauling MORE water 4 when it's really needed.
_________

THEN the small solar set up OR genset have a greater pot to fill.

WITH just 1 panel, be sure to get the tilt/adjustable mounting bracket...

at least then maxing out the available sunlight is possible.

i would imagine the controller/regulator included with the kit is NOT mppt...

it's probably the 8 amp base regulator listed.

the gopower IS a better choice.

that's NOT a big deal with a small system, but KNOW that really HOT days will limit the charging potential.

cheers
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Old 03-10-2010, 06:35 PM   #16
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I have thought about a third battery, its not clear where it would fit though. Is my memory right that all the batteries should be the same size?

Why does a third battery double the amount of reserves rather than add 1/3?
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Old 03-10-2010, 06:43 PM   #17
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yes the 3rd battery should be the SAME group size, style and even brand.

it's also recommended that they ALL be the same age, but with healthy FLOODED cells that's not a huge issue.

i assume u have FLOODED cells not gel or agms?

so mounting is best OUTSIDE and near the others, in parallel.

are the current batteries on the tongue? if so it's pretty easy to stack a 3rd or add another small box.
__________

not a math expert here, but a 50% increase isn't doubling the reserve.

dropping from 3 to 2 is a 1/3 LOSS but UPPING from 2 to 3 is a 50% gain...

it ADDs 50% (to the prior bank) which then becomes 1/3 of the NEW total available....i think.

anyway 1 more battery is a good addition for the money and given your REPORTED use would add several days of juice.

cheers
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Old 03-10-2010, 06:49 PM   #18
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The battery bank is in the rear. I really don't want to get into moving them at this point.
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Old 03-10-2010, 07:02 PM   #19
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You are paying $320 for the set up. Panels go for about $2.50 a watt. The upgrade to the Jumbo is a $2.44 a watt upgrade. That is in line. I do not realy know what's all included in a complete setup (I did not read the details).
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Old 03-10-2010, 07:03 PM   #20
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The battery bank is in the rear. I really don't want to get into moving them at this point.
are they UNDER something but inside the SHELL?

if so i hope they are adequately VENTED to the outside now.

u ditched that 'continental kit' tail box right?

don't really NEED to move them if there is space nearby for a 3rd.

and since they are wired in parallel the 3rd battery doesn't need to be in EXACTLY the same location...

just so there is access to the charger/controller gizmo.

cheers
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Old 03-10-2010, 07:13 PM   #21
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The jumbo won't fit. Not even close. I have 50 inch space to work with behind the AC and 30 in front. The supper panel would be the largest that will fit flat on the roof.
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Old 03-10-2010, 08:43 PM   #22
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Hey General,
I was doing some research on posted solar outputs verses actual and I found a good rule of thumb is use 40% of the amount you think you will get while parked in a good spot.
My model was based on actual solar angles/hour of the day so I took into account most of the variables for a flat mount solar panel setup.
I was trying to reduce the amount of time needed to operate a genset based our our, um, excessive usage.

I guess I'm stickin with the 'ole Honda 2000 for an hour or so in the morning and evening, 3 big-o-GRP27's and a 3 stage charger.
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Old 03-10-2010, 08:54 PM   #23
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Does anyone have pictures of their solar on their vintage unit? I especially want to look at the tilt brackets.
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Old 03-10-2010, 09:04 PM   #24
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This is real important. Do not put the panel right on the roof. You must have space under the panel. These things degrade as they heat up. A space between will help get more juice and it will last long. Plus it will provide some shade for the AS. How about putting some of that money into LED's. That will make a hugh difference. Good luck.

PS. Size the wire by the length of the run not the connectors on the control panel. I would real stink to go to all that expense and work and only get 12.5 Volts because the wires to thin. If the wire is too thick for the connectors then just lug on a few inches of a smaller gauge to make the connection.
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Old 03-10-2010, 09:23 PM   #25
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General, I exported these two pixs, then noticed you said vintage. I'm posting anyway just to show off the sloppy sealant job the dealership did installing these for the PO. It's cleaned up now.
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Old 03-10-2010, 09:25 PM   #26
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... I especially want to look at the tilt brackets.
this isn't complicated...

L angle aluminum extrusions mounted to the stream...

with panels attached at one end and LEGS at the other.

there are ready made tilt up brackets shown on many of the rv/solar vendor sites.

or glean some ideas from this thread (see michael's pics)...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f448...ice-39392.html

or look at the TOPside mounting options for SMALLER trailers in this thread...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f448...tem-35476.html

MANY of the longer solar threads go into great detail on brackets, wiring, heat issue, shade, controllers and so on...

and most of them include genset comparisons or back ups.


cheers
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Old 03-10-2010, 10:36 PM   #27
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Quote:
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Does anyone have pictures of their solar on their vintage unit? I especially want to look at the tilt brackets.
55w panel on our '65 Caravel. I ran the wire down the vent into the closet, out a hole in the side of the vent pipe to the controller.

Entire installation took me less than an hour. Really very easy.
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Old 03-10-2010, 11:11 PM   #28
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mppt, another battery, and tilting

We used these folks for our system based upon recommendation by Don KD6UVT. He did a great write-up on his install (it's in here somewhere) and we followed it point for point (then suggested he add one more point -- I'll get back to this).

Our vendor doesn't seem to have anything listed in the size you're hunting. One thing seemed important, though -- their charge controllers are all pwm or mppt, to optimize the solar charging. But Andy can probably tell me this is all hogwash too.

I'm with 2air about adding another battery, and Ken's right-on about yes using tilt-mount. We're over-sized on panels (2X125) so don't worry much about tilting throughout the summer. But sometimes I rethink this in October when it's 20 degrees F outside and the sun is kinda short.

We installed our panels and it only took me a couple of hours to get them on. And two weeks to locate the damaged wiring in the roof and repair it. The one tip I asked Don to add? Always use a stop-collar with a back-up (short length of plastic tubing) behind it on your drill bit if you are drilling into trailer or auto body.

Something is behind that skin, and I had eight chances to find it. I only hit 12vdc wire bundles twice, and nicked one of them. Never again, I hope! Trailer's lighting circuits were inoperable for over a week. Fuses did their job well, thank heavens.

Turned out two wires were tangled by the drill bit's rude interruption. Now I have a 4" X 5" hand hole for inspection and maintenance. And a real good comprehension of the wiring layout of my home-on-wheels.

These are the lessons I really remember. I just made a very inexperienced mistake. The install was easy and there is no reason for it to be as difficult as I made mine.
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