Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 03-09-2010, 03:50 PM   #1
Naysayer
 
Boondocker's Avatar

 
1968 24' Tradewind
Louisville , earth
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 4,635
Images: 7
Send a message via Yahoo to Boondocker
RV Solar and Electric Super Panel Kit

Does anyone have experience with the Super Panel Kit (85 Watts, 5 Amps 26" x 40" 17 lbs.) offered by RV Solar and Electric?

I estimate my boondocking power usage to range from about 30 to 60 AH depending on the day. The site says to figure about 35 AH charging in the summer (25 winter) out of an 80 watt panel. Right now if I am frugal, I can go at least 4 days between charges. Presumably a 30 AH system would keep me in play several days longer between charges, but ultimately fall behind demand necessitating running the generator.

The price is right for a one panel kit, but adding a second panel for extra capacity would about double the cost, making the idea much less attractive. The next size up kit is priced OK, but wouldn't fit between the AC and rear fantastic fan.

So, what do you think, should I wait until I have more money to buy a two panel arrangement, or go with the one and accept that it would extend the time between pulling out the generator, but probably not keep up.
__________________

__________________
Rodney

Visit my photography page
and the
Favorite camp grounds project map
My Blog

(The artist formerly known as General Disarray)

Boondocker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2010, 03:58 PM   #2
Rivet Master
 
hampstead38's Avatar
 
1967 26' Overlander
Upperco , Maryland
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 1,087
Blog Entries: 22
When we looked at solar, I figured we'd be spending about $1500... so the prices you quote seem pretty reasonable. I guess what would help is an idea of your proposed use. Are you talking about full time boondocking where you want to lose the generator entirely or a series of shorter stays where you have access to shore power. If you are looking to replace the generator, the cost-benefit equation changes.
__________________

hampstead38 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2010, 04:04 PM   #3
Don't forget your cat nap
 
Ag&Au's Avatar
 
Port Orchard , Washington
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 4,464
Images: 1
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gen Disarray View Post
Does anyone have experience with the Super Panel Kit (85 Watts, 5 Amps 26" x 40" 17 lbs.) offered by RV Solar and Electric?

I estimate my boondocking power usage to range from about 30 to 60 AH depending on the day. The site says to figure about 35 AH charging in the summer (25 winter) out of an 80 watt panel. Right now if I am frugal, I can go at least 4 days between charges. Presumably a 30 AH system would keep me in play several days longer between charges, but ultimately fall behind demand necessitating running the generator.

The price is right for a one panel kit, but adding a second panel for extra capacity would about double the cost, making the idea much less attractive. The next size up kit is priced OK, but wouldn't fit between the AC and rear fantastic fan.

So, what do you think, should I wait until I have more money to buy a two panel arrangement, or go with the one and accept that it would extend the time between pulling out the generator, but probably not keep up.
My advice would be to buy the next size up and do not mount it permanently on the trailer. Instead make a stand for it. You can place the stand to be exposed to the sun longer and be at a better angle. Especially if you are at the trailer during the day, you can move it every once in a while. A cell flat on the roof is a real compromise.

Regards,
Ken
__________________
Ag&Au is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2010, 04:07 PM   #4
Rivet Master
 
mello mike's Avatar
 
1958 26' Overlander
Mesa , Arizona
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 1,742
Images: 53
Rodney,
I would go with the Jumbo Panel Kit. The price difference is minimal between the two packages. Besides, you need at least a 125 watt panel if you like to Boondock. Are you going to mount this on your roof?

I've dealt with these folks before. They are great folks and are very knowledgable.
__________________
1958 Overlander
2011 Wolf Creek 850N TC
2011 Ford F-250 Crewcab (6.2L), 3.73RE

WBCCI #5661/AIR #5661/TAC # AZ-6
4CU 1st VP

My '58 Overlander Restoration and Travel Blog:
http://mellomikesairstreams.blogspot.com/
mello mike is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2010, 04:14 PM   #5
Rivet Master
 
mello mike's Avatar
 
1958 26' Overlander
Mesa , Arizona
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 1,742
Images: 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by w7ts View Post
My advice would be to buy the next size up and do not mount it permanently on the trailer. Instead make a stand for it. You can place the stand to be exposed to the sun longer and be at a better angle. Especially if you are at the trailer during the day, you can move it every once in a while. A cell flat on the roof is a real compromise.

Regards,
Ken
The ONLY downside in using this option is theft. The big ticket items thieves love to steal from RV'ers are generators, bikes, and solar panels.
__________________
1958 Overlander
2011 Wolf Creek 850N TC
2011 Ford F-250 Crewcab (6.2L), 3.73RE

WBCCI #5661/AIR #5661/TAC # AZ-6
4CU 1st VP

My '58 Overlander Restoration and Travel Blog:
http://mellomikesairstreams.blogspot.com/
mello mike is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2010, 04:16 PM   #6
Rivet Master
 
hampstead38's Avatar
 
1967 26' Overlander
Upperco , Maryland
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 1,087
Blog Entries: 22
You know what would be cool... a utility truck with a small deployable solar array. You could convert an old mechanic's lift arm without much trouble. Someone smarter than me could probably figure out how to program the array to move with the sun. You could drop in transit and elevate it when boondocked.
hampstead38 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2010, 04:42 PM   #7
Naysayer
 
Boondocker's Avatar

 
1968 24' Tradewind
Louisville , earth
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 4,635
Images: 7
Send a message via Yahoo to Boondocker
Ideally, I want to get to the point where the generator comes out infrequently if at all regardless of time on location. Yep, its going on the roof. I don't have any interest in more loose equipment. The next size up isn't an option because it simply wont fit.

I called the company and if I were to add a second panel in front of the AC (a 26x26" 50 watt 3 amp) and the upgraded controller the cost goes to $925. I think I can take the 30% tax credit since I full time. This would give me 135 watts and 8 amps (I think) but would cost $400 more.
__________________
Rodney

Visit my photography page
and the
Favorite camp grounds project map
My Blog

(The artist formerly known as General Disarray)

Boondocker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2010, 04:44 PM   #8
Rivet Master
 
2007 25' Classic
Hydes
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 705
I would look at two panels from AM Solar. 100 watts each at 379.00 a panel and add a Solar Boost 2000e.from Blue Sky brings it to a bit over $1000.00 before wiring , brackets etc. That's what I'm looking at anyway. http://www.infinigi.com/blue-sky-ene...ler-p-879.html http://amsolar.com/
__________________
craftsman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2010, 06:06 PM   #9
4 Rivet Member
 
BDandTTs's Avatar
 
2005 22' International CCD
Huntington , Vermont
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 309
Images: 49
2 more cents from the peanut gallery

I would be concerned about the controller that you are being offered with the RV Solar Kit. Does it have MPPT? What size is offered with the Super Kit? Given your requirements (and future plans) I would not invest in a controller smaller than 20Amps.

Will the 100 Watt panel from AM Solar fit your Airstream (21.25" X 57")? They are having a sale on a 100W system with 22Amp controller. Cost, assuming tax credit, would be about $600.

Don't forget your batteries. Personally, we are really happy with 2 Trojan 6-Volt batteries. They were a lot less money than gel-mats, and they can be discharged more deeply without damage.

You'll love the silence of solar charging!
__________________
Bob, Dianne, and Tess the WFT
BDandTTs
Bandit #14576 (WDCU/AIR)

http://www.RWChatelain-Woodturner.com
BDandTTs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2010, 06:55 PM   #10
Naysayer
 
Boondocker's Avatar

 
1968 24' Tradewind
Louisville , earth
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 4,635
Images: 7
Send a message via Yahoo to Boondocker
Unfortunately, the 100 watt panels will not fit. The upgrade controller is about $100 (that was included in the more expensive option listed below.

I did some more rigorous calculations and I am comfortable with a 25-40 AH budget. But call it 45 AH

My battery bank is two 125 AH batteries.

Is this logic correct:
two 125 AH batteries = 250 AH.
250 AH @ 50% discharge = 125 usable AH

So 45 AH usage offset by 35 AH recharge leaves a 10 AH daily deficit
125 usable AH/10125/10 gives 12 days before recharging. (skipping the ifs and buts about cloudy days and shade.)

Do I have this all right?
__________________
Rodney

Visit my photography page
and the
Favorite camp grounds project map
My Blog

(The artist formerly known as General Disarray)

Boondocker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2010, 07:18 PM   #11
Don't forget your cat nap
 
Ag&Au's Avatar
 
Port Orchard , Washington
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 4,464
Images: 1
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gen Disarray View Post
Unfortunately, the 100 watt panels will not fit. The upgrade controller is about $100 (that was included in the more expensive option listed below.

I did some more rigorous calculations and I am comfortable with a 25-40 AH budget. But call it 45 AH

My battery bank is two 125 AH batteries.

Is this logic correct:
two 125 AH batteries = 250 AH.
250 AH @ 50% discharge = 125 usable AH

So 45 AH usage offset by 35 AH recharge leaves a 10 AH daily deficit
125 usable AH/10125/10 gives 12 days before recharging. (skipping the ifs and buts about cloudy days and shade.)

Do I have this all right?
As long as your two batteries are 12 volt and not 6, all that looks good to me. Just keep in mind that the 5 amps that your panel can put out is only going to happen if the sun is straight overhead the panel. Which is something that can't ever be the case in North America. Without researching it, I do not know how it falls off as the angle of incedence decreases, but I am guessing it is just plain trigonometry. I have seen my own solar panel generating some current when in total shade, which I expect is from reflections.

Regards,

Ken
__________________
Ag&Au is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2010, 09:01 PM   #12
3 Rivet Member
 
snake's Avatar
 
1994 21' Sovereign
Tucson , Arizona
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 174
I did some experimentation with a 85 watt Kyocera panel before installing it on my Bambi.

The panel would put out it's rated amperage under the Arizona sun at about a 45 degree angle to the panel, increasing the angle would result in a rapid decrease in output. Shaded, but under a clear blue sky the panel would put out about 10% of rated capacity. Under overcast sky conditions the panel will do about 20-25%.

Increasing illumination beyond a certain point won't increase output, for example, using a large mirror to add sunshine to a fully illuminated panel won't increase output.

I installed the panel flat on the Bambi, and it requires periodic cleaning, on my Sovereign I installed two panels, one on either side, and at about a 5 degree angle, which allows the rain water to wash off the panels, making life easier.
__________________
snake is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2010, 05:13 PM   #13
4 Rivet Member
 
BDandTTs's Avatar
 
2005 22' International CCD
Huntington , Vermont
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 309
Images: 49
Rodney,

Your logic appears to be correct -- and we all must make estimates and recognize that there are many, many variables.
Am I correct that you will keep your generator as an emergency backup? ... at least until you get some real-life experience?
I did not understand, what is the make, size and parameters of the controller offered with the Super system?
__________________
Bob, Dianne, and Tess the WFT
BDandTTs
Bandit #14576 (WDCU/AIR)

http://www.RWChatelain-Woodturner.com
BDandTTs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2010, 06:10 PM   #14
Naysayer
 
Boondocker's Avatar

 
1968 24' Tradewind
Louisville , earth
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 4,635
Images: 7
Send a message via Yahoo to Boondocker
Quote:
Originally Posted by BDandTTs View Post
Rodney,

Your logic appears to be correct -- and we all must make estimates and recognize that there are many, many variables.
Am I correct that you will keep your generator as an emergency backup? ... at least until you get some real-life experience?
I did not understand, what is the make, size and parameters of the controller offered with the Super system?
I would absolutely keep a generator, I am just trying to figure out the minimal system that gets my foot in the door enough to significantly extend the battery bank life. The end game is to have enough wattage to be self sufficient under most conditions. Regardless of the system I get, I will probably get this controller which adds $100.

  1. So the three main options right now are: the super panel kit 85 watt + controller for $635
  2. The above with a second smaller panel (50 watt) for an additional $300
  3. Do nothing and keep on relying on the generator.
__________________

__________________
Rodney

Visit my photography page
and the
Favorite camp grounds project map
My Blog

(The artist formerly known as General Disarray)

Boondocker is offline   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
What do you guys think of this solar kit available at Costco? wacnstac Generators & Solar Power 14 01-16-2013 08:05 PM
Is this an OK solar panel for my trailer bmklawt Generators & Solar Power 2 02-16-2010 04:44 PM
Identify this Solar Panel? bdegroodt Generators & Solar Power 7 01-02-2010 11:36 AM
Airstream vrs. Go Power Solar Kit jglase Generators & Solar Power 0 09-13-2006 09:05 AM
Solar Panel gilmorris Generators & Solar Power 14 12-05-2005 06:33 PM


Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:45 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.