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Old 05-22-2008, 08:03 PM   #1
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Solar Airstream

I saw this beautiful Airstream with the Solar thing going on. This guy has gone all out! I wish he was outside as i took a few pics, i would have loved to talk to him and see it up close.
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Old 05-22-2008, 10:00 PM   #2
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judging from the size of those 16 panels, he is probably close to 1000 watts of solar output. That will charge a lot of batteries!!!

I'm just completing a 200 watt charging system for my service van with a 300 amp/hour battery bank and 2000 watt sine wave inverter. Should be interesting! Will probably add another 200 watts in the Fall.
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Old 05-22-2008, 10:50 PM   #3
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Picture does not look like AL, where was the rig located? Just curious.
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Old 05-22-2008, 10:59 PM   #4
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Lew, I'm interested in solar power and especially in the context of airstream trailers but I don't understand much about the numbers. What does 1000 watts of solar output actually mean? What would this guy be using this kind of power for on this airstream for example?
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Old 05-23-2008, 12:23 AM   #5
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Old 05-23-2008, 01:21 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by elolson
Picture does not look like AL, where was the rig located? Just curious.
elolson, It was on Alt 89 between Jacob lake and Marble canyon, about 5 miles before you start going up the mountain going to jacob lake. You can't miss it, it's got a nice shine to it. I've got a few nice pics with my other camera.
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Old 05-23-2008, 01:33 AM   #7
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Lew, I'm interested in solar power and especially in the context of airstream trailers but I don't understand much about the numbers. What does 1000 watts of solar output actually mean? What would this guy be using this kind of power for on this airstream for example?

Todd, he could run everything but the AC...
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Old 05-23-2008, 04:54 AM   #8
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the wind resistance must be terrible with all those panels sticking up. Bet they have a hell of a time going under bridges too.
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Old 05-23-2008, 06:34 AM   #9
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the wind resistance must be terrible with all those panels sticking up. Bet they have a hell of a time going under bridges too.
Ha!

I'm hoping they've heard of "hinges."
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Old 05-23-2008, 07:57 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by monocoque
Lew, I'm interested in solar power and especially in the context of airstream trailers but I don't understand much about the numbers. What does 1000 watts of solar output actually mean? What would this guy be using this kind of power for on this airstream for example?
In simple terms, the solar panels are the devices that keep your battery bank charged. The more panels (wattage) you have, the more batteries you can charge (amp/hours) and the more electrical capacity you have in your system.

The inverter is the device responsible for changing the 12VDC of the battery bank into 120VAC. There are tons of products out there, and the difficult part is selecting the wheat from the chaff to build a reliable, efficient and quality system that will suit your needs without having to mortgage your kids

Lots of variables have to be decided, like what type of batteries (AGM is the best for solar use), what type of solar charge controller (a few are superior to all the others) whose panels to use (again, efficiency and quality are paramount here) and what type of inverter to use (some inverters draw 4 amps at idle!).

Let me know if you have any specific questions on this stuff.
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Old 05-23-2008, 08:07 AM   #11
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Maybe he plugs it into the grid and charges the campgroudn $10/day for electric.
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Old 05-23-2008, 10:16 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by monocoque
Lew, I'm interested in solar power and especially in the context of airstream trailers but I don't understand much about the numbers. What does 1000 watts of solar output actually mean? What would this guy be using this kind of power for on this airstream for example?
As a qualified installer, Lew can give you the real low down on particulars. If you'd like to see some of the work and parts involved in an installation, there are some pictures in the gallery section of my site:

Gallery Index

We have two more panels to install on our 34" "Stella," but overall, the systems are pretty well in place.

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Old 05-23-2008, 11:35 AM   #13
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In simple terms, the solar panels are the devices that keep your battery bank charged. The more panels (wattage) you have, the more batteries you can charge (amp/hours) and the more electrical capacity you have in your system.

The inverter is the device responsible for changing the 12VDC of the battery bank into 120VAC. There are tons of products out there, and the difficult part is selecting the wheat from the chaff to build a reliable, efficient and quality system that will suit your needs without having to mortgage your kids

Lots of variables have to be decided, like what type of batteries (AGM is the best for solar use), what type of solar charge controller (a few are superior to all the others) whose panels to use (again, efficiency and quality are paramount here) and what type of inverter to use (some inverters draw 4 amps at idle!).

Let me know if you have any specific questions on this stuff.
Lew,

So would I start by selecting the right batteries to meet the demands required of the system and then choose the appropriate panels, inverters, and controllers to match the needs of the batteries. The batteries therefore seem like the primary or most important element of the system --at least I start by choosing the right batteries? Please forgive my lack of knowledge.
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Old 05-23-2008, 02:39 PM   #14
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Lew,

So would I start by selecting the right batteries to meet the demands required of the system and then choose the appropriate panels, inverters, and controllers to match the needs of the batteries. The batteries therefore seem like the primary or most important element of the system --at least I start by choosing the right batteries? Please forgive my lack of knowledge.
First, you have to determine your electrical requirements. Add up the amount of watts you use for lights and appliances, fridge and furnace etc., both in 12VDC and 120VAC to get a good idea of your needs. Then multiply by a factor of 2 and you get the battery size.

We have been installing new AM Solar systems with the jumbo Lifeline AGM GPL-6CT 300 amp hour golf cart batteries. These have a huge draw-down capacity, and I'm just finishing the wiring on mine. Can't wait to try them for myself.

Let me know if you need more help to spec a system for your use.
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