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Old 04-09-2010, 09:24 AM   #57
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The panels charge the batteries and the batteries will run lower amp things like lights and Fantastic fans for a long time. High amp appliances like A/C, microwave would drain the batteries very fast. Things like TV will run for a while, but will drain the batteries pretty quickly I think, but never have tried the TV since when we are boondocked, there's no TV reception. The radio/CD player doesn't seem to take too many amps.

The furnace fan draws a lot of amps, but is a necessity when it's cold.

Evan may have a full report when he returns from his Southwest trip.

Gene
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Old 04-09-2010, 11:48 AM   #58
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Increasing AWG from 10 to 8 lowered your losses on a 25-foot wire run from 4~ to 2~% and is a very good decision --- Keeping losses below 3% is a inexpensive & immediate upgrade paying dividends back every time the Sun shines.

Of all the tips and hints there are to think of the only thing that comes to mind is a bicycle lock style steel cable (vinyl coated) just in case a panel has help loosening up but is not actually stolen - or a combination of those conditions. Anchor points and locking cable could keep the teenager with a swiss army knife from ruining your day but if they come with bolt cutters its a non-issue...
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Old 04-09-2010, 12:24 PM   #59
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I think the concerns about someone stealing your solar panels on an Airstream may be minor. It's hard to climb up to the top of the trailer without a ladder. Other RV's come with ladders attached and make it much easier to steal their panels. Of course, you could grease the upper side of the trailer to make it even more difficult and reverse the polarity of the electrical cable and make the skin sizzle; a moat would increase protection in that case.

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Old 04-09-2010, 04:49 PM   #60
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You know Gene is right, the bored delinquent finding an unoccupied Airstream fortuitously left somewhere away from authority figures if/when some emergency called away the owners would probably just see if it burns instead of prying off the $1800 shiny blue electrickery panels.
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Old 04-13-2010, 01:47 PM   #61
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now that you have the panels installed, what will they run? is it just like being plugged in to 30 amps (full use of AC, TV, etc.)? thx.
We are running rather basic electrical items such as the furnace, lights, water pump, stereo etc.

So far on our trip we are fully charged before noon with charging currents reaching as much as 18 amps.

I am very happy with its performance. The weak point might just be the GC batteries as I'm sure the AGM's would have better performance. So far though we have boon-docked for the last 2 weeks with no issues & I am more than happy.

I'll file a more complete report later.

-evan (in Monticello UT)
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Old 04-13-2010, 05:27 PM   #62
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Having now seen Evan's installation when we visited in Moab last weekend, it looks real good. His adaptation of the battery box for the larger batteries was done very professionally. Jane and Evan were very gracious hosts and great cooks.

Gene
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Old 04-14-2010, 09:51 AM   #63
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Having now seen Evan's installation when we visited in Moab last weekend, it looks real good. His adaptation of the battery box for the larger batteries was done very professionally. Jane and Evan were very gracious hosts and great cooks.

Gene
Thank you Gene.

We were honoured that you and Barb would come all that way to see us. We had a fine visit together (if only too short). I really enjoyed meeting you in person.

It is very interesting to meet someone with the same unit & hear about their solutions to common issues like how to keep the bathroom door open...(I'll be looking for that catch you described - great idea!)

We are currently camped in Monument Valley & hooked up for the first time in over a week. Boon-docking for a week with no power & water went very well with no need to have to really alter our power usage from a reasonably frugal attitude. (We do not have a TV or a house inverter. We do run a laptop and recharge a few devices but our power needs are modest.) The Solar Panel system has worked better than I anticipated & entirely satisfactorily in this Utah environment (brighter than home.) We are usually completely recharged by 1100h or so despite a lot of furnace use through the cold desert nights. I am totally satisfied.

On to the North & West today.

Cheers,

-evan
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Old 04-14-2010, 12:45 PM   #64
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After reading this thread I put in my order for a two 100W panel kit with controller from AM Solar. Should ship the end of this week. I was told the panels have been redesigned, somewhat shorter, but about the same width, and 40 cells insead of 44, but the new cells are suppose to be more efficent.
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Old 04-14-2010, 02:57 PM   #65
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An easy work around in that situation would be to wire the panels in series and or parallel depending on how many panels you have so that you are sending 24v to the charge controller. This will decrease the required wire size due to the higher voltage. The caveat is that your charge controller must be capable of accepting the higher voltages and outputting the desired voltage of your system. Most charge controller companies have MPPTs that are capable of doing this.
Called the company with this idea and they said I would need a different controller. My panels are putting out 19.x. each. Which x 2 is over the 32volt rating. The strange thing is they put out 17 pointed away from the sun. Maybe I need a new volt meter.
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Old 04-15-2010, 12:23 AM   #66
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You can simply daisy-chain (2) AM100-M panels using a single 10/2 cable. Combiner box required for (3) or more panels.
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Old 04-15-2010, 09:34 AM   #67
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You can simply daisy-chain (2) AM100-M panels using a single 10/2 cable. Combiner box required for (3) or more panels.
Airstream used on of the panel junction boxes as a combiner box. They also placed a 30A fuse in the line. It is on their diagram but hard to get to if it blew. I am adding to 80W panels to my existing 50W panels. I will be putting a weather tight combiner box on the top of the trailer with the new panels. I am going to parallel the left side panels and parallel the right side panels and combine them at the box with a 15A fuse for each string.
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Old 04-18-2010, 08:54 AM   #68
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Led Lights

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Now is the time to get LED's to replace the halogens and save even more battery power. But some LED's don't fit the reading lights as well because the pins are too short. I made some adaptations to get them to fit.

Gene
They do have a LED Reading light now that has pins that are long enough. Airstream carries them as well.

Click here to see them


Click here to see the ones for the main room.


There is a very good chance that if your wife is like most, she will prefer the Warm White over the Bright White

They work great!

Fix
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Old 04-25-2010, 11:08 PM   #69
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My AM Solar install '07 25FB CCD Twins

Evan,
Finally got a minute to post some pics of our install.
Two panel AM Solar system, combiner box, and charger/controller.
Hole up to the cieling went in the front bedroom closet. Note the location, any lower and there is a wire bundle there. I missed this by a few inches. From here, the wire run down the curbside curve into the water heater compartment and then forward to the electronics area.
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Old 04-25-2010, 11:15 PM   #70
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AM Solar connector box on roof.

Once up on the roof, the panels were a snap to install. The support bars were a great asset on the install. Location of the combiner box shows the wire comming up from inside the front bedroom closet. Supplied connectors, wire and instructions were all top notch from AM solar.
Lots of Dicor for sealing the box.
Note the cracked vent pipes, fixxed now. I also noted the location of the vents from the shower and bathroom and decided they were not in the way or a problem.
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