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Old 07-06-2014, 03:40 PM   #1
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1974 21' Globetrotter
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Solar panels into an inverter

Hi gang,

I'm a very infrequent poster but a constant lurker here.

Anywho, I bought the cheap 45watt HARBOR FREIGHT kit a while ago but I am going to upgrade to a better system soon.

My question is instead of mounting the panel and wiring it directly into the electrical could I have the solar panels feed into an inverter and than plug into that as omen would with a generator?

Any and all advice is appreciated.
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Old 07-06-2014, 04:10 PM   #2
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In the world of Airstreams, an inverter is used to convert 12 volts to 110/120 volts. The physics of raising voltage means a lot of amperage at the lower voltage is consumed to create about 10 times less amperage at the higher voltage.

A solar panel, even a good one, does not generate the sort of amperage to power an inverter. Imagine a straw filling a swimming pool. That's the solar panel taking all day to fill it up. Now imagine a agricultural pump draining the pool through a 8" line. That's the inverter powering your microwave.
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Old 07-06-2014, 05:34 PM   #3
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I built a portable solar panel. Then installed and wired a 7 prong receptacle. The same as on the TV. I wired only the common/ground and the equivalent of the charge line in the 7 prong receptacle to the battery. Including the proper sized fuse. I then wired a 7 prong plug to the solar panel controller.
I then wired an inverter to the battery, again using the appropriate size wire and fuse for the 1100 watt inverter.
Obviously the solar panel (85 watt) will not replenish the full capacity of the inverter. We use the inverter to power the television, charge cell phones, power laptops and power the vacuum cleaner. Short term use of high current devices like the vacuum cleaner do not deplete the battery to the point where the solar panel can not replenish the battery on a sunny day.
So far we have camped off the grid for 5 nights without a problem. There was no need to run the furnace. Which would deplete the 1 Group 24 battery rather quickly.
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Old 07-06-2014, 07:47 PM   #4
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Thanks fellas. Very helpful responses so far. I found the Go Power travel solar kits. they seem pricey but have very good reviews and they sell the 7 plug adaptor that you made TG Twinkie. Here's the link if anyone is interested. Portable Solar Kits (120, 80 & 40 watts) | GPElectric
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