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Old 01-08-2007, 08:52 PM   #15
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Jerry,
If you go to the AM Solar site mentioned in my previous post, you can compare the amp output per hour of the 100 watt panel and their 65 watt panel. You can then calculate on a 5-6 hr. day during the summer when the sun is overhead. The RV Solar Electric site also has a worksheet giving you the energy usage of appliances in amps per hour and you multiply this times how many hours you expect to use those appliances. They also have a phantom load calculator for those things like LPG detector, refrigerator panel, etc. Both sites have a wealth of information. One of those sites suggested a 105 amp hr battery and 100 watt panel for each individual in the trailer. Obviously this is a SWAG because some individuals are rather conservative and other leave lights on like they were at home. Anyone remember the Redi Killowatt stickers they use to have for light switch plates?

I will start with my one 115 amp hr battery and the 100 watt panel and experiment for 12 months. I will then buy 2 new batteries along with an additional 100 watt panel. I figure that will be more than enough for what I need. You also have to remember that you shouldn't discharge your batteries more than 50% for flooded wet cells to get the full life out of them and that as you get closer to winter the sun is lower in the sky thus you have to use tilt bars to take full advantage of the sun. Extremely overcast days can also cut into the solar output so I would rather have more than I need just in case.
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Old 01-08-2007, 10:38 PM   #16
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Solar power capacity

Thanks, Craig. My visit to the site you recommended makes more sense now, and I will scout for panels in the 100 watt range. We're pretty frugal on power usage, and with a solar panel, I doubt we'd ever actually deplete our batteries to 50%, but that's what they got to in about 2-3 days while boondocking in Death Valley this last week. At that point, we started flushing without the pump and broke out the battery-powered lantern!
-Jerry
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Old 01-09-2007, 11:09 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thecatsandi
Only issue there is you are not getting the full output of the panels.
THe Controller is doing th voltage conversion not a Current conversion.
In order to get the most out of the panels, the output should match your battery/system voltage. ie 14vdc per panel 14vdc system parellel the panels.
14vdc per panel 28vdc system series the panels.

Michelle, sorry I was busy and didn't get to respond. I had the same concern in that how did they control the power applied to the batteries with an input voltage of ~28 volts and a battery voltage of 14. I reviewed the material for several manufacturers that produce MPPT charge controllers and then talked with BZ Products. Their MPPT controller, like others, incorporates a high speed switching network which includes a transformer to provide the voltage/current transformation from the PV side at approximately 28 volts to a lower voltage/higher current on the battery side at a nominal 12 volts or in my case a float voltage of 13.7 volts, not just a voltage transformation. The industry likens the high speed switching network and light weight transformer to the modern switching power supplies used for computers and other consumer and commercial electronics gear vs the more legacy heavyweight linear power supplies we were used to in the 1970's and 80's. They claim no significant loss of efficiency when used for higer voltage on the primary side provided it is within the design range for the charge controller.

Someone might better describe the technology than I did but I have had several conversations with BZ Products and it aligns with the descriptions from other manufacturers so I decided to incorporate that feature in our system on the Airatream.
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Old 02-23-2007, 05:28 PM   #18
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solar capacity

We've recently purchased a 1996 Excella with four solar panels, two batteries and a 2.5kw U-Series Trace inverter, installed in 1997 when the trailer was first purchased, by the now defunct Solarmetrics.
When I get to International I'll have AJL Solar go over the system. as I can't get it to work.
Question though.
with a four panel system, and saying I add two more Lifleline batteries. would it be unrealistic to be running an HD TiVo and 23in HDTV, meaning that, the HR10-250 DirecTV Tivo is running continually, 24hrs a day.
assuming we have sunny days every day would that be too much to ask?
I've heard people say they run their solar/inverter system at rallies with "limited electric" as they get more power from their solar system then they would plugged into the rally.
Thanks
Dan
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Old 03-10-2007, 08:23 PM   #19
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Solar panels

We are going to add solar panels instead a generator. I've talked to several Airstreamers who have solar and are very pleased with it as a more convenient way to recharge the batteries vs the disadvantages associated with a generator.
Does anyone here have recommendations for a particular brand or supplier. My local Airstream dealer installs them and they recommend Sunsei? Camping World sells SunForce.
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Old 03-10-2007, 08:49 PM   #20
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more power...

I am in the process of adding 4~120w Evergreen panels to our 34' with a 3000w inverter and 8~Optima group 27 batteries. Based on early calculations, I should be able to run the A/C for about 4-6 hours.
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Old 03-10-2007, 08:49 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidz71
Jerry,
If you go to the AM Solar site mentioned in my previous post, you can compare the amp output per hour of the 100 watt panel and their 65 watt panel. You can then calculate on a 5-6 hr. day during the summer when the sun is overhead. The RV Solar Electric site also has a worksheet giving you the energy usage of appliances in amps per hour and you multiply this times how many hours you expect to use those appliances. They also have a phantom load calculator for those things like LPG detector, refrigerator panel, etc. Both sites have a wealth of information. One of those sites suggested a 105 amp hr battery and 100 watt panel for each individual in the trailer. Obviously this is a SWAG because some individuals are rather conservative and other leave lights on like they were at home. Anyone remember the Redi Killowatt stickers they use to have for light switch plates?

I will start with my one 115 amp hr battery and the 100 watt panel and experiment for 12 months. I will then buy 2 new batteries along with an additional 100 watt panel. I figure that will be more than enough for what I need. You also have to remember that you shouldn't discharge your batteries more than 50% for flooded wet cells to get the full life out of them and that as you get closer to winter the sun is lower in the sky thus you have to use tilt bars to take full advantage of the sun. Extremely overcast days can also cut into the solar output so I would rather have more than I need just in case.
Craig,

Just a quick note on your flooded wet cells. They shouold not be drawn down past 75% capacity very often, as they will lose their re-charge capabilities. AGMs are far better for this type of draw and are much better suited for use in solar systems as they recharge much quicker due to their far lower internal resistance
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Old 03-10-2007, 08:57 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tslanier
We are going to add solar panels instead a generator. I've talked to several Airstreamers who have solar and are very pleased with it as a more convenient way to recharge the batteries vs the disadvantages associated with a generator.
Does anyone here have recommendations for a particular brand or supplier. My local Airstream dealer installs them and they recommend Sunsei? Camping World sells SunForce.
BP solar panels sold through Welcome to AM Solar - Your RV Solar Specialists since 1987 are excellent panels. I just finished taking measurements of my 25' roof and will be sending them along with pictures to that companel to get an idea of panel placement. Check out their site and give them a call.
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'01 2500hd ext. cab, 8.1 litre gas, 5 sp. Allison auto
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Mag-Hytec rear diff cover
Amsoil Dual by-pass oil filtration system
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Old 03-10-2007, 09:01 PM   #23
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I have a 50 watt panel on ,top of my 19 foot Bambi that was the biggest I could get on the roof. It keeps my batteries charged up and if I conserve durring the day I don't have any problems.I have the solar pro plug and play and I am thinking of getting a second panel that I will hook up after setting up camp.
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