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Old 09-18-2003, 11:26 AM   #15
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The only decent space available on my roof is between the kitchen vent and the living room vent and probably infront of that to the steel cap. Looks like I should get up there and run some tape out.

My trailer only has one battery and was told I should look at adding a couple 6 volt bats behind the propane tanks. We'll see once I make my solar decisions.
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Old 09-18-2003, 11:44 AM   #16
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6 volt batteries

One of the things to consider , IMHO the only thing to consider is the AMP hours that you can store. This gives you a "fulltank" to draw from. Calculate your amp hours usage per day. Calculate the AMP hours of charge based on panel specs and hours of sunlight.

Take Max storable hours, subtract usage. This gives you a total that helps to determine the size of the battery bank. You really don't want to draw the batteries down more than 50%

Then add to the discharged number the panel output and see if you can get the battery bank fully recharged.

What you will determine with this math is if this is a viable solution. Just because you have a bigger battery bank to begin with may not be good enough if you can only mount 1 panel. All you would be doing based on usage is slowing the rate of total discharge. The 6 volt batteries will give you a higher total storable AMP hours but it may not solve the problem. In many cases if you are going to go with 2 batteries it is better to use normal 12 volt ones for service ability. The 6 volt ones you will have to find a specialty battery place to replace them if you have a failure during travel and the total AMP hours will be equal.
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Old 09-19-2003, 08:12 AM   #17
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Well, the only place I can put solar panels is around the rear vent. Maybe between the Armstong A/C and the rear vent. The budget for this is small so the thought of a system that can be increased over time is an idea worth looking into. Starting with 15 watt and as necessary go to 30watt or 45watt. From what I was reading in this thread I got the impression that a 5 watt panel would be the way to start...sounds like more time and money needs to be invested.

By the way, does anyone have pics of their solar panel installs?
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Old 09-19-2003, 08:32 AM   #18
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Darryl, it sounds like your budget is about the same as mine - essentially zero!

If you want the most watts per dollar, the VW panels are the way to go. Like I said, I've got two on my TradeWind, just keeeping the battery up while it's parked.

They do a much better job when I remember to turn off the lights when I leave the trailer for a week...
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Old 09-19-2003, 11:13 AM   #19
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How are two panels wired in? Do I plug one in the bathroom and one in the living room? Just using the 12 plugs? That way they can be mounted to the glass from the inside. I admit I am not a wiring so just plugin' em in to the cigerette lighter type outlet would be the easiest. I just do not want to cause any damage to the univolt. She's old and needs to last me.
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Old 09-19-2003, 02:16 PM   #20
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Darryl,
You have to understand that I am running two 12 volt 105 amp. hr. batteries and the 5 watt unit keeps my batteries up fine. I have run my furnace set on 60 degrees and supplemented with a catalytic heater for 7 hours out of 24 for 4 days in a row with no problem. We are talking in TN. during the months of Oct. and Nov. and the batteries then had 4 days of sun to charge back up. Temperatures during the evening and early morning range from 28 to 58 or so. The Solargizer is a quality unit which includes a desulfation stage which seems to really help. They aren't cheap. If you are planning on staying in the trailer during the day, running the furnace all day/night then Brett is right about not lasting very long. When I get up on those days it is at 4 a.m. and I'm out the door by 5 a.m. headed to the woods. I turn the furnace and catalytic heater off at this time and if the sun has not warmed the unit up when I return at noon then it goes back on for an hour while I catnap. I'm back out at 2:30 p.m. and the heat is off again until 6 p.m. If you think you will be a heavy user of electricity then one or more of the larger panels is the way to go.

Consider a Trojan grp. 27 battery rated at 115 amp. hr. rather than the usual 105 rating and I would look at 2 of them if I could get them to fit your battery boxes. You did not say where the
box(s) are located or how many it would fit. The two 6 volt or four 6 volt batteries would be something but as Andy at Inland RV mentioned last year, you are probably better off with 12 volt units. A 6 volt deep cycle Trojan would also be harder to find as mentioned earlier.
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Old 09-19-2003, 02:58 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally posted by Darryl
How are two panels wired in? Do I plug one in the bathroom and one in the living room? Just using the 12 plugs? That way they can be mounted to the glass from the inside. I admit I am not a wiring so just plugin' em in to the cigerette lighter type outlet would be the easiest. I just do not want to cause any damage to the univolt. She's old and needs to last me.
Darryl, they have cigarette lighter plugs on the ends. Right now, I have one of these dual cigarette lighter adapters hooked up, so I can plug them both into the same outlet.

Don
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Old 09-19-2003, 06:13 PM   #22
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The battery I bought is too big for the box behind the axle. It's a Marine 29, by the label it doesn't show anything other than cold cranking amps of 675 and marine cranking amps 875. What that means I have no idea.

I more than likely will buy a smaller battery, one that will fit in the compartment. My neighbor who owns SOB put a dual battery box on the tongue but I have read here that can cause weight distrubution challenges.

If I get another Marine 29 and put them in a box up front that will give me loads of cranking amps but I don't know how long they will last in my trailer.

The last time we camped (before trailer) we just built a big fire outside. But who knows now. On our first outing I intend to bring along my 5kw generator just in case. Based on our electricity usage here in the house I can envision killing a battery in a matter of hours. Furnace all day and nite (only heat source), loads of florescent lights and a to be installed later stereo. Although when it comes to a stereo I'm tempted to just buy a boom box that runs on its own cells.

Another thing I need to be cautious about is there are lots o' trees here in Oregon. Finding a camp site that has enough direct sun may be a challenge and render any solar useless.

My waterpump is 4.9amps, furnace NT30000 is 4.5amps and who knows about the florescents in the ceiling or the stock bedroom, reading and porch lights.

If all else fails I know that I can recharge with the generator during the day.
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Old 09-19-2003, 06:30 PM   #23
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If all else fails I know that I can recharge with the generator during the day.
If you run the generator during the time of highest usage it will recharge and cover what you are using all at the same time, no worrying about the batteries overnight.

John
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Old 09-19-2003, 07:17 PM   #24
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For those airstreamers with large parasitic drains, i.e. automatic refrigerators, entertainment systems, etc. and use their kill switch when in storage, cannot charge their batteries via the OEM 12 volt DC outlets. You must connect to the battery side of the kill switch.
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Old 09-19-2003, 09:13 PM   #25
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Today my hubby purchased a 5 watt solar panel from Harbor Freight for $50.00. We want to try it out for keeping the batteries charged. The interesting part is going to be how/where to install it.
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Old 09-20-2003, 07:40 PM   #26
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Solar panel.

Well we spent the better part of our day today out at the A/S. It is so very sad that we don't have a place to park it at our house (yet).

We had fun! After a few considerations for mounting the solar panel we decided to place it in the area of the sky light. So far it works just great.

Sheila
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Old 09-20-2003, 08:38 PM   #27
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Darryl,
Maybe this will help. Car batteries are designed for high initial cranking amps to start a car and for shallow (10% or less) discharges. They are not designed for deep cycle discharges. Deep cycle batteries are designed for prolonged discharges at lower current and not for high current discharge rates. Plates in the car battery are more porous and thinner than in deep cycle batteries. Those deep cycle batteries are used for applications that will consume 20 to 80% of the battery's capacity but I have heard not to discharge them past 50% or suffer earlier demise, the battery that is. The "dual" or starting marine battery is a compromise between car and deep cycle. A deep cycle or "dual marine" battery will work as a starting battery if it can produce enough current to start the engine but not as well as a car battery. You need a true deep cycle battery such as used in RV or marine trolling motor use, not a marine starting battery.

Deep cycle batteries are rated in amp/hours. It is calculated by multiplying the current in amps by time in hours the current is drawn i.e. An 80 amp. hr. battery drawing 4 amps will last 20 hrs. before being discharged. You may also see them rated with Reserve Capacity. RC is the number of minutes a new, fully charged battery at 80 degrees F. will sustain a discharge load of 25 amps to a cut-off voltage of 1.75 volts per cell (10.5 on a 12 volt battery). This rating is a little less useful because the common loads that RV use puts on a battery are much less. I've seen one formula to convert RC to amp. hrs. as RC X .6 i.e.
120 X .6=72 amp hrs. With this example you can run a 1 amp draw for 72 hrs or 10 amps for 7.2 hrs. To convert RC to amp. hrs. at the 25 amp hr rate, multiply RC by .4167. More amp hrs or RC are better in every case.

Check out www.geocities.com/bjb_darden/dcfaq.htm or http://bart.ccis.com/home/mnemeth/12volt/12volt.htm for great battery info.
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Old 09-20-2003, 08:51 PM   #28
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Wolfsong,
If the solar charger comes with a cigarette lighter plug then plug it into one of the receptacles in your unit and mount the panel against a window any way you can. This will not be quite as effective as placing it on top of the trailer but maybe safer if it is not parked in your back yard. Mine came with terminal rings which I slipped over the screw terminals and tightened down. I then ran the wires out the top of my battery box door and set the 5 watt panel on top of one of my 40# propane tanks. I have also placed it on top of the trailer near the front vent. Since both batteries are wired into the same system then they both get charged. I have seen clamps with wires connected to a female cigarette lighter socket the male plug fits into. The clamps connect straight to the battery terminal. If you have really long wires with your panel then you could run them down the air conditioner vent and connect to a 12 volt source near the frige if you have one.
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