Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 06-19-2017, 05:14 PM   #1
New Member
 
New Castle , Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 2
All solar

has anyone ever used solar to power entire system - AC, heating, appliances, lights, etc? Have gutted 73 Overlander and wondering if you can get by w/o propane.
__________________

__________________
lesliegarner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-19-2017, 05:24 PM   #2
Rivet Master
Commercial Member
 
lewster's Avatar
 
Vintage Kin Owner
Naples, FL , Hood River, OR
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 7,281
Quote:
Originally Posted by lesliegarner View Post
has anyone ever used solar to power entire system - AC, heating, appliances, lights, etc? Have gutted 73 Overlander and wondering if you can get by w/o propane.
Sure you can!!!

Just depends on how many batteries (hopefully lithium) you intend to carry, how many solar panels you can fit on your roof and how deep your pockets are.....

Look up a member on the Forums 'Beach Bum' and send them a PM. They have a substantial solar array (800 watts), large lithium pack (600-800 amp/hours) and have removed most if not all LP devices. marine fridge, infrared cook top, etc.
__________________

__________________
Lew Farber...ABYC Certified Master Marine Electrician...RVIA Certified Master Tech ...AM Solar Authorized Installation Center...AIRSTREAM Solar & Electrical Specialist...Micro Air 'Easy Start' Sales and Installations
lewster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-19-2017, 05:43 PM   #3
retired USA/USAF

 
2001 30' Excella
Somerset , New Jersey
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 2,157
Last Oct. at a Rally in South Carolina I met a guy that had a solar system that he claims can run his AC for 5 hours on Battery. I suspect lithium (but don't know for sure) and I think he said 800w of solar panels. He even had a dishwasher. So like Lew said, it can be done but be prepared to part with some $$$$.
__________________
Roger in NJ

" Democracy is the worst form of government. Except for all the rest"
Winston Churchill 1948

TAC - NJ 18

polarlyse is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-19-2017, 06:06 PM   #4
Half a Rivet Short
 
2017 30' Classic
Carlisle , Pennsylvania
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 3,527
Hi

Ok, so rather than tossing around "I heard this" let's run the numbers:

If you have a large trailer, you will run two AC units. If it's really hot out, they will *both* run quite a bit. If you want to do that on top of "everything else" you need a lot of current.

Let's say you need to run 50A at 120V. That's about 1/2 what a big trailer with everything turned on will run (it runs 50A at 240V). At 12V, that will be 500A. Unless you really like buying new batteries, you will need at least 1000AH on your battery stack. (discharge at C/2 rate). You also will need at least a 6KW inverter.

How much of the time do you pull 50A? Certainly not all the time. Let's guess that it's about 30% of the time. Put another way, during the day, you average 150A. That either comes off your solar (is it cloudy?) or batteries. Normally you design for 24 hours on batteries. So 8 hours at 150A gives you 1200 AH.

Let's say that the 4 hours in the morning and 4 hours in the evening are at 1/2 that rate. It's a guess, but probably not over the top. That gets you 600 AH. For the overnight period, we'll go with 300 AH. Net is 2100 AH of battery. That's 25.2 KWh.

You need to be able to charge 2100 AH in the average 8 hours of "peak solar". Yes you get power over a longer period than that. You also don't hit peak for the whole 8 hours. You will need a bit over 3KW of solar on the roof.

No, we haven't figured in efficiencies. There is no margin in these numbers. It's at best powering things for a fairly small trailer or under not so crazy conditions. If you want to do a 33' in the Arizona sun or the Houston swamp, you would at least double the numbers above. Put some margin in and you would boost them still more.

So, can you do it? Of course you can. It's only money.

Should you do it? Did you have any other plans for all that weight and all that trailer volume? (or all that money).

Can you do a "bragging rights" version for less? Of course you can. Put in a 4,000 BTU AC instead of a 13,500 or a 15,000. Turn everything off for 80% of the time. Run the AC for one hour at 10 PM to 11 PM. You now have bragging rights. It's not clear you have much more than that.

Bob
__________________
uncle_bob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2017, 12:12 AM   #5
3 Rivet Member
 
2014 30' Flying Cloud
Ponce Inlet , Florida
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by lewster View Post
Sure you can!!!

Just depends on how many batteries (hopefully lithium) you intend to carry, how many solar panels you can fit on your roof and how deep your pockets are.....

Look up a member on the Forums 'Beach Bum' and send them a PM. They have a substantial solar array (800 watts), large lithium pack (600-800 amp/hours) and have removed most if not all LP devices. marine fridge, infrared cook top, etc.
That would be me.

It can be done with standard off the shelf products and some trade-offs if you add a solar system with the right design. Three things that propane excels at with no shore power are cooking, hot water and heating. Refrigerator is not a problem using a marine fridge and a well designed solar system. Cooking can be done using an induction burner or microwave on an inverter for short durations. So, If you are willing to take cold showers and use lots of layers for heat or add a generator to the system then yes is the answer. There are tradeoffs with any combination of solar, generator, propane power systems you choose to use.

I am a solar user but would not go all electric too many tradeoffs for me. Total Solar system supporting AC, heat and hot water would probably require the use of a generator or very large battery bank and roof and portable solar panels as well.


Our solar story and system

With that said we have a 30í FC and moved toward a mostly electric w/solar set up. I replaced the dometic fridge with a 120/12 v marine fridge and the propane stove with a two burner induction cook top. Which we love. No plans to replace either propane hot water heater they consume too much electricity to make them viable when dry camping unless you added a generator to the mix. Tradeoff we donít run our AC when dry camping and use a two burner outdoor propane camp stove for extended cooking when needed. On the flip side if there is 15 amp service at the site with our hybrid inverter we are golden. We do not have or plan to purchase generator for back up. We have found that with a little planning and some energy conservation in less than optimal conditions (weather and shade) we have no issues.



Two summers ago summer we went 11 and 16 consecutive days at primitive sites with no hook ups using our 7.1 cu ft marine AC/DC refrigerator/freezer with no problems.

After 3 nights of marginal weather and a mostly shady site at the north rim of the Grand Canyon, we were running a little low on juice 193 amp draw down on the AGM batteries could have stretched it one more night if we had to. We learned to limit our energy consumption when camped in crappy weather or shady sites for more than a day or two.



Last year we upgraded to lithium batteries and the hybrid inverter so we could use the induction cooktop, microwave, when dry camping and have and have all the creature comforts needing only 15amp service.

Our initial, AM solar set up was 540 watts on the roof, 1000 watt inverter and 600Ah of AGM batteries under the couch. This was an expensive learning experience as we upgraded to AM solar 3000 Watt hybrid inverter with 740 watts on the roof and 600 AH lithium batteries which better suits our needs.


With the upgrade we can dry camp and use the induction cooktop, microwave and other electric gadgets. The system is designed for a minimum of 4 days with crappy solar conditions. In the good solar conditions we are self-sufficient, water and holding tank capacity are the limiting factor. Our propane usage is minimal as its primarily for hot water showers and dishwashing I think we used one tank in two years. Yes we are glampers but we do not want a generator and we like to camp in places that donít have hook ups. We donít use AC when dry camping. Not for everyone itís Just the way we roll.

A properly designed solar vs generator vs propane vs electric set up is a matter of personal choice, no right or wrong answer. Do what best suits you, your pocketbook and your camping style. IMHO the most important things to understand before designing your system are your electrical needs, how you like to camp, and what tradeoffs you are willing to make.

PM me if you want more info about our experience with our electrical and solar setup.
__________________
Beach Bum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2017, 12:15 AM   #6
Rivet Master
 
Troutboy's Avatar

 
2017 23' Flying Cloud
Parker , Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 1,071
Images: 1
I have 500w, 320amp hour lithium, on a hot sunny day, I ran a single smaller AC (13500) for nearly 6 hours (on/off) to keep temp at 70. Drained battery from 100% to 26%, and that's with full on clear day Colorado sun putting power back into batteries while AC ran. I think you would need at least 600-800 amp hours of lithium to attempt this, and you would be looking at over $15k-20K in system costs, if you did it your self! Seems cost prohibitive, unless you have endless amounts of cash....
__________________
Thanks,
Troutboy
Troutboy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-21-2017, 08:07 AM   #7
Half a Rivet Short
 
2017 30' Classic
Carlisle , Pennsylvania
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 3,527
Hi

One thing you have in your favor "out west" is that the AC generally does not have to deal with a lot of humidity. Yes, I have been to the Pacific Northwest and noted the "humidity". I also don't recall needing much AC up there Rain wear every day yes, AC ... no.

Bob
__________________
uncle_bob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-28-2017, 11:59 PM   #8
3 Rivet Member
 
1972 25' Tradewind
Calgary , Alberta
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 236
Anyone have some quick links to getting schooled on lithium batteries and solar setups in an RV.
I have a full Monty on a 72' Tradewind underway I'm searching every system and my head is spinning...
__________________
Monza is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2017, 12:01 AM   #9
Rivet Master
 
Troutboy's Avatar

 
2017 23' Flying Cloud
Parker , Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 1,071
Images: 1
Quote:
Originally Posted by Monza View Post
Anyone have some quick links to getting schooled on lithium batteries and solar setups in an RV.

I have a full Monty on a 72' Tradewind underway I'm searching every system and my head is spinning...


Go to the am solar website, great RV solar tutorials and learning. Here is a link to their discussion on batteries and lithium

http://amsolar.com/diy-rv-solar-inst...s/edbatteries/
__________________
Thanks,
Troutboy
Troutboy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2017, 07:38 AM   #10
Rivet Master
 
AnnArborBob's Avatar
 
2014 27' FB Eddie Bauer
Chelsea , Michigan
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 1,767
Images: 12
Aside from the size and cost of the LiFePO battery bank you'd need to run the AC for any length of time (the batteries and inverter to do this for several hours would likely cost nearly $10,000) the real "deal killer" to getting rid of the propane entirely as far as I'm concerned would be heating the trailer. Trying to heat an Airstream with electric rather than propane would take even more battery capacity than running the AC.
__________________
Bob Martel
WBCCI# 5766
AnnArborBob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2017, 12:02 PM   #11
3 Rivet Member
 
1972 25' Tradewind
Calgary , Alberta
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 236
Quote:
Originally Posted by Troutboy View Post
Go to the am solar website, great RV solar tutorials and learning. Here is a link to their discussion on batteries and lithium

http://amsolar.com/diy-rv-solar-inst...s/edbatteries/
Thanks for that. WOW lithium batteries ae serious $$.
__________________
Monza is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2017, 01:54 PM   #12
Rivet Master
 
Troutboy's Avatar

 
2017 23' Flying Cloud
Parker , Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 1,071
Images: 1
Lithium batteries will be, if you use them, 50% of the cost of the system.

My initial estimate for my 500W system was around $4K for the materials (solar panels, charger, inverter/charger) etc. and 440amp hours of AGM.

When I switched to lithium, cost went to $8000.

Note smaller inverter system I designed would have given 500W for around $3k, all in.

These prices are for parts only. I did labor on my own.

So yes, lithium is very expensive initially. I switched to lithium mainly for the weight benefit as I was limited in my payload, and the optimized charge cycles.
__________________
Thanks,
Troutboy
Troutboy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-30-2017, 08:04 AM   #13
Half a Rivet Short
 
2017 30' Classic
Carlisle , Pennsylvania
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 3,527
Quote:
Originally Posted by Monza View Post
Thanks for that. WOW lithium batteries ae serious $$.
Hi

Resist the urge to go for cheap "no name" lithiums ....You might get good ones, you might get a ball of fire. How lucky do you feel?

====

Just curious: What do you plan to tow your 72 foot long TT with?

Bob
__________________
uncle_bob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-30-2017, 09:08 AM   #14
3 Rivet Member
 
1972 25' Tradewind
Calgary , Alberta
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 236
[QUOTE=uncle_bob;1970625]Hi

Resist the urge to go for cheap "no name" lithiums ....You might get good ones, you might get a ball of fire. How lucky do you feel?

====

Just curious: What do you plan to tow your 72 foot long TT with?

Bob[/QUOTE

Yes, thanks for that advice. Buy once cry once, I think I'm going with regular batteries for now, do more research and figure out what I really need. Maybe prices will keep dropping in that time.

------
I tow the 72' footer with a semi.
__________________

__________________
Monza is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Best Quality Solar Panels & Solar Controllers to use | Opinions Wanted BoldAdventure Generators & Solar Power 54 03-17-2016 07:04 AM
Airstream solar pre-wiring compatibility with AM solar robi Electrical - Systems, Generators, Batteries & Solar 6 06-11-2014 10:31 PM
Solar Install AM Solar outdoors717 Generators & Solar Power 3 07-15-2012 08:11 PM
All Electric/ All Solar/ or just in the kitchen? Nick1117 Generators & Solar Power 9 11-22-2011 04:29 PM


Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 02:41 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.