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Old 06-27-2018, 11:02 AM   #21
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We have solar units and we are always off grid, but many times under some form of cover so really unless you want the hassle of a remote portable solar set up, you will see how often you will be obstructed. I always have my little honda with me and use it as necessary.....I fire it up when I am not at the site and let it charge....and I have a very long extention cords and conceal it in vegetation etc ..you wont believe how much that dampens the sound to almost nothing...Hutch Mountain has the best propane converter kits and simply bring along an extra 20 lb tank...its very simple and always reliable.
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Old 06-27-2018, 11:10 AM   #22
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I have the factory solar on my 2018 25 RB FC and love it. The entire system including installation is warranted by Airstream. If you install yourself you could cause damage or have leaks. Not horribly priced considering the warranty. Two Zamp 80 watt solar panels (American made) are approximately $1000, two Lifeline batteries (American made) approximately $700, then add the costs of solar controller, solar display and installation and the $2200 price tag is good.
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Old 06-27-2018, 11:32 AM   #23
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Can I just add panels and upgrade the controller to the factory solar in the future, if I decide the system is not adequate?
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Old 06-27-2018, 11:45 AM   #24
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My understanding is that the wiring to the roof is not large enough to support additional panels.

Check the AM Solar website. If you contact them, they will walk you through all of the options - even for future growth.
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Old 06-27-2018, 12:04 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coolio View Post
I currently have 2 Trojan T-105 6 volt batteries in my old trailer that are about 2 years old. Would those work well with adding 4x100 watt panels and a Victron SmartSolar MPPT 100/30?


Also, how much time do I have to make changes like deleting a factory option from an order? I just placed my deposit and order Monday.
I would keep the two year old Trojans rather than the brand new Interstates if it were my Airstream. I installed two Duracell EGC2 230AH 6V Golf Cart Batteries with my 400W solar system and it works perfectly. The Duracells I installed are actually relabeled Deka/East Penn batteries which are almost as good as your T105s. If you use around 130AH each day, the 400W of solar panels will easily recharge the batteries in the Colorado sun. You can see how my 400W solar system with 230AH Golf Cart Batteries performs in my Solar Show & Tell thread: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f448...ll-181608.html

I believe you can make changes until 30 days before production on an "on order" Airstream. Ask your saleperson to verify this.
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Old 06-27-2018, 12:11 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Francesca21 View Post
We have solar units and we are always off grid, but many times under some form of cover so really unless you want the hassle of a remote portable solar set up, you will see how often you will be obstructed. I always have my little honda with me and use it as necessary.....I fire it up when I am not at the site and let it charge....and I have a very long extention cords and conceal it in vegetation etc ..you wont believe how much that dampens the sound to almost nothing...Hutch Mountain has the best propane converter kits and simply bring along an extra 20 lb tank...its very simple and always reliable.

We also tried solar....but it isn't for everyone, depends on where you Camp. Sometimes it's a bit of a hassle looking for 'solar' spots.😏
The Honda IS a lot quieter in it's tent. 😂

Bob
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Old 06-27-2018, 12:26 PM   #27
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Can I just add panels and upgrade the controller to the factory solar in the future, if I decide the system is not adequate?

This is not as easy as it sounds. If you want to add panels to the factory setup that don't match your existing panels, you should run them in parallel. Then the factory pre-wire will also need to be upgraded and the solar controller will not work as efficiently with mismatched panels.

If you add four matching 100W panels and connect them in a series/parrallel configuration, the factory pre-wire will work perfectly. This is what I did and have documented 30 Amps of charging at the batteries with my Victron 100/30 controller. See pictures on my Solar Show & Tell Thread: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f448...ll-181608.html

If I wanted more solar wattage than the factory offering, I would not buy the factory solar and would install a matched panel setup designed by AM Solar.

One more thing, I would only use the factory pre-wire for up to 400W of series/parallel panels. The sweet spot for voltage and amps on the factory pre-wire is 400W.
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Old 06-27-2018, 12:29 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AirMiles View Post
I would keep the two year old Trojans rather than the brand new Interstates if it were my Airstream. I installed two Duracell EGC2 230AH 6V Golf Cart Batteries with my 400W solar system and it works perfectly. The Duracells I installed are actually relabeled Deka/East Penn batteries which are almost as good as your T105s. If you use around 130AH each day, the 400W of solar panels will easily recharge the batteries in the Colorado sun. You can see how my 400W solar system with 230AH Golf Cart Batteries performs in my Solar Show & Tell thread: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f448...ll-181608.html

I believe you can make changes until 30 days before production on an "on order" Airstream. Ask your saleperson to verify this.

Airmiles,


Does the factory pre-wire support adding panels?
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Old 06-27-2018, 12:54 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coolio View Post
Airmiles,


Does the factory pre-wire support adding panels?
Answer in the post above.

I think you need to sleep on this decision of whether to go with the factory solar or delete it. If you stick with the factory solar, I think you will be happy. It sounds like you got it at a great price. In my opinion, the factory setup will easily charge the Lifeline batteries that are included and you will have "fully charged" batteries in full sun. You may want to upgrade the controller to a Victron MPPT and I would definitely replace the 14awg wire between the controller and the battery bus with 6awg and a "real" 40A circuit breaker like AM Solar sells in their kits.
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Old 06-27-2018, 02:57 PM   #30
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1st thing , do not let Airstream do any of the solar .
Next is problematic , never do any solar with anyone that is RV / marine [ generally speaking ] , also nothing off Amazon , talk to solar people that build hole house systems - this one of the issues , generally they may not want to do small systems , but much better pricing & know more how do correctly and use better equipment .
Take some effort to learn - the more you know - the less you get ripped off , as an example under $1 per watt for panels , vs. over $3+++ per watt .
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Old 06-27-2018, 03:30 PM   #31
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Quote:
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Next is problematic , never do any solar with anyone that is RV / marine [ generally speaking ]


That’s a pretty general statement. AM Solar and Lew Farber are absolute go-to top-shelf installers and both do amazing work to the highest standard with the most advanced / total systems integration with Victron.

Home systems have different parameters than RV systems.
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Old 06-27-2018, 03:35 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by wulfraat View Post
That’s a pretty general statement. AM Solar and Lew Farber are absolute go-to top-shelf installers and both do amazing work to the highest standard with the most advanced / total systems integration with Victron.

Home systems have different parameters than RV systems.
^
X2

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Old 06-28-2018, 07:39 AM   #33
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As my post said , " generally speaking " .
I started look into alternative energy over 40 yrs. , and designing & building systems for most of that .
So its just a matter of matching the numbers to what I said , I am retired now , and there are changes , so its harder to give up to date live in business info , but I still follow as a hobby .
Point being just because there are a few good installers [ generally ] does not take away from the fact that the RV , marine industry is over priced , and has not caught up to what is now old tech - solar .
The main changes are that American companies / with the help of the government , has given away , quit - moved to china .
With 25 yr. warranty , you would be hard pressed to find an American manufacture - still around to cover that .
And now most of what is available is from china , with the history of what they have shipped here , good luck .
Maybe you missed the point , or have a small picture - a couple of guys do not make up the general community of anything , not that those couple are not good installers , there just a couple out of many .
Look how long Airstream has been killing batteries !
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Old 06-28-2018, 08:08 AM   #34
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Airstream kills batteries?....nononono, batteries kill batteries, all us exspurts here agree. 😂

As far as solar goes all I have is opinions, we tried it, where we normally go it wasn't workable. For a lot of folks it's just the ticket.

Bob
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Old 06-28-2018, 08:20 AM   #35
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Hi

Ok, a few loops around in this thread. I can't really quote each one.

The factory wiring is 10 gauge wire. Unless there is something odd in the Zamp gizmo on the roof, it's good for 30 amps. The fuses in the factory system are 10A fuses. They are fine for the standard panels and controller. If you are using normal ~20V panels, 30A would give you around 500W of power parallel connected. They would give you even more series / parallel connected ( like > 1KW). In just about all cases the controller would need to be swapped out and the fuses upgraded. Fuses cost pennies, controllers cost hundreds of dollars.

If you are running the stock Zamp panels, there is not a lot of benefit to changing the controller in terms of getting more power into the battery. The charge profile on he stock solar is also not that different than the stock MPPT. The big thing you get with an MPPT is reporting and fun things to watch with an app on your phone.

The stock gizmo on the roof is set up for three panels. There is no reason it can't be "kludged" to adapt to more panels. The big deal is pulling the stupid wires down from the roof. Hauling the panels up to the roof and getting them mounted is a lot more fun than any minor issues with hacking them into the wiring.

Bob
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Old 06-28-2018, 09:12 AM   #36
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RV Solar

So one thing that I think gets confusing is that on these (at least factory) RV Solar systems, all you're doing is charging the batteries. Any power being used comes from the batts and the solar helps to keep them charged. As the battery charge demands diminish, the controller throttles the panels. That makes me conclude that there's only so much you can drive into the batteries and so only so much value in getting larger/additional panels. Now maybe the more advanced solar systems are more integrated. So the number/size/type of batteries really become the limiting factor on how much you can run (I see people asking about running their AC which is far beyond the capabilities of these systems).



I have whole home solar which I installed 2 years ago and that system is actually "AC coupled" so it feeds my panel directly and basically the grid is my "battery".


FWIW...
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Old 06-28-2018, 09:56 AM   #37
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The critical factor in solar installations is the gauge of the wiring used. The longer the run of wire, the greater is the potential voltage drop. While you may think that your wiring run is, say, 12 feet, it may actually be 20 feet or more. The marginal cost of using a heavier gauge wire is small - but the labor cost of running the wire is usually the same. When I did my upgrade it was because the 10AWG wire was not heavy enough, resulting it the Blue Sky MPPT controller giving an error code. The recommendation from Blue Sky's tech was to go to 8AWG wire - I oped for 6AWG, the cost differential being about $20 in my case. Later on, when I increased my "solar farm" from 365W to 540W, the 6AWG wire worked fine.

Another potential issue (which I experienced) was that the PO of my AS had the controller mounted in the cabinet over the refrigerator. Looked good, and was neat, BUT that location proved to be a huge mistake. The controller must not be in an environment that exceeds 115 F. The location above the refer is in the vent system of the refer, where there is heat generated from below as well as the sun baking it from the top. Every day at about 11:00am, the solar would switch off. So I opted to swap out the Blue Sky SB3000i for the Blue Sky 3024DiL, and had it mounted on the side of the china cabinet (all inside the AS). All works ust fine now.
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Old 06-28-2018, 12:52 PM   #38
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Hi

The voltage drop issue is very dependent on how the panels are connected. If you wire them in series, it's much less of an issue than if you wire them in parallel. On a newer trailer, pulling new wire may mean taking the entire inside of the trailer apart. That's a lot of rivets ....

If you *are* going to bigger wire, well, bigger is always better. Number 4 will give you less drop than number 6. 4/0 will do better than number 4. There is *always* an improvement when you do that. The improvement can be calculated. Number 10 wire runs 1 mili ohm per foot. Number zero ( if you could get it ) runs 0.1 per foot. Both are for copper wire. Length of wire and ohms law will get you the rest of the way.

An example:

Twenty feet ( 40 feet round trip) of number 10 will give you 0.04 ohms. At ten amps, that's 0.4 volts. At 30 amps it's 1.2 volts. Two ~20V panels in series will "loose" about 4% efficiency at full load (guessing 16V which may be a bit low). They are putting out 960 W at that point so you have quite a bit of the roof covered with panels.

Going from number 10 to number 0 would save you about 34W at peak load. It would save less at lower loads. Washing your panels down weekly also improves efficiency. Tilting all the panels to track the sun significantly improves things.

Lots of choices, lots of decisions.

Bob
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Old 06-28-2018, 01:09 PM   #39
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Thanks Bob!
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Old 06-28-2018, 03:11 PM   #40
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I have a 2012 27’FB. I upgraded the factory solar. I replaced the go power solar controller with a Blue Sky 3000i MPPT. I added 2 100 watt panels to the existing 140 watt panel. Those upgrades cost about $600 not counting my labor to install them. I bought the trailer used and had to replace the 4 existing 75 AH AGM batteries. That cost $875. I also live in Colorado and for summer travels my Solar system works great. We spend at least a month each summer out west (Mt, Ut, Or, Id, Co and N Ca) and very seldom plug into shore power. When we do it is because the only camping option available includes electricity. For winters we typically go south. If we use the gas furnace at night after a few cloudy days we need shore power. When that happens I use a Honda 2000i in the mornings for a few hours.
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