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Old 06-29-2018, 11:36 AM   #41
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2008 19' International
Lincoln , Nebraska
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Originally Posted by wulfraat View Post
He set us up with a small system for boondocking. Couple new batteries, couple solar panels. Stuff like that.
That has to be the understatement of all times.

Happy trails,
Mike
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Old 06-29-2018, 12:49 PM   #42
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2017 27' International
Lake Havasu City , Arizona
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"Number zero ( if you could get it )..."

That would be what's commonly called 1/0, and yeah, you can get it. :-)
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Old 07-04-2018, 11:19 AM   #43
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2015 19' International
San Diego , California
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Handy Bob

This is RV solar 101:

https://handybobsolar.wordpress.com/...ging-puzzle-2/

Handy Bob was very helpful with helping me select components for my 600W system on my 19' Bambi. It's been 3 years since I did all the research, but the biggest thing is to charge batteries to a higher voltage than stock controllers to increase both usable capacity and battery life. He recommends Trimetric controllers and you should upgrade to a true sine wave inverter, a 2000W Magnum is what I got, and Crown 260 batteries x 4. I bought components and had Airstream of Orange County install it for about $2K if I recall.

For your needs, your system will work just fine, if all you need is a little solar to keep your RV batteries topped up. I would just upgrade to a Trimetric controller. Mine was for serious boon docking, but WAY overkill since my wife loves full hookups.
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Old 07-04-2018, 02:26 PM   #44
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2017 30' Classic
Fort Myers , Florida
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Originally Posted by Coolio View Post
Just ordered a 2019 25FB Twin Signature with factory solar. Are there any easy inexpensive upgrades that I can do that well help it run better?

Thanks!
Be sure and get the extra awnings, it helps ALOT...
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Old 07-04-2018, 03:25 PM   #45
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Ventura , California
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You should run fine, the controller is a good unit. Donít fret.I went solar and love it. What you need to do is get two 6 Volt AGM batteries. I like the Lifeline. They charge much faster than the factory Interstates. The 6 Volt batteries will triple your amp hours over factory batteries. Also, consider a suitcase Zamp portable so you can aim it for best sun angles.
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Old 07-04-2018, 04:41 PM   #46
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Is there time to change your order?

We looked into this and did our research prior to ordering.

Strongly advise you to cancel the factory solar, and get AM Solar - itís the best out there. Our dealer installed it for us and we are more than happy with it. Heard many bad things about factory installed, even from our dealer. 😳
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Old 07-05-2018, 04:40 PM   #47
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2018 30' Flying Cloud
Huntsville , Alabama
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I have read a lot in the forum about the great work AM Solar does but Oregon is a long way from Alabama. Does anyone have any recommendations for Solar in the Southeast? While installing myself is an option, I would prefer a professional installation.
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Old 07-05-2018, 06:06 PM   #48
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Lew Farber in Naples, FL. Lew is #1! he is only there in the fall / winter though.
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Old 09-09-2018, 06:13 PM   #49
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Ausitn , Texas
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How much does AM Solar charge for install? There is a place in Texas just west of Ft. Worth that does good work but expensive. $6000 for 300watt or $3000 for 200Watts. That is nuts! It makes the factory solar sound cheap. I look at it this way. The 80watt panel for 23' and under, is now 90watt from Zamp. It would be just for topping off the battery when on the road. When parked, use portable panels to get a lot more wattage using the external solar port with a charge controller inline. In the future, I plan to get lithium batteries and then would change out the factory controller for one that can charge lithium batteries correctly. I did talk to Airstream customer service last week and they wouldn't add a second panel to a 23 footer. Not for sure why I believe there is plenty of room.
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Old 09-10-2018, 05:12 PM   #50
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Originally Posted by BTSloan View Post
How much does AM Solar charge for install? There is a place in Texas just west of Ft. Worth that does good work but expensive. $6000 for 300watt or $3000 for 200Watts. That is nuts! It makes the factory solar sound cheap. I look at it this way. The 80watt panel for 23' and under, is now 90watt from Zamp. It would be just for topping off the battery when on the road. When parked, use portable panels to get a lot more wattage using the external solar port with a charge controller inline. In the future, I plan to get lithium batteries and then would change out the factory controller for one that can charge lithium batteries correctly. I did talk to Airstream customer service last week and they wouldn't add a second panel to a 23 footer. Not for sure why I believe there is plenty of room.
Hi

Best to contact AM solar with questions about their pricing. If you are simply shopping for the lowest price and wish to do it DIY ... nope, they are not competitive.

Bob
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Old 09-13-2018, 07:12 AM   #51
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With a system installed by AM Solar, and most likely anyone else, nearly half the cost will be labor. If youíre truly handy and love to DIY, you can save quite a bit of the cost. If youíre like me, youíll hire them to do the installation, as we did.
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Old 09-14-2018, 08:15 AM   #52
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With a system installed by AM Solar, and most likely anyone else, nearly half the cost will be labor. If you’re truly handy and love to DIY, you can save quite a bit of the cost. If you’re like me, you’ll hire them to do the installation, as we did.
Hi

With DIY, if this is your first time doing it, the labor hours you put in will be way more than what a pro puts in. You also will have an expensive pile of this and that left over once the job is finished. Your tool inventory will have expanded by several job specific tools. (that likely will never be needed again ....).

When the pro is done, you will have a finished product that looks good and works well. Everything will be buttoned up / clean and neat. ( at least it *should* be). You also will have a warranty and maybe a nice bunch of documentation.

When the DIY is "done" you will be about 80 to 90% of the way and who knows when the other 10 or 20 will be finished ...... I *really* should get around to finishing this console sitting next to me .....

Indeed if you put the stuff in yourself, you know what went where and why. That's true on my system right now. Come back in two years and start asking about details .... hmmmm .... errr ....

Bob
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Old 09-14-2018, 08:44 AM   #53
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...exactly, and thatís why we paid experts to do our upgrade for us!
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Old 09-14-2018, 04:48 PM   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocinante View Post
With a system installed by AM Solar, and most likely anyone else, nearly half the cost will be labor. If youíre truly handy and love to DIY, you can save quite a bit of the cost. If youíre like me, youíll hire them to do the installation, as we did.


I did a very large install with Lewster - who is top notch, best in the business. 71 hours of his labor @$140/h. That didnít include an additional 8 hours that he didnít charge me for because he is an awesome human being and works to deliver perfection to his clients. Labor was 37% of the total cost of my install. I had a lot of $$ in parts due to system size and complexity (800w solar, 600ah Victron lithium, multiplus, 150/70 mppt, ccgx, new power panel, LTE booster, tons of wiring bits and many other components). Labor would have been closer to 50% of the cost with a smaller system.

I am very competent and could have done the install myself. Iím estimating it would have been about 120h of my time to do what Lew did. Heís got a full shop, second set of hands, knows all the tricks in the book - it was worth the $$.

The good news is that in the 2018 tax year Iíll get 30% back as a tax credit. No brainer to have Lew do the work.
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Old 09-15-2018, 08:30 AM   #55
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Hi

A very long time ago, (back when I actually did real work for a living) probably the best training advice I ever got: Take any job and work out how long you think it'll take. Then multiply by three. It may take longer than that, but that's a good starting point. Indeed the topic was pipe fitting, but it applies to just about anything. It's very rare that a job you are doing for the first time goes without a few issues. That's just the nature of doing stuff....

So, my bet is that if it takes Lew 80 hours to get something done, the average person named Bob isn't going to get it done in under about 240 hours .... That's been true for 50+ years ....

Bob
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Old 07-30-2019, 03:26 PM   #56
Eric
 
2019 25' Flying Cloud
tucson , Arizona
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Hi, do you know where all the factory solar components are located? I have a 2019 25 flying cloud FB.

Thank you,
Eric
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Old 07-31-2019, 07:20 AM   #57
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Originally Posted by laferic View Post
Hi, do you know where all the factory solar components are located? I have a 2019 25 flying cloud FB.

Thank you,
Eric
Hi

In the typical AS layout, there is a power bus near the front of the trailer. It may be on the floor under this or under that. In our trailer it's under a sofa.

Along with that power bus, you have a bunch of thermal breakers. It's not easy to tell they are breakers but they are. Since they self reset you generally don't bother with them.

Next to all that likely will be a black blob with a (maybe) green and yellow wire into it. That's the solar controller. The only other "components" are the wall display and the stuff on the roof.

Bob
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Old 08-01-2019, 11:35 AM   #58
Eric
 
2019 25' Flying Cloud
tucson , Arizona
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Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post
Hi

In the typical AS layout, there is a power bus near the front of the trailer. It may be on the floor under this or under that. In our trailer it's under a sofa.

Along with that power bus, you have a bunch of thermal breakers. It's not easy to tell they are breakers but they are. Since they self reset you generally don't bother with them.

Next to all that likely will be a black blob with a (maybe) green and yellow wire into it. That's the solar controller. The only other "components" are the wall display and the stuff on the roof.

Bob
Thank you ..i will look into
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Old 09-24-2019, 05:06 PM   #59
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2020 16' Caravel
San Clemente , CA
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Greetings! I have a 2020 Caravel 16rb with the factory installed solar. I'm trying to determine/confirm the following to get a good baseline:

1. two AGM batteries- are they group 24 and 80ah each?
2. factory solar panel is 90w. make/model? Zamp?

Has anyone installed two 100w panels on a 16RB? Not a lot of roof real estate. I'm curious to positioning/difficulties.

I'm considering upgrading the factory controller to a Victron MPPT 100/20 to get a better handle on usage/monitoring (and allow for future upgrades).
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Old 09-25-2019, 10:17 AM   #60
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Originally Posted by SurfnSoCal View Post
Greetings! I have a 2020 Caravel 16rb with the factory installed solar. I'm trying to determine/confirm the following to get a good baseline:

1. two AGM batteries- are they group 24 and 80ah each?
2. factory solar panel is 90w. make/model? Zamp?

Has anyone installed two 100w panels on a 16RB? Not a lot of roof real estate. I'm curious to positioning/difficulties.

I'm considering upgrading the factory controller to a Victron MPPT 100/20 to get a better handle on usage/monitoring (and allow for future upgrades).
Hi

As mentioned earlier in this thread, there's only just so much space on the smaller trailers. With a 16' you may not have enough room for a second panel.

Make of the factory panels is unknown. They seem to be Zamp or a Zamp clone. Functionally they seem to be able to put out 100W under the right conditions with the right controller.

The normal solar package AGM batteries on most Airstreams are 100AH Lifeline group 27's. Unless the Caravel gets it's own battery box ( = they don't use the same one as the other trailers), I'd bet yours will be group 27's.

Bob
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