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Old 06-26-2018, 10:23 AM   #1
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2019 Factory Solar Upgrades

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!
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Old 06-26-2018, 12:09 PM   #2
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Congratulations!

What do you consider inexpensive? And could you narrow the definition of "run better"?

We would be glad to help!
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Old 06-26-2018, 01:23 PM   #3
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I read that the controller sucks. So maybe swap that out. $500 budget if necessary. We never camp with shore power, but get plenty of sunlight in Colorado. Only high wattage device would be a small Kuerig, TV, and maybe run the furnace occasionally.

Thanks!
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Old 06-26-2018, 01:38 PM   #4
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In addition I would look at getting the batteries upgraded. If AGM you should be good but see what deals you can get for lithium-ion (would require additional battery management depending on battery). We just got our 2018 20' FC and I probably would've purchased solar, we purchased 2 Renogy suitcases. We also bought 2 6v AGM batteries. Another add-on or have them do if you're not handy would be look at hot water on demand (if not boon docking a lot), 4G LTE enhancer i.e. WeBoost and bike rack. Also look at the hitch, try and get at least a good anti-sway weight distribution hitch added (Blue Ox or ProPride, depending on budget). Do your homework on the hitches as there are many different opinions and price goes from $500 - $2700.

Hope this helps!
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Old 06-26-2018, 02:06 PM   #5
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Or possibly...

.....delete the 'factory option' and go with an AM Solar(Lew Farber here on forums), aftermarket system. Much better choice. 👍

Bob
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Old 06-26-2018, 02:59 PM   #6
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... or delete the factory option and install it yourself and save a bundle. You can select an MPPT controller and battery monitor and install much more power on the roof for less than what Airstream is proposing. Airstream provides all the pre-wiring for an easy DIY installation.
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Old 06-26-2018, 03:01 PM   #7
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If you go AM Solar, who installs the system? What would labor cost?
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Old 06-26-2018, 04:51 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coolio View Post
If you go AM Solar, who installs the system? What would labor cost?
Lew Farber 👍

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Old 06-26-2018, 05:38 PM   #9
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I highly recommend Lew. Pro. He set us up with a small system for boondocking. Couple new batteries, couple solar panels. Stuff like that. Works great!

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f539...um-182406.html
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Old 06-26-2018, 05:48 PM   #10
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Wulf that looks so nice and neat. We've met Lew at a seminar great guy.
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Old 06-26-2018, 06:45 PM   #11
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Wulfratt,
What does a system like that cost?
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Old 06-26-2018, 06:51 PM   #12
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Hi

Simple answer: The factory solar option has been pretty much the same for several years. You can upgrade the controller and get another 5 to 10% out of the system. That will run you a couple hundred dollars. It can also add cool features like logging and a phone based app.

Best way to "improve" the system - add another panel and keep the existing controller. That adds another 50% to the output.

Bob
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Old 06-26-2018, 07:48 PM   #13
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2019 Factory Solar Upgrades

Quote:
Originally Posted by Coolio View Post
Wulfratt,
What does a system like that cost?


Its quite an investment if you want true independence from the grid without giving up all of the amenities of shore power including the ability to run the Air Con off the batteries.

The two victron 300ah batteries are about $8k alone. Those are just two bits in a long list of equipment. Install was about 70 hours of professional services.

I would add that after the dust settles you can claim back 30% of total expenses in a renewable energy tax credit on your federal filing as the trailer is considered a second property. So that helps take some of the edge off.
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Old 06-27-2018, 09:22 AM   #14
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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.
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Old 06-27-2018, 10:05 AM   #15
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One more question. If I do the factory solar, can I just add 2 more 100 watt panels to the existing system and swap out the Atkinson to the Victron SmartSolar MPPT 100/30?
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Old 06-27-2018, 10:24 AM   #16
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What are they charging you for the factory solar? All they are doing is attaching a panel to the roof and connecting a charge controller, the wiring exists even if you don't opt in to buy it from the factory. That means you can probably spend the same amount of money on "more", being a better charge controller and perhaps a better panel...so why would you buy the factory stuff just to toss it out within weeks/months? That seems rather foolish, a used factory charge controller has very little value used.

You probably should outline what you are trying to achieve. The factory solar may be entirely adequate for some, but if you expect to replenish batteries for using an inverter all day to run a coffee maker then that is a drastically different discussion. You need to quality your energy consumption if you want to have a system that "meets your needs".
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Old 06-27-2018, 10:34 AM   #17
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Why don't you simply buy a new Honda 2200 gen, convert it to propane (the gas is a hassle) and call it a day? I just don't get all this consternation, money, and confusion about how to effectively go off grid? The Honda is quiet and will ensure that your batteries are always topped off....also, if it's a "green thing" then read about how batteries and solar panels are made, also look up how Cobalt is processed to make the crazy expensive LiIon batteries.....it's the least green mining on the planet!!!!
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Old 06-27-2018, 10:37 AM   #18
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They'll only deduct $800 from my sales price if I remove solar, so I figure I'll just keep it. The 2 batteries and 2 panels that I keep should be worth the $800. I'm almost 21% off MSRP on the deal, and don't real want to screw it up.


Inverter Power needs:


small Keurig to make 4-6 coffees per day
charge a laptop
run 2 TVs in the evening
dvd player
charger for 2 ipads and 4 iphones
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Old 06-27-2018, 10:42 AM   #19
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I really don't like the sound of a generator while camping. I know the Hondas are quiet, but you can still hear them. The only time we would use a generator would be for AC. Since we usually camp above 10,000' we almost never use it.
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Old 06-27-2018, 10:50 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coolio View Post
Inverter Power needs:

small Keurig to make 4-6 coffees per day
charge a laptop
run 2 TVs in the evening
dvd player
charger for 2 ipads and 4 iphones
Power the iPad and phones from 12V native receptacles, otherwise you are converting 12VDC to 110VAC to 5VDC with losses along the way...and with the long charge time that those devices may have it adds up quickly.

Depending on your laptop, you can also find a car/mobile charger for it to avoid doing the same thing (12VDC to 110VAC to ~19VDC).

On the Keurig other than that I don't think they should exist due to the massive amount of waste and pollution their "cups" create, and that they at best produce consistently mediocre coffee. Sorry to be blunt, but this goes against most principles of enjoying the outdoors due to those disposable cups. I would suggest looking at pour over (e.g. Chemex or V60 cup), a French press, an AeroPress or any other method that you can just heat water with your propane stove top...as using an inverter to heat water is not efficient. Slow down an enjoy a *good* cup of coffee

The TVs are tricky and can waste a lot of energy via an inverter...never makes sense to me that to this day AS doesn't include 12V powered TVs and DVD players. The TV and DVD player are both DC powered internally, so you are wasting energy again with the 12VDC -- 110VAC -- ~12-24VDC conversion.
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