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Old 10-08-2019, 11:44 AM   #21
Half a Rivet Short
 
2017 30' Classic
Carlisle , Pennsylvania
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 9,056
Hi

There are trailers "out in the wild" that run near 3A of drain simply sitting there. Nothing more than the fridge and control system turned on. No furnace, no lights, no fans, just the trailer it's self. That gets you to 72AH / 1 KWH per day simply sitting doing nothing.

Equally there are other trailers out there that in the same situation pull < 0.5A. That gets you to 12AH / 155 WH per day.

What you need / want / can get away with on one is not what will work on the other.

Like it or not, solar is highly variable. You might get 1.8 KWH one day and 170 WH the next day. Day after that, move into the shade and 170 WH could be looking real good . What you get out in Arizona in August from a clear sky is not what you likely will get in northern Maine in February. Sun angle matters. ( possibly by as much as 3:1 ). Your 1.8 KWH "best day" is now 600 WH.

Bottom line is that you *will* need batteries. (Unless you always camp in ideal conditions = it never / ever rains on your campsite ...) something dimensioned in days of run time is what you are after. >4 days seems like a lot, but I'd suggest it probably is a pretty good target.

How much solar? *Do* you camp in northern Maine in February? Are you always in the southwest? Are there trees where you camp? If so just how heavy cover do they provide? How long will you be off grid?

So far, in 3 seasons of doing this for 6 months or so a season, we have yet to fire up a generator. The 2017 Classic isn't quite at the 3A static drain level. If I have all the WiFi and Cellular fired up, it goes over 4A just sitting there. We spend time off grid and on shore power. ( If a lovely full hookup site in the woods is $12 a night ..... why not ??? ).

There is no "one size fits all" approach to this. You *must* look at the loads on *your* trailer (and how you intend to manage them). When off grid, we run the inverter for < 5 minutes a day ( = time to grind coffee). That's not how everybody does it. I have LED lights and a furnace that pulls a bit over 1A off 12V when it's running,. For us 2 weeks off grid = out of water / full waste tanks. That puts us back to someplace that likely has power to recharge batteries. All of this gets into the mix .....

Bob
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Old 10-08-2019, 05:41 PM   #22
2 Rivet Member
 
2007 25' International CCD
Prescott , Arizona
Join Date: Feb 2019
Posts: 54
Rumple, go with the factory install to get started. After you build some experience to know what your needs are you can adjust.

The solar systems only have a few components and they can be easily swapped out. The factory job should be done correctly and if not you have warranty.

Congrats on the new trailer.

Mike
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Old 10-13-2019, 11:11 AM   #23
2 Rivet Member
 
2017 25' Flying Cloud
Ann arbor , Michigan
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 27
Install urself

Have 25fb with pre wire damp solar cap.

I bought 400w Renogy panels and a VictronConnect mppt controller. Total cost around 1000 bucks.

Install easy but obviously a little time consuming. I followed amsolar install videos. No screws to top, just vhb tape and sikkaflex.

400w solar is awesome.

I think the factory install is pricey and not as good as what I have
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Old 10-13-2019, 11:26 AM   #24
2 Rivet Member
 
2018 22' Sport
Chino Hills , California
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 32
Do your own

AS charges $$$$ for their solar. You can do your own if you are handy and save a lot of money. There are plenty of videos on how to install solar panels and wiring on this forum including one of my own .




The solar upgrade I did has been awesome and one of the best things I have done so far. Well worth the time and money. You will not regret adding solar.
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Old 10-13-2019, 01:03 PM   #25
4 Rivet Member
 
1977 31' Sovereign
Victoria , British Columbia
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 333
Evolution of Solar Requirement over Time

There are a lot of smart folks that have gone through this process. For the record book I am an SME on solar installations and started out many moons ago with 4 X LCD 20W panels. This was about a decade ago. I went from there up through 100W, 200W, 400W and now 1KW. in my experience you really need to generate an energy budget (many folks have mentioned this here) and then think about the problem in three ways:

Energy Storage
Energy Generation
Time away from a plug

The latter problem is the one that defines everything else. For instance I live on Vancouver Island and our favorite places to camp have no plugs. There is also a large forest canopy and in some parts of the year, a lot of rainy days. When we are in southern California 400W solar handled everything no problem based on sunny days and lots of daylight hours. Here in Canada, especially in the early spring and late fall you are lucky to get 6 hours of really generating capacity from solar. My recommendation is to map out the where and for how long to determine what you put up top and how much storage you will need.

As for factory installed, there is huge benefit in not having to retrofit wiring and use pre-installed glands etc when you want to add more later on. Also battery space from the factory gives you an option to upgrade batteries without having to build or allocate more space for them. So there are benefits with starting with a factory installation and then adding more panels, a bigger capacity solar controller and more capacity batteries in the future if needed.

If you know now you need more however, most folks will tell you to invest in a large installation because too much is not to little. Even when it comes to batteries this is the current thought. If you think you need 200AH of batteries put in 400AH. These days LiFePO4 are the way to go. Also consider 24V versus 12V - less copper to run and not as many batteries to do the same job.

We have the luxury of conducting a rebuild at present - see the LUCY77 thread. We have 8 X 100W panels, 200AH 24V batteries (400AH 12V) and 40amp charge controller. We have run all the wiring through the trailer from 4 sealed glands on the roof. This means that in the future we can just change out the components vice having to run wiring. The cost of the panels was around $1000 USD, charge controller $250 USD and each battery with BMS system was $750USD.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f44/...on-178548.html
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Old 10-13-2019, 06:32 PM   #26
What rivet?
 
2017 27' Flying Cloud
Clayton , CA
Join Date: Jan 2019
Posts: 14
My wife and I bought a 2017 flying Cloud that came with the 200 watt Zamp solar system and the two stock 12 volt batteries. The system indicates that it stays 100% charged most of the time. Upon our first usage however, we found that we would like to have a bit more available. Since I install solar at home and in my shops I took it a bit further and outfitted our tow vehicle (2014 Ram 3500 with a long bed and contractor shell) with a plywood platform over the shell. I have 14 feet of plywood covered with 1000 watts of solar panels, a truck bed with 6 lithium batteries (basically 6 48 volt Chevy Volt batteries), an Outback 80 amp charge controller, a 6000 watt inverter, a breaker box to distribute the AC voltage, a 50 amp RV plug and a 110 volt 30 amp plug both under the rear fender.

I run the standard RV 50 amp plug from the Airstream directly to the aforementioned 50 amp receptacle under the bumper and relax. We park where we want, without any hookups, basically just boondocking or dry camping, and enjoy our time there. How does it work? Just fine. We run one of the two air conditioning units during the day and typically use everything we want at night. We have gone as long as 6 days using this setup without any down time due to low batteries. I set the inverter to stop inverting when the battery voltage reaches 42 volts and to date we have not had any interruptions due to loss of AC.

Anybody can do this type of setup and at a leisurely rate, no need to spend $15,000 right up front, just throw a panel on the roof and the required charge controller and some batteries and an inverter in there and enlarge as the money is available. Watch YouTube videos and read about the components. It is not rocket science. Learn as you go, get a good multimeter (although the free ones from Harbor Freight amy work for awhile)

Starting with very little solar will quickly teach you how to conserve power and what will run simultaneously without causing a power outage.

I chose not to add more solar to the roof of my Airstream simply because once I really looked at the space available on the roof and in the trailer for batteries, charge controller and inverter and what not, I realized that my overly powerful truck didn't have a tongue weight issue or worry about bed weight. Our 5562 mile shakedown cruise from California to Minnesota and back in July this year was a great time. Nothing blew off, although we did suffer some Airstream damage to to the roof from a hail storm outside Gillette Wyoming. $24,700 damage actually. No hail damage to any of the solar panels, they are semi-flexible unit, no glass.

I will attach a few pics for your criticism.
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Old 05-13-2020, 06:58 PM   #27
1 Rivet Member
 
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2004 22' Interstate
Olympia , WA
Join Date: Apr 2020
Posts: 16
Images: 7
I'm taking the solar plunge with a 100% portable kit from Zamp Solar with 230w panels in a suitcase and attached controller. First, I'm upgrading my converter to a PD4655VL and adding a port to tie into my 2x Battle Born lithium battery bank which I'm moving from under the passenger lounge to below the fold out sofa on on the driver's side where they will have more room. I'll need to somehow run wires from under the passenger lounge to the new battery location. I think that's all I'll need for now, but the system is ready to add more panels, batteries and a second controller when I'm ready to grow. Thank you everyone for such great information! I'm sure I'll be on here asking for help again soon...
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Old 01-17-2021, 07:24 AM   #28
3 Rivet Member
 
2021 23' International
P , California
Join Date: Sep 2020
Posts: 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyKeene View Post
My wife and I bought a 2017 flying Cloud that came with the 200 watt Zamp solar system and the two stock 12 volt batteries. The system indicates that it stays 100% charged most of the time. Upon our first usage however, we found that we would like to have a bit more available. Since I install solar at home and in my shops I took it a bit further and outfitted our tow vehicle (2014 Ram 3500 with a long bed and contractor shell) with a plywood platform over the shell. I have 14 feet of plywood covered with 1000 watts of solar panels, a truck bed with 6 lithium batteries (basically 6 48 volt Chevy Volt batteries), an Outback 80 amp charge controller, a 6000 watt inverter, a breaker box to distribute the AC voltage, a 50 amp RV plug and a 110 volt 30 amp plug both under the rear fender.

I run the standard RV 50 amp plug from the Airstream directly to the aforementioned 50 amp receptacle under the bumper and relax. We park where we want, without any hookups, basically just boondocking or dry camping, and enjoy our time there. How does it work? Just fine. We run one of the two air conditioning units during the day and typically use everything we want at night. We have gone as long as 6 days using this setup without any down time due to low batteries. I set the inverter to stop inverting when the battery voltage reaches 42 volts and to date we have not had any interruptions due to loss of AC.

Anybody can do this type of setup and at a leisurely rate, no need to spend $15,000 right up front, just throw a panel on the roof and the required charge controller and some batteries and an inverter in there and enlarge as the money is available. Watch YouTube videos and read about the components. It is not rocket science. Learn as you go, get a good multimeter (although the free ones from Harbor Freight amy work for awhile)

Starting with very little solar will quickly teach you how to conserve power and what will run simultaneously without causing a power outage.

I chose not to add more solar to the roof of my Airstream simply because once I really looked at the space available on the roof and in the trailer for batteries, charge controller and inverter and what not, I realized that my overly powerful truck didn't have a tongue weight issue or worry about bed weight. Our 5562 mile shakedown cruise from California to Minnesota and back in July this year was a great time. Nothing blew off, although we did suffer some Airstream damage to to the roof from a hail storm outside Gillette Wyoming. $24,700 damage actually. No hail damage to any of the solar panels, they are semi-flexible unit, no glass.

I will attach a few pics for your criticism.

Brilliant.
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