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Old 09-21-2008, 07:39 PM   #21
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Thanks Mike! You too Joe and Craig.

Here's a picture of the flexible panels on an Airstream from GoSolar.
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Old 09-21-2008, 09:19 PM   #22
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Mo,
How about a shopping list for what a guy would need to get from them to almost duplicate your setup there,

Thanks, Kevin
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Old 09-21-2008, 10:04 PM   #23
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136 Watts of solar does not get you a whole lot of...
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Old 09-22-2008, 05:31 AM   #24
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Solar stuff

Mo, great picture! That picture is my trailer, a 1977 31 foot. I usually recommend the Blue Sky mppt charge controller, used to like the SCI with the graphics. It too was pretty good and gave my wife a good education at a glance. She got real good at knowing the conditon of our bank. She was able to predict the charge - and adjust the voltage to the power coming in and the load to get a pretty close to the SOC.

LI Pets - I think he charges around $6-7 per watt, I am not sure. I know they are hard to come by.
Joe
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Old 09-22-2008, 08:10 AM   #25
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Kevin,
As Joe says, that's a picture of his setup. It looks like it would be easy to get four of those on most larger Airstreams.

After all the analysis, we decided to forgo solar and put under $1,800 into a pair of Honda 2000s and interface. Our 2001 34 has a lot of phantom loads and we run the Fantastic Vents a lot, both during the day, one at night (with the windows closed and the other vent open unpowered). With AC, two skylights and two Fantastic Vents, there's less room than you'd think for panels. Physically, I could fit longer ones (i.e. 110W) on either side of the AC, but about the longest that would work without shading by the shroud were four 40" long Kyocera 80 (now 85). Even a little shading kills mono or multi (aka poly) crystaline panels (regardless of marketing hype). On top of that, we prefer to park in the shade whenever possible.

We run one of the generators for four hours each day from about 5 to 9PM when the weather isn't too hot. When it is, we have the option to fire both up and run the air-conditioner. The generators have been useful for running tools down at our boat (no power on the docks), and they've been great to have now that we're in our eighth day without electricity at home courtesy of Ike's remnants!

In that daily four hours while the 60A 3-stage converter is charging the (now Lifeline AGM) main batteries, and powering lights and other 12V items, we use 120VAC to charge batteries in the camera, cell phone, FRS and ham radios, and computer. We vacuum if necessary, and used to watch a little satellite TV before we mostly gave up TV. No inverter necessary. Other than the fans, most of our 12V use occurs during that time, coming out of the converter instead of the batteries. We make coffee in the mornings on the gas stove and if we want toast, use can use either the oven broiler or better yet, a camping toaster like we use on the boat.

Just because I believe solar wasn't the best option for us, doesn't mean it isn't for many others. It's absolutely ideal for powering vent fans during the day in a geographic area where there is no shade to park in. It's great for trailers without as many phantom loads, which is especially true of older ones. And it's great for those who don't like generators.
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Old 09-22-2008, 08:31 AM   #26
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Solar is not for all...

I have just installed two 115watt panels (230 watts total) on my Safari 30 and have had the unit out twice since. In full sun I have seen 15-16 amps available (only charging about 2), so I am getting a respectable performance. However, as Lewster said inverters really drink the juice and with a modest solar array it is really suited for the conservative user. We are minimalist, not turning on lights unless really needed and only two fantastic fans at a time etc so it works great for us. We end up keeping our charge above 13.2 all the time which is great.

From a accounting standpoint most would argue that the twin Hondas are a better return on investment. I have the two 2000i's as well, but prefer the clean quiet no gas alternative as it is more why I go camping anyway.
I think to each to his own, but folks need to do the homework on their needs and back into the best off-grid solution.
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Old 09-22-2008, 10:23 PM   #27
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Good Points and thanks Mo and SafariSS for the replies, I have a 5kw generator, so for now I will continue the search for my first A/S. (I sold my 38' Class A Motor coach) and keep reading and getting more selective on what I am looking for :-)

Kevin
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Old 09-23-2008, 08:24 AM   #28
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We have gone as long as 5 1/2 months without electric using solar. We power a laptop computer, 2 lcd tv, vcr, dvd, satellite rec. and dome, vacuum cleaner, microwave and more.
Our converter has been disconnected for about 2 years. Sometimes we will run our rear tv, dvd, vcr with a tiny plug in type inverter instead of the 1750 watt inverter.
I think if you do the math and the long term numbers solar is actually cheaper.
When you buy a generator you still need a gas can and funnel and gas and maintenace.
When you buy solar, your batteries are always up - with a good charge controller you lose less water too. I topped off water to my batteries in 2006 before our trip to Alaska. I had not added water for 3 1/2 years before that.
In my mind solar provides more independance, less maintenance, higher quality charging, improved battery life, achieves a higher capacity charge in the batteries and I don't have to chain it up or drag it out or drag my tow vehicle alternator while trying to charge a couple of 27 series that are dead.
I think if one were to take into account all the hidden costs and inconviences of a generator - solar might be a better option.
The only thing I really cannot run for any legnth of time is the AC. It won't run that or resistive loads ie. electric heaters for any length of time
We use a perk pot for coffee, my wife insists on using the toaster instead of the stove top toaster and her hair blower.
I guess it is all a compromise.

Joe
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Old 09-30-2008, 03:37 PM   #29
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Hi Members,

I am the supplier for solar to Airstream. We have a wide array of different solar modules that we can provide. Typically Airstream installs our 50 watt, but you can have them order and install any of our solutions. I would be happy to help you design the right solar solution. We have an online solar calculator that's available if you visit www.solarforrv.com. However, I'm here to help you answer questions.

Regards,

Mark Spilsbury
Account Manager
Mobile Power Systems
Go Power! North America
Carmanah Technologies Corp.

Toll-Free Tel: 1-800-667-6527 Ext. 8306
Toll-Free Fax: 1-866-607-6527
Direct Tel: +1 (250) 412-8306
E-mail: mspilsbury@carmanah.com
Please visit us at: www.carmanah.com
Please visit Go Power! at www.solarforrv.com

we put solar to work™
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Old 09-30-2008, 07:56 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joecolao View Post
We have gone as long as 5 1/2 months without electric using solar. We power a laptop computer, 2 lcd tv, vcr, dvd, satellite rec. and dome, vacuum cleaner, microwave and more.
Our converter has been disconnected for about 2 years. Sometimes we will run our rear tv, dvd, vcr with a tiny plug in type inverter instead of the 1750 watt inverter.
I think if you do the math and the long term numbers solar is actually cheaper.
When you buy a generator you still need a gas can and funnel and gas and maintenace.
When you buy solar, your batteries are always up - with a good charge controller you lose less water too. I topped off water to my batteries in 2006 before our trip to Alaska. I had not added water for 3 1/2 years before that.
In my mind solar provides more independance, less maintenance, higher quality charging, improved battery life, achieves a higher capacity charge in the batteries and I don't have to chain it up or drag it out or drag my tow vehicle alternator while trying to charge a couple of 27 series that are dead.
I think if one were to take into account all the hidden costs and inconviences of a generator - solar might be a better option.
The only thing I really cannot run for any legnth of time is the AC. It won't run that or resistive loads ie. electric heaters for any length of time
We use a perk pot for coffee, my wife insists on using the toaster instead of the stove top toaster and her hair blower.
I guess it is all a compromise.

Joe

Joe, great post!

I to have been solar independent for the past 7 months.

I use 3 135Watt panels into 6 group 29s. I also run a compressor freezer 24/7 and an Ice maker when needed.

While I also have a Honda 2000, I love the ease and silence of solar. As your excellent post mentions "It's not for everyone"

Michael
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