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Old 02-26-2005, 11:57 AM   #1
Alaskan Camper
Ron C's Avatar
Fairbanks , Alaska
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 17
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Solar Panels or Generator?

I would like some information on whether or not it is worth the extra money to get the solar panels, and if so what size should we get or how many. What should we be considering when deciding what size or if we need them. Would we be better off with a generator?

We are also going to be doing a lot of camping without hookups, what should we looking for as far as tank sizes, extra batteries

We are looking at an A/S 25’ safari; there are three of us, my wife, a four year old, and myself.

Thanks you,
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Old 02-26-2005, 12:29 PM   #2
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2003 25' Safari
Kissimmee , Florida
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 795
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The generator/solar panel question has been addressed here before. Try the search function. The overall conclusion is that it takes a lot of solar cells to do the job, and you will probably need a generator anyway. Probably should begin with a generator, then add solar later if you decide it would help. In Alaska the sun is a bit low to the horizon to get good solar anyway.

Larger water/black/grey tanks are always nice to have. But you dont get much choice with a given trailer size. You can haul water with a 5 gal container, and you can use a blue tank to haul the waste away. In some places you can drain the grey tank through an old garder hose into the woods.
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Old 02-26-2005, 01:59 PM   #3
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2004 22' International CCD
Spotsylvania , Virginia
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I don't think 24 hours of daylight will help you with a solar panel, that far North. You'd be better to invest your money in a good quiet generator like a Honda EU-2000 or EU-3000.
2004 22' CCD
1997 F-150
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Old 02-26-2005, 04:18 PM   #4
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2006 28' Safari SE
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Colorado Springs , Colorado
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Talking Use the 'Search' Luke

Hi Ron,
We have solar panels and a Honda generator. Of course down here in AZ we get way too much sun. I plan to get a 2nd EU 2000i and a parrallel kit so I can run the AC in the summer months. Regarding batteries, I wll probably replace the OE deep cycles with the AGM/Gel type when they get weak. As previously stated there have been many discussions on this topic and quick search will provide hours of reading pleasure.
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Old 07-10-2005, 10:42 PM   #5
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1982 31' Airstream 310
Longview , Washington
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I like both ways
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Old 07-11-2005, 08:21 AM   #6
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2006 34' Classic S/O
1992 25' Airstream 250
anywhere , New Jersey
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 218
Ron C,

We have the solar panels (2) and two Honda EU2000 generators with the paraller cable that my husband built. The solar panels keep the batteries charged and we can go for days (lights and fantastic faqns on) without needing to use the generators. We use the generators for the AC and the Microwave/CO use when boondocking.
We went with a 2005 Classic 30 for the large water tanks that it has (54 fresh) and we do bring 6 gallon water conainers that we had purchased from Wal-mart when we used to tent. There is the 3 of us too (Husband, self and our 5 year old daughter) and we just came back from a 6 day trip to Assateague State Park in Maryland. We didn't have any hookups and used to showers at the bathhouse and used paper plates, plastic utensils, etc. The fresh water tank had to be topped off once with 12 gallons of water, but the grey and black water tanks did well and we did't have to dump until we were leaving.
Good luck with your decision.
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Old 07-11-2005, 09:56 AM   #7
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1975 29' Ambassador
Reno , Nevada
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Posts: 1,351
Genset or solar depends upon whether you want to use the A/C or similar high load, long duration appliance.

If you want to use the Air Conditioner or to use other things that take significant electrical power for more than a few minutes, you will need a genset of at least 3 kw, preferrably 4 or 5 kw, capacity. This is a level 4 use.

Level 3 is for those who like a few comforts byt can get by without A/C. Microwave to heat things up a few minutes. Watch a DVD movie in the evening. Plenty of light when it gets dark. A smaller genset (1 or 2 kW) will do here to help keep the batteries charged. This is the 500 watt solar panel level. This level can often get by a day or two with Level 2 power capabilities using battery storage but will need a genset or more solar power for anything longer than a weekend.

Level 2 is for the highly conservative energy user. Occasional lights, water pump, maybe the furnace for a few minutes on a cold morning. 200 watts of solar (and 200 Amp Hr 12v Battery) will usually keep this level in power but foul weather or excessive shade may require an occasional battery charging session on rare occastions.

Level 1 is the tent camper type, run only on dry cells in flashlights, level. Sometimes a 15 watt solar can be useful but mostly this is a disposable battery power level.

The question is for you to determine your preferred lifestyle in your RV.
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Old 07-11-2005, 12:19 PM   #8
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Beverly Hills , Florida
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Check ou this website:

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