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Old 11-06-2017, 06:29 PM   #41
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I don't understand how an inverter can possibly be a starting point. Don't you need something to power your inverter Uncle_Bob? Does the Victron Phoenix 48v inverter have a built-in miniature dilithium crystal reactor? If it does then it is a heck of bargain and I'm putting it on my Christmas list
Hi

..... I'm guessing you haven't read the thread from the start

Bob
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Old 11-07-2017, 07:57 AM   #42
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Put another way, say that the total cost of buying and running my Yamaha generator 24 hours is $10.00 a day, is there ever a point where a sophisticated and expensive solar option would ever be as cheap or cheaper than that?
Hi

The gotcha is that there are very few campgrounds that will let you run a generator 24 hours a day. If you are east of the Mississippi, there are very few places you can camp and run a generator for very long.

I'm not suggesting that solar / batteries are a great answer to full time living in an RV. They obviously have their issues as well. There are places where it's not either / or, you can run a generator for a few hours a day. That combined with solar ... maybe.

The bottom line is still either you are very careful about power use, or you plug in.

Bob
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Old 11-07-2017, 08:15 AM   #43
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Hi



The gotcha is that there are very few campgrounds that will let you run a generator 24 hours a day. If you are east of the Mississippi, there are very few places you can camp and run a generator for very long.



I'm not suggesting that solar / batteries are a great answer to full time living in an RV. They obviously have their issues as well. There are places where it's not either / or, you can run a generator for a few hours a day. That combined with solar ... maybe.



The bottom line is still either you are very careful about power use, or you plug in.



Bob


Points taken, but with a good converter/charger and a couple of batteries, a few hours of generator use a day will usually make 24 hour power possible.

I like the idea of solar, but I think maybe spending 10K or so on solar might not be a totally rational solution to the problem.
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Old 11-08-2017, 09:40 AM   #44
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Hi

How people spend their money is very much up to them. My only real concern are people who start a very large project thinking it is a very small one. If one wishes to do a full blown solar "to the max", that's great. The same thing applies to putting in enough batteries to run two AC units in the summer desert sun. There is a way to do it. Just don't start the process believing it will be cheap to do.

We also tend (all of us) to spiral out to these "max build" sort of cases. In reality, those are quite rare. It's not just cost, you also take up space. There is maintainane and the time just to build it all in. Very few people are up for all of that. Starting and then canceling a project after buying this and that is generally a disaster.

There *are* reasonable ways to do this. They are boring middle of the road sorts of things. They involve compromise. Nobody ever enjoys talking about that. Each of us has a different way we would optimize the decision. Anybody who has made it this far in the thread likely knows that I am not a fan of large inverter systems. I would much rather see the loads involved taken over to 12V or run with point of use DC/DC converters.

Some examples in case that's not clear:

I'm lounging in a power recliner (who would have guessed ) in the Classic. It only runs if 120V is available. Crawl under the beast and there's a great big "brick" that converts 120V to DC to run the beast. So, I turn on the inverter (with it's losses and idle current) to feed the brick. The brick has losses and idle current that it adds. I'm doing nothing at all and pulling amps off of the battery .... yikes ... The alternative would be a converter at the recliner that only fires up when needed. It converts 12V to the 24V(?) needed by the recliner. Nothing going on - no power from the battery.

Want to run the microwave? Yes, you can do it with a honking big inverter. You can also get a DC powered microwave and just let it run on your batteries. That might mean a 24V system or it might not. They exist because boats have similar needs.

Yes, this hits a wall with the AC. Running AC on batteries is a bit of a problem no matter what.

Lots of options. Lots of different ways to spend money ....

Bob
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Old 11-08-2017, 12:06 PM   #45
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Likewise, I donít care how people spend their money, but a person should consider that if they drop 20K on solar for their Airstream, they will never come close to breaking even financially.

I donít know how big a solar farm would be required to run two (or even one) air conditioner six hours a day, but I donít think it would fit on the roof of a dozen Airstreams.
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Old 11-08-2017, 10:14 PM   #46
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Likewise, I donít care how people spend their money, but a person should consider that if they drop 20K on solar for their Airstream, they will never come close to breaking even financially.

I donít know how big a solar farm would be required to run two (or even one) air conditioner six hours a day, but I donít think it would fit on the roof of a dozen Airstreams.
Finally some sense. I don't care either but that read blew my mind. This person needs to just get up and running.
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Old 11-09-2017, 08:59 AM   #47
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Likewise, I donít care how people spend their money, but a person should consider that if they drop 20K on solar for their Airstream, they will never come close to breaking even financially.

I donít know how big a solar farm would be required to run two (or even one) air conditioner six hours a day, but I donít think it would fit on the roof of a dozen Airstreams.
Hi

People aren't going to "break even" on buying an AS. That does not keep them from shopping and occasionally buying them .

My point from the very start has been that you *don't* want to start on a $20K project by accident. The only you want to do one of those is after thinking it all through. Some people in some of these threads *do* appear to be headed that way.

If you go back to the original post and the title of the thread, this started with a budget of $3,000 just for the inverter and nothing else. The *only* system I can see putting that much money into an inverter is a very expensive one.

Bob
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Old 11-09-2017, 09:13 AM   #48
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Hi



People aren't going to "break even" on buying an AS. That does not keep them from shopping and occasionally buying them .



My point from the very start has been that you *don't* want to start on a $20K project by accident. The only you want to do one of those is after thinking it all through. Some people in some of these threads *do* appear to be headed that way.



If you go back to the original post and the title of the thread, this started with a budget of $3,000 just for the inverter and nothing else. The *only* system I can see putting that much money into an inverter is a very expensive one.



Bob


I spent about $600 on my way too big Xantrex modified sine wave inverter, it has served me well for years now, but I will be replacing it with this one within the next few months. Go Power! GP-ISW2000-12 Industrial Pure Sine Wave Inverter https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LX7FLD6..._T5hbAbC04R5EK
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Old 11-09-2017, 10:23 AM   #49
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Want to run the microwave? Yes, you can do it with a honking big inverter. You can also get a DC powered microwave and just let it run on your batteries. That might mean a 24V system or it might not. They exist because boats have similar needs.

Yes, this hits a wall with the AC. Running AC on batteries is a bit of a problem no matter what.

Lots of options. Lots of different ways to spend money ....

Bob
I very much like your DC-DC strategy on the lower power draw items.

For items that draw serious power, something in the 500W+ range, you really wouldn't want to do DC. The OE gauge wiring wouldn't support the amps, plus losses would be dramatic trying to pull that kind of amps over any distance. So there wouldn't be an advantage in trying to find a DC version of these types of things, and they'd be wimpy.

What type of things are these: 1) Microwave 2) Blow dryer (yes there are DC ones, more like toys) 3) Coffee maker 4) Toaster

None of these things need to run an incredibly long time, so would be perfect for using an inverter.
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Old 11-10-2017, 07:23 AM   #50
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I very much like your DC-DC strategy on the lower power draw items.

For items that draw serious power, something in the 500W+ range, you really wouldn't want to do DC. The OE gauge wiring wouldn't support the amps, plus losses would be dramatic trying to pull that kind of amps over any distance. So there wouldn't be an advantage in trying to find a DC version of these types of things, and they'd be wimpy.

What type of things are these: 1) Microwave 2) Blow dryer (yes there are DC ones, more like toys) 3) Coffee maker 4) Toaster

None of these things need to run an incredibly long time, so would be perfect for using an inverter.
Hi

All of the arguments for DC-DC you just came up with apply equally well to an inverter. You have the same losses getting to it

With the exception of the hair dryer and the AC, all of the "big loads" are in the kitchen. Just as one cable gets to the inverter, one cable would get to a 48V microwave or a 48V induction cook top. The compelling reason for a 48V system (if you "go big") is indeed the wiring.

The bigger reality is that most people's "I need this" list has small stuff on it. They turn on the inverter to charge the cell phone. That is cheap and easy to address. The same thing is true of charging the computer or running the WiFi. Getting rid of 120V loads is the real way to do this.

Bob
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Old 11-10-2017, 07:38 AM   #51
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help me choose an inverter!

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Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post
Hi



All of the arguments for DC-DC you just came up with apply equally well to an inverter. You have the same losses getting to it



With the exception of the hair dryer and the AC, all of the "big loads" are in the kitchen. Just as one cable gets to the inverter, one cable would get to a 48V microwave or a 48V induction cook top. The compelling reason for a 48V system (if you "go big") is indeed the wiring.



The bigger reality is that most people's "I need this" list has small stuff on it. They turn on the inverter to charge the cell phone. That is cheap and easy to address. The same thing is true of charging the computer or running the WiFi. Getting rid of 120V loads is the real way to do this.



Bob


The reason I wouldnít go for 48 volt appliances is a three part answer.

1. They will be limited production and therefore expensive.

2. There will be few producers, longevity will be an issue.

3. When something breaks, it will, there will be a time frame for getting parts.

My thinking goes the other way.

I run everything off an inverter. There is nothing in my trailer apart from my 44 year old air conditioner, my water pump, and the inverter itself, that I cant buy at Loweís or Home Depot.

Parasitic losses? Some, but not much, but so what? My TV charges my house going down the road, and then I have the generator and shore power.

(My parasitic losses could get worse when I shift to my new pure sine wave inverter though. )

I run two flooded cell 100 amp hour batteries charged by a $150 Smart charger. My entire off grid system, including the generator and the batteries is about $2,500.

I like the idea of solar, but the cheap systems get no love on this forum, and I wont drop 10k on the good stuff, because it isnít worth it.
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Old 11-10-2017, 08:08 AM   #52
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We had a 400w solar system last December by Lew. We needed batteries anyway and upgraded to Lifeline AGM's moved indoors. Lew is the man and the only source I'd recommend to guide someone interested in a project of this type. Others may disagree or have other advise but he's up on this stuff and more than willing to share his brain even if you want to do it yourself. You can PM me and I'll discuss $$$$ but that's not for here. I use a $40/ 400w inverter and it took care of 100% of our living for 2 months last winter in Key West. I would recommend a slightly larger inverter, however. This one would run our crock pot all day on low but overload on high. Of course we are living without AC or microwave and no hair dryers or toasters either. Works for me.
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Old 11-10-2017, 08:38 AM   #53
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Hi

If you run off of shore power and a generator, then indeed the whole idea of a big battery system is not for you. It *is* what some people want to do. The idea of "full solar" is appealing. Just like an Airstream, there are other cheaper alternatives. Some people have their trailers in storage right now, others are out camping. Different priorities for different folks.

If you go "big time", the batteries and panels are going to cost a fortune. The cost of even "expensive" appliances isn't quite round off error. They aren't going to make or break the deal financially. There are enough of them out there that you can pick and choose what you get. If you dig into the boat world, there is a lot of info on them over there.

Lots of fun !!!

Bob
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Old 11-10-2017, 08:52 AM   #54
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Hi

If you run off of shore power and a generator, then indeed the whole idea of a big battery system is not for you. It *is* what some people want to do. The idea of "full solar" is appealing. Just like an Airstream, there are other cheaper alternatives. Some people have their trailers in storage right now, others are out camping. Different priorities for different folks.

If you go "big time", the batteries and panels are going to cost a fortune. The cost of even "expensive" appliances isn't quite round off error. They aren't going to make or break the deal financially. There are enough of them out there that you can pick and choose what you get. If you dig into the boat world, there is a lot of info on them over there.

Lots of fun !!!

Bob


Well, my trailer is in use right now, as it is over half the year.... summer and winter alike.

I really donít care what people do with their money, but nonetheless, maybe a little prod for some to think about it some before they put themselves in a position of financial hardship for the sake of solar is kinda ok.

I think that some folks have more invested in solar than I have invested in my entire Airstream, premium hitch and all.

I always have viewed things pragmatically, its a family tradition.
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Old 11-10-2017, 12:30 PM   #55
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I think these threads scare novices. It starts as a little wish for more convenience. Then the slope of must have 4 gauge this, mppt that, low frequency inverter, auto transfer switch... The dream becomes unattainable. Either due to cost or complexity.

KISS. A value or moderate setup can be just as useful! And surely will be infinitely easier to troubleshoot when the inevitable service or maintenance comes. You're going to have real difficulty getting the sucker serviced on the road looking for a specialist.
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Old 11-10-2017, 11:54 PM   #56
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I think these threads scare novices. It starts as a little wish for more convenience. Then the slope of must have 4 gauge this, mppt that, low frequency inverter, auto transfer switch... The dream becomes unattainable. Either due to cost or complexity.

KISS. A value or moderate setup can be just as useful! And surely will be infinitely easier to troubleshoot when the inevitable service or maintenance comes. You're going to have real difficulty getting the sucker serviced on the road looking for a specialist.


I agree 100% on the simplicity thing. Even my transfer switches are manual.
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Old 11-11-2017, 06:38 AM   #57
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Hi

These threads pretty much always go the same way.... off to max this and max that land. That's true even when they don't start asking for big stuff right up front.

Bob
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