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Old 09-18-2010, 07:43 PM   #1
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CarolBarrel's Avatar
1972 31' Sovereign
Atlanta , Georgia
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 3
Question Solar options for my parked Airstream ?

Hello people! I recently bought my first AS in a very long time, a 31' Land Yacht. I've got it parked in SC, live in GA and plan to visit & stay there every month for about a 4-7 day period. A couple questions: 1) does anybody on these forums use a solar panel outfit to provide all their light and hot water needs? 2) What's a good way to tie-off or otherwise secure the AS when I'm away from my lot, so if anybody is tempted to take it they'd be thwarted by a lockdown system of some kind? TIA for tips on the above...ya'll rock!
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Old 11-23-2010, 10:37 PM   #2
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1996 36' Clipper Bus
Tub City , British Columbia
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 3,308
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Welcome to the forums Carol.
A word of caution.

Solar equipment is expensive.
If your unit is not where someone is watching it, this good stuff will disappear.

Having said that, we have to take the chances or we will miss out on life.

Get to know the neighbors at the location and hope that they will keep watch when you are not there.
Home baked oatmeal/raison cookies usually are a good bribe. Works on me.

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Old 01-25-2011, 02:46 AM   #3
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2007 27' Safari FB SE
Cape Coral , Florida
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 20
Solar use

Hi Carol,

I had 4 solar panels, four deep cycle house batteries and a high quality inverter professionally installed on my '07 27FB. It will run all my electrical demand, 12volt and AC, except the air conditioning.

I use microwave, coffee maker, Satilite TV, Stereo, lights, water pump, heater fans (as standard AS equipment), and some smaller items like battery chargers, etc. I am careful to only use the coffee maker to brew and use a thermos to keep the coffee warm all day. Heating elements like those used in coffee makers, hair driers, curling irons, toaster ovens use alot of electricity when left on.

My water heater is propane. And I doubt the solar would keep up with the demand if the heater were electric because it uses so much electricity while heating. I thought all AS water heaters were propane?

The trick to using solar successfully is knowing how much electricity you use and matching your storage capacity (battery capacity in amp hours) to the usage. Then matching your solar panel size and number of panels to the batteries. You will also need an inverter that can meet the wattage demand of your electrical appliances.

If this sounds complicated, well, it is at least very technical. I would only approach this with the advice of an RV/solar professional. The system I had installed is a good one, and meets my electrical needs, and is a bit pricey. It's been reliable. When boondocking, I don't have to worry about running the batteries low. If I need air conditioning, I power up the propane generator (I live in Florida, summers are hot!).

Lewster installed my solar. He can be found on this forum. I highly recommend him.

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Old 01-25-2011, 06:30 AM   #4
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2004 28' International CCD
Birmingham , Alabama
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 323
I currently have just one solar panel and use two batteries (as came with my unit) ... I installed the panel in 2005 and it does the job. I have not added a larger inverter and can't run the microwave (but I have an oven) and can't power the coffee maker (but I have a press). I've changed ALL my lights to LED and I can keep my Airstream basically powered in near perpetuity (it's as much about reducing consumption as it is about panels and batteries). BTW, "expensive" LEDs are cheap relative to panels, batteries, inverters and expert labor. I have considered adding a panel and battery (or two) so I can use the microwave, coffee maker, satellite, etc but haven't had confidence in an installer that truly knows how to be pragmatic. I appreciate Craig's recommendation of Lewster ... I may seek him out in Florida.
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Old 01-25-2011, 07:12 AM   #5
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2000 31' Land Yacht
Central , Florida
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Think trickle charger, if you can't plug in, a small solar panel can replace those amps lost by self discharge and small things like clocks, memory, and sensors. A very large solar array can charge multiple batteries which can be inverted to do almost all electrical usage. Check watts or amps on label.
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Old 01-25-2011, 09:17 AM   #6
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Austin , Texas
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Posts: 213

Is your 27FB queen or twins? Does your inverter have a remote display? If so, where did Lew mount it?

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