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Old 07-26-2020, 10:14 AM   #1
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90watt solar

On the GT23FBT, 90 watt solar panel is an option for a AGM battery.
Question 1:
How long does it take to re-charge batteries with this panel?
Question 2:
Does a soft start added to a/c help run more items with 30amp or possibly run a/c with house AGM?
Thanks
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Old 07-27-2020, 01:44 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Mercerme View Post
On the GT23FBT, 90 watt solar panel is an option for a AGM battery.
Question 1:
How long does it take to re-charge batteries with this panel?
Question 2:
Does a soft start added to a/c help run more items with 30amp or possibly run a/c with house AGM?
Thanks
Welcome to the forum.

Question 1: There are too many variables to give you a simple answer. Use the search bar at the top right of the page and you will find a wealth of information about solar.

Question 2: Short answer no and no. A soft start is used to decrease current draw when your a/c compressor starts (the a/c needs more amps to start than run.) If you are plugged into 30 amp "shore power" you will need about half of those amps to "run" the a/c. An air conditioner will only run on 120 volts so your house batteries are out of the equation. The house batteries are for powering the 12 volt system in the trailer with one exception which is powering the inverter. Airstreams stock inverters only produce 1000 watts of ac power, not even enough to power most hair dryers or coffee pots.

Hopes that helps.

Dave S
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Old 07-27-2020, 06:27 PM   #3
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Welcome to the forum.



Question 1: There are too many variables to give you a simple answer. Use the search bar at the top right of the page and you will find a wealth of information about solar.



Question 2: Short answer no and no. A soft start is used to decrease current draw when your a/c compressor starts (the a/c needs more amps to start than run.) If you are plugged into 30 amp "shore power" you will need about half of those amps to "run" the a/c. An air conditioner will only run on 120 volts so your house batteries are out of the equation. The house batteries are for powering the 12 volt system in the trailer with one exception which is powering the inverter. Airstreams stock inverters only produce 1000 watts of ac power, not even enough to power most hair dryers or coffee pots.



Hopes that helps.



Dave S


That does help. I will be ordering a GT23FBT (our first) this fall, so my questions may be a bit confusing.
30 amp will run most items and a generator is needed to run the a/c ?
Would a lithium battery bank run more? (400 amps with a larger inverter (3000watt)?
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Old 07-27-2020, 07:12 PM   #4
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You are really confused as to how the power system in an RV works.
There are 2 Power types in an Airstream. AC and DC.
AC current comes from one of three places
Shore Hook-up through the RV park
Generator or DC-AC inverter. (Airstream OEM is 1000W= not very much power).
DC comes from the batteries. This runs your lights, Water pump, fans, and feeds your inverter with DC current.

Your Air conditioner runs off a large 15A AC load. This load is to larger for your factory batteries and inverter to support.

To run an AC off a Lithium Battery/ inverter set up is a complex and costly venture. A close estimate on cost would be 12-14k. You are talking a minimum of 400Ah of lithium batteries, a 3000 watt inverter, and large 4/0 copper wire and lugs.

Solar will never be able to provide enough power to keep up with large demands like running an Air Conditioner. The Factory solar would only provide a small amount of charge to the batteries.

The factory inverter at 1000W is only large enough to charge a laptop and power the TV or other small appliances <1000 watts. It will not power the microwave.

A generator is your best bet to meet your AC power demands.
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Old 07-27-2020, 07:16 PM   #5
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Your trailer will have 30 amp service. When plugged into 30amp shore power (or 50 amp with an adapter) you will have plenty of power to run everything in the trailer, including the A/C. You just have to be a little careful about what you run at the same time.

Big energy draws like the A/C and the microwave can’t be run simultaneously. Ditto the A/C and a big, honking hair dryer or space heater.

Your owners manual will spell it out pretty well and it is pretty much common sense.

When you are not plugged into shore power, your batteries will provide power for the lights, fans, water pump, the control boards for the reefer and the water heater. Also the fan for the furnace.

A small inverter, if so equipped or acquired can power your TV.

Your OEM batteries should be treated kindly by not discharging them below 50% so go easy. They will recharge when you plug into shore power or a generator.

Many folks invest in lithium batteries, solar arrays, massive inverters and are near energy independent for extended periods.

Me, I bought a generator...
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Old 07-27-2020, 08:09 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by n2916s View Post
Your trailer will have 30 amp service. When plugged into 30amp shore power (or 50 amp with an adapter) you will have plenty of power to run everything in the trailer, including the A/C. You just have to be a little careful about what you run at the same time.

Big energy draws like the A/C and the microwave can’t be run simultaneously. Ditto the A/C and a big, honking hair dryer or space heater.

Your owners manual will spell it out pretty well and it is pretty much common sense.

When you are not plugged into shore power, your batteries will provide power for the lights, fans, water pump, the control boards for the reefer and the water heater. Also the fan for the furnace.

A small inverter, if so equipped or acquired can power your TV.

Your OEM batteries should be treated kindly by not discharging them below 50% so go easy. They will recharge when you plug into shore power or a generator.

Many folks invest in lithium batteries, solar arrays, massive inverters and are near energy independent for extended periods.

Me, I bought a generator...


Thank you. That also is a clear answer that helps me understand the limitations and possibilities.
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Old 07-27-2020, 08:46 PM   #7
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While I have a generator, I haven't used it in a year. I installed 400 watts of solar and 6v golf cart batteries (wired in series to make 12v). That provides plenty of juice for what I need...lights, water pump, gas furnace (which uses 12v from the batteries to run the fan), some tv/dvd player use (via a 1000w inverter). Others here have 800 watts of solar, 4 or even 8 expensive Lithium batteries, 3000 watt inverters, etc.

With my 400 watt system, I can do everything I need and the batteries are recharged by noon most days (here in the sunny west). Of course, no AC or microwave as others have stated. But the generator no longer destroys the peaceful setting when I'm 'out there' off the grid, which is my preference; and even if in a campground, generally ones that don't have electric hookups.

So really it depends on your style of camping. Some folks have stock batteries that are shot, but they never know it because they are always plugged in at rv parks or campgrounds. If they unplugged they would be dead in the water in a number of hours. Others are never plugged in and have plenty of power and solar to handle their requirements. You might not even know yet what your needs/style even will be. In that case, skip the solar and wait until you figure it out after using your rig for awhile.

If you decide you are serious about solar and plan on spending more time NOT plugged in to rv parks or campgrounds, skip the 90w factory panel and go see an after-market solar installer. AM solar is a good one. Another is Ronnie (GMFL--commented above) who is in Alabama, which is fortunate for you, he does top-notch work. Do some research here on the forum and on the web and learn a bit more about RV Power and Solar...and then reach out to him. He can help you understand it all, and design and configure a system based on your camping style and needs, and do a quality installation. Highly recommended. #thisisnotanadvertisement
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Old 07-27-2020, 08:50 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by GMFL View Post
You are really confused as to how the power system in an RV works.
There are 2 Power types in an Airstream. AC and DC.
AC current comes from one of three places
Shore Hook-up through the RV park
Generator or DC-AC inverter. (Airstream OEM is 1000W= not very much power).
DC comes from the batteries. This runs your lights, Water pump, fans, and feeds your inverter with DC current.

Your Air conditioner runs off a large 15A AC load. This load is to larger for your factory batteries and inverter to support.

To run an AC off a Lithium Battery/ inverter set up is a complex and costly venture. A close estimate on cost would be 12-14k. You are talking a minimum of 400Ah of lithium batteries, a 3000 watt inverter, and large 4/0 copper wire and lugs.

Solar will never be able to provide enough power to keep up with large demands like running an Air Conditioner. The Factory solar would only provide a small amount of charge to the batteries.

The factory inverter at 1000W is only large enough to charge a laptop and power the TV or other small appliances <1000 watts. It will not power the microwave.

A generator is your best bet to meet your AC power demands.


Thank you. You saved me 12-14k. A generator will work just fine.
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Old 07-27-2020, 09:13 PM   #9
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Thank you. You saved me 12-14k. A generator will work just fine.
And on that note and back to your question about an Easy Start...installing one on your AC will allow you to run your AC with a Honda 2200i generator. If AC is a biggy for you (and I imagine in Alabama it will be), then that is the way to go for sure.
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Old 07-28-2020, 04:29 AM   #10
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And on that note and back to your question about an Easy Start...installing one on your AC will allow you to run your AC with a Honda 2200i generator. If AC is a biggy for you (and I imagine in Alabama it will be), then that is the way to go for sure.


It is a hot and humid here, but I do plan on Colorado trips to balance that equation. Thank you for your response.
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Old 07-28-2020, 04:45 AM   #11
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While I have a generator, I haven't used it in a year. I installed 400 watts of solar and 6v golf cart batteries (wired in series to make 12v). That provides plenty of juice for what I need...lights, water pump, gas furnace (which uses 12v from the batteries to run the fan), some tv/dvd player use (via a 1000w inverter). Others here have 800 watts of solar, 4 or even 8 expensive Lithium batteries, 3000 watt inverters, etc.

With my 400 watt system, I can do everything I need and the batteries are recharged by noon most days (here in the sunny west). Of course, no AC or microwave as others have stated. But the generator no longer destroys the peaceful setting when I'm 'out there' off the grid, which is my preference; and even if in a campground, generally ones that don't have electric hookups.

So really it depends on your style of camping. Some folks have stock batteries that are shot, but they never know it because they are always plugged in at rv parks or campgrounds. If they unplugged they would be dead in the water in a number of hours. Others are never plugged in and have plenty of power and solar to handle their requirements. You might not even know yet what your needs/style even will be. In that case, skip the solar and wait until you figure it out after using your rig for awhile.

If you decide you are serious about solar and plan on spending more time NOT plugged in to rv parks or campgrounds, skip the 90w factory panel and go see an after-market solar installer. AM solar is a good one. Another is Ronnie (GMFL--commented above) who is in Alabama, which is fortunate for you, he does top-notch work. Do some research here on the forum and on the web and learn a bit more about RV Power and Solar...and then reach out to him. He can help you understand it all, and design and configure a system based on your camping style and needs, and do a quality installation. Highly recommended. #thisisnotanadvertisement


Yes, I have watched his upgrade video. I am trying to gather as much information and understanding of systems before I purchase. Your detailed response is appreciated.
I need to live in the unit for a season or two to determine my needs before an expensive upgrade.
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Old 07-28-2020, 05:44 AM   #12
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Great advice from everyone, especially PCSKIER. Figure out what your needs are first by actually camping. Then, research and spend your money to fit YOUR needs.

All the advice here is very good in letting you know all the options out there and then let your use determine which ones fit your style of camping.
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Old 07-28-2020, 05:57 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Mercerme View Post
I need to live in the unit for a season or two to determine my needs before an expensive upgrade.
Wise decision and don't order the factory solar (I made that mistake), you will get more bang for your buck with aftermarket equipment once you decide what you need.

Dave S
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Old 07-28-2020, 06:22 AM   #14
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30 amp will run most items and a generator is needed to run the a/c ?
30 amp service will run your a/c with about another 15 amps still available for a microwave, hairdryer, coffee pot or what have you. The key is you cannot exceed a total of 30 amps without tripping the circuit breaker on the power post.

Generators are only for use when no shore power is available as when you are boondocking, you never use a generator and shore power at the same time. A 2200 watt generator is the minimum size you need to power an air conditioner and not much else. The bigger the generator the more you can power. It's just a matter of figuring out how much power you need to run what you want to run.

Dave S
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