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Old 11-25-2009, 05:38 AM   #1
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I know much has been discussed about solar and boondocking etc...Here is my question, my new rig is at Silver Crown in Illinois, they are going over some minor details before i pick it up. I inquired about a solar setup. The initial feedback i am getting is that to build a system that will really deliver, you are going to spend between 10 and 12 thousand dollars. Now what does that mean? I assume it means the system will support the rig in what would be close to normal usage without thinking to much about conservation. At 10 grand how long would that take to payoff? (i am not really asking) it seems like it would take forever. I know there is no simple answer here, maybe a system a little less expensive could be considered. This Solar stuff makes my head spin. Happy thanksgiving Gene
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Old 11-25-2009, 06:09 AM   #2
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I will chime in here with Genecarp on that question. I was just wondering this morning about a "maintenance type system that picks up the parasitic loads and provides a maintenance charge for the batteries.

Of course, it is all based on what the parasitic load is and how much battery charge is desired. Hypothetically, the load would be the fridge 12VDC control (its running on propane), maybe a light if my wife is reading. Otherwise, we are running the generator for AC, Heat, Cooking and the Entertainment of TV or Sat radio. But in very general terms, wouldn't a system that puts a couple of hundred watts into the charger be effective for this purpose?

I am sure some of the readers of the list have experience with systems like I described. Are they effective and about what would it cost to build one? Or, do you have a better idea?

Thanks

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Old 11-25-2009, 06:19 PM   #3
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.....TWO GENERATORS seems to me the most economical and most _dependable_ way to proceed....one unite a large high amperage unite for running everything plus some- the other unite to just get by on[low amperage and 12vdc charging]... a Honda 3000 or even 2 Honda unites paralleled that I have access to....my main unite is 12.5k Onan Diesel and I do have several options that are available for extended quiet running at nite if I need to have juice....I did pick up a 500 Amp continuous generator with a 6 cylinder Perkins Government Surplus Field/ Arctic Kit-120-220 and 480 volt there is a switching circuit board that can make it do 3 phase should I need to power something really big......and it will rock the neighborhood as the muffler is a 4" pass through! In the big wind storm here I powered 4 neighbor houses.....they still whined about the noise.....God lave them!.....anyway I don't like to spend money on solar packages as I'm not convinced that is the way to proceed yet and those things cost about 4k last time I looked into them......geofkaye and the Rivercity Girls who will be at the Kentucky RVIA Show December 1-2-3 of 2009 in Louisville KY......
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Old 11-25-2009, 06:53 PM   #4
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We like to dry camp in SW Arizona come Jan or Feb. I set up 4 Semens 100 watt (ea) panels on a motorized tilt that will raise them up to 35 degrees. As we generally park in the desert, I can orient the truck so the panels have a SW exposure. These were aprox $500 each.
They supply power through a 30 amp controller which was around $100.
I have (8) 6V deep cycle batteries for the "house" system along with a Trace 3500 watt inverter/smart charger that's set up for 24VDC.
This keeps us in power 24-7 unless it's cloudy for a couple of days. We run a 120AC refrig, propane forced air heat, microwave, coffee maker, water pump & lights. If it gets warm enough in the afternoon, we run the gen (10K Onan) for a couple of hours. (also carry a 2400 Yamaha inverter gen for batt recharge & minor power requirements)
The total solar was under $2200, batteries at $80 ea = $640, Trace was $1000 with remote, so total system was under $4K.
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Old 11-26-2009, 08:23 AM   #5
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Now this is good.

Bob, after some solr based thought, the SW Arizona part is the big part we are missing here. Most of my dry camping is Midwest to Upper Midwest. Texas and Arkansas are popular southern venues and almost all of them are heavily wooded racetrack environments. I am wondering if we could get enough SOLAR time to make it worthwhile.

From that perspective, I think a smaller secondary inverter generator may be a good option for us. And I always have plenty of 50:1 premix around to power some of the newer smaller 2 stroke gensets.

What I wouldn’t like, is the part of having to get it out and set it up and tear it down at each stop. We are usually only there for a few days at a time and pretty busy most of that time.

Does anyone have some ideas about how best to accommodate a secondary power source (2-stroke generator) in a quite, convenient, semi-permanent location with a remote electric start?

I am just day dreaming here but it does sound interesting.
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Old 11-26-2009, 01:49 PM   #6
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......OK..picture if you will a heavy Florida rain storm with lightening flashing loud thunder and an almost freezing downpour....[Old Fat Geof] or one of the Girlz opens the side door of the trailer and with an umbrella blowing in the wind runs towards the Volvo tractor with a fleshlite in hand-mud and water squishing up between the toes hair soaked and clothing drenched.......opens a door and pulls the chord on the starter of the Honda generators and reaches up and pushes the start button on the Onan Generator-runs back to the trailer and slams the door. Now, it is just a matter of changing the plugs on the electric panel- black one for nite and white plug for day time.....dryer plugged in hair dried-cloths changed and I have clean-warm-happy girlz....music on-TV on-laptop plugged in and microwave heating a warm cup of beef noodle soup.....course now after a few years.....the ONAN RUNS ALL THE TIME-FORGET THE HONDAS..... they are now back ups-should I need them.....geofkaye and the Rivercity Girlz....such is life!
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Old 01-01-2010, 06:35 PM   #7
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I know I am late to this topic, but I never look in general discussion for some odd reason. I have a 75W (ICP Global) solar panel to keep the batteries (2 box/ 2 truck) charged when I am doing other things like work. However when I need power I turn to my trusty Onan 5K which will run the A/C and micro wave with no questions asked. The Onan runs very efficiently, so I am not sure how long it would take to recover even four grand in fuel usuage.
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Old 02-10-2010, 12:31 PM   #8
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Solar power for battery charging is relatively inexpensive - it gets costly rapidly as soon as you want to use solar to power anything directly - I have run three 75 watt panels and kept up with usual 12 volt power use, but using any kind of inverter makes that set up pointless. The high cost of solar panel systems kicks in when you wish to run inverters on the supply from the panels - you need many panels, much better than my rather puny 75 watt versions - any combination to get to over 1000 watts would be sufficient to run a medium inverter, and all the 12 volt gear you have. To fully utilize the sun's power, you need to aim the array at it, so either a tilt up, at the least, to an orbital system would be needed - all of these cost a fortune, so ten to twelve grand is possible very easily - more if you need more power. I know of a remote house, in Idaho, that uses three thousand watts of solar power, to run the house, and it cost nearly seventy thousand to install.
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Old 03-04-2010, 03:53 PM   #9
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Anyone know who in the Southeast (I am in Nashville) knows enough to spec solar and/or check batteries and charging system on a coach?
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