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Thread: Solar Setup Advice

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Boulder, CO
    Posts
    936
    Quote Originally Posted by traveler57 View Post
    pods8,

    don't worry, I totally agree that not everyone needs 300W. and no, I don't need 100ah per day. that is just my battery size. No one can discharge a battery with all 100ah down to 0, anyway. It would be a dead battery and junk. But using up to 50ah in several days of camping is very typical of a lot of people (including me) might do with "normal" use with a fridge.
    My 100ah comment was just a round number off a 300w panel w/ 5hrs of light 300w/14v*5hrs = 107ah ~100ah (one would assume you'd porbably be running MPPT with those levels of wattage so you won't be throwing away the extra volts). It had nothing to do with your battery size mentioned earlier and was more towards the "250-300W minimum" comment you made. Even with only 1 hr of good light 300W of solar is going to throw off ~21ah, I just don't see how small camper and trailer rigs would need anything of that nature and that is what I was calling attention to.

    I agree with each person needing to decide whats best but if you're in a sunny spot I'd give solar a tad more credit than you are. 50ah over 3 days is ~17ah a day. Assuming you can get 5hrs of good sun and your using a basic PWM controller 17ah/5hrs*14V= 47.6w of adjusted solar, 47.6*18V/14V= ~60watts of panel most likely needed. That is smack in the 30-100w range you were blowing off. You can pick up an 80w panel and a Morningstar Sunsaver SS-6 for ~$200. That isn't quite as our of reach as you might think and if you're only using ~17ah a day that will extend your 3-4days much more than 5 even in less than ideal light. 80w/18V=4.45amps (not I didn't account for MPPT here, this would be PWM numbers), 4.45amps per hour of good light. Only got 2hrs of good light? Well now you're only having ~8ah deficit a day, you've just doubled your stay. A little over 4hrs and you're coming up even.

    But yes only around 30W doesn't do much unless you're a much lower ah user, which someone without a fridge might be (the OP didn't say anything about a fridge so I was just showing him a cheaper source for a panel/controller in the range he was looking at).
    Last edited by pods8; 03-26-2011 at 09:24 PM.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Southern California, USA
    Posts
    338
    You might also want to consider wind power in certain locations. There are portable turbine generators that can put out 600W in the right conditions. I think I saw a setup at Northern Tool that did this. You might even be able to combine solar and wind if you want to.

    Cheers,
    Greg
    Greg (a.k.a. Hafwit)
    1967 Steyr-Puch Swiss military Haflinger
    1975 Volvo Swedish military TGB111
    2011 Toyota 4Runner Trail Edition

  3. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by JJMAC View Post
    Ok. Searched and searched. I am looking for a simple Solar setup for my popup camper.

    Camper is used 100% off the grid.
    I have one battery.
    Power is used only for interior lighting and occasional use of heater on cold nights...

    Looking for a system to help replenish battery. Nothing crazy. I have been 4 days on just the battery an had enough juice. Looking to make it 7-10 days.

    Any recommendations?

    Are these systems junk?
    http://www.amazon.com/Instapark%2599...1089978&sr=1-4
    Here's link to a great price on an 85W solar panel.
    Sun Elec Linky

    Get a Sunsaver 10 controller and you'll have a nice starter system. Just add another 85 watt panel if it doesn't keep up with your usage. But I doubt you'll need more if you can go 4 days already. Our teardrop had an 80 watt solar panel and we could camp as long as the sun was shining. We didn't need to tilt the panel, we just left it flat. BUT, we optimized for low battery draw: LED lights and no heater.




    Teardrop PV System

    Our new trailer has 220 watts of solar panel but its a bit overkill. We're usually 100% charged by noon.



    Boxcar PV system


    Bruce

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    northglenn colorado
    Posts
    45
    Quote Originally Posted by bdosborn View Post
    Here's link to a great price on an 85W solar panel.
    Sun Elec Linky

    Get a Sunsaver 10 controller and you'll have a nice starter system. Just add another 85 watt panel if it doesn't keep up with your usage. But I doubt you'll need more if you can go 4 days already. Our teardrop had an 80 watt solar panel and we could camp as long as the sun was shining. We didn't need to tilt the panel, we just left it flat. BUT, we optimized for low battery draw: LED lights and no heater.




    Teardrop PV System

    Our new trailer has 220 watts of solar panel but its a bit overkill. We're usually 100% charged by noon.



    Boxcar PV system


    Bruce
    I just read your build up from now on check K&K raither then den col they stomp there prices if you can find it scrap out back (fairly good size yard) its 50 cents a pound. got a link to where you bought the bigger solar panel?

  5. #15
    The big panel is a 135 watt Kyocera and I got it here:
    Arizona Wind and Sun , which is a great company. I bought a battery hydrometer from them last week and it arrived broken. They sent another one out ASAP, no questions asked. Didn't even have to send the broken one back.


    Bruce

  6. #16

    Default Simple Solar Setup

    This may help: Simple Solar Setup

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    150
    60W of flexible panel and a Batteryminder charge controller works fine for me at keeping my dual battery set up charged up and healthy. I am careful about usage, but have a fridge, water pump, and lights hooked up. I've been out as long as a week without running out of power. The panel is attached to the lid of my trailer via a piece of thin plywood mounted to a flat panel TV mount. It lies flat while driving, but can swivel directly at the sun when I'm camped. I have rubber stoppers over the mount bolts, so I can invert the panel and protect it when driving on gravel trails. So far it has worked out well.

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    139
    I use an 85W panel on my Tacoma. It's stored under the roof of my shell and then set up on a pole arrangement from my front Aluminess bumper. It will produce up to 5a @14.4VDC, as determined by the controller (Vm is about 21VDC). Here is a link to a unit very similar to what I have. I've used it on the trail and it works great to support my Engel fridge and ham radio power loads during the day with enough left over to pull up my 75AH aux battery for use during the night. When I park my truck in the shade, I use an extension cable and prop the panel up out in the direct sunlight.

    By the way, the best way to keep your aux battery in good shape is to give it a deep charge with a 'smart charger' when you get home from every trip.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Michael; 09-21-2011 at 06:48 AM.
    Just get out there and do it...

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    E. Sierras
    Posts
    620
    Heres a link to my slide-in camper and has all the solar setup i installed on it. Sounds like the scenario you are talking about.
    It completely recharges itself every day by midday on sunny days and is fully charged by sunset on a cloudy day. We run basic lighting, h2o pump, heater fan, stereo(IPOD boombox), and a 24hr. ARB fridge. Have never run out of power, not even close. No technical info here for ya, it just works and has been beat on across Death Valley, 300miles of N. Grand Canyon 4wheeling, a wicked winter in the Sierras.
    http://www.expeditionportal.com/foru...TC650-n-Tundra
    '87 &'10 4runner
    '10 Tundra

  10. #20
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    philadelphia PA
    Posts
    6

    Default solar panels

    you might be interested in my ad on this site.

    SOLAR PANELS 100 WATT. Two available

    I have(2) two 100 watt solartech brand solar panels for sale that I cant fit where I intended for them to go. I have my three others installed but can't get the other two to go where I wanted them to go. Here is the link to where I purchased them from....

    http://www.solartechpower.com/www/spm100p-n.html.

    The specs are slightly different than the specs currently on their website and the physical size that I have is no longer available from them so the physical size is different as well.
    First ...The physical size is 34.4 inches by 26.3 inches by 1.38 inches
    The panel specs are ....
    (for panel 1) / (for panel 2)
    Watts 100 / 100
    Vpm 18.6 / 17.0
    Ipm 5.38 / 5.88
    Voc 22.8 / 21.0
    Isc 5.76 / 7.02
    These panels cost me $350.00 each for a total of $700 (with shipping)( I have the receipt to show you). You can call the company and get a quote yourself for their current size 100watt panels. I bought these because they were a bit smaller, therefore taking up less room but as i said before, this size is not available from them anymore.
    I paid $700 and I'm asking $500.. (or closest offer)... That's a pretty good savings to you and a pretty lousy loss for me just for my miscalculations.
    You can come see how they function. I have a Digital multimeter to show you the specs. If you have any questions feel free to contact me. Kinda looking for you to pick them up as shipping becomes expensive. I live in Philadelphia PA email magicdennis@comcast.net
    Last edited by simagic; 09-24-2011 at 12:54 AM.

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