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 > Some questions on using solar.

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rbpru

North Central Indiana

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Posted: 04/21/21 11:00am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Most of the time we camp with electricity. But a few times a year we go to music festivals or other events that are non-electric, plus and occasional boondock trip.

I am not a fan of generators but the only other option seems to be solar. However, when parked with no shade, the summer sun turns my TT into an easy-bake oven. In the deep shade, fans do a passable job of keeping things cool.

I find solar to be quite a quandary. Solar needs sun, but the typical TT mounted panels are not large enough to power the AC. When parked in the shade the amount of solar energy is reduced, plus the roof mounted panels are not at their optimum sun angle.

I have read a few comments about off-roof panels mounted so they can be moved into the sun and set at a better sun angle. Also, comments on lithium battery packs for more energy storage. Neither seem practical of cost effective, except in a semi-permanent long term installation.

My question is how many people find solar practical for short term vacation travel?


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valhalla360

No paticular place.

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Posted: 04/21/21 11:14am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Solar works fine...if you don't need air/con. So if you camp in the mountains or spring/fall where it's cool, it makes a lot of sense (assuming you can stay out of the shade).

Once you need/want air/con, it's technically possible buy highly impractical.

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B-n-B

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Posted: 04/21/21 11:36am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We boondock about 99% of the time. Whether short or long trips we tend to stay in forest service, BLM or state parks with little to no amenities. Because of this, solar is our go to source for power in our rig. In those instances where A/C is required I run the Honda 2200 as needed. I’m on my third solar install and chose a lithium battery this time for its deeper reserve and zero service requirements. With its longer life expectancy the initial higher cost should level out over time. We’ll see how it goes.

Here’s an excellent site to get smart on solar with in-depth assessments on practical RV installs, products and appropriate sizing for just about any need.

https://www.mobile-solarpower.com/


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vermilye

Oswego, NY, USA

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Posted: 04/21/21 11:38am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Solar works fine for me. While I carry a small (900/700 watt) generator to top off the batteries, I have never needed it in the last 11 years.

I have a pair off 160 watt panels on the roof & carry a 160 watt portable panel. Have gone as long as 91 days in a row without hookups. I generally spend the winter in Arizona's Long Time Visitor Areas dry camping. While no shade on the rooftop panels, during summers I often camp under trees & use the portable panel for most of the charging.

For most of the time I relied on a pair of 6V, 232 amp hour batteries, however two years ago I switched to a pair of 100 amp hour Battleborn lithium batteries. This year I added a third lithium battery. I typically use 50 - 60 amp hours per day.


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time2roll

Southern California

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Posted: 04/21/21 11:40am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Camp where it is cooler. At least where it will cool off at night. Upgrade your stock ceiling vent fan to move the hot air out in the evening/overnight. Don't hang out in the RV during the heat of the day. If you camp in a clearing of trees you may get enough solar but the shade will come earlier in the afternoon. Same if you camp east of a mountain you will not have late afternoon direct sun.

If I need A/C at night I am looking for hookups.


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Huntindog

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Posted: 04/21/21 01:38pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Maybe if you asked real nice, the operators of the events you attend would hold them at a cooler location. [emoticon] LOL

Obviously that is not a solution for you.
Camping in an RV is all about tradeoffs. If you cannot stomach a genertor when the AC is needed, then the other choices are to spend a ton of $$$ on a solar system, or leave the RV at home and get a motel.



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Bumpyroad

Virginia

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Posted: 04/21/21 02:39pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I need AC both for heat reduction and humidity reduction. places like cincinnati can be 70 degrees and still miserable.
bumpy





theoldwizard1

SE MI

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Posted: 04/21/21 02:46pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

rbpru wrote:

Most of the time we camp with electricity. But a few times a year we go to music festivals or other events that are non-electric, plus and occasional boondock trip.

IMHO, solar, batteries and an inverter are not for you !

Park in the shade. Live with a small generator. Replace you current battery with two 6V golf carts batteries. Use 12V fans for overnight.

Lwiddis

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Posted: 04/21/21 03:25pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

“My question is how many people find solar practical for short term vacation travel?”

Absolutely practical. I don’t like my generator’s noise or that from neighbors’ generators. My solar system almost always fully recharges my batteries daily. Careful campsite selection gives me enough shade and sunlight. If I’m in an area where the only comfortable place is inside my TT with the AC on, I go camp elsewhere. PS...panels don’t power anything. They recharge batteries.


Winnebago 2101DS TT & 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 LTZ Z71, WindyNation 300 watt solar-Lossigy 200 AMP Lithium battery. Prefer boondocking, USFS, COE, BLM, NPS, TVA, state camps. Bicyclist. 14 yr. Army -11B40 then 11A - (MOS 1542 & 1560) IOBC & IOAC grad


lane hog

Tucson, AZ & NW Chicago Burbs, IL

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Posted: 04/22/21 01:37am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Fans usually work great overnight. Even better if you can find a USB powered one or a 12V.

We do have solar, and it works for most of our boondocking or overnight parking without hookups, but occasionally we'll be in a situation where running the AC is unavoidable. You'd need a couple thousand invested in a lithium battery bank to do it for a couple hours. Or, you can run the generator...

This is why I invested in quiet Honda generators, and not one of the $500 chain store specials...

For just the air conditioner, a single Honda EU2000i works fine, although I do flip the breaker to our converter off. Outside, is barely noticeable above the noise of the air conditioner unit running. Inside, the noise is undetectable.



  • 2019 Grand Design 29TBS (had a Winnebago and 3x Jayco owner)
  • 2016 F-150 3.5L MaxTow (had Ram 2500 CTD, Dodge Durango)
  • 130W solar and 2005 Honda EU2000i twins that just won't quit



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