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 > Powering AC unit built into travel trailer with solar?

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OregonMan

Oregon

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Posted: 08/12/22 11:30pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi guys I am looking to get solar set up for my travel trailer. It's a 2018 model and has a fairly efficient air conditioning unit built in to the ceiling/roof. I've watched YouTube videos showing how to use solar panels and a power inverter to power a window air conditioner, but what about when the air conditioner is built into the roof of your trailer? My trailer has a "solar ready" 10amp Furrion plug but I doubt that'll be enough to power the AC unit? Is there an adapter I could use to plug the power inverter directly into the 30amp power port on the outside of the trailer that I use to plugin at campgrounds?

Thanks for any tips on powering this built-in AC unit using solar panels.

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Posted: 08/13/22 01:48am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

A air conditioner that draws 12A AC would require an inverter that draws 130A DC from the batteries and would require a large solar array, battery and inverter. Basically it's just not practical for a RV.

Instead use a 2000W gen or larger for your 30A RV to run the A/C.


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SoonDockin

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Posted: 08/13/22 05:35am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I run mine for short periods from two 206ah 12v lipo batteries. I have a 3000va victron inverter. The AC pulls 80-100 amps constantly. If your AC is a typical 12btu your going to need a lot of solar panels to pump 100 amps back into the battery. Or have a lot of batteries. I can usually last two to three hrs before depleting my batteries. Obviously the hotter it is, the less time I can do that.


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spoon059

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Posted: 08/13/22 06:54am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I've been thinking about a mini-split for my next camper and possibly solar and batteries to run the AC overnight, but solar is still pretty expensive.

I was wondering if it is feasible to have a battery bank and invertor WITHOUT a solar setup. I was wondering if I stayed in a traditional campground night 1, charged the battery bank, then stay at a dispersed campground night 2 and use the batteries to power the mini-split overnight. Then either run a generator for a couple hours during the day to recharge the battery bank or stay at a traditional campground the following day.

I'm still in the early research stages, as I've never done solar or battery/invertor before. Curious what people's thoughts are on this.


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SoonDockin

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Posted: 08/13/22 07:19am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If I could fit a mini-split in my 1140 AF I would have already. Just no good place to put one that will have a clear air path.

You could just run from batteries, but they are pretty expensive too. Still Solar won't work at night so either way you need enough battery to carry you overnight. I have a 30 amp 12v-12v victron charger hooked to my truck that helps keep the batteries up while driving. We keep the AC on while moving and on all but the really hot days it will keep up fine with my solar. Last trip it was over 100 and I only made it about 5 hrs before I had to stop and fire up the generator. Drove the next hour with that on and was good for another few hrs. When its in the 80's, the truck and solar can keep up with the little cycling the ac does in days drive.

Lantley

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Posted: 08/13/22 07:31am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I'm no solar expert. But it is possible to run A/C off batteries.
The cost is still relatively high but it is doable.
It will require 4-6 Lipo batteries for starters.
You then need a means to recharge those batteries which means covering your entire roof with solar panels.
While in general price are dropping I priced a ac capable system at $6000.00 grand or so for a DIY install. Keep in mind a genset can be had for less than a grand! Also know a built in Onan 5550 genset is a 7000.00 factory option for units that have the built in option availabe.
As to just installing batteries with no solar panels it is certainly doable.
Only the end user can decide if it is practical. But if one night gets you through it maybe something to consider? Recharging batteries via genset instead of solar defeats the purpose of having expensive batteries if your going to run genset anyway. However if the no solar panel set up meets your needs it is doable.


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Lwiddis

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Posted: 08/13/22 08:06am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Seems like an awful lot of trouble, spoon, to avoid getting an adequate solar system which is essentially an “install and forget” project. And who wants to move every day? For A/C? Not me.


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CA Traveler

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Posted: 08/13/22 08:15am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Certainly it's possible and expensive. If I were going that route I'd use a 48V system composed of 48V solar controller (output), 48V charger/inverter, 48V lithium batteries and 48V to 12V DC to DC convertor for the standard house loads, ie eliminate the 12V house battery. One forum member has that arrangement and he uses 3 2000W gens as needed.

I'd look into either a very large alternator and wire upgrade from the alternator to the TT battery bank, or a second 120V AC alternator if possible.

Todays common trucks likely don't have hood room for a much bigger or second alternator.

wanderingbob

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Posted: 08/13/22 10:02am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Solar panels run nothing ! Solar panels will charge your batteries . To run a rooftop air would take many , many batteries and a way to charge them . Solar panels would do that IF you cover your whole roof with them and spend several thousand dollars on batteries , maybe ! You need to spend some time studying this before committing ! Six to ten thousand dollars should cover it !

Skibane

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Posted: 08/13/22 10:26am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

One of the biggest disadvantages of using roof-mounted solar panels for AC is that it forces you to park the RV in a spot that exposes it to full sunlight for most of the day.

So, you end up trying to cool an RV that wouldn't have been as hot in the first place, if you had parked it in shade.

And many campsites don't even have full sunlight exposure all day.

Very few of the folks capable of running their A/C with solar have enough capacity to run it for more than a few hours per day - which means that they either have to do without A/C for the rest of the day and night, or resort to running a generator.

Is running a generator 18 hours a day (with solar) really that much of an improvement over running it 24 hours a day (without solar)?

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