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kjm1970
05-15-2015, 10:25 PM
I just ordered a solar system to install on my new RW 420. I have the residential fridge and just want to do this right. I know absolutely nothing about electrical (I will have my electrician come install). My rig is big and and we boon dock a lot. My last rig I had 2 Honda gens that worked great but could not use them after 9pm where we camped. Anyway, I ordered 544 watts of flexible solar peel and stick. Can anyone give me any pointers?

danemayer
05-15-2015, 10:32 PM
Hi kjm1970,

I moved your post to the Solar sub-forum (the factory isn't likely to respond with advice on aftermarket customizations). Hopefully some other owners will share some of their experiences with you.

You might also want to browse some of the other threads in this sub-forum (https://www.heartlandowners.org/forumdisplay.php/383-Solar-and-Wind-Power).

jrzygrl64
05-16-2015, 06:55 AM
We had our solar installed by an AM Solar certified installer, Greg Young of RV Solar Solutions. It is a more complicated process than you might think getting it installed and hooked up into your electrical box correctly. We found it worth it to have a professional do it and Bill HATES to pay for anyone to do anything he can do himself.

Just something to consider...

caissiel
05-17-2015, 08:45 AM
We bought a kit already designed for the wattage I felt was right for our use and it has been flawless for 3 years. Added the right amount of batteries so they stay above 50 % load and even charge my friends batteries when attending festivals. Just in the longer service life of my batteries has already paid for my 200 watt system.

Brazos
05-17-2015, 09:37 AM
caissiel, You are spot on. A solar system needs to be the right system for the person using the system. There are many sites out there with tons of information available for anyone wanting to install their own system. There are complete kits available and places where one can purchase individual components for any system. There are many on this forum who installed their own system that meets their needs and are installed correctly. I am a real proponent for folks who are capable of installing their own system, to do so. You do not have to install your system just like how someone does their install. That is the beauty of learning how to do your own system. There are so many sites out there with great tips and methods. Joe

1_oldgoat
07-07-2015, 09:55 PM
Several interesting posts on solar power, i am buying a second trailer for camping....we are keeping the Gateway but will use it when rv'ing. Anyway the new 18 foot camp trailer has a solar plug already built in, i need to do a little research but i believe all i need are panels and its plug and play. New rv only has 1 battery but i plan on adding another along with an invertor if i need one, not sure just yet, anyway i thought it was a nice feature to have installed on a rig, i'll post again as i figure this new trailer out.

scottyb
07-08-2015, 09:51 AM
IMO, if you boondock with a residential fridge, you need a minimum of 4 batteries and a generator. 2 batteries will get you from point A-B, but cannot sustain without extensive generator use. 4 batteries can be done easily in you RW. I had 4 6V GC-2's in my 4100, which gave me 450 Ah, and I didn't even have a residential fridge. They make battery boxes specifically for 4 6V. If you go with AGM's, you don't have to worry about battery boxes, ventilation, water level, or corrosion, but they come at a price.

Oregon_Camper
07-08-2015, 12:09 PM
IMO, if you boondock with a residential fridge, you need a minimum of 4 batteries and a generator. 2 batteries will get you from point A-B, but cannot sustain without extensive generator use. 4 batteries can be done easily in you RW. I had 4 6V GC-2's in my 4100, which gave me 450 Ah, and I didn't even have a residential fridge. They make battery boxes specifically for 4 6V. If you go with AGM's, you don't have to worry about battery boxes, ventilation, water level, or corrosion, but they come at a price.

Scotty...If I decide to replace the factory batteries, (Deka - 23amp / 140 min) batteries with 2 new Trojan batteries, which way should I go?

Purchase two (2) T-105’s (6v)
http://www.trojanbattery.com/product/t-105_plus/

Or

Purchase two (2) T-1275 (12v)
http://www.trojanbattery.com/product/t-1275_plus/


My camping...boondocking.

My Solar setup....4 130w panels (paired in series....80v output...40amp MPPT controller)

Jim.Allison
07-08-2015, 07:26 PM
I just ordered a solar system to install on my new RW 420. I have the residential fridge and just want to do this right. I know absolutely nothing about electrical (I will have my electrician come install). My rig is big and and we boon dock a lot. My last rig I had 2 Honda gens that worked great but could not use them after 9pm where we camped. Anyway, I ordered 544 watts of flexible solar peel and stick. Can anyone give me any pointers?

The absolute first thing should do is buy a bogart trimetric. This instrument will give you an idea of what is going on with your electical before you start building your system.


I have the 576 watts of stick on panels. I use a morningstar mppt 45 charge controller and Trojan T1275s for 300 AH (total). I have a Xantrex 3012 inverter charger. I love it. I learn more each time I use it. On my last trip, I actually ran my AC/LP refrigerator on solar with the help of 10 amps from my 7 pin. As you know, 1 amp AC is 10 amps DC. So a refrigerator that draws 4 amps at 120v AC is drawing 40 amps at 12v DC. As far as normal boon docking running my rig on LP for the fridge and hot water, I have way more than enough to watch TV, have light, run the microwave and still have plenty to run a cpap all night long and microwave biscuits in the morning. I'm usually charged by noon or shortly after including the absorption and acceptance time required by the batts. I have recently added auto gen start to the Xantrex system in order to start the generator in the event that my batts run way low, and or run the A/C system when the thermostat calls for cooling.

Thing I have learned, I would go with 450 AH batts with my system if I were to do it again that is 3 Trojan 12v T1275 or 4 T105s or equivalent (trojan makes several GC batts in 6v). Otherwise I am totally ecstatic about my system based on the same panels you have. Assuming that you have bought 4 144 watt 24v 4 amp unisolar panels. or similar. Sound like you are on teh right track. BTW, since you are going in this direction, I recommend either a Xantrex or Magnum 3000 watt pure sine wave inverter charger with pass through and a single breaker panel that is split internally. I think your system is eligible for a 30% tax credit still, if you buy all your stuff in 2015 and have it mostly completed. Good luck.

- - - Updated - - -


The absolute best batts are FLA, not AGM or Gel Cell. Handybob explains why. There is little support among renewable energy folks for anything but FLA. They take more charge, and have more capacity for the money. Simply stated, there are more amp hours in the top 1/2v than in the bottom 1/2 volt. I start the evening with 13.4v and I don't think that you can do that
with AGM.

https://handybobsolar.wordpress.com/the-rv-battery-charging-puzzle-2/

Brazos
07-08-2015, 08:23 PM
I haven't priced FLAs recently. When I bought my AGMs in Jan the price for the FLAs was more than double the AGMs price and the wait time to get them was 7 weeks. So figuring the level of the rig I have, the price of the FLAs and the wait time it was an easy choice for me. I think with time the FLAs will be more affordable for RV use.

scottyb
07-09-2015, 07:56 AM
Scotty...If I decide to replace the factory batteries, (Deka - 23amp / 140 min) batteries with 2 new Trojan batteries, which way should I go?

Purchase two (2) T-105’s (6v)
http://www.trojanbattery.com/product/t-105_plus/

Or

Purchase two (2) T-1275 (12v)
http://www.trojanbattery.com/product/t-1275_plus/


My camping...boondocking.

My Solar setup....4 130w panels (paired in series....80v output...40amp MPPT controller)

If you are buying Trojans and not cheap batteries, it is a toss up, depending on available space. If you are buying Energizers from Sam's or Costco, I would go with the GC-2's. Cheap golf cart batteries are a far better choice that cheap marine batteries.

porthole
07-09-2015, 09:27 AM
And Jim is back full throttle !

Your costing me money now Jim, I'm finally breaking down and getting a Bogart meter.

Jim.Allison
07-10-2015, 01:23 AM
Yes I'm back trying to help, paying particular attention to folks that are interested in solar. I just thought I knew about solar, but now that I'm getting past the learning curve as far as operating it, I'm figuring out a whole new dimension to it. Between the Xantrex and Morning star interfaces I have a lot of data. But the Bogart is the "go-to" device to find out what is happening. On the advice of an article I read, I now keep it on "% full" to monitor, as opposed to micro managing the system. If I need to analyze something then I get into it only if I have to.

So you are going to break down and get a Bogart?


And Jim is back full throttle !

Your costing me money now Jim, I'm finally breaking down and getting a Bogart meter.

porthole
07-10-2015, 08:36 AM
So you are going to break down and get a Bogart?

Yes. I'm most likely not doing the solar at this stage, going on the 7th season soon and don't know how long the trailer will stay.

Just going to start looking for more info as to usage. My batteries are getting near the end and i have several things drawing off the inverter when we run. Have to see what is the big draw causing the batteries to drop below the low voltage shutoff with the inverter.

Jim.Allison
07-10-2015, 11:33 AM
Yes. I'm most likely not doing the solar at this stage, going on the 7th season soon and don't know how long the trailer will stay.

The Bogart will give you a lot of data, and probably a few surprises too.

1_oldgoat
07-18-2015, 12:51 PM
Well, we picked up the new trailer, i installed 2 new trojan batts, ordered a 300 watt solar charging system, i believe will be more than enough to keep the new trojans up, i can run a generator in the am if need be, but the solar system is supposed to run just over 16 amps per hr. I have a meter and shunt set up and will be checking all the systems draw, lights, water pump ect... i can leave the refer and water heater on propane, with all LED lighting i think the 300 watt system will be more than sufficient, if not all i need to do is add another 150 watt panel, the charge controller is good for up to 30 amps. Should be an interesting project, will post a few pics once i get the system set up and running.
Jim has been a great help and has a lot of information for anyone interested in a solar power system, if this works as well as i think its going to, i may do something similar with the Gateway.

kjm1970
08-05-2015, 07:24 PM
Hi Jim,

Your system sounds great. Here is what I ended up doing. I have 6 6v (250ah each) tied to 544 watts of the flexible panels to a morning star 45mppt with remote sensor. I went with a gopower 3000w pure sine inverter. Everything works great. Here is my issue and maybe you can help me. I would on occasion like to run my AC to cool of the rig. I do have the residential fridge mind you (no LP at all). I turn on the AC and it will run for 15 seconds and then shut off. I definitely am hearing what sounds like a breaker click and then it shuts down. I was told by one of my employees that has an electrical background that there seems to be some sort of surge that is not allowing it to run. I know I am babbling but I thought what better place to go to than here?

Kyle

jbeletti
08-05-2015, 07:44 PM
Hi Jim,

Your system sounds great. Here is what I ended up doing. I have 6 6v (250ah each) tied to 544 watts of the flexible panels to a morning star 45mppt with remote sensor. I went with a gopower 3000w pure sine inverter. Everything works great. Here is my issue and maybe you can help me. I would on occasion like to run my AC to cool of the rig. I do have the residential fridge mind you (no LP at all). I turn on the AC and it will run for 15 seconds and then shut off. I definitely am hearing what sounds like a breaker click and then it shuts down. I was told by one of my employees that has an electrical background that there seems to be some sort of surge that is not allowing it to run. I know I am babbling but I thought what better place to go to than here?

Kyle

Sounds like the compressor is trying to start but is short of current from your inverter.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

kjm1970
08-05-2015, 08:17 PM
how would I fix that? my inverter is 3000w. I thought that would be plenty.

sjandbj
08-05-2015, 08:37 PM
how would I fix that? my inverter is 3000w. I thought that would be plenty.

Kyle,
3000 watts should be enough to start and run a single A/C unit. I would try to turn off all the breakers that are also on the inverter system including the refer and then try to see if the A/C will start. If you have a meter you cold see what the amp draw is. I am sure Jim would have some better information or tests.

Regards,
Steve

kjm1970
08-05-2015, 08:40 PM
great thanks. I did turn off all but the refer. I guess that 8 amps is what is doing it. How long could I run the AC if I had to you think? i have a total of 1500ah with the batteries.

Brazos
08-05-2015, 09:05 PM
I might jump in and ad my two cents to this. If you did get your air to kick on you would have limited use of it before you depleted your batteries. You said you have a residential frig. During our Colorado campout last week at Camp Hale my frig used about 120 to 130 Amps from the time my charging stopped at low sun to about 7:00 the next morning. Now if you consider you have about 375 useable Amps (50%) from your 6 batteries with a full charge. You would have about 245 Amps left if your frig was similar to mine. Using other things in the rig if you do, those amps start depleting pretty quickly. You may be expecting to much if you want to run your air. Do you use a Bogart Trimetric to monitor your system or some other gauge to tell you what it is doing.
Let me ask, are you using an inverter that came with the rig for the frig along with the 3000 watt inverter you have. They both get their power from the same place, the battery bank or banks. You might want to consider using an adequate generator for the air when you want to use it and conserve your batteries. You can always switch between the two.

Remember with solar the best policy is to conserve. This will extend your battery storage. The air can be a killer.

Joe

sjandbj
08-05-2015, 09:09 PM
great thanks. I did turn off all but the refer. I guess that 8 amps is what is doing it. How long could I run the AC if I had to you think? i have a total of 1500ah with the batteries.

Kyle,
If you had nothing else pulling power from the batteries and assuming 50% battery use you would have a little less then 30 minutes. I based that on the A/C drawing 20amps at 120 volts with a real simple calculation. To have a real accurate time more things need to be taken into account. Such as the panels providing power during the time the A/C is running the efficiency of the converter ect. Others might have a better handle since I am just starting to install my system and just basing this on a few numbers.
Regards,
Steve

kjm1970
08-05-2015, 09:22 PM
Hi Joe,

I have two inverters. The fridge can run on the factory one if I want it. I only turn on the big inverter when we are watching TV at night, microwave, coffee in the morning. We camp on the beach a lot and we have quiet time after 9pm so we can't run the gen (I have a 5kw Onan). I just thought all of the $ I spent on the solar and accessories, I should be able to run the AC for even a little bit if I wanted to cool the rig down.
I do not have a battery monitor, I should get one. Just looking at the installation is absolutely frightening to me (I am not at all proficient with any type of electrical work).

scottyb
08-05-2015, 10:13 PM
The only rigs I know of that try to run AC's off off batteries have 16 6V batteries and two inverters. Even then they are very limited to how much run time. I have 6 batteries and can run the RF easily overnight, with a little TV, satellite, and LED lights.

Jim.Allison
08-05-2015, 10:15 PM
how would I fix that? my inverter is 3000w. I thought that would be plenty.

IMHO, You are not going to get any satisfaction from trying to run your A/C on inverted power.

BUT, what is happening to you is that when the load from the AC is on it demands more voltage from the batts than they can provide. Even Though they are fully charged to 12.7 plus, they may only be able to supply 11.7 (example only). Your inverter may have a setting (that might be adjustable) that tells the inverter to shut down at 11.8 (example only). This is called the "Low Voltage Cutoff".

I experienced this problem with a 1500 watt microwave. I could not understand it. I had a 3000 watt inverter, with no reason to shut down. When I started to look into it, I found that my Low voltage cutoff was set at 12.4v. It does not take much to pull more than your batt system can deliver. I adjusted the inverter LVC through the interface to 11.7 and cured my problem. Even a temporary dip below the setting will disable the inverter.

The "Low Voltage Cutoff" is designed to disable the inverter in the event that the charge of the batts drops below X charge. But temporary loads can cause the inverter to sense the low voltage even though the batts remain completely charged.

Let me state the obvious, in case you are not applying the fact that 1 AC amp is 10 DC amps. 10 AC amps is 100 DC amps. What this means is that your inverter must consume at least 50 amps DC to create 5 amps DC. So it should be easy to see why your batteries may pull down when the a/c is activated.

Good luck

Jim.Allison
08-05-2015, 10:52 PM
I have an auto gen start for my onan. Onan has a accessory for auto genstart but Xantrex also has a auto gen start for the inverter.

I have it set to start the generator anytime my inverter cannot handle the load demand. It also starts when the batts become discharged, or if shore power is lost.

The auto gen start also has a lead to the thermostat, and will start the generator when A/C is called for.

The upshot of this is that I can boondock in Texas and cut down on LP usage because the generator only runs when needed. One of the neat features of the auto gen start is that you can set on and off times, and you can set "quiet time" if needed. You can also manual on and manual off.

This might serve your purposes if you have the components for a system like this.

rxbristol
08-05-2015, 11:28 PM
The only rigs I know of that try to run AC's off off batteries have 16 6V batteries and two inverters. Even then they are very limited to how much run time. I have 6 batteries and can run the RF easily overnight, with a little TV, satellite, and LED lights.

VERY nice, clean, professional setup!