Adding solar

david-steph2018

Well-known member
Well after this last incident we have decided to start looking into adding solar power to the 2018 Road Warrior.

Story is: We were at the Palms Springs Thousand Trails Park from April 1st to April 10th. On Wednesday there was an incident that the park shut off all electrical power to the park. Well, something happened to the 50-amp sites and power could not come back on. So on generator power, temps are around 100 deg, until bed time. Shut down generator, Thursday, temps are around 101 degrees, no power, back on generator, same night time shut down to save fuel. Friday, no power, temps now warming up 103 degrees, back on generator, shut down to save fuel over night. Saturday, no 50-amp power still, temps are 101 degrees. Saturday couple people left the 30-amp sites so we moved over there in the afternoon.

Good to go, not yet!!!!

Sunday comes, get up, 8 sites in the 30-amp section now out of power. Here comes 1 pm and now we lost power on our 30-amp site, the park just posted a sign saying "No power at this site" told us go back on generator until Monday when some people are scheduled to leave."
Problem is we have burned 40 gallons of fuel already; my toy tank is empty and I have 3/8 tank for generator tank left.

So, to help with another situation like this, we are now thinking about adding solar and switching to lithium batteries, Battle Borne probably. Need advice on what equipment is needed thinking of 4 batteries so 400AH with 4 solar panels. I want to keep the generator in the system and use it to be able to kick it on when needed.
I want to run residential fridge, TV, satellite system, 1 AC, if not 2 AC units. Plus the rest of the outlets in the rig.
If I need to run the microwave, air fryer, or 2 AC units I want to kick on the generator to handle the power draw.

So what advice for the new system setup?????
 

Oregon_Camper

Well-known member
What you're asking for is possible with solar, but it will cost you plenty. Somewhere around $20,000 to do what you're asking. You'll need at least 800Ah of Lithium batteries (1,200 would be more in line) and a LOT of solar on the roof to keep the battery bank recharged....estimate 2,000watt of solar.

Those residential refrigerators pull a lot of power and an AC unit needs a 3k inverter per AC unit. You might be able to get by with one 5k inverter and installing "soft starts" on both of the AC units.

Here is our setup and we don't run the AC unit while boondocking, as we camp in the PNW where the temps don't get crazy hot and we can keep cool on really hot days by running some fans.

1649653807130.png
 

david-steph2018

Well-known member
Our fridge is the Hisense. It says rated current 2.8 amps. Plus, plan on installing 2 soft starts to help there.
Maybe 3 of the new game changer 270AH like your setup instead of 4 100AH.
 

taskswap

Active Member
As the others have suggested, supporting AC's is just about the hardest job for solar. It's to the point where it's not so much "not worth it" (it has been done) but definitely "consider all other options first."

I'm confused as to why your generator isn't doing its job. You say even with the generator on, temps in your coach are cresting 100F? Is your generator not able to run both your AC's? Or are you saying you had to keep it on because that was the outside air temp? A generator is the standard answer for running AC's in the heat so if this was working for you and your only issue was fuel usage, I'm sorry, you may have gotten off light. But if your generator couldn't keep up I'd be looking at other options like renting one from a rental company during the outage.

If you look for Will Prowse on Youtube he has a number of videos on running AC's on solar. It's quite the setup to do it right.
 

david-steph2018

Well-known member
Generator did the job just fine. That 103-deg. temp was the outside air. The generator does run both AC units, plus other items. The Onan 5500 did great, just trying to figure out how to not use so much fuel, 4 days in a park, is a long time on generator.
The Onan, running 2 AC, but not the 3rd in the garage, during the 103 deg day, kept us at around 85 deg. inside., not bad job.

What I really want is to be able to run the AC during the night, off the batteries, in a situation like what we had been thru.

I may not need solar added, but just go to lithium batteries, and change the charger/inverter and wiring a little.
 

Oregon_Camper

Well-known member
Generator did the job just fine. That 103-deg. temp was the outside air. The generator does run both AC units, plus other items. The Onan 5500 did great, just trying to figure out how to not use so much fuel, 4 days in a park, is a long time on generator.
The Onan, running 2 AC, but not the 3rd in the garage, during the 103 deg day, kept us at around 85 deg. inside., not bad job.

What I really want is to be able to run the AC during the night, off the batteries, in a situation like what we had been thru.

I may not need solar added, but just go to lithium batteries, and change the charger/inverter and wiring a little.

Keep in mind, a 100Ah Lithium battery will power a typical 15,000 BTU RV AC unit for about 30 minutes.

Great reading here:
https://battlebornbatteries.com/run...ng-will-a-lithium-battery-run-your-rv-ac-unit
 

cipwood

Member
OK, so if I'm reading this right, my 300 ah lithium battery will run the a/c about 1 1/2 hours without any input right? How much effect do you think will the 700 watts, 45 amps of solar on a MPPT controller have on this run time? Assuming full sun.
 

Oregon_Camper

Well-known member
OK, so if I'm reading this right, my 300 ah lithium battery will run the a/c about 1 1/2 hours without any input right? How much effect do you think will the 700 watts, 45 amps of solar on a MPPT controller have on this run time? Assuming full sun.
Many many many variables on what you will get out of 700 watts of solar, but lets just say you get ~5 amps from 100 watts. Now, this is in PRIME sun light (like June-Aug from 11-4pm) you would see about 35 amps per hour. Adding back around 175-200 amps per day. Now, toss in some shade from trees or random clouds and your production drops quickly. Assuming Quiet Hours are 10pm-8am you'll need 1,600 Ah of battery to run one AC for 10 hours for the entire time and ~3,000-3,500 watts of solar to recharge them everyday (assuming no help from generator)
 
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