Solar help/general info, please!

I just purchased a 2020 Heartland Mallard M33. Let me start by saying I'm RV stupid, for the most part. This is my first RV, and the electrical components are where I'm struggling. When not plugged in, I understand it runs off battery, and not all things work. It seems my lights and slides are pretty much all that work, when I'm just on battery mode. I've browsed some posts that speak of solar and extra batteries. I'm starting my own thread because I literally need someone to break this down for me, and I want it to be model specific. My owner's manual literally doesn't even speak of solar, even though it's wired for it, so I have no idea what I'm doing.

I, essentially, would LOVE to be able to be "off grid" with my RV so I can camp at friend's properties, or simply be able to have my RV fully operational at home, without needing to install a 50amp service on my home. I saw that it comes pre-wired for a Furrion solar system. My naïve brain thought "oh... you get a solar panel, and plug it in, and the RV won't need to be hooked up to anything to use it." Furrion website made it seem like their 100W panels are exactly for this, and their 50W ones are just for battery maintenance. But, the more I am reading things, the more I'm feeling like it just simply isn't that easy.

Give me cliff notes. Talk to me like I'm stupid, cause I truly am feeling overwhelmed by this. What are ways to make it so I could use literally everything in my RV, without having to be plugged in to a generator or power? Or is that even a thing? Do I need more batteries? Do I need multiple 100W solar panels? Is it not just plug and play, like I thought? Do I need extra components? I will also say this... I'm not a good researcher. I'm "reading" forums, and my ADD brain is making my eyes glaze over and it's going in one ear and out the other. I truly want to understand, but I just feel like everything I'm finding I'm getting more and more confused. I apologize, in advance, but TRULY appreciate whatever you may be able to help me with!


Well-known member
If you want everything to be like you have 50amp shore power but you're powered by solar, you need to spend ~$12,000-$15,000 to get the RV setup for that. The AC unit and residential frig is a big power draw. The costs could be more if you want someone else to install this for you. If you are comfortable with the pricing, I can go into more details for you. I do NOT do this for a living, I just have knowledge on the subject.


Well-known member
Depending on what you want to do, Solar can become somewhat complicated and as previously mentioned, it can get quite expensive. Your lights, slides, refrigerator, water heater, and furnace can all run on 12V DC or a combination of 12V DC and propane. Your refrigerator and water heater may also be able to run solely on 120V AC when plugged in or on generator power.

If you want air conditioning, that'll require the big ticket system. If you can do without, a more modest solar installation may serve. Yes, you'll need more than 1 solar panel, a controller, probably additional wiring beyond what's already installed.

If you want 120V AC to your outlets, the installation will require additional components. Again, how much you want to do determines the complexity.


After determining your solar power requirements and learning about solar panels, you should determine how much battery you need to support your solar panels. This is usually determined by the type and size of the setup you have.
A 12v battery power source is standard on most setups. This battery can provide 100 amp hours of electric storage, which is comparable to 300 watts of solar panel output. So, if your setup includes two 12v or four 6v batteries, you'll have twice the storage capacity of a standard one and be able to store twice as much energy.


Well-known member
You, having a Mallard, must also keep in mind the weight that can be added to your trailer. Some solar panels are heavy and some much lighter. Don't overload it! Before you start, load it up as if you are going on a trip and get it weighed at a CAT scale. That way you will know just how much battery(s) and solar component weight you can add safely.


Hi, Going Solar is great but in my case to do what the wife wanted was well... a no go. The RV value is in the 10K range but the Solar needed to do what the wife wanted is in the 15 to 20K range. So I settled on a 500W 2K project. The 500W Solar works for the RV's 12v system and enough to power a 3K renogy inverter for several 120vac loads 24/7 like the Simplysafe alarm system & monitoring, couple of cameras, a weather station that is remotely monitored and enough power to charge cell phones smart watches laptops while dry docking and the TV with lights for the wife and I. Our LP generator takes up the rest for insta pot slow cooking microwave ect. We enjoy or week trips to Phoenix Raceway and Texas living moderately on Solar but having the LP Generator for major items. pictures here show our RV just after painting the roof with Tropi cool and our March of 2021 PIR trip using Solar as our primary last year as Covid put a damper on large gatherings for food. Used LP BBQ & 120v with a string of lights for our awning eve dinner only. This year we will be using the Generator quite a bit.


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Well-known member
Can I connect the two cables out of my Magnum 2000 to L1 and L2 of the generator side in the auto surge guard?