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Old 11-21-2015, 05:48 PM   #1
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Solar battery charger

Hey gang; Does anyone have any experience with solar battery chargers? Are they worth messing with? Do they work well enough?
Just looking for some thoughts. Whether you have knowledge, experience, theories or opinions, I will read them. Thanks.
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Old 11-22-2015, 09:42 AM   #2
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I had a simple solar charger on my sailboat. It kept my onboard deep cycle fully charged between visits. It was only a 12 mA/hr., but since there were no phantom loads (stereos, navigational electronics, etc.), it did a good job.
I think if you put a small solar charger on a fully charged battery that had its ground wire removed, it'd do the job just fine.

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Old 11-22-2015, 04:30 PM   #3
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Thanks Teach.That will help. I don't feel comfortable wiring up to the truck battery, but a separate battery or two with some kind of solar charger on it may be the way to go.

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Old 11-22-2015, 05:48 PM   #4
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I have a 100 watt panel I use to keep my batteries up while boon docking. Works great for me I can run my fantastic fan on low and charger the batteries at the same time.
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Old 11-27-2015, 09:57 AM   #5
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Solar's the way to go
We're boondocking in the desert as I type & solar meets most of our power needs. I run a 130W unit & am very pleased. Solar prices have plummeted in recent yrs. If you do a search you'll find many threads that offer lots of helpful advice
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Old 11-27-2015, 03:46 PM   #6
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The biggest thing you can do with solar is reduce your power demands. It's a real simple equation watts in watts out. A 100 watt panel will give you 8 amps in the noon day sun provided you live at the equator the rating is based on a possible 1000 watts per square meter noon at the equator things fall off as you go north or south so like me here in Maine my 100 watts maybe only be 80 watts how ever I do over come this by being able to rotate and elevate my 100 watt panel to get max power. It is romantic to try and make all of your power via the sun this can be done but it all so means there maybe some thing you'll need to give up or leave home! The first thing to do is replace every light bulb in the camper and replace them with LED's Do not run your fridge on 12 volts or try to run the furnace forget inverters running microwaves or the big screen.
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Old 11-27-2015, 06:07 PM   #7
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I second going to LED lights inside. Start thinking being a power mizer. There are items in the camper using power and you may not even know it. Power antenna left on, radio screen, The worst offender if you have one, a condensation heat strip on the Dometic fridge. While the LP detector does use some power, leave that one on.

LED lights have become a lot cheaper now and more light output then 5 years ago. The technology keeps leap frogging better at a cost more attractive for the value gained.
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Old 11-28-2015, 06:16 AM   #8
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My camper had 13 1156 bulbs with all of them on they drew 23 amps! I now have 15 LED fixtures with all of them on the current draw is 3.08 amps of course they never are all on so my lighting demand is some thing short of 1 amp. My biggest draw is a small flat screen that gets used maybe 10 minutes every so often when the inverter is on (it draws about 2 amps) the other is the pump I have reduced that load with a 2 gallon accumulator tank a pump draws it's greatest power starting so by reducing the starting cycle that too saves power. The inverter is another thing that needs to be turned off they have what is known as idling current so even if they are not doing any thing they still suck up power. I generally can keep ahead to the power demand with a 100 watt panel and have gone 5 days with two batteries (160 amps) with out any recharge.
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Old 11-28-2015, 09:13 AM   #9
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All great advice above.
I just took a count of the lights in our T1950. Inc the 3 exterior lights we have a total of 20 fixtures. I've converted all but 2-3 never used ones to LED & also added the rec'd accumulator tank. I formerly pulled the radio fuse when not in use to turn off all those colorful lights but don't bother any longer.
I can't quote #'s on efficiency gained by rotating the panels daily to track sun as it moves across the sky but it's just one advantage of a portable vs. roof mount system. Others inc ability to park in shade & deploy panels in sun, ease of cleaning panels, no holes in roof nor interior wiring required, ease of keeping unit if you change RV's.
I sent a # of pairs of batteries to an early grave when trying to keep them charged w/my generator & even using a stand alone batt charger rather than the built in converter which I hear doesn't supply sufficient amps (?,power) to fully charge them. Since I got solar my batts are happy as clams.
I'm not a handy guy & was initially resistant, thinking solar would be another tech system to befuddle me but it's been just the opposite. Plug it in & forget it. You won't regret a decision to get solar
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Old 11-28-2015, 04:28 PM   #10
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Thanks for all the replies: I am in the process of changing all the lights and fixtures over to LED's. I have some LED 1157 equivalent (hi/low) lights which work really nice and cost a whole lot less than the LED 1156 equivalent bulbs for some reason. I get mine direct from China (where they are all made anyhow) for about $2 each rather than $8 each at Wal-mart. Also read on here that the fridge is cheap to run on LP and I have a 15" AC/DC LED TV which I probably wont use unless hooked to AC power. I have both 12vdc and 120vac outlets in the camper and 2 new deep cell 50Ah Interstate batteries (thanks to Black Friday). I (now) opt for a gas oven rather than the microwave; 1) uses too much power 2) lack of space for a micro. I can take out the two little drawers under the gas cook top and it may have been an option when it was new, but there is just enough room to put the oven in there.
I need to install overload springs on my Tundra. It bottoms out on rough terrain. The Hellwig springs I ordered came in last Tuesday. The box was damaged and had about $10 worth of tape on it. Decided to take photo's. Sure enough, the springs were in there but the hardware was missing. Now I have a claim in to FedX and the APW. Wonder how long that will take. Anyway, things are progressing toward launch day. It's been in the 50's here in Southern Maine. Although it's been nice, I will have more incentive when it gets down toward 10 or 20 degrees!! Picked up a couple of spare 20LB propane tanks which fit nicely in the bed of the truck between the bed and camper and plenty of room on the other side for the batteries. Haven't hooked the camper up to 12V as I have not explored that option yet, either to the truck or the spare batteries. There is a trailer type connector for 12 V but it is at the front of the camper for some strange reason. I will get it eventually as I have been getting valuable advice since joining our little group. I think this club is fantastic!! I couldn't buy all the great info I have gotten on here (except maybe from that jerk that stole the documentation and was selling it on Ebay like it was his own to sell). Thanks guys. Just woke up from my turkey hangover and thought I would check the site.
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Old 11-28-2015, 05:32 PM   #11
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You can store far more energy in a 20# propane tank than you can in 10 batteries! I took the oven out of my camper the last thing I want to do while camping is bake any thing.
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Old 11-28-2015, 08:19 PM   #12
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I'll take the oven.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by mainah View Post
You can store far more energy in a 20# propane tank than you can in 10 batteries! I took the oven out of my camper the last thing I want to do while camping is bake any thing.
I got to have fresh bread and pie, Mainah. And what about pizza? Actually, I don't like paying $4 for a decent loaf of bread when I can make my own for $0.75. And Fresh Maine Apple pie on the road for $1.00 rather than $12.00. What did you do with that oven Mainah??
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Old 11-29-2015, 06:16 AM   #13
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Sold it to a friend to put in their Sprinter conversion project they too like to bake things. I am a K.I.S.S person and I like comfort and ease, baking was very low on my list of priorities! I had one in my old MH and I think I cooked some toast in the oven once and I also believe it was the first time it was ever lit. Used ones are out there and you probably can find one free for the taking try Cregs list. I actually still have the one from my MH it is in use in a yurt/guest house on my farm.
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Old 11-29-2015, 06:36 AM   #14
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I had a thought I have a friend that runs a repair shop and he has a damaged camper in his vast supply of junk I'll ask him about the range/oven. I'm in the small town of Brownfield just south of Fryeburg.
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