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Old 01-29-2019, 10:46 PM   #1
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Solar Question on the 1550

Hi All: I am converting Tiny the trailer for better boon docking. The converter has been taken out. The propane tanks have been upgraded to (2) 30lb. I have added (2) deep cycle Interstate SRN 24 cold cranking 550/690 amp cranking hours.

I want to install solar. I have room on the roof for a maximum of (2) panels. I am thinking of installing (1) Renagy 100 watt to start. All the interior lights have been up graded to LEDs. Besides lighting there is a ceiling fan, (2) 12 volt amateur radios, 12 volt AM/FM radio and a 12 volt TV.

I know this could be a hard question to answer but do you think the (1) panel will maintain the batteries?? Of course not everything will be running at the same time. Thanks for any input. Frank
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Old 01-30-2019, 08:55 AM   #2
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I can get you started... I have 2 100W panels flat mounted and 2 batteries (2 6V for a little over 200 AH at 12 V). So comparing 2 100 W panels hooked to 2 biggish batteries (I have a little more battery, but not night and day). For our use that is a great combo, I did the balancing calculations that are out there to indicate what we need and I'm happy. We get more than enough sun to keep the batteries in all weather but snowy crappy (snow on panels) if in a sunny place (in a wooded area there is no charging). We can go from running a lot of heat and depleting the battery to a safe level nightly to full on 100% every day under most conditions (barring the crappy snowy/stormy). We have and have run the generator, but only when weathered in and 10 panels wouldn't be enough under those conditions. Our uses when not using heat are light, but the heat is a serious draw and we basically don't have to worry about it anymore. We can run heat and not deplete the batteries and get them 100% back.

There are a lot of calcs that can be done if inclined. Look at the AH of your batteries, they will be not quite 100 ah (70-80 or so, but you ahve 2, so times 2). All the calcs are done on AH (amp hours in from the panels and amp hours taken out from devices). I would read Handy Bob (just search it, but be prepared for a ride). His blog can tell you what you need to think about.

The thing about panels that is great is that they charge all day, so you can bulk in AND finish the charge to get the batteries 100%. I'd be concerned with 1 panel and 2 batts, for our use.
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Old 01-30-2019, 09:21 AM   #3
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Solar on a 1550

Hi Ted Osier: I think you have given me the answer I was looking for. Our set up is similar and By the size of your rig compared to mine I think I will start out with (1) panel and construct the rack to accommodate a second in the future. Money is always a consideration. Also I plan to have the rack Til-table which will help catching more sun. I travel alone so I will be able to better control the power usage. Thanks for the quick response. Frank
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Old 01-30-2019, 09:42 AM   #4
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One panel to one battery is a good ratio from my understanding and experience.
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Old 01-30-2019, 06:19 PM   #5
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I have two 80 amp group 24's I use a 100 watt panel it's a bit different because it is a ground mount I can turn it and elevate it giving me max solar gain all day long. Everything is geared towards solar LED's, pump accumulators etc. I still use the converter when there is power and then watch TV. I run a 100 watt Icom 7300 and a Fantastic fan on my batteries and solar. I would recommend a clamp on amp meter they have become reasonably cheap and find out just what your power demands are. When you get down to it pretty much all your loads are pretty short term except your lighting. I replaced 13 1154 lights they drew 22 amp! I have 15 led lights all are custom grand total 3.08 amps and at any given time maybe 4 are on. My connections are all 50 amp anderson power poles both end of the camper so I can used either the radio or the panel on either end and an extension to connect to the truck for a recharge for that week of rain.
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Old 02-02-2019, 09:37 AM   #6
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Solar on a 1550

Hi mainah: Thanks for the input. My lights were 1141 bulbs so I just replaced them with LED replacements. I removed the converter because of RF interference. Also the charge voltage to the batteries was below 12v. Regards; Frank
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Old 02-02-2019, 12:32 PM   #7
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The newer converters are pretty quiet. When I upgraded mine I added a breaker just for the converter. There was a little bit of noise on 10 meters but otherwise pretty quiet so I can turn it off if necessary but the main reason was back feeding the load center with an inverter. I have an inverter mounted in a compartment so I plug the camper cord into the inverter watch a little TV maybe charge a phone or something and that necessitates turning the converter off. DE N3LYT.
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Old 02-07-2019, 05:41 PM   #8
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Great thread !!
So speaking of solar... When the solar controller is hooked to the batteries and you wish to charge them by another source, Say.. off the tow vehicle while moving or external generator, does the Solar system need to be disconnected ?

Just bought a 400 watt system for mine. Im hugely into overkill, but Everything will be 12 volts.

I figure ill mount 2 panels flat on roof and have the other two portable so i can adjust for efficiency.
I have not gotten to batteries yet. Still trying to decipher the acceptable drain limits.

Ketch
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Old 02-07-2019, 06:45 PM   #9
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No you should not have to disconnect them the controller should take care of any back feed. Solar panels can make about 20 watt per square foot so that can give you an ideal how much roof you need to have on your camper. How much is enough? That really depends on how much you think you need, coffee pots. microwaves, the entire entertainment center the big screen? I get by no problem with 2 group 24's and a 100 watt panel for all of my power needs. My camper has 2 Anderson 50 amp power pole connectors one at each end my panel is portable I can plug it into either end. My truck has a matching power pole if all else fails I can charge the batteries with the truck and a purpose built jumper connection to the power poles for that weekend that rains 24/7.
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Old 02-08-2019, 07:30 AM   #10
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I always had a volt meter standing by knowing the sun was always moving (Actually the earth moves) so our peak voltage was changing, plus we were in an area where shade took over our campsite throughout the day. To maximize was the challenge during the day. Some times during severe hot weather we want shade to help cool things down. We always tried to find the best of both worlds; a larger campsite with an open area. Put the solar panels in the open area but we were constantly rotating the panels to maximize the voltage. Not easy when you're chilling in your lawn chair with your man-sippy-cup and you have to get up constantly to relocate the panel(s).
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Old 02-08-2019, 01:24 PM   #11
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When in doubt point it solar south and head to the beach. I have two meter probe sockets connected directly to the panel output that is the only voltage that is reliable as far as aiming. Mine has elevation adjustment also so yeah if you really stress out over max output you'll never get any rest. Generally I just adjust mine to minium shadow and call it good a few degrees won't make a whole lot of difference. In the fact your's are ground mount at the end of the day you will make more watts than panels on the roof by a fair margin. My panel can be adjusted from 0 to 90 degrees.
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Old 03-25-2019, 01:33 PM   #12
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Hi Mainah, I have been using a ground mounted solar panel for years, and love the option of moving it around to catch the rays. I'd like to convert the way I wire the panel to the camper. Last year an electrician and I rewired the bottom of the sunline to extend my reach to about 10 foot from the camper. Now I'd like to add an outdoor outlet and simply plug in the panel using a grounded outlet (with a cover for the occasional rain/snow). I've been using Mc4 connectors use the tool provided to detach when stowing the panel, and since I only have pos/neg coming from panels to batteries the rv electrician suggested a regular plug into the grounded outlet which I can mount on my front hitch area, on the metal near the battery but behind my double propane tanks (if you catch my drift). My question is what kind of drill bit to use to cut a hole big enough for 4awg wires into the fork into an outdoor outlet.
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Old 03-25-2019, 05:01 PM   #13
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OK two things there is no earthly reason you need a #4 wire second there is nothing out there that would accept a #4 wire without going to 50 amp sockets such as a 6-50R (welder). What I use are 50 amp DC Anderson power poles again that is overkill but I use them for DC loads that exceed 20 amps for my ham gear. The Power poles are direct connected to the two camper batteries at the batteries. I plug the panel into the power poles. In the back of my camper there is also a power pole also this allows me to place the solar panel behind the camper. So here is the deal my controller is at the panel this means I can connect it to any 12 volt battery with a power pole and jumpers including my truck, my run is about 10' of #10 SJ wire. So tell me where the controller is. If the controller is in the back of the camper the voltage will be around 22 volts on a sunny day from the panel so even with a #10 wire your loss will be about .4 volts well with in battery charging voltage. I can post picture of what I have done a picture is a thousand words. It is true the higher the voltage the less the loss in a run but if you are only talking 20 feet+ - it's not major issue.
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Old 03-25-2019, 05:07 PM   #14
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Thanks Mainah. It can't be #4. I bet it's much smaller wire. probably #10. The controller is mounted under the front dinette seat, I ran the solar wires up through the floor near the "garage" under the dinette seat, so I can see my power while in the camper. I feel stupid...what is a power pole? I'm looking for 20 amp sockets at the most.
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Old 03-25-2019, 05:31 PM   #15
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I see the DC Anderson Power pole. So you have one at the back of the camper and one at the front, and move your panel when needed. This looks more easy to use than the Mc4 connectors, once installed.

https://powerwerx.com/powerpole-conn...hassis-mount-4
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Old 03-25-2019, 05:52 PM   #16
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Quote:
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So here is the deal my controller is at the panel this means I can connect it to any 12 volt battery with a power pole and jumpers including my truck, my run is about 10' of #10 SJ wire.
I like that. Great idea to be able to charge the TV after a bit of brain-deadness.

Assuming your controller isn't weatherproof, how do you have it protected for the inevitable rainy day?
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Old 03-25-2019, 06:48 PM   #17
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I see the DC Anderson Power pole. So you have one at the back of the camper and one at the front, and move your panel when needed. This looks more easy to use than the Mc4 connectors, once installed.

https://powerwerx.com/powerpole-conn...hassis-mount-4
Yes power poles makes many combinations I believe up to 150 amps. They are 30 amp connectors smaller and not as easy to connect with my big dumb hands for as many times as I need too. I have used the 50 amps ones to jump start my truck after my dumb butt left the door open. A #10 is max size and it's a tight fit. My ham shack is full of them though including two power supplies with them built in.
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Old 03-25-2019, 06:49 PM   #18
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I like that. Great idea to be able to charge the TV after a bit of brain-deadness.

Assuming your controller isn't weatherproof, how do you have it protected for the inevitable rainy day?
It's inside of the framework. I was the electronics tech for a PD my office was inside of the county jail everything was a "what if". Inmates are very creative.
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Old 03-25-2019, 07:00 PM   #19
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My last job before I retired was for a PD I was the electronics tech. My office was inside the county jail so everything I did was a "what if" inmates are very creative so there was not a lot of room for error. This is why all my projects seem to take for ever.
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Old 03-25-2019, 07:28 PM   #20
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Well, they do have lots of time to think, with less distractions than folks "out in the world".

I have the idea there's not a lot of framework to the average standalone panel, so I'm drawing a blank on your description--unless you're just relying on the panel as a lean-to roof. I was considering a Tupperware container for a bit more protection than that.

Are there any pics extant of your setup showing that? Haven't run across any.
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