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Old 07-10-2020, 07:03 AM   #1
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RV Solar Setup

Hi, we are setting up our 2012 Crossroads Sunset Trail Reserve 25RBK on a lakeside lot in the next week or so and will have no access to power. This is our first time going dry, and instead of having to use our generator all the time to keep things charged, are thinking of trying to set up using solar, however we are totally not solar literate at all. Any advice? We would ultimately like to be able to run EVERYTHING, but I know that is going to be a hefty price tag right off the bat. What would be the bare minimum we would need to have to run lights, keep enough going for our propane fridge and water pump for showers.

Thanks in advance
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Old 07-10-2020, 08:46 AM   #2
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I have a 160watt suitcase set up that has built in controller and clips that hook to battery, great to charge up to use basic stuff. Dont have invertor cause dont use any 110v stuff.,
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Old 07-10-2020, 09:12 AM   #3
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I have 135 watts I put on the roof quite a few years back. (Wish now I had put two up there.) I don't think it's enough to handle the basics. Especially in the fall when the arc of the sun gets lower, or when you are setting in partial shade during the day.
With that said---it does pretty good until we have to run the furnace. THEN, I have drag out the generator for the batteries.


If you do a Google search you should be able to come up with the answers for your needs---but you will have to sit down and add up just how much you will be using. Don't forget that on some days the panels won't be able to put out their max wattage.
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Old 07-10-2020, 05:53 PM   #4
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I'm extremely the other way. Boondock mainly and 1240w on top with inverter and lithium.

the biggest issue will alway be getting the solar energy to batteries with the least amount of loss. So look at mppt chargers. they are worth their weight in gold. Depending where you are the window of peak sun is short.

I get close to 85-90 amp of charge but only at peak time of day. So if your looking at systems that advertise 30 amp. Well divide it in 1/2.

I need to get over 80 amp to charge from 70-100% in 3 hours of sun. I get some charge all day but if I drop down to 70% I either run generator for 3 hrs or I need 80amp for 3 hrs during peak.
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Old 07-12-2020, 03:04 PM   #5
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I am very curious what you are able to run with this set-up and for how long. I also have been looking into the solar world as we have discussed going rustic, but my wife has a CPAP. How many batteries do you run and a what volt are they? I have heard of some running 6 volt golf-cart batteries. I am not looking to run my AC, but fans, TV and possibly a coffee pot ( trying to talk the wife into a campfire peculator) any more information will be appreciated.

thanks!
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Old 07-12-2020, 09:46 PM   #6
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So it really comes down to cost.
We mainly camp in the exact same off grid location all summer.
I was willing to pay the power company up to 5,000.00 CDN to run power the 600 ft to where we park. They wanted 15,000.00 to do it.

So off grid setup was needed as I have a CPAP as well.

Also I don't plan on running A/C to much, once in a blue moon to have a afternoon nap kinda thing.

I found that I only wanted to do this once for a setup so everything is pretty much left intact for original wiring. (for ease of moving system to new camper if needed).

Here are the specs:

-Victron Energy Multiplus 12vdc/3000w cont. (6000w peak) with 120 amp charger. (list of its options is miles long.
-Victron MPPT 150/100 solar charger running 1240w @120vdc (generates about 80-90 amp @12vdc
-Victron BVM-712 to track power in/out (very accurate)
-Victron Cerbo-GX and touch screen to make viewing of stats and setup easier of options.
-hooked up to do auto generator start if needed. (haven't yet needed it if just camping.

I have just installed lithium batteries that have heaters and really good amp/hr capacity of 275ah per battery. (I installed 2). Because I'm in Canada we have to run heaters. And it drives the battery price way up. However with Covid, I had trouble getting anything from the US. Every cost doubled in a month.

I did a test with only 620w solar running and tried to run the batteries down to 20% ( we had a extremely sunny day) the A/C run for 5 hrs and it got down to 40%. I charged the batteries back up with solar/shore power (100A rate and it took almost 7hrs to do it.

As for running a CPAP machine overnight, and make a few coffee's. 300w solar, MPPT charger. 2X100ah AGM security batteries. you would not have trouble. Problem is coffee makers, 1500w draw min. my Keurig draws 1740w. 2500w inverter will be needed.

I'm actually just increasing the wire size to the inverter/charger. I had a couple of overloads for unknown reasons and I suspect the 2/0 wire is not big enough. I'll post a couple of pic's when I get it all completed.
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Old 07-13-2020, 05:37 PM   #7
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WOW! I truly appreciate the info...will have to look into the system u have. I myself wouldn't have thought running the AC would even be an option and am aware of the draw of a coffee pot...really trying to get the wife onboard with the campfire peculator. We have had many campers throughout the years, did seasonal for a short when the kiddos were younger, but back into the traveling scene now. I can not say I dislike regular campgrounds but have seen some absolutely awesome rustic places we would like to try outside of west Michigan. pics would be appreciated if time allows for you.

Thanks again!
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Old 07-13-2020, 07:37 PM   #8
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I wish we had the trees like you have in mich. I'm up here in Saskatchewan. I'm in the south which is pretty much prairie. I'm 200 miles from good trees.

I look after a local archery range (old tree plot) It has a few trees for cover. But RV's are mainly in open sun. I spend most of the summer out there. Its 10 min drive from city and just far enough for everything to be quiet.
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Old 07-14-2020, 06:01 AM   #9
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Lots of information to consider. Right now we are just parking for this summer and trying to figure out what to do to maintain our trailer while we are at work, but for next summer we want to go full out dry and keep have enough power to run everything. We are totally solar stupid so we have alot to learn.
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Old 07-14-2020, 06:53 PM   #10
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Speak to solar guys and get one panel to keep everything going. get a MPPT Charger from Amazon.

Just get solar panel that will be around next year, because they need to match.
I got my 310w panels for 235 cdn dollar. So they are coming down in price. Its all the electronic crap that cost. And Copper Wire.

I just paid 32.00 for 10 ft of 6 awg. I had to finish today and no time to wait.
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Old 07-14-2020, 07:06 PM   #11
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I have noticed prices are going down ( rather slowly ) hoping this weekend to do some research on this more...copper is a killer...but where would we be without Amazon.
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Old 07-16-2020, 02:43 PM   #12
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This is what I bought when we bought our pop-up. Transferred it to our TT now. It's enough to keep the battery (12v deep cycle grp30) charged up for a weekend trip when just needing lights, pump, heat, etc (no AC). Only once did I have to charge using generator (or vehicle battery) on a week long trip where it was cloudy and rainy the whole time.
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