Continuing Solar build for RV.

2

Comments

  • NvreloaderNvreloader Posts: 71Solar Expert ✭✭
    Re: Continuing Solar build for RV.

    Thanks guys,

    I see this going to take some time, which I LOTS of now,
    Have had plastic tube and bag, stuck thru my ribs, has been since Nov 5th, and I just found out it WILL stay the same untill Jan 5th, :cry:
    when I go in for the complete removal of this BLASTED G-bladder, which decided to blow up etc. :grr

    On to more important items,

    Questions for some of you that posted info, Sorry for getting confused again,
    Westbranch,
    I understand what you posted, will try that method and MAKE notes.
    BB,
    "You can, or if you can access the wires--Just clamp one wire at a time."
    I have access to the fuse panel, and ALL the RV circuits are fused/labled there,
    would that work?

    "They are loads you don't know about (something that draws power when the device is turned "off" is an example).
    For simple power systems, you probably do not have any loads... However, you don't really know until you measure and find out."

    How would it be possible to stop those Phantom Loads, pull the fuse?
    like the radio etc, which is never used, because we can't recieve any signals etc.

    You LOST me on this, I believe you are referring to the PU, when you posted this,
    "With the DC clamp meter--Play with your care and see how it works (head lights on/off, engine on/off--Alternator running, etc.)."
    and the below info,

    How do I "FLIP" the meter??
    "Note that the DC meter will have a +/- direction indication for current flow. If you "flip" the meter, the current sign will change."
    ScrubJayNest,
    I have a Wizard penante attachment for my 9260 CC, but not sure what it does, never hooked it up as I didn't the blow something up etc.
    I also have a complete wiring diagram of DC and AC lines for the TH, which will come in handy now that I have some info to work with.
    Mountain Don
    "Most likely your refrigerator is one of these. Modern RV refrigerators have electronic controls. When running on propane they still draw power, some of them as much as an amp."

    I was not aware that these devices still used electrical power for their operation, even while being used on LPG power.

    I will post the results after obtaining all the info possible.

    Thanks again guys,
    Don
  • westbranchwestbranch Posts: 5,084Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Continuing Solar build for RV.

    phantom loads are all over the place, like the electronic switch on your water heater, radio, fridge, furnace thermostat if digital, ... you dont always see them until you measure for the total loads..

    BB said CARE I think he meant CAR.

    With a DC clamp meter if the reading is (-) then rotate it 180* and remeasure and you should get the same value but it will be (+)
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge, Hughes1100 Sat Modem
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • BB.BB. Posts: 27,686Super Moderators admin
    Re: Continuing Solar build for RV.
    Nvreloader wrote: »
    "You can, or if you can access the wires--Just clamp one wire at a time."
    I have access to the fuse panel, and ALL the RV circuits are fused/labeled there,
    would that work?

    You can do either--What ever works best for you.
    "They are loads you don't know about (something that draws power when the device is turned "off" is an example).
    For simple power systems, you probably do not have any loads... However, you don't really know until you measure and find out."

    How would it be possible to stop those Phantom Loads, pull the fuse?
    like the radio etc, which is never used, because we can't receive any signals etc.
    Many times, one can rewire the DC load center. Move the "needed loads" to one breaker, move the optional/unneeded loads to a second switch/breaker (such as the radio). Turn all off when RV is not being used (leave solar charge controller system connected to battery).
    You LOST me on this, I believe you are referring to the PU, when you posted this,
    "With the DC clamp meter--Play with your care and see how it works (head lights on/off, engine on/off--Alternator running, etc.)."
    and the below info,

    How do I "FLIP" the meter??
    "Note that the DC meter will have a +/- direction indication for current flow. If you "flip" the meter, the current sign will change."

    Sorry, as Westbranch said, intended to type CAR. Fixed post.

    Just like you can take the red/black leads on the meter and swap them on the battery. You can un-clamp the meter, rotate 180 degrees and re-clamp. The current is now flowing the opposite direction through the clamp and will flip the +/- sign (note, AC current does not have a "useful" polarity indication).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • techntrektechntrek Posts: 1,366Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    Re: Continuing Solar build for RV.

    Many RV phantom loads were listed above, but the biggest one wasn't listed (maybe I missed it). The LPG detector will kill your typical deep cycle battery in a week or two by itself. The fridge control board (mentioned) is probably 2nd, if you have a radio it will be 3rd. The water heater usually doesn't have a phantom load, nor a digital thermostat since the RV versions of those use their own batteries.
    4.5 kw APC UPS powered by a Prius, 12 kw Generac, Honda EU3000is
  • NvreloaderNvreloader Posts: 71Solar Expert ✭✭
    Re: Continuing Solar build for RV.

    Guys Thanks,

    I have found the OEM factory diagrams of my TH for the wiring systems using the 12v, 120V and 110v power, as they are listed.
    I am attempting to figure out the color codes (color blindness, hard to see/tell colors etc),
    to see where they go and what is powered by each type powered/voltage system.

    These diagrams show every switch, plug etc, and are labeled as 110V,
    GP-1 = PC to convertor, to refer, to bedroom TV ceiling, to R/S front OHD, to R/S sofa OHD,
    GP-2 = PC to GFCI, to Galley port, to weatherproof, to D/S Dinette OHD, to main TV, to D/S rear OHD.

    The 12 volt system is,
    Red = 9 x 1.44 = 12.96, (shows the lights and switches in one section)
    Yellow = 9 x 1.44 = 12.96 and 1 x 1.00 = 13.96, (shows the lights and switches in one section)
    Green = 7 x 1.44 = 10.08 and 1 x 2.50 = 250 = 12.58, (shows the lights and switches in one section)

    Not sure what all this above info means, yet.
    Possibly the amp draw for each colored section???

    I hope the above provides some usefull info.
    BB
    Thank you for the info,
    I was trying to figure out how to the flip the clamp meter?

    Will have to do some testing on the PU, before getting down on the floor at the fuse panel,
    with this PAINFULL tube and bag setup. :grr :cry:

    There is a MASTER SHUTOFF switch which kills ALL power in the RV,
    which is used when we are not using the RV, unless the furance is needed to provide heat etc.
    Techntrek
    The LPG detector has a lite that stays on 24/7, ALL the time,
    so does the CO detector on the ceiling in the master bedroom.
    Provides a perfect nite lite when stumbling around the RV, after lites out etc

    I will check all of these electrical systems ASAP.

    The radio has a shut off switch and is always turned off,
    would it still draw power, even if shut off?

    The thermostat is the nondigital type, it will be replaced with a digital model ASAP,
    for better control of the temp settings during our cold weather use.

    Thank you all for the info/help.

    Tia,
    Don
  • westbranchwestbranch Posts: 5,084Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Continuing Solar build for RV.

    Radio: does it have a clock, if so you have a high probability that it is a Phantom load.
    Our camper was built in 1997/8 and the HW tank does not have a pilot flame, it has a digital ignitor and a temp sensor that is mounted away from the tank itself.
    Earlier models with a pilot light will not have a digital sensor that I am aware of.
    hth
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge, Hughes1100 Sat Modem
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • techntrektechntrek Posts: 1,366Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    Re: Continuing Solar build for RV.

    Are you talking about a master cutoff at the battery (which you should have to eliminate the phantom load problem in storage), or at the converter? The one on the converter will just shut off all of the 120 volt circuits, the 12 volt loads will still be online. If you do have the cutoff on the battery, you still must be sure to reconnect the battery every 30 days and do an overnight charge (except in the middle of winter when you can get away with not doing it for a month or two).
    4.5 kw APC UPS powered by a Prius, 12 kw Generac, Honda EU3000is
  • NvreloaderNvreloader Posts: 71Solar Expert ✭✭
    Re: Continuing Solar build for RV.

    Westbranch

    Yes, the radio has a clock, but it does not show when turned off,
    when I turned it on there was static type sound emitted, and the clock and info on the board shows.

    The WH works as you described,
    it is a 2009 Model 28 KS, it runs on Electrical and LPG power,
    which can be used at the same time for heating.
    We are using the 120v electrical option now, as the RV is plugged into the shop power.

    The LPG detector is,
    CCI Controls (Brand name)
    Model = Protell 22

    The CO detector is also made by CCI Controls,
    can't find a Model number on it,
    looks the same above, only white colored.

    Thanks,
    Don
  • NvreloaderNvreloader Posts: 71Solar Expert ✭✭
    Re: Continuing Solar build for RV.

    Techntrek

    The master shutoff switch is located under the kitchen sink,
    and has only off/on Big Red switch,
    it KILLS ALL power inside the RV,
    nothing works, period.

    I'll have look and see if the convertor has a shutoff switch.

    Did not know about this info,

    "If you do have the cutoff on the battery, you still must be sure to reconnect the battery every 30 days and do an overnight charge (except in the middle of winter when you can get away with not doing it for a month or two)".

    Reason for doing this??

    Tia,
    Don
  • techntrektechntrek Posts: 1,366Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    Re: Continuing Solar build for RV.

    Ok, sounds like that is a battery disconnect switch, although usually they are outside around/on the battery.

    Lead-acid batteries self-discharge and in warmer weather must be recharged every 30 days to keep them from sulphating. In colder weather the chemical reaction slows down so the self-discharge rate slows down.
    4.5 kw APC UPS powered by a Prius, 12 kw Generac, Honda EU3000is
  • BB.BB. Posts: 27,686Super Moderators admin
    Re: Continuing Solar build for RV.

    Battery self discharge... Flooded cell batteries typically need ~24 hours of charging once per month if not kept on a float charger. If they sit longer--They will start to sulfate (faster and faster).

    In places with sub freezing weather, the self discharge rate and sulfation rate on the batteries is dramatically reduced (probably roughly a factor of 1/2 for every 10C below ~25C). So, you can go through 2-4 months of a hard winter without float charging the lead acid batteries.

    AGMs usually have slower self discharge rates and can go ~3-6 months between recharging.

    Of course, no DC loads at all on the batteries during this time.

    You can get battery powered CO detectors--They will go >1 year on 2-4 AA batteries.

    For propane detectors, I believe they use a heated platinum wire which detects the early heat of combustion (in the sensor) if there a flammable gas leak. Needs significant power to keep the detector wire hot.

    http://www.thomasnet.com/articles/instruments-controls/How-Gas-Detectors-Work
    Catalytic sensors represent a large number of gas detector devices that are manufactured today. This technology is used to detect combustible gases such as hydrocarbon, and works via catalytic oxidation. The sensors of this type of detector are typically constructed from a platinum treated wire coil. As a combustible gas comes into contact with the catalytic surface, it is oxidized and the wiring resistance is changed by heat that is released. A bridge circuit is typically used to indicate the resistance change. [FONT=&amp]
    [/FONT]

    Some consume around 0.33 amps, others down towards 0.05 amps. Here is an RV forum that talks about a couple different brands.

    http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f51/battery-operated-propane-detector-28968.html

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • NvreloaderNvreloader Posts: 71Solar Expert ✭✭
    Re: Continuing Solar build for RV.

    BB/Techntrek

    Question,
    Would/does the PD9260 convertor in my TH have a floater charger on it?

    When I first bought the TH, it had ONLY 1 battery and I had battery problems,
    the TH was never plugged into the shop 120 AC electrical power.

    Then I got the 2 new HD Trolling batteries, and have always had it plugged in to the shop power, and never had ANY problems since.
    When I have checked the batteries w/meter, (about every 6 months,) they have always read over 12v+.

    I have never done a 24hr charge on the 2 tongue batteries since, in the last 5 yrs.

    When my solar install is finished/completed,
    would I still have to do this float charging,
    or does the MS MPPT CC automatically take care of this operation, with the solar install,
    thru it's normal operation?
    Thanks for the info on the float charger,
    I was NOT aware this had to be done on a regular bases,
    to maintain the batteries.

    Tia,
    Don
  • NvreloaderNvreloader Posts: 71Solar Expert ✭✭
    Re: Continuing Solar build for RV.

    Well guys
    I have done some electrial prowling around and found out this info, without taking a ride on the electrical freight train, ;)

    On my post#36, I posted about the OEM wiring diagrams of the TH,
    (have copied some of this info to here), see below:

    Blue lettering is NEW INFORMATION I just found out,

    I have found the OEM factory diagrams of my TH for the wiring systems using the 12v, 120V and 110v power, as they are listed.
    and to see where they go and what is powered by each type powered/voltage system.

    These diagrams show every switch, plug etc, and are labeled as 110V,
    GP-1 = PC to convertor, to refer, to bedroom TV ceiling, to R/S front OHD, to R/S sofa OHD, (GP= General purpose circuit)
    GP-2 = PC to GFCI, to Galley port, to weatherproof, to D/S Dinette OHD, to main TV, to D/S rear OHD, (GP= General purpose circuit)

    The 12 volt system is,
    Red = 9 x 1.44 = 12.96, shows the lights and switches in one section, and also has the Radio and TV cable system (never used, on this circuit,
    Yellow = 9 x 1.44 = 12.96 and 1 x 1.00 = 13.96, shows the lights and switches in one section, and also has the master bedroom CO detector and the WH on it,
    Green = 7 x 1.44 = 10.08 and 1 x 2.50 = 250 = 12.58, shows the lights and switches in one section, and also has the LPG detector and reefer on it,

    Not sure what all this above info means, yet, I know now!
    Possibly the amp draw for each colored section??? This is the amps being used on that circuit/secton!!!!!!.

    ALL switch's etc were OFF and nothing plugged in to the sockets, using any power I know of etc.

    I think I have checked/done everything right???????

    I have not checked the 120v stuff yet such as Furnance, WH, Reefer or coffee maker etc,
    as this will have to wait for a the next day or so, when I can lay on the floor, without :cry:.

    So, with the amp draw on just these 3 circuits, it appears that I am drawing/using about 40 amps of power,
    before anything else is used???

    Tia,
    Don
  • BB.BB. Posts: 27,686Super Moderators admin
    Re: Continuing Solar build for RV.

    Yes... If you are correct and that is the Amp draw per fixture / per branch circuit. If you turn everything on, you will get that current draw.

    First, in real life (unless you have kids), not everything is turned on at once... Knowing what and how long each is turned on gives you your Amp*Hour consumption per day will help you size the battery bank/solar array/etc.

    Now, if you are looking at 1.44 amps per lamp--That is ~18 watts. You can get LED bulbs for RV that are in the 1-5 watt range or so that will use much less power.

    https://www.superbrightleds.com/cat/boat-rv-bulbs/

    Conservation will be your friend here.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • NvreloaderNvreloader Posts: 71Solar Expert ✭✭
    Re: Continuing Solar build for RV.

    Bill
    Thanks,

    I got a little ahead of the game (last year) and have already changed out all but 4 of the OEM bulbs to leds,
    just have to find the correct replacements for the scare lights/jack stand. :D

    Will see if your site/info has what I need.

    I am in the process of hooking up the Bogart TM 2025-RV battery meter/gage also,
    as soon as I find 26/24ga wire with 6 seperate twisted coated wires that are twisted into 1 wire for the meter/gage,
    hoping I will get more info beat into this thick skull about battery useage.

    I am slowly learning this solar stuff, I hope.

    Tia,
    Don
  • BB.BB. Posts: 27,686Super Moderators admin
    Re: Continuing Solar build for RV.

    Look around for LEDs... That was just the first site I goolged RV+LEDs.

    Any computer/Internet Cat3 or Cat5 networking cable should work fine for the Battery Monitor sense wiring (unless you are going longer distances).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • techntrektechntrek Posts: 1,366Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    Re: Continuing Solar build for RV.

    I agree that switching to LEDs is one of the first major changes you can make. Dropped my potential max from 35 amps to 3.5 (just for lights)! Just make sure the Kelvin rating is around 2700 if you want warm white coloring like incandescent lights. 4000 or 5000 is much whiter.
    4.5 kw APC UPS powered by a Prius, 12 kw Generac, Honda EU3000is
  • NvreloaderNvreloader Posts: 71Solar Expert ✭✭
    Re: Continuing Solar build for RV.

    BB

    My response/questions will be Blue colored,

    I measured the bare copper wire of some of the Cat 5/6 cables, I had left over from the new remodel that is ongoing at this time,
    and found this wire measures about 30AWG in size, I will need about 25-30' to install this meter, for the final setup.

    Would this smaller sized wire hurt/damage anything and work properly if used??

    I will have a 2 battery setups (seperate systems) for the final setup, tongue and solar batteries etc.

    Here is the info from Bogart about this meter, and install/wiring etc.
    Bogart TRI-METRIC Battery system monitor, Model TM-2025-RV.
    The TM-2025-RV can measure two battery systems if you choose: This will be the final setup when completley finished with the install.
    This meter measures one battery system comprehensively, including volts and battery charging/discharging amps, typically for the one that supplies power to appliances so you can measure accurately the state of charge (how much energy is in the batteries.)
    In addition, it will monitor voltage only on a second battery having a common negative connection,

    (which WILL BE the 2-HD Trolling batteries on the tongue).

    SHUNT AND WIRING CONSIDERATIONS
    Maximum cable length for “G1” wire from meter to shunt for the following wire sizes are: #26 gauge: 45 feet. #24
    gauge: 70 feet. #22 gauge: 100 feet. #20 gauge: 180 feet. #18 gauge: 300 feet. #16 gauge: 400 feet.

    TriMetric maximum current capability:
    The TriMetric will measure current properly up to 999 amps with the 500 A-50 mv shunt.

    To install meter and shunt you will need:
    • One shunt, usually 500A/50mV size
    •A length of cable containing 4 or 5 wires long enough to connect from battery system to meter.
    Or 4 or 5 individual wires may be used. (Five wires if two batteries are being measured.)
    The wire used for the + connection of both the main (and secondary battery if used) should have a 1A fuse at the battery end to
    protect the wire in case of a short.

    The following shows minimum size wire for distances shown:
    #26 gauge: 45 feet. #24 gauge: 70 feet. #22 gauge: 110 feet.
    (These represent distances for approximately 2 ohm wire resistance.)

    • A short length of cable with large bolt eyelets on each end to connect one end of shunt to negative battery terminal:
    cable should be of same or larger size (diameter) than the large cable that connects to the + and – terminals of the battery.

    The above info is something I am NOT SURE of??, (The OEM wiring to/from the 2 tongue batteries is # 10AWG wire),
    Would I use this same wire size for this temp install or use the LARGER cables 3/0 or 4/0 cables that will be used with the new final solar install?
    I am thinking of using the larger cables on/in both places, just have to build one time.
    Unless I have to build for each battery setup??


    Note if twisted pair wires in a cable are used: Twisted pair wires are not necessary unless you run the wires very close to other high
    current carrying wires for 10 feet or more. However if used, the wires labeled “G2” and “SIG” should be run with one twisted pair,
    and if another pair is used, “G1” and “+B1” may be run in an another pair, although twisted pair here will not give any benefit.
    Clearly establish which wires in the cable are “paired” together.

    In the final solar install, this meter wiring will be routed will the main battery/CC cables into the electrical bay being used,
    which will be about 10'+. And the second wire to the tongue batteries/setup will be routed another way.


    Then choose one twisted pair for G2 and SIG (the ones for which twisted pair is helpful), and record the wire colors for that pair below in
    the chart. You may want to use a piece of tape at each end of the cable to tie these two together, to clearly mark the pair. Then you can
    also choose a pair for G1 and +B1 and record their colors on the chart above, and an extra wire for +B2, if used.

    Tia,
    Don
  • NvreloaderNvreloader Posts: 71Solar Expert ✭✭
    Re: Continuing Solar build for RV.

    Techntrek

    The better half went with the 5000-6000 Kelvin rating, because the interior was so dark colored and she like the brightness.
    I had bought a sample of each color rating to check the inside with etc.

    Tia,
    Don
  • BB.BB. Posts: 27,686Super Moderators admin
    Re: Continuing Solar build for RV.

    Cat 5 cable should be in the 22-26 awg range. With 24 awg pretty common.

    On my phone right now. ... cannot look any vendors up right now.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • NvreloaderNvreloader Posts: 71Solar Expert ✭✭
    Re: Continuing Solar build for RV.

    Guys
    Some more questions, I know dumb ones, for your experience etc, but please bear with me, I AM slowly learning this solar stuff, as to get it right the first time!!!

    I had something happen today that I can't figure out,

    When I checked the battery's several days ago,
    I got a meter reading of 12.7+ VDC on both the tongue battery's, checked each battery seperate,
    when I checked this morning, (temp got down to below freezing last night), I got a meter reading of 13.1V DC???,

    I double checked this reading against 2 other meters I have and they all read the same of 13.1V DC.

    What is going on??? Why the different readings, when NOTHING has been changed with the TH setup and it is still plugged into the shop power??

    Did or was the OEM CC (possibly running??) add to the difference I read today, as compaired to other day?
    Will the interconnection battery cables (between each battery of the new solar setup) have or cause any problems, if ALL these connection cables are the SAME LENGTH, meaning 21" long, or use shorter cables that just reach long enough for the interconnections,
    the size of these cables will be 4/0. (unless I learn something new here).

    I have the hand type hydrolic crimpers, 8 & 12 ton models, to make my own cables.

    Main supply cables from the solar battery bank to Solar CC,
    This cabling will also be 4/0 Welding cable wiring, so I can use it when treading thru the maze of obstructions in/around the TH frame work etc from the battery area to the solar CC/electrical bay, at this time, it appears to be a run of 10'.
    (I won't know for sure untill the bottom 4 season covering is removed and find the shortest direct route).

    I am in the pencil/drawing stage of planning for the solar battery rack and setup.

    Hth,

    Tia,
    Don
  • Mountain DonMountain Don Posts: 493Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    Re: Continuing Solar build for RV.
    Did not know about this info,

    "If you do have the cutoff on the battery, you still must be sure to reconnect the battery every 30 days and do an overnight charge (except in the middle of winter when you can get away with not doing it for a month or two)".

    Reason for doing this??

    With the cutoff pulled the system will not charge the battery even if plugged in. That's why they state to reconnect for a half day or so every 30 days. In winter every 30 days is not usually necessary as cold batteries self discharge more slowly when cold.
    Northern NM, 624 watts PV, The Kid CC, GC-2 batteries @ 24 VDC, Outback VFX3524M
  • NvreloaderNvreloader Posts: 71Solar Expert ✭✭
    Re: Continuing Solar build for RV.

    Mountain Don
    You lost me with the info below, I haver never turned/shutoff the battery cutoff switch since checking the battery's the first time, and nothing has been changed. :confused:

    New info added:
    Mountain Don
    Was your response #53, pertaining to my post #52, or general info post?? :confused:


    Tia,
    Don
    With the cutoff pulled the system will not charge the battery even if plugged in. That's why they state to reconnect for a half day or so every 30 days. In winter every 30 days is not usually necessary as cold batteries self discharge more slowly when cold.
  • CraziFuzzyCraziFuzzy Posts: 19Registered Users
    Re: Continuing Solar build for RV.

    Sorry, I'm just joining this forum, and have some observations. The first thing that should always be tried is to decrease usage before bothering changing the power source. If you still have incandescent bulbs in the RV, it makes a LOT of sense to get onto amazon or ebay and order up a few boxes of LED replacement bulbs.

    If you are running your generator just to move air across a propane fired furnace, and if your generator is water cooled, you might find better overall efficiency using a radiator for heat from the generator coolant. I've seen this done as an add-on to the furnace inlet. This will likely result in higher total furnace output, resulting in overall less runtime.

    Another potential option is to install a hydronic baseboard along one wall in the bedroom area of the trailer (if space permits), and use a small recirc pump off of the water heater. The pump would use less electricity than the furnace blower, and the water heater uses none when fired on propane.

    Solar is great, but if the bulk of your load is at night, it will always take a significant amount of storage to shift that energy from the daytime when it is collected to the nighttime when it is used.
  • NvreloaderNvreloader Posts: 71Solar Expert ✭✭
    Re: Continuing Solar build for RV.

    Guys,

    Since these panels are going to be roof mounted, and subject to high wind loads etc etc,
    I had planned on making a 1-1/2" x 1/8" thick Alum angle frame work AROUND all panels,
    and will include tilting legs attached to this frame work for both side and length ways tilting, if needed.

    The standoff feet, to be mounted on the roof and securely attached with 3-SS screws/waterproofed etc,
    will be 3" wide x 4" tall and made from 1/8" thick Alum "L" feet.
    The reason for these tall feet is to provide plenty of air space under the panels and assist when doing maintance around these panels etc,
    and provide a better angles for mounting the panels, as I have a double compound angles on the roof I have to deal with when mounting the panels.

    Would it be adviseable to used 1/4" SS bolts or SS Rivet nuts?? for the tilting adjustment hardware attachment??
    Never used them (rivet nuts) before.

    Suggestions or other Ideas??

    Tia,
    Don
  • Iceni JohnIceni John Posts: 102Solar Expert ✭✭
    Re: Continuing Solar build for RV.
    Nvreloader wrote: »
    Guys,

    Since these panels are going to be roof mounted, and subject to high wind loads etc etc,
    I had planned on making a 1-1/2" x 1/8" thick Alum angle frame work AROUND all panels,
    and will include tilting legs attached to this frame work for both side and length ways tilting, if needed.

    The standoff feet, to be mounted on the roof and securely attached with 3-SS screws/waterproofed etc,
    will be 3" wide x 4" tall and made from 1/8" thick Alum "L" feet.
    The reason for these tall feet is to provide plenty of air space under the panels and assist when doing maintance around these panels etc,
    and provide a better angles for mounting the panels, as I have a double compound angles on the roof I have to deal with when mounting the panels.

    Would it be adviseable to used 1/4" SS bolts or SS Rivet nuts?? for the tilting adjustment hardware attachment??
    Never used them (rivet nuts) before.

    Suggestions or other Ideas??

    Tia,
    Don
    I would suggest using 5/16" stainless bolts and NyLok nuts instead of 1/4" for mounting your panels. Imagine the panels are tilted as high as they go, and a vicious gust of desert wind gets under them. 1/4" bolts are probably strong enough in purely tensile strength, but even the slightest bending loads will greatly weaken them, so that's why I recommend going one size larger for safety. I would also suggest avoiding RivNuts - they will always loosen over time.

    John

    40' Crown bus with 2kW of panels on the roof:

    Eight tiltable Sharp 255W, two Morningstar TS-MPPT-60, Magnum MS2000, Champion C46540 generator converted to propane, eight golfcart batteries eventually, and maybe a smaller inverter for the fridger.

    Southern California

  • BB.BB. Posts: 27,686Super Moderators admin
    Re: Continuing Solar build for RV.

    If you use stainless on stainless hardware (bolts and nuts), make sure you get some sort of anti-seize compound for the threads (like the compound used on bolts and spark plug threads in aluminum cylinder heads).

    Many types of stainless will "gall" or lockup the threads and the only way to disassemble/fix a jammed thread is to twist them apart.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • NvreloaderNvreloader Posts: 71Solar Expert ✭✭
    Re: Continuing Solar build for RV.

    Iceni John

    Thank you for the info on rivnuts, nevr used them before, I sure don't need these panels comning off the roof, after all the work to get them up there.
    You are correct about the vicious wind gusts, one minute dead calm then 50/60mph gusts with NO warning.

    That is the reason for the HD Alum frame around EACH panel, should provide some added measure of protection, I hope.

    Tia,
    Don
  • NvreloaderNvreloader Posts: 71Solar Expert ✭✭
    Re: Continuing Solar build for RV.

    BB

    I already have a jug of Anti-seize on hand, as I use a lot of SS fastners for outside work.

    Thanks,
    Don
  • NvreloaderNvreloader Posts: 71Solar Expert ✭✭
    Re: Continuing Solar build for RV.

    Ok Guys,

    I got some amp useage readings for some of the electrical equipment on the TH.

    Here is the info, so far, (I think I figured it out right),

    Water Pump = 3 amps (during it's run cycle), used 1 hr max/per day? = 3A
    Reefer = 2 amps when running (don't know the cycle yet),
    = 24A
    LPG Detector = .05 amps (constant on/24 per day),
    = 1.5A
    CO Detector = .11amps (constant on/24 hrs per day),
    = 2.65A
    Radio turned on = 4 amps, shut off at switch = .75 amps
    = 18A (will pull this fuse, as we don't use the radio)
    LED lite panels (2/panels per lite fixture) = .33 amps
    = 10.5A p/nite use
    Furnance = 9.1amps per/5 minute cycle, comes on once per/hr
    = 72A
    Total = 114 Amp per day used
    -18a (Pulled fuse on Radio/turned completly off)
    = 96a used per day
    This is what I have come up with from my panels:
    IMP rating from Panel = 7.52a
    7.52a x 4 panels = 30.08a total produced x 5 hrs p/day of sun = 150a total p/day produced
    75% = 115a actual amps total put back

    It appears that I am at the break even point??????????

    Question,

    Should I consider the MPPT avantage during the cold weather = +/- 5% a, for most of our useage,
    and or the tilting factors = +/- 5%? more amp hr available?


    Will attempt to get more/second readings, when I can get access to the wiring, Kinda tight is the fuse block area etc.

    Thoughts/suggestion or Ideas??? NO, I don't want to run that gen set!!!!!!!! ;)

    Tia,
    Don
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