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Thread: Newbie looking to set up RV solar system with ability to connect to grid

  1. #1

    Default Newbie looking to set up RV solar system with ability to connect to grid

    I am living in my RV in Northern California and am planning to install a solar system that is self-sufficient for everything except air conditioning and space heaters. I plan to be primarily parked (rather than traveling) and have grid access to run the air and heaters and top off the batteries in extreme situations.

    Still trying to calculate the consumption load and want a 3 day battery capacity.

    Have been advised to go with a 24v system and currently inclined towards using 4 x 6v AGM's. Was thinking of either Lifeline GPL-4CT http://www.lifelinebatteries.com/rvflyer.php?id=14 or GPL-6 CT http://www.lifelinebatteries.com/rvflyer.php?id=15

    Haven't any idea as to which inverters or controllers would be best.

    Completely new to this, so would welcome and appreciate any input on this.

    Thanks!

  2. #2

    Default Re: Newbie looking to set up RV solar system with ability to connect to grid

    Welcome to the forum.

    Quote Originally Posted by imfoodguy View Post
    Still trying to calculate the consumption load and want a 3 day battery capacity.
    That sentence right there is what stops everything else. If you don't know how much power you need/want to supply with the solar it becomes a guessing game that has only a 1/3 chance of coming out right.

    Of course I've got to ask: if you've got grid, why solar?
    Usually people put solar on their RV's so they can have "quiet power" when away from utility hook-up. Do they charge you enormous amounts (like over $1 per kW hour) for it?

    These are the questions you need to answer before you proceed, otherwise you'll be throwing money away.
    Four 175 Watt panels, OB MX60, 232 Amp hrs, OB 3524, Honda eu2000.

    Ohm's Law: Amps = Volts / Ohms
    Power Formula: Watts = Volts * Amps

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    SF Bay Area (California)
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    19,648

    Default Re: Newbie looking to set up RV solar system with ability to connect to grid

    Those are very good brand of batteries (from what I have read here)...

    However--Before you purchase anything, you really need to define your loads. That will size your battery bank, inverters, charge controller(s), solar array, etc.

    Are you going to run a laptop, some lights, a couple fans... Or run a refrigerator, well pump, flat screen TV+DVR+Sat receiver, +forced air heating (propane?).

    You can get a Kill-a-Watt meter to measure your AC loads. A DC Current Clamp meter to estimate your DC loads (need watch with timer to log hours per day of xx amps of power usage), an inexpensive DC Amp*Hour / Watt*Hour meter, etc... What is your peak Watts, Average Watts, Hours per Day of power usage, etc...

    Power usage is a highly personal choice--and for somebody that may live very nicely on 500 Watt*Hours (45 Amp*Hours for 12 VDC system) per day, may not meet somebody else's needs of 3,300 Watt*Hours (325 AH per day @ 12 volts) (still a very low power usage for a fully off-grid home with basic needs met).

    For an RV system--You are frequently at the mercy of how much space/weight capacity you have available... And frequently, that limits you to 1-2 days of autonomy for an RV.

    If you are already off-grid and running batteries--Just installing a Battery Monitor may be a good start to log your Amp*Hours per day/peak amp/etc. usage.

    -Bill
    20x BP 4175B panels (replacement) + Xantrex GT 3.3 inverter for 3kW Grid Tied system + Honda eu2000i Inverter/Generator for emergency backup.

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