solar for small camper

FreeBrrdFreeBrrd Solar Expert Posts: 116 ✭✭✭✭
Thanks to current foreclosure situation, I get to move into a small camper for a bit. I'm trying to it make as positive a move as possible so am building a wooden camper shell (I'm at apprentice union carpenter). I'll have two kittens with me so need to keep it cool. I plan in insulating with 'Reflectix' or similar reflective foil insulation. I am looking at a solar fan setup http://www.cdtsolar.com/solar_fan, but I want to run it at night also so need to add a battery. I also need to be able to upgrade so want to get things that I can add to. I would like to be able to run my little 12v refridgerator, but don't think I can afford to at this time. It will work as a cooler with ice for the time being. Otherwise, a couple of led lights. I can recharge the laptop & cellphone when the truck is running. Can't fit much in a mini-truck longbed!

I assume for weight, getting a battery locally is best, but can't find where. In San Francisco Bay Area, should be lots of sources. I guess an AGM battery is best. I have been told that I would want 2 batteries if I expand system.

I'm sort of rambling with the info I have received / found online.

Also, do folks steal solar panels off of rvs, etc.? I was thinking that I want them above eye level, but that adds wind resistance & reduces fuel milage.

Any advice appreciated. Thank you.

Comments

  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: solar for small camper

    sorry to hear of your situation, but biting the bullet to buy the batteries presents the problem of you being able to keep them charged and this is liable to be more expensive than the batteries. failing to keep them charged will result in a premature death of the batteries depending on how deep and how often this is done. also not allowing a full charge to occur will have similar results and that's tough to do with loads pulling the power away from allowing the batteries to reach full charge.
  • FreeBrrdFreeBrrd Solar Expert Posts: 116 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: solar for small camper

    I'm not buying batteries yet. Just that it was recommended that I have 2 when I expand. I'm thinking of just the fan, solar panel, and a battery (with required stuff) to start with. The fan comes with a 10 Watt Solar panel. I'd be looking at about $240 - $300 there. A 20 watt panel cost twice what the 10 costs (on the site I'm looking at) and I understand that they can be expanded pretty easily.

    ps. any way to not have it say new 'guy'?? I'm one of the guys, but I'm a girl.

    thank you.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: solar for small camper

    ok well to run it at night you must feed more power into the battery than you are using to be used later. it will depend on how long you run it (at whatever power level the fan draws) that determines the total power the battery needs to store. make this at least 2x that so as not to deplete the battery(s) beyond 50% and make sure the pvs chosen are capable of delivering enough charge to the batteries that allow you to use all the power needed for the fan and thensome to charge the battery(s) to full capacity again. you need to start with knowing what that fan draws. good guess would be 10/12=.834 amps. going 24hrs a day would be .834x24=20ah. battery capacity should be at least 2x this or 40ah and 20ah/5hrs full sun= 4a from a pv. in winter months there could be far less sun just by the season and depending on your particular location, as even 20 miles can be vastly different in solar intensity plus days of little to no sun, need accounted for as well during any and all seasons.
    ps i don't control that designation of you being a "new guy" as naws (our host) created the catagories. maybe naws can come up with something better in describing new memebers without indicating gender? do you have any suggestions for them?
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: solar for small camper

    Specification:

    Axial Fan 6 inch diameter (Part#34001)

    Dimension : 6.4x6x2 (inch)

    Rate Voltage: 24V

    Operating Voltage Range: 14~17.5

    Rated Amp : 0.56

    Motor Speed: 2500 (RPM)

    Air Flow: 200 (CFM)

    Noise Level: 55(DB)



    10 Watt Solar panel (Part#31010)


    Dimension: 10x16x0.7 (inch)

    Rated Power Pmax(W): 10

    Rated Voltage Vmpp(V) : 17

    Rated Current Impp(A) : 0.58

    Wire Lead : 18 awg#16/2 (inch


    I Have to question if this setup will even work.... 24 volt fan & a 12 Volt panel ????

    Mike
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: solar for small camper

    it may still work, but it might have a slower rotational speed and thus have less cfm pushed. using a 12v fan it would have a higher voltage impressed upon it than 12v and could burn it out or take away from its operational lifespan without some regulation.
  • FreeBrrdFreeBrrd Solar Expert Posts: 116 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: solar for small camper

    also, by my figures, I would need a (roughly) 3 times that in panels to run it 24/7 with a battery added into the system.

    any one try a uni-solar panel - fiberglass, unbreakable - guess I should start a new thread with link, but no time right now, thanks
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: solar for small camper

    yes, i have a few of them and they'll work, but are very inefficient as you'll need twice the area than those of standard solar modules would for the same amount of power. they aren't unbreakable, but are more durable than the standard module. with paying per watt and not per watt per given area i would suggest buying the standard modules and taking more care.
  • FreeBrrdFreeBrrd Solar Expert Posts: 116 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: solar for small camper

    they were from an eBay store and the warranty is not valid anyway. They almost fooled me, but I checked with the manufacturer. They are not making them any more, but now they have a laminate version - http://www.affordable-solar.com/uni.solar.laminate.pvl.series.68.watt.htm - it is too long though, won't fit.

    I'll take more care, but they are still going on the top of a camper in the back of my little pickup and being a union carpenter, I drive in some bumpy places.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,697 admin
    Re: solar for small camper

    Basically, the typical solar array is 1/8" tempered glass... So as long as you don't twist them (maybe a three point mount rather than a four point mount) and don't go dropping rocks on them (rated for 1" hail stones at 52 mph for one vendor)--you should be OK.

    If you break a properly mounted solar panel by just driving--you will be risking the windows on your truck/camper too.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: solar for small camper

    you don't have to get the laminate as it comes in a framed pv called us64 and is even listed on that vender's site. these are the pvs i have. they are selling it for $399 over there and that's a bit steep as that works out to be $6.23/watt.:cry: that's crazy.
  • FreeBrrdFreeBrrd Solar Expert Posts: 116 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: solar for small camper

    So what's a good price? Best I've found so far is $5.19/watt for BP Solar 115 watts. That's without shipping. I'd prefer to find local, but haven't found anything online yet. Also limited to smaller panel by smaller amount of money to put into this. The price / for a smaller panel is higher than for a larger panel. I don't know my limit yet as I have to build the camper first, but I'd figure about $500 for panel, battery, controller, fan, etc.
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,463 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: solar for small camper

    yikes. there are several types of panels being talked about here,
    the us64 is UniSolar 64, a plastic laminate panel, with a frame, that is really rugged,
    http://www.uni-solar.com/uploadedFiles/0.4.1_us_sell_sheet_10-7-04_high_res.pdf
    but it is not nearly as efficient as the same size panel from other mfg's in glass.
    64 watt vs 115W BP
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • FreeBrrdFreeBrrd Solar Expert Posts: 116 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: solar for small camper

    they are also discontinued
  • FreeBrrdFreeBrrd Solar Expert Posts: 116 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: solar for small camper

    so what I have currently on my list:
    Kyocera 65 watt - $350.00
    Deka 8AU1 32 Amp Hour - $90.14
    Steca Solsum 6.6 Amp w/ LVD - $31.40
    or
    SunSaver 6 amp w/ LVD - $53.68
    powering
    2 or 3 [URL="http://www.backwoodssolar.com/catalog/fans.htm#12 VOLT MUFFIN FANS"]muffin fans[/URL] - $36.00 - +/-2.4 amp 50cfm

    seems like a lot to power a couple little fans, but it's one time (instead of what it would be if I used battery fans) and cooling is one of the most important things required for the camper

    per my calculations, this should keep the fans going about 18 hours a day, they should go off when the power gets too low, and come back on when sufficient sun to recharge
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: solar for small camper

    our host for the forum does sell pvs and you could check out what they have. you can figure the cost per watt yourself for any of the pvs there.
    http://store.solar-electric.com/solarpanels.html
    also of note you may wish to check for seconds from sun electric.
    http://www.sunelec.com/
  • FreeBrrdFreeBrrd Solar Expert Posts: 116 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: solar for small camper

    If you look at the link, it is from the hosts store. All except for the fans are. If I can't find locally, I will probably buy there.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: solar for small camper

    do note that in the past some have used auto fans that are used to cool the radiators in some of the newer type cars. not sure of pricing on them though, but should be more durable and reliable than muffin fans.
  • FreeBrrdFreeBrrd Solar Expert Posts: 116 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: solar for small camper

    too big

    (I love it, my message was too short to post so I have to add more....)
  • FreeBrrdFreeBrrd Solar Expert Posts: 116 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: solar for small camper

    checked out Wolo fans - "2 to 2-1/2 amps depending on model". Looked like nice little fans but, per my figures, a 78 AmpHour battery & (2) 135Watt panels to run all the time.
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,345 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: solar for small camper

    Find a computer guy. He'll have tons of old cpu's with lots of muffing fans, many to run on 12vdc. You can get them for next to nothing, and they will run a long time.

    I have had one behind my woodstove and it has run 24/7 for 8 months a year for years. Another on the ceiling. At the price you pay (if anything) there cheap and draw little amperage. (They don't move too much air however).

    Icarus
  • FreeBrrdFreeBrrd Solar Expert Posts: 116 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: solar for small camper

    I am a computer guy (girl), or was for 20 years (until I needed a Bachelor's degree to do what I had been doing - 3 AAS's don't mean crap). I was looking for a fan with a bit more cfm, also about 6". I found muffin.

    Thank you.
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