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Just ordered a solar kit for my TC, install next week, oh boy been long time coming, no more generator noise although it's a Honda 2K, it's noise!!!
As a Christmas Present to ourselves, we also bought a solar panel kit for our camper. Haven't hooked it up yet. We don't use a lot of electron's when we camp but we tend to camp in free no hookup spots 99% of the time. (99% is a guess but pretty close) :p
 

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Congrats solar is awesome. We too like boon docking. I have a 160w panel it's kinda big but you can't have too much power. Lol. I made angle brackets for it that I remove and store the panel behind the sofa. I left mine movable so when camped in a shady spot I can move the panel to the sun with 50' of cables. A permanent flat mount on top of the trailer would be cleaner and work most of the time. It's great to be able to run the furnace all night if needed and then the batteries are magicly refilled. Plus we sometimes like to watch movies at night running a small inverter so no noise for us or neighbors.
 

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As a Christmas Present to ourselves, we also bought a solar panel kit for our camper. Haven't hooked it up yet. We don't use a lot of electron's when we camp but we tend to camp in free no hookup spots 99% of the time. (99% is a guess but pretty close) :p
Congrats!

When we bought our ranch in January, 2001, we had a 1,000 watt Honda generator for lighting and other light loads.
However, it is so quiet out there, that we did not like the noise, even 50' away.

Upgrading to all LED lighting allowed full solar. They are just small panels, for an automotive AGM battery to recover after our typical 3 day, 2 night trip.
The battery size was selected to match our Jeep(s), for backup, since it is 13 miles to "civilization", 8 miles on a non-maintained road/trail.
They are now larger than the one in the photo on the tongue of our small trailer (guest house), but only because that small one failed after about 15 years.

Our ranch has no electricity (and we haul water), but we only use lighting, power a water pump and recharge cell phones/Ipad and run small 12 VDC fans in the summer. Occasionally turn on the radio.

TV, microwave and air conditioner long ago removed.

01 Wrangler at ranch 15 Dec 2001.jpg campfire.jpg Deck & trailers.JPG
 

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Nice ranch. I'm a newby on the whole solar thing with much to learn. We bought ours to recharge our single battery in the pickup camper. The panel we got I'd guess is 1.5ftx3ft and no idea without looking at the box on watts and stuff. In the beginning, we are going to use ours like Tweaker by not permanently mounting it like others do. Mostly because we don't want to break it going down the road.

Pops-in-law has been using one about the size you show on his wagon for years to recharge the battery. He bought the same one we did for his wagon too.
 

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Here's another of "My brother" stories. When we were camping at Alabama hills my brother borrowered my bike to try it out. He stopped to relieved himself. After he got off the bike he stepped on a rock he didn't see because he still had on his helmet and rolled his ankle, badly spraining his one of his feet. What's this have to do with solar you ask? Well he had a 100w light weight flexible solar panel that was leaned up against and tied to a small step stool. It got windy and he put a BIG rock on the step stool to keep it from blowing away. The three of us went for a ride and he stayed at camp because of his foot. While we were gone he limped out to take the dog out for his duties, the dogs leash caught the step stool and knocked over the rock which fell on his other foot breaking some small bones. Needless to say he had a bad trip and we had to take him to see a doctor. He ended up with some crutches. This was day 2 of a week trip. The moral of the story don't put any rocks by your solar panels.

Nice ranch BTW.
 

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We added solar to our truck camper years ago. 200 watts.. We rarely hook up to shore power when on a boondock/trip excursion. 17 years now.
I switched to led lights, got rid of the old tube combo tv and installed a LED tv and then a Olympic Wave 3 for heat.... I managed to reduce our battery usage by more than 1/2 so I got rid of the 2 pain in the ass Flooded Wet Cell batteries and switched to AGM. We have almost 200,000 miles on the camper that has been on 2 trucks.
Solar is the only way to go!

Our portable go anywhere cabin! Oh and the trailer is the son's bedroom! This picture is from our 10,000 mile Alaska trip.

tumblr_n93mmpKylG1tfw5yxo5_1280.jpg

Jim
 

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Yes the flooded LA batteries are a pain. My two came with the trailer. I have been looking at lifepo4 cells. I can make up a 12v pack of @ 120 amp hrs which is eaual to @ 240 amphrs of LA for @ $240. I would need to change my solar charge controller to one with a charge profile suitable for LFE batteries though. LFE's are perfect for solar no need to leave full or float charge. It doesn't hurt them to sit with out charging so when you are not using the rv no problem. Probably good for 10 years too.

Here's an example of 160 cells 3,200 mamp cell = 160÷4= 40, 40 × 3.2 amps= 128 amphr. 4 cells in series for 12v actually 12.8v nominal times 40 cells in parallel.

Look at this on eBay http://www.ebay.com/itm/351864507828

I have bought 10 of the 5,200mamp cells to test. I am going to make two 12v packs to replace my bike batteries. More on that later.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I just got a 100W kit that I can add to if I want. My TC only has a single battery, no TV no Radio, just the basic stuff, changed all my lights to LED, should work just fine. Have a flooded battery and that will be changed to a AGM when needed. Just had to put 2 new batteries in the truck so the AGM is on hold for now.
 

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https://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwiE-t2Bzv7RAhUUImMKHeKIDK8QFggcMAA&url=https://handybobsolar.wordpress.com/&usg=AFQjCNEsj5XPpuL-Siac3Qo9ArIwSZhQcQ any body who is going to do their first solar install, should read Handy Bob's Blog, he knows! I spent a winter learning his lessons and it paid off big time. I installed 2- 100 watt panels on the roof of our travel trailer and never looked back. I can watch movies all night and the wife has lights on for reading and the pump running for showers and we have never had the battery monitor show less than 100 per cent charge, in the summer. even when we are hooked to shore power, I turn the inverter off. Here is a picture of my design for a control panel 69.JPG If you can, pick a controller that is adjustable, so you can charge you batteries to the manufacturer's specs

just one more hint, one the RV dealers don't understand ( I don't think they or the rv manufacturers understand anything about solar power) Pull the fuse or turn off the panels before disconnecting the batteries or you will damage the controller. we bought a new trailer with power on the roof and the controller was all ready damaged, it didn't matter much because the whole system was really badly done. it never would have done anything but hurt the batteries. and that was a professional installation
 

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As a Christmas Present to ourselves, we also bought a solar panel kit for our camper. Haven't hooked it up yet. We don't use a lot of electron's when we camp but we tend to camp in free no hookup spots 99% of the time. (99% is a guess but pretty close) :p
oh, good! I was hoping you didn't run a generator!! I "dislike" them, if you have to listen to a generator running , then you might as well stay home and cut the grass
 

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Grewen nice blog and very professional install. I need to add a shutoff and some breakers or fuses to my hook up.
 

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I just got a 100W kit that I can add to if I want. My TC only has a single battery, no TV no Radio, just the basic stuff, changed all my lights to LED, should work just fine. Have a flooded battery and that will be changed to a AGM when needed. Just had to put 2 new batteries in the truck so the AGM is on hold for now.
Need to determine what converter/charger you have. Check it sometime and let us know or PM me. Many campers that are over 15 years old might have a under performing converter installed.

Jim
 

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Nice ranch. I'm a newby on the whole solar thing with much to learn. We bought ours to recharge our single battery in the pickup camper. The panel we got I'd guess is 1.5ftx3ft and no idea without looking at the box on watts and stuff. In the beginning, we are going to use ours like Tweaker by not permanently mounting it like others do. Mostly because we don't want to break it going down the road.

Pops-in-law has been using one about the size you show on his wagon for years to recharge the battery. He bought the same one we did for his wagon too.
sounds like you have a 100 watt panel. I think there is more chance of doing damage to the panel or wiring by leaving it loose than there is when permanently mounted. there are a few basic rules to follow when mounting a panel. find a good spot on the roof that will not be in the shade of a roof vent or air conditioner or anything else ( may be hard to do on a small roof) mount it so it is as close to the controller as you can get it. for 100 watt panel use 10 gauge wire and no more than 10-12 feet. try to find an adjustable controller to suite the charging needs of the battery. place the controller as close as possible to the batteries and use a heavy gauge wire. my controller is 6 feet from the batteries and I used 2 gauge wire. I should have gone 1 gauge heavier but when I bought the wire I was planning on being with in 3 feet and that wire is too expensive to not use. it is all so a good idea to invest in some sort of battery monitor as you need to know what condition your batteries are in and if your set up is working

I know this is maybe too much for a weekender to worry about and probably so. it's more for the permanent install for folks who do weeks of boon docking at a time. it will save your batteries. like Handy Bob says, if you want to get 2 years out of a 5 year battery, then don't worry about it
 

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sounds like you have a 100 watt panel. I think there is more chance of doing damage to the panel or wiring by leaving it loose than there is when permanently mounted. there are a few basic rules to follow when mounting a panel. find a good spot on the roof that will not be in the shade of a roof vent or air conditioner or anything else ( may be hard to do on a small roof) mount it so it is as close to the controller as you can get it. for 100 watt panel use 10 gauge wire and no more than 10-12 feet. try to find an adjustable controller to suite the charging needs of the battery. place the controller as close as possible to the batteries and use a heavy gauge wire. my controller is 6 feet from the batteries and I used 2 gauge wire. I should have gone 1 gauge heavier but when I bought the wire I was planning on being with in 3 feet and that wire is too expensive to not use. it is all so I good idea to invest in so sort of battery monitor as you need to know what condition your batteries are in and if your set up is working
Sounds like I should probably go get it out of the box and learn things before I actually need it. I think it came with some kind of control dealy bob which looking into the box may help solve! :D
 

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We added solar to our truck camper years ago. 200 watts.. We rarely hook up to shore power when on a boondock/trip excursion. 17 years now.
I switched to led lights, got rid of the old tube combo tv and installed a LED tv and then a Olympic Wave 3 for heat.... I managed to reduce our battery usage by more than 1/2 so I got rid of the 2 pain in the ass Flooded Wet Cell batteries and switched to AGM. We have almost 200,000 miles on the camper that has been on 2 trucks.
Solar is the only way to go!

Our portable go anywhere cabin! Oh and the trailer is the son's bedroom! This picture is from our 10,000 mile Alaska trip.

View attachment 77681

Jim
Slight thread hijack about to occur.

Jim what size trailer are you pulling?
Would it fit a VStrom and a TW and 2 bicycles?
And some golf clubs ...?

Now back to the thread.
We have a 40 W panel that works great for the amount of power we use and keeps our 2 - 6 V RV batteries charged.
Camper has all LED lighting. I have not mounted it to the camper so I can position it for the best illumination.
As we have an escape hatch on the roof of the camper, I usually put it on the roof of the camper and angle it towards the sun.
This provides enough power to keep all our electronic gadgets powered up: iPads, iPhone , camera, laptop etc.
 

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Here's another of "My brother" stories. When we were camping at Alabama hills my brother borrowered my bike to try it out. He stopped to relieved himself. After he got off the bike he stepped on a rock he didn't see because he still had on his helmet and rolled his ankle, badly spraining his one of his feet. What's this have to do with solar you ask? Well he had a 100w light weight flexible solar panel that was leaned up against and tied to a small step stool. It got windy and he put a BIG rock on the step stool to keep it from blowing away. The three of us went for a ride and he stayed at camp because of his foot. While we were gone he limped out to take the dog out for his duties, the dogs leash caught the step stool and knocked over the rock which fell on his other foot breaking some small bones. Needless to say he had a bad trip and we had to take him to see a doctor. He ended up with some crutches. This was day 2 of a week trip. The moral of the story don't put any rocks by your solar panels.

Nice ranch BTW.
Maybe that should have been, " don't let your brother near the solar panels, or near any rocks for that matter.
 
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