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Old 12-21-2013, 08:15 PM   #1
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Default Solar power queston

Anybody out there have a portable solar power system to charge the battery when boon docking? I have a X189FBR and often use it out in the boonies where there is no AC (shore) power available. It would be nice to have a portable system to help recharge the battery. Harbor Freight has a 45 watt portable but I have no idea if that is strong enough. Any thoughts?
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Old 12-22-2013, 09:28 AM   #2
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Default Depends on usage

Lots of discussions of this over on rv.net. It depends on several issues -- how much power you use each day, how much storage capacity you have, and whether you camp in sunny places.

I really, really want solar, but after careful study, I can't justify it -- we have plenty of power for a week of boondocking with two 110 amp/hour batteries, we camp in the deep forests, and we are away from the campsite all day, so I can't be there to adjust the angle of the portable panels. Plus the panel assembly is just one more thing to pack and unpack when moving the campsite.

The solar experts say that the Harbor Freight package is old technology with a so-so controller. They say get a good package from Solar Blvd.com, so that you don't have to upgrade later. I don't know if they are right -- the Harbor Freight price is amazing.
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Old 12-23-2013, 03:35 PM   #3
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Thanks Prof. I too want something but like you said, there are lots of issues to sort thru. We too camp mostly in the deep forest (tall trees all around, so limited sun gets to the ground). Also, we are always gone from the camp most of the day, so I am concerned about someone stealing the unit, not to mention not being there to move it around to keep it in the sun. Like you, we can get by several days without draining the battery totally, but it would be nice to have a backup. I solved the issue with the furnace fan draining the battery by getting a Wave 3 catalitic heater, and it works great as long as you keep it vented. Not surprised by your comment on the HF solar panel. There stuff is dirt cheap but you usually get what you pay for there, as I have found out several times. Thanks for the info.
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Old 01-06-2014, 01:04 AM   #4
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Default Re: Solar power queston

Quote:
Originally Posted by Denver Raider
Anybody out there have a portable solar panel system to charge the battery when boon docking? I have a X189FBR and often use it out in the boonies where there is no AC (shore) power available. It would be nice to have a portable system to help recharge the battery. Harbor Freight has a 45 watt portable but I have no idea if that is strong enough. Any thoughts?
Portable solar charger is very popular now a days..Even I have got one recently and it is very effective.
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Old 01-13-2014, 11:21 AM   #5
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Here is my set up


http://www.funfinderclub.com/phpBB2/...pic.php?t=1676
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Old 01-14-2014, 06:01 PM   #6
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Default Solar

We have 400 watts of panels on the roof and 300ah in batteries which makes us self sufficient.
Most with portable panels here go for 120-180 watts.
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Old 02-12-2014, 04:52 PM   #7
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Default Solar panels

No, this is a trickle charger, and will not replace the amps you need to put into your battery. You might get 2.5 to 3 amps per hour if the sun if putting full power on the 45 watt panel. But that is not likely, and you need to figure a lot less for actual input.

You need to think about 200 watts of solar perhaps, or, another means to charge the batteries, like a Honda Generator.

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Old 03-05-2014, 10:42 AM   #8
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Default Solar

I just recently finished a trip to Baja with my 2008 X-160. Prior to leaving, I purchased a 100W mono panel and built a couple of cables. I have a single Group 27 battery on the Fun Finder and purchased a Group 24 to take along just charging iPad, iPod, computer, etc.

The cables I built were extension cables, a 12V outlet charging cable, and cables to wire the two batteries in parallel so the panel would charge them both at the same time.

I LOVE SOLAR! It worked incredibly well for all the boondocking in Baja. Even had neighbors use it on occasion to charge their electronics.

I got my panel from Renogy. The only issue I had was that the panel took up the entire back seat (lengthwise) of my little truck.

I plan to get this for my next trip out...

http://www.solarblvd.com/Solar-Panel...duct_info.html

I see the price has gone up from $160 (the last time I looked) - that's quite a price increase!
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Old 03-22-2014, 04:58 PM   #9
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Default Re: Solar power queston

Quote:
Originally Posted by Denver Raider
Anybody out there have a portable solar power system to charge the battery when boon docking? I have a X189FBR and often use it out in the boonies where there is no AC (shore) power available. It would be nice to have a portable system to help recharge the battery. Harbor Freight has a 45 watt portable but I have no idea if that is strong enough. Any thoughts?
I have a 189FBS and this is the system I am getting from Amazon:
Solar Panel Bundle 100W Monocrystalline: 100W Solar Panel + 30A Charge Controller + MC4 Solar Adaptor Cable. At $164.99 it's cheaper and should out perform the HF setup. Unless you want to carry and feed a generator I would use solar and try to live without the A/C and microwave. Lots of information on the internet about solar for DC battery charging. Best of luck however you go.
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Old 04-20-2014, 04:04 PM   #10
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Default Solar Panel is the best option for charging the batteries.

I have been traveling the West for 30 years now. I rarly stay at an RV park. In some states like New Mexico and Utah there are many secluded areas you can camp for free. Every year I stay around the four corners longer and longer. Last year I stayed out West for 7 months. I find that power and water are two most important in the wilderness. There are few things you can do to extend the battery life like converting all the light to LED. With regular lights the battery may last 4 or 5 hours at night. But LED it will last for weeks. The biggest use for water is dishes, so I use paper plates, disposable bowls and cups. Over the years I have tried using generator but generator is fine for short term use but is a poor option in keeping the batteries charged. Anyone who has tried to charge a deep cycle marine batteries by running the generator for an hour knows it does not do a good job. Marine batteries charge best by trickle charging at low amps, typically 2 to 4 amps all day.

So in recent years with the cost of the solar panels coming down dramatically I have installed two 260 watts solar panels on top of my Fun Finder. It was the best investment I ever made. I experimented trying many options of using the panels and the most logical one I decided is mounted flat fixed on top. To carry a large panel capable of charging enough power and constantly loading and unloading was not feasible. But mounting two large ones flat on top makes much more sense. It does not maximize on the solar, but tring to unload or keep adjusting it on the roof was not a good option. I expected 50 percent efficiancy. Which is still pleny of power.

Here is the reasoning. It is always charging. While I am driving down the highway, parked , anytime it is charging. Solar regulator keeps charging when needed and shuts off when not needed. When I am ready to use power there is no work to be done. I can get on average 200 watts or more in the middle of the day. When the sun comes up in the morning, the power gauge shows 2 amps around 7am and steadily climbs to 10 amps at 10am to 20 amps or more at noon. At typical marine battery does best charging at 2 to 4 amp. I have 3 hooked up for the road. I do have a nice Yamaha generator for AC when needed. But with solar power I run all my equipment and a swamp cooler out west and never need to run my generator. As the sun goes down and at night I have plenty of power because the 3 batteries are fully charged from solar. What's amazing is that on the cloudiest day I am still getting 3 to 6 amps of power.

From my great result, I think everyone need a solar panel. My 520 watts system, I spent less than $1000 for everything. If anyone is interested in how it is installed, I will post photos. I am an engineer but installation is very easy...

As to the question if 45 watts is enough to charge your battery. In general you need to consider that a 100 watt panel will delivery about 60 watts in real life. So 45 watts will deliver about 27 watts, little over 2 amps. If you want to just charge one battery all day without use, then it's perfect. But if you are planning to use other things like fan, computer, etc, then you need to get a larger panel.
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