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Post Info TOPIC: Boondocking


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Boondocking


Can you actually boondock on solar ... and have air conditioning?  How many solar panels and how much battery wattage is needed to do this?



-- Edited by RonC on Saturday 4th of June 2016 09:22:53 PM

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in reality ........no......

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I know someone who is trying to do it but he has 10 solar panels and 10 batteries. He says he almost has the power. But he is a solar installer.


So I would go with what Lucky Mike said...no.


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I believe that Chris and Cherie from TechNomads said they can run 1 A/C for a little if they have all of their solar panels deployed…but then they have both roof mounted and a whole farm of portables they can put out.

For those of us with more modest solar farms…that's a big nope unless you're running the generator.

 



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In my opinion.....

When boondocking, using a generator to run an air conditioner or two is the only way to go with the present state of technology.

I'm sure within a few years we will have access to some sort of fuel cell to power our A/C units.



-- Edited by The Bear II on Monday 6th of June 2016 09:15:42 AM

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The best way to go if you are serious about doing this is to install a high efficiency, DC powered mini-split ac unit as they will draw only a tiny fraction of the power a traditional AC takes.

Here is the unit I would go with, the HSAC -12H/C . www.geinnovations.net/HSAC_Productline.html It has an EER of 21.43 and because it has a variable speed soft start rotary compressor has less start up surge too. It costs $2,000 but only draws 560 watts (only 11.5 amps max at 48v DC) so it saves you money on the rest of your system. BTW it also produces high efficiency electric heat in moderately cool weather too.

The cheapest way to go would be with 8 CG-2, 6v golf cart batteries, wired for 48 volts. Get 1,500-1,800 watts of high voltage grid tie solar panels (as they are much cheaper/watt than the smaller, 12v panels, and of course a quality MPPT controller like the Morningstar MPPT-60 (one will do if you wire it for 48volts - what your AC will require. Here's a link to some cheap solar panels: sunelec.com/ I would go with high efficiency Sun panels (either e-20 or x-21 panels depending on how much roof space I had and price at the time of purchase) as they take up less roof space per watt produced (a serious factor to consider when going with this much solar).


A system like this will cost you at least $6,500-$7,000 (Be advised that you could easily spend this much on lithium batteries alone if you wanted to.) if you do it yourself and shop carefully, depending the quality of the equipment you use, like the brand of 48v converter charger you decide on, or of you use FLA batteries from Sams or go with higher quality sealed batteries.) So bottom line, yes you can build a 12,000 btu system that can cool your bedroom all night with solar (and maybe a little more) but it won't be cheap.

However it could be affordable if you factor in not just the cost of electricity you will save but also CG costs. For instance, if you calculate that you might save $100/mo in electricity usage and $400/mo in monthly CG fees (you could save much more depending on how frequently you move and where you stay) This $500/month savings, say 5-6 months per year could easily offset the cost of such a system (as other than the battery replacement, a system like this will last a very long time), if the only thing holding you back from boondocking is the need for AC. On the plus side, you will have ample electric power for your other boondocking needs too when the AC is not in use, or is only occasionally used. It will also spare your propane heating costs (and trips to get it) in milder weather.

Chip



-- Edited by Sushidog on Tuesday 7th of June 2016 06:55:31 AM

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I like the DC air concept but .......adding 1200 pounds of weight to the unit means that something else really has to go.....if fact alot of things are going to have to go just to stay cool


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 1998 ...Harney Renegade DP  class A

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My Service dog and life partner " Nikki"......Klee Kia Miniature Husky....(she Runs the ship!!)

We are not lost in the Woods.....Just Extreme boondocking!!!!!!



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Agree with Lucky Mike's assessment that you give up a lot of cargo capacity just to stay cool. Our rule of thumb is that any time it's above 85 it's either time to head north, go up in elevation or find somewhere to plug in. 1200 pounds is about 40% of our 5th wheels cargo capacity, personally I don't see us getting rid of enough cargo to make it a worthwhile trdeoff.

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I know this is an older post but if you spend a lot of time in drier areas, a swamp cooler could be an option if you really needed to.

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Although swamp coolers will save you on electricity usage, they consume quite a bit of water - something often in short supply in the dry desert environments where they are the most effective. So if one is boondocking and burning through a gallon or more of water an hour, your water supply won't last long at all.

Chip

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2008 F-250 6.4l supercab 2wd - motor blew, cost more than truck so sold it for scrap

Now looking for a used Cass A gasser for FT use.

2006 Aliner XLE pulled by a Chevy Cobalt SS with 380k miles and counting. It will be my FT toad



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I often thought a swamp cooler might not be a bad idea. Many years ago I had a portable one that held about 5 gallons of water. I would fill it in the evening and it would be empty in the morning. I thought about building one using a DC car radiator fan. I think it would work well in the desert but you would need a truck with a tank of water to keep it running very long.

Mark


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