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Post Info TOPIC: Educate yourself MORE about solar...more bang for your buck


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Educate yourself MORE about solar...more bang for your buck


I've been researching RV solar for a little while, now, as the better half and I are planning on the Class A life (Did the van by the river thing as a young musician, I want it more comfy than that, now) and one of the things the industrious and resourceful solar-seeker can do to increase the capacity of their system by spending that Renogy money in China. Yep, China.

I'd also add, Renogy is a Chinese company. https://www.enfsolar.com/directory/panel/14607/renogy

So the whole "buy American" argument pretty much is out the window with regard to solar.

So, buying solar from China. First thing to realize, www.alibaba.com is your gateway into the world of Chinese solar. It's sorta like ebay but not really, though they are the closest Chinese analog, Some companies won't sell to individuals, others will. Some will sell *some* things to individuals (meaning you don't have to buy 10,000 panels). It often depends on the discretion of the vendor. Guangdong ProStar Energy (located in Guangzhou) and Shenzhen Lithpower Technology, obviously in Shenzen, will both sell to individuals.

These companies are unbelievable! Prostar has several gigawatt solar farms going in the Middle East, Africa, India and of course, China, itself.

https://prostarsolar.en.alibaba.com/?spm=a2700.8304367.topnav.1.62a061f8hGkXOb

Unreal. Yet they will sell to a moronic goober like me.

I can put together a system that will run everything in the bus (the musician in me wants it to be a tour bus) and barely break a sweat. Probably won't run my tube amps. Those two panels (500w total; 36vdc, MPPT charge controller, 3000/6000 inverter; the wife needs her hair dryer) will cost me a LOT less than a grand, and the batteries will add a grand. For TWO lithium-ion batteries. So, for the cost of improved system components (PWM controllers will never touch my system, I want ALL the juice) I'll have a solar system that should meet my needs, indefinitely. If we trash the batteries the night before (love li-ion), the rising sun brings new juice to our world.

I like it and I can tell PG&E (and every other electric utility in the nation) to buzz it. I can also charge the batteries from the alternator of the rig's engine. I'm not convinced I need a generator and I certainly don't want an Onan. I'll sell whatever's in there and have more room.

Better a Honda. Even if it's not totally up to the task, it can take a load off the batteries without sounding like a lawn mower. Battle Axe (meant with great affection) can dry her hair

You can ping me here (I promise to check) and anyone who wants more info, just ask me. I can even give you contact names.

Pete



-- Edited by Old_Man on Wednesday 17th of January 2018 05:54:21 AM



-- Edited by Old_Man on Wednesday 17th of January 2018 05:58:04 AM

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You will find that 500 watts of solar and no generator is mighty confining on what electrical usage will be able to use. We have 800 and a Honda 2000 and while we can boondocks comfortably with our residential fridge it means 2-3 hours of generator time daily if the sun is out and 5-6 on rainy days. 

Lithium ion batteries are nice but they require a different set of care and feeding over either lead acid or AGM batteries. They’re also more expensive last time I looked. Check out the Li battery posts on technomadia.com for some more details on that. 



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"I like it and I can tell PG&E (and every other electric utility in the nation) to buzz it."

Hopefully you will be the only one or one of the few with this shortsighted view. Doesn't work for industry, doesn't work for many Americans in the southern states, doesn't work (or work well) on cloudy days anywhere. Power generation will continue to come from many sources in the future. Will some types increase and decrease, sure.

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You can go 100% solar with PG&E since 2014.  



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Good answers, keep 'em coming, even if you hate what I wrote. Discussion is good.

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"You can go 100% solar with PG&E since 2014."

YOU can...America can't...at this time.

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As an individual, you can setup an RV with a "large enough" solar installation & battery system to allow an "almost" complete independence from the electricity grid. There will be some limits; you will not in general be able to run a "large" air conditioning or electric heating system "all day".

Few rigs will come this way "out of the box". The ones that do are EXPENSIVE. (Look at earthroamer.com). The solar installation as I recall on their rigs are 1500 watts and up.

For larger systems, there is a region in Australia and one of the smaller Hawaiian islands that are now totally solar; they have sufficient solar during the day to charge a LARGE battery bank for power at night. More scalable technologies to store "excess power" when available, to fill deficits when minimal power is available, are coming. They are not here yet to the extent that (for example) a US state could completely switch to solar. The closest that people are coming to this now (for example, the US western grid where all coal plants are slowly being decommissioned) is an effort to "mostly" use renewable power when available; otherwise use natural gas powered generators. There is likely at least another generation before a region in the US could go completely renewable.

btw, "personal" air conditioners are starting to appear. These can only cool a "bubble" around 1-2 people; but potentially could run in a limited power environment. They are not yet generally available (there are some "kickstarters" under way).


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Don't know what you mean by large, but If I can boondock indefinitely (within the limits of the holding tanks) with 500 watts and 36v which will fully charge the two batteries (12v panels will never fully charge your batteries) I'll be doing fine. The charge controller (MPPT) will feed 13-14 volts into the batteries (like the alternator on an engine) and thus, like a car battery, will fully charge. But getting two Li ion batteries for about a grand is a helluva deal. The research I've done suggests Americans are gouged on solar gear. But if you're willing to read and absorb it all, it's pretty easy to build a powerful system for the same money an American seller (of Chinese gear like Renogy) would sell you one, and the system you'll have if you build your own will be much more impressive. Your laptop will go longer, if I buy two more batteries I can have a four battery system and I will have a BEAST of a system.

I like saving money. So I read and do legwork.

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“12v panels will never fully charge your batteries”

Yes they will. Twelve volt panels are just named 12 volts. The controller cuts their 15 to 18 volts to “fit” to what the battery needs.

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LarryW21 wrote:

“12v panels will never fully charge your batteries”

Yes they will. Twelve volt panels are just named 12 volts. The controller cuts their 15 to 18 volts to “fit” to what the battery needs.


Why are you so defensive? If your system works for you, have at it. I could not care less. But for those who have not yet solarized themselves, all I'm offering is what I believe to be a better alternative. Has nothing to do with Larry or his choices. Until you decided to make it about that.

I know my way of doing things isn't for everyone. It's proactive to the point of aggression. That is my M-O when attacking something I want to know *everything* about, but included in that is the desire to build a more powerful system for the kind of money no one in the US (selling the same Chinese stuff) will offer at that price point. Because I'm an autodidact, I can't just take a class, I have to learn for myself.

30 years ago when I learned to fly (grounded because of medical and money) I did not go to a "ground school," I just taught myself for the FAA written (which is all ground school teaches you, the real learning is off the ground) I just got a book from the GPO (FREE!!!) about the ground school information. When I had a question for my flight instructor, I just asked him and we'd chew it over until I was clear on he concept. When I finally took the written, it didn't even take me long.

So I read and learn and read and learn and ask questions (probably to the point of annoying others) until I'm clear on the concept. When I had to rebuild my airplane's engine (breathtakingly expensive) I'd worked on air-cooled VWs, so I had a clue, if not yet the concept. Yet I just tore that engine down and spent MONTHS measuring every part to ensure it was within the proper specs and not on the "high side."

When it came time for the guy who supervised my work to sign the work off in the logs, my IA (A&P mechanic with inspection authorization, at a nearby airport) said, "If you can fly it over here, I'll sign it off." Not legal but it flew and he signed, after checking a few things. He also demanded to go up so he could hear it. He looked it over and said, "Ya done good, Old_Man."

That airplane is still flying, this time in South America.

That's how I learn. I seem to be able to get the job done. <shrug />

Falls under "taking care of my family."



-- Edited by Old_Man on Thursday 18th of January 2018 08:38:07 PM



-- Edited by Old_Man on Thursday 18th of January 2018 08:53:16 PM



-- Edited by Old_Man on Thursday 18th of January 2018 09:03:47 PM

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"I know my way of doing things isn't for everyone. It's proactive to the point of aggression. "

The problem is that you are so sure of your way of doing things, that you aren't listening to what others are telling you. Maybe read several different threads to get an idea of the back and forth on this site.

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LarryW21 wrote:

"I like it and I can tell PG&E (and every other electric utility in the nation) to buzz it."

Hopefully you will be the only one or one of the few with this shortsighted view. Doesn't work for industry, doesn't work for many Americans in the southern states, doesn't work (or work well) on cloudy days anywhere. Power generation will continue to come from many sources in the future. Will some types increase and decrease, sure.


Let's see...

American industry: don't care.

"Americans" in southern states: don't care.

Not. My. Problem. Not. Any. More.

Once we hit the road, I'll be boondocking to the end of my days.

 

I no longer care about the US. Not after the last year.



-- Edited by Old_Man on Monday 29th of January 2018 08:16:14 PM

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Barbaraok wrote:

"I know my way of doing things isn't for everyone. It's proactive to the point of aggression. "

The problem is that you are so sure of your way of doing things, that you aren't listening to what others are telling you. Maybe read several different threads to get an idea of the back and forth on this site.


I have enough experience doing things my own way, I am confident. I make no apology. Why should I? If I mess up, I proudly eat crow but I barely remember what it tastes like. I read every post in this thread. Some I agree with, others, no. If I have a point to make, I make it. Not angry, not hostile. Confident. If that's bad, then I'm bad. But I'm also nationwide.
If something I write somehow offends you, telling me about it will not accomplish anything. Being offended is a choice on the part of the offended person. Don't let it offend you. If I had a nickel for every douchnozzle who told me "It was only a cat," as I wailed in unimagineable grief over the cat's death, and I didn't Beat. Them. Down (imagine someone saying that to you about your child and yes, to me it IS the same), I could buy a brand new "you name it" and never have to worry about money, again. But I don't beat them down because - it accomplishes nothing. If they're heartless enough to say something like that to a grieving parent (I am the parent of my kitties) It puts me on their level. I'd go to jail. It'd cost me money. Too much effort.
I like being proven wrong. That's the only way I learn. But when I get a grip on a project or even an idea, I just run with it until it's finished, one way or another. At the conclusion, if If I'm wrong, I'll eat my crow. Bland. (and I HATE bland)

 



-- Edited by Old_Man on Tuesday 30th of January 2018 12:22:07 AM

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Neil and Connie wrote:

You will find that 500 watts of solar and no generator is mighty confining on what electrical usage will be able to use. We have 800 and a Honda 2000 and while we can boondocks comfortably with our residential fridge it means 2-3 hours of generator time daily if the sun is out and 5-6 on rainy days. 

Lithium ion batteries are nice but they require a different set of care and feeding over either lead acid or AGM batteries. They’re also more expensive last time I looked. Check out the Li battery posts on technomadia.com for some more details on that. 


Well, I might find it confining. Don't forget, I'm charging 200ah batteries. So I will get plenty of power from those beasts. Though truthfully, I am so not worried about it, I won't be using a residential fridge, though I get the appeal. We already have one of those Coleman stove-top drip coffeemakers. Audio system I've designed won't use a lot of power (and it will be 12vdc anyway). Haven't checked the electrical draw of a 12vdc automotive power amplifier, but it won't get THAT much use. We'll go with smaller HDTVs, probably no larger than 27 inches. Computers will be an often thing, but the usage is pretty light. Be interesting to see if you could wire a mac into the 12v system (with an appropriately sensitive inline fuse).

My headphone amp is 12VDC (it came with a wall wart that puts out 12vdc) and is very low power. It's a headphone amp. My mic pre (for music recording) doesn't draw much current, nor will my Macbook pro. When we're using 120vac things, other things will be turned off. I think using hte propane coffeemaker will help. A residential fridge sounds like a massive power drain and our priorities might be a bit different. I'd be far more partial to a full-on mini freezer I could bolt down in the area vacated by the dinette. Lots more interested in that. We're really not dinette people.



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Old_Man wrote:
Neil and Connie wrote:

You will find that 500 watts of solar and no generator is mighty confining on what electrical usage will be able to use. We have 800 and a Honda 2000 and while we can boondocks comfortably with our residential fridge it means 2-3 hours of generator time daily if the sun is out and 5-6 on rainy days. 

Lithium ion batteries are nice but they require a different set of care and feeding over either lead acid or AGM batteries. They’re also more expensive last time I looked. Check out the Li battery posts on technomadia.com for some more details on that. 


Well, I might find it confining. Don't forget, I'm charging 200ah batteries. So I will get plenty of power from those beasts. Though truthfully, I am so not worried about it, I won't be using a residential fridge, though I get the appeal. We already have one of those Coleman stove-top drip coffeemakers. Audio system I've designed won't use a lot of power (and it will be 12vdc anyway). Haven't checked the electrical draw of a 12vdc automotive power amplifier, but it won't get THAT much use. We'll go with smaller HDTVs, probably no larger than 27 inches. Computers will be an often thing, but the usage is pretty light. Be interesting to see if you could wire a mac into the 12v system (with an appropriately sensitive inline fuse).

My headphone amp is 12VDC (it came with a wall wart that puts out 12vdc) and is very low power. It's a headphone amp. My mic pre (for music recording) doesn't draw much current, nor will my Macbook pro. When we're using 120vac things, other things will be turned off. I think using hte propane coffeemaker will help. A residential fridge sounds like a massive power drain and our priorities might be a bit different. I'd be far more partial to a full-on mini freezer I could bolt down in the area vacated by the dinette. Lots more interested in that. We're really not dinette people.


 You can certainly charge 200AH worth of batteries in a day with solar only assuming no clouds. Factor in summer/winter, the lowered efficiency of panels if not tilted and you might even be able to keep them charged long term with no generator or shore power. You will still find 200AH limiting. Even if they are Li batteries you can probably only effectively use 120-130 on a daily basis so how much does that get you. Your typical flat screen uses on t(e order of 100 watts or about 1 amp AC which is 10 amp DC so it’s 10AH per hour of use. At 3 hours a day that’s 30AH. Your propane fridge and all the other DC loads also use power so figure another 60-70AH per day minimum for that. Your typical small freezer runs on the order of 60 watts or about 0.5 amp AC which is 5 amps DC. Assume it runs 25% of the time so that’s another 30AH per day minimum for the freezer. Pretty soon you ain’t got enough battery, that’s 130AH per day just for the above which is getting pretty close to what your Li batteries can give you even if you can charge every day which you can’t. I didn’t include the laptop, amp, phone, etc. 

Figuring the load is just math...it ain’t hard...you should take a careful look at the actual loads you have and what they require from the battery along with effective solar charging rate in winter with low sun angles on cloudy days. 

Can you do it with 200AH, 500 watts of solar and no generator? Maybe but I’m guessing not really...and even if you can you will be right on the edge of no remaining capacity in the batteries almost on a daily basis...and that doesn’t take the long term viability of a power lifestyle that low. 

BTW...little likelihood of converting the MBP to DC power...you’ll need an inverter for it and at 65 watts power supply and 2-3 charging hours per day it’s another 15ish AH per day per laptop. Phones and tablets will be less but not 0. 



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“American industry: don't care.”
"Americans" in southern states: don't care.”
“Not. My. Problem. Not. Any. More.”

I care about my fellow Americans.
I want them comfortable and happy.
I care about American industry that employs my fellow Americans and makes available gasoline, food, TTs, SUVs...

I care.


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LarryW21 wrote:

I care about my fellow Americans.
I want them comfortable and happy.
I care about American industry that employs my fellow Americans and makes available gasoline, food, TTs, SUVs...

I care.


OK.



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Neil and Connie wrote:

 You can certainly charge 200AH worth of batteries in a day with solar only assuming no clouds. Factor in summer/winter, the lowered efficiency of panels if not tilted and you might even be able to keep them charged long term with no generator or shore power. You will still find 200AH limiting. Even if they are Li batteries you can probably only effectively use 120-130 on a daily basis so how much does that get you. Your typical flat screen uses on t(e order of 100 watts or about 1 amp AC which is 10 amp DC so it’s 10AH per hour of use. At 3 hours a day that’s 30AH. Your propane fridge and all the other DC loads also use power so figure another 60-70AH per day minimum for that. Your typical small freezer runs on the order of 60 watts or about 0.5 amp AC which is 5 amps DC. Assume it runs 25% of the time so that’s another 30AH per day minimum for the freezer. Pretty soon you ain’t got enough battery, that’s 130AH per day just for the above which is getting pretty close to what your Li batteries can give you even if you can charge every day which you can’t. I didn’t include the laptop, amp, phone, etc. 

Figuring the load is just math...it ain’t hard...you should take a careful look at the actual loads you have and what they require from the battery along with effective solar charging rate in winter with low sun angles on cloudy days. 

Can you do it with 200AH, 500 watts of solar and no generator? Maybe but I’m guessing not really...and even if you can you will be right on the edge of no remaining capacity in the batteries almost on a daily basis...and that doesn’t take the long term viability of a power lifestyle that low. 

BTW...little likelihood of converting the MBP to DC power...you’ll need an inverter for it and at 65 watts power supply and 2-3 charging hours per day it’s another 15ish AH per day per laptop. Phones and tablets will be less but not 0. 


 Well, I agree, but we will see. Is it not so, that excess charging juice from the batteries finds its way onto the inverter for use as AC power? No? Old wives tale. Oh well.

Also, we will be fulltimers. Summers wherever, winters will be spent at the wonderful, bright and quite weird Coyote Howls RV park, in Why, AZ. $550 a year for dry camping but with water (pretty nasty but you can shower in it), dump stations, and yes, all  that Arizona sunshine charging up my two big boys. At the prices I can get those batteries for in China, I may finish up the bank with a third, and add an extra panel to charge it. That third panel will be used, though tested and inspected by a friend in the know.

By the way, it's 400AH of battery, not 200. Two 200AH batteries. I'm also considering using reflectors to increase the amount of useful light hitting the panel at any given time. Sunny days, they will scream (I have read this is so) and while it may bugger the warranty, I'm buying the  panels from China, so I assume no warranty, anyway. Hoping to find a way to reflect in a less harsh, more diffuse manner. That used panel will CERTAINLY get a lot of reflected light.

WRT charging, does it make a difference I'm using higher-voltage panels (24v) into the controller? I have read in more than one place, using higher voltage panels helps increase the input voltage to the batteries more to more like 13.4, Which is the actual charging voltage for caer batteries. You might be right, I don't know. I  do know (and this makes me sad) I will have to sell my beloved near-field monitor speakers. At 100W a side, just ain't happenin'.

I'd love to see what would happen if I plugged my 30-watt, 1959 Fender Super clone. That's 30 watts to the speakers. Tube power. I wonder how fast it'd pop and how much would be fused?

 



-- Edited by Old_Man on Tuesday 30th of January 2018 08:48:41 PM



-- Edited by Old_Man on Tuesday 30th of January 2018 10:25:26 PM

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Most solar installs feed DC into the batteries directly so any excess would go through the inverter to AC loads assuming you had any running…but it really depends on the particulars of your install…are you going to use a single full sine wave inverter/charger or separate inverter and charger for when you're charging the batteries from the AC side of the electrical system.

With 400 AH total…you'll be better able to make it from today overnight to tomorrow as far as battery capacity goes…but with just 500 watts of solar and 400 AH of batteries…if you are in the 150AH from fully charged range in the morning you might have a hard time getting full before sundown. Unless you tilt the panels (I'm not sure that reflectors will do much good) then you're going to lose efficiency and even if they are tilted you're still going to lose efficiency in the early and late daylight hours as the sun moves. Our experience is that you'll get 3-5 hours of maximum solar output…and even with tilted panels you'll probably not get more than 350-375 watts to the panels…at the normal charging rate of 13-14 volts that's on the order of 26 amps max charging rate…but you can only charge them at the bulk rate until about 80ish percent full…after that the charging circuitry lowers the voltage in the Absorb mode.

With our 800 watts of non tilted panels…we're lucky to actually get 120AH per day of solar charging…they just don't put out enough capacity to effectively bulk charge but do for the absorb and float phases in your better designed 3 stage chargers…because I fire up my Honda 2000 for the bulk charge phase and by the time you get to the absorb/float phases. Based on some ****tail napkin calculations I did once…I would get about 200AH per day total if I let them do the bulk as well but then I would never get the batteries full before sundown.

I haven't run the specific numbers…but with 400 AH of batteries and assuming they're down to 60-70% charge by sunrise…I would tend to doubt that 500 watts of solar would get them fully charged anytime but in the pretty far south regions of the US in the summer…longer daylight hours in the summer…but the higher panel temps caused by the longer daytime period and higher ambient temp further reduce the efficiency of the panels.

Higher voltage panels mean less voltage loss as delivered to the solar panel controller…but the output to the batteries is at a lower voltage to match the battery charging characteristics. These losses can be partially overcome by large enough wiring down to the controller and to the battery…bigger wires are almost always better in this respect as long as space allows at the junction boxes and various terminals.

You'll also need to figure out whether to wire the panels in series or parallel…there are pros and cons to both…as well as taking account any shadows on the panels from antenna, A/C unit shrouds, etc…and the shadow effect is different if they are in series rather than in parallel. 

Best would be to check out some of pages put up by folks that know a lot more about this than we do…Jack Mayer at jackdanmayer.com is one as is one of our forum members who installs solar for a living…there's a lot more to doing solar than it seems.



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“Don't forget, I'm charging 200ah batteries. So I will get plenty of power from those beasts.“

Two hundred amp hour RV batteries are not beasts. T125s are 240 and the T145s are 260. Very common.

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LarryW21 wrote:

“Don't forget, I'm charging 200ah batteries. So I will get plenty of power from those beasts.“

Two hundred amp hour RV batteries are not beasts. T125s are 240 and the T145s are 260. Very common.


 Sadly, you can only use half their charge without damaging them. Doesn't that make them like, 130?



-- Edited by Old_Man on Friday 2nd of February 2018 10:18:51 PM

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“Damaging” RV batteries doesn’t just occur at a 50% SOC. It is progressive. Battery cycle life is diminished by using electricy only to 90%. It’s your personal tolerance...how many cycles do you want out of this battery or these batteries? See www.trojanbattery.com/products/deep-cycle-flooded/signature-line-flooded-2/ To advise anyone that damage only happens at or below 50% is in error.

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My point being, the 200AH lithium-ion offers a better long-term solution without the worry of explosive gases created by flooded lead-acid batteries. Different strokes.

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Explosive gases? Lithiums high cost eliminates the potential wet battery explosion but the average RVer still has propane and gasoline which can explode. Lithium has other issues however too. Store wet batteries outside and don’t smoke around them and the explosion rate goes to near zero. See - batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/safety_concerns_with_li_ion. Fairly good article.

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Well, we can agree to disagree. I'm just not interested in having flooded, lead-acid batteries back there. I will have one less explosive thing to worry about back there and that will add to my happiness.

Good enough for me.

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If you buy directly from Renogy their 100AH lithium battery is $900, so two are $1,800 plus tax. See www.renogy.com/renogy-lithium-iron-phosphate-battery-12-volt-100ah/ Using 90% of these batteries charge yields 180 amp hours. Ten bucks per useable amp hour.

A six volt Trojan T105 with 225 amp hours is $158.44. Times two = $316.88 but times four and giving 360 twelve volt AHs to a 60% SOC is only $633.76. About a buck seventy-six per useable amp hour. See www.ecodirect.com/Trojan-Battery-T105-p/trojan-battery-t105.htm

If the number of cycles promised by lithium manufacturers holds true, two to ten times wet batteries, three thousand cycles would seem to me to be the break even point but with less usable AHs. In a lab or a stationary place, might work but bouncing down the road, I’m not sure. No plugin RVer needs lithium or even four T105s. Very limited market.



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It's limited in the US because US companies gouge on batteries they assemble from Chinese parts. So, no, I won't be buying the batteries from anyone in the US. I can get two 12V 200ah batteries from a vendor in China for about $1500, shipped. Maybe a little less, I have to contact my guy. But there are options if you're proactive enough to seek them out.

I used to care about buying American until I saw how successful Wal Mart and Amazon became, selling mostly Chinese goods. Americans buy those Chinese goods. So I guess I will, too, and I won't feel guilty about it.

But, again, the factors you point out are not relevant to me. I'm not interested in what others do, if it doesn't align with what I'm doing. I wish you only the best with your setup, may it give you years of clean energy, without having to pay the electrical utilities a f-n nickel.

Battery from China...



-- Edited by Old_Man on Sunday 4th of February 2018 03:49:40 PM

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Explosions seem to be your main issue. While camping all my life I’ve only been RVing since 1978. No explosions in my RVs. No observed battery explosions. No conversations with anyone experiencing a battery explosion. No conversations with anyone observing a battery explosion. IMO this equals chance of a battery explosion are...low.

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LarryW21 wrote:

Explosions seem to be your main issue. While camping all my life I’ve only been RVing since 1978. No explosions in my RVs. No observed battery explosions. No conversations with anyone experiencing a battery explosion. No conversations with anyone observing a battery explosion. IMO this equals chance of a battery explosion are...low.


Oh, wow, way to disregard everything else I wrote. I must ask, why do you care what batteries I use or why I use them? Gotta say, it seems like you're taking something personally. Please don't.

BTW, wrt explosions, it only takes once. No lead-acid batteries outside the engine compartment anywhere in my home!!!

Where my wife sleeps...

Where my kitties play with their toys.

Why, sir, are you trying to convince me? If you think I'm on a bad path that's ok, but honestly, I'll find out for myself, thank you, sir. Spring's coming, summer's behind that. Have a wonderful summer and I hope you have total peace of mind. Catch a bunch of fish!!!

How about those Eagles?



-- Edited by Old_Man on Sunday 4th of February 2018 08:54:13 PM



-- Edited by Old_Man on Sunday 4th of February 2018 08:55:40 PM



-- Edited by Old_Man on Sunday 4th of February 2018 08:56:16 PM



-- Edited by Old_Man on Sunday 4th of February 2018 09:30:05 PM



-- Edited by Old_Man on Sunday 4th of February 2018 09:41:07 PM



-- Edited by Old_Man on Sunday 4th of February 2018 10:22:57 PM



-- Edited by Old_Man on Sunday 4th of February 2018 10:24:07 PM

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DING  DING DING, new information. In order to make use of it, you'll need a little pioneer spirit.

I've been running around the notion of the cost of lithium iron batteries like a rat around a piece of cheese in the trap. How the hell am I going to do this thing and not get screwed with my pants on?

A some surfing, a few surprising but pleasant discoveries, and a realization staring me in the face...I don't need to deal with China all that much. It's not that I don't want to but based on what I know about how much they charge for shipping (don't ask) the prices I found were advantageous, without that hassle.

PM me for details, I was 'warned' once already for a similar post, even though I'm not working for anyone and have nothing to gain but a smile if I manage to help someone. But if you need a winter project and want to save some money, ping me. I might be able to help. If you're using lead-acid, I can't help. I just don't know that much about them except I think I can do better, even if the up-front costs are higher.

biggrin

 



-- Edited by Old_Man on Tuesday 13th of February 2018 04:48:27 AM

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So this has been a long debate and I have waited patiently for it to move toward a discussion about the balance between solar and generators.  If I am not wrong there is no one who believes that solar can provide for 100 percent of your power needs.  Clouds and weather happen.

I also believe that there are few RV'ers who have an unlimited budget to solve the power problem.  So if you pick any budget number it must include a generator or two to get to a final solution.

I'm not a solar fan.  I like to park in the shade when I can.  We like to boondock and dry camp.  For the last five years we have relied on a big battery bank and 2 generators.  The small Honda is used when we want quiet, the big noisy Onan is for when we want more power.  For our style of RV'ing this combo has worked fine.

If I had only a small budget, say 5000.00, I would still need to devote almost half of it towards a small generator.

Does this make sense, tell me what you think.



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Russ, if it works for you, great. If you are alright with the issues related to using generators frequently to supply power into batteries or for direct use... I say then, have at it.  Who are we to say otherwise. As to generators vs solar panels.... generators run on fuel, that can be an issue all by itself, potentially causing power interuption issues just like solar  has WRT weather and time of day.  There is no perfect solution.  

JHMO



-- Edited by BiggarView on Thursday 15th of February 2018 03:31:07 PM

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Brian,

I agree with you that there is no perfect solution.  But I think the combination of solar and generator will bring you to the best solution.  If I only RV'd in the southwest all solar would be more attractive, but not perfect.

This last year we spent our summer in Glacier National Park followed by Banff and Jasper National Parks in Canada.  All those darn trees would make trying to live with solar difficult.

All I was bringing to the discussion was that for many RV'rs generators may be a necessary evil.

If someone would make a silent generator they would be rich.  Honda seems to come as close as anyone.



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5 months - Winters in sunny Mazatlan, Mexico

6 months - Wandering the USA in our Holiday Rambler Endeavor 40' PDT Motorhome

1 month - International Travel -16 countries, so far

http://grandbanksruss.blogspot.com



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Russ Ranger wrote:

So this has been a long debate and I have waited patiently for it to move toward a discussion about the balance between solar and generators.  If I am not wrong there is no one who believes that solar can provide for 100 percent of your power needs.  Clouds and weather happen.

I also believe that there are few RV'ers who have an unlimited budget to solve the power problem.  So if you pick any budget number it must include a generator or two to get to a final solution.

I'm not a solar fan.  I like to park in the shade when I can.  We like to boondock and dry camp.  For the last five years we have relied on a big battery bank and 2 generators.  The small Honda is used when we want quiet, the big noisy Onan is for when we want more power.  For our style of RV'ing this combo has worked fine.

If I had only a small budget, say 5000.00, I would still need to devote almost half of it towards a small generator.

Does this make sense, tell me what you think.


 You can buy cabling that allows you to put the panels in a ground rack in the sun, while your rig is in the shade. I understand it's less convenient than mounting the panels on the roof - except you have to park in the sun. So I'll do the inconvenient thing and use ground mount rather than roof mount. Pretty simple workaround, really. Big, honkin' wire for the extension cables. That's my plan. If I have a genset, it'll be a portable, Honda, Yammy, something not an Onan. Stanky and loud. No, thank you, and I'll thank you to shut yours off at 2200. No midnight movies for YOU!!! /soupnazi



-- Edited by Old_Man on Thursday 15th of February 2018 04:21:34 PM



-- Edited by Old_Man on Thursday 15th of February 2018 04:21:54 PM

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Old Man,

I'm on my third Onan.  You are right, they can be noisy beasts.  My latest is a shielded unit and I can say it is much better.  I hate the sound of a generator as much as the next guy, therefore I purchased a very quiet Honda for daytime use when we might disturb other campers.  We don't ever run a generator at night.

Put yourself in the position I found myself.  We are in the middle of nowhere New Mexico at City of Rocks.  We wake up to find our batteries too low to start our engine.  It's not a good way to start your morning.  There are few options out in the middle of nowhere.  We got our trustly little Honda generator out to save the day. 

 



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5 months - Winters in sunny Mazatlan, Mexico

6 months - Wandering the USA in our Holiday Rambler Endeavor 40' PDT Motorhome

1 month - International Travel -16 countries, so far

http://grandbanksruss.blogspot.com



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Russ Ranger wrote:

...

If someone would make a silent generator they would be rich.  Honda seems to come as close as anyone.


You mean they can't make it silent like Steven Seagal did to a gun in "Under Seige"... tape a 2 litre (or liter depending on your "English") Coke bottle to the tail pipe.  biggrin

Kidding aside... I'm with you... a combo approach seems to be a great compromise solution for most applications.  Lower budget may restrict to predominately genny power. But not necessarily... everybody has different goals and tolerances.

 



-- Edited by BiggarView on Thursday 15th of February 2018 07:26:46 PM

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Russ Ranger wrote:

Old Man,

I'm on my third Onan.  You are right, they can be noisy beasts.  My latest is a shielded unit and I can say it is much better.  I hate the sound of a generator as much as the next guy, therefore I purchased a very quiet Honda for daytime use when we might disturb other campers.  We don't ever run a generator at night.

Put yourself in the position I found myself.  We are in the middle of nowhere New Mexico at City of Rocks.  We wake up to find our batteries too low to start our engine.  It's not a good way to start your morning.  There are few options out in the middle of nowhere.  We got our trustly little Honda generator out to save the day. 

 


 Russ, I'm not knocking that, at all. I just don't want to have to use a generator except maybe in bad weather, and then probably only to run the furnace. I'd probably have to run the generator for an hour, a couple times a month, just to make sure the cylinder walls don't start corroding. I wonder how difficult it would be to do a major overhaul on a Honda generator?



-- Edited by Old_Man on Friday 16th of February 2018 11:27:35 AM

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Our little Honda just keeps on ticking along for 8 years now.  I only use it as a back-up if the battery bank is low.  The four wet cell house batteries work well with the inverter to meet our needs.  We have become very thrifty in our power consumption during the last five years.  Water heater, fridge and furnace all run on propane.  LED lights use very little power.  We seldom use our TV but spend many hours on our computers.   All in all we don't use much power.

13 years of boating in our trawler taught us to be fugal, power wise.  Those years really taught us to hate the sound of an Onan.  We learned to change our habits so that we could keep our generator hours to a minimum.  That was the time when we bought our first little Honda.  When we were at anchor and we needed power I would place it up on the bow and we could barely hear it on the aft deck.

I'm not ruling out adding a few more solar panels to the new-to-us motorhome, but I will have to see the need before we spend the bucks.  Time will tell.  Five years with none has not hurt us.

Remember everyone uses their RV in a different way.  We don't sit in any one place for long, so our needs are different than many.



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Travel since July 2013

5 months - Winters in sunny Mazatlan, Mexico

6 months - Wandering the USA in our Holiday Rambler Endeavor 40' PDT Motorhome

1 month - International Travel -16 countries, so far

http://grandbanksruss.blogspot.com



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I recently read a new Blog post HandyBob done. Very good info to read.

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"I just don't want to have to use a generator except maybe in bad weather"

On this, Old Man and I completely agree.

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LarryW21 wrote:

"I just don't want to have to use a generator except maybe in bad weather"

On this, Old Man and I completely agree.


 Fn things are noisy and stinky. I'd like to say I don't want to use a generator because I want to be quiet for my neighbors, but in truth, I want it quiet for me. Our intent is to be in SW Arizona (Coyote Howls, baby!!!) all winter. Solar heaven, albeit it can get quite cold at night. I'll be up with the sun, pointing the panels. I'll shift them every could hours to get lots of juice out of the shortened solar day. Summer will be spent in more northern climes. Henry's lake, ID is looking REAL good for the summer. I'll have to scout three or four spots to camp so the BLM or USFS doesn't hassle me.

 

 



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