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RE: Quest for Quality Small RV

Most of the smaller motorhomes are now built on the Transit or Sprinter platform. Neither are as "robust" as the E450.
theoldwizard1 01/22/21 05:23pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: Calling on Solar Techies

$1200 and you haven't even got to buy solar panels. You are also forgetting that shipping solar panels IS expensive. They don't ship em for free. You are 100% correct ! Shipping panels will kill any online "discount" price. OP WANTED to keep the "cost" at $1500, now you are encouraging them to sink even more money into a system that is going to cost $2500 and more. If you live anywhere near a big city, I'll bet you can find 400W worth of polycrystalline solar panels within 100 miles for under $300. Heck the "puresine" inverter that you pointed out alone ate up HALF the OPs budget.. Quality and easy of installation and operation, as you have pointed out, aren't cheap ! Haven't even got to the batteries yet. OP said they were going to be replaced and inferred that was not in the solar budget. OP will need at a min of 500W-600W of panels to pull off using a microwave and coffee pot.. The two highest power draws.. And I suspect that is not enough.. Or run the generator for an hour or two a day. You just have to make sure there is enough energy left in the AM for that first shot of caffeine ! That is a great thing with solar, you can add on when ever you get the money, you do not HAVE to lay out a lot of cash up front, ... I'm not sure I agree with that statement. Sure you can add panels, but if you bought an inexpensive charge controller, you will be replacing it. Same for the inverter. You can buy an "off brand" 2000W inverter for around $300. Will it last ? Transfer switch, under $100. 60A "smart" charger, about $250 Lots of wiring !
theoldwizard1 01/18/21 03:37pm Tech Issues
RE: Calling on Solar Techies

If I were starting over I would go to 48 volts. Interesting ! 48V is expensive because of the number of battery cells required. At 48V that charge controller has PLENTY of expansion capability.
theoldwizard1 01/18/21 03:13pm Tech Issues
RE: Calling on Solar Techies

Takes a lot of solar, battery AND MONEY to make the system you long for, way above your budget. Why does everyone keep saying this ! Victron SmartSolar MPPT 100/50 Charge Controller - $325 Amazon Victron SmartShunt Battery Monitor - $130 Amazon Samlex EVO-1212F-HW Pure Sine Inverter/Charger - $745 Amazon That is $1200 ! If you shop hard, you should be able to find 200W polycrystalline solar panels for under $200 each. ($150 a piece would be a very good deal at 75ยข/watt, but do-able) Add mounting hardware and some wiring and yes, you will probably be up around $1700 (If I was building this for myself, I would want 600W of solar and a 2000W inverter and I would use a 24V battery bank but that would be over $2000.)
theoldwizard1 01/17/21 10:44pm Tech Issues
RE: Calling on Solar Techies

You can do it for $1500 provided you give up the inverter/charger and just have a 2000 watt quality inverter. That means no transfer switch, and no hybrid 'load support' operation, either. In 2005 I was able to do 256 watts for $1700.00. I had to cheap out on the inverter, using a Cobra 2500 msw that was rated to run motors. It was an additional $199. Are those US or Canadian prices ? The cost of solar panels has come down a lot since 2005.
theoldwizard1 01/17/21 07:00pm Tech Issues
RE: Calling on Solar Techies

Kits are a rip-off if you are the least bit handy and get the parts yourself. Panels where you can pick them up yourself and not pay shipping too. Concur !
theoldwizard1 01/17/21 06:22pm Tech Issues
RE: Calling on Solar Techies

WOW ! We have a bunch "negative Nancies" here ! The "devil is in the details". Must haves are. 3 minute electric coffee maker once a day Small microwave 2 minutes 3 times a day satellite dish 4 hrs a day 40" tv 4 hrs per 24" tv 4 hrs per day Led lighting The heavy duty loads are the coffee maker and the micro wave. The basic Mr. Coffee 12 cup coffee maker draws 900 watts. The 6 cup, only 600 watts. A full size microwave uses about 1200-1500 watts. Smaller ones can be under 1000 watts. Most microwaves draw full power for some period of time even when set at 50%. They then shutdown for some period of time so the item being cooked does not overheat. A couple of years ago, Panasonic came out with an "inverter" microwave. Its benefit is 50% means 50% power consumption continuously ! So if you want to cook something on full power, you will have to use your generator. I would have to run the generator 4hrs a day to maintain batteries. That sounds like a long time. I would expect with your current batteries that they should be fully recharged in less than 2 hours. If you have the original converter/charger, I'll bet there are better ones out there. If I can't do a solar system under $1500 to power my basic needs I may have to go with a hybrid plan of solar plus generator. You are ALWAYS going to need a generator as a backup ! Don't leave home without it ! The question is, how much will you need it ? This is where a good battery monitor (like the Victron I linked before) is important. With 480 amp-hours of battery, you should have enough energy left in the morning to make coffee and warm up some pastries WITHOUT having to fire up the generator. Late afternoon/early evening, check the monitor. If your batteries are not 100%, fire up the generator. Here is an important detail about the Samlex EVO 1212 https://i.imgur.com/e37B9acl.jpg I will also do a 3 step "smart charge" at up to 60A ! Sorry I can not be more helpful on recommending solar panels, but Victron makes very good charge controllers. Victron SmartSolar MPPT 75V 10 amp Solar Charge Controller with Bluetooth Those two items would cost you about $830. That leaves you $670 for solar panels and wiring. EDIT : I forgot the Victron SmartShunt Battery Monitor - $130 Amazon
theoldwizard1 01/17/21 06:20pm Tech Issues
RE: Calling on Solar Techies

We do all most all our dry camping in Wyoming in the summer Good ! Lot's of sun but I am sure it is chilly in the morning. I would like to switch the conversation to best product for the least cost. Research on inverters shows a wide price variation $200 to $800 on 1500/2000 watt inverters with comparable reviews? TRUE ! The common brand names (Hart, Xantrex, Samlex) command high prices but put all the functionality you want in one package (ease of installation and operation) This one is a bit small (1200 watts), but it still does everything you want, without the generator start function. Samlex EVO-1212F-HW Pure Sine Inverter/Charger - $744 Amazon Only one review on Amazon, but it is 5 star. Most other Samlex products also got 5 star reviews.
theoldwizard1 01/17/21 12:59pm Tech Issues
RE: Calling on Solar Techies

I will forget the idea of electric heat but would like to be able to power Tv's, Satellite, USB charger, Furnace if needed and a coffee maker once a day plus a small microwave for 10 minutes a day. I will research a 1500 to 2000 watt pure sine inverter with smart charger and built in transfer switch. This one is a bit small (1200 watts), but it still does everything you want, without the generator start function. Samlex EVO-1212F-HW Pure Sine Inverter/Charger - $744 Amazon Is a all in one inverter the way to go or would going with separate units be more practical for purpose of replacement and cost? For ease of installation and operation an "all in one" is the way to go. I would not be concerned about replacement if you buy a good quality unit. Standalone units from less common companies (Chinese) are much cheaper Reliable 2000W Pure Sine Wave Inverter - $309 Amazon. (Yes, this is direct from China, but is gotten a lot of good reviews on YouTube.) No automatic transfer switch and you have to rely on your solar and converter to charge the batteries. An automatic transfer switch could be added but the wiring is non-trivial.
theoldwizard1 01/17/21 12:38pm Tech Issues
RE: Calling on Solar Techies

I have been thinking of going solar for some time and decided to pull the plug. . . . I wanted to build the solar system with that option open and reduce the consumption of propane and the need to frequently refill the tanks. Stepping back and looking at the "big picture". What 1L243 needs to understand is that any solar power system needs to have a backup ! Propane is NOT a good backup for electric power unless you have a propane powered generator. A good backup would be a generator OR a DC-DC battery charger so you can recharge your battery bank from your tow vehicle. Either should charge a depleted battery bank ! I would like a blue tooth controller and a automatic transfer switch and a auto smart charger. With automatic transfer switch and smart charger, the only other thing you need is a Bluetooth battery monitor like Victron SmartShunt Battery Monitor
theoldwizard1 01/17/21 11:03am Tech Issues
RE: Calling on Solar Techies

I wish, that instead of getting a generator when I went full time, that I had redone the solar with a massive upgrade. The OP would have to at least DOUBLE his solar charging and battery storage in order to run that heater. Even then, he may not have enough power left at the end of a cloudy day to run his furnace.
theoldwizard1 01/17/21 10:34am Tech Issues
RE: Calling on Solar Techies

For example, Michigan ranks 47th out of the 48 continual states in available sunshine. You don't have to remind me ! (Looking out the window at another cloudy day !)
theoldwizard1 01/17/21 10:29am Tech Issues
RE: Calling on Solar Techies

Of course I want the best system for the least amount of money. The big issue with going solar/battery is how fast do you use the energy stored in the batteries It is very similar to driving with your RV. 80 MPH will use a lot more gas than 55 MPH ! . Also, if you really want to drive 80 MPH, you are going to need a bigger, MORE EXPENSIVE engine ! "You get what you pay for" is true in this case ! (More below.) I was thinking of going with a 3000 watt pure sine inverter they tend to be on the expensive side. Unless you want to run your coffee pot, toaster and microwave all at the same time, 2000 watts should be adequate. That said We do not do a lot of winter camping but I wanted to build the solar system with that option open and reduce the consumption of propane and the need to frequently refill the tanks. But it is easier to refill a propane tank (or maybe gasoline for a generator) than to increase the amount of sunshine on a cloudy day ! Typically when we do use a heater it's during the day at night we switch to furnace which keep a things from freezing. Again, but like driving at 80 MPH. You might run out of fuel (energy in the batteries) before you get to your destination (energy in the batteries to run the furnace fan). It it best to look for a kit? or buy individual components? I plan on installing the system myself. Depending on how much of a DIY person you are and how much you want to "assemble" parts you can save a lot of money ! The simplest, but most expensive, solution is to buy a combination inverter/charger/automatic transfer switch, like a Samlex EVO-2212. Remove your existing converter and connect the DC distribution panel (fuse panel) directly to your batteries and disconnect the AC Shore power (outside plug). Installing the inverter/charger/transfer switch requires only 3 electrical connections. Connect the AC power that used to go into the converter, connect the AC output to the AC breaker panel, connect the DC output to your battery bank. YOU ARE DONE ! If you buy all of the components separately, directly from some Chinese manufacturers, you will save a lot of money ! Hooking them together properly is up to you.
theoldwizard1 01/17/21 10:28am Tech Issues
RE: Converting to 12v fridge Canada question

I went straight 12V vs 120V and an inverter. Why run the inverter if you don't have to. Yes you can run the 120V fridge on 120V elec hookup while camping. You can run the 12V fridge on 120V as well using the TT's converter. Anyone considering changing to a 120VAC refrigerator with a pure sine wave inverter, should consider getting an inverter/charger/automatic transfer switch. It will make your life much easier ! Remove your old converter. Hook the DC distribution (fuse) panel directly to your battery bank. Connect the inverter/charger/transfer switch to the battery bank. All "shore power" (the external power cord) goes directly to the inverter/charger/transfer switch which then feeds all AC outlet in your RV. You're done ! No switches to change when changing power !! "Top on the line" models have a separate input for your generator and an auto-start output.
theoldwizard1 01/16/21 08:34pm Do It Yourself Modifications and Upgrades (DIY)
RE: Group 27 deep cycle battery + 2000W inverter

As other will tell you a Group 27 battery is not a "true" deep discharge battery. The only true deep discharge lead acid batteries are 6V golf cart batteries, size GC2. (One marine/RC Group 27 battery has about 80 amp-hours of power @ 12V; 2 golf cart batteries have about 215 amp-hours of power @ 12V.) There are too many variables to answer your question. Size of the refrigerator and the amount of power it draws is the first one. Ambient temperature is number two. Assuming that the refrigerator starts fully cooled with fully cooled contents and YOU DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR, maybe 12 hours.
theoldwizard1 01/16/21 08:24pm Tech Issues
RE: Honda 2000i tips and tricks for changing oil.

more expensive, but more useful for other things Form-a-funnel
theoldwizard1 01/16/21 02:10pm Beginning RVing
RE: Converting to 12v fridge Canada question

FYI, based on some comments. There IS such a thing as a compressor refrigerator. It uses a compressor that looks a lot like a standard refrigerator compressor. The real question is, do you go 12VDC or 120VAC with a pure sine wave inverter ?
theoldwizard1 01/16/21 02:06pm Do It Yourself Modifications and Upgrades (DIY)
RE: 60a DC-to-DC Charger Powered by 220a Alternator

Also, a major wiring upgrade will be needed. This is how I did it I VEHEMNTLY DISAGREE ! The whole point of a DC-DC charger is to NOT require oversized charging cables ! It boost the voltage at the RV battery to the correct voltage to charge the battery using the standard vehicle/trailer wiring ! Even with your large gauge wire, you should check the voltage at your campers battery after about 10 minutes of driving and at high idle. If the battery is say 80% SOC, the voltage at the camper battery should be >14.0V.
theoldwizard1 01/12/21 12:12pm Tech Issues
RE: 60a DC-to-DC Charger Powered by 220a Alternator

Hi, Does anyone know if the V-10 has Battery Charge Protect? From my research, Battery Charge Protect was only offered for a couple of years (pre 2012 ?) and only on F-Series SuperDuty. This should not be confused with the "High Idle" option, which I think is still available, and used primarily with vehicles that have a PTO for things like hydraulic pumps. My guess is that Ford dropped the option because the "smart charging" system actually did the job at no additional cost.
theoldwizard1 01/12/21 12:04pm Tech Issues
RE: Using a Cellular Tablet?

I concur for older people, you really need a 10" tablet (kind of hoping that Amazon come out with a Fire 12 or 13). I would not pay extra for built in cellular capability. Either use your existing phone for a hot spot OR, better yet, put the money into buying a cell phone to wifi adapter/router that has external antennas. You can use smaller antennas inside the vehicle or larger ones outside the vehicle when parked. Many to choose from. Some, like the WiFiRanger mount the router inside and external housing, so do not. You will have to spend some time looking at various models. This 4G LTE Router WiFi mounts inside. The two "paddle" antennas can be replaced with cables going to external antennas for better long distance reception.
theoldwizard1 01/12/21 11:46am Technology Corner
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