Good Sam Club Open Roads Forum: Travel Trailers: 100 watt Solar decision
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 > 100 watt Solar decision

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Brettmm92

North Carolina

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Posted: 06/27/20 09:31am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I'm planning on Boondocking for a few months, plan to run my phone, some lights and hopefully my refrigerator on a 100 watt solar panel charging the Travel Trailer Battery for a short time job.

After looking around I really like the harbor freight setup how it comes with lights and the charge controller has usb ports directly on it which makes me think that for my use, I wouldn't even need a power inverter. But I am pressed for time and don't have access to a harbor freight. I am going to rely on amazon shipping.

https://www.harborfreight.com/100-watt-solar-panel-kit-63585.html

But I see this on amazon and think it would be better cause of timely shipping but also I feel it would be more expandable in the future if I get serious about upgrading.


Amazon link renogy 100 watt Solar panel startup kit


I wish it was more like the Harbor freight where it came with lights and had usb ports on the charge controller as that's really all I need.

I was wondering if anyone had any insight on advice or maybe knows of a power inverter that would work for my situation.

I was also wondering if anyone knows if the harbor freight charge controller usb ports run directly from the panels or do they draw power from the battery or a mix of both. Specifically wondering when I could use lights from that. I could make a drive to a Harbor Freight but it really wouldn't be a cost effective or fun trip and it would suck if they didn't even have what I was looking for.

But I always appreciate y'alls input

* This post was edited 06/27/20 10:43am by Brettmm92 *

DarkSkySeeker

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Posted: 06/27/20 09:52am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

What kind of batteries do you have? That should be the next big question.


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2oldman

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Posted: 06/27/20 10:15am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Link that doesn't blow out margins

wanderingaimlessly

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Posted: 06/27/20 10:20am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Are you always going to be at the campsite?
Are these portable items likely to grow legs?
Will your trailer be moving frequently, if so it wont be charging on moving day.
Do you want to be setting up and taking them down frequently?
Do you have plenty of available storage for them?

You may want to look at a mounted system like this Kit
And roof mount it , and this controller will give you the flexibility to add one or even two more panels without having to buy a new controller.

Brettmm92

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Posted: 06/27/20 10:41am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My current Travel Trailer battery is dead, but I have planned to replace it with a 12 volt deep cycle.

Are you always going to be at the campsite?
-Almost always

Are these portable items likely to grow legs?
-I suppose everything is but I will have a spacious campsite.

Will your trailer be moving frequently, if so it wont be charging on moving day.
-No

Do you want to be setting up and taking them down frequently?
-I wouldn't mind if the setup works well

Do you have plenty of available storage for them?
-Never enough storage but I plan to store the panel on my bed while relocating.

Those are all thought provoking questions. Before I mount anything I wanna "get my feet wet" by starting out small. And only because I need my phone for work. And I think we all want or have wanted to do some type of solar setup. I'm not worried about them growing legs and might hook up my bike lock to it or something now that I'm thinking about it

And thanks for the link, I see a difference between that and the renogy one on amazon I was thinking about is that there is 2 additional connections on the charge controller. I'm assuming that's to hook up 12 volt things? Like are there lightbulbs or usb (phone) chargers that can hook up to that plug?

bob_nestor

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Posted: 06/27/20 10:54am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Unless you're really running the refrigerator on propane and only using the 12v for the control board, your setup won't work. The refrigerator running only on 12v for cooling will drain your batteries in a few hours or less.

If you are running on propane then your setup will probably work as long as you've got good sun for a decent amount of time striking the solar panel almost directly head-on. But unless you can recharge the batteries to full charge state every day you'll probably notice less and less battery power after a few days. (Unless you're using Lithium-Ion batteries.)

My previous RV was a Class B and I had a portable 120W solar panel. I used 12v only for the refrigerator control board, minimal lighting, and to run the furnace fan for a few minutes on cold mornings. With pretty good sun for long hours I found I could go about 3 or 4 days before the battery needed to be really fully recharged as the solar just wasn't getting me there. My batteries were deep cycle 6v flooded.

wanderingaimlessly

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Posted: 06/27/20 11:05am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I wouldn't worry that much about the USB on the controller. First are you going to put the controller near your workplace? Chances are with the portable setup it would be in the front storage compartment, basically out of reach.
Easier to go with something like the Renogy kit, (Its comparable to the one I sent you, and arguably a better brand) and then install a usb port inside, where you need it. If you have a 12 volt outlet, this video shows a nice little replacement which keeps the 12 volt outlet available, and gives two USB ports. You tube
Or you can just tap into a 12 volt light fixture and do the same thing.
And the extra contacts are not for powering things off the controllers generally, You still have to have a battery installed for most uses.

Lwiddis

Mono Basin National Forest Scenic Area

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Posted: 06/27/20 11:06am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

“Hoping” is ineffective regarding RV power. Do a survey of power use. Multiply by 1.5 and then double. That number is the minimum amp hours you need in batteries. For each battery amp hour you’ll need at lease one solar watt. Adequate controller based on maximum possible amp from the solar panels. Adequate wiring...no get one size bigger.


Winnebago 2101DS TT & 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 LTZ Z71, 300 watts solar-parallel & MPPT, Trojan T-125s. TALL pole for flags. Prefer USFS, COE, BLM, NPS, TVA, USF&WS, state & county camps. Bicyclist! 14 year Army vet - 11B40 then 11A - (MOS 1542 & 1560)


Brettmm92

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Posted: 06/27/20 11:44am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I'm wanting to run the refrigerator using propane but it's not a necessity but it would be nice to have it. Does the battery stop draining before it totally drains itself beyond being able to charge back up again? I'm hoping the furnace is what ate the battery up because I would really like to be optimistic about the fridge thing.

The USB outlet is interesting. Are the standard travel trailer lights 12 volt? I could imagine doing away with one light fixture and replacing it with one of those outlets. Do they run off the battery that's installed on the tongue of the Travel Trailer? I've noticed when I hookup the 7 pin to my truck the lights work but my battery has always been dead so I don't know what it enables for use other than the trailer e brake when it's functinoing.

Also I watched a well done "experiment" on the renogy solar panel alongside other panels and the brand "HQST" seems to be the same thing for cheaper, rebranded. I'm starting to think about getting the panel, charge controller seperately the more I look into it.
Here's the link Solar Panel Test

But the main advantage about these vs. the harbor freight is that I believe you can upgrade the charge controllers, inverters and wiring in the future and mount them on the roof in a series with other panels which would be pretty cool

DarkSkySeeker

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Posted: 06/27/20 11:49am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

bob_nestor wrote:

...unless you can recharge the batteries to full charge state every day you'll probably notice less and less battery power after a few days...

So true

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