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 > 100 watt Solar decision

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Brettmm92

North Carolina

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Posted: 07/04/20 10:39am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Gdetrailer, you have a good point about sams club. Unofrtunately it just wouldn't work in my situation as getting to one isn't an option. But I did find a great groupon for sams club that makes it only 35 dollars a year and comes with 30$ worth of "egift cards!"

groupon sams club memebership

But if napa or the interstate dealer wasnt so close, my other options would be to go with 12 volt batteries or just do without. And I did get one of the higher end deep cell "they call it extreme cycle" batteries and the 400$ includes the core charge which seems to be hidden or not shown in advertising.

And I do the "workamping" thing so I'm kind of all in on using my trailer. The other option would to be without electricity, but now that I am really getting a feel for everything I'm pretty excited to set this stuff up.

Pianotuna, I can definitely see situations where I wouldn't want to get on the roof especially since I dont have a ladder and have to get creative to get up there. And another thing is that I can see situations where the parking won't cooperate with the angle of the panels.

Maybe I would consider the SiO2 batteries. But I do know that I'm selling my camper eventually so i's just not worth it to me. But the golf cart batteries seem to be a good fit.

And after looking for a fuse or breaker solution, I decided to buy these things, 17$ for 12 inline car like fuses that just need to be "butt crimped" to existing wires. Seemed like a cheap and easy solution that will enable me to put them on whatever I want and have a stash of leftover fuses if they do blow. Seems to be a pretty good deal. Don't I just need to put them on the positive end of things? Wouldn't putting one on a ground and one on a positive of something (like an inverter) be a waste?

inline fuses

pianotuna

Regina, SK, Canada

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Posted: 07/04/20 10:53am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

A 30 amp fuse @ 12 volts = 360 watts

Such a fuse for an inverter may be fairly useless.

You could, in theory, wire several in parallel, but I DO NOT recommend it and it is NOT best practise. (written when I thought it was a 2000 watt inverter).

It is much better to have one fuse that covers the size of wire you are using for the inverter. Carry one or two spares.

If you are selling the RV why are you getting new batteries at all? Use up what you have already. Set up the solar on the ground--and keep it for the next RV.

* This post was last edited 07/05/20 02:07am by pianotuna *   View edit history


Regards, Don
My ride is a 28 foot Class C, 256 watts solar, 556 amp hours of AGM in two battery banks 12 volt batteries, 3000 watt Magnum hybrid inverter, Sola Basic Autoformer, Microair Easy Start.

Brettmm92

North Carolina

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Posted: 07/04/20 11:25am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Whats the math on the fuse? I can actually change my order. I was going on 30A fuse based from the charge controller being 30 amps.

I got a really cheap cobra 400 watt modified sine inverter and want to use it safely.

Maybe I will keep the solar, but I'm thinking about enjoying the solar setup until late in the year. Without it the solar and my current plans I just wouldn't have electricity but me needing to be accessed by phone provoked the whole solar thing. And I actually don't have an RV battery because I junked it (recycled) after realizing it was dead.

Gdetrailer

PA

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Posted: 07/04/20 12:08pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Brettmm92 wrote:

And I actually don't have an RV battery because I junked it (recycled) after realizing it was dead.


You do not have the RV battery at all?

Hope you got something back when you "recycled" it.

You do realize that when you buy new batteries you WILL be charged a "core charge" if you do not have a battery to exchange?

ANY lead acid battery can be used for a core exchange from motorcycle to the largest lead acid battery that you cannot pick up.

Right now, my states mandated core charge is $18 per lead acid battery which if you are buying 2 GC2 batteries is gonna cost you $30-$40 on top of your purchase if you do not have any cores depending on your states core charge..

Brettmm92

North Carolina

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Posted: 07/04/20 12:30pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I'm afraid I don't. I actually haven't had one for like 2 years. And I just put it in the battery bin at the local dump. I now know that there will be a core charge. Just when I accepted planning to pay 160$ for each of the interstate GC battery I chose, I learned that I had to suck it up and pay 25$ more a piece... Oh well.
And that's good to know about the core exchange. I live at a park where it's more likely than average to find someone willing to give away an old battery.
But I can't complain about the money, because I do have it available, I just would rather not spend so much. And being able to have lights and possibly other things like fridge everywhere I go, even at truck stops on the way is a very exciting prospect worth money

opnspaces

San Diego Ca

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Posted: 07/04/20 01:29pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I realize I'm coming in late to this string but wanted to add my thoughts.

First thought and only because it's your last post. Can you go to the local dump and grab a battery out of the recycle bin to save on the core charge?

Yes definitely add a fuse or circuit breaker to every wire that comes off the positive side of the battery. The fuse is to protect the wiring and trailer from burning up.

I know you want to add the inverter to power things. Inverters are cheap and work well. But you should also consider adding a USB outlet near your bed for charging the phone overnight. It sounds like you are familiar with crimp connectors so I would go this route. You will need an interior cabinet or maybe the base of the bed to mount to and drill one maybe two holes to do this.

This plug uses crimp connectors. You can wire positive and negative straight to the batteries. You can also do as I did and wire to an existing 12v wire like the overhead lights. the plug I linked is about $5 more than other plugs. But that is because it was the only one I could find that was non illuminated as in no LED constantly drawing power.
Plug on Amazon [image]

You will probably also need a 1" hole saw.
Hole saw on Amazon

Run some 16 gauge wire and if going to the battery put in a 10A fuse.
10 pack fuse holders

All in all under $30 to be able to plug your phone in next to your bed at night with no inverter.


2001 Suburban 4x4. 6.0L, 4.10 3/4 ton
2005 Jayco Jay Flight 27BH
1986 Coleman Columbia Popup.

pianotuna

Regina, SK, Canada

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Posted: 07/04/20 02:41pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Brettmm92 wrote:

Whats the math on the fuse? I can actually change my order. I was going on 30A fuse based from the charge controller being 30 amps.


Brettmm92,

The converter often has 2 or sometimes 3 30 amp fuses on the DC side. Those are 'reverse polarity' fuses. The wire they feed into will have either an "automatic" circuit breaker or another fuse very near the battery bank.


Brettmm92 wrote:

I got a really cheap cobra 400 watt modified sine inverter and want to use it safely.


While a 30 amp fuse with #10 wire would work (360 watts), it would be much better to move to #8 wire with a 40 amp fuse would be better (480 watts). As a bonus there would be much lower voltage drop to the inverter, and the costs of moving from #10 to #8 are not that big.

Brettmm92 wrote:

Maybe I will keep the solar, but I'm thinking about enjoying the solar setup until late in the year. Without it the solar and my current plans I just wouldn't have electricity but me needing to be accessed by phone provoked the whole solar thing. And I actually don't have an RV battery because I junked it (recycled) after realizing it was dead.


By all means--get some solar and if nothing else works, lay it on the ground. 200 watts as a minimum.

ps I loved my cobra msw inverter.

profdant139

Southern California

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Posted: 07/04/20 04:55pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Brett, your head must be spinning with all of the conflicting advice you have gotten so far -- hang in there!

I'll try not to add to the confusion and will just describe our setup, which might work for you. We have two group 31 NAPA deep cycle batteries. They are each rated at 110 amp hours. We have a 120 watt suitcase style portable solar panel. (It is a knock-off of a Renogy -- I bet that Renogy is better made than my panel.)

We do a lot of boondocking, for days at a time. Unless the weather is really cloudy for days on end, our solar panel tops up our batteries every day.

Our fridge runs off of propane, not batteries. And we are pretty minimal users of electricity. We run the lights (LED, of course). And we run the furnace for a short time every evening. But no coffee grinder, and no haircuts. [emoticon]

Someone mentioned a concern about theft of the portable solar panels. I suppose that could be a problem. When we are in a crowded campground (as seldom as possible), I use a long cable to lock the solar panel. When we are boondocking, I generally don't bother to lock up.

Hope this helps!


2012 Fun Finder X-139 "Boondock Style" (axle-flipped and extra insulation)
2013 Toyota Tacoma Off-Road (semi-beefy tires and components)
Our trips -- pix and text
About our trailer
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single list."


Brettmm92

North Carolina

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Posted: 07/04/20 06:29pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Opnspaces, I took a peak behind one of the wall lights and was glad to see that the wiring would be relatively easy to fix up a usb plug. And I was going to go without an inverter but I found a 400 watt cobra modified sine wave for 20$ refurbished with wires and had to get it. But I ordered a 12 volt plug because it will be nice to have and didn't break the bank for pure dc and convenience.

Pianotuna, I think I'll just keep the fuses I ordered already and upgrade eventually. Looks like they're already shipping.. I'm glad you liked your inverter, I have confidence I will enjoy mine.

Profdant, head spinning, maybe slightly. But I feel like I'm starting to get a grasp on this solar thing. Especially a lot more than before I made my post. Hearing about your success makes me feel more confident in the future. I'm really excited to test out my own propane refrigerator.

pianotuna

Regina, SK, Canada

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Posted: 07/04/20 09:37pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Brettmm92,

Here is what I would do in your shoes.

Since the fuses are "on the way" you can get to the DC amperage that the inverter wants to feed on by "doubling up" on #10 wire.

i.e. two positive cables and two negative cables with dual thirty amp fuses on the twin positive cables (one for each positive wire). The fuses should be as near the battery bank as is possible.

That would allow the inverter to draw 60 amps of DC--far more than it will call for.

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