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Old 01-05-2010, 10:15 AM
 
Location: Where there is too much snow!
6,076 posts, read 11,014,810 times
Reputation: 2924

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Tomorrow starts the Great American RV & Boat show in Cleveland, and yes we're going as usual.
But my question is. Has anyone on here ever used a solar powered battery charger system to maintain the charge in their camper or RV batteries? Al we have on ours is a 12v battery and sometimes we'd like to camp in an area that doesn't have electricity. You know, kinda ruffing it type thing.
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Old 01-05-2010, 02:20 PM
 
Location: Cambridge, Nebraska
137 posts, read 553,570 times
Reputation: 192
My wife and I lived 5 years full time in our RV using solar electric 99% of the time. We watched TV as well as ran a satellite internet system. To do that type of electric system requires several batteries and several solar panels. We had 6 6volt golf cart batteries charged by 5 120 watt solar panels. A solar charge controller is required as well, and we had a 2500 watt invertor.

You are the only person that can tell how much power you may need to "survive" during your camping trips. If you plan on running air conditioning, you are out of luck. If you have a gas refrigerator and can be cautious with your power consumption, you may be able to camp a weekend without a solar system to recharge your battery.

One thing I'd recommend is that you try dry camping in your back yard if you can. It's nice to know that you can get along fine when water and power is close instead of heading out and finding your weekend ruined because you ran out of water or electricity.

No matter what, you should have deep cycle batteries, and most RVers use multiple 6volt golf cart batteries as a great upgrade from the battery provided by the manufacturer. Here is a link to help you understand solar power consumption and system sizing... Design Worksheet (http://www.rvsolarelectric.com/custom.htm - broken link)

The above site has a lot of information that you may find very helpful!
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Old 01-05-2010, 03:13 PM
 
Location: Where there is too much snow!
6,076 posts, read 11,014,810 times
Reputation: 2924
Thumbs up Dang, your good

Where have you been hiding in this thread? Man! Thanks for all the great advise and especially the dry run input. We own 2 acres, so we have plenty of room to move in. And yes we have a gas/electric frig and also have a nice size generator if we want to use the AC. Not to forget that my pickup that I use to pull the 18' camper with, has a built in 500 watt power converter. Thanks again, stick around more folk may want to chat with you .

Quote:
Originally Posted by Off Pavement View Post
My wife and I lived 5 years full time in our RV using solar electric 99% of the time. We watched TV as well as ran a satellite internet system. To do that type of electric system requires several batteries and several solar panels. We had 6 6volt golf cart batteries charged by 5 120 watt solar panels. A solar charge controller is required as well, and we had a 2500 watt invertor.

You are the only person that can tell how much power you may need to "survive" during your camping trips. If you plan on running air conditioning, you are out of luck. If you have a gas refrigerator and can be cautious with your power consumption, you may be able to camp a weekend without a solar system to recharge your battery.

One thing I'd recommend is that you try dry camping in your back yard if you can. It's nice to know that you can get along fine when water and power is close instead of heading out and finding your weekend ruined because you ran out of water or electricity.

No matter what, you should have deep cycle batteries, and most RVers use multiple 6volt golf cart batteries as a great upgrade from the battery provided by the manufacturer. Here is a link to help you understand solar power consumption and system sizing... Design Worksheet (http://www.rvsolarelectric.com/custom.htm - broken link)

The above site has a lot of information that you may find very helpful!
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Old 01-06-2010, 07:46 AM
 
Location: Cambridge, Nebraska
137 posts, read 553,570 times
Reputation: 192
Your 500 watt converter converts AC to DC for your low voltage lights, probably refer and water heater controler boards, and water pump when you are plugged into power.

Since you have a generator, you likely don't really need a solar system unless you love to watch TV or run a microwave. Many folks "boondock" like you are thinking of by getting a good battery charger to run off the generator that will quickly charge your RVs battery instead of the slow unit hooked up to your RVs converter.

When using a generator to charge your batteries, most folks find an hour at most is all it takes, and if there are other campers around you, most folks get real tired of hearing someone else's generator running for hours on end. Be considerate!

The following couple links may help you some too...

Boondocking - Dispersed Camping In Remote Locations
RV Camping Tips | www.rv-camping.org
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Old 01-06-2010, 09:13 AM
 
Location: Where there is too much snow!
6,076 posts, read 11,014,810 times
Reputation: 2924
The generator I have would only be used as a last resort, it takes two men and boy just to pick it up.

We have a small flat screen TV, so it would take very little juice to run it and we hardly ever use the microwave. And most often we're away from the camp site out fishing, cameoing, riding the bikes, or just out away from the camp site chatting with fellow campers. So a solar charger is more in the line of what we're looking for.
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