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Old 06-29-2017, 07:47 PM   #11
Mini-Skoolie
 
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I just bought a cheap 50w panel of Amazon and a victron charge controller (MPPT) with the Bluetooth adaptor. The controller and Bluetooth cost three times the panel and they work great. The panel charges up my electric boat 200ah so 100ah usable during the week then I have three hours run time at the weekend. Point being invest in the controller I think the newer panels are all good.

Regards Steven
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Old 06-29-2017, 09:27 PM   #12
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Check Craigslist or similar sites depending on where you live. I got a 270 watt panel for $150. People buy a pallet, keep 2 or so then sell the rest to pay for theirs. Oh yeah, that's not a bad idea either!!
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Old 06-30-2017, 08:20 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by elkoskoolie View Post
Check Craigslist or similar sites depending on where you live. I got a 270 watt panel for $150. People buy a pallet, keep 2 or so then sell the rest to pay for theirs. Oh yeah, that's not a bad idea either!!
you could try to find several like minded people on here and buy the pallet...?

but i'm not ready to buy just yet...
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Old 06-30-2017, 09:03 AM   #14
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Any one got any suggestions on a budget system to start off with?
You will get the greatest bang for your buck by doing your research, determining what you eventually want from a system, and then building "into" it. However; a lot of people don't want to go thru that or really have no idea where they will end up - or simply have a fixed budged. That's ok and starting with something is better than nothing (IMO). However; if you KNOW you will eventually need XX watts of solar panels, then purchasing the charge controller to support that size now may save you from buying a small charge controller now and then having to buy a larger one later. Same with cables and such.

All of that starts with an energy budget. How much power do you expect to use in the best and worst of times. With that info in hand, you are armed to begin making some decisions.
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Old 06-30-2017, 02:53 PM   #15
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You will get the greatest bang for your buck by doing your research, determining what you eventually want from a system, and then building "into" it.
Yeah my budget has gotten much tighter, and the first thing I did to cut into my budget was deciding to start with the basics on electric. I'll start with shore power and the wiring and sockets in the skoolie, the basics. Batteries, solar panels, charge controllers, ect, will have to come later.
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Old 06-30-2017, 03:31 PM   #16
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Can solar charge controllers also run on 110 or shore power plug in ?
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Old 06-30-2017, 03:51 PM   #17
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Can solar charge controllers also run on 110 or shore power plug in ?
No, they charge a battery bank from power produced by solar panels.

Somebody may be along to shortly to suggest that; yes, you can.

It is best to think of your battery bank as your gas tank. Some things fill that tank (generator, solar panels/charge controller) and some things consume from it (inverter (to make 120VAC power), lights, etc...). If you start mixing those up, things just become confusing.
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Old 07-01-2017, 03:34 PM   #18
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Ive got a short bus im slowly but surely getting converted, ive got the kitchen, dining are, daybed/ couch area done. Im now working on my power setup. I have a power converter from an old pop i had so hooking up at camp ground with 110 wont be an issue. But id like to have power while traveling, i know i need an inverter and at least 2 marine batteries Plus some solar cells. Id really only be running the mini fridge in most cases but i dont even have a clue where to start.

The bus will primarily be used at camp grounds but like i said id like to be able to use it off the grid. Any one got any suggestions on a budget system to start off with?
We bought a sunpower set from homedepot.com for $250.one of the panels was cracked when they delivered and they took $50 off panel works fine.

This is only 130 watts .it's good quality though. I have a 55 amp hr battery hooked up to it and an 800 watt black n decker inverter. I initially had these on the roof of my garage.it ran everything in my shop no problem.sanders,fans,grinders, saws etc..

I had used this array several times to back feed my house when hurricanes hit as well. As long as I was mindful of usage I was able to run my reg home fridge ,furnace,my microwave!..

The panels are very efficient even in shade or when dirty.
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Old 07-01-2017, 07:16 PM   #19
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you could try to find several like minded people on here and buy the pallet...?

but i'm not ready to buy just yet...
I have posted a couple of times trying to generate interest in this idea. No takers yet.

The folks that live in SoCal, AZ & FL have great buys at their fingertips. Those of us "up North" don't have near the deal.

I can buy 2 x 285 watt panels for $208. The shipping is another $160. I can get 10 x 285 watt panels for $1040 and shipping is $260.

So $184 per panel vs $130 per panel. BIG difference.
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Old 07-01-2017, 07:29 PM   #20
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I highly recommend the helpful information found on this blog. I read the entire site over a few days.

https://handybobsolar.wordpress.com/
THIS! Cannot be emphasized enough.

Perhaps best to read 2-3x. I just got my solar setup running reasonably well and am pretty pleased with it so far. I just want to put more strain on it to see what it's limits are. Running 3x vent fans and some led strips 24/7 isn't a heavy enough load to test it's limits.

I used 6x renogy panels, I also have nothing to compare it to, but am fairly pleased with their performance and am very pleased with their size(22x47ish). I used a trimetric 2030 and a sc2030 charger, and I like them, but also have nothing to compare it to. I should have a nice update on my website within 1-2 weeks. Here's a picture of my setup which is making it's way up to my post soon. I do not reccommend copying mine since I have yet to get approval from anyone who understands it, but so far it's going well. But I'm going to share it here anyway because I'm pretty proud of myself.



Also this 12v book helped me understand (DC)electricity a lot as well.

I still don't understand AC very well, I paid someone apprenticing whom I met in the home depot electrical section to help me out there.

edit: Also PNW Steve, it's a shame I didn't get the memo I would've loved to go in on some bigger panels with you.
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