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Old 02-24-2013, 04:31 AM   #1
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Southeast raleigh
Posts: 221
Year: 1974
Coachwork: Crown
Chassis: Supercoach
Engine: Detroit Diesel 6-71
Solar vs. Grid usage

Hey guys,
If this is in the wrong place my apologies!

I've been seriously investigating solar power for our intended bus and I am curious about people currently using it (full timers and part/some timers alike). What are you able to run daily? How does what you power with solar (or solar charged batteries if you want to be particular) in a conversion differ than what you would in a standard house? How long does it usually take to charge your batteries (winter v. summer)? What kind of system are you using? Size of panels? How many batteries?

Also, we intend on having a wood stove for primary heat, with some back up options. In our house we already have a Mr. Heater Big Buddy with the ability to hook to a 20lb propane tank, a duraflame electric fire place, and an oil filled radiator style space heater.

We've had the electric fireplace running almost constantly since november and it barely registered on our electric bill. We figured the oil radiator wouldn't do much either, right?
Wrong. When I got the last electric bill our kWh per day had doubled. Only thing that changed was the dang space heater and one extra phone charger. Upon further investigation, the electric fireplace says "Volts 120v/Amps 12.5/Hz 60" on the back (A similar model i found online says 1500w/4600 BTUs but I'm not sure, our grandparents gave it to us). The Oil radiator booklet says "Voltage: 120v, 60Hz Current: Maximum continuous draw: 12.5 amps. Output 5200 BTUs. Power: Setting I = 600 watts, II = 900 watts, III = 1500 watts. If the power is the same on both units and they are both running consistently, why would the Radiator draw so much more power? From Jan 17 to Feb 14 we used more much power than when we first used the ridiculously inefficient and gargantuan AC unit in July, which was the highest usage month in the history of us living here. The 2nd highest usage month was christmas when we had a million lights, inside and out, but taken down before the metered dates. wtf??

sidenote; the house we live in isn't insulated for crap and is too big for us, along with being quite old and very crooked/drafty. we are really looking forward to getting and building the bus so we can live comfortably and save some money.
Proud new owners of a 1974 Crown Supercoach - the big rolling twinkie!

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