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Old 04-27-2016, 04:57 PM   #21
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I'm thinking of getting house batteries but forgoing the solar panels.



Noone would even see these unless they were standing on your roof....
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Old 04-27-2016, 05:22 PM   #22
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Are those "flexi-panels"?
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Old 04-27-2016, 05:47 PM   #23
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They do look flexible, slightly anyway. I'm glad it doesn't cost me a panel to find out if it'll bend.
Well, consider that I live in Oregon. I can imagine a good 4 or 5 months where solar is effectively possible. Takes a long time to pay off that cost compared to solar in AZ. I like the idea of solar but I think a moderate sized battery bank will be more cost effective in my situation.
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Old 04-27-2016, 06:52 PM   #24
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They do look flexible, slightly anyway. I'm glad it doesn't cost me a panel to find out if it'll bend.
Well, consider that I live in Oregon. I can imagine a good 4 or 5 months where solar is effectively possible. Takes a long time to pay off that cost compared to solar in AZ. I like the idea of solar but I think a moderate sized battery bank will be more cost effective in my situation.
This is one of the areas I really need help!! I assume that I will not be away from power where I could plugin for more than a couple of days at a time.

What kind of batteries do I need to look at, how many and do any of these "kit" type things make any sense?

Is this any good?

http://www.amazon.com/Powermax-Suppl...verter+charger


200 Watt Complete Kit 2 100W PV Solar Panel 12V System for RV Boat Home Charge | eBay

http://www.amazon.com/WindyNation-Ve...verter+charger
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Old 04-27-2016, 07:55 PM   #25
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It's also kind of disturbing that it weighs 50 pounds. For a 2000 watt inverter? I understand that it's a high efficiency. That's a pretty proud price too.
MagnaSine is pretty well-regarded actually. If I'm not mistaken, the reason this model weighs so much is that it has a massive copper transformer inside. All inverters have a transformer, or at least some kind of inductor. Cheaper and lighter-weight inverters are designed to run relatively high frequency signals through the transformer. Because of physics, at higher frequency a transformer can be shrunk so it weighs and costs less and those savings show up in the inverter's price and weight. It's been a while since I read up on the benefits of running the transformer at 60 Hz instead of higher... guessing from vague memories, it seems like THD and handling of surge currents (like motor startup) is better when the transformer is run at 60 Hz. Some applications value those benefits enough to pay the higher price, but it doesn't mean the inverter is snake oil or anything. For many applications the cheaper/lighter/smaller style works well enough.

It's kind of like home stereo receiver/amplifier units. Some are really heavy because they have a huge transformer inside while others don't. They're different to each other, but which is "better" depends on the listener.
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Old 04-27-2016, 08:21 PM   #26
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Well, consider that I live in Oregon. I can imagine a good 4 or 5 months where solar is effectively possible. Takes a long time to pay off that cost compared to solar in AZ. I like the idea of solar but I think a moderate sized battery bank will be more cost effective in my situation.
?? What do you mean by this? I live in central Canada and my solar system is effective 95% of the year. Note that I said solar system. That would be solar panels, a charge controller and batteries. You don't have a working system without all three parts. If the battery bank is sized appropriately you will easily be able to coast through several days of heavy clouds. That is, you don't need to live in a desert to take advantage of the sun. I still get reasonable charge rates even when the sky is overcast.
We've been living in the bus for over a year now. In that time I used a (borrowed) generator to top up the batteries 3 times. All in December.. It was an unusually dreary month.
While the solar system is a larger up front cost than a generator, it will eventually pay for itself. And not after too long (in my case)! I did some rough math and as of August 2015 a generator+fuel+oil met the price point of my solar system.
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Old 04-27-2016, 09:50 PM   #27
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I bought my specific inverter/charger because it is a pure sine wave and it will not give my lap top or led tv a hard time. If I werent going to have satellite TV and Internet on my bus, I would have bought a less expensive model.

Solar is nice, but young. What you buy today will be replaced with smaller, lighter, less expensive tomorrow. SRP has a huge solar farm in Gila Bend AZ and it seems like every 4 to 6 months they replace all the panels with newer technology. I will wait until a 250 watt single mono crystalline panel is $99 before I invest in it.
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Old 04-27-2016, 10:16 PM   #28
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Solar is nice, but young. What you buy today will be replaced with smaller, lighter, less expensive tomorrow.
And a 233MHz Pentium MMX based computer from 18 years ago is outperformed by a small brick in your pocket. That doesn't mean that Compaq Presario wasn't a great buy!

The technology has been around since the fifties. The big difference is that the price point has finally come down to ~$1/watt. At that price the panels can pay for themselves within the year when compared to other power options. Also, manufacturers typically guarantee that the panels will produce at least 80% of the advertised output for up to 25-years so unless you are unfortunate enough to receive golf-ball sized hail it's a dang reasonable investment.. Just sayin'. For off-grid, the time for solar is here. If you are typically near a powered outlet when stopped then it's worth skipping.
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Old 04-27-2016, 10:28 PM   #29
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And a 233MHz Pentium MMX based computer from 18 years ago is outperformed by a small brick in your pocket. That doesn't mean that Compaq Presario wasn't a great buy!

The technology has been around since the fifties. The big difference is that the price point has finally come down to ~$1/watt. At that price the panels can pay for themselves within the year when compared to other power options. Also, manufacturers typically guarantee that the panels will produce at least 80% of the advertised output for up to 25-years so unless you are unfortunate enough to receive golf-ball sized hail it's a dang reasonable investment.. Just sayin'. For off-grid, the time for solar is here. If you are typically near a powered outlet when stopped then it's worth skipping.
You are absolutely correct my friend and I agree with you. That's why I use my pocket brick over my presario....... more space in the rig for beer and pretzels!!

Panels are still too large for my taste. If I can have 1 smaller panel in 3 years do what 3 bigger ones do this year, the wait for me is worth it. That's why I will stick to my HO alternator for charging my batteries. 220 amps versus 7 (I think) is a huge turnaround time for me, plus if I have my ac going, solar can't keep up. AZ has 120+ days in the summer consecutively, I am almost positive you don't experience that where you are.

But I am happy that you are able to make it work for you. Maybe one day it will for me too.
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Old 04-28-2016, 12:29 AM   #30
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That's my view too. Technology is changing so fast concerning panels, and there are so many producers. It's pretty hard to tell if those materials are going to hold up for 25 years or how long they will actually be effective. Then the batteries are an expensive part of the solar system themselves, but they don't last for 25 years either.
Haven't you ever bought a set of pots and pans that were guaranteed for life. About the time those pots and pans start looking ugly the company goes out of business.
Many people say the true effectiveness of panels is about 50% of the rated power, sometimes as low as 20% depending on producer. At that rate I'd rather invest in a house battery bank and a decent size charger. I am on shore power much of the time and the battery bank would work well for the times I'm not on shore power.
Solar is appealing. I've read a lot of information about it, but like I've said before solar panels on the outside of the bus scream "I'm living in here." I want a modest paint job and to look like maybe a simple tour bus.
I have a small generator for now. I don't really have many appliances but if I was in a hot location I'd want a air conditioner that's a little excessive in the btu's so it didn't have to run wide open all the time. Even that would require a better generator, not to mention the AC unit. I mostly need a battery bank to keep the fridge running and power the boob tube.
Solar panels are expensive and I don't feel it's longevity has been maximized yet. My electric bill is about $30 a month, maybe $40 in the winter, so I'm not visualizing the payback for about 10 years to break even. I don't know enough about solar panels to make an educated guess about what is best to buy. Also I'm not good with electrical things.
I buy a lot of hand powered antiques to do things most of us have been doing with appliances. It takes a lot of practice muscle to make foods from grain that's actually palatable. Trying to stay non-electric as much as possible, but obviously I need internet and TV. House battery bank. I drive around in the mountains a lot with branches occasionally scraping the exterior of the bus. I'd be crying already if there were panels up there.
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