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Old 11-07-2018, 11:55 PM   #11
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
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Wow John, you sure give a guy a lot to think about. Your line about why 24 volt got me thinking. I’m not sure why I decided to go that route. So I started “over” going 12 volt. I also found some Crown batteries that are about 1/3 cheaper than the Trojans.
So after my research, this is the component list I have come up with. I would appreciate your input as to whether it will work, and any changes or suggestions you may have.

Renogy 165 Watt 12 Volt Polycrystalline Solar Panel (12)
Magnum Energy PT-100 MPPT Solar Charge Controller (2)
Magnum Energy MS2812 2800W 12V Inverter/Charger (1)
Crown Battery 215AH 12V Flooded Lead Acid Battery (eight)
Midnite Solar MNPV Disconnecting Combiner Box (3)

12 Panels in 3 rows of 4, each row connected in parallel and leading to a Disconnecting Combiner Box. The outputs of the combiners then led to 2 Controllers, then on to charge the batteries (connected as on large bank per your recommendation). The inverter fed by the batteries and charger from shore power. I am also pondering the addition of an automatic switcher and generator for the AC side, but maybe I’m getting ahead of myself.
Anyway, I’d appreciate your expertise and opinion. I am an “ace” with plumbing and mechanical things, but a relative newbie for electrical.
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Old 11-08-2018, 06:19 AM   #12
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Crown are great, but compare to Trojan' regular lines not RE.

But usually in the US, the best battery value by far is Duracell (actually Deka/East Penn) FLA deep cycle golf cart batteries, 2x6V, around $200 per 200+AH pair from BatteriesPlus or Sam's Club. Deka-labeled same batts also sold at Lowes.

Good call on sticking to 12V absent a compelling reason to go higher.

Magnum makes excellent inverters, but also compare to Victron, especially wrt their PowerAssist feature and Color Control GX for integration / monitoring. Also Victron MPPT SmartSolar series, very flexible and excellent value.

If you do go Magnum, get the BM/shunt/remote so measured endAmps determines 100% Full each cycle, greatly extend bank longevity. On the Victron side I believe can get that from Color Control GX + their BMV.

The shore power transfer functionality should be included in any big inverter / charger.

Go for panels with higher Voc rating to take better advantage of MPPT efficiency.

What is the rationale for the
> Disconnecting Combiner Box
?

If that is a VSR, I'd reco Blue Sea for that. Their 500A ML- series is proven bulletproof, pass it on to the grandkids.

Not I am not saying your list is bad stuff, just not in the mainstream for rough / mobile use over the years.
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Old 11-08-2018, 08:05 AM   #13
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If you have not already bought your batteries and can afford the initial cost investment, go with lithium batteries rather than lead-acid. You will come out ahead if you plan on using your system more than 5 years and you wont have to be worried about making sure you do not run your batteries down lower than 50%
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Old 11-08-2018, 03:58 PM   #14
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Heleads View Post
If you have not already bought your batteries and can afford the initial cost investment, go with lithium batteries rather than lead-acid. You will come out ahead if you plan on using your system more than 5 years and you wont have to be worried about making sure you do not run your batteries down lower than 50%
Ideally, I would most certainly go Lithium, but my costs are already sky high. Not saying I have completely discounted the idea, but at least at this stage it's a bit difficult.
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Old 11-09-2018, 07:23 AM   #15
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As a lithium user, I can attest that they are mighty awesome! However; I'd encourage a very serious evaluation of your intended lifestyle before committing to them (as well as solar). If you are certain you'll be boondocking/off-grid and living on solar, lithium is very hard to beat. If your requirements are such that you'll need to run a generator every day, the value/benefit of lithium/solar quickly falls off (but rarely falls all the way to zero, IMO). If a person has never lived the lifestyle and just 'hopes' that they will be able to make it happen/enjoy it, then it's probably better to save your money and attempt it with a generator. If it works/you like it, then make the investment. I've seen a number of folks with big plans that get out there and find that it isn't what they thought it would be.
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Old 11-09-2018, 08:04 AM   #16
Mini-Skoolie
 
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I value your opinion and your points are quite valid. Something I forget to mention is that I am a former charter sailboat skipper an have had several years of experience living aboard a 50ft boat. Granted, a lot of that time is tied to the dock on shore power, but weeks at a time I was "off the grid". My DC needs are rather small, although my AC needs include a computer and TV that would require substantial stored power for inverting.
As I said near the outset, I am merely in the planning stage right now, so I haven't ruled out lithium, it's just an expensive pill to swallow. Other than initial cost, I must admit I have never heard a bad word about lithium.
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Old 11-09-2018, 08:32 AM   #17
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You have the experience to which I was referring. Major Kudos to you!!! I have tried to liveaboard twice and failed both times. I finally realized, the second time, that being alone in that environment was too much for my little brain. That surprised me as I routinely spend weeks in total solitude boondocking with the RV. Now looking for a like-minded female that wants to give it a try!!

Given your past, I bet you have experience with wind generators. They are typically not easily possible with a typical RV/bus. However; if I person had a spot on which they spent a large chunk of time (and there is some wind there), I believe installing a semi-permanently mounted marine style wind-gen would be a great power source option (not sole source) which might ease ones electrical storage requirements.
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Old 11-09-2018, 08:38 AM   #18
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Oh trust me! I have considered EVERY option. If it were safe and practical I might even consider a small nuclear reactor (LOL) Maybe when we finally get our flying cars!
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Old Yesterday, 04:42 PM   #19
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You might want to watch this video.

The presenter gives a very basic but good explanation of how a solar system works and the components to build one for a van.

This fellow teaches a course on building out vans.

You already may know all this information or not however I am sure there are some on the site that could benefit from watching this video.

I have no association with the presenter.

https://www.alternativehomestoday.co...ezaq7bfjg1ovze
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