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Old 02-28-2019, 06:13 PM   #21
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Any Amish community will have gas refrigerators that aren't RV, they are pricey.

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Old 02-28-2019, 06:13 PM   #22
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thats how i understand it

a usable 200ah (400ah) 24v battery bank in fla would not fit on my bus. switching to lifepo4 and i'd have room left over for the inverter.
the panels i price were the newest 435w panels i could find.

since i have the generator, the need to spend $5k to be about where i am now doesnt seem like much bang for the buck.
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Old 02-28-2019, 06:38 PM   #23
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What would someone be running that a 100/30 MPPT would not handle it?
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Old 02-28-2019, 08:02 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by o1marc View Post
Well that didn't get me any closer to an answer. What if you don't know what fridge or stove you plan on before designing your solar system? There should be an average electrical plan for RV's, some have more, some have less. But more, less, and huge, are all relative terms. What is the average consumption of an oven from- to? What number do you put on a "huge" battery bank? I have my panels and a 3k-6k pure sine inverter. I need a charge controller that will exceed the needs of the system. Do those items help me get closer to what kind amperage requirement I will need in order to determine my battery bank?

"Huge" generally refers to the amount of space the bank will consume relative to the space available in a bus. You can install an average power system (if such a spec can be found) which is almost guaranteed to be either too small (unusable) or too large (a waste of money). If you want to do the job right there's some due diligence to be done:

1) Make a good, informed estimate of what your power needs will be in amps. Without this estimate you're shooting in the dark.

2) If you are using a flooded battery bank, double that amp capacity to support those needs.
3) Pick a converter/charger sized large enough to charge the battery bank.
4) Figure out how to recharge the bank.

Of course, you could do it backward and install the charging system first then figure out what appliances it can reasonably support. You pays your money and you takes your choice.
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Old 03-01-2019, 05:52 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by joeblack5 View Post
It is very well possible to boondock without propane and all electric. Just define your mission. Without that the answer to your question will range from impossible, impractical to no problem.
Well said Johan - I agree.

It is possible to do what the OP asked. I have been doing it for years. I'm not sure how one defines their goals without experience but you have to start somewhere. It has taken me three rigs, ten years, and many years of full-timing to really know what I like and want.

My mission was/is to boondock in the most remote places I can access for as long as possible (weeks) while following the 'good' weather. I am one of those weird people that really hates "noise" and love the "silence" of remote places (which aren't really silent). I do that almost exclusively on solar. The exception is the occasional poor insolation week during the winter months. I have a residential refrigerator, microwave/convection oven, induction cooktop, lots of computers/gadgets, satellite TV and so forth. Rooftop A/C is mostly used only when connected to shore power. I am currently lacking in the heat department but have diesel fired air heaters planned there.

Propane is a wonderful thing. Cooking with it is great. A two-way refrigerator just sips the stuff. However; those refrigerators are expensive, difficult to install properly, finicky, often short-lived, and small. When working they do keep the food cold and ice cream nearly frozen - doing that on a tiny bit of propane is pretty neat. I chose not to install it (propane) but certainly understand why some do - at least for stove/oven and heat.

Using a generator to charge the battery bank every day does work. However; I'd suggest understanding how many hours run time is required every day (to properly maintain your batteries), are certain you can tolerate listening to that thing for that long, and have come to terms with the cost of doing that.

In my way of thinking, someone thinking about adding solar for their fulltime boondocking/dry camping use already has a battery bank and inverter. With that in mind, the cost of adding solar is for the panels and charge controller only (and some wiring, mounting). Hiring that out can be expensive but the parts alone do not need to cost all that much. Obviously, a 200 watt system will cost more than a 2000 watt system. In general, a solar panels are in the $1/watt range and a good, reasonably beefy (40-60 amps) MPPT charge controller is in the $500 range. I know some will say, "Gee, that looks like $1,000 or more. Crazy. I can run my generator for that." Well, for full-timing use, I'll argue that is not very cost effective. It all depends on your equipment and demand, of course, but lets assume you'll need to run your generator six hours everyday to fully charge your lead-acid battery bank (because it takes a lot of time to fully charge). You have an efficient generator that only consumes .25 gal/hour. That's 1.5 gallons of fuel everyday. Over the course of a year, that's about 2200 hours which will have cost about $1,300 in fuel. Factor in a few oil changes and a new generator every couple years (because you've worn it out) and your looking at an annual cost of $2,000/year. That pays for a tremendous amount of solar. Even better, if your like me, you haven't had to listen to that generator every day (which would have driven me crazy (crazier??) by about day three). Of course, the response to that is typically that running the generator six hours per day is not needed. Well... it's hard to say without knowing the details on all the equipment but, for typical RV style use with a lead-acid bank, it is needed to properly charge the bank. You an charge less and almost certainly shorten the life of the batteries. That's fine and the reason many folks have to replace their entire bank every year or two. It's a compromise just as Johan noted - take care of them or replace more frequently.

Hmm... getting long.. I must be on a rant!!
JD - Full timer out west
Missy - 1998 MCI 102-EL3 - 1.7kW Solar - 10kWh Lithium
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Old 03-06-2019, 05:30 PM   #26
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I am taking a course that tells step by step how to convert a van/small shuttle bus to an RV. To figure out how much solar you will need, you should make a list of all the items you will be using, ie: frig, heater, ac, laptop/phone charger, stove, water heater. Then look up the wattage/amps for each item. Then list about how many hours per day you will be using each item. From there you can find websites that will convert these numbers and determine how many panels you will need of what size for your vehicle. If you make a list and get the info needed, let me know and I will go find the website my course recommends.
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Old 03-06-2019, 05:35 PM   #27
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Oh ya a rant for sure, but a good one that I agree with.
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Old 03-06-2019, 05:37 PM   #28
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Thanks. You explained it the way I am doing it. I have my list about 70% completed. It has been a little more complicated than I thought it would be. But I know it will be worth the research. I have diesel and found a heater unit that taps into the diesel tank. I also am planning to travel to places when weather is not at its hottest/coldest. I am going to do a much of the stuff as I can and work with a professional on all the other parts.
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Old 03-07-2019, 04:19 AM   #29
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I personally would add the frig and water pump to the solar along with small fans. High draw items (but maybe medium usage) such as the stove and (storage not demand) hot water could be added at some (inverter, battery and panel) expense. High usage heat and AC IMO forget about it.

Just an opinion not really an expert.
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Old 03-13-2019, 08:54 AM   #30
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I have 12 panels 180 watts each, 50 hover board batteries 36 volts 10S2P 18650 li-ion,
Reliable 3000 watt 36 volt pure sine wave inverter. I run 7.5 cubic foot 120 volt fridge 24/7. Lights are led 120 v. Ten gallon water heater with 12 v heating element heats up to 120 degrees in 3 to 4 hours during peak solar hours, then I turn it off. Microwave for a few minutes at a time OK. Convection oven feature requires gen. or shore pwr. Stove top 5 burner propane. Window AC 5k BTU can run 3 to 4 hours during peak solar. Four personal Vornado fans draw 6 to 18 watts each. Heat is 4kw Dwarf wood stove. Diesel engine has 270 amp alternator. When running, bus heater is ducted into living area, 15k BTU ac up front, 30k BTU ac in rear, factory installed. Wife is knitting a shawl to keep warm while driving with AC on. C-Head composting toilet works fine without fan, liquid plumbed to gray tank. Shower, lav and kitchen sinks 12 v shurflo pump, Radiant floor heat and radiant ceiling cooling use small 12v circulation pumps. Backup shower is garden sprayer wit water heated on stove.
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Old 03-17-2019, 12:00 AM   #31
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Anything is possible with enough knowledge and resources ($$$).

I have been running an 'almost' exclusively electric rig for about 4 months.
2400w solar
2 x MS-4448PAE inverters
4.8kWh AGM battery (about 3kWh useful - 4 100AH 12V batteries @ 48V)

AC Loads
5kW on demand electric hot water
induction cooktop
glorified toaster over
Bosch cloths washer (washer only)
Bosch 1 ton minisplit heat pump

DC Loads
water pump
5kw diesel space heater

Yes I know my battery is undersized - plans for improvements underway.
Yes it is annoying to hang dry cloths for a family of 5

We have been making it work while being accommodating to the solar opportunities that are available. This means sacrificing and occasionally not getting what you want exactly when you want it but we feel that suits us okay.
Fridge and space heat run direct off battery and we have never had too little power to operate those essentials.

Added bonus - we can power down inverters overnight to reduce the draw down on the batteries. AC runs easily with power to spare (Charge batteries) with harvest from panels.

It will all depend on your situation, location, solar resources, climate and willingness to change location or learn to sacrifice a little creature comfort but it is possible.
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