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Old 04-12-2024, 01:06 PM   #1
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Are my Solar Panels and Batteries going to be sufficient?

I plan on purchasing 6 - 100ah Battleborn Batteries and having somewhere between 1000-1200W of solar panels. (Would also love brand recommendations for Solar Panels and general gadgets. I've been told Renogy isn't very reliable, but it is a very popular brand in the search engines.)

The reason I'm concerned is that I think I will be consuming more power than the average person as I have a custom built PC that I use for work as well as a 12cu ft 120V fridge. I know 12V would be ideal, but I would rather spend the extra money on a larger battery bank than a stupid expensive fridge (Which I might reconsider in a few years). Apart from other basic appliances and phones to charge, I want to consider my PC, a Starlink unit, my TV, my frdige, and a compact washer/dryer.

I know I'm trying to do a lot here, but I plan on living in this thing full time. I don't expect to be using my PC for more than 1-2hrs at a time unless I'm on shore power, so I don't think it will be too concerning, but I do fear how all of these things will add up. I've done a power audit and I think my plan is reasonable, but that's assuming I have full sun and I want to know what experiences ya'll have.

Looking for any and all input on the electrical system in general. I'm pretty open to reworking some ideas.

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Old 04-12-2024, 01:24 PM   #2
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on my wifes bus i installed a cooler style fridge freezer style that can run on 12v and 120.
i think it was like 250$ and was cooled off it does use much power to maintain.
so before she leaves home and things haven't ran for a week or so we plug in while i am going over everything and she is packing and get it down to freezer temps before she hits the road on 120v and then the 12v just maintains.
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Old 04-12-2024, 01:35 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Jolly Roger bus 223 View Post
on my wifes bus i installed a cooler style fridge freezer style that can run on 12v and 120.
i think it was like 250$ and was cooled off it does use much power to maintain.
That's interesting! Could you send a link? I'm just afraid it will be too small for me to love out of full time.
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Old 04-12-2024, 01:58 PM   #4
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not very good at posting links?
but the one we have is a costway car fridge model ep24805us.
she lives in it full time but works at whatever hospital during the day so she stocks enough for meals during the week and makes her meals on the weekends for the week but also likes fresh stuff so if there is a farmers market around she will find it.
you could also do 2 of them one as a fridge and one as a freezer.
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Old 04-12-2024, 11:26 PM   #5
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Ditch battleborn. They are 4x the cost of Litime batteries and 1x the quality.


You didn't list exact solar specs or whether you are doing a 12/24/48v solar system.


EG4 is a great value. if you are going 24v, then you could use one of their all in ones and a server rack battery.


I myself have big plans for a large 48v system. I dont have the budget to spend what i want this year on the 48v system, so currently, im working on a large 12v system. I have 1 huge 460ah 12v lifepo4 battery. It runs everything in my bus except for A/C and water heater for about 4-5 days. Starlink, 5g router, lights fans, fridge.


I had the same conclusion as you with the 12v fridge. I could spend about $1500 on a 12v fridge which is about 5-10% more efficient than an equivalent sized 120v fridge. Or a 10cu ft 120v fridge cost about $350. I actually just installed a Victron Energy Phoenix 375VA 12-Volt 120V AC Pure Sine Wave Inverter to run in front of the 120v fridge. Now my 12v battery can just always run the fridge loads with a 5-10w penalty. That savings pays for a lot of battery.
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Old 04-17-2024, 03:24 PM   #6
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When worrying about will I have enough you have to start with an energy audit of what you will be running. There are many good online calculators with one being provided by EXPLORIST LIFE. Nate and Steph do an amazing job of explaining systems simply. Figure out your wattage consumption per day for things like a fridge, computer, wifi router and internet systems, lights, heat, water pump, recharging ebike etc etc. Once you have a rough number you can work backwards in your design approach for your storage and required solar generation numbers. Then you can choose whether you are going to go 12, 24, or 48 volts. We run 800 amp hours of lithium with 1920 watts of solar panels and have more than enough power for what we need.
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Old 04-17-2024, 08:06 PM   #7
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My recommendation on solar panels and batteries is put as much on the roof as you can fit, and as much battery as you can afford. Iíve got 3280w of panels, and built two 24v 280ah lifepo4 batteries running dual Victron multiplus inverters in split phase. Itís still not quite enough for the loads I have. You can buy batteries now for about what you can build them for, so probably not worth it to go that route, but definitely shop around and find the best deal. $800-1000 for a battleborn is not that deal.
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Old 04-17-2024, 09:11 PM   #8
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Hello my two cents here.

I run 800W solar panels (8X Renogy 100W) and 400Ah lithium (Renogy 100Ah lithium) I like my renogy products, but I use Victron for 2000W Multiplus inverter, 150/85 Smart Solar Charger and associated gear. Love Victron for quality

I use 2 high end gaming laptops with 2 32" monitors for work for me and my wife, I also use a 12V DC fridge ( Home Depot Unique Appliances Soalr Fridge) this is a must for me, it only draw 1-2 A at 12V, very sustainable and its slightly larger then apartment size, under 1000$ when I bought it. I also use all 12V lighting, and no microwave etc.

Now for me, my setup is not sufficient to be working all day, I draw 20-30A when using my computers and monitors, and on solar in full sun I will draw 35-40A on the best of days, this leaves me maybe 5-10A for charging, not sufficient to top up my bank. Especially in the winter and bad sun days, or if I am shaded. I am lucky I use shore power where I live in the bus, but if I boodock I run a small generator to top up and my solar keeps me going during the day. Or if I am not running computers I am fine on solar alone. When not using the computers I can easily be under 10A at any given time, leaving me enough power to recharge with only solar even though I have a pretty small battery bank at 400Ah.

Now I work 8+ hours a day, and watch tv or game at night, so its just too much for my solar, I use a generator to compensate for this if boondocking. In my experience your inverter and 120V loads are the big drain, reduce these as much as possible and run as much 12V as you can, you wont regret it. Ditch the 120V fridge, get a 12V dc one, and it will save you lots of power.

The other thing to think about is the max charge current your batteries can take, I have a 150/85 smart solar from victron, in theory I can pump 85A into the batteries, but the Renogy 100Ah I use can only accept a charge current of 50A so even if I upgrade my solar array to max out my charger, my batteries will not allow me to use it all. If I went with the 200Ah versions, they have a higher charge current, cant remember off the top of my head but its more then 50A. So consider this when you do it, may be better to use 3X 200Ah if you plan to use a large array.

My 24 hour usage is approx 40-50% of my battery bank on a typical day, its a little high for my liking but I was on a budget when I built, I get around this with the generator as I do not want to add batteries now this far down the line. Im the future I plan to increase my solar array, and swap to 200Ah batteries with a larger 600 or 800Ah bank, then I can use my full potential with the 150/85 charger and have lots of power and capacity.

My biggest suggestions is to do careful research and plan your appliances accordingly; you will not regret 12V items for power consumption, and also do not use a huge inverter and lots of 120V. I do not think mobile solar should use larger then a 2000W inverter, the loads this draws from a 12V bank even when using only 1000W or 1500W is insane, not sustainable. I don't know how people with 3000w or 4000W inverters survive without huge systems or upgrading to 24V or 48V systems.
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Old 04-18-2024, 12:27 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fo4imtippin View Post
Ditch battleborn... I actually...
.
BattleBorn owned the market years ago.
Today's prices favor cheap reliable racks and home-built.
But they knocked a hundred off a grand MSRP...
... while equivalents are available for a couple hundred.
.
.
My neighbor just purchased the business MAC'S BATTERIES AND SOLAR in Eugene, Oregon.
They stock hundreds of panels and hundreds of batteries in component form.
.
I took my specifications to them for them to build these for our ExpeditionVehicle:
* 24-volt, 155ah (equivalent to a boatload of BattleBorn 105ah).
These are in a beautiful wood cabinet, Birch with a light stain.
Lovely, and at us$2,500, quite achievable.
.
Our photovoltaic array is six 305-Watt panels, a total of 1,830-Watts.
.
.
An aside:
Although Lithium Iron Phosphate storage devices are the latest-n-greatest, our ancient Conchorde Lifeline 105ah AGM were puttering along nicely after full-time live-aboard for over two decades.
.
Nothing wrong with them.
Those are retiring to light the shop on dreary evenings.
.
[edited to add]
https://macsbatteries.com/
.
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Old 04-18-2024, 12:46 AM   #10
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Our fridge is a SnoMaster dual-zone 61qt/liter/litre.
Extremely frugal, engineered for extended expeditions through remote regions, it runs silent on the bare fumes from the batteries.
.
Could your plan include one or more of these?
.
http://www.snomasterusa.com/product/...fridgefreezer/
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Old 04-18-2024, 06:32 AM   #11
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https://trophybattery.com/

I bought 46kW from them. Not yet installed, but the batteries are high quality and the customer service is unparalleled. Price per kW is very competitive.

I'm using a QG5500 to top off batteries, no solar. Looks like your computers draw similar current to mini-splits, so you'll need to add that into your current draw calculations. I wild-guessed that house power would go 3 days without needing a charge.
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