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Old 07-23-2022, 06:52 PM   #1
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Currently setting up solar on skoolie

We need help figuring out what the best options for parts are in our solar setup. We have 1050 watts of solar, 6, 175 watt panels. I was planning to connect them in parallel. From there we think we decided on a renogy Rover 100amp charge controller and now I do believe I need a 1000 watt inverter and not to sure on the battery situation and wiring as well. We are just a couple rookies trying to not blow up. Any advise or help would be appreciated! Our largest power consumption would be our AC when we decide to put it on ( 984watts) and our fridge which will be on all day and is only 75 watts (300 starting watts). We need to know our best route to take to start getting power in our bus! Thank you for reading!

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Old 07-23-2022, 07:23 PM   #2
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Welcome to the site
Most will tell you to get a comprehensive list of things you plug in, do a little arithmetic and total up everything in watts. What you have is a good start. I don't believe a 1000w inverter will start the A/C unit you mentioned as they typically have a large startup current. Also they draw almost 85 amps per 1000w at full load running on 12 vdc. That being said, you can get enough batteries to do the job but you're also going to need more wattage coming in...either through more panels, shore power or a generator. The general consensus is electric heating (cabin and/or water) and A/C are not solar friendly without a serious investment of both time and money.
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Old 07-24-2022, 03:34 AM   #3
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Some thoughts:
Use at least 10 gauge wire to connect your panels to the charge controller. (10 gauge for EACH solar panel) Even though 10 gauge wire is good for 30 amps, you will still drop a couple volts between the panels connector and the charge controller if you use smaller gauge wire. Dropping 2-3 volts when you are connected up to 120 VAC is no big deal, but dropping 3 volts when the voltage is 20 volts is a bigger deal. I am running a set of wires for each panel to connect to a terminal block. You will only have 12 wires total if you do the same.
About your fridge, the result of my testing found that a 1000 watt sine wave inverter could actually be tripped with overcurrent when my fridge was first powered up, but a second attempt was OK. The initial surge came out to 900 watts of power, but later somewhat less. The fridge was specked to pull 165 watts. I agree that a 1000 watt inverter is not enough for an air conditioner. I would go with 3000 watts capacity. Also if you bring all of the wiring from the panels to a central tie point then connect to the charge controller (which I am doing), use 3 gauge or maybe 4 gauge wire. That is what I am doing. (I am running 1000 watts of solar panels in the roof of my Crown).


To do your power/current flow calculations familiarize yourself with OHM's law if you don't know about it.
One last thought: ANYTHING you wish to install in your bus, make sure that it has one or more dimensions smaller than the width of your largest door on your bus. I bought a cabinet for the kitchen that was 1 inch wider than the opening and had to remove the door to get it in.

The Internet also has tables that show voltage loss for different gauges of wire, as well as how much current each wire size can safely handle.
I like to oversize wire a little.
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Old 07-31-2022, 05:22 PM   #4
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Here's my notes.

I have no idea what to do at the moment. I need to figure out what inverter I need and the battery situation at the moment. We wanna get all of our big components and then connect them together after we have them all. I have been doing research forever and I just feel like I'm stuck in a loop watching the same videos giving the same info. So I guess what I'm saying is; I need an itemized list in order of everything I need 😂😭 I already have the solar panels and I think I'm going to get a renogy Rover 100amp charge controller.
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Old 08-01-2022, 01:58 PM   #5
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Old 08-01-2022, 02:05 PM   #6
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We are in Missouri! Around the Branson/ Springfield areas
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Old 08-03-2022, 05:30 PM   #7
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The BEST is a VICTRON gear. Expensive but top of the line. On the other hand, for $1500 you get 3000W Inverter with a 6000W peak (though you will probably never get 4000W as it takes a lot of flow from your batteries. It's also a battery charger and transfer switch. It also has a nifty function of supplementing insufficient shore power with battery power when needed (like that super long extension cord and grandma's). You can expand with remote monitoring panels, even send it to your phone with bluetooth or through the Internet.

Victron charge controller(s)
24 volt battery bank (smaller wires)

Lithium batteries
With the AC you're going to want a LOT of battery. You can but they last a long time and you get every amp hour. With FLA, SLA, and AGM you get 1/2 the rated capacity before you do damage to the batteries. My lithium batteries will take 80% discharge for 7000 cycles (19.5 years) and still have 80% capacity. They're also smaller per amp hour saving you space in the rig.


AND MORE SOLAR.

If you want to run AC you are going to need more solar and a large battery bank or you will drain batteries. Your 1075W solar panel will not supply enough charge to the batteries. That rating is under specific conditions. In a lab simulating or calculating, output at the equator with 90 degree (directly overhead) sun angle. You WILL NOT see those conditions and you will only get maximum charge for 3-5 hours. Even less in the higher lattitudes. If you're installing AC you are going to want it useable or save your money.


I would download the following APPS
Ohm's Law (I teach Ohm's law and I use it with the build)
Circuit Wizard by Blue Sea Systems (calculates wire size needed)


I would recommend you check out Signaturesolar.com and check out their batteries.


As others have said, write down everything electrical you want in your bus. Estimate how many hours a day you will have it turned on. Add up the watts and then size up depending on your budget and desired reserves for those cloudy days or when you're parked in the shade and your solar output is next to nothing....or plan on using a generator for those times.
And please, convert everything to Watts as they are the unit of work. 400ah at 12 volts is only 100ah at 48 volts.
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Old 08-03-2022, 05:39 PM   #8
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The BEST is a VICTRON gear.
I don't consider that a fair or accurate statement, Ham. What about Victron makes them better than competitors like Samlex, Xantrex, & Magnum? I agree they have a reputation for producing high quality products - we're using both their SCCs & DC-DC chargers with confidence - but their crowd-sourced / web-based product support & sparse documentation is garbage. Contrast that with Samlex, for example, where their inverter user manuals are the equivalent to an electricity 101 textbook, and every time I've contacted them for tech advice, I've received phone call responses from real people with EE degrees.


They're all great product lines. But BEST... I dunno about that.
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Old 08-03-2022, 05:49 PM   #9
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I've seen several places online that have the itemized lists that you're asking for, along with wiring diagrams to boot. The best I've personally seen (not that I've looked far and wide) is from Explorist.life. They have several freely available parts lists and wiring diagrams, or you can pay them 10 bucks for a high-res version of the diagram.

They also have a pretty good entry-level course in DIY electrical here:


Explorist.life leans heavily into Victron stuff for reasons that they explain pretty well. That definitely doesn't mean that Victron is "the best", unless we're talking about van-lifer market saturation.
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Old 08-03-2022, 05:50 PM   #10
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So; I need to know information for the solar without the AC. We don't need it so if we have to add solar components later on to have one we will but for now we just want all other things I posted in my list ( apologizes for the bad hand writing) to be able to run. I thought about victron but I don't understand their numbers to decide on what I would need. I'm stuck on the inverter and batteries if my choice of charge controller should be okay? Then next step would be wire sizing and all those other important components.
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Old 08-03-2022, 06:26 PM   #11
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Quote:
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I don't consider that a fair or accurate statement, Ham. What about Victron makes them better than competitors like Samlex, Xantrex, & Magnum? I agree they have a reputation for producing high quality products - we're using both their SCCs & DC-DC chargers with confidence - but their crowd-sourced / web-based product support & sparse documentation is garbage. Contrast that with Samlex, for example, where their inverter user manuals are the equivalent to an electricity 101 textbook, and every time I've contacted them for tech advice, I've received phone call responses from real people with EE degrees.


They're all great product lines. But BEST... I dunno about that.
It is subjective. Ford or Chevy?
With the exception of Xantrex I've never heard of the others. I only know Xantrex is out there because I got one in a bulk purchase of HAM gear. $4k (new) worth of radios, antennae, Coax cable, and solar gear for $500. Already got my money back. Anyway the Xantrex was wired to a solar panel and while it looked solid, it was a crap wiring job. So it got labeled in my mind as crap. Especially after I couldn't find it online, not even on the manuf website. Perhaps I should reevaluate it's value. LOL


FYI I'm a Ford man since the bailout. Before that I was a Chevy man. LOVE my Ford F350 with manual trans and DT444E based engine....the same one that's in my bus...er motor home.
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Old 08-03-2022, 06:30 PM   #12
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right now is the time for your future loads and not try to add later.
fine no solar now but maybe later at least run a conduit for it before you close the walls up that way you have a pathway for the wiring without having to open a wall up.
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Old 08-03-2022, 06:33 PM   #13
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It is subjective. Ford or Chevy?
LOL. Right!?

But everyone knows the answer to that question is Chevy.
Pronounced 'CHevy'. With a HARD 'CH' sound. If you don't spit while saying it, you're not doing it right.
Everyone knows that.
Even your younger self.
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Old 08-03-2022, 06:35 PM   #14
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ford for work chevy for play.
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Old 08-03-2022, 06:41 PM   #15
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Is it First On Race Day?
OR
Found On The Road Dead?


CH evy Synonym for "government handouts"



Oh crap now I've done it.
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Old 08-03-2022, 06:49 PM   #16
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CH evy Synonym for "government handouts"

Oh crap now I've done it.
I'm not gonna touch that with a 39 1/2' pole.
In my world Chevrolet stopped making cars after the SS Chevelle was retired.
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Old 08-03-2022, 07:11 PM   #17
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FORD
flip over and read directions.
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Old 08-03-2022, 09:10 PM   #18
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I'm not gonna touch that with a 39 1/2' pole.
In my world Chevrolet stopped making cars after the SS Chevelle was retired.

I happen to have a 39 1/2 foot pole. It's 3" in diameter and weighs like 30 pounds max (never weighed it). It supported by three guy lines of 55 military cord ( the real stuff is UV resistant and been up 3 years). It supports a "fan dipole" which is a HAM radio antenna that allows me voice or digital communications around the world with 100 watts.


I saw an Impala the other day. I think it must have been a fawn because it sure wasn't my fathers Impala tuna boat.....that ACTUALLY had room for 6 instead of just 6 set of seat belts far enough apart for meth heads.
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Old 08-03-2022, 09:51 PM   #19
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Sooo can anyone recommend a inverter? And what size battery bank we should use? We are trying to get everything ready to order.

Ps: does anyone have any recommendations on how to mount panels without removal of the ceiling inside?
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Old 08-03-2022, 10:41 PM   #20
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Sooo can anyone recommend a inverter? And what size battery bank we should use? We are trying to get everything ready to order.

Ps: does anyone have any recommendations on how to mount panels without removal of the ceiling inside?

Regardless of brand I would say at least 3000 continuous and 4 or 5000 peak on the inverter. And be sure to check the amount of power the inverter itself consumes as well as it's efficiency.
The best inverters are still only 95% efficient which means to get 100 to the point it's being used you have to put 100 into the converter....plus the amount the inverter uses itself.....plus the voltage drop of the circuitry carrying the power to your point of use.
You need that peak for when the AC and the fridge and whatever else all conspire to come on at the same time (those angry pixies talk I'm tellin ya).


As for batteries, lithium is the only way to go. Less space, long life, and minimal maintenance. But them with built in BMS's, prefereably with a means of communication with you (bluetooth to your phone for instance). As for how much, you need to do those calculations as to everything you have installed and how much you figure you'll use each thing each day.....and account for poor sun days either with additional battery capacity or the decision that you'll deal with that using teh generator.
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