Solar Panels?

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Solar Panels?

Postby SteveH » Tue Nov 09, 2004 8:09 am

Just wondering, does anyone use solar panels to maintain battery charge in your Teardrop? They have gotten a little cheaper now that all the deer hunters are using them on their feeders.
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Postby campadk » Tue Nov 09, 2004 9:36 am

Hey Steve,

I considered this myself, but figured all the fuss wasn't worth it unless you were doing 5+ days in your tear. We have no problem on 4-5 day trips unless we are blaring the radio all day and running our christmas lights for hours. We never bother with an electrical hookup either.

If you are going for longer periods of time in the outback... then maybe it is worth considering though... or running some major appliance like a toaster!
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Postby Woody » Tue Nov 09, 2004 9:53 am

I am getting ready to install mine this weekend. I am going to use it for maintaining the battery when dry camping and when the trailer is setting idle. I will using a controller/charger setup with the blocking diode setup so at night there is no power bleed of back to the panel.
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Re: Solar Panels?

Postby Eric Adams » Mon Dec 27, 2004 12:12 am

SteveH wrote:Just wondering, does anyone use solar panels to maintain battery charge in your Teardrop? They have gotten a little cheaper now that all the deer hunters are using them on their feeders.


Got a good site for cheap ones?? :D
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Re: Solar Panels?

Postby bdosborn » Mon Dec 27, 2004 8:56 pm

Eric Adams wrote:Got a good site for cheap ones?? :D


Here's the cheapest site that I've been able to find. Let me know if you find a cheaper one.
http://www.etaengineering.com/rv/intro.shtml
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Re: Solar Panels?

Postby fasttimes » Tue Dec 28, 2004 1:17 am

SteveH wrote:Just wondering, does anyone use solar panels to maintain battery charge in your Teardrop? They have gotten a little cheaper now that all the deer hunters are using them on their feeders.
The economics of PV are real easy. If you are a full-timer, or your are using only a small panel to just maintain the battery during the long unused periods, PV can't be beat. If you only ocasionally use the trailer and looking for your main source of power, a small generator (sub-1 KW) & battery charger is a much better $$ deal.
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Postby denverd0n » Mon Jan 03, 2005 4:55 pm

Here's the cheapest place I've found. They also have a forum dedicated specifically to solar electric issues.

http://www.solar-electric.com/
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Solar Module

Postby Q » Wed Jan 05, 2005 1:06 pm

I use one on my teardrop, mounted on the galley hatch. Depending on where the sun is located I can change the angle by opening or closing the hatch.

During the summer I live in the teardrop for weeks or months at a time and the battery is always full. There is no charging connection between the tow vehicle and the teardrop. Laptop computer, TV, fans, camera battery charger, lights, etc., all run off the system.

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PS: My house is PV powered also.
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Postby SteveH » Wed Jan 05, 2005 4:37 pm

Q,

What is the size and power of your panel?

Thanks,
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Postby Q » Thu Jan 06, 2005 1:57 pm

17.5 by 38.25 by 2 inches. Rated 43 watts as I recall. This particular one is a "self regulating" module which means it has 33 cells as opposed to the standard 36 cells. I recommend the standard 36 cell modules with a regulator but I had this one laying around from a purchace of several used modules.

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Postby bdosborn » Thu Jan 06, 2005 2:12 pm

Q wrote:17.5 by 38.25 by 2 inches. Rated 43 watts as I recall.
Q


What kind of battery are you using and what's your amp-hour capcity?
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Postby Q » Thu Jan 06, 2005 3:17 pm

Battery is a standard Group 27 RV battery from Costco. I believe it's rated 115 AH.
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Postby bdosborn » Sat Jan 08, 2005 12:03 am

Q wrote:Battery is a standard Group 27 RV battery from Costco. I believe it's rated 115 AH.


Hmmm. Maybe I've been a bit too conservative in my calculations of battery time. I ran some numbers using 220 amp-hr golf batteries and an 80 watt panel and decided it wasn't worth the money. Do me a favor and take a look at my calcs and let me know what you think.
http://home.comcast.net/%7Ebdosborn/tea ... _Calcs.pdf
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Postby Q » Sat Jan 08, 2005 8:44 am

Bruce,

Looks like your math is correct. Are you sure about the 60 watt power usage of the laptop and the 50 watts of the audio amp? Could those figures be maximum surge? My laptops and audio amps use much less power.

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Postby Dave Nathanson » Mon Jan 10, 2005 9:24 pm

I have a 5 watt solar panel on my TD. It makes enough juice during the day to power a couple of lights for a few hours each night. I have a 10AH sealed battery/jumpstarter I got for about $30 at PepBoys. From dead to full in 2 sunny days. That little battery is good for at least 4 hours of lights, probably more.

It's been working pretty well, until I pounded it over the endless washboard roads in Baja. Since then it seems to only hold a small charge and goes dead very quickly. I haven't checked it out yet, but I'm guessing that all that bouncing destroyed the battery's inner plates.

At least it's a very simple system, and easy to fix.
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