Tuesday, January 14, 2014

TESTING MY SOLAR

Installing a solar set-up on your rig is an expensive initial outlay – BUT man oh man if you want to do any boondocking at all – and NOT have to run your generator - is it worth it !!

Yes, I do still have to run my generator for things like the microwave, hair dryer etc. but that’s minimal.

I did mine over two years.  Two years ago I had (2) 135W Solar Panels installed.  That installation included all the wiring, the charge controller, and other things I have no understanding of.

Even at that point, since doing that, I have not once needed to run my generator to charge my batteries.

Last year I added (1) more 140W Solar Panel and exchanged my existing (2) 12V batteries for (6) 6V Trojan batteries.  My existing two batteries were fine but I wanted to add more and I’ve been told you NEVER mix old batteries with new ones.

So the above combined with the fact that I am NOT an energy hog PLUS switching my lights to LED has left me with power to spare !!

When my solar panels were installed I opted for the ‘tilted’ as during the Winter months the days are shorter and the sun is lower so you need to maximize the sun’s input.

This stop took me longer to get settled as I had many chores/errands to do.  And it was far easier to get these things done with the rig instead of on the bike.  Especially the SIX loads of laundry.

During those days I didn’t  tilt my solar panels.  Surely not going to do that when I knew I’d have to put them back down the next day as I would be moving.

What I discovered was that I still have battery power to spare at the end of the evening.  The only difference I have observed is that it is a little later in the morning before my batteries are fully charged.  And they stay at a full charge for the entire day.

I’ve experimented with leaving my inverter on all evening (that’s for my computer and MiFi device); turning  several more (LED) lights on in the evening (even though I don’t need to); leaving my Inverter on all day AND all night;  and I STILL end the evening with my battery level showing 12.5 – that’s 90% charged !!

So no more tilting the panels for me.  One ‘set-up’ job that I don’t have to do now.  But it’s nice having that option.

8 comments:

  1. It soooo nice to have more energy than you need. If you don't have to tilt, you're ahead of the game, for sure, especially during the winter months. :)

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  2. Solar power has freed us from RV Parks since late 08 & we have never regretted for one minute going the solar route. It has more than paid for itself in more ways than one. If we were traveling full time we would probably add another panel but for the shorter boondocking trips we do now we get along just fine with just one 140Watt panel. Like you, we are not power hogs either......

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  3. I love having enough panels that I don't have to tilt them. I don't even have a ladder to let anyone climb up on my roof. If I did have a ladder it would not be me climbing up there. You amaze me, woman.

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  4. That's great! We find we never run below 12.5 even after running TV, inverter, DVR and charge the computers. things are good! That's a good thing that you don't have to climb on top anymore.

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  5. I had 200 watts and never had to tilt. Now I have 350 watts and the batts get charged even if the panels have some tree shade on them. No tilting for me.

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  6. It's been fun to have chats with you about all this solar stuff... lots of learning, and good results! Look forward to seeing you again soon! D & T

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  7. Solar power is the greatest thing for boondockers!

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  8. I have lots of solar free campers tell me they would like to have solar.....never had a camper with solar tell me they wanted to get rid of their solar.

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