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Thread: RV solar panel

  1. #1
    Member TR's Avatar
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    Default RV solar panel

    So my wife saw solar panels for sale at Costco. Then we started kicking around the idea of mounting one to our trailer for battery charging. Any one try this?

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    Iím sure someone has, I would not waste my time or money putting a solar panel on a camper.

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    Member TR's Avatar
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    Sounds like you've had a bad experience with solar panels.

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    Not at all, if the truth be known I have never use a solar panel. The reason is every time I have looked into using one, the cost and problems with weather and location (Alaska) did not make it practical for me. Iím not ant-solar, it just that they do not put out as much power as you think it dose.

    Itís like saying if you go hunting with me Iím sure you will see a big moose. Never said it could be a cow moose, or a 40 inch moose, that is also a big moose.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TR View Post
    So my wife saw solar panels for sale at Costco. Then we started kicking around the idea of mounting one to our trailer for battery charging. Any one try this?
    TR,
    Yes they are AWESOME. I have 2 mounted on my trailer from the dealer and a friend on mine had 2 panels that were not specifically designed for an RV and he mounted them.
    The fact of the matter is, with all the daylight we have in AK they keep the batteries charged. I really only have to start my generator when I need 110. But the heater, lights, water pump, etc all pretty much stay on and the panels keep my batteries at 12-14V. The other morning it was very cloudy in Chitna and that morning they were down to 10V which was the lowest I ever saw them, 10V was plenty to start the generator.
    My first winter I left my batteries in the trailer. As long as I kept the snow off the roof (actually the panels) the batteries held a charge all winter and never froze. I now use covered storage, so I have to pull the batteries in the winter!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Derby06 View Post
    TR,
    Yes they are AWESOME. I have 2 mounted on my trailer from the dealer and a friend on mine had 2 panels that were not specifically designed for an RV and he mounted them.
    The fact of the matter is, with all the daylight we have in AK they keep the batteries charged. I really only have to start my generator when I need 110. But the heater, lights, water pump, etc all pretty much stay on and the panels keep my batteries at 12-14V. The other morning it was very cloudy in Chitna and that morning they were down to 10V which was the lowest I ever saw them, 10V was plenty to start the generator.
    My first winter I left my batteries in the trailer. As long as I kept the snow off the roof (actually the panels) the batteries held a charge all winter and never froze. I now use covered storage, so I have to pull the batteries in the winter!
    Great post (welcome aboard btw..)
    Solar panels are a great way to maintain those batts.

    Be sure to install a blocking diode in the circuit to keep the power from draining back thru the panel...
    Proud to be an American!

  7. #7
    Member TR's Avatar
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    Good info gentlemen. That's what I'm shooting for. Just something to keep my dual batteries on trickle charge. I usually don't use them for arc welding

    And good point on the diode. I'll look for a circuit diagram online.

    Derby, where did you get the panels? And Chitina you say...have you seen the dip netting forum here?

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    They were on the trailer when I bought it, but were installed by the RV dealer. Trailer was 'used' when I bought it even though it was only 3-4 months old....lol
    My buddy got his panels from his dad.
    Dipnet is originally what brought me here...You were just the first one I could help....lol

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    You can find several companies on the internet that sell solar panels, and after you add shipping there will be no real saving. Are you planning on doing it yourself?

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    Member TR's Avatar
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    Costco in ANC is sold out of the ones my wife saw. She was told there are no plans to restock.
    Yes, planning to install ourselves. We're airplane mechanics by trade. So, if you have any detailed technical advice, lay it on me.

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    I run my cabin from solar, my trailer has a solar panel to trickle charge the batteries, and even my boat has a small solar panel to maintain the battery so the bilge pump can run while I'm away. I've had all these systems in place for many years and find them worth every penny I've ever spent on them.

    You can google tons of info about solar systems. Or visit the big three suppliers in Anchorage. Alaska Battery Mfg on Potter, Susitna Energy on Fairbanks St, and Alternative Energy across from Costco on Dimond. Depending on the output of your panel you may need a charge controller. That's the only "special knowledge" part. Otherwise it's a panel hooked to a battery. You can google lots of battery maintainer kits, too. They come with everything you need, including instructions. For example....

    http://www.batterystuff.com/solar-chargers/#276

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    Mr. Pid,

    Thanks much for the info and link. Definitely going to try it. Now to find the time...it is summer you know.

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  14. #14
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    take a good look at some of those RV solar panels before you purchase...


    some have a TINY sticker on the back that say...



    NOT FOR OUTDOOR USE>>>

    one rain and they are DONE!


    <sigh> i was only out 140 bucks on that one.....go figure eh?
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

    meet on face book here

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    Iím not saying your wrong Vince, but that just does not make since. If you can not put a solar panel out side in the sun there useless. Do you still have the panel? Where did you buy them from?

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