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Solar panel recommendations

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GlueGuy View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote GlueGuy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Solar panel recommendations
    Posted: 08 Dec 2017 at 6:05pm
Originally posted by WillThrill

A simpler approach is to use jumper cables, but this is not as healthy for deep cycle batteries, which are designed to be charged in a slow, controller manner, which jumper cables absolutely cannot do.  But in a pinch, they will work as well.
Not true. The charger on your tow vehicle is not "uncontrolled". It will provide a bulk charge relatively quickly. It won't hurt so-called "deep cycle" batteries. We have numerous solar sites with large deep cycle batteries, and the ones with big enough solar cells will charge up (during bulk charge) in less than a couple hours. Some of them charge with as much as 40 amps of charge current.

The bulk/absorb/float voltage levels between wet SLA, gel SLA, and AGM SLA batteries is not all that different.
bp
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Keith-N-Dar View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Keith-N-Dar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Dec 2017 at 6:12pm
Moderator, can you set up a forum for engineers to argue about technical details?  All it seems to be doing here is confusing those who haven't already tuned them out.
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Pod People View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Pod People Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Dec 2017 at 11:03pm
Our personal experience is a combination of charging methods.  We use our pod for long term travels-multi week , long distance journeys.  We just returned from a 11,000 mile, 12 week trip. Most of those days camping were in areas that had no power. We try to boondock if possible.

We have a Renogy 100 watt suitcase panel. We use the panel with a 25' extension cord( 12 gauge) in order to have the panel in the sun and the pod in the shade.  Our controller is mounted inside the pod and is watched closely. We try to set the panel for maximum sun angle and direction when we leave camp in the morning.  this method works for us on a daily basis to recharge if we can get as little as 3 hours of good sun.  Less sun obviously means less power put back into the batteries.

One thing that people don't talk much about is that the batteries don't have to fully charged to 100% all the time.  You can still use everything without harming a true deep cell battery.  It is made to be used-partially discharged and then recharged constantly and for many recharge/use cycles.  We are not fully 100% charged unless we  are always plugged in to an external power source. Let's talk about boondocking . Assume that you start with 100% charge. The first day and night you use the battery down to 85%. Next day your solar panel raises it back to 95%. then the next day/night cycle you use it down to  80%.  then a good day and you are back up to 100%.  and on and on. Use it up, replenish at least part of the power, but not necessarily all of it. Next day, use more, then replenish all of it.  On and on, giving and taking. Filling, using, refilling. Not 100% perhaps, but till totally usable and safe.

 Our longest stay without power was 13 days on the Oregon coast.  Our batteries never went below 75% SOC.  We had a mix of great sun, fog, clouds, partial sun  and rain. We are very careful with our power usage and can easily get 5 days or more from our 2 six volt golf cart batteries without recharging   Winter time use will increase the usage dramatically if using the heat/fan.  We use mostly 1 pound gas cylinder heaters. We run the fridge on propane always.  We do not use the water heater at all-- all of our hot water is heated on the propane stove.  We have 2 small solar lanterns that we use as much as we can. We don't use the AC or the microwave.  we have 2 12v fans  to make a breeze.  We also use a propane portable oven for baking bread or meals. We try to recharge our phones and ipads in the vehicle when driving as much as possible, but can recharge them in the pod's 12volt system. . So, as you see, we really are frugal with power. 

 I am a big advocate of solar power IF your camping style will handle it.  We are probably pretty extreme compared to most podders. We love boondocking and are willing to alter our power usage to accommodate the style.  However, I will add that we also have on several occasions used our jumper cables on our batteries when we had to.  We were very careful about attaching them correctly and in the proper order as noted in our ford owner's manual.  We also limited the time charging to 30 minutes. It brought our batteries from 50% up to 75% in 30 minutes.

when we did stay in a campground with facilities we made sure that everything we had was fully charged when we left.

Hope this helps give another perspective of power usage and recharging.
Travel safe,
Vann 

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JET View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote JET Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Dec 2017 at 12:16pm
Great information, thank you!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Olddawgsrule Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Dec 2017 at 1:09pm
Knowing what you will use and how to replace the use is very important, as Pod has implied/stated.

Will, has shown a simple way to control that re-charge with the system supplied with your solar kit/package.

What can 'you' live with or without? That is the real question at hand.
A good set of dual 6v batts will get you there. And you really don't have to spend a lot to get there.

Me, I'm going to draw a bit more than Pod, yet it is still workable.

The only mistake in my mind is not camping! So is my opinion...

Share your decisions and we all will grow from it.
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will910 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote will910 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jan 2018 at 1:39pm
Where did you mount your charge controller
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WillThrill View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote WillThrill Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Feb 2018 at 6:42pm
Originally posted by will910

Where did you mount your charge controller

In our 177, I mounted it on the rear wall of the storage compartment in the rear of the unit.  It just screwed in with shallow screws, and we never had a problem with it.
"Not all those who wander are lost." Tolkien

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Post Options Post Options   Quote jamonrob Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Jan 2020 at 12:51pm
I have a 2018 179 Hood River. What do you think of this current deal at Costco?
https://www.costco.com/.product.100389117.html?&EMID=B2C_2020_0116_Automotive

Coleman 100W Solar Panel With 8.5 AMP Charge Controller

$119.99

Thanks

Rob Gonzales
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Olddawgsrule Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Jan 2020 at 4:01pm
Originally posted by jamonrob

I have a 2018 179 Hood River. What do you think of this current deal at Costco?

Coleman 100W Solar Panel With 8.5 AMP Charge Controller

$119.99

Thanks


First, the hyperlink is now active if someone wish to have a look (on this reply only).

It's 100 watts of solar with a $20 controller. Priced about right for what it is, $1 a watt. Look at the size and decide how you will store it. I do like it's a panel vs. 3-4 panels connected (like HF). I also like it is Hard framed and the back connectors are correct (unlike HF). There are no final connectors on the leads and you will need to solder and protect them (not a deal breaker). Do realize this is pba based battery system, not lithium. You would replace the controller for one designed for Lithium if you so wished.

Not an unreasonable purchase as an entry to solar. You can always upgrade as you go and can afford. 

I have the same type panel I bought several years back at $1.50 a watt (mine is a 130w) and it was a steal at that time! 


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GlueGuy View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote GlueGuy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Yesterday at 10:04am
I agree. Not a bad deal. If you shop around you might find less expensive panels, but a controller for $20 is pretty good. Like ODR, I have a bigger panel (150 watt) that I got for around $700 a few years ago (that's right $4.50 per watt (the bad old days)).
bp
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