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Needing to put solar panels on my trailer, theres a boat load of tech online but mostly home, RV posts are kind of old, and of course i trust the pbb input more than others.

What panels you guys like? 100w or 150w? What charge controller?

Something scalable - keep 6 batts on trailer charced for now, eventually somrthing that can power a small little fridge

I see renogy stuff mentioned often. Tbis a good kit, or get panels and controller separately?

Thanks
 

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Space is at a premium on the RV. Look at dimensions and output on your panels and get the largest watts/square foot you can swing on your panel. I would run your fridge on propane. That frees up the rest of your power to be a more reasonable storage size in batteries. Get all the amp hours you can store in the RV again because storage is premium. I wouldn't recommend trying to run the AC on solar, but if you do, get a low frequency inverter. Pure sinewave either way because you will be plugging shit in that needs it.
 

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I've lived offgrid for three years now.

I bought into the whole Renogy thing and really like their products. Good customer service too. I'm running my log cabin (building in progress with full live-in basement) and my camper on a 12 volt Renogy system: 1100 watts of Renogy panels and two Renogy 20amp charge controllers. I have a 2000 watt Renogy inverter charger. Be sure to pay attention to the 'inverter charger' piece as the 'charger' is pretty important as it allows me to turn on my generator and run the whole system while charging the batteries. The inverter charger seamlessly switches power without missing a beat (nothing loses power). I'm looking at the 3000w Rengy inverter charger now and will most likely get it as my 2000w is a tad bit small especially for my jet pump.

I've recently read that my MPPT charge controllers are designed to be a 'single' charge controller meaning one charge controller should be connected to all the panels and it should be the only one in the system. I'm running two 20amp charge controllers and looking at the 100amp one now. I think I will have better performance with only one charge controller as they are kind of the brains of the operation and the should not compete with another one.

Running 10 Duracell 6v lead acid golf cart batteries that are about 3 years old and work fine, although the terminals are starting to corrode a bit and need cleaning. I also have 6 Optima Blue Tops just sitting there that I occasionally use to let the Duracells 'rest'. If I had it to do over again I would have went with 6 Yellow tops as they actually have a tiny bit more Amp Hours than the Blue Tops (which I find strange...). I'm currently looking at the Renogy 200AH 12V AGM batteries...

Refrigerator? Forget about running it on A/C power unless you have like 3000AH + of battery power and 2000W+ of solar. Propane is your friend. Trust me, I've tried to run my small RV fridge on A/C and it VERY QUICKLY drains my batteries. It uses so little propane that it's not even funny, so why bother trying to run it on A/C.
 

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Needing to put solar panels on my trailer, theres a boat load of tech online but mostly home, RV posts are kind of old, and of course i trust the pbb input more than others.

What panels you guys like? 100w or 150w? What charge controller?

Something scalable - keep 6 batts on trailer charced for now, eventually somrthing that can power a small little fridge

I see renogy stuff mentioned often. Tbis a good kit, or get panels and controller separately?

Thanks
It's actually fairly simple on a trailer. Find out how many or how large panels will fit max. Then add up the watts and get a charge controller that easily handles the load.

Lithium Ion batteries if you can get them used are spectacular. Not necessary but so rad.

You wont be able to run AC on battery. You wont want to run your fridge on battery. Cheers.
 

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It's actually fairly simple on a trailer. Find out how many or how large panels will fit max. Then add up the watts and get a charge controller that easily handles the load.

Lithium Ion batteries if you can get them used are spectacular. Not necessary but so rad.

You wont be able to run AC on battery. You wont want to run your fridge on battery. Cheers.
Not true at all. If you have the real estate and willing to spend the money it can easily be done.
 

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I'm a big fan of the Victron charge controllers. Most models are 12/24v, have nice Bluetooth management, and MPPT. They also have higher input voltages so you can run your panels in series which is really really nice. Higher voltages mean much smaller wire gauge requirements.

Refrigerators and A/C really aren't practical on an RV. I'd go ahead and cross that off the list.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Its a 40 foot trailer. I have a 9000w genny that runs the AC if I need. The fridge is a baby 2 foot tall one, not full size, but I suppose thats not a deal breaker.


Does PBB OK mounting them with the eternabobd or 3m adhesive (with brackets, not direct to roof)? Would like to avoid screws of course
 

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Victron IS some good stuff.

I switched to Magnum energy's complete system;
-2000 watt pure sine inverter charger (100amp charging)
-PT-100 MPPT solar controller
-ARC remote
-BMK monitors and computes state of charge, best way to set charging parameters is state of charge
-AGS auto gen start

4-Sun Power 250 watt 42 VOLT residential panels wired in 2 strings of two panels in series to make 2-84 volt charging string at 500 watts each.

This is where the MPPT style charger pays off you can run the higher voltage residential panels and the MPPT will reconfigure to what ever voltage sytem you are running and use every bit of electricity the panels can put out. It also allows the use of much smaller feeders from the roof to the controller. 500 watts at 84 volts nets 6 amps, 500 watts in a typical RV panel (16-17 volts) would create 31 amps. So if you run a 10 ga on the 6 amps you will have minimal voltage drop.


I think combining high voltage res panels with MPPT control and build your own lithium battery packs from individual cells and a good battery management system to monitor each cell, the size of your roof is the limit.
 

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Not true at all. If you have the real estate and willing to spend the money it can easily be done.
Dude. That's a 40 foot trailer he is talking about. To run his AC he needs 1500W just for the ac. And an inverter capable to hold 8000x starting.

He could run one ac. Then half that load but then the batteries. The amp hours would need to be what? 400 at 73 an hour? And that's just the ac.

So yeah, you can do it. But no, you really can't. At least not well and it would never be worth it.
 

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I've got two Ebay 100w panels with a Renogy 20 amp MPPT controller feeding two 120 Ah "Leisure" batteries. It's OK in the summer but I'm considering getting two more panels to cope with the dim light and short days in the winter.

It's a good idea to stand off the panels from the mounting surface to allow air to circulate around them. They don't like getting too hot.

With regard to a fridge, an AC or 12v compressor fridge will draw about a quarter the amps that an absorption (gas) fridge will and only intermittently.

An ordinary AC only compressor fridge run through a good inverter will only use fractionally more than a dedicated 12v fridge and you will save 100s of $ buying it.
 

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I have an old ARB fridge, the biggest one they made at the time 80qt or 100qt, made by Engel, and with that swing-motor it draws very little current, especially on startup which is a problem for most fridges. I ran it overnight on an Odyssey PC1200 through a cheap inverter (I smoked the 12v side, doh), and it didn't die in the 8 hours. Recharged it during the drive the next day, repeat.

Get the most efficient fridge, calc the load, size batts and panels accordingly.

I have a buddy that is way into it, and he just upgraded his system on his motorhome, so he'd know what the best controllers and panels per dollar are right now. I'll ask.
 

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So much bad information here. If you have the room for large 60 or 72 cell panels then you will get the most bang for the buck that way. For large panels, 300w minimum each. If you want to run the smaller 36 cell panels the only game in town is fred480v on eBay. This is an outlet for a place in Indiana that makes the best "small" panels in the game. I have 8 of his 36-cell 200w panels on my motorhome. $185/ea shipped.

Also, if you don't have a 2-way fridge already I say you can run your current fridge on a small inverter. Unless that fridge is really ancient. If you need a new one get a cheap Haier or similar from Homey Lowes. Almost all of these fridges have very easy-starting (or inverter) compressors now. Running a 2-way fridge on 120v will suck 10x more power than a residential fridge on 120v.

Also, if you want to run A/C from you do not need an 8000w inverter or anything like that. If you run an RV a/c you need to install a Microair soft starter in it. This will allow a 3000w inverter to start and run an RV A/C if you have enough battery behind it.

And just so you internet people have something to argue about: I can (and do) start and run TWO A/C's at the same time on my 4400w Magnum inverter. 16kwh of lithium and 1600w solar helps. My residential fridge is keeping ice cream and pizzas frozen solid right now, too.

Renogy is Chicom shit. Don't buy it.
 

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Another Renogy fan here.

I've got around 20 of their 50W panels and charge controllers from Amazon, powering instrumentation on research farms scattered across the state. I've killed a few charge controllers, but everyone has been moisture related.

Compared to the $$$ Isco stuff we were using, we've saved several thousand dollars, and have had no issues that weren't our own or Mother Nature's fault.

They've updated the charge controller over the years, our newest ones are just like these, but most of ours don't have LCD screens.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DCDVVO6/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1
 

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There is no compelling reason to buy anything Renogy. Their panels are sub par, their MPPT's might be OK. But please just don't buy their panels. $/w is way too high. And they are remarketed Chicom stuff.
 

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There is no compelling reason to buy anything Renogy. Their panels are sub par, their MPPT's might be OK. But please just don't buy their panels. $/w is way too high. And they are remarketed Chicom stuff.
Granted it's been a few years, but at the time, they were pretty much the cheapest comparable option to what we were using, without going directly to China. Haven't had a single issue with a panel, and we've got several.

There doesn't seem to be a compelling reason to buy something else, for what we're doing.
 

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Pretty much every panel is made in china. They are assembled in different places and said to be made there. But other than a few made in Korea I don't know of any actually made outside of china. They have cheap energy because they burn coal. lol.
 

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Hitech solar in Indiana is made in the USA from cells that are made in the USA or Germany iirc. In any case they are very well made and have the best $/w ratio for a 36-cell panel. Renogy is all old tech and Amazon is flooded with other brand names on the same old tech. That's all I'm saying here.
 
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