Minimalistic 12V setup with Solar charging - another solar question

Discussion in 'Camping Green' started by carguy37757, Jul 6, 2017.

  1. carguy37757

    carguy37757 Member

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    Jan 13, 2013
    Hey all. I recently inherited an older Viking SP190 pop up. It needs some work and doesn't have really many features at all. No HVAC/heat, no fridge, no stove, no sink. Has a couple of lights and a few outlets.

    What I want to do is either replace my lights with LED bulbs or buy separate LED strips to be mounted inside for lighting, add a 12V plug or 2 to charge cell phones, be able to run a fan to keep air moving in the camper while sleeping, and power my CPAP once I get the 12V adaptor for it. Very minimalist by my standards.

    I'm hoping to be able to set this whole thing up to run off a battery or 2 with solar recharge capabilities. I do not intend to run any 120v accessories through this setup. Only what's in the paragraph above.

    Realistically, what should I be looking at to make this happen? Do I really need a high dollar setup to make this happen?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. JimmyM

    JimmyM Well-Known Member

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    Jun 5, 2014
    Boston, MA
    You can get by with a group 27 or 31 battery, a 100W solar panel and a cheap PWM charge controller. The next question is... How long do you want to do this for? And what are the consequences of running out of power?
    Converting existing lights to LED is easy.
     
  3. carguy37757

    carguy37757 Member

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    Jan 13, 2013
    My longest stint probably would be no more than 5 days. The consequences of running out of power is really a dead phone or waking others with my snoring. So nothing major but I'd like to be able to make it 5 days, recharging with the panel as needed.
     
  4. JimmyM

    JimmyM Well-Known Member

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    Jun 5, 2014
    Boston, MA
    I'd go with as much battery as your tongue and budget will allow. Group 31 minimum.
    Do you know what your fans and CPAP machine's amp draw are? Those are the biggest consumers in your scenario. With those numbers you can do a better estimate of you usage and figure out what's needed.
     
  5. carguy37757

    carguy37757 Member

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    Jan 13, 2013
    At this time I haven't bought any fans or lights to know how much current draw is. I do not know what the cpap draw is.
     
  6. JimmyM

    JimmyM Well-Known Member

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    Jun 5, 2014
    Boston, MA
    LED Lights almost don't even count. The draw like 0.1 A each. The fans draw around 1.2A for a little 6" one to 3.5-ish amps for an Endless Breeze on high.
    I have no idea what a CPAP machine draws.
     
  7. Arlyn Aronson

    Arlyn Aronson Member

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    Jun 11, 2014
    Our camper came with interior lights but no battery to operate them off of. We tested them to make sure they worked and haven't used them since. Our camper is about 5yo now. We own a nice little 2000 Honda generator that I love and use at remote construction sites. Funny thing is we've never brought it along camping. Seems we do fine with those LED lights that we wear on our heads. Another one goes on the campers interior ceiling. In the fall, when its gets dark darn early we'll use an ancient Colman gas fired lantern we have. I'm a believer in the KISS system.. :)
     
  8. JimmyM

    JimmyM Well-Known Member

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    Jun 5, 2014
    Boston, MA
    But none of what you just posted addresses what the OP asked for.
    Can't run a CPAP on Coleman fuel. :D
     
  9. SteveP

    SteveP Member

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    May 21, 2015
    Too many variables to be able to give a decent answer about solar. Depending on where you camp it may do you no good at all. But I will say that you'll get the most bang for the buck by investing in batteries. Solar charging is worthless unless you have the battery capacity to hold and distribute the power. Two G31DCs or 2 GC2s might get you by five days, depending on the fan you use. The GC2s will give you more discharge/recharge cycles and hold up better long term, and they take up less space on the tongue but they're much more expensive. You can always recharge with jumper cables attached to the TV if necessary.
     
  10. JimmyM

    JimmyM Well-Known Member

    1,141
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    Jun 5, 2014
    Boston, MA
    GC2s are not more expensive. a pair of Sam's Club Duracell GC2s (Made by East Penn Deka) are $84 each. Even after core charges and tax I paid $217. A quick internet search shows a single G31DC is $160.
    2x GC2s = 215AH for $217
    2x G31DCs = 210AH for $320+tax+core charges

    It's not even close. Even if you chose Trojan GC2s (T105). They're only $150 each.

    Ultimately it all depends on how much power you use. You'll need to figure out what your stuff uses.
     
  11. p

    p Member

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    Jun 9, 2014
    Jumper cable recharging is fictional. Sorry.
     
  12. BirdsNest

    BirdsNest Member

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    Jun 12, 2017
    Utah
    You're not going to get a significant charge that way, unless you run the tow vehicle's engine and let it sit for quite a while, but it definitely can be used to get a bit of "emergency juice" into the trailer battery. It's also an option to temporarily run the trailer's electrical system (lift motor, for example) off of the tow vehicle's battery when the trailer's battery is dead.
     

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