Need some advice on setup

Discussion in 'General Camper Setup / Take Down' started by v1ru5879, Jun 3, 2019.

  1. v1ru5879

    v1ru5879 Member

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    Its time to pull out our 97 Taos again this year. Didn't do a whole lot to it last year, we used it where we found full hookups. I want to take it to some more remote locations this year. I know I will need some sort of battery setup and possibly something solar for charging the batteries or a small generator. We don't have an AC and use fans and a very small heater when it gets chilly at night. If I was to go solar would I do it to where it just recharges the batteries or would I be best setup to run off the solar. I am guessing use it to charge the batteries. I have already switched in interiors to LED to help. Also what would determine the solar requirements besides adding up everything I would like to run. Totally new to all this so I would appreciate any and all input!
     
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  2. Jeep Guy

    Jeep Guy Active Member

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    I do not have solar panels, but I have read that you need at least 100 watt panels and a controller to recharge your 12v battery during the day. Also, the outlets in the camper will not power anything when running just off of battery power. You would need to get a 12v to 110v inverter. Someone that uses solar panels can add much more.
     
  3. v1ru5879

    v1ru5879 Member

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    I know the pup is already setup to be ran with a line in or battery. All the wiring is there and goes into the factory inverter box. I bought it secondhand so it came without batteries and I've never seen how running off batteries works. From what I've gathered the most economic way would be use of panels to recharge the batteries instead of trying to run straight off of solar. Not that I have a ton of stuff to run or am going to be spending all day inside but I like to have options
     
  4. Jeep Guy

    Jeep Guy Active Member

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    I do have a battery on mine. I can run the interior LED lights and if you have a water supply tank with a pump, you can run that as well. If you have a built in propane furnace, the fan will run on battery power. My refrigerator runs on 110v electricity and /or propane. Don't try to run the refrigerator off of the battery. It will run down the battery in just a couple of hours. I think you would have to have a pretty large solar panel to run 110v items off of it.
     
  5. Jeep Guy

    Jeep Guy Active Member

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  6. McFlyfi

    McFlyfi Active Member

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    The battery is "downstream" of the solar panel, the converter is "downstream" of the battery, and your devices to be powered are "downstream" of the converter/power distribution center.
    So the power flows from solar panel to battery to converter to devices. Anytime the solar is generating power, it is feeding the battery. If you are using 12 volt devices while the panel is producing power, you are using the battery while the solar panel is charging. It wouldn't be set up separately, so it's not an either/or proposition.

    Before you go out and buy a new solar set up, you really need to understand more about DC power, batteries, and solar electricity.
    I would recommend reading The 12 Volt Side of Life
    The best, plain English description I have seen of how battery charging works is in the manual for the Bogart Engineering SC2030 charge controller. Scroll down to Section 6- Technical Information for Interested and Advanced Users. Read Section 6.1 and 6.2.

    And by the way, you really do need to "...adding up everything I would like to run..." in order to figure out how much battery and how much recharging you need.
     
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  7. v1ru5879

    v1ru5879 Member

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    Thanks for all the input! As much as I would like solar it just seems more convenient to have a small generator to recharge the batteries or use in moderation. Possibly a 700 watt 2 cycle would be enough for the minimal amount of use
     
  8. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

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    I would start with the battery. Get the biggest deep cycle you can afford and fit. Then go to a campground with hookups and don't hookup. Can you get through your trip without having to plug in? If so, then you may not need anything else. If not, then you'll have a better idea if a solar setup will be enough to recharge or if you need a generator.

    You mention using a "very small heater" - I'm guessing that is an electric heater. If so, you will need an inverter to run it and it will run down your battery quicker. If you can skip it, or get a Mr. Heater propane heater, you will be able to get through a lot more days and nights before having to charge.

    In my clipper, I have a group 31 optima blue top agm battery. I can go 10 days without putting a dent in my battery. I have my water pump on 24-7 (only runs when I turn on the faucet or flush the toilet), use on average one fluorescent light for 1-3 hours per day, and charge my cell and fire nightly. My battery is the last thing that determines my camping time limit.
     
  9. v1ru5879

    v1ru5879 Member

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    That's some really great advice, thank you. I need to get myself a battery box n battery then. I love the idea of solar to keep the battery charged if I can get by without a heater. Luckily the small generator I am looking at is affordable at only around a hundred bucks. Myself personally I could do without the electric, my wife on the other hand would like a little electric so I am trying to compromise lol.
     
  10. McFlyfi

    McFlyfi Active Member

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    Your neighbors are going to love you running a 2 stroke generator all night to power a heater. If you are going to developed campgrounds, you won't be able to run that generator after 10pm, and some campgrounds are even more restrictive.
    700 watts isn't going to run much of a heater. Before you buy a generator, make sure it will run the heater you are going to buy (check the wattage on it).
    I agree with the Mr Buddy heater (and it will cost less than the gen + heater)- I have one and use it to supplement my furnace. A 1lb bottle of propane can make my huge Niagara very comfortable in 40 degree overnight temps.

    (Can you tell I hate generators? [:D] )
     
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  11. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

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    As mentioned, generators in campgrounds are usually limited in when they can be run. Some are a couple hours twice a day - usually around breakfast and dinnertime. Most don't allow after 8 or 10 pm or before 8 am.

    What does your wife want electric for? Does she want a coffeemaker, a movie at night, or? Knowing what she'll want it for can help determine how much power you need.
     
  12. Jeep Guy

    Jeep Guy Active Member

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    If you use a generator at all at a campsite, I would highly recommend an inverter generator as they are quite. And I would suggest you not run it at night if there are other campers around. It would drive me nuts if I were trying to sleep but I could not due to the noise of a neighboring generator. I have a regular (not inverter) generator and we use it every few years when a hurricane may hit and that thing is very loud. We got it free when my father-in-law passed away so that if why I do not have an inverter generator.
     
  13. PointyCamper

    PointyCamper Active Member

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    You can use jumper cables for 20-30min/day for lights, water pump.
    Did this for 6 yrs. Worked well
     
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  14. Blackripley

    Blackripley Member

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    This (quoted below) is the best advice I've seen on this subject so far. The big questions are how long are you camping on each outing? What items do you want to power, and are they 12v or 120v? Solar vs small generator, solar needs a good amount of sun all day to be effective, the 2 stroke generator is going to be loud and under powered.
    Generators are a hot topic here some like them and some absolutely hate them. When you camp anywhere near other campers they will be in the latter category. Also keep in mind that generators & solar panels are sold and marked with their peak power not the runnig output. My bet is you are going to need want more than you think.

    Now matter how you end up going you need to start with a good battery (bigger the better) for you trailer as pointed so skillfully below.

     
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  15. v1ru5879

    v1ru5879 Member

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    So what got me asking about a solar setup was this
    https://www.harborfreight.com/100-W...iMTQ5Ljk5IiwicHJvZHVjdF9p ZCI6IjEyMTU4In0=

    It seems I would need a battery bank or battery depending on needs for the night and an inverter. What are the thoughts on this? Reviews show good feedback on these panels, im obviously not going to "live it up" with this kit but seems like something affordable enough for camping uses
     
  16. Blackripley

    Blackripley Member

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    No matter how you end up going you will need a way of storing the energy so a battery of some sort. Solar is great when you have a good amount of direct sunlight for a good part of the day. That kit looks like a good start, it might worth giving a try.
    Where are you planning on camping, and for how long each trip?
     
  17. v1ru5879

    v1ru5879 Member

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    I live in northern New Mexico so the surrounding areas. Mostly anymore there is electric hook up at most camp sites. So I'm really only looking for the occasional "dry" camp
     

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