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Old 09-24-2011, 12:07 PM   #11
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Re: Solar vs Generator

strawberry, sounds like some good ideas, let us know how it goes.
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Old 09-24-2011, 12:44 PM   #12
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Re: Solar vs Generator

I think there is merit in adding solar if you plan to be parked with out services for at least a week, parked for more than a weekend using a laptop, or have devices for health needs that consume power. Otherwise, there seems to be plenty of capacity with dual 6V batteries and two propane tanks. With this, I would say that a microwave and hot plate are unnecessary. The stove and oven work great.

The reference to powering A/C is an interesting point in that I can imagine some places that would be difficult to stay at without some temperature relief. But, I would be amazed if a solar/battery set up could power air conditioning, as suggested above. There has been so much discussion on the forum about difficulties in starting A/C on a 2000i generator, that I don't see how this would work coming through an inverter. So I am curious if some smaller A/C unit is being considered and what testing is planned?
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Old 09-24-2011, 01:40 PM   #13
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Re: Solar vs Generator

I have never had need for A/C yet, having only camped in temps up to 30°C. We just hit the ceiling fan when the temps drop and the trailer cools off real fast. If I was to install A/C and use it (and I likely will some day), I would just make sure I had a site that had hook-ups. I too have my suspicions that using an inverter will not work well, or would drain the batteries really quick.

We don't really need any appliances hat require 120V, they are just luxuries, and each individual has to decide what level of luxury they wish to have. The only 120V appliances we travel with are a small kettle and a small heater for use should we be hooked to the grid to save on propane consumption (and be quieter in the case of the heater). They are both small and lightweight, but frankly get very little use, so we could easily do without them.

Ultimately for me, I feel the less stuff I take with me will Escaping, the simpler and more enjoyable my travels will be.

I don't mean to take this idea to the point where I might be inconvenienced and not enjoying myself, but I do believe there is a balance between comfort and the luxuries we need to achieve this. Of course, everyone will define this level of comfort differently. I have a vast background of backcountry travel where you need to take everything in on your back, in a sled or in a canoe. I think this has taught me to enjoy life camping with very simple needs. I still do this, and just did a 4 day canoe trip on Maligne Lake in Jasper NP last week.
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Old 09-26-2011, 01:23 AM   #14
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Re: Solar vs Generator

Lifepe4 is getting mature and the ah ratings are pretty accurate, am solar did some tests with one lithium pack and saw almost no change in ah, regardless of draw. EVs use lifepo4 extensively, and it stands up to incredible abuse, rv house use is a joke in comparison. The 2000i is only 1600w 2000 peak I believe, the inverter were looking at is 2800w cont 4000 peak, I'm not worried about the ac starting. Another poster measured the draw of the ac. It's around 1000w running. For us this is about simplicity, hookups, generators, driving long distances to dump waste will make life more complex for us, we like as few things to tote around as possible. We need to go 1-2 weeks with no inputs, keep young babies in a cool environment in the hot sun, and be comfortable. I don't consider cooking outside a luxury, its oart of enjoying the outdoors, a small induction hot plate is a fraction of the size of even a tiny BBQ, power isn't a problem and again less hassle, no extra gas to bring, just plug it in and use your normal frying pan, maybe ease of use and flexibility is a bad thing for some, not us and if simplicity and flexibility is luxurious then sign me up. Re more efficient ac units Dc airco makes some really efficient dc ac units but theyre too pricey. Even a polar cub isn't really more efficient just less cooling, slightly lower draw. If 20kwh lithium battery can power a car 100+ km a 5kwh battery can run a air conditioner, and 600+w of solar will keep things topped up. You guys may think this all sounds complex and complicated but we have simplicity in mind. Everyone's trailers already have batteries and chargers, ours will too, they'll just look slightly different and weigh slightly less. More importantly for us they'll offer all the convenience of a hookup, all the pleasure off remote locations and be fully integrated. Any fuel you have to lug along with you is a luxury, heck pulling around a toilet and a heated shower is a luxury, most people enjoy that. Having backpacked extensively I appreciate what technology allows: titanium, ceramic water filters and carbon fibre can let you go further, be lighter and suffer less hassle when portaging and spending extended time in the wilderness, I don't see those as luxuries just better tech, but I've certainly heard people say that equipment that weighs half as much is a luxury, if it is it certainly hasn't hurt my enjoyment. What were doing isn't for everyone but it will be light, simple, more flexible, integrated and require us to lug less around and not more.
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Old 09-26-2011, 07:16 AM   #15
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Re: Solar vs Generator

Hi: Solar Rider... I'm watching from the wings to see the end result. If all works as you speculate/calculate I just might spring for a retrofit so we can cut the umbilical cord and get away from the current bush. The cost of a genset of size and fuel supply would go a long way towards powering up with "Old Sol". What happens during our Oct-Apr storage season I'm in the dark about that!!! Alf
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Old 09-26-2011, 10:18 AM   #16
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Re: Solar vs Generator

Solar Rider, would you mind breaking up longer posts like the above some, as my aging eyes go crazy with that much text and info put into one paragraph.

While my thinking is not along the exact same line yours is, I am very interested in hearing what you come up with. I truly love learning stuff. We all have our values of what is most important to us, and that is a good thing, it would be terrible if we all thought the same (especially if it was like Alf does ).

I also recognize that your research into this is something you enjoy doing, and that is a good thing. I lose myself into research on things all the time, and most often enjoy doing so.

Just curious as to where you live, as you do not list it in you location. I know around most of Canada, A/C would get very little use. Funny thing though, is the furnace does.
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Old 09-26-2011, 11:52 PM   #17
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Re: Solar vs Generator

Solar Rider - Thanks for the the additional details. Looks like your onto something. I hope you keep us informed how it comes together. I've got a decade or two before breaking my work habit to be able to get out traveling for long stretches. In the meantime it is fun to hear about the technological progress people are making.
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Old 09-27-2011, 04:36 PM   #18
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Re: Solar vs Generator

I was re-visiting the technomadia website http://www.technomadia.com/ and noticed that they built a lithium Ion battery pack that they use to run the A/C!! Pretty cool..
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Old 09-27-2011, 09:07 PM   #19
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Re: Solar vs Generator

Yeah, emailed them, we're going to share some details, waiting for them to do an in-depth post. I think they had pretty similar intentions, except they're providing power for an entire bus, which obviously has much greater cooling requirements, I believe they're running a 5000wh pack, which is what I was thinking of originally but that maybe excessive. They also posted a video recently of using their induction hot plate, boiled a decent amount of water in 3 min vs 5 or something for the 240v electric burner. A 1300w induction plate used for 3 min is only 65wh, if our solar setup produces 2500-3500wh a day with reserves of 5000wh you can see how using some electricity isn't a big deal. AC is a killer thought.

I wonder how often in an hour the fan and compressor run during a given hour (once the trailer is at temperature). Maybe 15% of the time the compressor is actually running to keep things good. I realize it depends on the settings, heat, insulation, etc. Just trying to get some thoughts going. If it was say 50% of the time the compressor is running than you'd be using 450wh an hour.

I think when we wont use the AC much, I keep debating not getting it, most time will be in ON, NC and SC. The problem is if I get a really hot week and I want our baby to sleep in the roasting beach sun well I'm going to wish I had gotten the AC. Things can get really muggy in Ontario, and horrible in NC in the summer so I think we'll be getting the AC.
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