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Old 08-28-2012, 09:48 PM   #21
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Re: Solar musing

I have just returned from a two-week trip to Kelowna and area. I bought a 40 Watt, 2.7 amp. solar panel on sale at Canadian Tire for $150 before I left home. I do also have a Honda 1000 which I also brought with me. I was curious to see how well the Solar Panel would do in topping up the battery (one 12 volt) and replacing the juice used the night before. What I found was that this panel was able to keep the battery topped up but not quite to the top. So, after about a week, I had to run the generator for a few hours to bring the battery back to full capacity. So the net result was that I only had to run the generator twice in the two-week span. This was a huge improvement for me, as on previous trips I had to run the genny every morning to top up the battery. I store the Solar Panel in a box under the bed along with chairs etc. It is quite heavy, but I still think it is well worth the money I paid and of course it is completely silent.
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Old 08-29-2012, 08:55 AM   #22
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Re: Solar musing

I have the factory installed solar option - 95 watt panel & controller from Go Power, a pair of 6v batteries, and all LED lighting. This summer I spent 12 days in a row off grid in Leadville, CO - used the furnace since mornings were in the low 30°F. I have a 1000 watt inverter I use to make a pot of coffee each morning, and a laptop that draws 9 amps @ 12v I run for an hour or two. The solar system usually had the batteries back to 100% by 11:00AM. As long as I don't need the air conditioner, I suspect I could run as long as I wanted on the system...
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Old 08-29-2012, 01:54 PM   #23
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Re: Solar musing

Another talking point (and please correct me if I'm wrong, I'm only passing along what others have said),

do the larger units give you a buffer against cloudy days and the subsequent percentage drop in wattage output? So if a guy needed, say 25watts for sure, and he camped in mostly tree shade or (west coast) cloud cover, the safe bet would be a 75+watt unit?

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Old 08-29-2012, 05:52 PM   #24
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Re: Solar musing

I would say that some over kill on the solar panel is a great idea, as you say not every day or location will be a godd solar charging day, the worst thats going to happen with a larger panel than you mathmaticaly need is your batteries will be topped up earlier in the day, for example recently we were in waterton and our site didn't get sun untill well after lunch and the sun set over the mountians quite early, so we only really got a 2-3 hours of good sun but with a 80 watt panel the batteries still got topped up each day, where as when we are in good sun area they are topped up well before noon.
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Old 08-30-2012, 08:51 AM   #25
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Re: Solar musing

Jon what kind of inverter are you using. I just had solar panels installed last week and I am trying to figure out which inverter to buy.
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Old 08-30-2012, 09:11 AM   #26
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Re: Solar musing

You do realize that inverters are somewhat inefficient. You are converting 12v to 120v and you lose a lot of battery juice. Coffee can be made on a gas stove. In addition almost all computers are 12v as are most new tv's. So rather than convert 12v to 120v and then convert back to 12v, find the correct 12v adapter for your needs. It will use less battery juice.
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Old 08-30-2012, 10:01 AM   #27
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Re: Solar musing

I do make my coffee on the stove,tastes better than electric drip makers. The inverter is so I can use a toaster and to charge my computer in the trailer and anything else I might need when boondocking.
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Old 08-30-2012, 12:10 PM   #28
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Re: Solar musing

Quote:
Originally Posted by digger57
Jon what kind of inverter are you using. I just had solar panels installed last week and I am trying to figure out which inverter to buy.
I have a ProWatt SW1000 sine wave inverter. While the sine wave inverters are more expensive & I don't need it to make coffee, there are some devices that are not happy when supplied by the choppy MSW inverters, including my camera battery charger.

As to making coffee, I do prefer drip, and since I haven't had any problems with recharging my batteries from the solar system, I'll stick with the inefficient inverter. I do use direct 12V power supplies for both my computer & my iPod dock...
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Old 08-30-2012, 12:50 PM   #29
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Re: Solar musing

You don't need to make coffee? what is this world coming to
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Old 08-30-2012, 02:12 PM   #30
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Re: Solar musing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dmac
You don't need to make coffee? what is this world coming to
You don't need to make coffee? Well then, you don't need to go camping either, you don't have to visit loved ones, or you don't have to ever enjoy life.

You don't need to make coffee? Sheesh.....are you out of your mind? (though you don't have to have electricity to make good stuff)

Yours truly,
Jim the Coffee Freak
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