This weekend, I had no plans to go anywhere. So naturally, that meant seeing if I could break or otherwise beat on the RV. I decided on installing the solar. Out at Dead Horse, I moved the batteries out of the battery box, and into the former generator compartment(that now houses our folding bikes). It wasn’t that difficult, but routing the wires involved a bit more cable.
I figured this was ALSO the best time to relocate the AC powered battery charger, and I had heard good things about the Intellipower by Progressive Dynamics. And it’s made in the USA. Well at least it says it’s manufactured here… I’m only expecting to need it on rare occasions when clouds made charging the batteries not possible. But considering I was still charging when the sun was low I don’t think it’s going to be an issue. I wouldn’t have even bothered, but the old charger decided to go on strike and not charge the batteries anymore. Loads of fun finding THAT out when your heater no longer keeps your pipes from freezing.
Right now we only have the two batteries in there and they’ll probably be replaced with better batteries as I can afford them. My intention is to add two better batteries, and then replace those original two at a later date. But for now it serves as a nice “Proof of concept” setup. Essentially, it’s good enough for a couple nights in the cold. Which is fine for most of our weekend trips.
As you can see there are a few holes, and this is not the final product. I need to add a battery monitor to this set up that will allow me to know when I’m at full capacity, and I also need to add in a couple of 30 amp fuses to protect everything. I also need to add in a shut off switch to kill power when I’m working on the system. Just thinking out loud here, but being electrocuted is not my idea of fun. But hey, if you know of anyone who likes electric shocks, feel free to have them not put in some form of cut out.
The panels on the roof are 100 watt 12 volt panels which negated the need for a MPPT controller. Realistically, I can’t think of a weekender RV that would need that much controller. Maybe someone has a need that I don’t know about. Feel free to mention it in the comments. But for my needs it’s pretty much only used on weekends and has the whole week to catch up on charging. I figure if I go with a four 6Volt battery setup, I’ll be good for the better part of a week even with little sun.
As you can see, I left room for another panel to be added. And honestly, if I wanted I could probably put about 5-600 watts of panel up there for SUPERMEGA CHARGE, but I would then need a new charge controller, and would swap out the 10 AWG wire for 6 or 4 coming down from the roof. Who knows? If we ever decide to full time, I’ll probably go with enough juice to run the microwave off it, but again, this is a weekender rig. It’s got the whole week to catch up.
Oh, and SINCE I actually liked the kit I got, I’ll give them my appreciation. It was the Solar Penny 200 Watt RV kit. They are local(to Phoenix) as well.
You can order a custom set-up if you want more power. But this kit will at least get you up and running. The only gripe I have is not having Red and Black for positive and negative, but meh…. Maybe I’ll just wrap red tape around the positive wire to make myself feel better.