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Old 08-26-2011, 10:36 PM   #1
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Default To solar or not to solar ?

That is the question. I in my earlier thread stated i'm trying to get camping & when i think about sustaining my battery power boondocking there's what? Generators or extra batteries or solar,right. So what i would like to know is have anyone of you guys tried a good marine deep cycle battery to run say your interior lights and a lap top or a radio and kept the battery charged by a solar panel? I'm thinking of buying a good battery ( mines getting to old to trust) That would be $97.00 without tax and another $97.00 for a solar panel that they say will power your appliances & keep the battery charged, plus its silent.Yes it works on over cast days slower perhaps but will charge everything except a completely dead battery. So what do all you all do hen your not camping at a campground?? How long can you/your power go?
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Old 08-27-2011, 01:05 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by FHILO View Post
That is the question. I in my earlier thread stated i'm trying to get camping & when i think about sustaining my battery power boondocking there's what? Generators or extra batteries or solar,right. So what i would like to know is have anyone of you guys tried a good marine deep cycle battery to run say your interior lights and a lap top or a radio and kept the battery charged by a solar panel? I'm thinking of buying a good battery ( mines getting to old to trust) That would be $97.00 without tax and another $97.00 for a solar panel that they say will power your appliances & keep the battery charged, plus its silent.Yes it works on over cast days slower perhaps but will charge everything except a completely dead battery. So what do all you all do hen your not camping at a campground?? How long can you/your power go?
Some of the newer model Hi-Lo's came with solar panels. You won't have any problem getting the power you need with a generator and a solar panel will keep the bsttery charged but I don't know about constant power to run a laptop plus some appliances.
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Old 08-27-2011, 08:19 AM   #3
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First the solar panel for $97 is not what your looking for. For that price it's a 15 watt panel. You need 80 to 100 watts of solar to charge deep cycle batteries. What you look for is amp hours (a 12volt battery puts out 55 amp hours)
This is what I did, I installed two 6volt batteries ($150 each/interstate brand) wired in series to get 12volts. Because 6volt batteries have bigger plates in the battery, I got 235 amp hours. This will last for me about 4 days of dry-camping. I also installed a 33 watt solar panel, this low wattage solar panel is a battery maintainer and It doesn't recharge a dead battery (but it does help) in a day (more likely it would take a couple of weeks)
I this point for you, I would spend the money on 2 6volt high quality batteries. Always replace batteries in pairs ( same date) or they wouldn't work well together.
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Old 08-27-2011, 10:54 AM   #4
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Yeah, the smaller wattage panels work well for maintaining your battery but can't put out enough amps to make a difference while running a television or a laptop. I went with dual 12V batteries for cold weekends and dual generators to run the air con on hot days. If I want to watch movies, a single generator is all I need to bring as it will power everything except for the air con. The solar panels were still to expensive in my opinion for purchase when I need to have the generators anyway to power the air con.
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Old 08-27-2011, 02:30 PM   #5
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I have posted this before, it has lots of good info on running on 12 volts. Part 2 talks about solar power and the power requirements of various appliances.

The 12volt Side of Life (Part 1)
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