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How is this for a power system? Solar vs battery balance?


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#21 Zirdu

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Posted 03 October 2019 - 05:50 PM

One issue I see with your proposed set up is that the Victron 100/30 charge controller has a limit of 440 watts of solar, for a 12Volt system.  See the specs on the 100/30.  So even your 540 watt total of solar panels would exceed the limits of the Victron 100/30.  If you want that much solar, you might need a bigger controller, perhaps the Victron 100/50 might do the trick?


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#22 craig333

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Posted 04 October 2019 - 05:12 PM

Nothing wrong with a little overkill but you may not need as much as you think. I've found three hours of sun a day cover my needs and I'm not being conservative with my usage.


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#23 LosAngeles

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Posted 04 October 2019 - 05:17 PM

thanks. :-)

 

Being in the Midwest now.... lots of grey skies , rain, and non-CA skies, especially in winter, and the big 12v fridge is a bit of a power pig. 4.4 amp hours when running, i seem to recall. Yikes. 

 

so leaning towards overkill, indeed. :-)

 

Nothing wrong with a little overkill but you may not need as much as you think. I've found three hours of sun a day cover my needs and I'm not being conservative with my usage.


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#24 Stokeme

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Posted 05 October 2019 - 04:12 PM

Overkill, with panels, can be an issue if you do not “overkill” everywhere. Your entire system needs to be balanced. I would recommend you do not use Hallmark, as your #1, for solar guidance. #1 should probably be Battleborn, how do you keep your $$$ Batteries safe from harm? #2 should be Grape Solar as to their recommendation for a balanced system. Call & talk to several folks in the Solar or LiFePo4 business.
#3, have you considered how much weight, in panels, will be on your Camper roof? I looked & did not consider you were talking glass panels. They weigh 25.65 lbs/panel. 3 panels is 77 lbs. 4 panels is 102.6 lbs, ouch. How are you lifting up your Camper roof? That is some weight. If you really need that much W, consider Flex panels, higher W Flex do exist if you research. One more thought, electrical guru could answer, or Solar expert, how many panels can you wire in parallel, issue free, safely? 4 seems like a lot of possible added wiring. Not sure if they make a 4 in 1 plug. There is a 3 in 1. I’d suggest 3 panels with a larger Victron. 540W really is a ton.
Sorry last $.02, my FWC has a rear exterior wall solar plug. I carry a 100W flex portable, never used yet, to add W to my roof, when needed. Flex 120W x 2 on roof. (My Shell, buildout usage, is lower 12V only) You will still need a capable controller to handle your greatest, max W output. If everything is run in parallel, it is a simple plug & play. With enough cable you can better position a portable in the Sun too.

Edited by Stokeme, 05 October 2019 - 08:56 PM.

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#25 LosAngeles

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Posted 05 October 2019 - 10:58 PM

Thanks for the thoughts. Great to read. :-)

 

Just to educate myself, I spoke with a Victron person, and they are very helpful

 

I think we will likely go with an all Victron system. 100% Victron, for a bunch of reasons. 

 

I will say that Hallmark have been very kind, patient, and helpful, and really do want to work with us to build the camper that we dream of. 

 

from what I know, the Hallmark roofs are incredibly strong. We will be fine with 4 Grape solar panels. Hallmark said so. I will double check with them, of course. 

 

They make a very strong, and sophisticated laminated fiberglass product. 

 

and... in the midwest here, when cloudy / grey / rainy..... fall winter spring.... 540 watts wont be a ton, especially with the heater and fridge running all the time. We almost always boondock, so will need lots of solar. I would rather have more solar, and almost never use the backup generator. I hate generators. :-)

 

just my 2c. 

Overkill, with panels, can be an issue if you do not “overkill” everywhere. Your entire system needs to be balanced. I would recommend you do not use Hallmark, as your #1, for solar guidance. #1 should probably be Battleborn, how do you keep your $$$ Batteries safe from harm? #2 should be Grape Solar as to their recommendation for a balanced system. Call & talk to several folks in the Solar or LiFePo4 business.
#3, have you considered how much weight, in panels, will be on your Camper roof? I looked & did not consider you were talking glass panels. They weigh 25.65 lbs/panel. 3 panels is 77 lbs. 4 panels is 102.6 lbs, ouch. How are you lifting up your Camper roof? That is some weight. If you really need that much W, consider Flex panels, higher W Flex do exist if you research. One more thought, electrical guru could answer, or Solar expert, how many panels can you wire in parallel, issue free, safely? 4 seems like a lot of possible added wiring. Not sure if they make a 4 in 1 plug. There is a 3 in 1. I’d suggest 3 panels with a larger Victron. 540W really is a ton.
Sorry last $.02, my FWC has a rear exterior wall solar plug. I carry a 100W flex portable, never used yet, to add W to my roof, when needed. Flex 120W x 2 on roof. (My Shell, buildout usage, is lower 12V only) You will still need a capable controller to handle your greatest, max W output. If everything is run in parallel, it is a simple plug & play. With enough cable you can better position a portable in the Sun too.


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#26 Stokeme

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Posted 05 October 2019 - 11:17 PM

Great that you put in the research. Happened to be looking for tire info just now. The weight issue, I brought up, was not whether your roof could handle the 77-106 lbs. I think FWC can handle 150-200 lbs? Hallmark more? It was about popping open, & up, the top of your roof. How will you be lifting your roof? Have you tried to lift a roof carrying that much weight? Have they discussed that with you? It might be difficult, inquire.

Thumbs up to video below!

Edited by Stokeme, 06 October 2019 - 03:07 AM.

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#27 LosAngeles

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Posted 06 October 2019 - 01:30 AM

I will be getting the "super manual" roof lift. 

 

Hallmark says to use a 20v Dewalt brushless Lithium drill, and it works great. Drill costs about $120 or so.

 

Here is an example with a guy with a less powerful drill. 

 

 

cool, eh?  :-)

 

The built in power lift roof costs an extra $3,800 and I dont want the added cost and complexity.

 

Great that you put in the research. Happened to be looking for tire info just now. The weight issue, I brought up, was not whether your roof could handle the 77-106 lbs. I think FWC can handle 150-200 lbs? Hallmark more? It was about popping open, & up, the top of your roof. How will you be lifting your roof? Have you tried to lift a roof carrying that much weight? Have they discussed that with you? It might be difficult, inquire.


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#28 ckent323

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Posted 06 October 2019 - 06:37 AM

Many boats have solar arrays capable of generating over 500 W. A recommendation in marine installations that I think is worth consideration for a large RV/Camper solar install is to use multiple solar charge controllers. Then feed the outputs to a single input to the battery.

Here is a reference:




You can skip to about 19 minutes in to hear about using multiple charge controllers.

Dividing up the work over multiple controllers ensures you don't lose all power if a controller fails.
It also gives benefits relative to mitigation of shading effects (or degradation/loss of a panel) same as on a boat.

Edited by ckent323, 06 October 2019 - 06:37 AM.

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