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Input on Possible Solar Setup for FWC Raven

solar FWC Raven 100W

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#1 portermoab

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Posted 14 December 2020 - 02:07 AM

Looking to add solar to my 2019 FWC Raven, as the last cold trip resulted in a depleted battery due to (I think) a lot of use of the furnace. Camper has wired plugs but was not setup with any other solar. Currently have the standard AGM battery. I run the fridge on propane, so only need to cover battery drain from the fridge fan, interior lights, water pump, USB charging, and the furnace. I live in the desert SW, so there's typically a lot of sun, although winter is always a crap shoot.

 

After doing some research, I'm thinking of the list below.
 

- Renogy 100W Eclipse suitcase panel w/out controller (5.68A)

- Victron Smart Solar 100/15 Controller (Up to 290W/15A)

- Victron SmartShunt Battery Monitor

- 30ft. 10 gauge cable

 

 Any feedback on this setup would be greatly appreciated. I believe this would leave the ability to add up to another 190W/9.32A in the future if needed. Does this seem sufficient to keep my battery charged based on my use? What am I missing, if anything?

 

Many thanks!

 

 

 


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#2 Vic Harder

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Posted 14 December 2020 - 03:18 AM

Great starter system.  Why suitcase/portable?  So you can park in the shade?  If so, that makes sense.  Way less hassle to have it mounted up top though.

 

I'd be tempted to go bigger on the solar panels.  Rule of thumb for solar capacity =  solar watts = Battery Capacity in AH x 2 ... so 85AH 2x = 170W


Edited by Vic Harder, 14 December 2020 - 03:18 AM.

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#3 portermoab

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Posted 14 December 2020 - 03:31 PM

Thanks Vic. My thinking was that the suitcase made more sense as I'm generally camping in the desert SW and finding shade is a high priority. Although the reality may be more that I generally end up camping with full sun.

 

One approach would be to give it a try with the 100W suitcase and, if that's not enough, add a panel to the roof. Was keeping the suitcase at 100W due to size (folds down to about 20"x20" for easy storage behind the rollover couch). That said, it seems like a roof panel plus a 100W suitcase may be overkill based on your calculation (79AH x2= 158w), so I may save money starting with 150 or 160w on the roof.

 

Do you think 200w on the roof would be overkill? Or would I be better off keeping the roof at 150w or so and then add a 50-100w portable later if needed?

 

Many thanks!


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#4 pvstoy

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Posted 14 December 2020 - 05:10 PM

200w on the roof is not unreasonable for a year around usage .Remember that solar on the roof you get input all the time the sun is shinning, even while driving around, parked in a parking lot anywhere, etc...  Where as a portable you have to make a commitment to decide when and where to deploy and babysit it.  Roof mount you get more solar hours in the day advantage and it is one less thing to do or worry about when you should be camping and enjoying the day.


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#5 portermoab

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Posted 14 December 2020 - 05:15 PM

Thanks. Re-configuring my ideas a bit based on this feedback. 

 

- Victron Smart Controller 100/20 (290w @ 12v) (for some reason I listed the 100/15 above as 290w, when it's actually 200w)

- Renology 175W roof-mounted solid panel

- Victron SmartShunt

 

This leaves me the ability to add another 100w of solar (technically 115w) either on the roof or a suitcase at a later date (if I end up adding a second battery or just need more solar).

 

Thoughts?


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#6 CougarCouple

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Posted 14 December 2020 - 05:18 PM

Hi portermoab
We originally had 150 watts on the roof with two 79Ah batteries. With overcast winter camping or shade, we did loose ground. Also we are running a compressor refrigerator, and all the other items you mentioned.
Adding another 100 watt panel seemed to have fixed the problem.
Russ
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#7 Vic Harder

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Posted 14 December 2020 - 05:55 PM

Thanks. Re-configuring my ideas a bit based on this feedback. 

 

- Victron Smart Controller 100/20 (290w @ 12v) (for some reason I listed the 100/15 above as 290w, when it's actually 200w)

- Renology 175W roof-mounted solid panel

- Victron SmartShunt

 

This leaves me the ability to add another 100w of solar (technically 115w) either on the roof or a suitcase at a later date (if I end up adding a second battery or just need more solar).

 

Thoughts?

I have 330w panel on the roof, 200AH of LiFePo4 batteries.  If you are going to get a solid panel for the roof, go as big as you can since they all weigh more of less the same.  If I was doing it now, I'd look at a 500w panel!  

 

If you have the space and funds, get the 100/30 controller.  I have had to keep getting new MPPT controllers as I up my solar array!


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#8 ckent323

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Posted 14 December 2020 - 10:11 PM

Vic, et al,

Using Renogy solar panels as an example I calculated that in all cases a single panel of the desired max wattage is lighter and less cost than using 2 panels once the mounting hardware is factored in.

Renogy does not make panels larger than 320 W as far as I can tell so I don't know how weight , weight per W and cost for larger panels compare.

See attached excel spreadsheet pdf

Attached Files


Edited by ckent323, 14 December 2020 - 10:16 PM.

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#9 portermoab

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Posted 14 December 2020 - 10:16 PM

Thanks again Vic. I hear you on going big, but I'm fairly limited on roof space. I switched my thinking from the one 175w panel due to size, and think I'll go with two 100w compact panels. The 100/20 will give me an additional 90w to work with later, and if I were to add another battery 290w would get me fairly close to the needed power based on the previous calculation (79AH x 4= 316w). So, now looking at the following, which doesn't seem bad at approx. $500 including mounting brackets and connector cables.

 

- Victron Smart Controller 100/20 (290w @ 12v)

- Victron SmartShunt battery monitor

- (2x) HQST 100w "Compact Design" roof-mount solid panels

 

 


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#10 Vic Harder

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Posted 14 December 2020 - 11:02 PM

Vic, et al,

Using Renogy solar panels as an example I calculated that in all cases a single panel of the desired max wattage is lighter and less cost than using 2 panels once the mounting hardware is factored in.

Renogy does not make panels larger than 320 W as far as I can tell so I don't know how weight , weight per W and cost for larger panels compare.

See attached excel spreadsheet pdf

I love how you think!!


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