Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Solar Set-up On Hold

Today a man from Four Seasons Mobile RV Service came out to get things going on our solar set-up.  I thought he'd be doing all the work today, but I'm short some equipment.

Here's what I have:


A $30 Charge Controller

Two of these 128 Watt stick on solar panels.  They're 18 feet long!!



And a bit of extra cable.


I'm pretty ignorant about all of this. I knew I needed to get my batteries still but I also needed an inverter. I thought the RV already had one, but it has a 'converter'. It's not going to work with the solar set up. If I want to be able to plug things in while dry camping, such as my wi-fi hotspot and laptops, I need an inverter.

I really thought that with solar panels I was going to be able to use the outlets in the RV.  Not so.  For stuff I need to plug in I have to plug them into the outlets on the inverter.  The only time the RV outlets will work is when I'm hooked to shore power.  There's a remedy for this, but it's thousands of dollars!  Forget that!  All I need to plug in when I'm dry camping are the laptops and the hotspot.  We'll get by.

Here's what I ordered:



I'm going to have a four battery bank. One battery is my house battery, which is fastened to the hitch in the front of the RV. The other three batteries will go in the 'basement.' This is the pass-through storage just behind the hitch. I figured I didn't need battery boxes since they were inside.

Well, I was wrong about this also. The batteries will vent acid fumes that could damage the storage area. I need a container for them, and a way to vent the fumes to the outside.

I bought this thing so far:



Now I need to go to a store and get a shallow plastic tub with a lid to house the three interior batteries. My solar guy will drill a hole in it for the vent hose pictured above, and then drill another hole in the RV so that the vent goes outside.

Oh, yeah, and I also need to get my batteries! 


The house battery is a nice maintenance free one, but he said any 12 volt battery would be fine in a 31 class or higher. I'm going to get cheapie marine batteries because this is starting to get expensive.

My guy will be back on Monday to do the actual installation. Hopefully I'll have everything I need by then. I'll post an update with more pictures!


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