How Much Solar is Enough? - Page 2 - Ram Promaster Forum
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post #11 of 15 Old 04-20-2017, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by RDinNHandAZ View Post
Some posters here have put on as much as 500-600 watts on their vans . . .
Originally Posted by Matt Gross View Post
. . . but I think your needs differ from mine (and probably a few others that have large setups). . . . my goal is to have a single fuel source . . . I'm also thinking because the roof will be empty, I might as well fill it with as much solar that will fit.
RD, we feel slighted - - did you forget our 800+ watts of solar?

Matt, we couldn't have summarized the contrary point of view better. If nothing else, we're blocking the sun from the van's roof . . . should help keep the heat under control.

2016 159" HT (Standard Length) Gas
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post #12 of 15 Old 04-20-2017, 11:28 AM Thread Starter
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No I didn’t forget you, just wanting you to stop by and I’ll run a cord into my house from your inverter and disconnect my connection to Arizona Power! Of course it would hardly create a blip in your system! Sometime I will create a tongue-in-cheek list of possibilities for using all that power in your honor. In the meantime I wonder if you shouldn’t be running an electrolysis apparatus to get hydrogen from water and then convert the van to run on it? In reality, I don’t think Matt will use much more than I do as his high current appliances generally run just a few minutes each use. I’d encourage everyone to install a Watt-hour meter like I did or a Bogart like MsNomer has to better report what they really use. Being in AZ part year I know white roof paint is better at cooling the roof than even the panels and it’s $10 a quart! I know you were kidding!
For KOV and Quest.... Get the Leatherman solar attachment kit and your problems will be over.

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Have Leatherman, Will Travel
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post #13 of 15 Old 04-20-2017, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by RDinNHandAZ View Post
Some posters here have put on as much as 500-600 watts on their vans and they may have a need I can’t imagine.
I resemble that remark.

We have 640w total from four 160w panels on the top of BoB. Feeds into a 200ah lithium battery.

Power draws are the 5 cubic foot fridge/freezer (12v), the MaxxFan in season, the microwave through the 1000w inverter. All that certainly does not need the 640w, even in the winter here in WA state.

And then there's our 12v A/C unit.

It draws 32-40 amps when operating. And when are we most likely to use it? When its warm and there's full sun. With the BlueSky MPPT controller, I can see 35-40 amps incoming from the panels. Now, as I've mentioned before, its a small A/C unit and doesn't keep up under high cooling demands, but it does help, and as such is basically a solar-powered A/C.

Oh, and we primarily did it to keep the dogs cool in the van. I have a setup to direct the output back to the dog crate. Its all for the dogs.

And that's why a full roof with 640w of solar is just enough for us.

-- Zyzzyx --

-- BoB, a ProMaster 3500 159" HR Ext Diesel, metallic silver
-- Ordered 2/21/15, VIN 3/22/15, Built 5/21/15, Received 6/11/15
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post #14 of 15 Old 04-20-2017, 12:13 PM
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I've got 200W of Renogy panels powering a 2000W inverter and all my DC stuff as well. For the first few months I forgot that I never hooked into the house battery/alternator and being in Arizona, CO and southern CA during those times, I was totally ok on solar. This is using LED lights, fans, charging phone/pad off USB, microwave use, electric kettle, and plugging in my macbook.

The last 3-4 days I've been in Oregon/Northern CA and I noticed immediately that instead of 90-99% my batter was at 80-90%. That made me realize that I forgot to connect the stupid house/battery/alternator and as soon as I did, I'm back at 99% after an hour or two or driving (that alternator pumps out some SERIOUS power).

So having said all that, it a) depends where you live and b) depends what your usage is. I'm planning on adding one more panel. I'm hoping to do one of those 180W panels and put it sideways for a total of ~380W. That should set me up if I'm not moving regardless of where I'm located and what the weather is. That's what I want
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post #15 of 15 Old 04-20-2017, 11:16 PM
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For the past several years I had a Ford Ranger long bed with 300 watts of solar on the roof of the bed cap feeding a 200Ah 4D AGM battery. Thought that would be plenty for my Dometic CFX35 fridge, RoadPro 12v crock pot, 1300 watt induction hot plate etc.

Then I got a request to teach a class in Pennsylvania in early spring of 2015. Rained for 10 days straight as I traveled from California to PA, and back. Ran out of juice after 4 days. Being from sunny Calif. it never occurred to me that I could travel across 17 states and not see the sun for 10 days. Decided that when I upgraded to a van that I'd go with as much solar as possible and add in a tie to the vehicle charging system as a back up.

I now have 600 watts of solar panels and a 540 Ah LiFePo4 battery bank. Backup is a Sterling battery to battery charger.

Now all I need is the van to install them in. Ordered a diesel on 4/28/16. Ended canceling that in Jan'17 and ordering a 136 HR gasser. That was built on 3/16 but has been on "Informal Hold-Quality Audit" (whatever that means) since 3/31. Dealer and Customer Service have no shipping or delivery dates. Very annoying.


Last edited by Rookerlw; 04-20-2017 at 11:18 PM.
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