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PLEASE show & tell how you got an 800W system on your roof!:D
Sorry we missed this before . . . returned to this thread in response to a comment from RD and saw your request . . . so here is a roof shot . . . and RD, don't exaggerate, it's only 810 watts!

 

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In regards to RDinNH's orginal post. I hypothesize that *some* people have more battery capacity and solar than they need simply because they do not have a system for monitoring their electrical inputs, outputs, and capacity. Without monitoring equipment capable of all of the above I think its impossible to appropriately size batteries, solar, charging system. Spreadsheets are just models for the real world. I suggest van builders start with 100AH and a real system monitor like one from the victron 700 series. I did just this and to my surprise 100 AH of battery is plenty for my usage. I dont even need any solar but I will add 100 watts simply because it is so cheap and fascinating. My electrical consumers are: compressor fridge, propex heater, lights, phone & laptop charging, and water pump. Im not getting below 80% SOC but I tend to drive at least a little each day. Really the only area where solar is going to help me is for situations when I park the van for days and leave the refrigerator running.
 

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Discussion Starter #26
The origional post asked the question " How Much Solar is Enough?” not “How Much Solar Can you Fit”. Thanks afox as I have waited for someone to state that most of us have built systems far in excess of our needs due to ignorance as you suggest and out of our common desire to “have a bigger one” or “have more”, or “someday I might” or whatever.
I have a great 1995 Miata M edition in Merlot paint. I just saw a 2001 Porsche Boxster S edition in silver with 100 more HP than the Miata and almost bought it but at the last minute I applied a bit of reason and will not succumb to any of those desires. One could ask "How much HP is enough?”

BTW if you always wanted an S Edition it’s yours: https://nh.craigslist.org/cto/d/2001-porche-boxster/6672131313.html
 

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Afox is correct. The problem is that wants can change. We started with a system much like his, thinking it was all we'd ever want. But darn, why not add a water boiler, microwave, Instant Pot, induction burner?
 

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The origional post asked the question " How Much Solar is Enough?” not “How Much Solar Can you Fit”. Thanks afox as I have waited for someone to state that most of us have built systems far in excess of our needs due to ignorance as you suggest and out of our common desire to “have a bigger one” or “have more”, or “someday I might” or whatever.
I have a great 1995 Miata M edition in Merlot paint. I just saw a 2001 Porsche Boxster S edition in silver with 100 more HP than the Miata and almost bought it but at the last minute I applied a bit of reason and will not succumb to any of those desires. One could ask "How much HP is enough?”

BTW if you always wanted an S Edition it’s yours: https://nh.craigslist.org/cto/d/2001-porche-boxster/6672131313.html
****, I was always told "Bigger is better"
 

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Discussion Starter #30
Yes you all it is the ‘Merican way isn’t it. LOL.

If you completely cover a vehicle with solar cells it can almost power itself on the road. If we want a microwave and a bunch of resistance heating stuff we still should not need the roof covered. Just an opinion but there are plenty of posters here showing what can be done on one or two 100 watt panels. I have been thinking about getting a tiny electric car and covering its roof with fold out flex panels, perhaps 400 watts. Since it would sit much of the time the low wattage would have lots of hours to get or keep it fully charged. Slightly used electric cars are around.


See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Solar_Challenge
https://nh.craigslist.org/cto/d/only-6k-miles-mercedes-smart/6643412061.html
 

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RD is amazing refuses to pay $37 for a tool that would be used a few times and easily sold on this form but considers a $6000 car plus solar, insurance that would sit most of the time and may not be easily sold.
 

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Discussion Starter #32
Yeah it’s hard to understand and then the fool went and bought a couple of stickers for the side of his van for $29!
 

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Here's our deal. We run a Inergy Kodiak (90ah lipo internal) with a 100Ah AGM hanging on it. We're powering a Dometic CFX50W fridge, Maxxair roof fan, desk fan, 19" TV/DVD and misc device charging needs. In hot weather we pretty much have both fans running constantly. I can go about two days before the voltage drops low enough to shut down the fridge @ 10.2v. The Dometic needs 11.1 before it will restart.

We have a Renogy 100w solar suitcase at our disposal but here in the south this summer, seems like everytime we go out it's cloudy. I went with portable solar because it's heavily wooded in most places we go and we always try to park in the shade anyway.

The Kodiak is tied into the vans 12v so it's charging whenever we drive. To that end, if we're parked for a few days with little sun and no driving, we're not going to make it. Had our refer shut down last time with about a 1/2 day to go before we left.

What I do now is carry a little Sprotsman 1000 generator (got it on sale for $144 from Walmart) and the Inergy 200w AC quick charger. All I need to do is run the genny for a bit when were out to keep the batts up. Seems to work pretty well. We're generally never out for more that 3 or 4 days at a time... so far. I may invest in a nicer Honda 2200i and add a microwave to the mix. Maybe roof air next year too.

Off to MO for Hippie Fest this weekend.
 

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Lipos don't have that same limitation and that's what's internal to the Kodiak. As far as the AGM, that's true. In this case the Kodiak manages the charge and discharge of the AGM. It's recommended that once an AGM has been "mated" to the Kodiak it's left that way and not used for other purposes.
 

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Discussion Starter #38
As I suspected before we added solar, our panels are currently bringing in 0.00 amps in our shaded driveway.
I have one word for that........ Chainsaw!
 

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But now RD & Jack, not to mention Mrs RD, are "hip"
Have you found that you need the solar when the van is parked in a shady spot? My thought is that I need the power the most (mainly for the fridge) when its hot and sunny, which coincidentally is when the solar output is best.
 

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Discussion Starter #40
We have 200 watts of solar, park in partly sunny areas most of the time and spend winters in AZ where there are few large trees and endless cloud-free skies. It is often relatively cool there with highs in the 60’s to high 70’s from Dec to March.
I bought 5.5 acres of deep woods in NH to build our house and had 2.5 acres cleared so we could take advantage of the Sun. The past two summers have been exceptionally hot but not like Oklahoma I am sure. So far we don’t want the shade trees. The refrigerator is our main electrical use and we can go three days before we get to 50% SOC. It seldom happens.
MsNomer has meters for her output but if I had been asked I would have said in most shade SOME energy would be made so I am surprised.
 
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