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pianotuna
Hi All,

I'm very curious to find out how many folks have solar panels and how many watts they find "enough".

Do I get to answer my own poll? (I did--but it messed up!!!)

If not,

Yes, I have solar panels

less than 50 watts, and I'd love to have more

My boondocking is limited by Black Water Tank capacity.
DXSMac
Dang. I was hoping Jerry S started this poll so I could "criticize" him back!

This poll had one problem, but it's a limit of the system and not the poll. (Unless Jerry started it, then I was going to make up some "comment" of some sort..... HEE HEE HEE!!!)

\On the first question, I answered "plan to purchase." Because I don't currently own solar panels, I could not answer the second question. However, the system wouldn't let me "vote" unless I answered the second question. Also, this makes your option of "please post instead of click" option moot, because you can't post the poll unless you vote all questions. So, I just had to pick one and go with it. Therefore, your poll results are going to be "skewed" by the people who vote "plan to purchase" or "don't plan to purchase" or in any way indicate that they don't have solar panels.

I'm not going to tell you what I picked. (actually, because I don't remember what I picked...).

On the boondocking, I can live without internet a few days if I force myself. BUt actually, it's a combination of black water tank filling up or no internet. BUt that answer applies in the summer. In the winter, it would be because I'm freezing and don't want to run the propane. I can only do two nights (barely) on propane, that is, if I don't run down the house battery first....

JJ
FosterImposters
Good poll PianoT. Get's us all thinking!
Cheers!
cool.gif
Lee and Fran
Not a good pole when one cannot vote. I have to vote on all three but you cant vote on the second one unless you vote on the yes on the first one.
rangiebob
We have three solar panels that are 320 each which seems to work well for us. You can't beat them for better dry camping, that's for sure. The only time we specifically turn on the generator is when we run the air conditioner.

We've also learned about ghost electrical draining, like leaving things plugged in when they're not in use. We try to be aware of this so we don't get any surprises.

The only time the generator comes on automatically is if I'm not paying attention and I'm vacuuming, I have the convection oven cooking something and I put bread in the toaster! Duh! I hate when I do that! Any two of these can be done simultaneously without a problem while dry camping, but the third one usually is a bit too much.

I do have my laptop on most of the time without having the generator kick on while using the things mentioned above. Gotta' love those solar panels.

pianotuna
Hi,

960 watts of solar?? wow! What make of solar panel?

QUOTE(rangiebob @ Jun 22 2008, 03:43 PM) *

We have three solar panels that are 320 each which seems to work well for us. You can't beat them for better dry camping, that's for sure. The only time we specifically turn on the generator is when we run the air conditioner.

We've also learned about ghost electrical draining, like leaving things plugged in when they're not in use. We try to be aware of this so we don't get any surprises.

I do have my laptop on most of the time without having the generator kick on while using the things mentioned above. Gotta' love those solar panels.

dbnck
QUOTE(pianotuna @ Jun 22 2008, 11:02 PM) *

Hi,

960 watts of solar?? wow! What make of solar panel?


I'm not the poster with 960 Watts, but we have 1050 Watts. Six panels, 175 Watts each, made by Sharp and ordered over the internet from Wholesale Solar.

IPB Image

The four at the top of the photo were our first batch, and we added two more a year later just so we wouldn't have to be so frugal, plus they were going up in price anyway. One nice trick is that we wired ours so that when the batteries are full (which happens in the early afternoon in sunny locations), the excess solar output goes to the electric water heater--free hot water!

You have to make sure the panels don't have shadows on them no matter which way you're pointing. Our motosat dish was the primary offender. One tip is to lay out the roof as if you were going to blanket it with panels, keeping in mind the shadows and maneuvering space around the panels, and then install them in designated spaces. That way you don't have to move any if you get more. On ours, the four farthest to the front were original, and the two behind that were added.

When we installed these, the tiltable mounts were really expensive. Plus our coach is really tall, and the less time spent up there the better. For the same money, we added an extra panel to account for the loss of output with flat-mounted. However, I would like to be able to clean under them, so I might do it differently if we were starting from scratch.

Also, this is a 40-foot motorhome, and according to our calculations, one of the 175-Watt panels goes pretty much just to parasitic loads if we don't bother to cut the power to things like satellite receivers, the microwave, etc. These things are incredible power hogs.
DXSMac
Loved the picture! Now I want to know, how do you walk around on the roof? You can't step on those things...... What if you need to repair, say, an air conditioner? How do you get on the roof without stepping on the solar panels?

JJ
rangiebob
QUOTE(pianotuna @ Jun 22 2008, 10:02 PM) *

Hi,

960 watts of solar?? wow! What make of solar panel?


My husband did some online research and ordered them from Blue Sky in CA to be sent to a local RV shop in Grand Junction, CO where we lived at the time. He said that Blue Sky was really helpful to the guys in Grand Junction and walked them through it getting it set up. The GJ guys had never done this before. So far, so good. biggrin.gif

dbnck
QUOTE(DXSMac @ Jun 25 2008, 05:27 PM) *

Loved the picture! Now I want to know, how do you walk around on the roof? You can't step on those things...... What if you need to repair, say, an air conditioner? How do you get on the roof without stepping on the solar panels?


We have basement air, so I never even thought about it. The only people allowed on the roof are my boyfriend and me; I'd be hesitant to have a repairman up there.

But I go on the roof whenever i need to and pick my way around the panels. The roof is rubber so it's not slick, and I always go barefoot. The ladder is to the bottom right of the photo, so there's a big area to do any staging, like if I have a bunch of stuff to clean the roof or something.

The two things on the center line of the roof are Maxx-Air vent covers. Over on the left is the bubble thing over the shower and a non-covered Fantastic Fan vent. You obviously can't put any weight at all on any of that.

There is room enough for me to stand or kneel or sit on the far side of the first vent cover as well as between the shower bubble and the uncovered vent. I can take two steps between the horizontal and vertical panels to get to the right side.

While you can't step on the panels, it's okay to be on them if your weight is evenly distributed and you don't weigh a ton. If I need to get to the gutter on the other side of one of them, I'll lie flat and scooch over there.

The trickiest part of the installation (other than determining the layout) was getting the panels on the roof. A friend's crappy Suburban came to the rescue--we used the hood and roof like a giant very stable ladder.

DRS
QUOTE(Lee and Fran @ Jun 18 2008, 09:12 PM) *

Not a good pole when one cannot vote. I have to vote on all three but you cant vote on the second one unless you vote on the yes on the first one.

I agree. You can only vote if you vote yes that you have solar. It will not accept your vote if you don't vote on the second issue, which is not applicable if you do not have solar. Your poll is flawed.
pianotuna
Hi D & M,

Yes it is flawed--but I don't think there is a way to edit the poll. It was my first attempt as well.

QUOTE(DRS @ Sep 14 2008, 08:23 PM) *

I agree. You can only vote if you vote yes that you have solar. It will not accept your vote if you don't vote on the second issue, which is not applicable if you do not have solar. Your poll is flawed.

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