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Old 02-17-2018, 11:28 AM   #1
Windrunner98
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solar power conversion

Have a 2016 3160RL Montana and looking to install a solar system. One of my questions is where the inverter would be mounted. The other is where in the trailer a hole is made to install the controller/monitor unit.
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Old 02-17-2018, 11:44 AM   #2
boat391
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I get tired of trying to help with solar because each time I try to help in some way others come along and give there system is better than your system answers. How about everybody just understanding we all have different needs. Here is my answer to your question that work for me and my type of camping. Solar is a great addition I installed my own system without any problem and am extremely happy with it operation. I installed the inverter on my front compartment wall within 3 feet of my batteries. Using welding lead wires to hook from batteries to inverter. My inverter has a remote switch for on and off and gives me all the information as to what’s going on with my voltage. It is located next to my switches in the 5’er in the hallway wall out of the the way but easy to get to. The big switch box in the 5’er is open behind it all the way to the basement so it was easy to fish the remote wire from the inverter to the remote switch. I hope this helps you if any questions just PM me and I’ll get back to you with what I know and how it applies to my situation . Others wil come along and give great advice also. Hope this helps a little.
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Old 02-17-2018, 01:03 PM   #3
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I have been reading through this blog and found lots of good information.
http://www.loveyourrv.com/diy-rv-boo...-power-system/
Im just getting started in gathering information about solar and RV off grid electrical.
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Old 02-17-2018, 03:51 PM   #4
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I know exactly what you mean boat39. Everybody's needs are different for the amount of solar required. Also every RV has numerous ways of bring the wiring from the roof to your charge controller. Always use the largest wire so that you can expand your system if required. The inverter and controller should be mounted as close as possible to batteries but not in the same compartment if you are using flooded cell batteries. Your remotes you mount in any convenient location inside of the trailer that is easy for you to monitor.
I researched for a year before purchasing my solar equipment and new exactly how to hook up the entire system by myself. By doing it myself, I knew it was done right and no shortcuts were taken.
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Old 02-17-2018, 08:34 PM   #5
mjammersc
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Here is a link to a thread on my install in our 3160 to help with possible ideas on yours. Good luck with your install.

http://www.montanaowners.com/forums/...ad.php?t=67103
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Old 02-17-2018, 09:29 PM   #6
Mr Pachu
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How many watts of solar panels and number of batteries do you all recommend to run a residential fridge while boondocking for 2 to 3 nights?
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Old 02-17-2018, 10:47 PM   #7
boat391
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Well my situation is different as I have a different refer but I can tell you that I have 4 100 watt 12 volt panels and 6 6 volt golf cart batteries. I have this install on both of my trailers we boondock all of the time in our Montana. And my other trailer sits at my hunting club all season long with the fridge running and all the other monitoring devices in the trailer running I never have had a problem leaving it for up to 2 weeks as long as the sun shines. My Montana we stay out as long as 2 weeks and never encountered a problem but I do carry a back up generator in case we have days of limited sun. Now all that said we are very wise about our power use and it works extremely well for us your needs may be different so with some research on you part as to what you want to power and how long may give you a different set up. We love solar for how we camp it offers us power without running our generator in the evenings so everybody around us stays happy. I getup in the morning brew a pot of coffee and enjoy the sounds of the ocean. Or where ever we might be camping. Hope this help you as you decide on what you may need. There is a wealth of knowledge here and on the internet about solar I was looking at all the information for about a year before I decided on the best system for our needs.
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Old 02-18-2018, 10:04 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Mr Pachu View Post
How many watts of solar panels and number of batteries do you all recommend to run a residential fridge while boondocking for 2 to 3 nights?
As others have highlighted you need to figure out expected use to determine how many watts you need. The first question is the battery side, with a single battery you will be starting a generator fairly quickly after the sun goes down if you have much turned on. Your heater is likely the biggest battery drainer if it runs much as night. I previously used 2 12 volt batteries that would work fine overnight with limited heater use and now have gone to 4 6 volt golf cart batteries.

You will still want a generator for those cloudy days if you are going to stay out for awhile.

If the longest you plan to boondock is 2-3 nights you would be able to get by with a large battery bank alone if you limit electrical use.
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Old 02-28-2018, 05:27 PM   #9
WaltBennett
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Originally Posted by boat391 View Post
I get tired of trying to help with solar because each time I try to help in some way others come along and give there system is better than your system answers.

So true!!!! Biggest things to keep in mind about where to put your inverter are: 1) The shortest cable run from the battery bank is best. 2) Inverters are electronic and electronics don't like high heat or acid fumes (as in being in the front basement).
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Old 03-06-2018, 01:27 PM   #10
jcurtis934
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Residential fridge, assuming it uses the inverter compressor technology will pull 3 amps when running from 120 vac. Since inverters are only 80% efficient, that means you are drawing 35-40 amps from the battery bank. You never never pull a battery bank down near 50% or battery life shortens. IF the fridge ran at a 50% duty cycle, in 24 hours it would use 75 amp hrs of 120 vac, but more like 90 amp hrs out of the battery bank....three days three times as much. If you had 2 group 24 (150 amp hrs) batteries and ran nothing else but the fridge, you could get less than 20 hours of use before it would be time to shut down. This should tell you that lots of battery power being recharged by solar and help from a generator or two is needed if you want to go off grid.
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Old 04-25-2018, 06:01 PM   #11
Chris23611
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I have a question my 2017 montana3790rd has a plug for solar in the plumbing cabinet does that mean my camper is plug and play do I just have to plug in a solar panel to charge my batterys
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Old 04-25-2018, 06:09 PM   #12
carl n susan
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Originally Posted by Chris23611 View Post
I have a question my 2017 montana3790rd has a plug for solar in the plumbing cabinet does that mean my camper is plug and play do I just have to plug in a solar panel to charge my batterys
While it would be better to start a new Thread for this question, the question has been asked, many times, before. A quick Search would find many posts about this mostly worthless "feature". Here is just one Thread on the subject:
http://www.montanaowners.com/forums/...ad.php?t=66756
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