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Mel B.
06-15-2017, 10:06 AM
We just got back from 8 days at Bodega Bay Ca. we were towing our new to us 2004 2955RL We bought it last September from the original owner. But due to 3 back surgeries and a solar install we just got home yesterday from our first trip in it. I had Renogy 4 100 watt panels installed on the roof, The basement has a 40 amp C/C a 2000 watt inverter/charger and four 6 volt golf cart batteries. 8 nights never used anything but solar power, the first day was solid fog and was still charging some, the next day it rained but still charged granted not full charge but we never had the battery banks get below 12.3 8 days we watched movies with suround sound, popcorn in the microwave, Lights, Vacume. This is our first Montana but my 4th 5th wheel and my first solar. I'm so happy with this system. I still bring a genorater but would only need for the A/C. I wake up early so without the solar I would have to wait until 8:00 A.M. to start a genorater to brew my coffee, but I was drinking hot coffee at 5 A.M. from the solar By far the best thing I've ever added on my RV'S
Mel

1retired06
06-15-2017, 10:29 AM
Sounds like a great system for folks who do a lot of drycamping.

WaltBennett
06-15-2017, 01:53 PM
Why not get a peculator pot, or even a French press? That's what we use when off-grid and save the batteries for the TV & lights.

Mel B.
06-15-2017, 02:15 PM
Don't need to, My 4 6 volt 120ah battery bank was never below are at 50% and we never went without using anything we wanted to as far as electric things microwave included. And as I said that was at the coast where we weren't getting the best sun. Besides my wife doesn't like my "cowboy coffee" The few times we needed heat I used the Mr. Buddy heater. When I first started thinking solar I figured two tv plugs one plug on the counter but the entire coach is wired to the solar except A/C of course we don't try and run the batteries down, My point was how shocked I was that a 400 watt solar system could work so well. If I needed to save battery power I would use the stove for coffee, but I haven't had to yet. I could be wrong but didn't I read here Walt that you had a solar system also? If so how does it work?
Mel

mjammersc
06-16-2017, 09:53 AM
Glad the systems working out for you. The freedom and flexibility is great.


If you haven't yet, I would look to see if one of your meters can track AH (AmpHours) usage (shown as % of battery capacity) and current usage/current charging vs just voltage as those are more accurate representation of battery state and can help you track the usage and status. If one of your other meters can't do this, the Trimetric 2030 meter is great for that and a pretty easy install.

Mel B.
06-16-2017, 02:34 PM
mjammersc,
Yes I believe that the monitor that came with my Renogy Solar kit I bought is a weak link in this system. It's a Renogy MT-50 It shows the current to the C/C and battery banks from panels, and voltage and amps in battery banks. But not the SOC AH usage unless I stair at it and when my wife turned something on I could see the Amps change on monitor, So I was relying on a multi tester at the battery banks to get a true reading. It sounds like the Trimetric 2030 is what I should go with providing it will work with the Renogy 40a commander C/C

mjammersc
06-16-2017, 03:49 PM
Mel - I took a quick look at the MT-50 manual and you should be able to get a decent idea on your units performance if I understand the meter from a quick look at the manual (not a lot of good description unfortunately).


The default display looks like it will show you how much current is coming from the panels which is good info. The key one is the current under the battery - does it change from a positive to a negative # depending on if you are charging/putting more into the batteries (positive current) vs negative if more power is being drawn from the batteries? If so that helps as it will give you an idea when you are gaining charge vs losing charge.


The other is the charge energy and discharge energy displays. This looks like it will help you know in total for a given day if you added more or drew more to/from the battery. This would be the difference between the two: charge energy - discharge energy would equal the net kWh gained/used in a day. kWh is similar to Amp Hour (Ah) readings, it just multiplies the voltage by the current. It isn't quite as nice as the voltage varies dependent on charge.


It also does have a State of Charge estimate (sim-to the way you are comparing battery voltage to a table to know how much you have used) along with voltage readings of the battery which you could compare to the measurements you are taking to see how close they are and learn how to know from the meter what's about right.


It will take time to learn what you can and can't run and when to start conserving more. Overall it sounds like its doing what you wanted.

Mel B.
06-16-2017, 04:10 PM
mjammersc,
Thank you for the help, My biggest problem with the meter is the location. Do to 3 back surgerys this year I had to have the system installed by a RV shop here in Santa Rosa. And becuase of the 6.5' wire they installed the meter on the underside of my laundry shoot. So it's very hard for me to sit on the steps to upstairs open the shoot and try and try to play with it and get to know it. (I also had my knee replaced a few years ago, so I don't bend well) so I'm going to move it through the bedroom closet and mount it on the wall by the bedroom TV. I should be able to spend more time learning it. As it is I can only sit in front of it no more the 5 minuites and I have to get up. The installer is Renogy dealer and installer but that was a bad choice on the location.

mjammersc
06-17-2017, 06:05 PM
Good luck and hope you get it all figured out and your body give you a break, sounds like you've had a rough stretch.

h2ojocky
06-17-2017, 09:01 PM
Mel B. I sent you a PM

Rookey
07-15-2017, 02:01 PM
Hi Mel B. I'm new to the MOC and just read your post. I am thinking about doing exactly what you have done. I just have a starter Go Power 160 w with their PWM controller. Planning on going with two more 160 panels and a SolarEpic 40a MPPT controller. I have 4 220 Lifeline 6v batts installed. I have a 10 year old Xantrex pro sine 2000 sitting in the garage. Am debating whether to use this or something a little newer (state-of-the-art?) Anyway, we used to camp at Bodega all the time at Doran beach. Love the place but we always ran the generator every afternoon. Can't wait to try a configuration similar to you.

Mel B.
07-15-2017, 08:35 PM
Hi Mel B. I'm new to the MOC and just read your post. I am thinking about doing exactly what you have done. I just have a starter Go Power 160 w with their PWM controller. Planning on going with two more 160 panels and a SolarEpic 40a MPPT controller. I have 4 220 Lifeline 6v batts installed. I have a 10 year old Xantrex pro sine 2000 sitting in the garage. Am debating whether to use this or something a little newer (state-of-the-art?) Anyway, we used to camp at Bodega all the time at Doran beach. Love the place but we always ran the generator every afternoon. Can't wait to try a configuration similar to you.

Hello,
yes it's very exciting, I would recomend that you get the SPECS. off of your inverter. For example my 2000 watt Renogy inverter/charger in the on position uses close to 6amps at idle, but in auto it's only .09 at Idle. So in auto the inverter sends out a signal every 3 seconds, if it doesn't sense a load then it won't tun on. So if I turn on a 60 watt LED light, it will do quik flashes every 3 seconds untill it catches and then the entire coach is powered with 120v. Or if I turn on two 60 watt leds at the same time it automaticaly senses the load draw and instantly powers the entire coach. Have you decided how your going to wire it? My panels are wired in parelell and my Batterys, I bought two battery boxes with 2 6v GC's in each box wired in series and parelell in two separate 12v battery banks with a perko switch that allows me to shut off one set and leave the other working for uninterupted battery maintenance, or I can turn off all battery's or I can run all four at once which is what I do 99% of the time. I might be telling you things that you know, but on mine I used welding cable all cut to the exact length. You see this stuff still gets me excited talking about. I've stopped writing a couple times, but then I think of something else. This our 5th RV and the first solar ever, and I'll never own a RV without it now. I'm no expert on solar but I'm trying to learn more and more. I'll bet that Xantrex 2000 will be great for your application. If you end up buying any solar equipment from Renogy, check out their e-bay store. It's the same EQUIP. as their web site except you can bid on the items. I got $50 off the inverter and my 400 watt solar eclipse premiom kit was $1199 I think I got it for $60 less. And they really stand behind there products. I really thought I would be expanding by another 100 watts or so. But I don't think I'll ever need to. I'm sure your rig being so much newer then mine, you probaly have a lot more trick things that may need more power then my 04 2955RL, Good luck and keep me posted. I'm waiting for delivery now for another first for us. I just ordered a Pathway X2 satellite antenna and 2 wally receivers and one external hard drive for recording. I'm excited about getting access to satellite TV. But I didn't even look at the specs to see how much power these things will need to run. I don't think it will be a problem. Talk to you later.
Mel

Mel B.
07-15-2017, 09:14 PM
Hi Mel B. I'm new to the MOC and just read your post. I am thinking about doing exactly what you have done. I just have a starter Go Power 160 w with their PWM controller. Planning on going with two more 160 panels and a SolarEpic 40a MPPT controller. I have 4 220 Lifeline 6v batts installed. I have a 10 year old Xantrex pro sine 2000 sitting in the garage. Am debating whether to use this or something a little newer (state-of-the-art?) Anyway, we used to camp at Bodega all the time at Doran beach. Love the place but we always ran the generator every afternoon. Can't wait to try a configuration similar to you.

If you haven't seen this, it has some good information.
HandyBob's Blog
Making off grid RV electrical systems work

I see your in Folsom, My sister lives there and my wife and I have a Permanent trailer at the 49er RV resort in Plymouth. A short drive from Folsom, small world. we've har a place over there for years. Nice for quick get aways without towing anything, and the grandkids love it there.

Lenny K
07-16-2017, 12:10 AM
I just ordered a Pathway X2 satellite antenna and 2 wally receivers and one external hard drive for recording. I'm excited about getting access to satellite TV. But I didn't even look at the specs to see how much power these things will need to run. I don't think it will be a problem. Talk to you later.
Mel

I think you might be getting yourself some more panels. My draw is about 14 amps per hour watching satellite TV. Then in the morning is the toaster and electric coffee machine. It adds up. The more panels you have the faster you get fully charged just so you can start this cycle all over again.

Mel B.
07-16-2017, 07:05 AM
I think you might be getting yourself some more panels. My draw is about 14 amps per hour watching satellite TV. Then in the morning is the toaster and electric coffee machine. It adds up. The more panels you have the faster you get fully charged just so you can start this cycle all over again.

What equipment do you run that uses 14 AMPS? I found specs on the wally receiver uses 7.9aph, but I couldn't find out how many the antennia uses.

Lenny K
07-16-2017, 10:16 AM
To start with there is about a 1 amp draw for the inverter. Then for the receiver which also sends power to your dish. And the TV has its draw. Finally a few LED lights on which isn't a huge draw but it all adds up.

Mel B.
07-16-2017, 10:33 AM
To start with there is about a 1 amp draw for the inverter. Then for the receiver which also sends power to your dish. And the TV has its draw. Finally a few LED lights on which isn't a huge draw but it all adds up.

I'm well aware of the inverter draw and the tv and lights and I know it all adds up. The point is in my post I said what the receiver uses, I was asking if anyone new how much the antennia draws, (You didn't mention what equipment you use) The inverter and TV and lights ETC. isn't going to change if were watching a DVD or local channels from our TV antennia or a satellite system.

Rookey
07-16-2017, 12:28 PM
Thanks for the info Mel B. It's funny about your sister in Folsom. We still have not camped in ours and was thinking 49er RV for some wine tasting and a proper christening! I was talking to another member named Forsch who happens to be in San Bernardino and works in Rialto, where I lived as a kid.
Thanks again and I'll check-out that blog you mentioned.

Lenny K
07-16-2017, 04:51 PM
Sorry I misunderstood you Mel. I use a Shaw dish and receiver and if I remember right it comes in at around 8 amps which is about the same as the specs on your wally receiver. The total of everything running is about 14 amps according to my Trimetric.

We winter in Quartzsite and found that December and January required more than the 360 watts of panels we started with. Just couldn't quite make it to 100% charge during those months without adding some more panels.

Mudchief
07-17-2017, 03:17 AM
The first thing you want to do is add a Trimetric 2020 to your unit. Then you will know how much each unit you have on draws. Then you will know how much panels and batteries you will need.