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Old 10-19-2020, 02:58 PM   #1
Rick A
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Go Power solar panel experience

Question for solar users. I have a 2018 Monty 3120RL which is prewired for roof solar. I am considering installing a 190W Go Power roof solar panel. What I hope to achieve is when dry camping for a few days to have enough 12V power to keep the batteries (2 X 12V) charged enough to run the refrigerator fans (they run constantly), a few LED reading lights in the evening, water pump and occasionally the furnace fan for an hour or so. Camping in the NW in the summer we get a fair amount of scattered sunshine and the days are long. In the winter in the storage yard when days are short and the sky is cloudy all day, the idea would be to just keep a good maintenance charge on the batteries. Can anyone with a similar set up give me advise on the performance of a single 190W panel.? Is it enough?
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Old 10-19-2020, 07:00 PM   #2
PNW Fireguy
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You should do some research regarding your desires and the capabilities of your chosen design, the two are not aligned.
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Old 10-19-2020, 09:41 PM   #3
Rick A
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Go Power solar recomendations

PNW Fireguy,
My questions seems simple enough considering I am only trying to maintain the 12V system and my usage as stated should not be putting a huge drain on it. I can go a couple of days dry camping as is on just batteries if I am careful and still have power enough to bring the slides in and the jacks up. Hopefully somebody out there has had some experience doing the same with the same system without having to go into all the technical stuff about panel output under varying conditions and exact amp draw of each devise.

What do you mean by "the two are not aligned?"

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Old 10-20-2020, 09:31 AM   #4
PNW Fireguy
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Hi Rick,
Unfortunately you are going to find several challenges related to achieveming what you want based upon what you have shared so far. First the relatively low wattage panel which in real world environments does not produce nearly the rated wattage will be hard pressed to appreciably charge what I assume are PbSO4 batteries. Next with the kids that you want to run you will be needing to provide a significant charge source to recover the battery. The heat alone is a significant draw. One night of running it and you could already be down to battery discharge floor. Next based upon a single 190 watt panel I seriously doubt you will ever get through the absorption phase of a charge cycle. So theoretically your battery will live between 50 to letís say 90% SOC. However because of the limited charge source for practical purposes this will more likely be 50-70%SOC. Now add in just running the heat and you see you have a very narrow operating range. Now add in a fridge and I donít think your battery and charge source can keep up.
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Old 10-20-2020, 10:13 AM   #5
speedster100
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I've been using the Go Power 90 Watt panel when boondocking for about 4yrs. Fridge on propane, previously 2 x12Volt batteries and for the most part it helps keep the batteries charged. However I will also tell you we have a generator that we start each morning and run to have our coffee, toast & breakfast for about an hour. Between the two systems we've had no issues with being able to boondock for a week straight without any batteries issues. We've done up to two weeks of boondocking this way but by the second week we've needed to run the generator for 2 or 3 hrs to bring the batteries back up to full charge and then start the cycle over again. The fridge fans do draw but the furnace fan is the battery killer, we now use 2-6volt golf cart batteries and that is a better option IMHO however I'd never just rely upon a solar panel, if you want to only be solar you'd better count on a full system upwards of 600 watts.
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Old 10-20-2020, 10:14 AM   #6
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Rick we recently purchased a Renogy 200 watt portable suitcase. It puts out around 12 to 13 amps when tilted and aimed correctly on a bright sunny day. I would expect your roof mounted 190 panel to be a little less.

Solar is so variable with amount of sun, individual intended use, battery bank, charge controller, wire sizing etc... its hard to tell anyone whats adequate for them. Once you get a panel and see how much the output varies you will have a better understanding. I say give it a go and see for yourself. It will certainly help and only you will know if its enough.
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Old 10-20-2020, 10:44 AM   #7
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Good answer Fireguy!

I would just add, in order to simplify, that your panels should have enough Average output for your location to fully charge your batteries.
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Old 10-20-2020, 01:04 PM   #8
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Let me clarify a bit based upon some comments being made. The OP'er is free to do what he will regarding his project. I am merely providing him with some food for thought based upon my experience (I have a little). As he came to the forum looking for assistance. Remember hope is not a plan or a strategy and while you can buy things find out they don't meet your needs and buy again that is not what most folks think is a good plan. At the end of the day I would leave you with this thought. It is a good plan to align your desired results with your design and equipment specs.
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Old 10-20-2020, 01:14 PM   #9
Rick A
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Go Power solar experience

Speedster100 sound like you are doing about what I had in mind. Could you clarify if your panel is 90 watt or is it 190 watt? The 190W panel is rated at 9.3AMP at optimal conditions and I realize that would not happen very often. Maybe 50% of that would be doing good on a roof mount on a typical day. I would run the frig on propane and the fans and seal heaters would draw about 2AMP I think. I to carry a Honda 2000i that I use if I have to which was very little on our old Cruiser 5er but the new Montana is taking a little getting used to. We will probably never dry camp for more than five nights so maybe this panel would get us by without having to drag out the Honda. Will switch to the 6 volt batteries when current 12V get a few years on them.

Thank everyone for your replies so far.

(P.S. I was planning on using their their 30AMP controller.)
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Old 10-25-2020, 05:56 PM   #10
Bob and Jeannette
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Your batteries are getting you 2 days so all you need to do is charge them right? I think the math is on the money to do what you want but since it’s usually found by me that I come back and upgrade these projects maybe get a couple of 300 watt panels and you can keep a battery upgrade on ice for later if you develop a need.
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Old 10-25-2020, 08:24 PM   #11
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I agree with Bob!! I always double what I think I need and at the time I put 400 watts on the roof of mine and thought it would be enough and I’m wishing I had done more.
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Old 10-25-2020, 09:02 PM   #12
R.S.O'Donnell
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We had four 100W Renogy panels on our class C and two 100AH Battle Born lithium batteries running all of our standard 12V which included a 12V dual compressor Cruise 195 Refrigerator Freezer.

Our panels would put out as much as 22A in full sun and had no problems at all topping off the batteries and running everything else all day (which included the use of a 1000W hair dryer running off the inverter every morning).

I don't think you'll have any issues with 190watts using them the way you have planned.
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Old 10-26-2020, 12:17 AM   #13
Nighthawk
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Solar Panels

In October 2012 we put a 145W Go Power solar panel on our roof and installed a 2000W Pure Sine Wave Inverter, remote control display, regulator, and a few other things to our 2007 3004RL trailer and have not looked back. A year later we added a second 145W panel on the roof. We had 6-6V batteries at the time and 2 years ago replaced them with 2-6V Trojan T-105s. We often dry camped for 3-4 days at a time and hardly ever used the genny.

When I connected the solar panels the first time, my battery bank (6-6v at the time) was fully charged within 24 hours (sunny day). The beauty of this system is that I never needed to worry about low batteries and we could watch TV at night, use the coffee maker, toaster and microwave in the morning Ė at separate times, of course Ė without needing to start the genny. In fact, my wife would watch TV all day without the need for the genny.

It has been terrific and I would never go without solar again.
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Old 10-26-2020, 06:10 PM   #14
Rick A
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Cool Go Power Solar

Thank you again everybody for your input. I am getting a more comfortable feeling about the 190W panel doing what i want and I could easily add another 190W panel if i decide to add an inverter to power some 120V appliances. I can see buying myself (or the wife!) a Christmas present before long.

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