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Topic ClosedSolar panels - Event Date: 29 Nov 2017

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K8i View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Calendar Event: Solar panels
    Posted: 28 Nov 2017 at 11:36pm
I want to be able to be more off grid with the ability of solar panels. I would like to be able to charge my phone and computer, get wifi, plug in a fan or portable heater, and use my microwave if possible. I have a 2018 rpod 179. Can anyone suggest what brand and how many watts/volts I would need?

Thank you ahead of time...
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Tars Tarkas View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Nov 2017 at 12:04am
Solar panels have nothing to do with wifi and they won't power a heater or the microwave without more solar panels and batteries than you can carry around with you.  And a lot depends on where you camp.  Sunshine is essential, obviously.  We camp a lot in the Smoky Mountains, and you really have to try (harder than it's worth for me) to get solar to do any good there. 

Solar panels are pretty much exclusively about keeping your battery or batteries charged up.  For me, on the sunny Outer Banks, a 100w panel does a great job.  Phones and computers can charge on 12v with the right adapters.  There are 12v fans, including the vent fan in the Pod.  You can use a little 100w inverter to watch TV.

For the microwave, shore power or at least a 2000w generator is the only practical solution.

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john in idaho View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Nov 2017 at 9:54am
Biggest problem with solar panels is theft.  likewise with generators.
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K8i View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Nov 2017 at 9:56am
Thank you for your response. I know solar panels have nothing to do with wifi... I should have either explain or punctuated differently. I need to be able to use my computer is what i was getting at. I'll have an antenna etc for internet access.

I live in Florida and usually travel where sun isn't a problem, which is why I started thinking about solar panels. You def gaveme soome good advice on panel, inverter, and generator wattage.
Thank you
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WillThrill View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Dec 2017 at 12:11am
Originally posted by K8i

Thank you for your response. I know solar panels have nothing to do with wifi... I should have either explain or punctuated differently. I need to be able to use my computer is what i was getting at. I'll have an antenna etc for internet access.

I live in Florida and usually travel where sun isn't a problem, which is why I started thinking about solar panels. You def gaveme soome good advice on panel, inverter, and generator wattage.
Thank you

Charging the phone consumes almost no power.  A laptop computer will probably consume around 150 watts of power as long as it's running, so if you're using it much during the day, you'll probably want at least 200 watts worth of solar panels so you can run your computer and still put a little energy back into your batteries when the sun is shining.  On cloudy days, you'll need shore power or a generator.
"Not all those who wander are lost." Tolkien

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GlueGuy View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Dec 2017 at 11:48am
Originally posted by WillThrill

Charging the phone consumes almost no power.  A laptop computer will probably consume around 150 watts of power as long as it's running, so if you're using it much during the day, you'll probably want at least 200 watts worth of solar panels so you can run your computer and still put a little energy back into your batteries when the sun is shining.  On cloudy days, you'll need shore power or a generator.
Second that. A "large" cell phone battery is in the neighborhood of 3000 milliamp-hours. Since they are all pretty much lithium-ion batteries, that means that charging a battery of this size from empty to full takes about 10 watt-hours. That is ~~ 1% of a kilowatt-hour. To give you a perspective of the cost, a common price for a kilowatt-hour is about 15 cents. So the cost to charge a phone is 0.15 cents. So you would have to charge your phone almost 7 times to use 1 penny of power.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Dec 2017 at 9:02am
To the OP: Micro or Electric heater consume far too much power. Yes it can be done, but at a very big cost. If those items are a 'need', you're better served with a generator.

For that matter, the Frig run on battery alone is also too great a draw.

Use your propane for heater (fan has low draw) and Frig. Forget the AC unit (or pay up.. LOL)

I'm doing a Power Audit (find it here: http://www.rpod-owners.com/forum_posts.asp?TID=10972) and will give you an idea of what I see can work.
I advise anyone who wishes to boondock should doo one as well. It really helps you see what the needs are and power you require.


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WillThrill View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Dec 2017 at 11:25am
Originally posted by Olddawgsrule

To the OP: Micro or Electric heater consume far too much power. Yes it can be done, but at a very big cost. If those items are a 'need', you're better served with a generator.

+1

Virtually anything that 'creates' or 'moves' heat should not be powered with a battery.  This includes coffee makers, hair dryers, curling irons, air conditioners, etc.

The only potential and reasonable exception to this that I'm aware of is an electric blanket.  If they are covered with a comforter to help hold the heat in, they may only consume a few amps of power, on average (e.g. run for only 10 minutes out of every 60), which can be a real boon in cold weather.
"Not all those who wander are lost." Tolkien

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Olddawgsrule View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Dec 2017 at 11:29am
Originally posted by WillThrill

Originally posted by Olddawgsrule

To the OP: Micro or Electric heater consume far too much power. Yes it can be done, but at a very big cost. If those items are a 'need', you're better served with a generator.

+1

Virtually anything that 'creates' or 'moves' heat should not be powered with a battery.  This includes coffee makers, hair dryers, curling irons, air conditioners, etc.

The only potential and reasonable exception to this that I'm aware of is an electric blanket.  If they are covered with a comforter to help hold the heat in, they may only consume a few amps of power, on average (e.g. run for only 10 minutes out of every 60), which can be a real boon in cold weather.


Ya killed me by adding the Coffee Maker (me) and the Hair Dryer (Wifey).. LOL

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