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First Solar Summer

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ronahue View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote ronahue Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: First Solar Summer
    Posted: 21 Dec 2021 at 1:48pm

My Solar Report


We have just finished our seventh season of camping in our R-pod 179, the 2021 camping season was our first using solar. We camp 60-90 days a year and approximately 90% is without any hookups. Prior to this season a Honda EU2000i was our power source for recharging batteries and was generally used about 2 hours a day. This year I purchased a Zamp 90 watt portable solar unit it is the Legacy not the new Obsidian. In May, June, September and October we camp in the New England in July and August Colorado, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. In the six weeks we spent out west this year we only used the generator once and it probably was not necessary. Please note that this was not a great year for solar out west because nearly everyday the sun was obscured by smoke. The Zamp worked great. Since we would be gone most of the daylight hours I simply placed the Zamp facing south in what I felt would be the best location and attached it to the trailer or table with a six foot locking cable. I would always have fully charged batteries (2x12 volt Walmart) when we returned. Back east was a different story using the same basic technique would rarely result in fully charged batteries except on days when we were around the campsite and I could keep it aligned for the most sun. 


In conclusion I would feel comfortable out west without my generator but not in the northeast. This is not a meant to be technical or scientific report just my own experience.  I found the Zamp easy to set up, we cleaned it with a soft cloth each day and it is definitely worth the price. I personally like the frame on the Legacy as opposed to the Obsidian. Just to be clear our camping style is mostly National Forest Service campgrounds. We were tent campers until we got the R-pod so we don’t use a lot of electricity mostly for lighting, charging phones, iPads and camera batteries. I have three 12 volt USB outlets which run off the trailer batteries. We can easily go three days without charging probably more if I necessary. 


Ron & Sharon
2015 R-Pod 179
2022 Nissan Frontier

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StephenH View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote StephenH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Dec 2021 at 4:41pm
Thanks for the report. We used solar this past spring when we made a trip out west some. We were in an area where I had to keep moving it to keep it out of the shadow of the trees though.
StephenH
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offgrid View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote offgrid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Dec 2021 at 4:10am
Good first hand report. From your description and personal experience I'd estimate that you're using about 25 or 30 amphours per day. You could get that from solar in the East too most of the time but you'd have to stay out of the tree canopy and increase to around 200 watts. Fall is tough because the days are shorter and the sun is low in the sky, so expect generator use to increase then. Spring is great for solar, lots of sun combined with cool conditions.

Solar is so cheap now that tracking the sun is hardly worth the effort. EIt will only pick up around 15-20% or so at best. Easier just to buy a second solar module.

You can lay them at latitude - 15 degrees South facing in May-July, around latitude Mar/Apr and Sep/Oct. Use lat + 15 in the late fall/winter. You can use your smart phone for latitude and for compass and tilt info.
2015 Rpod 179 - sold - too busy playing farmer to go camping
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ronahue View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote ronahue Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Dec 2021 at 10:43am
We have actually been quite happy with the Honda generator but we realize some people find even the limited amount of time we use it offensive so I will probably continue to keep it in the back of the truck for backup. I do not have plans to increase the amount of solar. 

Ron & Sharon
2015 R-Pod 179
2022 Nissan Frontier

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