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Thoughts on a new basic solar/inverter setup.
Total Views: 2368 - Total Replies: 4
Jun 05 2009, 3:34 pm - By snowmad

With summer nearing I'm looking to invest in a basic solar setup & inverter.
Here's what I've come up with so far, I would go bigger but cost is obviously an issue.

Kyocera KD135GX-LP 135 Watt 12 Volt Solar Electric Panel
Xantrex XM1800 Pro Series Inverter (Specifically I like the auto on/off when shore power is connected)

Blue Sky Solar Boost 2000E MPPT Charge Controller 25 Amp (Large enough to add a second panel later?)

Thoughts? Alternate Suggestions? Experiences with these products?
Thanks a bunch,

Jun 05 2009, 8:06 pm - Replied by: KevsKnight

Hi Ryan -
Nice job on the research so far. I know there are a ton of options to go with, so narrowing down is great progress!

I don't know much about solar installs, but I am sure it would be helpful it you posted some background information, such as what this will be going on (for panel real estate purposes), what size your battery bank is, type of batteries being used, current usage needs, etc. I am sure that will help the knowledgeable people narrow their thoughts down a bit.

Good luck!


I have washboard abs. They are just hidden under 50#s of laundry.
Jun 05 2009, 11:45 pm - Replied by: Technomadia

Hi Ryan..

We've used the same solar charger on both of our solar setups (both in our current Oliver Travel Trailer and our previous Tab).  We definitely like it, and recommend it.  We're currently running 2 - 100 w panels off it mounted to our roof. 

We have Xantrex Freedom 458 as our inverter, but for no reason related to the solar set up - it was more about fit in the space available and how much charge capacity we wanted.  Wouldn't say we'd specifically recommend it, it has a higher load just being on than in their documentation, which has been disappointing to us.  We're actually in process of converting a lot of our systems to run directly off 12v so that we can leave the inverter off when we're off-grid.   Do look into that when selecting your inverter - if your power isn't all 12v, your inverter along could eat up a good portion of your collected solar just to be on. 

So much of your solar design really comes down to:

- Your budget
- Your available space 
- Are you mounting panels to your RV, or planning to deploy panels on the ground?
- What are you energy needs

And an equally important decision is your battery array - cuz it doesn't do you much good to have put lots of effort into collecting the sun, if you're not storing in the most efficient and useable manner.   Batteries vary so much in how fast they can charge (important in a solar setup, to maximize those daylight hours), how deep they can discharge, etc.  We went with 2 AGM 6v batteries in array for our needs. More expensive than lead acid or other more generic batteries you can find anywhere.. but we really depend on our system and need to faster charging, lower maintenance and deeper cycling. 

 - Cherie
Cherie and Chris / Technomads / www.technomadia.com
1961 GM 4106 - Vintage Bus
On the road since 2006 

Jun 06 2009, 4:29 pm - Replied by: snowmad

Cherie, good thoughts on the inverter/12v stuff, I know there's always loss in the conversion.  Like the laptop, cell phone etc.. for instance run off dc, so it would be most efficient to setup dc-dc adapters for all those essentials, I'll try to do that where it's easy, like charging the phones with the car adapters we already have.

Here's a bit more info on our setup.
- can only scrape up ~1k at the moment, but would like a system that's expandable later.
- power needs, well this is really just limited by budget.  I wouldn't doubt we'd want more than we can afford.
- batteries: currently we have 2 interstate u2200 6v deep cycles (2200 ah I believe.)
- The panel(s) will live on the roof of our trailer.

We're full-timing in our 27' arctic fox travel trailer, and I work from the road full-time on my laptop.

Jun 06 2009, 5:34 pm - Replied by: Technomadia

Seriously doubt you have 2200 ah.. that would be..  massively HUGE and would cause us massive envy to be able to get out of 2 batteries :)  Probably more like 220?  That's what our two 6v give us. 

And yeah, we've converted a lot to run off DC..  we just got in 12v MacBook power supplies for our laptops (one from MikeGyver.com and a second coming in from HyperMac.com), and are getting in a 12v power supply from Carnetics for our Mac Mini server. That will pretty much keep us running off 12v for our most critical things. 

Given your budget... I think you're on a great path to get the most power for your buck. 

 - Cherie
Cherie and Chris / Technomads / www.technomadia.com
1961 GM 4106 - Vintage Bus
On the road since 2006 

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