What I Learned

ICT

Solar Enthusiast
Joined
Apr 9, 2020
Messages
75
Hello all. Recently got back from the winter down south. First time with solar ever. I have 630 watts on my self converted camper with two AGM 100 AH batteries. As I was moving forward with the build I asked this forum many questions and for the most part got very good responses. I was, and still am a solar novice. I did get advice to go with Victron and I did. Some of the responses were way more technical than I could understand but appreciated the attempts. So what did I learn. From watching Will's videos and reading this forum I just got the sense to over panel. Now I don't remember getting that advice directly but there is one thing I believe and will always recommend based upon my experience is over panel, over panel and over panel if you can!!! I did get a lot of suggestions on starting from scratch and doing all the calculations to configure battery needs and panels needed but was beyond my desire to do that process based upon the fact that I was sure at some point I would add electrical loads in the future. So fast forward to winter mostly in the southwest. I was back to 100 percent most days by noon. I was also back to 100 percent everyday including days that were mostly cloudy and a couple of days where it rained a good part of the day. Also as most on this forum know the sun angle is not great in the winter so the most watts I ever was able to get was 425. I experiment by making sure everything was on and running and then I plugged in a heat gun to really stress the system. My biggest draw normal operation was a 12 volt refrigerator/freezer. I do not have the ability to angle the two panels but I bet that would make a somewhat big difference. So again for any other newbies out there my advice again is over panel as much as you can and don't worry so much about trying to calculate your exact needs. Okay let the bashing begin-LOL, No one ever said "darn I built my garage to large". My next project is adding a 5000 BTU air-conditioner. I have made the purchase and ran it off a 1000 watt gas generator and it ran fine including the initial surge. I then hooked it up to my 2000 watt inverter and according to my Victron Smart Shunt it drew a maximum of 444 watts on high. Don't have anything to see what the start up current was but again 1000 watt gas generator ran it fine. I believe I will be able to run the AC fine from noon until five with very little to no loss on the batteries. What I will be very curious is what happens late afternoon and into the evening? Depending on that experiment my plan is to deploy up to three hundred watts of foldable solar panel to keep running into the evening. I also might add a couple more 100 AH AGM batteries depending on my results. I have zero expectations that I can run the AC all night. Most nights where I will be it cools down enough that a fan will work. I know Will put an AC unit in his shed but curious if anyone one here has done this in a van or camper and there experiences including lessons learned. I have watched dozens of YouTube videos about the installs but there seems to be less information on practical application over various conditions.
 

Wjm1964

Solar Enthusiast
Joined
Feb 4, 2022
Messages
51
This a good information. Many people seem to gloss over the facts about using solar power. What works for one wont work for another as the variables are vast. As my wife once said bigger is always better :unsure:
 
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