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Renogy Solar kits


Original Post
Dan Cooksey · · Seattle, WA · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 365

Thanks for any info.

Mike Brady · · Van Diesel, OR · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 668

If you search "Gel vs AGM" you will get more info than you can go through

Dan Cooksey · · Seattle, WA · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 365
Mike Brady wrote:

If you search "Gel vs AGM" you will get more info than you can go through

Thanks Mike, sorting through all the stuff about gel and agm was making my head spin.  Curious, what kind of "furnace" do you have that runs off electric?

Ben K · · Columbia, MD · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 20

If it's just going to be for weekends why not ditch the fridge and get a decent cooler? What you'll spend on additional solar and the fridge itself will be way more than the cost of the cooler + years worth of weekend trip ice.

But to answer your questions directly: 300w is generally enough for a system that's running a fridge, but what is more important is your battery storage capacity. Especially if you are driving often (as you would on weekend trips) you'll get just as much juice out of your alternator as your panels. You need enough battery capacity to store this energy and keep your fridge going while solar/alternator energy isn't immediately available. How much is enough depends on a lot of factors. How cold is the ambient temperature in the van (this will affect how often the fridge compressor has to run). How often are you charging laptops? My guess is somewhere between 100 and 200 Ah at 12v will be sufficient (keeping in mind you only ever should discharge half of your total capacity or you risk damaging your battery).

Fortunately you don't need to guess, as batteries are easy to add more of later. You can get a 100 Ah 12v deep cycle battery to start with, and add a second in parallel if you find that you need more storage capacity after your first few trips. 

Dan Cooksey · · Seattle, WA · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 365

I already have the fridge.

Mike Brady · · Van Diesel, OR · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 668
Dan Cooksey wrote:

Thanks Mike, sorting through all the stuff about gel and agm was making my head spin.  Curious, what kind of "furnace" do you have that runs off electric?

It runs of diesel. You definitely do not want a furnace that draws heat from electricity......unless you want a shit ton of batteries :) 

I would go with more battery than you think (especially if you are building a vented housing) unless you are going to use Lithium. You can really only use about 20-30 percent of a conventional battery before you start to degrade it where as lithium can get down to a damn near full discharge and be fine. Light Solar Harvest has fairly reasonable Li-Ion batteries.

Don't be sad about the fridge. After I installed mine I never even thought twice about it. IMO it is completely worth it. 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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