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Sunday, December 3, 2017

Adding Solar To My Four Wheel Camper

One of the biggest things I loose moving from a Prius to a pick up camper is that driving a Prius is like driving a generator.  Although I used solar last year to keep from idling the Prius to charge my house battery, the cost effectiveness with the Tacoma isn’t there for any idling.

My Engel compressor fridge uses about 12 amp hours a day and I’m not going to idle a 6 cylinder for hours to charge the house battery this coming year.

You would think a guy that worked in electronics for most of his working career would know; how many watts, is my 30 amp hour LiFePo4 battery the right capacity, do I keep the AGM battery that came with the camper.  Well, you get the idea. So many questions needing to be answered before I can get started.

I had to calculate, measure, and contact vendors for answers before buying and installing.

This solar installation is no easy task without the knowledge and some practical experience of others.

As you can probably see this solar discussion is more than one blog post.

So let’s review the issues I faced.

1. Maximum wattage to get
2. Solar technology 
3. Solar company
4. Where to mount on camper roof
5. Mounting method and how many mounts
6. Wiring to/from solar panel
7. Charge controller & technology 
8. Do I connect solar battery to engine charging circuit.
9. Where do I carve out a home for the battery, charge controller, and wiring.
10. Do I make a provision for charging from my 60 watt folding solar panel.
11. What do I use from Prius and what do I buy new.

Can you believe this list and each one takes up time.

Please stay tuned while I break all these down in the hope that someday my detailed posts will help you when you decide to install solar.


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