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Old 09-15-2014, 07:50 AM   #1
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Whole house Inverter/Solar? 2003 Adventurer 35U

I have a 2003 Winnebago Adventurer 35U. I am currently researching upgrading the solar system, inverter, and battery capacity so I can run the entire coach from solar to save the generator and fuel. The big drawback to this is simple: The coach is wired such that the existing inverter runs only the entertainment center and rear TV. Clearly something will need to be done to enable the entire coach and its existing 120 volt wiring to use any new batteries and inverter.

My thought is this: Wire the AC output of the new (pure sine wave) inverter into the Automatic Transfer Switch. I say this because the Generator and Shore power run into the ATS.

Any thoughts or experience doing this?

Thanks!

Scott
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Old 09-15-2014, 08:28 AM   #2
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I have multiple inverters. One large capacity that powers whole coach - the shore power cord simply is plugged into the inverter. Others small capacity that are point of use - front of coach for computer and TV/DVD, another at the dining area where the DW does sewing and such, another in the bedroom. Whole house is primarily used when microwave is needed and when traveling to power the refrigerator. Smaller inverters are more efficient.

Here is a write-up of my solar ands power system, includes a block interconnect diagram.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf VSheetz - Solar Setup for my RV v1.1.pdf (473.7 KB, 103 views)
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Old 09-15-2014, 08:40 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by dunkonu23 View Post
My thought is this: Wire the AC output of the new (pure sine wave) inverter into the Automatic Transfer Switch. I say this because the Generator and Shore power run into the ATS.

Any thoughts or experience doing this?

Thanks!

Scott
Don.t think you can do this as the transfer switch is setup for only 2 input sources it switches between not 3 sources as you would make it.

It allows concurrent operation of two sources. Your going to have to do some wiring
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Old 09-15-2014, 11:12 AM   #4
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You can probably do this, but why? The generator needs to be run to keep it healthy and the cost of your conversion will be greater than the amount of gas that you would use.

I have solar on mine (about 150 watts) to keep things charged up when it is impolite to run the generator.

You can get enough battery capacity to run the microwave for a while but the AC would drain batteries quickly.

There is also the matter of where do the batteries go? I have 4 6volts and a starting battery under the step and it is seriously full.

This seems like a conversion that doesn't pencil out.
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Old 09-15-2014, 11:23 AM   #5
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i pulled the Gen from the system and used the hole the gen was in for a battery bay

my RV runs 100% off solar and i am very happy with the setup

make sure when you install the system that you keep the auto ground to neutral working right
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Old 09-15-2014, 02:26 PM   #6
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Interesting commentary... what if the inverter and the generator were run in parallel and isolated with in-line breakers such that only one could run at a time?

Battery placement is an issue--I do not want to remove my generator for this type of thing.

Scott
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Old 09-15-2014, 02:36 PM   #7
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V Sheets... interesting what you did. I do not know if I want to go the low cost route as I still want access to my roof. These solar panels seem to be close to the right fit (perhaps more capacity is needed) and can be walked on but the system is very costly:

Amazon.com: Go Power! Solar Extreme Complete Solar and Inverter System with 480 Watts of Solar: Automotive

I am also open to a different transfer switch.

Scott
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Old 09-15-2014, 03:01 PM   #8
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I just read the warranty on the GoPower systems. They do not repair any component of the system once out of warranty and do not provide schematics or any other technical information. Additionally components of this system are third party products. It would seem that GoPower is an integrator. Not that being an integrator is a bad thing, but out of warranty service and no documentation is a deal breaker for me.

Scott
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Old 09-15-2014, 06:11 PM   #9
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Found some other solar panels. Can anyone think of a potential issue of using the existing ATS by simply using the shore power connector plugged into an outlet wired inside the power storage cabinet?

Scott
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Old 09-15-2014, 07:44 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dunkonu23 View Post
Found some other solar panels. Can anyone think of a potential issue of using the existing ATS by simply using the shore power connector plugged into an outlet wired inside the power storage cabinet?

Scott
This is what I do as I commented above in this thread. The one caveat is that you have to disable your battery charger / converter. Else you have a charging loop (the batteries are powering the inverter which is powering the battery charger...). I disable my converter via a wireless switch inline to the converter's AC power cord. You will see this switch in the diagram in the document I provided.

Actually i seldom turn on my converter, even when connected to shore power. The solar panels provide for battery charging. And the batteries provide for power to the DC system as if dry camping.
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Old 09-16-2014, 05:17 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by vsheetz View Post
This is what I do as I commented above in this thread. The one caveat is that you have to disable your battery charger / converter. Else you have a charging loop (the batteries are powering the inverter which is powering the battery charger...). I disable my converter via a wireless switch inline to the converter's AC power cord. You will see this switch in the diagram in the document I provided.

Actually i seldom turn on my converter, even when connected to shore power. The solar panels provide for battery charging. And the batteries provide for power to the DC system as if dry camping.
I see that, now. I re-read your PDF. You have a lot of capacity in your system. I like all the disconnects you have in your system. I am thinking of a 5000 watt pure sine inverter to power the entire coach. This means, I have to find room for batteries. I have space in a driver-side storage compartment I can use--I could probably fit four batteries in there.

I am just in the research stage at this point. If I decide to do this, it will not happen until next spring due to funding/winter... mostly well... both.

Scott
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Old 09-17-2014, 03:56 PM   #12
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More research...

I think I'm liking these panels: https://www.renogy-store.com/100watt.../rng-100db.htm

Or these: http://www.globalsolar.com/images/up...ata_Sheet3.pdf

I'm leaning towards the latter, though they are more expensive.

Scott
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Old 09-20-2014, 06:16 PM   #13
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You can probably do this, but why? The generator needs to be run to keep it healthy and the cost of your conversion will be greater than the amount of gas that you would use.

I have solar on mine (about 150 watts) to keep things charged up when it is impolite to run the generator.

You can get enough battery capacity to run the microwave for a while but the AC would drain batteries quickly.

There is also the matter of where do the batteries go? I have 4 6volts and a starting battery under the step and it is seriously full.

This seems like a conversion that doesn't pencil out.
Today, I looked in the battery compartment in my Adventurer and it seems like I can only fit two 12volt deep cycles in there, with modification. Could you possibly take a picture of your battery layout so I could see how you have it done.

I think this does make sense because of the style of camping we do. You see, I go to many radio controlled helicopter events throughout the summer and all but one have electricity. I essentially boondock all the time at these events, but we do need creature comforts or else it would make sense to just get a pet friendly hotel. I have to run the generator set throughout the day and run a small Honda EU2000i at night for night time power. So the gas savings will add up over the summer and while it won't pay for itself in one summer, in one and a half summers it will.

Thanks!

Scott
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Old 09-20-2014, 06:19 PM   #14
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Victor,

If you don't mind my asking, how do you get around the charge loop if you need to charge and drain during the day? As you stated, do you simply turn off your converter?

Scott
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Old 09-21-2014, 10:55 AM   #15
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Today, I looked in the battery compartment in my Adventurer and it seems like I can only fit two 12volt deep cycles in there, with modification. Could you possibly take a picture of your battery layout so I could see how you have it done.
Scott
12 volt batteries won't work for this. The 6 volt batteries have a smaller footprint than the 12 volt batteries. The 6 volts are taller than the 12 volts batteries.

The measurements are online:

List of Common Battery Case Sizes | BCI Group Numbers

Your battery tray is probably the same as mine. The 4 6 volt batteries just barely fit.
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Old 09-21-2014, 11:06 AM   #16
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.......and all but one have electricity.

Is this what you meant to say? ...cause if only one of your events doesn't have electricity,
Doesn't make sense to make all sorts of modifications that will never come close to
ROI
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Old 09-21-2014, 12:18 PM   #17
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Victor,

If you don't mind my asking, how do you get around the charge loop if you need to charge and drain during the day? As you stated, do you simply turn off your converter?

Scott
My converter is a deck type, which simply plugs into a 120vac outlet. It's located under the refrigerator. I installed a ~$15 wireless switch inline with the AC power cord to the inverter. Positioned the switch near a air circulation vent so its power indicator light shines through so it's easy to tell if on/off.

A touch of the wireless fob switch and the converter is off/on as needed.

My inverter has a wireless fob switch as well, so I keep the two fobs together
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Old 09-21-2014, 12:25 PM   #18
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Here is some good reading about solar. HandyBob's Blog « Making off grid RV electrical systems work
If you do go with 12V deep cycle batteries, make sure what your getting are TRUE deep cycle batteries. Most Marine/RV deep cycle batteries are not true deep cycle batteries. They are basically a starting battery with characteristics of a deep cycle batteries. The difference is most Marine/RV deep cycle batteries are thin plate, true deep cycle are thick plate batteries. According to Trojan battery their thin plate batteries have a charge cycle life of 600, thick plate have 1200 cycles. Basically if you see a deep cycle battery with CCA and CA ratings it is not a true deep cycle. Trojan does make a few, very few Marine/RV 12V thick plate batteries.
All solar panels have STC, Standard Test Conditions @ 25C or 77F and NOCT, Nominal Operating Cell Temperature @ 47C or 116.6F. Unless you will alway be using yours in cool weather and constantly adjusting the panel angle to track the sun, most of the time your panel output will be closer to the NOCT rating. I am in the process of installing 530 watts, 4 - 130 watt panels on my roof. The NOCT rating is 93 watts and I am building my system based on that rating. If I get more I'll be a happy camper. If you are going to more batteries and power the whole coach, I would suggest you look at higher wattage panels. Sorry for being so long winded.
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Old 09-21-2014, 01:45 PM   #19
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Is this what you meant to say? ...cause if only one of your events doesn't have electricity,
Doesn't make sense to make all sorts of modifications that will never come close to
ROI

Good catch! I wrote it wrong. ONLY ONE event we attend has hookups of any kind. We are lucky that the ONE event has full hookups--it is great. So, yes, an upgrade would pay for itself over the time I mentioned.

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Old 09-21-2014, 01:56 PM   #20
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Thanks for the link, Bruce! I will research this as I think our battery compartments are the same. The link you provided should prove to be of great use. Thank you, again!

Scott
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