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About jmannett

  • Birthday 08/15/1964

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    Sun City, AZ
  1. Who's going to Escapees in Gillette? We will be exhibiting solar products there.

  2. I can think of a bunch of things that could be wrong. The first ones that come to mind are: 1. Something wrong with the charge controller. 2. System is wired wrong by the installer. A 100 watt system can be very useful if operating correctly and will not interfere with engine alternator charging (even if wired to charge both banks of batteries). I suggest you get that system to a repair center or back to Camping World right away. Solar is not complicated, believe it or not. These systems are easy to wire and very little can go wrong. Clearly, with yours, something has. James Mannett SUn City, AZ 440 watts of solar 36' Newmar DP.
  3. jmannett

    RV solar system

    Pictures of my 440W roof top RV solar system.
  4. John, I installed 440 watts on the roof of my coach. Also, I teach a solar class at some of the national and regional rallys. If you still need information on this, let me know.
  5. You should be able to find a label on the back of the solar panel which describes its specifications. Operating voltage, operating current, and wattage. If you are thinking about adding a panel, you want to make sure your new panel operating voltage is 'close' to your existing one. +/- 1Volt is good. Then the panels are wired in parallel into a charge controller. Be sure the charge controller can handle the amperage of both panels. As far a rated power versus actual power, it is a function of age, angle, altitude, cleanliness, and temperature. Yes, temperature. Contrary to common belief, the hotter a photovoltaic solar panel gets, the LESS power it puts out. (it makes sense when you think about rising resistance with temperature). Panels are tested and speced based on 77 degrees F. which is hardly ever the case. Keep in mind though, a colder panel puts out MORE power. I have a 440 watt system on the roof of my coach. In ideal conditions, it outputs exactly what I designed it to. James Mannett Sun City, AZ
  6. Deciding on the size and type of solar system depends on how each individual uses power. And, we all use it differently. If you have not already done your installation, let me know and I can e-mail you a few pages from a guide that can help you size the system appropriately. Jim Mannett Sun City, AZ
  7. Your little 5W panel is to trickle charge (maintain) the engine battery. Without a coach wiring diagram, where the wires go and how they are routed are anyone's guess. Without looking at the panel, it is hard to tell if it is a Crystalline type or a Thin Film type. A good Crystalline panel should last 20+ years so long as it isn't physically broken. If you can follow the wire from the back of the panel, it sometimes dissapears inside the front A.C. unit. If so, there might be a connector there. Unplug the connector and put a volt meter on the two pins coming from the solar panel. You sould read 15-22VDC in full sun. If not, replace the panel. It should cost no more than $30. If you need a source, let me know. If you can get behind the indicator light assembly, you will find connectors there also. Pick the two coming from the roof and test them with the volt meter the same way. You may also find a fuse there which you can check. Jim Mannett Sun City, AZ
  8. Dear Newbie, 320 Watts of solar is quite a bit and should serve you well. I have 440 watts on my coach. Since you are staying in a park where the electricity is sold to you separately, you have the opportunity to use your solar system to save some money. In your case, simply turning off the 50 amp circuit breakers at the post will switch your coach over to internal power. You can continue to run everything off your batteries that you would normally run off batteries. The only difference is that your batteries will re-charge from the solar panels instead of the coach’s internal battery charger. If you need 120V to run an appliance like your microwave, coffee maker, or curling iron, simply turn on your Inverter. Keep in mind, however, that your inverter is not all that efficient. In the case of my Xantrex inverter, for example, 8 amps of current is drawn from the batteries from just turning it on. That’s almost 100watts of power consumption before I even turn on an appliance. Other brands have different efficiency ratings, but in general, you should use your inverter sparingly and turn it off when you don’t need it. Here are some suggestions on how to get the most out of your RV solar system. 1. When you update your TV’s, install a 12V type instead. There are a lot more choices now that many manufacturers have moved to the Energy Star ratings. 2. Use propane to power your fridge and your hot water heater. 3. Use 12V cigarette lighter adapters for your laptop and cell phone chargers instead of the plug in transformers. 12V charging is much more efficient. 4. Consider using a ‘blue flame’ heater for heat instead of the RV furnace that is already installed. The typical RV furnace has 2 fan that consume a great deal of battery power especially on a cold night. A blue flame heater does not use a fan and consumes no electricity. There are, however, other safety precautions that should be taken so it is important to read the instructions and warnings carefully. 5. And then there are our coveted coffee makers. Most have a hot plate that, when left on for a few hours, consumes a lot of power. I use a Mr. Coffee DRTX85. A very inexpensive 10 cup coffee maker that uses a stainless steel carafe instead of a hot plate. It keeps my coffee hot for 6-8 hours. I teach classes at national rally’s about how to get the most out of solar energy systems for RV’s. If you need further help, let me know. Jim Mannett Sun City, AZ
  9. I'm not sure if this is the right forum or format to post this, but I'm looking for a trailer to rent. I am an exhibitor at the FMCA Albuquerque event in March and need to move some materials and my towed car between Phoenix and Albuquerque during that week. Departing PHX 3/18, returning about 3/28. If anyone can help or has any suggestions, it would be helpful. Eventually I want to buy my own trailer, but it's just not in the budget yet. Thanks!
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