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Old 11-09-2008, 10:52 PM   #1
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Gentlemen, now what?!

I no longer have access to a plug anywhere unless I pay for a space in the RV lot.
My van is my daily driver, I have 2 solar panels and I live in the land of the mid-day sun. What's going to happen if I can't plug in?
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Old 11-09-2008, 10:55 PM   #2
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I have two solar panels, too. I drive the SMB a few days a week. I've never plugged in. Wouldn't the panels and the alternator output be enough to keep your battery up?
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Old 11-10-2008, 08:47 AM   #3
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It depends on what electrical loads you use Joanna, but you should be fine even with the fridge running full time. I have solar panels and drive mine probably once a week and never have a problem (fridge not running unless on a trip). I plugged in once since I've had the rig just to see if it worked. I'd just give it a try and monitor your voltage.
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Old 11-10-2008, 09:42 AM   #4
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Our SMB is my daily driver, no solar panels. I drive it between 7 - 35 miles a day, probably 5 times a week. We don't leave anything running off the house battery unless we are on a trip. This includes pulling the fuse for the CO2 detector. The battery voltage always seems to be around 12.8 or so. Since you have solar, you should absolutely be fine.
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Old 11-10-2008, 10:30 AM   #5
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We've got 125W solar panel and have been able to camp indefinitely. Our only loads are:

- 12V refrig
- Lights. Mostly converted to LED's
- Furnace. On some cold mornings.

It only takes a couple of hours of sun to fully recharge the house batteries everyday.

Unless you are trying to use a microwave through an inverter or similar high power drains you will be fine.

Mike
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Old 11-10-2008, 12:01 PM   #6
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I agree with Mike. I do use my microwave/inverter for 3 to 6 minutes a day and recharge my laptop and camera batteries, too. I still can go forever with the panels and some driving.
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Old 11-10-2008, 12:52 PM   #7
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There are two sides to the equation.....

Yes, how much juice are you using?
Fridge? lights? microwave? etc etc

and

How much are you driving?
Even if it is your daily driver, if you are inly drivign 5 miles a day, you might not be getting much charge.
Where are you parking?
Are your solar panels getting good sun?
We have parked places where the panels get nothing, because we were trying to stay out of the sun.


Last Saturday I drove about 7 miles and then parked. The batteries were topped off.

I proceeded to use the 19in TV and the A7 and the satellite receiver and the radio, and another 36in flat screen TV and the inverter and two external speakers and an amp (along with the 6 internal) and for a little while one light. ...and the fridge was running... this was all for about 3.5 hours.

The battery started at 12.7 or 12.8 when I parked. The battery was at 12.6v with everything running.

After another 4 hours, after the game, and after the sun had been on the solar panels the battery was sitting at 12.8 when I got back and cranked things up again.

If you get some sun on the panels and are driving more than a couple of miles each way, and are not using a bunch of stuff all the time... you should be fine witout plugging in every night.
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Old 11-10-2008, 02:27 PM   #8
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So, Greg, is the interior of your van simply a home theatre? 36" TV, yikes!
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Old 11-10-2008, 02:32 PM   #9
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The 36in TV only comes along (stolen from the bedroom at home) for home-game tailgate parties. It sites between the rear doors facing into and under a pop-up canopy. Both TVs are driven off the same satellite receiver.

We had the speakers configured such that the rear door speakers only come on with a switch that powers up the amp and the two external speaker connections. There is also a switch in the cockpit to turn off the 4 interior/cab-area speakers if needed.

so what I described was the 6:30am to 10am tailgate followed by the 11am to 2:30pm game... followed by a resumption of the tailgate party...


You can kind of see how it works here....

But the key is, I don't think Joanna has much to worry about with not being able to plug in every night....
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Old 11-10-2008, 05:02 PM   #10
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Joanna,

First, you refered to this group of miscreants and nardowells as "Gentlemen," which makes me think you might have an exhaust leak in your van. So I'd get that looked at first.

You should be more than fine. I used to plug in when I first got this pig, but not anymore. No need. I've got my co2 detector going all the time, but have the fridge off (with a big tube sock full of baking soad in there to keep it fresh smelling). Zero problems (well, once I installed a new 4D batt).
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