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More Solar for Arctic Fox 22G

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  • More Solar for Arctic Fox 22G

    I was on the roof of my trailer measuring roof space this morning. I currently have 805 watts of solar on 3 controllers on the roof of my trailer. I decided more would be better. I am taking my Renology 160 watt panel that is on the roof rack partly over the bathroom fantastic fan and moving it between the fridge vent and the skylight on the drivers side. With tall brackets and some spacers it will fit in that space. I just ordered a pair of 300 watt Grape Solar monocrystalline panels. I will put one on the roof rack and it will be over the bathroom fan vent but high enough to allow it to fully open and run even in the rain because it will be under the panel. I will remove the bolts on the 8 Z brackets holding my Grape Solar 265 watt panel and replace it with the 2nd 300 watt panel. I will upgrade the controller to a SmartSolar 100/50 to handle the additional wattage of the 24 volt panels running in parallel. I already have a dedicated 6 awg wire pair in the roof top combiner box for the 265 so wiring will be easy.

    My trucks Leer cap has a 180 watt Grape Solar panel. I will replace this panel with the 265 watt one. I will take the SmartSolar 100/30 that was in the trailer but upgraded to the 100/50 version and install it under my Leer cap. This will free up the SmartSolar 100/20 which will move to the front storage in my trailer connected to the ZAMP port on the driver front side. I will be able to connect the Grape Solar 180 watt that was on the truck's Leer cap to this port for times when I am parked for a week at an astronomy event. It will lean again the propane tank cover facing the sun. I will have to move it a few times a day to follow the sun.

    My permanent trailer roof top solar will increase from 805 to 1140 watts, I will have 445 more watts available to the trailer from the truck and portable panel for a total of 1585 watts. This added power will allow me to run the air conditioner longer without the generator and use less gas when running the generator when combining the solar power and generator powered Lithium battery chargers. I currently use about 30% of my batteries capacity when running the air conditioner for 90 minutes. I should be able to extend this. I figure I can run the generator about 1 hour for every 3 hours of air conditioning when using the solar to help carry the batteries. I put an additional 105 amps of 14.6 volts into my system when the generator is powering the 60 and 45 amp chargers.
    GMC 2500HD SLT Double Cab 2017 - Arctic Fox 22G 2018

  • #2
    Sounds amazing. If I regularly camped where I needed off-grid A/C, I'd look into a similar system size. So far, 800W of panels is enough for my needs, though I'm limited to just over 700W in practice because I have a single 50A MPPT charge controller.
    2017 Arctic Fox 25Y
    Chassis: Firestone Transforce HT LT225/75-16, Blue Ox SwayPro 1500, EezTire TPMS, BAL 28217 recessed tire carrier, 40K miles
    Electrical: EMS-HW30C surge protector, 800W solar, Victron BMV-712, Victron MPPT 100/50, Victron MultiPlus 3000, Fullriver 415 Ah AGM

    2013 Silverado 2500HD LML Duramax, manual 4x4, crew cab, std box, added 2nd alternator and 2-gauge charge path, 130K miles


    • #3
      I will be using the factory installed 10 amp ZAMP PWM controller for the 160 + 20 watt panels.
      The 100/50 will handle two 300 watt panels, the 100/30 will handle the pair of 180 watt panels on the roof.
      Without tilting I figure I will be getting about 75% of the rated output.
      GMC 2500HD SLT Double Cab 2017 - Arctic Fox 22G 2018


      • #4
        Did a few more measurements this morning. I am going to remove the Renology 160 watt panel from my system. I will move the Grape Solar mono crystalline 180 watt panel from the truck and install between the skylight and fridge vent. It will be mounted high enough to slightly overlap the fridge vent with about 1 inch clearance. I will run the three 180 watt panels on one controller and the pair of 300 watt panels on the 2nd. I will install three Grape Solar 50 watt panels in some open spaces that I previously ignored because of the smaller size. These will be wired to a SmartSolar 100/20 MPPT controller that formally was in the truck. It will replace the ZAMP 10 amp PWM that came with the trailer. The SmartSolar 100/30 will be moved to the truck to connect to the 265 watt panel.

        I will have a total of 1290 watts on the trailer and 265 on the truck. My goal is to be able to run the air conditioner with a smaller DC power deficit when not using the generator. I figure I can power the generator on after about 3-4 hours of air conditioner use and run it to bring the batteries back to a full SOC while continuing to run the generator. My goal is all afternoon air conditioning with only about 1-2 hours of generator run time.

        My wife hates when we are running the generator. It is a Honda EU2200 but we are typically using it surrounded by a field of astronomers who are mostly tent camping so we hate to add to the noise. We use a long heavy duty extension cord to keep it farther away from the rest of the campers. We only use the generator for air conditioning and we typically camp higher when not camping with several hundred astronomers for these 4-8 day events. At higher elevations we are happy to only use the air conditioner to cool the trailer off when we return from an afternoon of hiking. We don't need the air conditioner long enough to bring a generator in those situations.

        GMC 2500HD SLT Double Cab 2017 - Arctic Fox 22G 2018


        • #5
          With a system of that size you should be able to sell off some of your excess to your camping neighbors to recoup some of your costs!!!
          2007 Dodge 2500 Megacab 5.9 3.73 4X4 4SPD auto
          07 Arctic Fox 31W-BH 35' Hensley Hitch/Brake Smart Controller - Access site with Desktop win10 machine
          07 AF31W Mod's
          Previous trailer 03 Arctic Fox 29V


          • #6
            I have charged other astronomer's portable batteries many times in the past. A lot of astronomers with goto motorized mounts run their batteries pretty low after a few nights of use.
            GMC 2500HD SLT Double Cab 2017 - Arctic Fox 22G 2018