New to the forum. Have been doing research on solar use for my travel trailer and it sure can be confusing. Just seeing if I have it figured out and what I need. I have 2 12v deep cycles on my trailer and was going to purchase a 45 watt kit to keep them charged while camping. I have no power on my property and want to use my generator as little as possible. Is the charge controller that comes with the kit adequate or is it best to upgrade. Also I take it that I will need to add an inverter also so that I can watch TV at night without firing up the generator. What size would I need for a TV and DVD player. Any advice on the best setup at minimal cost would be much appreciated.

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   Bill here, thats a lot of explaining.

 But! weil try! You left out a lot of information needed to truely answer your questions. Like, two deep cycle batteries. Batteries have capacities. Think of water, are they 5 gallon pales or 2 big water towers?? Some where there should be a rating in amp hours, thats size! and will tell us a lot. The TV and DVD player also use power at given rates, WATTS! some where on them are those numbers. We also need how many hours a night/day you figure on running these.Get us the numbers and we will be glad to walk you thru the how's and whys.

   That said, Start thinking of the 45 watt set-up as no more then a trickle charger, it's not big powe, like 3+ amps. I have a pair, 90 watts and run basically my computer and a lamp, some times a 6 inch TV or radio. YES! I do run short of power. I am in the woods of Minnesota and sun light can be short however!

   On an inverter, for running electronics, by only pure sine wave! Other wise you'll be dealing with electronics that won't preform well and can heat and cause damage. These are more money but worth the cost in preformance. I'm using a 400 watt, cost $100 and it solved all my problems. It is bigger then I need but I figure on expanding soon, whole pallet of panels came friday! 1250 Watts worth. They do make smaller inverters that cost less, we need to figure what your running to no which works for you! My 400 watt will run my big screen and about another 150 watts, presuming the power is behind it to keep up.

   Get us some numbers and we will try to walk you through this.


Greetings Jeff.

One step at a time. A pair of deep cycle batts in parallel will get you going for one kit, even two kits if you expand.*  The included controller is not the best but yes it's adequate. If it's the new Thunderbolt kit then you can easily add another kit and have a spare controller. So that will save you a few $ for now.

I use solar at camp exlusively, started out slow and picked up a few panels. I'm up to 150 watts now but the point is try not to overtax a smaller system. I'm going to guess with your batteries you'll have about 200 Amp hours of reserve, and one kit is a trickle charger at best. I would say, keep the kit charging them when your not there - camping. Well I don't know if your trailer is in tow when your camping or if it is parked, but if you take it with you just saying it's a good idea to keep the batteries topped of. If your only getting one kit a trickle charge on 5 days for example should give you a good charge on the bank for a few hours on a weekend.

In the evening, at night, one of the last things I want to hear is a genny running. I don't even want to run the tuck, think about not only the noise but what a gallon of fuel costs now, solar makes more sence. And so I started out only using the juice I needed. Consider the little things first, such as charging aaa/aa batts, your cell-pda, a few lights, radio, jazz like that. DC accesories. If you draw dc from the controller load/outlets it should cut off if the batterys get low. Most inverters have something of a fail safe if the battery is low they will shut off, something of a lvd (low voltage disconnect). It's of course best to avoid that.

I use a 400w modified sine inverter to charge my 18v tools, but I've also used it to run the laptop before I got the dc step up adaptor. I would find out how much watts your tv & player will draw, then get an inverter that can produce about 50% more.

* not to spend your $ but at some point in time if you want to get away from the genny consider budgeting for another kit. If you like, I've done a few videos on solar & camping posted here or http://www.youtubecom/user/NYCamper62

Good luck & happy camping ;)


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