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Old 09-24-2017, 12:40 PM   #11
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For perspective on that vid, they have a Class A, and a TON of lithium and solar -- far more than the most ambitious owner could ever put on a van.

Additionally, I'm amazed they got it started at all without an EasyStart (they call it "soft start" which I think is the generic description - EasyStart is a trade name by Micro-Air).

Additionally still, they didn't discuss the load on their inverter. It's going to get hot, the question is how hot. Right now, without a supplemental cooling mechanism, we actually exhaust the capacity of the inverter before we exhaust the capacity of our lithium batteries. The inverter gets too hot and shuts down temporarily.

That being said, here's the wider view of a typical Class B scenario for comparison (i.e., our set-up): 300 watts solar (highest-efficiency monocrystalline), 2,000 watt inverter, 300 amp hours of lithium batteries, with EasyStart installed on an 11,000 BTU roof a/c (which is smaller than many units that are being installed on Bs right now).

^^ That configuration allows us to run a/c for 1 to 2 hours off-grid, before needing a complete battery recharge. That is all we can realistically get out of it.

It may not sound like much, but it's a life-saver. A week ago I got back from a month on the road. I drove the first 3,000 miles of it solo, with our dog (I was later joined by my husband who flew out to meet me). My daily pattern was to start driving at dawn, and drive until about noon, then take my lunch and (crucially) take a nap before proceeding. I could not have done that drive without napping, and I could not have napped without the ability to run the a/c for about an hour each day, off batteries (because outdoor temperatures in the travel area were up to 100 degrees).

There is, of course, also the generator option, but (a) many places don't allow their use due to the noise and exhaust gases (forget about pulling into a strip center with a Subway, getting a sandwich, and running your generator in the parking lot as you eat and rest) and (b) an on-board Class B generator typically can run a coach a/c unit for maybe 8 to 16 hours before needing a refueling, if it's a propane generator. Again, not much. Maybe one night's operation, but then the owner has to go in search of propane.

Our solution to these limitations is to simply not dry camp during the summer months. We live in Houston. Being heat-limited on activities is just part of life here.
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Old 09-25-2017, 05:45 AM   #12
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Thanks, BBQ... I have seen that video. Been following the Wynns for awhile.

The trick now is figuring out how much solar to run the AC on a B+!
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Old 09-25-2017, 06:49 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by InterBlog View Post
For perspective on that vid, they have a Class A, and a TON of lithium and solar -- far more than the most ambitious owner could ever put on a van.
Yes, I had noted that they had, what, 750 amp hours of battery, and somewhere around 1500 watts of solar.

Quote:
Additionally, I'm amazed they got it started at all without an EasyStart (they call it "soft start" which I think is the generic description - EasyStart is a trade name by Micro-Air).

Additionally still, they didn't discuss the load on their inverter. It's going to get hot, the question is how hot. Right now, without a supplemental cooling mechanism, we actually exhaust the capacity of the inverter before we exhaust the capacity of our lithium batteries. The inverter gets too hot and shuts down temporarily.
Well, they did have all sorts of disclaimers, and then went back and mentioned the softstarter. That would probably be a good reason to have the largest inverter you could carry. I think your 2000 watt one is moderately standard on Class Bs from what I have read.

Quote:
That being said, here's the wider view of a typical Class B scenario for comparison (i.e., our set-up): 300 watts solar (highest-efficiency monocrystalline), 2,000 watt inverter, 300 amp hours of lithium batteries, with EasyStart installed on an 11,000 BTU roof a/c (which is smaller than many units that are being installed on Bs right now).

^^ That configuration allows us to run a/c for 1 to 2 hours off-grid, before needing a complete battery recharge. That is all we can realistically get out of it.
Probably would need to sit down with a solar and RV air conditioning specialist and figure out what we would require for what we intend to do with the RV.

Quote:
It may not sound like much, but it's a life-saver. A week ago I got back from a month on the road. I drove the first 3,000 miles of it solo, with our dog (I was later joined by my husband who flew out to meet me). My daily pattern was to start driving at dawn, and drive until about noon, then take my lunch and (crucially) take a nap before proceeding. I could not have done that drive without napping, and I could not have napped without the ability to run the a/c for about an hour each day, off batteries (because outdoor temperatures in the travel area were up to 100 degrees).
To be honest, my inclination, in that kind of hot would be to drive at night so that when I stopped, it might be cooler. Although that's not characteristic is you happen to be in humidity-ville.

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There is, of course, also the generator option, but (a) many places don't allow their use due to the noise and exhaust gases (forget about pulling into a strip center with a Subway, getting a sandwich, and running your generator in the parking lot as you eat and rest) and (b) an on-board Class B generator typically can run a coach a/c unit for maybe 8 to 16 hours before needing a refueling, if it's a propane generator. Again, not much. Maybe one night's operation, but then the owner has to go in search of propane.
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Our solution to these limitations is to simply not dry camp during the summer months. We live in Houston. Being heat-limited on activities is just part of life here.
Yes, and that is so in New Orleans, as well. However, the one place I might be dry camping is for a Barn Hunt in north Louisiana, and that would be around 5 days. I'd have to figure out some way to have AC at night. We'd be doing without it during the actual event... but I have to sleep cool. I'm headed up there this week... "camping" in a nearby motel, since we don't yet have an RV.

Thanks very much for the comparison of your rig to the Wynns. I knew theirs was a Class A and wondered how it compared to a Class B in terms of solar, inverter, and batteries.
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Old 09-25-2017, 01:09 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Marilynx View Post
Thanks, BBQ... I have seen that video. Been following the Wynns for awhile.

The trick now is figuring out how much solar to run the AC on a B+!
HOw much solar?

Well, you don't really run the aircon off the solar.

the aircon runs off the batteries, and you use the solar to replenish the batteries.

if the aircon could run off the solar, here is a quick & dirty estimate:
1. how many watts is your aircon? (usually around 1100w to 1850w)
2. how many watts are your solar panels? (usually 100w each)
3. how many full sun hours do you have per day?

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Old 09-25-2017, 01:57 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Marilynx View Post
...

Probably would need to sit down with a solar and RV air conditioning specialist and figure out what we would require for what we intend to do with the RV.

....
^^ This may be harder than you assume, because demand way, WAY outstrips supply at this point. The only installer I know of right now whom I'd trust is Lew Farber, who works at least half of the year through AM Solar which is located in Oregon (I think he works in Florida the other half of the year). On July 8, 2016, AM Solar posted a Facebook message noting that they were booked up through the end of 2016. I don't imagine 2017 was any less pressured. I know of one owner who got into AM Solar in 2017 after a 4-month wait, I believe it was. They were smart - they booked their upfit with AM Solar well before taking delivery of their Interstate from Airstream, so that there wasn't a large gap between the two events.

There's a local couple here in the Houston area that searched far and wide for a basic solar upgrade on their new Interstate. They came up empty-handed and decided to DIY the job out of necessity. Their thread on Air Forums is titled "Our (reluctant) DIY Solar Upgrade". But their upgrade config was nowhere near what would be needed to run an a/c for even a short period of time.

If anyone here on Class B Forum knows of additional skilled and reliable solar / AGM / lithium contractors, please share the info and/or the best threads.
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Old 09-25-2017, 05:11 PM   #16
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.

Regarding running aircon while off-grid.

There are 2 challenges one must consider to make it work:

1. You need a battery sized to match your running time

2. You need to find a way to replenish the battery at the end of each run.
do you use solar?
do you run the generator?
do you use the RV's alternator? (idle the engine)
do you take the RV for a long drive?


It can be done; it just needs some careful planning.
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Old 09-25-2017, 11:05 PM   #17
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HOw much solar?

Well, you don't really run the aircon off the solar.

the aircon runs off the batteries, and you use the solar to replenish the batteries.
True. My apologies for the mis-statement.

Quote:
if the aircon could run off the solar, here is a quick & dirty estimate:
1. how many watts is your aircon? (usually around 1100w to 1850w)
2. how many watts are your solar panels? (usually 100w each)
3. how many full sun hours do you have per day?

Well, #3 is, of course, "It depends."

#1 is, "Not sure." If it's an 11,000 BTU AC (what the PW I'm eyeing has), then browsing around for conversions came up with, for a Honda site, 1,600 starting watts and 1,010 running watts.

Which then means that the answer for #2 is that we'd need at least 16 100 watt panels to keep from going into power debt on the AC. Those are NOT gonna fit on a Class B. The PW uses 95 watt panels, and can take 5, which is 475 watts. That monster deployable Go Power thing that the Wynns have would yield another 900 watts or so. So that could potentially work. The only problem, of course, is, where to put the monster when you don't have it connected, IE, when it has to be folded up so you can travel.

My personal preference would be not to dry-camp and need the air conditioner, but the one Barn Hunt site I go to most often IS dry-camp. Most of the time, it's winter-camping, so I actually would have to worry more about my tanks freezing than the air conditioner, but I'm headed there presently, in our Grand Caravan, for a motel stay.
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Old 10-13-2017, 06:23 AM   #18
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Muttering to myself here.

Still can't locate a place which has the XL Pleasureways.

I understand that the Airstream Atlas won't be out until spring, so of course, seeing one is not an option. Closest dealer is about 90 miles away, which is do-able on a weekend if I do not have a dog show.

Ran across a Leisure Vans unit which is on the Sprinter chassis, but is actually a Class C.
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