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Old 01-27-2018, 01:09 PM   #1
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Default 2018 Upgrades

Last January, Kiki got a full makeover. New Paint, Wheels, Headlamps, Windshield, Aluminum Grill, Wireless back-up Camera, Winegard G2 portable Satellite Dish, DirecTV DVR and a bunch of other goodies. For 2018, she got 400 Watts of Solar (Fully Tilt-able from either side) including a Renogy 40 Amp MPPT Controller, 4 six-volt AGMs totaling 448 AHs, 4 Michelins, a MAXXAIR 10 speed, dual direction Fan, TIre Pressure/Temperature Monitor, a Sony Blu-Ray and a 2000 Watt Inverter/Charger. She's all set-up to do extensive, off-the-grid traveling. Lots of miles ahead for both of us

Thanks for the tips, wincrasher and booster
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Old 01-27-2018, 04:14 PM   #2
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Very nice, and distinctive. I am sure we will recognize you if we ever see your van.

On the solar tilting, are you able to tilt them from the ground without requiring some sort of ladder? That seems to be the major reason many people haven't used tiltables, us included. Would be really nice to tilt if it could be done from the ground. What controller did you decide to use?
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Old 01-30-2018, 02:36 PM   #3
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Hey booster. Thanks again for the advice. To answer your questions...I have a Telescoping Ladder that stores neatly, in its own bag, in the Bathroom. I used Wingnuts and Thumbscrews at each corner of the Panels. So, without needing tools, the Panels can be easily Tilted from either side. Not something that I will do, but her next Owner may find that feature very appealing. I edited the Post to add Renogy to the Controller, same as the Panels.

My last Post in December, the Xantrex Lithium/Alternator/Inverter Package, generated over 100 comments. Not so much love for the Kiki AGM/Solar/Inverter Package. Anyway, I’d been on the Fence a long time to do the install. I guess the Xantrex Launch “Inspired” me to finally follow through.

Very pleased with the performance. Even in the low Winter Sun, Batteries are full by 11am. I use my Convection Oven regularly, without having to fire-up the Generator. Really convenient.

I’ve been Full-timing for 3 years on just 2 wet-cells. Not having to constantly monitor the SOC of the Batteries will be nice
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Old 01-30-2018, 04:46 PM   #4
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It is always good to hear that things work to someone's satisfaction

I also always enjoy being able to look at the parts used and compare them to the results achieved to add the information into the collection of knowledge we have.

I just got off the Renology site, and assume you got the 400 watt system with controller and maybe the MT-50 display?

All pretty normal stuff for these days, MPPT timer based controller, etc. As always, and based on the weaknesses we have seen in other systems and our system in particular (obviously we have the most experience with ours), I like to see how other brands of controllers are handling those situations. Unfortunately, most literature does not get into the details of some of the more obscure issues.

The Renology will handle 100v of panel input, which I sure wish ours would, as then we could go in series with our panels. We have V max from the panels of about 60 volts and the Blue Sky limits to 50 volts. Our panels are essentially like one big panel so shade is rarely an issue for us.

The biggest operational issue with the Blue Sky is that if the voltage drops once the batteries are full due to use and/or clouds, it will go back into absorption and being controlled by the amps to the battery can get stuck there too long. The Renology is a straight timer controller so that comes with different pluses and minuses. Plus would be that if it does go back into what they call "boost" it will only stay there until the timer runs out and won't get stuck. The minus is that timer models can overcharge batteries depending on timer settings, use patterns, and if they run a full charge cycle on full batteries, which we have discussed quite a few times about how to know what is happening. If the Renology does go into boost again after power use, it would be interesting to see what voltage trigger it uses. The Blue Sky uses float voltage, which is too high, as a .1-.2v under full battery voltage would work much better.

448ah of AGM is a lot of battery, and if you are getting full by 11:00am your discharges must be fairly small, probably in the 30-40ah down in the morning range. Essentially all the charging will be in the "topoff" tapering of the absorption stage with boost stage ending almost immediately once you have good sun. This keeps the batteries very full and will take very good care of them as long as you watch for overcharging and get to a good middle range timer setting. Full batteries for most AGMs would be accepting about 2.25 amps at 14.4v and normal temps, which will be visible on the controller MT-50 panel, or more accurately on a battery monitor if you have one. Being a full timer is a big advantage against overcharging as the van is used every day and not sitting in full sun with full batteries for long periods.

Compared to two wet cells with no solar, you have got to be in paradise

You certainly do look like you are ready to roll!
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