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Solar time!!!

Discussion in 'Electrical' started by Chad D., Jul 16, 2023.

  1. Jul 16, 2023 at 2:08 PM
    #1
    Chad D.

    Chad D. [OP] New Member

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    For the love of God, please do not call me an overlander. I don’t have the right hat, I don’t cook with a skottle, and I don’t know their greeting wave.

    That said, check out my new solar setup!

    I have a Dometic fridge in the bed that keeps beer and water on the ready at all times. I also have dual batteries, but after a couple days of inactivity, the house battery is pulled down to a smidge under 12V. Since they do not give these Odyssey batteries away anymore, I thought I’d try this out.

    71122964061__2021A00B-383E-484D-9655-533DECF3E486.jpg

    It’s (2) 100W Renogy flexible panels. Mounted with some thick 3M foam tape to keep the panels just off the canopy and permit airflow.

    These feed through a disconnect to a Victron MPPT controller and then to the house battery.

    System is very similar to the one in my RV, which makes it super nice to monitor everything simultaneously.

    IMG_1109.png


    Hasn’t burst into flames yet, and it’s pumping the watts into my batteries like crazy. Extra nice is I can set the controller to charge at the voltage that Odysseys really want (bulk at 13.8V and finish at 14.7V), rather than lower voltage that Toyota gives us. Even with the GM diode, it’s short on voltage.
     
  2. Jul 16, 2023 at 4:01 PM
    #2
    blackdemon_tt

    blackdemon_tt Battery Slayer

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    This is nice...
     
  3. Jul 16, 2023 at 7:31 PM
    #3
    Chad D.

    Chad D. [OP] New Member

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    Thank you for the kind words. From the ground, you cannot see anything unless you peel between the canopy and the back of the cab. You’ll spot the loomed wire running through there…

    The panels I chose are about 5/8” narrower than the space between my roof rails on the canopy.
     
    blackdemon_tt[QUOTED] likes this.
  4. Jul 16, 2023 at 8:36 PM
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    ZappBrannigan

    ZappBrannigan The mind is willing but the flesh is weak

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    That’s pretty badass
     
  5. Jul 16, 2023 at 8:40 PM
    #5
    Charvonia Design

    Charvonia Design Enthusiast-Owned Small Business Vendor

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    Nice! What app is that?
     
  6. Jul 16, 2023 at 8:56 PM
    #6
    Chad D.

    Chad D. [OP] New Member

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    Victron Connect.
     
  7. Jul 17, 2023 at 7:41 AM
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    blackdemon_tt

    blackdemon_tt Battery Slayer

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    Thought about doing something very similar to this in the past, I was commuting from Reno, NV to Fremont, CA for about 3 months, and the weekly hotel expense was getting quite taxing, I have a long bed definitely plenty of space for the whole family, but setting up a small fridge, cot and air conditioning would be a little too much was my train of thought. My greatest fear is that it would identify as a fire pit and automatically set itself on fire. LOL...
     
  8. Jul 17, 2023 at 7:44 AM
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    Charvonia Design

    Charvonia Design Enthusiast-Owned Small Business Vendor

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    Thanks, I'll check it out.
     
  9. Jul 17, 2023 at 7:56 AM
    #9
    Ghost Rider

    Ghost Rider Mods wouldn't be an issue if money wasn't.

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    I used to sell/deal with solar/inverters so this is def a very big step forward (I left that field in 2014, which is solar, that's two life cycles ago)
    If you don't mind, can you share roughly the cost of this setup? I think flexible panel is the bulk of the cost but compared to 10 years ago, should be MUCH cheaper, than a quality controller would be next....
    My biggest fear is the whole panel go flying when I drive....
     
  10. Jul 17, 2023 at 7:58 AM
    #10
    ColoradoTJ

    ColoradoTJ Certified tow LEO Staff Member

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    Depending on what kind of beer you will not be called an "overlander"....:D
     
    blackdemon_tt and Y0TA PR0 like this.
  11. Jul 17, 2023 at 8:38 AM
    #11
    Chad D.

    Chad D. [OP] New Member

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    I’ve had the gear for a while, so guessing on costs a little…

    Panels were about $260 for the pair.
    Controller was about $130.
    Tape, wire, fuse stuff, master switch, battery monitor, etc added another $200 or so.

    So, somewhere in the $600 range if I remember correctly.
     
  12. Jul 17, 2023 at 8:48 AM
    #12
    300BLK

    300BLK New Member

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    Really like this setup, very effective and well hidden.
     
  13. Jul 17, 2023 at 9:01 AM
    #13
    Ghost Rider

    Ghost Rider Mods wouldn't be an issue if money wasn't.

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    That's actually not bad, I was thinking more in the $1K range. Do you wire it to constant charge the battery when driving or switch it to charge mode when parked/camped?
     
  14. Jul 17, 2023 at 9:36 AM
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    EmergencyMaximum

    EmergencyMaximum New Member

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    Tundra model S (s stands for solar).
    Time to take her to the next level and rig up a bigger battery and a set of motors to the wheels.:sawzall::welder:
     
  15. Jul 17, 2023 at 9:43 AM
    #15
    Chad D.

    Chad D. [OP] New Member

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    The Solar charge controller handles all of this automatically. If the batteries are full and nothing is using power, it won’t put more juice into them.

    Look at the screenshot I shared that shows the Victron network. You can see that my trailer system is barely putting any juice into the batteries, because they’re full and very little load on them. Then look at the truck. The controller is flat out dumping power into the batteries because they’re not fully charged and can take more.

    Both systems were in fairly direct sun and about 30’ apart.
     
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  16. Jul 17, 2023 at 9:48 AM
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    Ghost Rider

    Ghost Rider Mods wouldn't be an issue if money wasn't.

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    Awesome. I am looking at maybe just doing one panel on top of the CM cab space, mainly to charge AGM battery and possibly a 2nd battery in the bed later down the road if we do more night-time fishing/crabbing, so we can connect to power without concern of draining the main battery dry, but also don't need to always charge the batteries as they are/will be always charging if needed.
     
  17. Jul 17, 2023 at 11:03 AM
    #17
    Chad D.

    Chad D. [OP] New Member

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    For occasional use like that, have you considered a Jackery or Goal Zero power station? Much cheaper, as well as simpler for the occasional use you’re describing.
     
  18. Jul 17, 2023 at 11:06 AM
    #18
    Ghost Rider

    Ghost Rider Mods wouldn't be an issue if money wasn't.

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    I did, and have those. Main concern is the AGM battery which is a b*tch to maintain without proper charging.
    If there is one thing Texas is not short of, especially in Houston, is sunlight..... so was trying to capitalize on that.
     
  19. Jul 17, 2023 at 11:11 AM
    #19
    Chad D.

    Chad D. [OP] New Member

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    Tough to argue those points!

    A while ago, I installed a “GM Diode” that did give me close to a half volt increase on charge voltage. But, still short of what AGM batteries like…

    I just walked by my truck and peeked. 14.3 volts in the batteries and charging at a slow rate. Before yesterday, they would have been in the low to mid 12’s.
     
  20. Jul 17, 2023 at 11:16 AM
    #20
    MedCityMoto

    MedCityMoto SciTech Nerd

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    Dang, I need to install a setup like this on my 6x12 trailer, the little 12V battery I put in that to run the lights flattens itself in no time at all.
     
  21. Jul 17, 2023 at 11:18 AM
    #21
    Ghost Rider

    Ghost Rider Mods wouldn't be an issue if money wasn't.

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    Yea, both me and my buddy (Taco owner) have the same battery (X1 31M) in our trucks, he doesn't drive it as much (owner and dilemma of 8 car owner...) whereas I drive it most days minus weekends.
    I even have the 27F on my wife's Pilot, and now every 3 months I would plug a trickle charger on overnight just to top off Tundra and Pilot, but if the Tundra can get the panel (even just with 1*100W or 1*175W) that would benefit it from having to be plugged in unless I was running over the means within a very short period of time.
    Besides, I don't have moon/sun roof, so that space is open.... just need a way to secure it so it doesn't go flying when I drive on highway....
     
  22. Jul 17, 2023 at 12:04 PM
    #22
    Chad D.

    Chad D. [OP] New Member

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    Mine are stuck down with 3M double sticky foam tape. 8 stops per panel, running front to back to promote airflow beneath. Total tape is about 14’ of 1” wide per panel…. Too soon to tell for sure, but my guess is that you could lift the truck with the panels…
     
  23. Jul 17, 2023 at 12:08 PM
    #23
    Ghost Rider

    Ghost Rider Mods wouldn't be an issue if money wasn't.

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    No doubt it should be fine. I was originally going to do a roof rack install, but that's been sidelined for now, otherwise, attaching that to the top of the rack behind the windbreaker would be the ideal install place.
    But thank you, your picture/thread gives some very good thinking and digging/designing points. I will look into this further and see if it is feasible....
     
  24. Jul 17, 2023 at 12:30 PM
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    Chad D.

    Chad D. [OP] New Member

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    Well, I’m in Oregon. Land of the craft breweries…. That said, I still love a good ol’ Coors Latte.
     
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  25. Jul 17, 2023 at 12:33 PM
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    Chad D.

    Chad D. [OP] New Member

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    Prolly can’t swing that one. My truck is already so much of a fat bitch I’ve been receiving junk mail from Tundras.com for weight loss clinics. Richard Simmons dropped by and gave me a little pep talk about diet and lifestyle choices…
     
  26. Jul 17, 2023 at 2:14 PM
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    ColoradoTJ

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    Def not an "overlander"
     
  27. Jul 17, 2023 at 2:50 PM
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    MedCityMoto

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    How about a Down-Underlander that maybe likes a Cooper or Tooheys?
     
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  28. Jul 17, 2023 at 3:00 PM
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    ColoradoTJ

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    I think the only thing that qualifies as overlander is Truly Hard Seltzer or the like.
     
  29. Jul 17, 2023 at 3:13 PM
    #29
    SD Surfer

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    Very cool!! Well thought out system... functional but unobtrusive.

    Renogy makes good stuff. The flexible panels used to be pretty inefficient but they're getting much better, especially given some airflow to keep them cooler. Production of panels just goes off a cliff at a certain temp.

    The Victron Connect app is awesome, it's really nice to know exactly how much you're producing & consuming real time.

    Best thing I've done to my trailer was add the 600W of solar on the roof (100W portable if I'm parked in a shady campsite) and 200 Ah of Lithium batteries.

    Used to always be conscious of battery status and power consumption, now I just look at the app on my phone and laugh.

    Screenshot_20220128-105908.jpg Screenshot_20220128-123640.jpg

    solar1-bruce.jpg

    solar3-bruce..jpg
     
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  30. Oct 6, 2023 at 5:30 PM
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    Chad D.

    Chad D. [OP] New Member

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    Alright! It’s been three months since this system went in, and I figured I’d give a quick update.

    Nothing bad to report! Still awesome. I went to the Reno Air Races last month and left the truck at home with the fridge running. Came back 7 days later to a 13.8V battery… Cold beer forever!!!

    I have recently checked the Victron app to see how much I can squeeze out of my 200W panel arrangement, and have seen several days where my max was in the 185W range. Record high mark was 194 watts! Much more efficient than I’d guessed.

    My brother and I are both Dometic fridge nerds, so we took his with us in his RV to dry camp for the week long trip. 175W of Solar to keep a big deep cycle charged up kept us with frosty cold ones all week without buying ice.


    For anyone tempted, this appears to be a solid setup and I couldn’t be more pleased with the performance.
     

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