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Having lots of battery storage is great but it’s no good to you if you can’t put power back into the system. This is not a reflection of any of the above mentioned systems just my personal observation based on many years of off the grid living when out bush prospecting. 

Lithium is amazing because the batteries are lighter and you can use 80% of the capacity, but when the system gets down you need to put the energy back in so plenty of solar is the answer. Whenever cloudy weather appears I always start using my generator for an hour at night and an hour in the morning to keep the batteries topped up rather than run the system down and then trying to recover. In winter you only really get 7 or so hours a day of decent sun to refresh the storage as well as run the fridges ect during the warmer part of the day, so if for instance the clouds roll in around lunch time then you don’t run the generator that night you’ve been running off battery storage for 22 hours till the sun becomes effective again around 10 am the next morning if the clouds come in again after lunch as they often do then your system will not have recovered enough. If the clouds remain you are then well behind the 8 ball and will have no choice but to try to catch up with either the DC to DC charger off the vehicle or using a generator, both of which take time when the storage gets down below 50%. 60 amps of charging ability is the minimum IMHO with lithium systems because they can be drawn down to the 80% of capacity level. If my systems have not recovered off solar by lunch time I start to think about using the generator.

All my systems have been designed to have a balance between the amount of solar relative to the storage capacity and the draw required by fridges etc. It’s much better to have a smaller battery that can be charged up quicker if solar panel space is limited. Obviously if your system is rigged into your vehicle and you drive everywhere with a DC/DC charger this is less of an issue but with a camper trailer that’s in a fixed position this can become an issue even with solar panels strategically placed all around the camp (also a theft risk). Flat packing solar panels take up space and require set up when at your camp so keep this in mind when you design your system. 

JP

 

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23 minutes ago, Jonathan Porter said:

Having lots of battery storage is great but it’s no good to you if you can’t put power back into the system.

 

Jeez now you’ve got me wondering if it is going to be enough 🤔😕

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200 amps of lithium should be OK even for 2 compressor fridges, just have a decent charger and a genie as a back up if the weather goes south on you. WA in winter in the  Eastern Gold Fields the day times temps don’t get much above 24 most days so the fridges are very effecient, night times go down to minus so they cycle less frequently. But there can be a lot of cloud cover at times so using the generator is a lot more effective to keep things topped up rather than having lots of solar panels scattered all around the camp running the risk of wind blowing them around and damaging them. 

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Crikey I agree with you JP, Gennies a must you`ll note the mean blue machine in the back of my setup photo. Talking about batteries, just replaced the 14 year old off-grid 48v 1080Ahrs lead acids in my Shouse, kept to lead acid as they had the runs on the board and have for 100years plus but reckon when the AGMs in Troopy go and as they are 4 years old suspect wont be long, will replace with lithium, time for this old codger to give the new kid on the block a go. Lighter weight more smoke to let out etc etc. Gotta love tech.

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I was hoping to not need a gennie but seeing as everyone is recommending it... I do have a nice little Honda 2kVa available which should be more than enough.

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I have the Eco Flow Delta. I can highly recommend it. It has about 1200 Wh and 1800/3000 W surge. The good thing, it only takes about 90 min to get to a full charge from empty with the generator, for a 80% charge it only takes 1h. So, you get a lot of storage for little fuel. It also runs with 400W solar panels and it takes about 6-8 hours for a full charge. A bit expensive, but very efficient! I have two of them and that gives me total off grid freedom.

https://www.amazon.com/EF-ECOFLOW-Portable-Station-Generator/dp/B083FR3762

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2 hours ago, Sheppo said:

I was hoping to not need a gennie but seeing as everyone is recommending it... I do have a nice little Honda 2kVa available which should be more than enough.

Indeed the 2kVa Honda will be plenty, mines a Yamaha 1kVa and it is ample for charging, runs for near 12 hours on 2.5 litres. Light and quiet, I usually run when I get back to camp "lugging" all that weight in the arvo, for a few hours before lights out.  Gets the detector, UHF radio/navi and Satellite phone charged up ready for the next day and ensures the batteries are full for keeping the cold stuff cold. Depends on cloud, ambient temp etc. but allows you to camp out for weeks with water usually being the reason to move  and then if the GoG been treating sometimes just back to a water hole to fill, wash clothes and return.

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I`ll add a wee bit more to the above, my near 40 year experience with solar is it  is a brilliant part solution to energy supply, even on my home off-grid solar system, roof full of solar, 300+ days of NQ OZ sun per year, massive battery capacity etc. there are days I have to run a generator (diesel) to maintain charge in the batteries. All it takes is a few cloudy days and that`s the reality. I live, breath solar and I know its limitations.

Solar systems require a monitor to gauge battery charge, I use  DIY enthusiast monitors because I enjoy hands on and come from that kind of era, there are consumer available monitors. If you run a solar/battery system whether fixed or in a vehicle without using a monitor or as it is intended to be used, the cost in battery replacement will soon dwarf the cost of a battery charge monitor, whilst the newer lithium batteries can give around 80% of their total capacity opposed to around 40% in lead acid batteries, you will destroy either if you take them outside their limits. Further the capacity quoted for batteries is when they are new they lose capacity as they age.

Just a warning because if good solar practice is adhered to they are the bees knees, if not they are just expensive toys. 

Edited by Norvic
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I don't see the point in carrying a generator in a camper setup when your vehicle already has a 3-4 KVA one built in?

I use a Redarc auto dual battery charging setup. If the flexible rooftop solar panels can't keep up (rare for me) then I fire up the diesel for a few minutes.

Sounds like some of you are glamping, not camping. Next you'll tell me you're running ovens, TV's and microwaves!  :)

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