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GimmyTree

Which battery is better for a 160 watt solar panel?

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Gimmy Tree,

You are asking great questions and receiving many good answers.  I believe you are pretty new to all this RV electrical stuff, like batteries, solar, battery charging, how much power each of the devices in your RV uses, etc.

Here are some excellent links to detailed info that should give you more concise and detailed info, than the short answers you receive from forum topics. 

Very good basic info in this 2 part website.  Be sure go to part 2 at the bottom of part 1's website.  "The 12V side of life"

Here is a rather technical website that has very good detailed info for designing and operating RV electrical systems:  http://www.jackdanmayer.com/rv_electrical_and_solar.htm

This website pretty well lays out the entire RV electrical system from shore power to solar power:  https://www.rv-dreams.com/rv-electrical.html

Here is a link to a article about what to look for in a quality install and especially what not to do.  The writer has very strong opinions and is rather blunt, as well as over wordy, but the advice is pretty much spot on.  http://handybobsolar.wordpress.com/the-rv-battery-charging-puzzle-2/

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Gimmy Tree, 

Would you share with us what RV you have, you RV'ing experience, and what your travel plans are.  Will you be doing a lot of dry camping/boondocking, or will you spend quite a bit of your time with electrical hookups?   There is a great deal of difference in battery usage/charging and general requirements between dry camping for 2-3 days once a month or once a week and then back to shore power, than there is if you are planning on dry camping for 5-7 days or more before getting back to shore power.  

Will you have an inverter to power a microwave/coffee maker/toaster, or a satellite TV receiver, or are you just looking to power your lights, cell phones, laptop computer and limited use of your RV propane heater (the fan uses a lot of battery power if it runs a lot at night). 

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2 hours ago, Al F said:

Gimmy Tree,

You are asking great questions and receiving many good answers.  I believe you are pretty new to all this RV electrical stuff, like batteries, solar, battery charging, how much power each of the devices in your RV uses, etc.

Here are some excellent links to detailed info that should give you more concise and detailed info, than the short answers you receive from forum topics. 

Very good basic info in this 2 part website.  Be sure go to part 2 at the bottom of part 1's website.  "The 12V side of life"

Here is a rather technical website that has very good detailed info for designing and operating RV electrical systems:  http://www.jackdanmayer.com/rv_electrical_and_solar.htm

This website pretty well lays out the entire RV electrical system from shore power to solar power:  https://www.rv-dreams.com/rv-electrical.html

Here is a link to a article about what to look for in a quality install and especially what not to do.  The writer has very strong opinions and is rather blunt, as well as over wordy, but the advice is pretty much spot on.  http://handybobsolar.wordpress.com/the-rv-battery-charging-puzzle-2/

It's currently 5am and I have work in a couple of hours but I'll have a good read of those sites when I get home.  Thanks for the links:) 

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2 hours ago, Al F said:

Gimmy Tree, 

Would you share with us what RV you have, you RV'ing experience, and what your travel plans are.  Will you be doing a lot of dry camping/boondocking, or will you spend quite a bit of your time with electrical hookups?   There is a great deal of difference in battery usage/charging and general requirements between dry camping for 2-3 days once a month or once a week and then back to shore power, than there is if you are planning on dry camping for 5-7 days or more before getting back to shore power.  

Will you have an inverter to power a microwave/coffee maker/toaster, or a satellite TV receiver, or are you just looking to power your lights, cell phones, laptop computer and limited use of your RV propane heater (the fan uses a lot of battery power if it runs a lot at night). 

I don't own a RV, I own a 1999 high roof Toyota Hiace which I plan to live out of full time.  It's still in the conversion stage and because I can only work on it one day per week, I've got a two more weeks before it's finished.

I do plan on doing some traveling (I'm located in NZ) but generally I'll be staying in the same town because I have a full time job.  The traveling will be done on weekends and holiday's.

I'll be mostly boondocking near a beach where I previously lived for nine years, so I know the area well.

I have a pure sine wave inverter and I'll be powering a laptop, 2 x kontiki batteries (by plugging the kontiki charger into the inverter), a mobile and a kindle.  A kontiki is a fishing device, if you're not familiar with it.

Edited by GimmyTree

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I now know what a Kontiki fishing device is. 🙂  Great idea for getting your fishing line out from the beach. I also now know what a Toyota Hiace is, a campervan, what we would call a Class B RV in the USA.  

I'm not sure how many AH's (Amp Hours) it will take to charge the Kontiki, but as long as you only need to charge it once or twice a week when you have pretty good sunlight you should be fine.  

I would recommend a lithium battery for your life style.  The less expensive of the two you listed in your post, as long as the reviews of the company selling them is good.  You can take a lithium down to 20% SOC (80% discharged).  It does shorten the number of cycles some to go that low but not too much.  Personally I prefer to stay above 40-50% SOC.  Just like I don't accelerate really hard in my car/truck constantly or slam on the brakes constantly, that adds extra stress on the system.  

The big disadvantage of lead acid batteries is you must get them to 100% charged about every 5-7 days.  If you don't the plates in the batteries will start to sulfate, which decreases your battery life.  If you go for a couple of months w/o getting to 100% regularly you loose a lot of capacity.  Charging the last 10% or 5% to get to 100% takes several to quite a few hours of charging. 

Lithium batteries are perfectly happy going from 40-50% SOC to 80-90% SOC and live a long and happy life. 

If you are going to have a small elect refrigerator, then I would suggest 2 batteries and install 2 160 watt solar panels.  They will take up just about all your roof.  

You sound like you have a good plan for your electrical needs.  

 

 

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