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Can you run your a/c off of battery & Solar? Well, Yes & No!


Al F

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Here is a video of a test of running your air conditioner off of battery & solar. No connection to shore power or running the generator.

 

My comments: As the video shows, yes you can, with the proper battery, inverter & solar setup. However the solar panels are not supplying the total amount of power to run the a/c. There is a significant amount of power being drawn from the batteries.

 

Bottom line, IMHO, you are not going to run your a/c for 10 hours to sleep on a warm or hot humid night. However you may be able to run your a/c for a few or several hours in the afternoon until the sun goes down and the evening cools down.

Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Journey 36G 
2020 Chevy Colorado Toad
San Antonio, TX

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

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I have run mine for three hours off my LiFePo4 just for a test. I stopped just because I didn't have all my monitoring set up and it was before my solar install. I will be in a shaded site all this summer so I will not get to test this for awhile.

Dave and Lana Hasper

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Al, while sure given enough solar and battery capacity you can run an AC for x amount of hours, to me its sort of IMPRACTICAL. If a person wants to invest in a ton of solar and batteries just to be able to run AC for x hours that's fine, (and its NOT rocket science) but if the heat is unbearable when boondocking I just fire up my Onan Genset a few hours.

 

John T

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Thanks for sharing the video link, Al.

 

Since we have the hybrid inverter, 700 Ah lithium battery, and 1060 watts of solar, I may as well look into what it takes to "soft start" an air conditioner and reconfigure our sub panel wiring so we could operate one of our air conditioners when we wanted to. We should be able to connect the Honda 2000i generator we have and add ac run time before depleting the battery, right? I have not used the Honda except to exercise it, but I hear they are fuel efficient.

 

I would think during the heat of the day, if the solar was putting out well, the little Honda 2000 would be enough to keep the batteries from drawing down much, leaving the lithium battery with enough reserve to replace the solar to run the AC during the less demanding evening hours. What do you think?

 

Jim

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2001 Volvo 770, Detroit 60 Series, Gen 2 Autoshift

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Jim, that would be the right strategy. Use the Honda to charge while inverting for the AC. The problem with that is that you are inverting with your inverter/CHARGER, so you need a charger available to charge your house bank with. That may be the old converter....if you can set it for the lithium bank. You would just need bulk to be right.... But if you can get the Honda charging at the same time as you are using...then that should work.

Jack & Danielle Mayer #60376 Lifetime Member
Living on the road since 2000

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Now if you just had the Honda 3000 (or a pair of the 2000's) you could run the AC direct from it versus all the inefficiency and heat loss and DC TO AC inversions !!!!!. However its bigger and heavier and bulkier to handle and store grrrrrrrrrrrr. I've seen some small AC's powered by a Honda 2000, but you may be crowding it which I never like to do. As far as a separate charger to run off the Honda (assuming you have a combination Inverter/Charger) you may get by for short term use with a cheaper DUMB bulk charger, but with lithium Id recommend a quality unit designed for your battery bank, so an off the shelf dumb charger may NOT be an option. You want to charge those batteries the correct way as you well know.

 

Hey its tough out there boondocking while keeping cool and having all our Internet and electronics available lol How did the pioneers make it in covered wagons????

 

John T

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with 1420 W of solar and about 9 kW-hr of LFP, we have run the A/C under full sun for 3.5 hours several times

 

Al Florida's suggestion is what we generally do. Run the A/C off the battery suite for half an hour after dusk to drop the cabin below 90 F (1100 W-hr with the Dometic for half an hour) and then use the 12 V fans (10 W) for the rest of the night. Best to avoid hot areas and go north and to the mountains.

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About comments about depleting the batteries, impracticality of using solar & batteries when using the a/c,etc: The video pretty much speaks for itself. They were running the a/c and the solar was supplying all but about 30-35amps of the dc power. So with 400-600AH of battery available, do the math. 3 hours at a draw of 35amp only uses 105AH of the battery. As long as you have sun available the next day, you wouldn't have a problem with the solar & battery setup in the video.

 

I really take issue with "just fire up the generator and run the a/c". I just love it, when out in the boondocks someone parks about 75-100 yards away and fires up their generator. Meanwhile we are/were sitting outside enjoying the peace and quiet of the outdoors and all of sudden we hear the generator next door. If your attitude is "just fire up the generator and run the a/c" please park 200-400 yards away from your neighbor, unless you and the neighbor agree before hand that both of you are going to run the generator.

Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Journey 36G 
2020 Chevy Colorado Toad
San Antonio, TX

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

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Al, I HATE the cheap loud screaming NOISY Generators, UNLIKE the Honda or Yamaha etc which are so much quieter and I also hate one right next to me all night grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. One advantage of dry dispersed camping such as available on some BLM and other federal lands is the ability to park farrrrrrrrrrrrrr away from noisy neighbors and so they are also farrrrrrrrrrr away from us lol. Its a matter of courtesy to our neighbors but unfortunately, as you know some insist on running a loud genset close to and with no regard to their neighbors. I agree with you but would go even further, please park 1000 yards away lol if you're going to run a generator all hours, and that's a practice I try to observe since I don't have enough battery and solar capacity to run an AC like some may.

 

Of course, if you choose to park in an area where generators are permitted at certain times and some dude (who doesnt have solar and batteries to operate AC) parks legally nearby and runs his and is adhering to all the rules of the park, that's his right and choice, but its also your right to move or leave which I have done.

 

BE COURTEOUS TO YOUR NEIGHBORS IN YOUR CAMPING HABITS

 

John T

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