RV Inverter (Typical)
Deltac MKB-500-50 – 500 Amp Shunt
Kyocera KC-120 Solar Panel
Do you “dry camp”, “boondock”, “WallyMart”, camp in unimproved national forest campgrounds, layover at rest areas, or simply need to keep your RV batteries charged while in storage? Consider an RV solar electric system.
When we bought our first travel trailer, I planned on charging the camper battery by connecting to the tow vehicle and running the engine. After some research, I found that this process does not work well because of voltage drop in the tow vehicle and camper wiring, and also because of the chemical properties of lead acid batteries when charged from an automotive alternator. Another option is to carry a portable gasoline generator or install permanently mounted RV generator. While generators provide adequate power to run all of the RV appliances, they can be noisy, expensive, need fuel, and require periodic maintenance.
If your camping habits are modest, an RV Solar System may work for you. A solar electric system for an RV is totally quiet, light weight, requires no operator attention, and requires no maintenance (other than periodic battery maintenance, which you should be doing anyway). The picture above is an example ultimate RV trailer electrical system with solar battery charging.
An RV solar electric system can be very simple, consisting of a small solar panel connected directly to the RV battery, provide a few amp-hours per day, and cost less than $100. More sophisticated systems may consist of multiple solar panels, generating enough power to run a microwave, and cost thousands of dollars.
The system I installed in my 5th wheel camper consists of the components shown below, generates 40 – 60 amp-hours per day, and cost about $2000. With this system, we have enough power to dry camp in the summer indefinitely, while running modest lighting, stereo, water pump, an hour or two of TV, and so on. Spring and fall camping require more modest power usage as less sun is available to charge the batteries, and the furnace runs more because of the colder temperatures. Winter camping with only solar power is not practical for more than one night. We use an Onan 3600 LP generator to supply 115 VAC power when solar power is insufficient to meet our energy demands.
Click on the images below for links to further information on each product.
Progressive Dynamics 9200 Series INTELI-POWER converter
Blue Sky Battery Temperature Sensor
IPN-PRO Remote Solar Monitor
Blue Sky Solar Boost 2512iX MPPT sOLAR Controller
Note: I am in no way affiliated with Northern Arizona Wind and Sun, or Camping World, or any other manufacturers mentioned on this website and receive no compensation in any way for referring to them. As a satisfied customer, I recommend anyone interested in these products consider purchasing though these outstanding dealers. I provide this information solely as a service to the RV community.
The Onan Microquiet 3600 LP generator provides 115 vac power when there is insufficient solar power available to meet our electrical demands, including running the A/C and M/W at the same time. With the addition of this generator, and the winter insulation package of the Arctic Fox camper, we are now prepared to camp without hookups almost anywhere at any time of the year.
The SurgeGuard surge protector (right) provides a two-minute time delay before power is applied to RV, allowing the generator be stabilize before loading it.
SurgeGuard Built-In Model 34520
Trojan T-105 6-Volt Deep Cycle Battery
|Kyocera Solar||Blue Sky 2512Ix Controller||Xantrex XS400||Inverter Selection||Trojan T-105 Battery||Northern AZ Wind Sun|
|Battery Terms||Deep Cycle Batteries||Battery Maintenance||INP-PRO Solar Remote||Deltec Current Shunts||Progressive Dynamics|
|Onan RV Generators||Inverter Installation||SurgeGuard 34520||Installation Pictures|