Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Here is a look at the roof of SPF60, our nick name for  our Coleman model 325 fifth wheel. Even though the thing is nearly 36’ long, it’s beginning to look a bit crowded up there.100_2010

The four Solar panels consist of,  a couple of kits that are sold by Camping world that have a charge controller in each kit. Each panel is rated at about 125 watts output for a total of about 500 watts of solar power on the roof.


This solar controller, blue and gray, on the left, monitors the amperage going from the roof mounted panels, down  into the battery’s. The controller is located down in the basement and is readily accessible should it need to be consulted. This photo was taken about 10am. The amps to the battery’s is usually in the neighborhood of 22 to 25 amps when the sun is directly overhead.

Why isn’t the controller located up inside the trailer in a prominent location where it can be readily monitored ?  The short of that, is that we don’t want another system to have to operate, it just needs to get what energy is available from the sun and store it in the battery’s. We don’t want to worry over a few more watts of efficiency. We think it should be a plug it in and forget it system. If it quits working ( the TV won’t come on ), then we’ll look into it.

My initial plan was to divide the solar system into two separate stand alone systems of 250 watts each. Later I decided that would un necessarily complicate what I wanted to be a simple and dependable, plug and play system.

So, how is it doing for us ?  Really good. Our camping style lets us run the TV and satellite system to check news and weather three times a day and watch our favorite shows in the evenings for a total of about five hours on a 32”  tv , each day.

The sun is providing all of the power we need, except for about an hour in the mornings when we run the generator to be able to use the coffee maker and microwave.

With the hour of generator use in the morning, our trailer’s converter has a built in smart charger that can really “sock it to” the battery’s if needed, to start the day’s solar power collecting off faster.


Jim and Bobbie said...

How often do you go/have to go on the roof to clean the panels? I'd like solar but as we grow older I'm not certain I want DH climbing up on the roof a lot or often. When do you antiticipate recovering your initial investment?

mountainborn said...

We have been parked here at Trujillo Meadows for about 90 days and I have leaned a ladder up on the side of the trailer and rinsed the fir needles off of the panels and roof twice.
We are saving about $15 per week on generator gasoline. Havn't figured the pay out date.
For us it's about increasing our linger time on boondocking sites.