1000W portable generator or 90W solar panel

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1000W portable generator or 90W solar panel

Postby Crabapple » Sun Jun 21, 2015 1:59 pm

I'm tossing around the idea of getting either the smallest portable generator (1000W) by Honda or Yamaha or a folding solar panel kit (90W)
All I'm trying to do is keep the battery charged in my small camper sufficiently to operate my little TF31ACDC fridge/freezer and charge my cell phone while
stationary for a few days.
What I think is the generator will be more dependable but makes noise which will be annoying. The solar panels are silent but may not be up to the task in
less than ideal conditions?
Which is the better option and why? And how quickly would the generator recharge a typical deep cycle RV battery?
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Re: 1000W portable generator or 90W solar panel

Postby GuitarPhotog » Sun Jun 21, 2015 2:11 pm

The solar panel will need a charge controller. The generator will still need a charger/converter. The size of each of those will depend on how big your battery is, in AH.

How big is your battery?

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Re: 1000W portable generator or 90W solar panel

Postby tony.latham » Sun Jun 21, 2015 2:20 pm

You'd never catch me with a generator or anything that needed one. I can't imagine going somewhere nice and quiet and starting one up. Just the way I camp, but to each his own.

I'd guess you should expect about 4 amps out of a 90 watt panel. Maybe 5. (Look it up) Multiple your hours of sun shine and that'll give you the possible number of amps your panel will give you. And your "fridge?" Fourty amps in twenty four hours, does that sound about right?

It's all about how many amps you're going to use and what your panels will produce.

T
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Re: 1000W portable generator or 90W solar panel

Postby bdosborn » Sun Jun 21, 2015 2:30 pm

Your fridge looks like a rebadged Waeco; our Waeco uses around 1 amp-hr on average when set to 40F in 85F weather. I have no problem keeping up with our fridge and cell phones with an 80 watt portable panel. That's assuming the sun shines every day and you're not camped too far in the shade. :)

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Re: 1000W portable generator or 90W solar panel

Postby Crabapple » Sun Jun 21, 2015 3:13 pm

GuitarPhotog wrote:The solar panel will need a charge controller. The generator will still need a charger/converter. The size of each of those will depend on how big your battery is, in AH.

How big is your battery?

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The battery is a RV24-140. I believe the trailer has a built in charger/converter since I can charge the battery on shore power or from the tow vehicle while underway.
Most of the suitcase style solar panel kits seem to have a a charge controller built in...no?

considering this...
http://www.northernfridge.ca/products/slp090f-12s
Last edited by Crabapple on Sun Jun 21, 2015 3:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 1000W portable generator or 90W solar panel

Postby Crabapple » Sun Jun 21, 2015 3:21 pm

tony.latham wrote:You'd never catch me with a generator or anything that needed one. I can't imagine going somewhere nice and quiet and starting one up. Just the way I camp, but to each his own.
T

I'm with you on this...much prefer the solar panels, I just need to get the correct wattage. I would only consider the generator if it could charge the battery quickly..say in a half hour to an hour might be tolerable
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Re: 1000W portable generator or 90W solar panel

Postby ae6black » Sun Jun 21, 2015 3:44 pm

I have a 100 w Renogy Solar suitcase that seems to keep battery charged when using my refrigerator running on gas and camper interior lights. I am hoping to install led replacements if they get here tomorrow. Real test will come this week when I boondock for five days. I did it for two days and it kept my battery up during the memorial day weekend. The problem I have is that the controler for the solar panel isn't supposed to be left out in the rain. seems dumb to me to build something designed to be outside and not to have it so it can be left out in the rain.

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Re: 1000W portable generator or 90W solar panel

Postby lrrowe » Sun Jun 21, 2015 3:57 pm

Me, I will do both. And use as appropriate. For example, during hunting season, when there are no other campers around us, I will use the generator if the solar panels are not keeping things up to snuff for me. But it all depends on monies being available. If I have panels connected, then they will be my first coice.

I think I will start with 100W and then go to 200W. My generator of choice will be the Honda 2000i unit. But that will be the last of these items purchased. I have a noisey Champion 2000W unit which can get me by this Fall's season.
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Re: 1000W portable generator or 90W solar panel

Postby bdosborn » Sun Jun 21, 2015 6:31 pm

Crabapple wrote:considering this...
http://www.northernfridge.ca/products/slp090f-12s


They're pretty proud of their 90W panel @ $430 $> . Have you considered making your own folding panel for a lot cheaper? It's pretty easy to do:

DIY Folding Panel

Here's some links to build your own 120W panel for less than half the price of the 90W.

(2) 60w panels for $156
Sunsaver controller $48

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Re: 1000W portable generator or 90W solar panel

Postby daveesl77 » Sun Jun 21, 2015 6:42 pm

I have a 50 watt Renogy panel, an 800 watt HF generator and my truck linking. For the most part, the panel runs the fridge (Haier 3 ft3 dorm unit with 2000 w centech inverter) without much problem. In the past, if I needed a quick boost, I'd just link up the truck to the trailer (my old travel trailer, not this one yet) and let the truck charge the battery (20amp does a lot fairly quickly). If away from everyone and in the daytime, if I need some quick power, I'll fire up the HF.

On this initial trip of Conch Fritter, we had the truck charging the trailer running the fridge at 29F with outside temps in the mid- 90s while driving. No problems at all, except the fridge was a bit too cold.

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Re: 1000W portable generator or 90W solar panel

Postby Shadow Catcher » Sun Jun 21, 2015 9:55 pm

Bruce has it right. I took a somewhat different route. We have a Waeco refrigerator and a good bit of electronics etc. I bought a 185W high voltage panel which works in a shaded environment. However I have set up so that I can use jumper cables from the TV to recharge the trailer battery it would work faster than a 1000W.
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Re: 1000W portable generator or 90W solar panel

Postby Crabapple » Mon Jun 22, 2015 6:42 pm

I was into the local Honda Dealer and they started up the Honda 1000W generator...it is very quiet! Discussed with them the method of plugging a battery charger into the generator and using that to charge the battery quickly (.5 to 1 hr)and then shut generator down rather than trickle charge off the generator for 4 hrs. But they told me a rapid charge is bad for the battery, trickle charging is much better. So this makes me lean even more to solar panels, one web site stating 120W panel to be ideal for 24/140 battery and 80W being just OK. Also websites state that battery cannot be below 8V or controller won't start up! How likely is this to happen?
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Re: 1000W portable generator or 90W solar panel

Postby azgreg » Mon Jun 22, 2015 7:05 pm

bdosborn wrote:
Crabapple wrote:considering this...
http://www.northernfridge.ca/products/slp090f-12s


They're pretty proud of their 90W panel @ $430 $> . Have you considered making your own folding panel for a lot cheaper? It's pretty easy to do:

DIY Folding Panel

Here's some links to build your own 120W panel for less than half the price of the 90W.

(2) 60w panels for $156
Sunsaver controller $48

Bruce

That's pretty slick. Thanks.
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Re: 1000W portable generator or 90W solar panel

Postby Crabapple » Mon Jun 22, 2015 7:24 pm

bdosborn wrote:
Crabapple wrote:considering this...
http://www.northernfridge.ca/products/slp090f-12s


They're pretty proud of their 90W panel @ $430 $> . Have you considered making your own folding panel for a lot cheaper? It's pretty easy to do:

DIY Folding Panel

Here's some links to build your own 120W panel for less than half the price of the 90W.

(2) 60w panels for $156
Sunsaver controller $48

Bruce

Yes...that's CAD$ pricing btw. I don't seem to have many options up here for on-line purchases and to buy out of the USA often you don't know what the final price will be with duty, taxes, broker fees and what-have-you! :(
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Re: 1000W portable generator or 90W solar panel

Postby bdosborn » Mon Jun 22, 2015 7:37 pm

Crabapple wrote:Yes...that's CAD$ pricing btw. I don't seem to have many options up here for on-line purchases and to buy out of the USA often you don't know what the final price will be with duty, taxes, broker fees and what-have-you! :(


Whoops, I missed the CAD$ part. Keep looking, you can probably still build one cheaper than the one in the link.

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