Solar Panels


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    Steve; you mentioned you have a generator…is that for when you boondock and want to run AC ? If yes what size do you have?


    Hi Bob. I have the Honda 3000. It has wheels and a handle and weighs 78 lbs dry. I have only run the AC once  with it just to make sure that I could. We prefer to sit outside in the shade.  If we have full hookup (which is rare) then we’ll run the AC more often as we prefer wilderness camping.

    Safe travels!



    Thanks for the info Steve…we have  a small dog (yorkie) and this winter while we are down south we may need to run AC  when she is left in the 5ver.  Our AC is 15000btu and I was thinking of maybe a Honda 2000i would see us through. With the solar panels going on in November I shouldn’t really be looking at a generator at all but they won’t run AC .


    I am by no means an expert on this but was told by Camping World where I bought mine that a 3000W generator was required to run the AC. From what I have read on other forums a 15,000 BTU AC runs at about 16 amps and can be as much as double that on start up…that’s when your going to have issues with a 2000W generator. Perhaps when you are getting your solar install at AM Solar they could probably confirm your requirements and suggest a reputable generator dealer in the area…no tax in Oregon. 🙂

    Safe travels!


    Bob, I agree with Steve, a 2000w would be not enough. Usually when they say 2000w they mean peak for a brief time, Likely the continuous watts are only 1600-1800. Even if it managed to run the AC you would have to have everything else off in the rig. Best to look at something that is 3000 watts or better to handle the load and have some reserve.

    Also one thing to keep in mind is as the temperature gets hotter the AC compressor start up current needs more juice to kick on, so it might work fine at say 75 degrees but at 95 degrees and humid it may overload. Also the generator can over heat having to run full out. Best to have some reserve if it is critical to run the AC.


    Thanks Ray and Steve…my concern here is for our dog. I guess I’m curious Ray what do you do when you can’t take the dog with you when you and Anne go for a walk  where dogs can’t go?


    When boondocking we get a pretty good idea of the temps by being in the rig ourselves and know when it is safe to leave the dog. We always angle the rig so the sun hits the awning side that has less windows and then open all the windows on the opposite side. I place Angie’s kennel in the coolest spot near a window. Usually doing this we are good up to about 80 degrees. I use my wireless thermometer to monitor the temps.

    The desert is a very dry heat so you can handle a higher temp if you have water and shade and especially if there is a breeze which  there usually is.

    Because Anne is into photography we generally are out during the cool morning times and sunsets, if it is really hot out we just hang out with the dog in the shade. There are very few really hot days during the winter.

    Most days start out quite cool and reach a peak temp in the early afternoon. Once the sun goes down temps drop really fast as there is no humidity to hold the heat.

    Finally if we are in for a big hot spell we will just book into an RV resort with full hookups and a pool. That’s the beauty of  the lifestyle, freedom. 😉


    When you say kennel do you mean you put her in her travel cage ? Or, a wire kennel so that. She can move around in the trailer.


    It’s a travel cage, she is used to it as she spends the night in it. It’s fairly large and tall for her and wire made so she has lots of room and air movement. I find if she has free run of the place it just makes her anxious, she is better confined to her space.


    Ours dogs have crates even at home, they do much better in their little caves. We have little battery and plug in fans we put by their crates, it has ice rings that air blows over to add even more coolness! But we always watch the time of day and if we have electricity available. – Nancy

    Marsha & Dewey

    We haven’t started or full-time travel yet, but on a recent trip to lake almanor, we were in a full hookup park and decided to go fishing and left Buddy, or lab and kitty Pumpkin in the RV with the a ac programmed to come on at 78 degrees, well when we got back the surket breaker had tripped and the two inside was very hot…. Buddy was in distress, very scary, he did recover, but really made me think about what we are going to do when we full-time. This happened at the day before we were headed home and had no problems with the serkit breakers before that day. We had bought a surge protector before this trip. The park had some electric issues in another area of the park when we had first arrived. Don’t really know why they tripped.


    When you full time you’ll likely have the freedom to avoid being in hot temps, we try to move around and find mild temps, where if the AC failed it would be OK and not be a serious threat. We also tend to leave for outings early and get back before the heat rises or leave late knowing the sun is going down and the rig will only get cooler from that point on. If we do pop out at mid day on a hot day it is usually just a short trip.

    There are gadgets available that will monitor the rig temp and call your cell if the the temps go too high.


    I always have a digital thermometer and monitor what the highest temp was when we were gone, that way I get a good feel for how the rig reacts.



    The park had some electric issues in another area of the park when we had first arrived. Don’t really know why they tripped.

    You have a large 5’er with dual air conditioners. Do both units kick in at the same time? Or are they on individual controls? 50 amp service? Electric water heater on? Most RV’s can just barely carry the electrical loads available, on mine with a single 13500 BTU AC unit, you can’t run the hot water tank or microwave while the AC is on. That’s one of the reasons that I installed an AC voltmeter in the panel, as voltage levels drop, amps rise, and then breakers trip. There’s a lot of resource management to RV’ing!

    Marsha & Dewey

    Hi Roger….. The air conditioners run separately. There was nothing else that would have turned on, but the water heater. I can’t remember for sure but I think it was a 30 amp, so that could have been the problem…. We had been there for 2 weeks with no problems…. But maybe we were just lucky. I’ll have to mention the AC voltmeter to Dewey, sounds like a good idea. Ray shared a web page for climate monitoring devices that will notify u if the temps go up…. Which sounds good too. Thanks for the info….. Yes we have allot of learning to do…. This won’t happen again with our children’s lives at stake!


    :bye: Well the Solar went in from AM Solar and every one who said it would be expense was right. Every one there is very nice as you would expect. However I was not totally impressed by their service or installation. I would have thought that as installers of solar panels they would have known better on how to install the panels to operate properly. I had told them that I wanted panels that I would be able to tilt at 45 degree angel.So after we had discussed this I come back to see that they installed the panels that would cast shadows or have shadows cast onto them by each other or by objects on the roof. I know that do  to limitations from roof vents etc. that you could have some shading but I did not expect them to install them knowing that shadows would fall on certain panels. With My limited understanding of solar I knew that shadows do take away from the full potential of the panels. Therefore why would they install them so that shadows from some panels would fall on another.  As some as I looked at the roof I knew it wasn’t right. So after much thought we agreed to move one panel so that it would not cast a shadow onTo the others. Of course I had to pay for the extra time spent to move the panel etc. Never was it offered to wave the extra time to move the panel at their cost. After talking to the owner on a casual basis he mentioned to me that he now pays his employees on a profit sharing basis rather then annual raises. This could explain why their products and installs are so expensive. I don’t mine anyone making a profit but when you do profit sharing with your employees in leu of salary increases it can lead to a lot of unproductive hours billed. I’m not saying this was the case but it does leave the door open for abuse for the client . Over all I’m    satisfied now that I do have solar and hope that it full fills all of my expectations.  :yahoo:

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