What’s not to love about solar power? Harvesting the power of the sun to provide electricity to run your RV appliances and electronics, without waste or pollution? Yes please!
When we upgraded our RV one of the features we were most excited about was the residential refrigerator. While current models have gotten quite efficient, a full-size refrigerator will suck your RV battery dry pretty quickly. This may not be much of an issue when you are moving from park to park where electrical hookups are available to run your refrigerator and charge your batteries, but when we decided to set out on an epic road trip from Key West, FL to Anchorage, AK we realized we may not have that luxury at many points along the way. We got in touch with the good people at Solarland USA to see about trying out their Sun Wanderer RV solar kit and they were happy to oblige. They are an international company who have up until recently focused on the wholesale distribution of their products. Fortunately for us they are ramping up their retail marketing and they agreed to send us four 150W high efficiency panels, a portable 90W solar kit, two Blue Sky Solar Boost 3000i charge controllers, an IPN Pro Remote (which lets us monitor the current charge coming in, battery level as well as current being used), cables, and a cool solar lantern.
On our way to Alaska, we stopped in Indiana to visit family where I set to work installing them with the help of my super handy brother-in-law Jeff. The panels are high quality and light-weight. We had the trailer wired pretty quickly, running the two sets of cables through the (unused) washing machine vent, down through a chase, into the underbelly storage area, and finally into the utility bay where we built a panel to mount the charge controllers next to the batteries. Wiring the charge controllers to the batteries was a little tricky as our battery bank is still a work-in-progress. We have two gell cell 12W batteries and two Trojan T-105 flooded acid 6V batteries. Since we had two charge controllers we were able to run the battery banks independently with the inverter running off the Trojans and our 12V house system running off the gel cells. Since this initial configuration, I have taken to running both charge controllers to the Trojans since out 12V demand is very low (most of our 12v lights are LED and the refrigerator runs off the inverter). The 90W portable solar charger has a built-in charge controller which allows us to Connect it directly to our gell cell batteries to keep them charged. With this setup, weather permitting. we can operate all our electrical systems, residential refrigerator, charge our laptops and mobile devices as well as our oldest son’s keyboard.
The panels and charge controllers have held up great since our journey to Alaska. We are now looking forward to optimizing the system further so we can enjoy more ‘wild camping’ throughout the western United States. Future upgrades to the system will be to replace the two gell cell batteries with two more Trojan T-105’s so that we can run it as a single bank. Replace our 1000w inverter with a 3000w “whole house” model. Add 400w more PV panels to better accommodate my large screen iMac.
DIY Solar Installation Video
What Do I Win?
The winner gets one 90 watt portable solar charge kit.
Who is eligible?
Anyone 18 years of age or older within the 50 United States of America
How Can I Win?
Entering to win using the widget above:
Mandatory: ‘Like’ Newschool Nomads and Solarland USA on Facebook (yes, you must like both to win)
Want a better chance at winning? Expand your interaction and receive additional entries
- Leave a comment below and tell us how you’ll use your new portable solar charger (counts as 2 entries)
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So that’s 6 chances you have to win, plus an extra credit by leaving a comment below!
This contest runs from Wednesday 11/05/2014 to Wednesday 11/12/2014 at 11:59 pm EST (Eastern Standard Time). The winner will be announced on 11/13/2014 via private email, and shared with our friends on Newschool Nomads’ Facebook page.
The Fine (legal) Print:
You must be a human age 18 or older
You must be a Facebook fan of Newschool Nomads and Solarland USA to win.
Mandatory entry must be done first before additional entries are accepted.
The Winner will be contacted through Facebook and has 72 hours to respond before another applicant is selected.
You must enter the giveaway using the widget above (if you simply like NSN, SLUSA, etc on facebook you will NOT be entered)
Giveaway is NOT endorsed by Facebook or Twitter
All entries are verified.
Disclaimer: The products reviewed in this post were provided to us free of charge by Solarland USA. No other form of compensation was offered or accepted. All expressed opinions are our own.