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Truck, Trailer, Solar. Pic finally

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Nwcid, Jul 20, 2012.

  1. Nwcid

    Nwcid Yakima and N of Spokane Well-Known Member

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    So I have been posing since the beginning of the year about Trailers, which lead to Solar power, then blew up my truck which lead to truck shopping.

    First thing I got was the trailer. It is a 2001 Haulmark with the "mid-heigth" wheels being it does not sit low like a car trailer but is not high like a snowmobile trailer. It is a 27' interior so 30' OAL. It was ordered with a 7' interior vs 6' 6" that is standard. There was already a built in propane heater and he left in the 2 tool boxes. Body and overall condition is a little on the rough side but I got it for a price where I could pay cash for it and was way cheeper then new.

    First thing I did was put new and bigger batteries in it. I went with a pair of 6v Trojan T-105's which seem to be the most recommended for this kind of application. I then added a Xentrax HF-1000/20 inverter/charger. It is a 1000w inverter (more then I plan on needing) and a 20A charger/maintainer. You can see it mounted on top of the aluminum tool box. The trailer has an outside plug in that runs to the inverter to charge/shoreline the inside plugs.

    Since this is a multi use trailer I mounted E-Track in it so I can configure it in many ways. About a foot up from the floor is the main run of track. This is used for anchor points when hauling the bike's, ATV's Scuba tanks, trash can, medical bags, ect. I also installed several vertical ones so things can be hooked up there too. Right now I mainly use those ones for the bed which you can see is set up now. It is a little higher off the floor then I would like, but it lets me keep the storage space under it. It is made out of 3, 2x6, 2 sheets 3/4" plywood, 2 sheets 1/2" plywood and 4, 2x4. The 3/4" makes up the bed deck which sits on the 2x6's which have the 2x4 sitting in 2x4 hangers under it. The 3rd 2x6 is up high to support the back wall made of the 1/2" plywood. The 1/2" plywood is held in place with 10 anchor/machine screw bolts. It can all be set up or taken down in less then 10 min. Once it is apart moving the 2x6's up to the top allows a deck for laying all the plywood on and gives me room to pull the ATV's in. Since we do a lot of diving too I built a rack in the back with 2x4's and clothes rod for hanging all our stuff. Normally the bed is not set up when we are diving but I just got back from a fire and we are camping out tonight before diving so it is all set up. Of course the whole bottom and partially up the sides is bed lined so water just runs out the back.

    I installed 2 Fantastic fans with roof covers. This things are as cool as everyone say, no pun intended. I added a 3 switch panel under the heater next to the door. First is the master light switch (each has a switch on it), next is the outdoor light, last is the master fan switch (each has its own controls). Nice thing is this panel also has a 12v plug on it. The outdoor light is a LED motion sensing light I installed.

    After reading till my head hurt I finally found the solar set up I thought would work for what I wanted. I used calculators and asked tons of questions. I was looking at a 235w flat panel and just happened to come across big flexible panels. After more reading it seems a lot of guys use these on Airstream trailers with good luck. Each panel is 128w @ 30v and is 18' long by 1' 6" wide. I was looking at a 2 panel kit with basic 15a MPPT controller. Being afraid this would not be enough power I "upgraded" to a 45a MPPT so I could add more panels if needed. Well even running both fans with a rated total draw of 6a at an almost continual basis since I put the system in and running lights a bit even using the inverter to charge my computer overnight the lowest voltage I have seen on my display is 12.3v. This thing puts out more then enough power for me. Yesterday I ran the shop vac in the trailer a bit and noticed the voltage showing on the inverter drop to 11.7v but looking at the vac it is listed at 1000w. As soon as I shut it off voltage was right back to 12.7v with the fans running and all 3 lights on along with the radio. This was in the afternoon with full sunlight. Here is where I got my stuff, http://www.soldonsun.com/index.html

    The panels are great and easy to install. Of course there is all the recommended prep work to do before putting them down. Well I was on a time crunch and after looking at the backing decided to just lay them down. They are basically backed with a roofing "tar" stuff that is so sticky I am not sure how they could fall off. It was cool when we put them on but the next day after sitting in the 100* sun you can see they really settled into shape. These things are not going anywhere.

    Last is the truck. It is a 2004 Chevy 3500 that had 102,000 on it when I bought it about a month ago. This is the body style of Chevy I really like, I think the new ones are ugly. This one came with a 6 speed in it and while an auto is always nice I like this for the trailer. On the HWY I was getting about 19 MPG. Since I hooked the trailer up and did about 1,300 miles (went to a fire in S OR) I am at about 12.5 MPG. Way better then the 6.5 MPG I got hauling it to Seattle a few months ago in the '92 Ford F250 with 460. With the Ford you really knew the trailer was behind you. With the Chevy this thing pulls so nice you hardly know it is behind you. It is like a good CCW you know it is there but you dont at the same time. I am really impressed with how smooth this truck is for a 1 ton. I figured it would beat me to death like the old 3/4 tons did. Altho from time to time if you hit bumps in the road just right it reminds you it really is a 1 ton.

    Please ignore the mess of wires in the trailer. I am about 3/4 the way done with the wiring. I got the solar stuff in the night I was headed to a fire so I had to call my brother to come help me put it in. We got it done in less then 2 hrs.

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    Chee-to, mjbskwim, PBinWA and 9 others like this.
  2. beavernation

    beavernation Canby Active Member

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    WOW!!!.....well thought out, well researched and well done!.....It is a bit too big, a bit too long and a bit to heavy for me (I have a teardrop) but it looks great for what you use it for. I applaud your vision of what YOU needed!!!.......
     
  3. SteelyDan

    SteelyDan Junction City Active Member

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    Sweet set up!
     
  4. parallax

    parallax eugene, or-gun Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Wow, good job!. i really like those flat fitting solar panels.
     
  5. Redcap

    Redcap Lewis County, WA Well-Known Member

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    Holy wiring abortion, Batman! Other than that, cool project.
     
    mjbskwim and (deleted member) like this.
  6. Nwcid

    Nwcid Yakima and N of Spokane Well-Known Member

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    Thanks guys. I spent a week in it last week on a fire in OR/NV. Beth and I just spent 2 nights in. Works great.

    I know about the wiring. Its all safe, but looks like hell right now. I hate to clean it all up till I am done hooking it all up.
     
    Redcap and (deleted member) like this.
  7. HandLoad

    HandLoad Gig Harbor Member

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    Good-Looking Set-Up, NWCID!
     
  8. GFO

    GFO WaCo, Oregon Active Member

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    Good job, gotta love that Etrack. One safety concern, I'd like to see you move your propane outside. Looks like it can be set up many different ways for a very versatile trailer, way cool in my book.
     
  9. DieselScout

    DieselScout S Clackamas County Well-Known Member

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    Not a mobile unit, but what my parents just got installed.

    They added Solar through a group buy organized by the county they live in. Upfront cost was 6K and they get a tax deduction of 1500 bucks for the next 4 years. Panels are there's for 20 years with a full warranty and after 20, they can purchase or extend the lease at a monthly charge. For the first 20 they pay nothing for them.

    The array, puts out 3.25 kW and on Wednesday when they turned it on for testing their meter ran backwards.
    2012-07-25_17-25-20_790.jpg

    And the junction box/inverter. It's top quality work, took less then two days for install.

    2012-07-25_17-24-55_351.jpg
     
  10. Nwcid

    Nwcid Yakima and N of Spokane Well-Known Member

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    Very nice. When I get into my next house where I am going to stay a long time I will be adding solar. Do they have a battery bank also or does the solar just offset the incoming power?
     
  11. DieselScout

    DieselScout S Clackamas County Well-Known Member

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    It off sets incoming power, but if they feed back more then they use it goes onto the bill as a credit. Then yearly, either in March or April, any existing credit on the bill gets donated to a local charity who helps keep power on for low income families. That portion of the agreement is part of the deal they got through the group buy. My parents don't have a problem with it, they're helpful folks and honestly do not believe they will end up with a credit.


    Edit: Just to clarify, my parents get the credit as long as they need it. In August if they had super sunny weather and gained a credit of 10kW/H, that credit would be applied (if needed) to their September or other months bills. It's only if they have left over after that they don't use, is it donated to the charity.
     
  12. jcw

    jcw Washington Member

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    I might have an issue with the propane tank inside, under all of that unsecured, unshielded wiring. Nice, workable set up though.
     
  13. Nwcid

    Nwcid Yakima and N of Spokane Well-Known Member

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    :dunno: So I should be using bare unshielded wire? Yes it needs to be bundled but it is far from unsecured. :dunno:
     
    Redcap and (deleted member) like this.
  14. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    Just found this one from your new thread. Hey some people like their wiring all bundled up,in conduit,at square angles,labeled.
    Could you remove that pic?:wow:
    Joke.
    But the propane really needs a vent or be in a box with outside venting. Maybe a bilge pump. It sets on the floor (heavier than air) where you won't smell it.
    Just build a structure around it and cut a vent out in the outside wall. Mount it with a few clips,not magazines.Like a jeep hood clip?

    Looks like a pretty functional trailer to me.:thumbup:
     
  15. Nwcid

    Nwcid Yakima and N of Spokane Well-Known Member

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    I will look into venting it when I "rebuild" it this winter. I have since added another pair of batteries since a few days of no sun put a hurt on the first pair.