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  #1  
Old 08-26-2008
Brucemccoy Brucemccoy is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: San Lorenzo, CA
Posts: 11
Default '79 FC 33' ; Progress! (Solar panel is best!)

Hello Group!

I wish I could share how I really feel when things are going well. Those smily gizmos don't quite get it.

I think that number one on our "best improvements" list was the installation of a 100 watt solar panel. I have been concerned about the use of house batteries for engine starting. I don't quite get what that's about considering that I am use to the house/chassis battery configuration on RVs.

This old '79 FC 33' Wanderlodge has some interesting parisitic loads which can leave the engine starting/house batteries too weak to start the engine when the coach has been in storage. We have completed the installation of a 100 watt solar panel which we hope will solve this issue. The generator is a "down the road" project so that doesn't help for now.

Anyway, I'm hoping to be able to keep up with informing the group about what we have accomplished thus far. The Wanderlodge is a great RV and is worth putting time and a few bucks into! We hope to have it ready for its first outing, early next month!

I'm still learning how this discussion board works. I'll sign this...

Bruce.
Tom's '79 FC 33'
San Lorenzo/Hayward, CA
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  #2  
Old 08-26-2008
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gcyeaw gcyeaw is offline
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Bruce,
Install a master battery cut off switch. It will cut off those phantom loads and there is no real need for power when in storage anyway. You could rout your charger to the battery side of the switch to keep the batteries topped off.
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  #3  
Old 08-26-2008
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iamflagman iamflagman is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Hopkins
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gcyeaw View Post
Bruce,
Install a master battery cut off switch. It will cut off those phantom loads and there is no real need for power when in storage anyway. You could rout your charger to the battery side of the switch to keep the batteries topped off.
Bruce,

Here is an example of what Gardner is talking about, this is the way that I installed the battery cutoff switches for both the main engine battery and my house battery bank.

http://www.pbase.com/iamflagman/image/28954670

You may want to VISIT THE FINN'S INN EXPRESS REMODELING ADVENTURE AND TECH. TIPS it is my photo web site, where there are a lot of tips that you could use on the FC that you are working on.
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FORUM MODERATOR-ADMINISTRATOR
1982 FC35RB
I'm NO EXPERT, but I did stay in the FINN'S INN EXPRESS last night
HOPKINS, SOUTH CAROLINA
VISIT THE FINN'S INN EXPRESS REMODELING ADVENTURE AND TECH. TIPS
I'M SO SLOW ON THE HILLS,THAT I GET TO SMELL THE FLOWERS AS I GO BY.....AND WATCH THEM GROW TOO!! NOT SO MUCH ANYMORE
Visit the WILD HARE RACING website
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  #4  
Old 08-27-2008
fxdwg fxdwg is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: okc
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John,
Have you found the cut off switch to be a maintenance item? I was using a friends' SOB a while back that had the removable key type cut off switch. It did give problems and was several years old. What about the type you're using?
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  #5  
Old 08-27-2008
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iamflagman iamflagman is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Hopkins
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fxdwg View Post
John,
Have you found the cut off switch to be a maintenance item? I was using a friends' SOB a while back that had the removable key type cut off switch. It did give problems and was several years old. What about the type you're using?
John,

The switches have been in there for over four years with no problems so far. PERCO also makes a battery cutoff switch that is very good http://www.westmarine.com/webapp/wcs...9&classNum=297 you can find them at West Marine www.westmarine.com

The switch that I use came from a local RV supply it is very similar to this one http://www.awdirect.com/battery-cut-...ry-protection/ that can be purchased from www.awdirect.com
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JOHN FINN
FORUM MODERATOR-ADMINISTRATOR
1982 FC35RB
I'm NO EXPERT, but I did stay in the FINN'S INN EXPRESS last night
HOPKINS, SOUTH CAROLINA
VISIT THE FINN'S INN EXPRESS REMODELING ADVENTURE AND TECH. TIPS
I'M SO SLOW ON THE HILLS,THAT I GET TO SMELL THE FLOWERS AS I GO BY.....AND WATCH THEM GROW TOO!! NOT SO MUCH ANYMORE
Visit the WILD HARE RACING website
REMEMBER 9/11
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  #6  
Old 08-28-2008
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lucaswillemse lucaswillemse is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Paramount
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I installed a 100 watt panel on our coach because it was stored in a yard where power was not available. This completely cured the battery running down problem. Even though the coach is now stored where it is plugged in I keep the battery charger off, the solar panel takes care of the batteries. One thing to make sure of is the addition of a good regulator, a 100 watt panel can overcharge the batteries so a regulator is required. If you add a battery disconnect switch make sure it has the amperage rating needed, at least 300 amps continuous and 500/600 intermittent if the engine starter load is to go through the switch.

Last edited by lucaswillemse; 08-28-2008 at 12:40 PM.
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  #7  
Old 09-04-2008
Brucemccoy Brucemccoy is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: San Lorenzo, CA
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Group,

We went with a Sunsei 6000 panel. This is rated at 6 amps, 16.5 VDC and 100 watts. There are other models available. A 4 amp and an 8 amp. We went with this one because it fits well on the roof of the Wanderlodge and is expandable should more power be required. We have also installed an appropriately sized charge controller between the solar panel and the battery bank.

A battery cutoff switch would be helpful but even with zero load, wet cell deep cycle batteries can, and do, self-discharge. And when we need some lights or run the roof fans or a radio, the starting current required is no longer there.

The solar panel options run from battery maintainers, which will allow for a certain amount of self-dicharge, to what we have, which provides "recharging" capability. We want to be able to use some electricity at night and have the batteries getting ready for the next night while we are running around during the day. The selection of an appropriate solar panel system requires "sizing" the system. How does one use the RV? How much 12 Volt power is required from the batteries? In Tom's 'lodge, we're converting many of the sidewall lights to LED. This will reduce some of amperage requirements. The 12 volt LP furnace fans draw a lot of current. With a typical deep cycle battery, 50% discharged is pretty much dead. 10.5 VDC is useless. We went with solar because the generator seems to be DOA and if we're going to spend money somewhere, let's go solar first. We'll deal with the generator later.

So that's what we have going for now. I have the roof fans going right now because it's hot here. Before the panel installation, the batteries would soon be unable to crank the engine. With the panel installed, the sun is replacing the energy used by the fans. I'm a huge fan of solar!
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For Tom's '79 FC33'
3208 CAT Turbo Diesel
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