Fridge Or Freezer Capabilities
Whether you need your 12V fridge for keeping your beer cold or for freezing your ice cream, having the option to do both can be very beneficial to many RVers. Thats why knowing the fridge and freezer capabilities of any portable fridge is key.
Some portable fridges only have one large compartment, meaning you have to choose between using it as a fridge or as a freezer- you cant have both at once. This can be frustrating for many RVers, though it may save you some funds in the long run.
However, there are portable fridges with two compartments so you can have frozen french fries for deep frying and fresh burgers for grilling on some of the best portable RV grills available on the market today.
It all depends on what you plan on using your portable fridge for! Most RVers will choose a fridge with both options, as it can feel difficult to pick between one or the other. You shouldnt feel as though you have to limit your food options in that way.
No matter what, keep the size of your fridge in mind: your freezer compartment may be much smaller than the one you have at home. The last thing you want is to end up with ice cream that cant fit !
Experiment To Determine How Much Power You Need
The best way to figure out what your needs are is to just go do some dry camping for a few days while measuring your power usage. This is an essential first step to figuring out how much power you need while out camping.
To get an accurate indication of your state of charge, you will need a good battery monitoring system . Without one, youll simply be guessing and probably guessing wrong. Keep in mind that the battery voltage or level gauge that came with your RV with will NOT give you an accurate measure of your battery state-of-charge .
There are several good quality RV and marine battery monitoring systems worth considering.
Heres what you do.
Try to get through a good 24 to 48 hours before you need to recharge. Everybodys needs are different, but having enough battery capacity for at least two days is a good benchmark to start with.
Pro: You Can Get Fridge And Freezer Capabilities
You can get an RV fridge for solar power with freezer options as well- you wont be stuck with only fresh food options if you dont want to! These technological marvels can come equipped with a small freezer section too, in case you need ice or more.
Having the option of both a freezer and fridge makes your cooking possibilities limitless. You can make just about anything- just make sure youve packed the propane and that your propane regulator is up to date !
Best Rv Fridges With Solar Power
November 3, 2021 by Charlotte Phillips
All of our reviews are based on exhaustive research, industry experience and whenever possible, hands-on testing. When you make a purchase using one of our chosen links well a small percentage of the proceeds. This supports the site and keeps Jeffsetter running. You can read more here.
Have you been searching for an RV fridge that runs off solar power? Boondocking, also known as dispersed camping, is an extremely popular form of RVing, and it is only natural to want to procure the best of the best off-grid accessories!
Solar powered fridges can be extremely useful, whether youre camping in your RV for some time or simply taking the boat out and you also want to bring along some brews. These fridges are designed to run on battery or solar power, making them extremely useful and a great way to balance out power in your RV.
But what else should you know about solar fridges, and how do you know what ones you should consider purchasing for your needs and upcoming camping excursions? Ive put together everything you need to know along with a list of my favorites.
If you just want to skip ahead and see what made the list you can check out my recommendations here:
Solar Install Safety Tips
- Always review any safety instructions included with your solar kit before beginning installation
- Avoid touching electrically active components, such as terminals, when the panel is exposed to light
- Don’t install your panels in inclement weather if installing outdoors
- Cover panels with a cloth or other material, such as the boxes the panels came in, to prevent them becoming charged during installation
- Don’t sit or step on your panels
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Using An Rv Alternator
An alternator is a generator that converts mechanical energy into alternating current. When running, the RVs engine spins the alternator and charges the battery, which powers the electrical appliances. However, the alternator isnt a reliable way of producing power since it quickly wears out with usage. Hence, it should be used only as a backup option.
* Please Review Before Starting The Course*
The video above is a complete overview of our current solar system which is NOT shown in the Solar Basics Series below. The solar course was filmed over several months while we still had our small Itasca class c back in 2018/2019. Our current solar system parts are listed in this article, they are also all available in one easy spot here:
On top of this free information we now offer solar consulting and installation services! All the information is easily found on our solar business website: -Thomas
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Basic Parts Of A Diy Camper Solar Setup
Building a DIY solar setup for a Camper Van, RV , Truck Camper, or Travel Trailer requires quite a few parts to work in harmony. This blog post will lay out all of the individual components at a 101 level so that, by the end of the post, youll have a good understanding on what the individual parts are, and a good direction to go to learn more about those pieces of your Camper Solar Setup. If you have any questions about any of this, there is a comment section at the bottom where we will answer any questions you may have.
Quick note before we get started. This is just one part of an overarching How to Install a DIY Camper Van Electrical System series. If youve just stumbled on this article directly without seeing that, there are likely some things weve already covered. If you want to check out that step by step guide, you can do that here:
Also, we have interactive solar wiring diagrams that are a complete, A to Z solution for teaching you exactly what parts go where, what size wires to use, fuse size recommendations, wire lug sizes, and all kind of other stuff to help save you time and frustration. You can check that out here:
Common Questions Regarding Solar And Inverter Systems In Rvs
- What type of panels to use? Flexible or Rigid
- How many solar panels do I need?
- What kind of batteries? AGM, Deep Cycle Flooded, Gel, Lithium
- What kind of solar controller? PWM or MPPT
- What kind of solar cells on the panels? Monocrystalline, Polycrystalline or CIGS
- How do I calculate a reliable power generation system?
- Running an air conditioner on a solar system and power inverter.
- Lithium battery bank charging on solar and alternator.
- How to calculate wattage on common electrical appliances?
- Any tips on reducing power usage?
- Can I run a CPAP off-grid while camping?
- Can I run a refrigerator on a solar system?
- My RV has a residential french door refrigerator, how can I power off-grid?
- My RV is prewired for solar, but I cannot find the cables.
- How to mount the panels to the roof?
- What kind of sealant is used for mounting RV solar panels?
- Should I buy an RV portable solar panel?
- Can I make my own portable solar kit?
- What kind of solar connectors are out there?
- Do I need a transfer switch with a solar system?
- Can I run my lights without an inverter?
- Can I use my onboard USB connectors when I am not plugged into shore power?
- I have a 30 amp charge controller and a 50 amp RV, what does this mean?
- Do I need to tie down or tie-wrap my cables on my roof?
- Can I mount a solar panel on my roof rack?
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The Best Free Camping In The Usa
We love camping across this amazing country. And, we really love it when its free. Heres our list of the 20 Best Free Campsites in the USA.
If you havent tried free camping before, also known as boondocking, take a look at our beginners guide to boondocking filled with everything you need to know to get started.
Become a FREE CAMPING INSIDER and join the 100,000 campers that love to score the best site! Simply enter your email below.
What Is A Shunt
The shunt is physically responsible for counting the amps that are either coming or going in either direction and reporting that to the battery monitor. If the Battery Monitor is the brain, the Shunt is the body. The Shunt sits in line of the negative battery terminal and the bus bar. ALL loads should be on side of the shunt thats away from the battery.
These are typically included with the battery monitor
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When Does Solar Power Make Sense
If you enjoy the amenities of power and love camping off grid, solar can be the perfect compliment to your RV lifestyle.
We love free camping especially when its super quiet! Solar power allows us to have ample energy while off grid without making a peep.
Our system includes 500ah of lithium batteries and 640watts of solar. We use a Victron 3000 inverter to supply 120v power. This system will allow us to operate off grid indefinitely . We can also get a few hours of AC use out of it daily.
What Kind Of Inverter Is Best For A Camper
Youll be looking for a Pure Sine Wave Inverter. This inverter does the best job of mimicking the power that is ACTUALLY coming through a standard plug you can find in any on-the-grid wall. Square Wave and Modified Sine Wave arent recommended, because, the power they Make isnt a clean power and can damage certain electronics and I cant recommend those because I dont like recommending products that have an inherent risk of damaging other equipment.
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Best Rv Solar Panels And Buyers Guide
Editorial note: This is an unbiased review: we have no financial ties with any of the companies mentioned, nor do we earn money from affiliate advertising. The content of this blog is based on research and information available at the time of writing.
Theres few things quite like going out into the Great Outdoors to escape it all. But nothing snaps you back to reality quite like having a noisy gas-generator going in the background.
To make your RV camping experience the quiet getaway youre looking for, you may want to consider getting RV solar panels. Not only do they keep the noise level down, they keep your pollution down, too!
However, finding the right RV solar panels can be tough. Thats why weve broken down what you should look for when buying them and reveal our top picks for the best RV solar panels on the market.
Is Solar Worth The Investment
If you are a new RV owner I recommend using your RV for a while before making any major upgrades. Over time you will figure out what your camping preferences and limitations are. Then youll be in a better position to decide whether an investment in solar is something youll benefit from.
Experienced RV owners will probably already know whether they need solar or not.
If you feel camping off-the-grid is something youre interested in, then I encourage you to try it out first before making a significant investment in solar or a generator. Here are some to get you started.
Consider starting out with a portable solar panel kit like one of these available on Amazon. There is no permanent installation required and they provide plenty of power to keep your batteries charged. Just store the portable panel when you dont need it.
You could even create your own portable solar battery charger. Building your own is a fun way to learn the basics of solar. Heres a simple project video showing .
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Keep Your Camping Trip Clean With Rv Solar Panels
As you can tell, there is a lot you need to consider before buying RV solar panels. With limited space and limited power output, it can be difficult to figure out exactly what you need from an RV solar system.
If youre a frequent boondocker, its worth it to at least pair your generator with a set of solar panels. The RV solar panel kits we listed are sure to be a great starting point for transitioning to solar energy.
But why stop at your RV? You can save on energy costs and help the environment by powering your whole home with a residential solar panel system. Our solar panel calculator can tell you how much solar can save you on your specific home!
How much can you save with solar this year?
Flat Or Curved Panels
There are a few differences between flat and curved solar panels aside from their shape. Curved is more aerodynamic for the road, but they cant be tilted to face the sunniest spots because they curve smoothly around your rigs body. Curved panels are lighter, while flat panels are more durable. Essentially, though, it comes down to budgetcurved panels are the more expensive option.
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How To Know How Many Solar Panels You Need For Your Rv
Knowing how much solar power you need for your camping comfort involves figuring out a couple of pieces of information. These two parts of the equation help you determine how many solar panels youll need for the suns power to deliver the electricity you want. The two parts of this equation are:
You must balance all of this for an optimal system. Solar panels without enough batteries to store all of the power they produce will waste your money and not provide the power you need.
Conversely, one solar panel and lots of batteries will not allow enough of the suns energy to be harnessed to fill those batteries for your use!
Figuring out this balancing act can take some work and requires an entire article of its own to explain, but we can distill down the basics here.
The Unfortunate Truth About Rv Solar Power
Like most things, RV solar power has pros and cons. RVers will need to carefully consider all the factors before buying expensive panels for the roof.
RV solar power is much quieter and more eco-friendly than using a generator. It is also a great option for boondockers looking to go camping off-the-grid. But there are still some unfortunate truths about RV solar power that many people are not aware of.
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What Is A Fuse
Fuses are what protect your wires in case of an over-current situation a.k.a. a malfunction. If there are too many amps flowing through too small of a wire , the wire can melt and possibly start a fire. The fuse is designed to blow or trip at a current lower than that point which will cut the flow of power, effectively shutting off the hazard.
How Do Rv Solar Panels Work
Lets imagine you have a couple of solar panels on the roof of your RV. If your RV is on the road or parked during the day, sunlight hits your solar panels, and cells on the panels absorb energy from the sun.
Within your solar panels cells, circuits take the energy absorbed by the suns cells and turn it into electrical current. The electrical current is fed through wires to a charge controller that controls the batterys current.
So the system looks like this:
This energy becomes DC electricity that charges your RVs house battery or batteries, essentially storing energy to be used to power devices and appliances in your RV or charge devices for your later use.
This DC power from the solar panels and batteries is typically 12 volts. This DC power runs lights, appliances, and electronics in the RV.
However, you can also take that 12-Volt DC, pass it through an inverter, and convert it to 120-Volt AC electricity to power 120-Volt devices such as a coffee pot.
There are 120-Volt outlets scattered throughout your RV, but those dont have power unless youre using a generator or your RV is plugged into shore power.
If you want to run a 120-Volt appliance when youre boondocking in the desert, you can harness the suns energy through solar panels > charge controller > batteries > inverter, and voila! = 120-Volt electricity at your command!
Theoretically, you can power anything with the suns energy provided you have enough solar panels, batteries, and conversion ability!
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