Tuesday, August 26, 2014

2013 CarMate 100% Solar Air Conditioned RV / Trailer & Why Experts Say its Impossible

I just love this cartoon, it comes from Robert in Australia 
I'm borrowing it for my example of why its actually 100% impossible to install enough 
solar to power an RV - Air Condition system.
Robert is actually a good guy and you can find his page here

Solar AC is impossible

           The simple fact is that while completing this project I have found at least 10,005 expert reasons in the field of RV's , Solar Experts and Solar RV experts all with no less then 30 years each in experience telling me and others like me that it is simply 100% impossible to install enough solar onto a trailer or an RV to operate an Air Condition system at best maybe for 30 minutes to an hour and what good would that do ? You may look at my project and say, well its no big deal running an ac inside a trailer - after all I have done it and proven that its now possible. First i'm gonna tell you why all the 10,005 experts are right - its impossible to install enough solar on a RV or trailer to provide air conditioning. Then i'm gonna tell you how I broke the mold and how its really not only possible, but I think its quite easy.

1.) The first and most stubborn problem the experts have is that its already frozen into their mind that it cannot be done, its impossible. Example: I sent my project to the self proclaimed "GOD of all RV -SOLAR GODS" - this solar god spends quite a large amount of effort bad mouthing other RV solar dealers on how they improperly install solar systems which he has to rebuilt from scratch. There is only one way to install a solar system & that is SOLAR - GOD's way or its the highway. His response to me was that my system will not work & he would never install such a system for a customer BECAUSE my Lithium batteries do not have a proven 10+ year track record and he is not willing to risk his or his customers money - WTF does this circular reasoning have to do with reality - this is typical thinking of how people are stuck in their mind that its impossible to have solar air conditioning on an RV or Trailer. So just throw up your arms and give up right now, who wants to prove the experts wrong.

2.) The second reason is that RV air condition systems  & lets be honest they are not the most energy efficient appliances in the world. First they sit out in the bright & hot sun on the RV roof  and that can't be good. I have measured my trailer roof temp at easy 150 degrees and I would not want to be that working AC under those conditions. The RV roof ac units come in between 9,000 to 15,000 Btu and the larger ones suck 1,500+ watts, requiring about 4,500+ watts to even start - giving you about the same MPG as a 454 Chevy with quad 4 barrel carbs - somewhere under 6 -8 MPG. This is pretty sad for a time that we are using house AC systems that have a SEER 27 or in the most simple terms getting 27 MPG.. its not quite correct but its an easy example to follow.

3.) The third major reason is really batteries. Since 1850 they have been making the same old tried and true flooded batteries. Today there is a small twist with AGM etc and or no maintenance batteries but this is really still dressing the wolf in new sheep's clothing. 98% of all batteries world wide that are sold fall into this area, they are rated at 20 hour usage = X amount of AH. Example being L16 Batteries are rated at 400 AH if the power is drawn out at a steady 20 hour rate. But now they tell you don't use more then 50 -80% or you will kill the battery. So here we go with a real 320 AH battery. If you take out the power over maybe one hour you might get as little as maybe 120 AH. The math is simple a set of L16  400 AH batteries weight is 260 Lbs giving you maybe 120 AH x 12 volts = 1,440 watts about 1 hours worth of AC usage if your lucky. Here comes the real fun math, in order to recharge your L16 - you will need to add about 4,000+ watts until they are fully charged. No my math does not suck, its actually much worse then that because every time your energy goes from one piece of equipment to another - you loose 5-20% in heat and the conversion process, when the energy moves from the solar panels to the charge controller into the batteries then back to the inverter and finally to your AC system, its almost like the government having taxed away 70% of your power in the conversion process. This is the real reason why its impossible to have solar AC on your RV you would need about 4,000 watts in panels to keep your AC running.

         Here is my real life example. I had 1000 watts in panels laying flat on my roof - generating about 660 solar watts on my charge controller at high noon going into my L16 batteries. Now on the out going side I had a small window ac using 450 watts, so that means I have an EXTRA 210 watts to charge my batteries, everything cool right ? WRONG. DEAD WRONG !! Lets check my math 400 AH Battery usable at 80% is 320 AH x 12 volts = 3,840 watts / by 450 watts ac usage = 8 hours run time for my AC now thats without ANY SOLAR !! so add in 660 watts in solar and I should be able to really kick some solar BUTT !! and have that sucker running on TURBO - RIGHT ? WRONG AGAIN !! To my shock here is what actually happened. I started the ac and it was running fine, the inverter stated I was using around 40 amps GREAT 40 amps x 12 = 480 watts PERFECT ! and to boot there was 660 watts coming in on the solar side...... YAHOO ! solar ac was now BORN in my little silicon valley garage - was I gonna become the next Apple ? I was soooooo HAPPY !! Overjoyed with my success, BUT wait disaster was about to strike... the ac started to sound a little strange - what was wrong ? I looked at the inverter it was now reading 55 amps and climbing WHAT ? thats impossible !! INSANE !! My charge controller was telling me 660 solar watts are coming in....I kept watching and listening to the ac while at the same time it was getting hotter inside - even with the cold air blowing from the ac...I was flipping out ....the inverter meter had climbed up to 85 amps being drawn by the ac after running about 60 minutes, the ac really sounded sick - i shut it all down FAILURE ! where did all the solar go ? what went wrong ? a thousand questions and 36 months work - all gone in that split second.....the experts were proven right running solar ac was impossible.

4.) The fourth major reason is RV insulation, as we all know cars when sitting in the sun get very hot - very fast 130 to 150 deg F easy. Well thats pretty much the same problem with RV's - most models do not have a large amount of insulation, usually only about 1-2" of fiberglass or something like that. The models with metal or steel frames tend to get hotter even faster then models made from wood which transmits the heat much slower. " Ever wondered why most trailer are made of wood?"  From my experiments I have found that RV's pretty much track the exterior temperature very closely - even when parked in the full shade. If they are parked in the full sun or partial sun over 70 deg then they will receive additional heat load - just like a car. With a well insulated house the exterior temp may be 50 at night and 100 during the day, however the interior house temp will normally go from 65 to 80F during that time. With a typical RV the temp will go from 50 to 100+ exactly like the exterior temperature. Most all RV's have a min 13,000 Btu AC cooling system for lets say a 7 x 18' trailer or RV. A house in comparison that has a 10,000 Btu window ac which does about 400 sq ft, therefore a 13,000 Btu ac will do a min 520 sq ft house, however the your RV trailer is only 126 sq ft. So on a sq ft basis an RV uses 400% more heating and cooling vs your average house. 

5.) The fifth major problem is COST..... everybody is screaming cost, it will cost too WAY TOO MUCH !! I don't really see this cost problem because there are people out there buying a $150,000 Air Stream MB van with not one watt of solar... so how can cost be a problem. I see people paying $8,000 for a dealer installed RV solar system that does almost nothing. People paying $50,000 for a home solar system when the cost of power is 15 cents a KW from the utility vs costing about $1.00 per KW for mobile power on the road. People are paying $1 million for a bus with a $20,000 generator and $40,000 in graphics on the side of the Bus.....People are paying $35 to $100 per night to go RV camping with 50 AMP hook ups, I just don't see how cost argument can be a problem ? $1,000 per month in rent inside an RV park can add up real fast when it comes to paying for a little solar system. What the hell if you get tired of having to much solar on your RV, you can always go put it on your house or maybe take it with you to the old folks home.

          So here we have the 10,005 reasons why it is all but impossible to install solar AC to heat or cool an RV or Trailer, under the above conditions it is clearly impossible. BUT why do all experts approach the problem from this angle ? Come on this 2014 its been since 13 September 1959 when Soviet Union's Luna 2 mission landed on the moon, we are in the internet age 55 years latter, we have maybe 1,000,000+ houses using solar for their AC - what can be so hard that it cannot be done for one single RV or trailer, this was the question that really bugged me. Maybe approaching the problem from a whole different angle will make it possible.

       This is how I approached the problem. When folks add solar onto their house - they call the solar guy, he looks at their $500 per month bill and with a big smile on his face he says YES - WE CAN HELP YOU ! with a $50,000 solar system to get your bill down 70%. Well that is 1,000% WRONG. First you should look at every possible way to make your house more energy efficient, more insulation, better windows, efficient appliances etc - all of these measures are more permanent and more cost effective, require less maintenance than adding solar to your energy hog of a house. My number one rule is "make your house as energy efficient as possible" once your house is a mean and lean energy efficient machine, then lets look at solar. I think with my approach you can save 30% or more on your solar installation & get your utility bill down to ZERO !

       Not knowing anything about trailers or RV's I went to a form to see how the people there were doing their builds & followed their advice "BECAUSE" the all raved at how fantastic their 1" insulated trailers were. How they could camp at -20 deg F. How they could cool them with a 5,000 Btu window AC.  When I was done - I realized that this was total 100% bunk.... It was the blind leading the blind and my metal ribbed trailer into which I had installed double the recommended insulation was hot as hell in the sun & freezing cold with dripping condensation from the ceiling when it was below 40 F outside. There was ZERO chance that this was ever going to become a Solar AC trailer.... So scratch trailer # 1 and back to the drawing board with a complete new plan. Searching the internet day and night of every trailer manufacturer i soon discovered, one egg was exactly like the next egg - almost like they copied each other with only the logo being different. Somewhere along the line I ran across a CarMate trailer and discovered that they were the only ones to build their trailer with a wood frame. I also knew from experience with installing insulation during Jimmy Carters time that wood transfers the heat & cold much slower then metal. This is how CarMate trailer became base for version # 2. This time around I now actually knew and had looked and every single component manufacturer that produced parts which go into trailers, I was able to actually pick the best trailer parts because I wanted the trailer to last a min of 100,000 miles and or 10 years while driving around the country.

       Sometime around April - May 2013  began the 6800 mile round trip to leeper PA to get the current version. This time around just to be on the safe side I installed the best possible insulation Dow Blue board. The min is 2-3" to the floor, walls, doors - the roof has a R-19 Denim insulation as I knew from experience the roof can reach 150-180 deg F  and since windows cause large amounts of energy loss or heat gain - no windows were included in this version. Ventilation would be provided my mechanical fans that can be opened and closed adding or removing exterior air for ventilation. This time the first problem was to attack the insulation and I also knew that if I got things right the entire trailer could be cooled with less then 5,000 Btu when parked in the full sun at 100 deg F - something that is all but impossible for a RV, trailer or Bus even with duel 13,000 Btu ac units running on the roof. One thing many people don't think about is that its actually much easier to keep a car or RV cooled while driving, then when parked - because the massive air flow reduces the exterior temp / heat flow from the vehicle. Rv's always head for the shade - like elephants head for water.

      Once the interior was completed - now came the fun part of installing the solar to seeing if my theory was correct and if AC can actually be run with solar panels. If you try this yourself, you will soon find the same 10,000 experts who will tell you it can't be done and they don't really want to help a kook like you, so I was on my own - no book, no manual, no experts, no internet & no help !! This is how I ended up with 2,000 watts because surely having that much available for 4-5 hours per day would supply the needed power requirement.

more to come on this topic, stay tuned.

Its funny - right when you need some heat you never get it.
On a short side note I have been watching my AC power usage carefully with a watt meter and I'm averaging around 200 -225 watts per hour running the AC when the temp is 85 outside & I'm parked in the full sun cooling to around 74 deg inside. I did a test without me being inside, with the TV, fan & DVR off etc....the AC power use came to 125 - 150 watts. Over 5 hours thats only 750 total watts - this can be supplied by a single 250 watt panel - well beyond my expectations.

Monday, August 18, 2014

100% RV Solar Mobile AC on the road - freezing at 59 degree

         Well folks can you really handle this 59 degrees freezing AC inside your RV - keep on dreaming, things only get this good with OverTheTopCargoTrailer. To boot it's all 100% FREE SOLAR AC - Heating & cooling. The air coming out of the unit is around 55 deg F - pretty cold. The outside unit will sit inside and quietly vent the heat out through the trailer side - fresh air or cool air will be sucked in from under the trailer or from the other side. The system will be mostly hidden & silent !!! The bottom 2 pictures are some folks who wanna show off their systems - but here we like things hidden. One is installed on the rear truck camper hitch & one on the front of an air Stream. Maybe this is where my crazy ideas come from.

Now cooled with 100% Solar Air Conditioning

A reader question : why did I use a certain type of mini split AC ?

     There are 3 basic types of mini splits, the basic ac cooling version only - runs full power on or off only, example 9,000 Btu on or Zero Btu when off. Type 2 has a heat pump - this allows the flow to be reversed and it now cools and heats both, basically it works between 32 deg up to 100 deg F. Type 3 is the INVERTER - this allows the compressor to run variable speed saving even more power. Example 9,000 Btu unit runs as low as 3,000 to 9,000 Btu range - depending on what it needs to maintain the temperature. LAST there is SEER rating, min required by law is 13 - the max of the most efficient units is SEER 27. I look at this number like MPG sort of. One more thing is low ambient operation - the best units heat down to minus -10F and will cool up to +131F ,  some also run on 120 volts and some on 240 volts, this gives you quite a selection of options - there are actually a few more, but lets keep it simple. ACTUALLY - the big secrete is to be honest, the mini split heats even better then it cools - which is funny as most folks see these as AC only.

Here it is 59 degrees F inside the trailer

The AC is installed above my bed, exactly where i want it
I'm getting great test data, much better then expected

Below is the temp install location, i'm testing that the AC works fine
before cutting large holes into the trailer sides
and or the trailer floor

Here is a fella who like to show off his AC

Mini split installed on a Air Stream trailer, 
worth $1,000 to you and $50 at the scrap yard to copper thief
"No Thanks" to the exterior install for me

This is install inside a bus bay with rear vents

Inside the bus bay, about like my set up

I left Dave a message to see how his unit is holding up
hopefully I will hear from him

       Since the AC will be enclosed and sucking air from the trailer sides and floor I thought it would be best to install additional mechanical ventilation - it just can't hurt as far as I'm concerned. I'm using a 8 amp auto radiator reversible fan rated to move about 900 CFM and it's very quiet. The fan is also installed with 2 fuses, one switch and is on a 10 amp pwm variable speed controller. Since the pwm controller gets quite hot it's installed below a fan to keep it nice and cool. The bottom picture is the exterior 12" cover - I may upgrade this to a 12 x 16" in the future. So far everything works great and is super quiet. I just need some quiet interior fans to help move the air around the trailer a little.

Closer to final location

8 amp auto radiator reversible fan rated to move about 900 CFM
I have now put this fan on a thermostat where it comes on at 92 F
vs running 5 hours straight when the AC is on.

Now the fan runs 75% less , only when needed

Outside fan view

10 amp pwm variable speed controller
being cooled by cabinet fan

Like magic - its all hidden & silent inside

Now cooled with 100% Solar Air Conditioning 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Outback Mate3 and the Outback hub 4

       After a minor panic with the Mate3 appearing to be dead out of the box - Outback tech support Chris had me try a number of different cables. I tried 2 cables both worked with the hub - but not with the Mate3 , but it turns out trying a few more cat5 cables solved the problem. My only little Biach with this controller is that it's MEGA LARGE - and I would be happy if it was 75% smaller. However at $450 some bucks it does allow you to tweak just about anything under the sun. Below you can see the size of the Magnum controller - which size works just fine. Now I just need to read a 100 page guide book which details all the 1,000's of tweaks possible. Considering the size of this system - I wanna suck every watt possible. Stayed tuned for more programing details.

Above the small Magnum controller, the mate3 and the Hub

My first 5,000 solar watt daily record output

       This is really surprising and shocking to me, my panels are laying flat on the trailer roof 1,000 watts In panels - reading 4,900 watt or 04.9kwh -output top right side. I'm calling it 5,000 watts because I hade some shading and it took me about 1 hour to trim some tree branches loosing somewhere between 200-300 watts. It's really amazing to get 5 x panel output for flat laying panels in SF Bay area. Generally I was getting about 3 x panel wattage or less in output. Before talking it easy i was getting 1,800 to 2,600 watts in output. This just goes to show what a perfect setup can really produce. Below is the picture from the CC - otherwise to be honest I would need to call myself a liar. Stay tuned for more results as I discover them myself.

These past few days I have pretty much been getting 4.5 to 5 kw from my 1,000 watts in panels. I'm very pleased with the results so far, way beyond my expectations.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Lithium batteries hidden inside cabinet - now fully operational

         Here we go the 16kw / 16,000 watt mega battery system installed inside a standard 24" kitchen cabinet. There are even a few inches of room to spare. The cabinet floor was reinforced and should hold the weight without any problems. The entire system sits directly over the duel dexter axel to provide the smoothest possible ride. There is a 3" vent fan present - however it will most likely never be needed as these batteries don't produce hydrogen gas like the flooded units do. The batteries came inside a metal frame for easy lifting with a crane or forklift, I'm just using 2 strong 400 lbs straps to hold everything together just in case. 

        The lithium batteries have a different charging profile vs flooded batteries. Today I was able to add 4,000 watts solar power after having disconnected the solar for a few days. This part is really fun because none of the charge controllers or standard chargers are made for Lithium batteries - so that will remain the top secret - you may have buy my book to get an easy answer - I don't wanna give away the trade secret's for free, nobody made it that easy for me. I actually did offer to help a few people - but they weren't really that interested with my offer of help them set up their system - so I guess they like doing it their own way I would assume.

        It's sort of funny when you look at the trailer it looks so simple - everything is hidden inside all the cabinets, it's sort of like the Emperor dressed in Shepard's clothing. I guess it might be funny to cram all this stuff into a 1950's tin can vintage trailer one day. 

My solar charging is coming along pretty well, after much tweaking I am finding the setting that work quite well. None of this is in the CC books or comes with the batteries - so its mostly trail and error which involves lots of sitting around and watching what happens a few adjustments at a time. Yesterday I was able to determine that you get much more juice from your panels using Lithium batteries vs flooded batteries. Here is my post from another location, just for people who love flooded batteries.

Another reason flooded batteries SUK :x :x :x 

                                Since I just switched - I can now tell you 
if another person tells me how great their T105 
Golf Cart batteries are 

I will VOMIT ON YOU :lol: :lol: :lol: 

My old L16 Flooded 400 AH Surrette vs Lithium Max 

Flooded battery charge from solar panels 670 watts 

Lithium battery charge from solar panels 850 watts 

- Flooded 670 vs 850 Lithium

Moral of the story  - your loosing 10-20% of your max possible solar charge output due to having junk batteries, another big secret no solar guy will ever tell you. 

Stay tuned for more.

        Transfer Efficiency of energy produced from renewable energy sources to storage batteries can significantly influence cost of the overall system.  Poor transfer efficiencies of lead acid require 20% larger solar installations when compared to LYP lithium storage systems. Lead acid batteries due to their high internal resistance have a transfer efficiency of 72 - 76% compared to 96% transfer efficiency of the LYP battery. A 50W, Solar panel installation can produce 400 whr of energy during an 8 hour period,  but only 304 whr of this energy will be stored by lead acid batteries, meanwhile a 40 watt solar panel installation with LYP batteries would store the same amount of energy during an eight hour period.

:thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Do Dreams really come TRUE ?

Dreams really do come TRUE !!


                  Here is a picture of a very tearful goodbye

from my very best friend Ricky the Ebola Rat Master. 

7 Years and $1,400,000 bank fraud, 500+ visits from police and code enforcement, $13,000 unpaid electric bill, 1 arrest for city water thefts.
100,000 drug deals right in a school zone, ZERO arrests for that
2 years without any power, 2 years condemned house, turned a deplex into a 6 plex, 20 bums paying rent to live there, $50,000 in unpaid property taxes, 
$125,000 in code enforcement fines & 6 months free living after the bank foreclosure,
San Jose city has spent $250,000+ on services, fire , ambulance, free meals, police & code enforcement.
55 Count criminal inditement 2 years ago, the list goes on and on..... 

July 31st has become the new 4th of JULY for our street

:icedtea: :picklejuice: :designing: :relaxing: :new-bday: 
:P :tipsy: :beer: :shake hands: :awesome: