Yes, Precision RV has officially completed what we believe to be our largest RV Solar Power system to date. Nearly 2000 watts of solar on the roof, an 800 amp hour lithium ion battery plant, 3000 watt Hybrid Inverter all in a 42 foot Country Coach Class A Motorhome. It was quite the job, and we’re extremely proud of the work we did on this large project. There was a lot more to it than just throwing a few panels on the roof and a few batteries in the coach.
Solar power needs
From the beginning this project for Eric and Kristy required some planning. The coach they recently purchased was used, and the previous owners had already made a few modifications to the coach. For one, due to lights, emergency lights, and a few other changes to the power system the coach’s “parasitic draw” was at 7 amps per hour. For many RV owners your jaws might have just dropped on that one, but it’s true. That means not turning on any appliances, TV’s, etc., the coach is consuming 7 amps per hour without any major devices on. That is around 160 AH a day before the inverter is turned on and powering all the outlets. With that in mind, we knew that planning bigger on this motorhome was necessary.
Eric and Kristy worked with Precision RV to determine their actual power needs and what they wanted out of their RV Solar Power plant. They’d spent a lot of time reading the forums, following along with Wheeling It, and several other online resources as well. They also realized pretty quickly that this wasn’t a DIY job for them. They knew they wanted the system installed right without any experimentation. So they got in touch with Precision RV.
Nearly 2000 Watts of power on the roof
While we didn’t quite hit the 2000 mark, we were extremely close. In total, 1920 watts of solar power was installed on the roof top of this Country Coach Motorhome. Eric and Kristy wanted to be as self contained as they possibly could with their RV. And in order to do that, with all of the appliances, running the AC or heat pump, and devices they have along in the coach we needed to plan for a large power system for them. So we started by putting as much power on the roof as we could reasonably fit. 12 panels in total.
800 Amp Hour Lithium Battery Plant
With such a large motorhome, and the power needs it had, the owners decided on an 800 amp hour lithium ion battery plant. We’ve been doing a lot of lithium jobs over the past few years, and we understand the special needs when it comes to these batteries. With the help of the owners we picked the best location for the battery plant and Hybrid inverter and got to work.
In the case of this installation, we built a special compartment in the bedroom closet of this coach. Vents for keeping the temperatures just right for not only the batteries, but the charge controllers as well, access to the batteries and inverter, and a few other special items.
One of the major benefits of lithium is the fact you can drain the batteries down below (use more Amp Hours) what you can do with flooded or Agm batteries. Eric and Kristy have 640 usable amp hours of battery storage from their 800 amp hour system. If we used AGM batteries they would only have 400 amp hours available, so that’s a substantial difference, and one of many of the major selling points of the lithium batteries. Besides all the weight they saved. about 700 pounds.
The lithiums are also lighter than your standard flooded, Agm batteries, smaller, and they weigh a lot less as well. With all of that in mind, Precision RV was able to use a small amount of space inside the Country Coach Motorhome to build the battery plant and power system. Taking a look at the images we know you’ll agree, we’ve fit a lot in a small space!
As always, all of the items we added for this installation were documented for the owners, and labeled as well. It’s important that when we complete a job we not only document what we did, but we leave labels and instructions for our customers. And with a job this large, there were a lot of labels!
All of the extras
Solar power systems for RVs are more than just the solar panels and the batteries. From the image above you can see the charge controllers, power shunts, and cut offs. Beyond those items, we also installed a battery management system (computer to run the lithium batteries), Solar charge controller, monitors, Sub panels, Hybrid Inverter, and had to work around some unique power issues within the Country Coach. We also added several external Wi-Fi antennas, Fire protection system for the Lp fridge, and a Surge and Energy management system for Eric and Kristy.
This project went well beyond the final solar installation. We spent a good bit of time working out what Eric and Kristy were trying to achieve. A good deal of planning and conversations back and forth took place before we ever sat down in person to get the project started. As with all of our projects, there’s always going to be some level of customization. Every owner is different, their power needs are different, and their coaches are different.
With each installation being “unique” we never seem to offer “cookie cutter” solutions. Precision RV is our name for a reason. We like to be precise about our installations, and that requires some time invested with each customer before we even start their project. Assess their needs, investigate what they can realistically do, and then propose a system based on our years of RV solar knowledge.
From Eric & Kristy’s Perspective
We always like feedback from our customers. And fortunately we had our web developer stop in to chat with them about their solar power solution and why they chose to work with Precision RV.
“We’ve been doing research on coaches and solar for years. Solar is something that really grabbed me a few years back. Just to have the freedom to get off the grid and be able to experience boondocking. Finding out about boondocking and learning that there’s a lot of free camping available…. Who doesn’t want that freedom?
We did a lot of research on solar and at first it started getting a little confusing…..In a nutshell, you can go on all of these websites with solar information, do it yourself information, examples of other people’s installations. It sounded great, but there’s more to everybody’s systems than I was reading about. Some people are in travel trailers, some are in a 5th wheel, we’re in a 42 foot Country Coach. In our case, it’s a complicated system and we wanted someone to help sort through it. We needed to talk to someone with experience.
After a while when you start following these blogs you really start to trust the people and their experience. Following Paul and Nina’s installation I learned from their experience, and rather than try to reinvent the wheel I knew we wanted something like what they were doing with Marvelous Marvin.”