Solar Power

Solar power is our main source of electricity and we’ve learned way more about it over the years than we ever wanted to! From our current sailboat and past RV Solar Setups to explanations on what it is and how it works, we try to keep things as simple as possible with these complex systems. Click on any of the posts below for more information on solar, inverters, chargers and panels.

Want to say thanks for all the info?

120 Comments

  • Dusty

    May 31, 2018 Reply

    Hi Guys

    I was wondering if I could please use your photo of the cat with solar panels for my site - solar panel related.
    Hope to hear from you.

    Best

    • Curious Minion

      June 4, 2018 Reply

      Hi Dusty. Curious Minion here. The Wynns do not allow copying and pasting of their content. If you would like to link to the photo on their site, that's fine.

  • rick mccollum

    February 11, 2018 Reply

    when using the portable 120 watt system.......which has its own charge controller......do you just set it up and plug it in...? my concern would be the charge controller for the hard wired system on the roof......you would have 2 different charge controllers hooked to the same battery bank......is this not a problem...?

    • Curious Minion

      February 11, 2018 Reply

      Good catch! The best way is to bypass the controller on the portable. It'll work without doing that but charges more efficiently if you bypass.

  • mansha brothers

    February 6, 2017 Reply

    no doubt Solar energy is the future. Wynns are doing very well when it's come to the solar installation. keep it up.

  • Joseph Hatfield

    January 27, 2017 Reply

    how much would it cost to have the whole solar set up you have but with 4 flex solar panels for an rv thats maybe a little over half the size of yours

  • edmund samph

    December 10, 2016 Reply

    your video shows 6 solar panels but your listing of parts info to buy shows option 1) 2 panels with controller for 800bucks and option 2) 1 panel for 511$ but since the final install had 6 panels you have to ask how do you arrive at that total and is this a result of 3 purchases of kit # 1 or 809$ times 3 or 2400$ or is it one of kit 1 at $809 (2 panels) plus 4 of kit #2 at $511 each =2000$ approx plus $809 or close to 2800$ but this option only has one controller since the single panels do not come with a controller. The prices and math are confusing enough when you decide to install more than 2 panels.regarding your video, since panels are flexible and you are worried about long term wear and tear, what's to stop you from putting a protective sheet of acrylic or polycarb over the cells so they can never get damaged? Seems to me like your video was just begging owners to come up with their own protective covers of translucent protective plastic of some kind, then when it gets damaged replace it, much cheaper than replacing the solar cells.

  • Bria Evans

    November 21, 2016 Reply

    What about using wind power to charge batteries when on the road?

  • erwin

    November 16, 2016 Reply

    I wanted to know what voltage is your power system.

  • Lucile

    October 11, 2016 Reply

    I think this is among the most vital information for me. And i am glad reading your article. But should remark on some general things, The site style is wonderful, the articles is really nice : D. Good job, cheers

  • Kyle pettit

    September 11, 2016 Reply

    Great stuff. Thank you. I have 200 w solar system with mptt charge controller. I have 2 new Trojan t105 6volts 225ah Batties in series. My controller has settling for 220 or 230 but does not have settings for 225. Is it ok to set it at 230 or should I set it to 220ah. If it's not right at 225 will it damage them?

  • Kim Holland

    August 19, 2016 Reply

    Is it better to put your inverter outside (under the cab compartment) or would it be better to place it inside if the distance from the battery is just a very small amount farther. I know closer to the batteries is good, but what about the heat and cold underneath? Have 2 places picked. The underneath compartment to the left of the door, or under the sink cabinet just above. Would love your advice.

  • simon

    July 26, 2016 Reply

    hi guys love your stuff thanks for all the solar info and your sailing vids i enjoy the fun attitude you both have

  • Anita Tash

    July 24, 2016 Reply

    We do not move our RV. We live in a private campground. Will our solar requirements be different?

    • Jason Wynn

      July 24, 2016 Reply

      If you have sun and you unplug your RV, solar will help reduce your electricity bill. That said it'd take a lot of solar panels so you'll have to do the "if it's worth it" math.

  • Will van der Meer

    July 4, 2016 Reply

    Hello There ,thanks for the informative side,I love the idea of being aerodynamic ...
    I have a 2014 2500 with a 170 wheelbase,the roof has groves and so my question is will this fit with the Mercedes Sprinter?
    Or do you know of a solar panel that will

  • Hansi & Jacky

    June 7, 2016 Reply

    Hi Nikki & Jason
    First I would like to thank you for your very helpfull and easy to understand Blog and of course your Videos. We have learned a lot for our upcoming adventure, we is a Swiss Couple who is living in Thailand and will come to the US for year and half to travel in an rv.
    We would like to buy a Bounder 33c (thats why we found your website, reserching for Bounder's) and install a solarsystem. I asked the Dealer for support and he told me that it will be a warranty void if I am going to install or rewiring anything. You made the Installation in a Fleetwood Factory Center, did they tell you anything about warranty voiding?
    Thanks in advance!

  • Kristen Crabtree

    May 30, 2016 Reply

    We are starting off on our adventure in September... probably going on the road for a year. We will be in a 30 foot toy hauler and a truck. We want to be off grid and mostly boondock. Your blog has been incredibly helpful, and we are wondering who you recommend to do an evaluation of what we would need in terms of solar, and who to do the install? Thanks so much! Hope you are enjoying your sailing adventure!

    • Jason Wynn

      May 30, 2016 Reply

      Kristen,
      If you're in FL the team at Just Catamarans is amazing. They have recently started installing RV tech and I feel 100% confident in their know how. If you're not in FL, I would contact GoPower! if you're planning to purchase their gear, they can help send you to a dealer near your home. Good luck and thanks for the kind comments.

  • dana

    March 26, 2016 Reply

    I was curious about what your opinion was on the best complete solar kit you have used. i noticed there were several to choose from in "our gear", which did you find to be the best?

    dana

    • Jason Wynn

      March 26, 2016 Reply

      Dana,
      It all depends on your needs. We think the absolute best is our newest setup which provides a ton of power for our wild camping and full-time living needs. It's the solar AE kit from GoPower, here's the link: http://amzn.to/1q8fVO9

  • Kirk Gadberry

    March 15, 2016 Reply

    HI. We think you guys are fantastic. Your videos are incredibly informative and VERY well put together. Congrats on your results. Its obvious that you put a lot of work into your products and it shows.
    Now for my question. I see that you mentioned that you had a third party do your install. Can you tell us who did the install? Since we are going to be on the road anyway, it wont matter much to us if we have to drive it to them to do the job.

    • Nikki Wynn

      March 15, 2016 Reply

      We have had a couple of different set ups/RV's over the years. We have not had one specific installer. The best thing to do would be call your solar manufacture (for us that would be Go Power) and ask them for a recommendation. They have a list of certified installers and can tell you who they would recommend as their top choice along your route.

  • Venice Scherer

    February 4, 2016 Reply

    Can the solar panels be on an electric lift so you don't have to access the roof and manually lift them?

  • Mike Bushaw

    January 24, 2016 Reply

    Questions: One of your older RVs had flexible solar panels glued and sealed to the roof. Very aerodynamic, I like that. Why the change? How does this change/upgrade drive? How are they protected while driving?
    One last suggestion before you head out to get your boat. Have you ever thought about a trip to the Grand Canyon? And since my wife and I live just 10 miles north of Dayton OH, how about a trip to Jackson Center OH the home of Airstream?
    Happy traveling
    Mike and Starr Bushaw
    Huber Heights OH

  • Steve

    December 12, 2015 Reply

    I own a 30' thor ace and really liked your video on solar. You mentioned a kit that can be purchased that includes everything in the video. Where can I buy the kit?

    Thank you

    Steve

    • Nikki Wynn

      December 13, 2015 Reply

      There are links on each post to the specific products. I am not sure which video/set up you were looking for (we have had a few different set ups over the years) but here is the link to the solar extreme kit: https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/product/go-power-solar-extreme-complete-solar-and-inverter-system-with-480-watts-of-solar

  • Wendy

    November 25, 2015 Reply

    Never mind about what I just posted about articles not showing up--right after I hit the "submit" button, they all showed up. Odd.... Thanks for the fun helpful info, hope you continue to have a super time!

  • Jake White

    October 7, 2015 Reply

    My son and I are trying to start a snow cone shack business. I'm looking into solar panels to figure out if this would be a good way for us to power the shack, so that we can save on the costs of energy. This site presents some very good options, especially if we could mount some panels on the top of the shack, or even just have a portable one attached to the actual shack itself. Either way would work, and this may well be worth our investment, so thanks for giving us some information.

  • Jorge Palencia

    April 3, 2015 Reply

    After seeing your videos I decided to invest on a GoPower Extreme kit. Everything is working find but my 3000 Inverter does not seem to handle the load. Mine goes on overload overtime I connect two appliances that don't quite add to 2000 watts. Did you had similar issues? could it be the batteries? I just added two new Trojan 105 Batteries which give me 225 amp hr. How big was your battery bank? I called their support guys a couple of times but we have not been able to diagnose the problem. Starting to wonder if I have a faulty inverter.

    • Jason Wynn

      April 4, 2015 Reply

      We did not have this issue with our system, however we did have 420ah from our giant 2 batteries. My guess would be battery related but I'm no expert. Let us know what you find out that way if anyone else has similar issues we can help direct them to your solution.

    • Steve McVeigh

      April 26, 2015 Reply

      The distance from your batteries to your Invertor needs to very short. 4' at the most. I used the same size wiring to the invertor that is used to go to the starter on a car.

      • Nikki Wynn

        April 27, 2015 Reply

        Oh man, we have said that so many times we feel like a broken record!

    • illya

      February 4, 2016 Reply

      if you have the remote it should show your voltages, it sounds like they followed the specs and the wires from the batteries to the inverter are limiting the power. Going from 12v to 3000 watts is a big jump and requires a lot of amps. I have the same inverter but use Optima yellow tops for the high output they have. I also used 0 gauge OFC tinned wire made by knuconcept at only a 3 foot run. Something like 6000 strands of thin copper wire in the whole of it. I tested to about 2500 watts so far but my watt meter is only good for 15 amps and starts beeping. I am currently hooking up 2 more optimas in the bank giving me 6 total.4 are all tightly packed and using the 0 gauge connecting them together. 24v setup would have been much better. But it is doing fine with the bigger wire and no issues at all. So i would say your problem is the drop in power from the batteries at load.

    • illya

      February 7, 2016 Reply

      Also i forgot to add, if you suspect the batteries are the problem not putting out enough amps for the inverter hook up a jumpstarter or a temp battery that has plenty of amps to test it. Use quality connectors for sure, Amazon has gold plated ones and all kinds of good quality stuff for cheap. I used to have to hook up my jumpstarter just to make coffee with my old inverter.

  • Dave Graf

    February 24, 2015 Reply

    HI Jason,

    My wife and I just purchased a Mercedes Sprinter van and we'll have it "upfitted" to become our "adventuremobile" over the next couple of months.

    We have been studying the bathroom and found your videos on natures head composting toilets. We are considering a small room to serve as a water closet in the truest meaning of the term. A toilet and shower room. I know that this is done in some set ups with what I assume is a toilet that sets above a black water tank.

    Here's the question; Is the Natures Head toilet "waterproof" when closed so that one could shower in the same space getting the stool very wet in the process?

    Thanks a lot!

    Cheers!

    Dave Graf

    Sent from my iPad

    • Nikki Wynn

      February 24, 2015 Reply

      The natures head is used in wet baths all the time, especially on sail boats. I would call Larry (he is the owner of natures head and is typically the one who answers the phone, crazy right!) and talk with him as he can give you the best tips and ideas for your specific instillation. We love our toilet and if you are going to be off grid, its the best!

  • Doug

    February 8, 2015 Reply

    In your portable solar videos you show how you plug the portable panels into an Anderson Connector mounted to your RV. I realize the connector came with the GoPower kit. But I didn't get anything that would allow me to mount the connector in my kit. How did you mount this connector to the underside of the RV?

    Thanks,

    -Doug

    • Jason Wynn

      February 9, 2015 Reply

      It was screwed in somehow, I wish I could tell you but the solar installer added this plug for us.

      • illya

        February 4, 2016 Reply

        it just goes to the battery

  • Dolf

    January 27, 2015 Reply

    Hi,

    Thanks so much for the info on bendable panels. I did learn a lot. I have a 2014 Georgetown 378XL Class A. My main concerns reading after all of this is still:

    1. I would like to be able to remove the the panels without damaging the thin fiberglass roofing. What the best stuff to use to keep them down yet to be able to remove a panel plus glue/calking?

    2. I read somewhere that there may be a heat increase inside the cabin after install of 5 panels due to the heating up of the panels and this heat dissipating through the roof/ceiling.?

    What do you both think about this ?

    Thanks in advance for your response!

    • Jason Wynn

      January 28, 2015 Reply

      After owning these panels for a year my go to answer is: If you need flexible panels for a curved roof, or space limitations then purchase them...if you don't need thin panels then purchase the tempered glass version.

  • Elizabeth Menkin

    January 3, 2015 Reply

    Has anyone figured out if a Nissan Leaf battery could be adapted for an RV solar setup? 16 usable kWh, 600+ lbs, and about 5 ft x 4 ft x 10 inches. New install as a replacement in a Leaf EV costs about $5500 plus a trade-in battery. Perhaps one could be harvested off of a totaled Leaf, if the battery itself was not injured? Or perhaps one of the degraded batteries being removed from a five-year-old Leaf might still have enough capacity to be worth using in an RV...

  • Mike Stoner

    December 29, 2014 Reply

    620 watts includes the 120 portable and the 500 on the roof and if you had 800AH battery bank you may not need to run the generator at all other than to exercise it or for A/C?

  • Marie

    December 25, 2014 Reply

    I know I would *like* to have 100% solar for 300 kwh/month. Isn't there somewhere I can just be told what I need to buy? (I was looking into building a very simple camper on a utility trailer). I am not technologically inclined, and I'd really rather not have to figure it out or do trial and error.

    • Jason Wynn

      December 31, 2014 Reply

      GoPower has a calculator on their website, whether you choose to purchase one of their all-in-one kits or not the information is extremely helpful when planning a solar setup for your RV. http://gpelectric.com/go-power-calculator

  • Mike Stoner

    December 14, 2014 Reply

    With the flexible solar panels installed on the Fleetwood do you find you need to run the generator daily to supplement the solar?

    • Nikki Wynn

      December 14, 2014 Reply

      It really depends on the day. Our residential fridge is a big energy hog. If it is cloudy and we are not bringing in enough power then we may need to run our generator for a half hour to an hour to get us through the night. We have about 460AH of batteries and 620watts of solar. We really need closer to 600AH or 800AH battery (to match our solar because you want 1 watt of solar to 1 amp hour of battery). If we upgraded our battery bank, that would solve our problem.

      • Mike Stoner

        December 14, 2014 Reply

        620 watts includes the 120 portable and the 500 on the roof and if you had 800AH battery bank you may not need to run the generator at all other than to exercise it or for A/C?

  • Shannon M

    November 20, 2014 Reply

    Hi Wynns,

    Have you ever thought about using wind power? Have you checked it out? Any thoughts on if it would work for RVing?

    • Jason Wynn

      November 21, 2014 Reply

      We touch on Wind Power here: https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/behind-scenes-louisville-rv-show
      In general we do not like it. I also think I answered in depth in some of the comments on the solar posts. Sorry to make you dig, we'll have to add a post about Wind in the future.

  • Drew Knapke

    November 6, 2014 Reply

    Great blogs and video guys. I envy you both on your advnatures and Ive learned so much just in an evening finding your YouTube and website. We used to own a large cheap RV but with teens, they weren't interested and it was sold for lack of use and expense it was. Now that we are older, kids grown and gone, we really want to save and get a small travel trailer that fits our needs and after a lot of searching I think we've found one that fits us well. As much as I would love being on the road like you 2 are, we just cant pick up and go, so I envy your Yuri trekking! I think the Lance 1985 model is the one for us. My question, since you guys know so much with experience is, this model has a 160watt solar panel as an option. I Know more can be added, but if we start out with tis one panel on the roof, and 2 marine batteries,12v, what kind of performance could we expect. Is it worth it? Assuming we off grid for say 2-3 days of camping. Will it recover much in a day? What I incision is say we needed to run the furnace over night and keep the chill off at night, or, to run the fantastic fan to keep cool. I'm wondering what the Atwood furnace on low would draw on the batteries? I KNOW it runs 3amps on low and a little over 6 amps on high. Would either run batteries completely down over night? Is a 160watt panel worth having? Or do you have to have a bunch to even make a dent charging 2 12v in parallel? I 7understand theres a lot of math to get into, and knowing all what u use. Would mainly cook and heat water and RV with propane. The electricity we would use is only for Led lights in RV, and run fan and furnace, so im notsure what kind of draw that would be on batt, and if a 160watt panel will recover the batt from over night in a sunny day.

    Thanks. Drew

    • Jason Wynn

      November 7, 2014 Reply

      Drew,
      GoPower! has a solar calculator that might come in handy which you can find here: http://gpelectric.com/go-power-calculator
      If you throw in a 120w portable panel my guess is you'd be fine.
      Let us know what you end up with and happy travels!

      • Drew Knapke

        November 7, 2014 Reply

        Great info. An after thought, since you two rely on solar so much, did you, or do you really on wind power at night or during cloudy conditions? Thx so much for reply. You are probably tired of hearing it, but you both are so inspirational. Thank you for the info, especially the destinations. Great ideas to give us to go check out .

  • ramesh

    November 5, 2014 Reply

    Hi, I really fond of your blog & videos. Can you please recommend me from where to install full solar power modules on RV with auto generator as well air condition on off .I will be very thankful to you for your help

    • Jason Wynn

      November 5, 2014 Reply

      Any solar preferred dealership can help you, check out GoPower website for their preferred dealer network. Good luck.

  • Paul

    November 1, 2014 Reply

    Jason and Nicki,

    It was great to finally meet you both at the RV Show in Pomona. We had a great time attending your seminars. At your Boondocking session when you were talking about solar and LED you had mentioned the name of a company you use for your replacement LED bulbs.

    In reviewing my notes now it seems I was unable to write the name down fast enough. Can you tell us the name of that web site? Do you ave a section on your pages where you list all the companies that you do business with regularly, if so I have not found it, but it would be a good idea!

    Thanks again for all the great advice and ideas.

    Paul & Debbie

    • Jason Wynn

      November 1, 2014 Reply

      Hello Paul and Debbie,
      We keep all of our favorite gadgets and gear in our Travel Store, if it's in the store we recommend and use the products: https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/store
      As for the LED lights it was our friends the RV Geeks that recommend the M4 brand: http://thervgeeks.com/electrical/led-your-rv/

      Hope this helps. We appreciate you shopping our Amazon links or our Travel store, it helps fund our site and you pay the same price :)

  • Renee

    October 23, 2014 Reply

    Before I ask my question, please know you have been SO inspirational and have provided SO much education in achieving this dream. We have finally reached the point to go full time RVing! In doing so, now we need to act on installing a solar power system. Your article on the flexible solar panels is hard to resist. I've called Camping World but they're not familiar with Go Power. Do you have a suggestion on who could install the entire system?...we live in Denver. I appreciate any advice! Thank you.

    • Jason Wynn

      October 23, 2014 Reply

      I would not trust Camping World to install solar anything! Contact GoPower! directly and ask for a preferred dealer near Denver, tell them we sent you and they should jump through hoops to make sure you're happy.
      If you want to save money, and you have the roof space, I'd recommend installing the tempered glass solar panels vs. the flex panels.
      Jason

      • Ron R.

        October 23, 2014 Reply

        Great job with your web site and all the information provided.
        I am interested in your comment "If you want to ... I'd recommend installing tempered glass solar panels vs. the flex panels". Does this mean you prefer your previous panels to the 3 month old flex panels? I like the idea of less weight and more aerodynamics and plan to add 2 100 Watt flex panels to our current 95Watt panel. I have and plan to stay with GoPower. We have a LTV Unity Corner Bed and really like it.
        Thanks,
        Ron

        • Jason Wynn

          October 25, 2014 Reply

          I think for an LTV, or any class B RV the flex panels will be perfect. I don't think the flex panels are any better for us: our RV is large, the roof is flat, there's loads of unobstructed real estate and there's plenty of wind drag from other rooftop appliances. If I was installing on my personal class A RV I'd save the money and go with tempered glass.
          That said the flex panels are performing well and we are satisfied with the product.

          BTW - We had these panels installed mid-February 2014

  • Bruce G.

    October 4, 2014 Reply

    We are getting ready to retire soon and have been following your site as a guide for our RV setup and adventure when we finally buy it in a few months. A question though, I see that Roy has the panels mounted on the roof. How did those folks at the dealer mount the wires from the roof to the battery bay? The videos just miss where they go.

    We are looking for a used 2009 model Discovery or a Excursion as we want a king size bed (unless we can modify it somehow).

  • doug rutz

    September 28, 2014 Reply

    Hey Jason, I have a HR Trip which is the sister to your old Windy. Question is did you add extra batteries to Windy and if so where? We are on the road 2 to 3 months a year and have considered adding solar. We do not stay anywhere very long that does not have electric, and I guess I was wondering if I had a couple of extra batteries and a switch that would use the energy from the spare batteries when regular house batteries were weak would this work? My main energy drain when I am boon docking is my tv as I am a fanatic for tv and internet. We use propane for cooking (bbq) and I also have a gas buddy heater for heat. Do you think I could get by with a portable solar or would I need to go to the 320 watt deal?

    Sorry if this rambled or too many questions,

    Doug

    • Jason Wynn

      September 30, 2014 Reply

      Hey Doug,
      The batteries installed on the Vesta were HUGE, offering 420ah of power. There isn't anywhere to add batteries unless you're willing to get rid of a bay for more battery storage. I would purchase a at least 300 watts of solar and then run the generator when necessary (i.e. if it's a cloudy day or you're in the trees). The 120 watt panel is a good place to start but I don't think it'll provide you with enough juice.

  • rosie

    September 22, 2014 Reply

    We are looking into the go power 120 kit. Have a 2005 bounder and while we do love it, not sure we want to invest in permanently installed roof top panels. The portable 120 looks pretty good to us,charging devices and keeping up weigh phantom draws of rv. We are planning to go out for 5 months this winter, come home,sell house and hit the road. We want to put dry camping into our mix, but have no track record. What's your take on this portable solar option? We really enjoy your perspectives!

    • Nikki Wynn

      September 22, 2014 Reply

      The portable kits are great and even better when you don't know how long you will be in your rig! You can actually get 2 and link them together. Then you could have 240 Watts which would be a great way to start!

  • Darren

    August 26, 2014 Reply

    Hi Wynns!

    I wanted to thank you for reviewing the 120Watt Go Power portable solar kit. After viewing your video I decided to buy one. The family and I did some dry camping on the beach this past week and boy o boy did those panels work like a charm. They sucked up that sun no matter if it was sunny, cloudy, or overcast. I decided to not bring my generator and rely solely on the panels. It was a great feeling to go bed with a full battery charged by the sun.

    They did not disappoint!

    Thanks Wynns!
    Darren

  • George Zeiler

    August 7, 2014 Reply

    I just found your site and what a wealth of information you provide. Keep it up! My wife and i have a 37' 5th wheel and when we become empty nesters in a few years we want to spend more of our time traveling in it. I like all the info you provide about solar and based on your input and other blogs I've accepted the fact that a 'normal' solar set up will not be enough to power our two ac units.

    My question is this: have you done any research, or can you do research, on the use of evaporative coolers in an rv as a possible substitute for ac while running on solar.

    • Nikki Wynn

      August 9, 2014 Reply

      Hey George, we will probably not do any research on evaporation coolers (but it is an option). However, we do plan on capturing some of the interesting set ups at Burning Man this year to show some different 'stay cool' options for RV'ers off the grid.

  • Richard

    July 24, 2014 Reply

    Hi Jason and Nikki,

    I don't have a RV as we speak but this should change fairly soon but before I buy one, I am looking at the options I have here regarding solar power.

    A big thanks for your Inverter and other videos on solar panels like the the 24 hrs of boondocking running on solar only, that one was really cool. Very interesting stuff.

    So basically, you ran almost everything except A/C which seems to be where the bar is raised so once we break this "energy barrier" it looks like we will be well on our way to be self sufficient with solar panels.

    On your website somebody asked you about A/C and you replied this...

    "...Unfortunately there are not many options for running the A/C on solar. We did see a new DC powered AC at the RV show, but this means you’ll need to replace your A/C’s on the RV and that is not cost effective."

    Now it's not that we can't run A/C with solar, because this guy is doing just that right here...

    - 3kw solar powered Off-grid RV -
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5Fb0kQMwQg

    It's just that he went a bit overboard and installed 3,000 Watts of solar panels on top of his RV and in the video he said he runs A/C with it and he said that in the month of May 2013, he even had an extra 1.7Kwh/day.

    This is what he said in his Youtube video comments...

    "... UPDATE: it looks like its true, you can be 100% solar powered in an RV, my last months (may 2013) electric bill was $0 with an excess power generation of about 1.7Kwh per day."

    So what this means is that your 500 Watts Solar kit and 2 batteries only battery bank is not enough and his 3,000 Watts Solar kit and his 6 batteries battery bank is more than enough so the true answer lies somewhere in between these 2 numbers. Before adding solar panels the logical next step would be to add 2 or more batteries to your battery bank.

    So my questions to you are:

    1- Have you tried adding new batteries to store more Solar power that could handle EVERYTHING you need including A/C?

    2- Are you planning to add new solar panels on your roof?

    My ultimate goal will be use my solar panels to not only recharge the house batteries and run everything inside the RV but recharge also the RV Hybrid or electric engine batteries and run my RV for free.

    This guy here is doing just that with his Electric Nissan Leaf but he needs the house's big roof to put all those 4 Kwh solar panels on but with a RV, we already have that big roof...

    -Running your car for free - Nissan Leaf 2013 Solar Powered - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THngfLrVcWs

    He said that those 4 Kwh solar panels can recharge his Leaf in just 2 hrs.

    Cheers,

    Richard

    • Jason Wynn

      July 24, 2014 Reply

      Hello Richard, Thanks for the great questions. You are correct that it is possible to run an A/C using solar, but is it probable or affordable is an entirely different question. It can be done however for the mainstream RV'er I don't see this happening for a few more years. Below are my answers to your questions:
      1. Our battery bank is crammed with the 4 batteries that come standard on the Excursion. There is a spot in the bedroom (just above the current battery setup) that we could install a giant bank of lithium batteries, unfortunately lithium batteries are way too expensive for now. I think you'll find most RV's are not setup for adding a battery bank large enough to support such heavy duty loads, the only way I see this as a possibility is with a heavy modification or by overtaking an entire storage bay and re-wiring the 12v system. Another limitation is roof space on an RV. With all the vent fans, A/C shrouds, antennas, etc there's just not a lot of usable roof space up there to hold much more than a few panels. I'm sure there are some people who might be able to engineer something cool to have "fold out" or "accordion" style panels while parked but that's way over my head.
      2. We are currently testing the GoPower! Solar Flex panels on our Fleetwood, they are brand new to the market and so far so good. We'll be updating in another 6 months or so.
      Hope this helps, as with anything if you really want to spend the bucks and invest a lot of R&D time you can upgrade an RV in just about any way imaginable. Let us know what you end up doing.

      • Richard

        July 24, 2014 Reply

        I heard a lady who is in charge of a RV park say that on average, a RV takes around 400 Kwh per month and when they are using their A/C it can reach around 650 Kwh per month.

        So if you divide this 400 and 650 by 30 days, you get between 13 and 21 Kwh each day and in your 24h Boondocking video, you posted in the end that you took 6.5 kwh during this 24 hrs period.

        The solar setup that you have right now seems to be giving you 1/3 of that 21 Kwh that we seem to need to run A/C during all month long.

        In other words, you may be closer than you think to be able to have the battery bank needed to match the 650 Kwh that the lady is talking about which would be enough to run exactly like you are hooked on shore power. Maybe 2 or 4 more batteries might have done the job.

        Sad to learn that you don't want to push it further. It looks like I will have to do this research on my own.

        Oh well, see you on Youtube... one day. :-D

        Richard

        • Jason Wynn

          July 25, 2014 Reply

          We are in this Fleetwood Excursion as a temporary test unit. We will be tackling a larger battery bank in our next RV setup. The problem is flooded batteries can only be drained to 50% and that is why lithium batteries are necessary for such a heavy draw as they can be depleted to 80%. Good luck.

          • Richard

            July 25, 2014

            Now I don't have a RV as we speak so I don't know if we can run the AC from the battery bank alone or we can only use the propane generator and shore power to make it work but in case you can run the AC from the house batteries, have you tested it to see how mush Kwh the AC drains every hour?

            Richard

      • Richard

        August 21, 2014 Reply

        Hi Jason.

        Found this video helping me in my Quest #1 of running EVERYTHING house batteries recharged by solar.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7ZJlxygtzk

        It looks like you can run AC, Induction cooker and Microwave on a set of 8 - 6V battery bank each battery developing 200 AH.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZJg06JkuaQ

        By hooking them in a setup explained in this video above, you can make those 8 batteries give you up to 9,600 Watts (or 9.6 Kwh) each day which is more than enough to run those AC which usually takes a 2000+ W generator to run it.

        Hope you liked..

        Cheers

        Richard

        • Jason Wynn

          August 23, 2014 Reply

          Thanks for sharing Richard! Good luck and let us know how the install goes.

  • BigD

    July 20, 2014 Reply

    Hey Wynns,

    You guys have an amazing site here! Love it! I was wondering, with the 600 Watts of Solar and using your daily appliances, how large is the battery bank? What kind of batteries are you using? 6 Volt? 12 volt? Interstate, Deka?

    Any insight would be great. Thanks for this wonderful site.

    BigD

    • Jason Wynn

      July 20, 2014 Reply

      We have 464ah using 4 6v batteries. The base power setup should be 1 watt of solar per 1 amp hour. We do not have the best battery setup, but it's what came on the coach and we're not planning to upgrade anytime soon.

  • Ron Carter

    July 14, 2014 Reply

    A good idea for you guys would be to make a hand water pump with a long hose to a nearby water source, then you could buy one of those exterior rv water filters. That would really help you guys get water, and it would be a hand pump so it doesn't use any electricity.

  • Colby

    July 14, 2014 Reply

    It sounds to me like Wendy had 2x 6V 420Ah batteries configured in series to create a 12V 420Ah system, and now you have 4x 6V 420Ah batteries configured in series-parallel to create a 24V 420Ah system. Is this correct?

    I'm about to return from Afghanistan and purchase a 2015 Class C RV to move into. I'd like to establish a simpler, mobile, off-grid lifestyle before I get out of the military to eliminate the employment/financial stresses of re-integration. I'm trying to compare my solar needs to your power consumption so that I can begin piecing together an affordable (but still adequate) system for my motorhome.

    Do you think I'd be comfortable with a 24V 450Ah system (w/ 4-6 125W panels on the roof)? It'll just be me in there and I will utilize propane for the fridge and possibly water heater to conserve electricity...

    • Nikki Wynn

      July 14, 2014 Reply

      I think that's a great place to start Colby. It's so hard to say as its always about how much power you use in a day which is hard to know until you test. With our propane fridge we were pretty happy with our 420AH. of course more is always better but its a great place to start for your setup as a single guy in a class C.

  • Carla

    July 11, 2014 Reply

    Our family needs air conditioning while camping due to a medical condition. Does the extreme solar system power the air conditioning or just smaller appliances?

    • Jason Wynn

      July 13, 2014 Reply

      You would need a giant bank of batteries (preferably lithium) and 3-4x as much solar plus full sun to power an A/C unit for any extended amount of time. So yes it can be done, but it is not cheap.

  • Ron Carter

    July 10, 2014 Reply

    Hi, I'm 14 now, but when I grow up and have a job and a license, I plan on buying a fifth wheel trailer and a truck. Where did you buy all of your components and what are all the components that you have? Prices would be nice, too.

    • Jason Wynn

      July 10, 2014 Reply

      We have a travel store that holds all of our favorite gadgets and gear. The links are for Amazon so pricing is always there. Check it out: https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/store

    • Ro

      July 10, 2014 Reply

      I have one more question, since you are always traveling, how do you buy food and animal food and other things like toilet paper?

      • Jason Wynn

        July 11, 2014 Reply

        There's always a place to purchase good food and pet supplies, from farmers markets to tractor supply stores. This is the least difficult part of full-time travel.

        • Ron Carter

          July 11, 2014 Reply

          One last question, if I bought the solar kit with all the parts, can I still add more panels to it, and if it doesn't come with the batteries, what type of batteries should I buy?

          • Ashley

            September 15, 2014

            Ron,

            That's not a simple question. Many kits are set up to provide charge controllers that can only handle the input from the included panels while just as many leave room for expansion. It really depends on the kit and the ratings of all of your components being compatible.

            Cheers,

            Ashley

  • Fred

    July 5, 2014 Reply

    I am considering living out of my rv off the grid full time till the winter. I own an 2013 aliner expedition aframe pop up. I have one fold up solar panel sort of like yours but mine is only 100watts. I just watched one of your videos with your sine inventor to run other appliances. Very nifty. I realize the only thing keeping me from accomplishing my power needs is money. Then I will be able to focus on my next mission which will be setting up a fresh water rain collection system with the roof of the aliner. I will be completely off grid before it's all said and done.

    • Jason Wynn

      July 6, 2014 Reply

      Fred,
      Depending on where you are planning to stay for the winter you might not get much rain. We have often thought of a water capture system, but we really only see rain a few days out of the year. Keep us updated and let me know how it turns out.

  • Brendan

    June 24, 2014 Reply

    I really enjoy the site and for a new RVer, it's an awesome resource. But, you all should totally make a section concentrating on water conservation, how water gets into your RV when boondocking, water treatment, and the like. I've read a lot of your tips, but would like to learn so much more on this vital topic.

  • Keith

    May 22, 2014 Reply

    You guys are amazing, hope you don't get tired of hearing that. One thing I keep wondering about is how do you handle "dry camping" during the summer months. It seems there are few places short of camping on top of a mountain that the temperature gets below 80 degrees at night. I'm probably wrong about that ...... but it does seem that living in an RV without running the AC would make for a very uncomfortable nights sleep. Also, what is the outside air ventilation like in the bedroom area of "Roy" when the window is open?

    • Jason Wynn

      May 22, 2014 Reply

      Keith,
      We are suggesting Fleetwood install a vent fan in the bedroom of the Excursion to help with this exact issue, even still with all the windows open we get a decent breeze. We also run a battery powered fan to keep the air moving, we'll add it to our store once we test it a little longer.
      As for wild camping in Summer, you are correct there are few places other than the mountains, or the Pacific Northwest where one can live without a/c. We still boondock in the summer months, we just spend all our time outdoors, and when we get too hot we just head into town for some afternoon exploration and a cool a/c.

  • Floyd

    May 9, 2014 Reply

    I would like to know how many and what type of batteries do you have on your 600w of panels.

    • Jason Wynn

      May 10, 2014 Reply

      On our Vesta we had 2 Interstate Batteries that were huge (actually made for forklifts) and they put out 420 ah. In our #fleetwoodroy we have 4 Interstate batteries totaling about the same ah. If I had more room I would prefer to install a minimum of 600 amp hours, and my dream would be 800 amp hours.

  • Rebecca

    May 5, 2014 Reply

    Hi there
    We have a little [email protected] trailer that we want to take to Burning Man in the Black Rock desert in August.
    We will definitely need the A/C, and would love to use solar, but don't know if it will be powerful enough keep even that cool during the day, when we need to nap. I've been trying to do the math, as the A/C unit draws 115 volts, but it's really hard to convert watt to amps, and DC to AC...
    Do you think it will work, or should we just get a nice little Honda generator?
    The temps are over 100 many days.
    Thanks
    Rebecca

    • Nikki Wynn

      May 6, 2014 Reply

      Rebecca, the good news is Burning Man is flippin awesome! the bad news is AC's draw too much power to run off of batteries (aka solar). If you need to run the ac you will want the generator but...(you are not going to like what I am about to say) your AC isn't going cool it down enough or fast enough to be worth running a generator. You should check out our posts on burning man and you'll see options for what we did and what others do.
      Stuff to know before you take your RV to Burning Man - https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/rv-burning-man
      Experience Burning Man - https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/burningman-nv

    • Mark

      May 15, 2014 Reply

      You can use a portable evaporative fan (swamp cooler) to lower the temp around 10 degrees and if you open windows on opposite sides of the trailer to get a cross ventilation breeze going that should help too. Just remember, to feel the cooling effect of a portable/tabletop swamp cooler you pretty much need to be in front of the cooler to catch the cool breeze.

      Google words like "portable tabletop evaporative cooler" and you'll get tons of links. The good thing about a portable swamp cooler is all you're powering is a fan so you will be able to run it on your rv batteries but be sure to do the math and make sure the batteries will still have a charge at the end of the day if you run the cooler all day long. FWIW I just saw a unit on Amazon for under $100 but there are many, many types to choose from on the web so good luck...

    • Mark

      May 18, 2014 Reply

      Hello again Rebecca. I just saw a diy project that provides directions on how to build an air conditioner using a small fan and a frozen gallon jug of water which seems like a great idea and easy to do. Here's the link: http://www.doityourselfrv.com/diy-air-conditioner/

      • Jason Wynn

        May 18, 2014 Reply

        This is exactly what we refer to as a 'hillbilly AC' in a few of our posts, it works but depending on temps it might only last an hour or less. Thanks for sharing Mark.

  • Michele

    May 3, 2014 Reply

    Nikki and Jason,

    I just found your blog after viewing house hunters RV and I just wanted to say you're both awesome :) Love your blog and videos. I'll be watching as I'm in the market for an RV and you come with a wealth of knowledge and FUN :)

    God bless you both,
    Michele

    • Nikki Wynn

      May 4, 2014 Reply

      Thanks Michele! Glad you were able to find us and hopefully we'll see you on the road one day.

  • Scott

    April 24, 2014 Reply

    I am very glad that I found you guys. The information that you have shared about solar in real world use, has been brilliant. I have been doing research into Solar, Wind, & Hydro for quite some time, but your "Day in the Life" video really demonstrated what you need, and how best to utilize. I was really impressed by how much you could get out of 2 6v batteries.
    A question though, is everything coming through the batteries? Once they reach 100%, are you drawing straight from the panels, or do they only charge the batteries?
    I really enjoy your watching your adventures and they have given me ideas for the future. Keep up the good work.
    If you find yourselves near Daphne, Alabama again, shoot me an e-mail and I'll put on a pot of spaghetti for you.

    Scott

    • Nikki Wynn

      April 25, 2014 Reply

      Glad you liked the day in the life video, its one of our personal faves too. The panels only charge the batteries and with our day in the life video we were seeing how hard we could push them. We can't get away with that kind of usage everyday, but it can be done. If you plan on using as much power as we do, go for at least 600AH of batteries. We currently only have 420AH and would like a little more.

      • Scott

        April 25, 2014 Reply

        Waiting for the new Day in the Life with Roy, and the new solar system. Anxious to see how more batteries and different solar panels plays out.

  • Cathy

    April 23, 2014 Reply

    I am stuck in Texas and the triple digit summer days are horrible. I have a tiny vintage trailer and a tiny window AC but I hear that solar can't power the AC. Is it because it takes too many panels, or too many batteries, lol. I could build a storage on the back of my camper for batteries, but I just don't think I could run this AC 24/7 and with my neuromuscular disease, I have to stay cool. So I'm always at an RV park, plugged in and paying for electricity. Does anyone know how many batteries or panels it would take to run a 5000btu AC... It's the smallest one sold at Walmart.

    • Nikki Wynn

      April 25, 2014 Reply

      Cathy, in triple digit weather, you would need more batteries than your tiny vintage trailer could hold. We have looked into it many times and even found AC units that run off of DC vs. AC and it still wasn't viable in that kind of weather. Sadly, unless you are willing to move to cooler weather, you are stuck staying in a place with power. Maybe one day we will have off grid power solutions that can handle major draws, just not yet.

  • Warren

    April 21, 2014 Reply

    Hello, I have a question about your solar setup. While looking thru your website I noticed that you mention how many watts your solar panels are and also what type of other solar components you have but I don't see any mention of how many amp hours you have in your battery bank or what types of appliances you use on a regular basis?

    My girlfriend and I are going to be living in an RV full time and we are also going solar so I am trying to wrap my head around what we need.

    • Nikki Wynn

      April 22, 2014 Reply

      Hey Warren, welcome to the world of Solar! We talk about batteries in this video: https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/boondocking-video and have 420AH

  • sherry

    March 9, 2014 Reply

    Hi Nikki & Jason, We went to Tennessee this weekend to search for our "forever home" (think I told you about this in an earlier post Jason, that we were searching and you kinda recommended a Fleetwood Bounder) which is fantastic btw!We went to a Camping World Dealership, was great, because they were the only place we could find that had all of the rv's we were interested in in one place, except for the Georgetown 378, they had one of those up the road, so was great! Anyhow, our question to you guys is this: what is the mileage difference in the Class A and the Diesel? Is it really bad? My husband saw one of your fill ups few minutes ago I think was almost 300$ LOL And also if you like the diesel better, as far as towing power etc? How is the noise inside the RV, as far as like rattling or anything? HAHA! Was told to ask people these things. And I have watched you with your old solar panels but haven't seen where the company have got your new ones in yet? How is that going by now? Saw of course where you do your dental work but what about health insurance? I am on disability, but hubby have to get his own. Is expensive, where is best to check it out? Lastly how do we get Internet! CANNOT do without it for real. LOL How do we go about this please and thank you? We are hopefully be on the road by May or June full time of course. Looking at that Bounder also the Excursion 35b And making money on the road as well he will be...he is a great photographer as well! And a few other things he is blessed to know how to do ...ver much appreciate it if you can answer these few questions like you did my others. Know you guys are busy, but I'll do my best to curb any more questions to be much shorter ones, just sooooo excited! LOL Thank you both for any info you can help us with. Clive & Sherry Gooch...(we are working on a name for our Blog btw, any suggestions would be kindly tucked away and considered) HAHA! ;)

    • Jason Wynn

      March 14, 2014 Reply

      Sherry,
      First off Congrats on taking the next step to get on the road full-time! I'll do my best to answer all your questions:

      Glad you like the Bounder, we think it's a pretty nice coach for an affordable Gas Class A. If you can afford the Excursion it's definitely a step up and in our opinion well worth it.

      Diesel vs. Gas - The never ending debate, we actually will be doing a video soon on this exact topic. In general if you plan to be in the mountains a lot Diesel is better because it has more torque, but on the other hand everything is more expensive with a diesel (oil change, fuel, the RV, etc). The fuel economy of a Gas RV will typically be lower than the diesel version in the same size/weight. A diesel will RV will drive better if it has an air ride suspension and a beefier chassis. Really its a personal preference and budget issue more than anything.

      Solar - Love the new flex panels we had installed. We have to use them for a few months before we can write a post, but so far so good.

      Healthcare - We do not have healthcare, make sure you research each states healthcare, income tax, and vehicle taxes very well before you decided to become residents of any one state.

      Internet - if you read our post on staying connected on the road you'll have more info than you can digest: https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/mobile-internet

      Hope this helps! One big piece of advice don't buy your RV and plan to take a big trip right away, you will need to take a couple "shake down" trips nearby so you can figure out your likes and dislikes along with the hunt to find any issues that need repair.

  • Marty

    February 18, 2014 Reply

    Love your videos as they inspire wife and myself into this lifestyle but we fear we are now getting up there in age. Do you in all your travels run across full timers that are in their 70's?

    • Nikki Wynn

      February 18, 2014 Reply

      Are you kidding! We meet people well into their 80's still traveling and loving it! Age is just a number. Here are a few of the 55+ only RV resorts that we filmed and thought were fantastic. You could always go for a visit and stay in a rental to check out the lifestyle.
      The hiking scene in this video is with a group where the youngest person was 70 and they were kicking our butts! https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/voyager-rv-resort

      https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/viewpoint-az
      https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/casa-grande-rv

      • Shaun Snapp

        July 12, 2014 Reply

        I think full timing is a reason the people you ran into were so active. I would not be surprised at all if the RV helps motivate those who are older to stay more active. I can say that having come back from a 9 day trip in the RV, I was far more active during that 9 days that any other time in the house. I am not an elder, but I think the same rule applies to any person. If anything, I agree with another one of your articles that it is hard to keep motivated to work because there are so many things to do and so many places to drive to.

  • Marty

    February 18, 2014 Reply

    Love your videos, very professional work in my humble opinion. Following your travels around our great country are great. By the way, do you ever run across older couples that are full timers, by older I thinking of over 70? Thanks for your input.

    Marty

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