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.

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116 Comments

  • 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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