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Small Cabin Forum / Off-Grid Living / cabin setup - solar, charger, batteries, inverter etc
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sbishop
Member
# Posted: 21 Aug 2019 13:35
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Hi everyone,

Been lurking around the site for a bit and its time I ask a few questions. Here is currently what I have:

Propane = fridge, stove, on demand hot water and lights

145w solar panel, solar charger, 2 deep cycle batteries and 1500W inverter.


The main thing we use the inverter is for a satellite dish receiver with tv and to recharge cell phone.


Most of the time we are only there on weekends so the batteries keeps us going but 2-3 times a year we are there for 5-10 days at a time. here is my want list.


i'd like to be able to plug in a small generator when the batteries are dead so I can recharge and watch tv. i'd also like to have some RV 12V led lights.

what would be the easiest way to accommodate this? do I need a to put in a breaker panel just for a few outlets? 1 circuit?

Could I use a furnace transfer switch (reliance controls) and have the generator and inverter plugged into it?

Thanks for any help

Sbishop

mj1angier
Member
# Posted: 21 Aug 2019 17:42
Reply 


The best all in one thing would be an inverter/ charger but it might not be the cheapest.

You can hook the genny or shore power into it and it will divert power to your cabin to run items. Batteries are also hooked to it so they get charged at same time-that's the charger part. When genny is off, it switches to the batteries for power- that's the inverter part. They come in different sizes depending on how many watts you need.

Brettny
Member
# Posted: 22 Aug 2019 10:34
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I think your wise for not adding more solar for only a few times a year. If you really look hard at fancy solar setups they all in the end rely on a generator at some point.

How many amps do you want to put into your batterys and how many volts is the system?

With only 2 batterys i bet you will be fine with a simply automotive type battery charger. Pro mariner and Nico make good ones.

I have had a Pro mariner pluged into battrys going on 2 years now.

sbishop
Member
# Posted: 22 Aug 2019 11:07
Reply 


thanks for the responses but I already have the inverter and batteries...what i'm looking for is how would I hook up a generator when needed?

Could I use a furnace transfer switch (reliance controls) and have the generator and inverter plugged into it?

dsmith14469
Member
# Posted: 22 Aug 2019 12:11
Reply 


I think the easiest way would be to a generator and battery charger. Then when your batteries need charging over what the solar can provide is to disconnect the solar, start the generator and connect the battery charger to the batteries.

mj1angier
Member
# Posted: 22 Aug 2019 13:14
Reply 


Also some generators have built in plug for battery charging.

But could charge your batteries with a wall charger at same time as you watch tv if your generator is big enough

Wilbour
Member
# Posted: 22 Aug 2019 13:19 - Edited by: Wilbour
Reply 


Quoting: Brettny
I think your wise for not adding more solar for only a few times a year. If you really look hard at fancy solar setups they all in the end rely on a generator at some point.


I have to disagree with Brettny on this point. Not ALL systems rely on a generator, especially for what you need. I run a bar fridge, tv, laptop, cellphone, 18v cordless battery for my tools, led lights, personal fan all on a small 24v solar setup.

Once creeky reads this he will tell you to sell the propane fridge and use the $ to upgrade your system, but I'll let him articulate the idea.

If you have lurked around here, as you put it, you will see that it's in your best interest to get a pencil and paper and calculate your loads and resources.

We here are separated by ideals of propane vs electric fridges, genny vs more batteries, lead vs lithium. Very few have crossed over to the other side, whatever that may be.

Trust me, it's a lot easier when you start out with nothing like I did so you are less likely to be biased.

FishHog
Member
# Posted: 22 Aug 2019 13:34
Reply 


If 145w is almost enough why not spend a few hundred dollars and add one more panel. Way cheaper than a generator and way more peaceful

Unless you need the generator for something else it’s just something else to spend money on, store and maintain. But I admit I’m not a generator fan. They are the main reason I moved from my last cottage

Wilbour
Member
# Posted: 22 Aug 2019 13:45
Reply 


Quoting: FishHog
Unless you need the generator for something else it’s just something else to spend money on, store and maintain

I thought cabin life always involved lugging gasoline and propane. But if you do, use your wife's Hyundai, no one wants that smell in their new SUV

sbishop
Member
# Posted: 22 Aug 2019 13:56 - Edited by: sbishop
Reply 


sorry guys, I must not have written my first post incorrectly. I already have this at my cabin

Generator
solar panel (145W)
Solar charger
inverter (1500W)
tv / sattelite
2 X deep cycle batteries (can't remember the amp off hand)
battery charger

what I would like is the ability to hook up my generator when my batteries are dead to charge them and also watch tv at the same time. I can do this manual now but it involves extension cords. i'd like the ability to just fire up the generator and flip a switch.

hope this helps?

Thanks

Brettny
Member
# Posted: 22 Aug 2019 14:45 - Edited by: Brettny
Reply 


Yes you will need a transfer switch. Or you could use the generator as the switch. Hard wire the battery charger to the batterys and run a power line to your generator location. When you start the generator your bat charger will now be getting power.

If you want to get more fancy with it you can run the generator power to a house hold main breaker pannel then off to different appliances.

https://www.amazon.com/PROMARINER-PROSPORT-BATTERY-CHARGER-Current/dp/B00FM6ZG5G/ref= sr_1_14?keywords=promariner+charger&qid=1566499813&s=gateway&sr=8-14

https://www.amazon.com/NOCO-Genius-GEN2-Battery-Charger/dp/B003JSJS5I/ref=sr_1_2_sspa ?keywords=Noco&qid=1566499928&s=gateway&sr=8-2-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlma WVyPUEyQkNRQk5HU0NPNjdCJmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwMTUyMzc5MVFaRDBZQU1UMkFKSSZlbmNyeXB0ZWRBZE lkPUEwOTU3NjExMzYxRElITjJXU1RNMyZ3aWRnZXROYW1lPXNwX2F0ZiZhY3Rpb249Y2xpY2tSZWRpcmVjdCZ kb05vdExvZ0NsaWNrPXRydWU=

Brettny
Member
# Posted: 22 Aug 2019 14:47
Reply 


Quoting: FishHog
If 145w is almost enough why not spend a few hundred dollars and add one more panel. Way cheaper than a generator and way more peaceful

If 145w is enough for 2-3 days then they would have to double or tripple the size of the pannels, charge controler and batterys just for a few times a year.

sbishop
Member
# Posted: 23 Aug 2019 12:23
Reply 


Brettny,

that's why i'd like to install the generator I have at the cabin...instead of using power cord i'd like to have it plugged in directly to the camp. I don't have a fuse panel yet. not sure if I need one because I only would 1 or 2 plugs

Brettny
Member
# Posted: 23 Aug 2019 14:14
Reply 


Yes you would need something perferably a pannel that will take a generator interlock.

I would run the generator power to the main lugs and the solar inverter to the interlock breaker but either or would be fine.. Set up the battery charger on its own circuit in the pannel. Is this kind of what you mean?

Your still kind of over complicating things for a few times a year. You could just burry a piece of UF wire from the cabin to where the generator lives, put a outlet on the end and plug in your battery charger.

justinbowser
Member
# Posted: 25 Aug 2019 20:44
Reply 


At our cabin I have the generator wired to one outlet inside the cabin. I have the battery chargers (2 12V IOTA DLS45) plugged into this outlet and they are hard wired to the battery bus bars. Whenever we run the AC when the sun is down I plug the AC to that plug as well. Works pretty well and very simple.

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