Happy Campers After Going Solar

I admit it. I’m a huge convert to solar power. Since we sold our Honda EU2000i generator and began using solar on our outings two years ago we have been happy campers. Our three solar panels which produce a maximum of 240 watts, along with our Morningstar Sunsaver PWM charger controller, keeps our two 6 volt, 220 amp hour Lifeline AGM batteries topped every day, even on partly cloudy and overcast days.

Case in point. One night during a recent trip the overnight temperature dipped to a freezing 22 degrees. Naturally, we had to run the furnace during the night to keep ourselves warm and to keep the plumbing from freezing up. In spite of the drain this put on the batteries, our solar panels had recharged the batteries with a 14.36 volt reading by 10am! The great thing about this is that we didn’t have to do a thing. No buttons to push, no equipment to set-up, no starter cords to pull. Our solar system recharged our batteries automatically.

After selling our generators, you may be wondering what we do for our AC power needs. That’s a great question. We use an inverter. This neat little device converts DC battery power to household AC power. After looking at numerous inverter options, we decided on a Morningstar Suresine-300, a pure sine wave inverter with a single, dedicated AC outlet. You may think that a 300 watt inverter wouldn’t be that useful, but you’d be surprised what you can run on one. We run everything from TVs, DVD players, and laptops to small vacuum cleaners, hair dryers (on low), and power tools. Where we camp we don’t need an air conditioner and we have no need for a microwave either. We also try to use DC powered devices, rather than using the inverter for everything, to further save on our battery power.

Morningstar Remote Meter RM-1
14.36 volts by 10am!
Honda EU2000i Generator
The popular Honda EU2000i, also a popular target for thieves.

So if you’re still lugging around a 46 pound or 120 pound generator, you should consider going solar and installing an inverter. If you do you won’t have to worry about your inverter getting stolen. You’ll also save on weight and space, and if you have any neighbors, it will make them happier, too. Numerous threads can be found on RV internet forums complaining about inconsiderate RV owners running their generators, day and night, while boondocking at places like Quartzsite. However, if you need to run a high wattage device like an air conditioner, coffee maker, or microwave, then sadly you’ll need to bring along your generator.

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About Mello Mike 494 Articles
Mello Mike is an Arizona native, author, and the founder of Truck Camper Adventure. He's been RV'ing since 2002, is a certified RVIA Level 1 RV Technician, and has restored several Airstreams. He currently owns a 2016 Northstar Laredo truck camper hauled on a diesel-powered Ram 3500 pickup truck. He enjoys history, football, music, hiking, travel, and photography. He retired from the U.S. Navy in 2004 as a CWO3 after 24 years, worked in project management, and now runs Truck Camper Adventure full-time. He also does some RV consulting, repairs, and inspections on the side.

8 Comments

  1. Mike, what did you do for the wiring from panel to combiner box…did you make your own leads or did you pre-made ones…I am not familiar with MC-4 connectors and most panels seem to use them,

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