Yet another post about power/solar 😆


So to give a better idea of my system…

  1. Solar Panel Kit | $1369.99
    • 6 x 195w Panels
    • Combiner Box
    • 60a Controller
  2. 4 x 200ah AGM SLA Batteries | $1,391.96
  3. Inverter w/ Charger | $598
  4. Misc Wiring/Cables, Breaker Boxes, Etc | $200-ish
  5. Something else I’m forgetting… - $?

(None of the below are influencer links)

Solar Kit



That’s the panels, haven’t gotten any shots of the electrical otherwise just yet though because that’s what I’m currently working on.

But, I did have also have a “general usage” question. My buddy that is helping me set this all up is a professional electrician, but for buildings, and normally doesn’t work with solar. He’s telling me, that despite all that crap I bought up there, that I might not even be able to run this fridge below without depleting my batteries.

The only things I’m even trying to run are,

  • Fridge (120v, 1 amp draw)
  • Shower Pump / UV Filter (When in use | 12v Pump / 110v UV)
  • A Fan (120v most likely?)
  • Charging Various Electronic Things (12v)

I mean… for $150 I could have bought a really good cooler and just filled it with ice once a week… Lol. That’s why I say looking back, I’d rather have just cut solar. :\


You could have gone with a much smaller setup if using 12 volt appliances, but your system should be plenty to run the stuff you listed. I don’t know about the UV thingofajig or pump though - you didn’t list its draw.

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If I’m doing my math right, that fridge will come out to about 100 amps per day @ 12vdc. Everything else you listed is relatively minor, so on paper it should work. Just keep an eye on it in the winter, especially if you get a string of cloudy days, and if it dips below 75-80%, I’d use a generator or shore power to fully recharge it as needed.


"The less you have that CAN go wrong, the less you have that WILL go wrong!" ~Murphy

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We had grid-tied solar installed at our house to run everything (plus about 25%) and it cost us less than $10K before the tax breaks. It will be around $6K after the tax breaks. They just turned it on Sunday - fun watching the electric meter run backwards.

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Oh man! Your van has come so far. It looks beautiful.

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I think if I would just ditch the fridge in favor of something 12v.

Although that is another expense, I feel like every time I cut corners and try to do something cheap I end up spending more money than I would have if I had just bought something quality first.

With a 12v fridge you could lose two of those batteries too. It might not seem like anything now, but it will when you have to replace all of those. Replacing two batteries will be significantly less than replacing four. That would almost pay for a 12v fridge itself.

That is a crazy amount of solar though. It’s basically 4x the wattage of mine and I make ~12-15 amps in full sun. I think you’ll have plenty of power if you can store it all. I also wonder if that fridges compresser will run correctly going up and down a hill. They aren’t meant for that.

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Yeah, I really tried to stick with 12v stuff, it’s really only a very few cooking appliances that will be drawing from an outlet “less than frequently”. I gave up my toaster and all the other “high intensity heating” type stuff, but I kept my rice cooker and my slow cooker. :yum:


I’m sure hoping that’s the case, and at least I will have shore power when absolutely necessary, but really I was hoping to rely on the solar/isolator more often than not. But with a deadline of Dec 1, my buddy doesn’t think we’ll have time to get the isolator in sadly.


Hey! Long time no see, hope you’re doing well. Thanks, it’s been 60% mistakes (or learning, as I like to call it) and 40% progress over the last year or so but it’s just about done! Really pushing to head out full time Dec 1st. :smiley:


Yeah, the fridge is kinda the “big unknown”.

When I didn’t go with a 12v fridge I really started cutting out a lot of the “unnecessary” stuff. Truthfully, I’m really hoping that I start to learn to “live with less” by the time it comes 'round for them batteries to be replaced.

If it does turn out to be an issue though, I’ll probably just dump it for a cooler honestly. Then just turn that whole area I have the fridge in over to a cabinet/pantry type deal.


I have to totally disagree on 12v fridges. They are greatly over priced, over rated, and very inconvenient.

When it come to powered fridges, 3-way wins hands down, because they only REQUIRE power while driving long distances, and do to their simplicity, they have a very long lifespan. They can also be very cheap if you buy a used one.

Dorm fridges are a decent 2nd choice, and if you shop around you can find them with a 12vdc wall wart. I have a friend who has 2 of them stacked in his bus, one for a fridge, and one for a freezer. They’re 20+ years old by now, and draw under 2amps each @12vdc. He says that in the summer in the desert the pair of them combined draws just under 30 amps per day. They are absorption type, like the 3-ways, NOT compressor type.

Even using an inverter with a compressor type dorm fridge, with a little creative wiring, they can actually use less power than the 12v chest style ones, and they are cheap and easy to replace.

30 years ago, I had an Electrolux 12v fridge that lasted the several years I had that rig. It might have been original, and if it was it was over 20 years old. It had a real Dan Foss compressor. 15 years ago, I went through three 12v ice chest style ones of different brands in roughly a year each. Cheap chinese junk with name brands on them. That’s when I swore off on them. Today, people love them when they get them, and hate them a year or two down the line when they fail. If they were $49 and walmart carried them, I might feel differently.


"The less you have that CAN go wrong, the less you have that WILL go wrong!" ~Murphy


Yeah, I kinda felt the same. That they were definitely overpriced, and inconvenient. However, as I haven’t gotten out there full time my opinion is obviously one not of experience.

But for the price, I paid $180 (Before my Veteran Discount) for the 7.1cu Vissani. That versus the Alpicool 12v 63 quart I was looking at was twice the price.

(Not an influencer link)

For half the price, and way more storage capacity, it just seemed “worth a shot” to go with the Vissani. The compressor isn’t even that bulky, from the specs. It only pulls 1 amp according to the sheet and when I called the company to get the starting watts it was like 480 I think. Less than 500, for sure.

But, as I said from the start of the thread, we’ll see if I’ve got the hardware to run it full time. I’ll be sure to give an update in my build thread once I get some time with it on the road.


@ Rydel

You don’t need to note they’re not influencer links, we know you’re one of us, THE GOOD GUYS! :wink:


"The less you have that CAN go wrong, the less you have that WILL go wrong!" ~Murphy

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