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Last weekend was the last straw for me and my 10+ year old Coleman instantaneous shower which has led to me having to update my solar unit at camp. The wife and I are both essential workers and she had enough at work and said lets go to camp as she needed some fresh air, so we loaded up the truck with the dog and filled up the cats bowls and headed North. Don't worry we had a full tank and did not need to stop anywhere but camp which we are very secluded. We ended up opening up camp and did some deep cleaning which both of us got filthy and wanted to shower, we both were able to take a warm shower but the system doesn't provide a lot of water pressure, so this week the hunt was on for a new instantaneous shower system which I will need to update solar unit.

Background for those who haven't seen me post on many topics about solar units for camps and carry in water for cabins. I purchased a goal zero smallish battery and small solar panel (not sure of watts) many years ago to run a few lights at camp that came with this package, most of the times we have candles burning to navigate to a 12v light to do whatever we need to do inside the cabin. It works well as long as you don't leave lights on to just have lights on, we can use this system many days in a row without running the battery down. But it isn't enough to run much else.

After searching a bunch of options for instantaneous heaters I settled on this one https://www.ebay.com/itm/Camplux-6L-1-58-GPM-Portable-Propane-Tankless-Water-Heater-With-6L-Water-Pump/323319800038?ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT&_trksid=p2060353.m2749.l2649
It comes with a 12v pressure pump which I need to power up hence why I needed a new solar unit.

After all the posts on here and searching the internet for a solar unit I settled on this one https://www.ebay.com/itm/253207402927

I also bought one of these to hold more water inside the cabin so several people can take a shower without me worrying about someone running out. Before we were using a 5 gallon bucket where the Coleman unit has a pump to pressurize the water. I set up a water catchment system that fills up a 55 gallon barrel, my plan is to use this water to shower with and still carry water fresh water for other things. https://www.ruralking.com/ace-roto-mold-35-gallon-free-standing-tank-no-sump-fs0035-18

I know lithium batteries are the best to use but for me to put out that much money right now among the other items I am purchasing it ain't in the budget (no stimulus check for me), so I am going to purchase a 100ah amg deep cycle battery to start off with. suggestions on brand?

Other things I need are a shut off power switch, fuse block, wire, light fixtures and bulbs. I have my eye on a few of these but suggestions and other options are welcome. I do not plan on upgrading this system anytime soon as the nearest utility pole is about 1100' from me.

wire, plan on this wire as it will be exposed but will blend in. any reason why this wire won't work?

bulbs, 12v led bulbs

fuse block
https://www.amazon.com/Terminal-Negative-Indicator-Waterpoof-Automotive/dp/B07HDYQMB5/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=12v+fuse+block&qid=1587578700&sr=8-3

power switch
https://www.amazon.com/Ampper-Battery-Disconnect-Isolator-Vehicle/dp/B07413JWLD/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=12v+power+switch&qid=1587578743&sr=8-1
 

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I wouldn't use speaker wire...for anything other than speakers....12 v DC or not...it is not voltage rated...and don't see a temp rating on it... there's a certain insulation rating value also.....look into landscape lighting wire.
 

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You are pretty much using everything that I did but I don't know about the wire. Not saying it won't work, but I just don't know. I went with 12 gauge wire when I did mine in case I ever grid tied then I could switch to 110 V pretty easy.

For bulbs I have a mixture in my cabin between these 2. One that is higher wattage and one that is lower wattage than what you have. The higher wattage is nice for when you need alot of light and the other is fine when we are just hanging out. I have them setup in different places for different reasons. With small solar setups every wattage in savings is good. Your bulbs may be a good compromise.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06Y1RYVC8/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07CSVBP8Q/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1


What hurt my original solar setup is when I added a cell booster at my camp., That drew over 1 amp per hr and was on all day when we are there, so it is drawing like 30 amps in 24 hrs. That is a good bit and I was taking my lead acid battery to low between that and the other stuff that I was running especially on cloudy days. I didn't have an issue before that as the lights are less than an amp and your water pump with carrying water in you are only using sparingly. I will throw a couple of other things at you. I purchased a couple of these as they fit in an electrical box to hookup to charge phones. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00SVVQHKW/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Also for water I bought a food grade water tote that I have set outside and then run a garden hose into my cabin to the pump. This works for 3 seasons and is sweet as you don't have to worry about running out of water and no carrying water into the cabin. In the cabin I have valves setup with another hose where I can draw from a bucket for the winter. I drain my tote for the winter. I setup a water catchment system at camp and it works well. I also take water with me sometimes until I get the tote filled. Next trip and I should have it filled.

Not sure what you are doing to protect the system but I also hadded a fuse on the + cable from the panel to the charge controller. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00YG2BZM0/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1 I also put this fuse between the battery and the fuse block on the + wire. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01LXQWZ7L/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

With electrical I would take what I say with a grain as salt as I just know enough to be dangerous. LOL. I did a ton of research before hooking my stuff up.

I also put switches on the charging ports and on my water pump so I could easily turn them off/on.

Hope this helps. As with anything all this stuff seems cheap at first but when you start adding things up it gets expensive.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
thanks for the responses

I don't know enough about electricity, just know basic house wiring and being a former auto mechanic gives me the basic idea. When I started searching for wire I seen the low voltage landscape wire and that led into speaker wire.....the landscape wire was 14 gauge but this speaker wire was 12 gauge. It was thicker and cheaper I didn't realize there would be ratings, just figured a thicker wire would be better. Landscape wire isn't that much more money and they do offer it in 12/14/16 after doing some searching. Going to go with 12/2 landscape wire.

Cspot - I have followed your posts closely that is why it is similar. From what I understand the system I picked out I can add panels and batteries if I need the system bigger, since this controller is rated for 30 amp it will also hold more than smaller amp controllers. Thanks on the other suggestion, I will be sure to add those to the list as I did see your post about the other items. There is so much to buy.
 

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I have all the items needed for the solar set-up except the battery. As much as I would love to buy a lithium battery the budget has already been exceeded. So searching for batteries I have a few options ($200 spending limit), I have read some say 6 volt golf cart batteries are better than one 12v battery, anyone recommend two golf cart batteries? Or do I get a deep cycle marine battery that is an AGM? Or it appears I could pick up two deep cycle non-agm batteries at $100 piece.

or do I fall for the "specfic made solar battery"? https://www.lightcatchersolar.com/product-page/solar-specific-100ah-12v-volt-deep-cycle-agm-battery


Anyone have recommendations from these 3 or something else?



Thanks,
 

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I have all the items needed for the solar set-up except the battery. As much as I would love to buy a lithium battery the budget has already been exceeded. So searching for batteries I have a few options ($200 spending limit), I have read some say 6 volt golf cart batteries are better than one 12v battery, anyone recommend two golf cart batteries? Or do I get a deep cycle marine battery that is an AGM? Or it appears I could pick up two deep cycle non-agm batteries at $100 piece.

or do I fall for the "specfic made solar battery"? https://www.lightcatchersolar.com/product-page/solar-specific-100ah-12v-volt-deep-cycle-agm-battery


Anyone have recommendations from these 3 or something else?



Thanks,
Prior to going to lithium I had a sealed lead acid marine battery that was around 100 AMP. I think I got it at Advance for like $100. I have heard that 2 6V golf cart batteries are better as well. Other than that I really don't have a ton of recommendations. If budget is an issue I would go for sealed lead acid and then when it goes bad a lithium may be in the budget? Lithium is coming along and dropping in price, so by the time you need replacement it may be alot more cost effective. The worse thing about the non-lithium batteries is drawing them down too far as that really kills them quickly.
 

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I finally was able to work on actually putting this system at my cabin this weekend. I was on the fence about what battery to buy but reading my controller manual it didn't recommend using a lithium battery and I didn't want to use a wet deep cycle because of the gases it creates so I bought a AGM 105ah battery Duracell Ultra Platinum AGM Deep Cycle, Dual Purpose (Starting/Cycling), Starting Battery for Deep Cycle BCI Group 31M Marine and Boat - SLI31DTMAGMDC at Batteries Plus Bulbs , spent $260 but comes with 30 month free replacement. Installed the solar panel on the roof and wired up the battery first to the controller then added the solar wires. Both icons appeared on my controller and an arrow between the two was blinking which I thought was good (instructions are terrible). I then proceeded to use the load posts on the controller to wire my lighting but there was no power coming out of the controller. I am assuming I would want to wire my loads off the controller since it has a built in power shut off when the battery dips below 10.7v. But I read cspots post and it was mentioned I should be wiring up my load directly off the battery but I would think you run a risk off discharging the battery too low this way. Anyways, I believe my battery wasn't fully charged causing me problems not working, the saga continues.
 

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I finally was able to work on actually putting this system at my cabin this weekend. I was on the fence about what battery to buy but reading my controller manual it didn't recommend using a lithium battery and I didn't want to use a wet deep cycle because of the gases it creates so I bought a AGM 105ah battery Duracell Ultra Platinum AGM Deep Cycle, Dual Purpose (Starting/Cycling), Starting Battery for Deep Cycle BCI Group 31M Marine and Boat - SLI31DTMAGMDC at Batteries Plus Bulbs , spent $260 but comes with 30 month free replacement. Installed the solar panel on the roof and wired up the battery first to the controller then added the solar wires. Both icons appeared on my controller and an arrow between the two was blinking which I thought was good (instructions are terrible). I then proceeded to use the load posts on the controller to wire my lighting but there was no power coming out of the controller. I am assuming I would want to wire my loads off the controller since it has a built in power shut off when the battery dips below 10.7v. But I read cspots post and it was mentioned I should be wiring up my load directly off the battery but I would think you run a risk off discharging the battery too low this way. Anyways, I believe my battery wasn't fully charged causing me problems not working, the saga continues.
The reading that I have done seem to indicate to hook directly to a battery. Make sure to have a fuse somewhere soon after the battery too. I think maybe you said that you did. You can hook off the controller but I think there is a limit to the draw off of there. You probably won't exceed it though anyway if you wanted to do that way. Biggest issue I saw is the hole for the wire from the output on the wire doesn't allow you a very big wire. If you take your battery down to below 10.7 you likely have issues anyway. Only time you will likely have to worry is if you are at camp for extended period and you have all cloudy days. I periodically check my battery voltage when I am there just to see what it is reading. Here is a chart for AGM batteries. Note that you battery will read a lower voltage if you are drawing power from it. To be accurate you need to have everything off for a while and see what it reads.




Basically you don't want the battery to fall under 50% I believe for what it is recommended. If you discharge to far it really shortens the life of your battery. For your setup though I don't think you should use too much.

Assuming 1 hr of water pump running is 6 AMPS
7 HRS per Day of 2 lights on is about 10 AMPS
Chargers for Phones Lets assume 5 AMPS
Composting Toilet - 2 AMPS
So you should use more than 25 AMPS per day, so in 2 days you shouldn't use more than half the battery even if the solar doesn't charge it at all. If you were living there all the time you would probably want more capacity, but for your recreational use it should be fine. The 25 amps per day usage is pretty conservative too. You should be able to be there on a weekend and not have to worry about it.

I believe that on a good sunny day your solar panel should put that back into your battery. Biggest issue is if you have several cloudy days in a row (Not an issue on a weekend visit). With my new upgraded charge controller I can see the history of what my panel (160 Watt) produces. On a all day rainy day I have seen it only produce about 60 or 70 Watts which is only about 5 amps or so. If I am going to be there for a week I simply throw in my little generator and battery charger if I need to give it a charge.
 

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The reading that I have done seem to indicate to hook directly to a battery. Make sure to have a fuse somewhere soon after the battery too. I think maybe you said that you did. You can hook off the controller but I think there is a limit to the draw off of there. You probably won't exceed it though anyway if you wanted to do that way. Biggest issue I saw is the hole for the wire from the output on the wire doesn't allow you a very big wire. If you take your battery down to below 10.7 you likely have issues anyway. Only time you will likely have to worry is if you are at camp for extended period and you have all cloudy days. I periodically check my battery voltage when I am there just to see what it is reading. Here is a chart for AGM batteries. Note that you battery will read a lower voltage if you are drawing power from it. To be accurate you need to have everything off for a while and see what it reads.




Basically you don't want the battery to fall under 50% I believe for what it is recommended. If you discharge to far it really shortens the life of your battery. For your setup though I don't think you should use too much.

Assuming 1 hr of water pump running is 6 AMPS
7 HRS per Day of 2 lights on is about 10 AMPS
Chargers for Phones Lets assume 5 AMPS
Composting Toilet - 2 AMPS
So you should use more than 25 AMPS per day, so in 2 days you shouldn't use more than half the battery even if the solar doesn't charge it at all. If you were living there all the time you would probably want more capacity, but for your recreational use it should be fine. The 25 amps per day usage is pretty conservative too. You should be able to be there on a weekend and not have to worry about it.

I believe that on a good sunny day your solar panel should put that back into your battery. Biggest issue is if you have several cloudy days in a row (Not an issue on a weekend visit). With my new upgraded charge controller I can see the history of what my panel (160 Watt) produces. On a all day rainy day I have seen it only produce about 60 or 70 Watts which is only about 5 amps or so. If I am going to be there for a week I simply throw in my little generator and battery charger if I need to give it a charge.
Everything I have read you are not suppose to go under 50%. I just wanted to start off with something simple but be able to add to it (more panels or battery) if I discover I am using too much power.

I
The reading that I have done seem to indicate to hook directly to a battery. Make sure to have a fuse somewhere soon after the battery too. I think maybe you said that you did. You can hook off the controller but I think there is a limit to the draw off of there. You probably won't exceed it though anyway if you wanted to do that way. Biggest issue I saw is the hole for the wire from the output on the wire doesn't allow you a very big wire. If you take your battery down to below 10.7 you likely have issues anyway. Only time you will likely have to worry is if you are at camp for extended period and you have all cloudy days. I periodically check my battery voltage when I am there just to see what it is reading. Here is a chart for AGM batteries. Note that you battery will read a lower voltage if you are drawing power from it. To be accurate you need to have everything off for a while and see what it reads.




Basically you don't want the battery to fall under 50% I believe for what it is recommended. If you discharge to far it really shortens the life of your battery. For your setup though I don't think you should use too much.

Assuming 1 hr of water pump running is 6 AMPS
7 HRS per Day of 2 lights on is about 10 AMPS
Chargers for Phones Lets assume 5 AMPS
Composting Toilet - 2 AMPS
So you should use more than 25 AMPS per day, so in 2 days you shouldn't use more than half the battery even if the solar doesn't charge it at all. If you were living there all the time you would probably want more capacity, but for your recreational use it should be fine. The 25 amps per day usage is pretty conservative too. You should be able to be there on a weekend and not have to worry about it.

I believe that on a good sunny day your solar panel should put that back into your battery. Biggest issue is if you have several cloudy days in a row (Not an issue on a weekend visit). With my new upgraded charge controller I can see the history of what my panel (160 Watt) produces. On a all day rainy day I have seen it only produce about 60 or 70 Watts which is only about 5 amps or so. If I am going to be there for a week I simply throw in my little generator and battery charger if I need to give it a charge.
What charge controller did you go with?
 

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Everything I have read you are not suppose to go under 50%. I just wanted to start off with something simple but be able to add to it (more panels or battery) if I discover I am using too much power.

I


What charge controller did you go with?
I think you should be fine with what your setup and use will be. For me the cell phone booster is a killer with its constant power draw.

I went with a mppt controller as I could optimize with lithium and it is supposed to be more efficient than a pwm controller on partly cloudy days. It is a victron 100/20
 

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Deerchaser , how do you like the propane water heater? I am looking to get one
 

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Deerchaser , how do you like the propane water heater? I am looking to get one
My coleman water heater I had for 10+ years served it purposes, you could get hot showers when needed (as long as the battery was charged). The system worked good but is showing its age. I believe since it is only powered by a 6v battery the system lacks water pressure, but I haven't cleaned the lines with CLR in a few years which maybe causing low water pressure. There are many options out there including a 12v coleman water heater now, Zodi offers a water heater too. However, there are a lot of water heater units where you piece together like the one I bought but haven't hooked it up yet. I need power to run the pump and hopefully that will be this Friday. Its gonna be hot at camp this weekend and while we have the creek to bath not everyone wants a creek bath.
 
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