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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am new to the forum and have not yet got my 2022 Lightening but plan to beginning next year. We plan to get a camper and have explored the possibility of getting solar panels for our camper. Is it possible to charge the for lightening using solar panels on a camper?. Anyone have any experience or recommendations?. Thank you.
 

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I have no experience with solar panels on a camper, but the Lightning comes with 120v and 240v plug adapters. As long as you can get to those from the camper, you can charge the Lightning.
 

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I have no experience with solar panels on a camper, but the Lightning comes with 120v and 240v plug adapters. As long as you can get to those from the camper, you can charge the Lightning.
It’s not going to work directly. You can’t, as far as I know, DC trickle charge a lightning from solar panels. On the road travel solar would have to charge a power bank >1kWh that can provide the consistent 1.2kW 120v AC that the travel charger is going to expect.

A small travel array is going to deliver negligible driving range. I have 8.5kW grid tied solar array on my house (46 panels) and it would take about 4 reasonably sunny days to generate enoug power to charge the truck. The solar power gets converted to AC, then flows to my EV charger, other household demand or the back flows to the grid. Our EV chargers expect plentiful, clean, consistent AC power to do their thing.

I’ve thought about this since I want to take our small camper trailer to places with no EV charging but trying to charge a couple of kWh with of lithium camper batteries, then inverting that to the ford travel charger would be like filling up a gas truck with a shot glass
 

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You can do the math yourself - how big a solar array are you going to get? My house has 8-9 kW of solar, and on a VERY sunny day, I generate about 70-80 kWh. The ER truck battery is 131 kWh, so at the very very best, I could fill it up a bit more than halfway from empty. Adjust the numbers to your situation. I expect you'll find it's not going to be a very effective plan.

If you don't plan to drive much you might be able to top off without too much problem, but you'll also probably want to use some power not for your truck, too.
 

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Consider this. If you plug the truck into a regular wall outlet. It will draw the maximum capacity of that outlet. Doing this it will charge 2 miles range in an hour. That's unloaded vehicle miles.

Going to be a significant solar array in the order of $25,000 and up to obtain meaningful charging on your LightEning
 

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Realistic camping scenario is camp within reasonable distance from home (may could DC fast charge once or twice to reach destination) then stay a campground with enough available electric service where you could charge Lightning with 240 mobile charger while also powering camper. I seen a video of a family with a Rivian that did this with an Airstream. I’ll link it below.

 

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Thanks guys. I am looking at it a a secondary means though an not a primary source of charging?. Does that change things?.
Primary or secondary, there's still only enough real estate to provide a few miles each day.
 

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Most RVs of any size don't have enough 'real estate' to provide enough solar power to charge themselves, much less a HUGE battery pack in the Lightning. Plus, you'd need a separate INVERTER, either 120v or 240v, to use the small amount of solar power, and a battery pack to 'control' the voltage(buffer), for constant power flow to your EVSE device. You'd need a 120v or 240v dedicated outlet from the Inverter for the truck's EVSE to plug into...and all this would probably need to be SEPARATE from your RV's own power needs.
No, not an idea with much merit, though it seems to be 'logical' - it's just not practical or financially feasible.
Anything is possible, but most things aren't probable.
 

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I've got a 12.2kW array on the house, and an 18.1kWh backup battery for peak shaving/generator.

On sunny days this time of year (up in Western Maine), I produce ~45kWh, and it takes about 9 to run the house/fill the battery.

so ~35kWh/day for charging a vehicle. definitely enough to cover in-town commuting and errands, but close to 4 days to go from 0-100.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
My situation is a little different. Long story short we plan to park the camper for a long extended periods of time and was looking at alternative ways to use electrical in conjunction with solar power to offset the time and cost. We will also have a barndominium with electrical capability.
 

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I plan on camping/towing with my Lightning and will go with a gas generator solution in the event I need additional power. I looked at solar and it's just not feasible.
If my math is correct, the Lightning is drawing about 30-35kW steady state while cruising down the highway at 70mph. That works out to roughly 1kWh every couple of minutes. That works out to a pretty massive gas generator if one is looking to charge at anywhere close to highway draw.

If you're talking a small generator like a 3kW class Honda or Predator that thing would have to run at full tilt for 6 hours to deliver just over a half hour of driving range, but in reality you'd be charging at the 120 rates so ~1.2kW with the travel charger or ~15 miles of range for 6 hours of generator use. That's going to be an expensive 15 miles.
 

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Realistic camping scenario is camp within reasonable distance from home (may could DC fast charge once or twice to reach destination) then stay a campground with enough available electric service where you could charge Lightning with 240 mobile charger while also powering camper. I seen a video of a family with a Rivian that did this with an Airstream. I’ll link it below.

this is the realistic scenario. Every non primitive campground has 220 for RVs, that you can plug into.


I have solar panels, the thing is they are big, heavy and dont put out a lot of power for 1 panel. Mine are 360 watts for 1 panel and you could fit 1 or 2, maybe 3 on a camper, which would output 1.2kW on peak no cloud sun directly above the camper time. Off angles the panels are going to be putting out 500 watts or less depending on time of day and cloud cover.
 

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What is everyone’s experience in sunrun? Thinking of using that on our barndominium also. For the home + ford lightening
i have not been impressed. I had messaged them twice for information about how the Lightning was going to do the battery backup. And both times they came out and gave me quotes for tesla powerwalls and more solar panels claiming they wouldnt retrofit powerwalls to my system because they didnt install it.

Now they have more information on the backup, they brought someone out and looked at all my electrical panels and solar and such. Came back with a quote of like 8900 to install the ford intelligent backup stuff, with 1600 just to install the charging station. Mind you, our house is basically brand new and i had them put in 3 charging stations in the electrical panel and garage, all they have to do is hook up the wires and flip a breaker.
So i asked if i can do the intelligent backup without the charge station pro and they said no, its all or nothing. So now i have to buy the backup system and then find someone else to install it.
 

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What is everyone’s experience in sunrun? Thinking of using that on our barndominium also. For the home + ford lightening
Stay away from Sunrun! They installed my solar panels and a battery backup and my experience was a nightmare. It took almost a year before they finished. Sunrun had to come back eight times to clean up the wiring at my electrical panel. If you’re going to use Sunrun watch them closely and make sure the technicians are certified
 

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as for the Lightning, that's yet too early to gauge, as no new owners have yet to put much out about their 'home' charging, and various 120v and 240v options, if that's what your question is. It will also vary on whether you have the ER or SR battery pack, and even what 'amperage' your power supply is set for, or limited to.
A typical household exterior GFCI 20amp outlet is going to be the slowest, of course, although it actually can be your sole source for home charging if you don't really drive a lot every day, or you only travel a few days a week. With most cars and trucks sitting in driveways and garages most of every hour of every day, plugging in even a simple household outlet can serve as your home charging option.

Another option is the 20amp 240v outlet, which is not as common, but looks more like a 'standard' household outlet, although one of the prongs is horizontal. This is about your lowest amperage 240v option there is, but can provide about twice to three times the speed of the regular outlet, and uses the same basic wiring as a regular 20amp outlet - three wires. One wire serves as a hot wire rather than a neutral, which is not required. Easy.

The NEMA 14-50 outlet that everyone talks about is probably the next step up, although, yes, there are 30amp 240v outlet options, too, just not used too many places anymore, not even on your clothes dryer, as they've also all gone to 4-wire outlets now. The 14-50 is basically now your 'default' RV or CAMPER outlet, as seen at most campgrounds and rv resorts, along with the 'older' 30amp 120v outlets that many campers still use. The 14-50 is popular, uses 4 wires, including the Neutral wire for RVs and Campers, but can serve as the new main outlet for MANY uses today, including the majority of EVSE EV Chargers. While the Neutral wire is not needed for these, the OUTLET itself is the default outlet setup that so many have chosen to use, neutral or not. And, there are MANY MANY adapters and 'dogbones'(adapters) for using this 14-50 outlet. It's now also the default outlet for your electric OVEN/Stove and your electric Clothes Dryers, etc.
With this 14-50 outlet, you have up to 50amps of 240v power to make use of. Your EVSE, depending on the type and style, might use much less of that, or may come with the ability to 'dial up/down' the amperage that you want it to use.

So, trying to use 'others' experiences with their home charging is going to be all over the place. There is no 'single' home charging option, but, thankfully, MANY options, as NONE of us have the same needs, requirements, or logistics with 'where' and 'how' we live. Some have very few, like those who might reside in an apartment or condo where they can't control their charging at home. Others of us have practically ANYTHING we wish, and can decide to spend as little, or as much, as we'd like.
Me - I prefer the basic Ford Mobile Charger, at 30amps at 240v, as my regular everyday charger. No need for anything more, and, matter of fact, I could probably use my 20amp 240v outlet just as well, or even my exterior 20amp 120v outlet .... any of these will work. Fast? maybe not, but that's not always the end goal.
 

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How does the home charger tune it’s demand rate when attaching the 30amp adaptor to the 50 amp 14-50 plug? My understanding is that the 14-50 pigtail on the travel charger pulls 32 amps. It would have to drop to max of 24 amps on the 30amp plug.

There are no settings on the travel charger.
as for the Lightning, that's yet too early to gauge, as no new owners have yet to put much out about their 'home' charging, and various 120v and 240v options, if that's what your question is. It will also vary on whether you have the ER or SR battery pack, and even what 'amperage' your power supply is set for, or limited to.
A typical household exterior GFCI 20amp outlet is going to be the slowest, of course, although it actually can be your sole source for home charging if you don't really drive a lot every day, or you only travel a few days a week. With most cars and trucks sitting in driveways and garages most of every hour of every day, plugging in even a simple household outlet can serve as your home charging option.

Another option is the 20amp 240v outlet, which is not as common, but looks more like a 'standard' household outlet, although one of the prongs is horizontal. This is about your lowest amperage 240v option there is, but can provide about twice to three times the speed of the regular outlet, and uses the same basic wiring as a regular 20amp outlet - three wires. One wire serves as a hot wire rather than a neutral, which is not required. Easy.

The NEMA 14-50 outlet that everyone talks about is probably the next step up, although, yes, there are 30amp 240v outlet options, too, just not used too many places anymore, not even on your clothes dryer, as they've also all gone to 4-wire outlets now. The 14-50 is basically now your 'default' RV or CAMPER outlet, as seen at most campgrounds and rv resorts, along with the 'older' 30amp 120v outlets that many campers still use. The 14-50 is popular, uses 4 wires, including the Neutral wire for RVs and Campers, but can serve as the new main outlet for MANY uses today, including the majority of EVSE EV Chargers. While the Neutral wire is not needed for these, the OUTLET itself is the default outlet setup that so many have chosen to use, neutral or not. And, there are MANY MANY adapters and 'dogbones'(adapters) for using this 14-50 outlet. It's now also the default outlet for your electric OVEN/Stove and your electric Clothes Dryers, etc.
With this 14-50 outlet, you have up to 50amps of 240v power to make use of. Your EVSE, depending on the type and style, might use much less of that, or may come with the ability to 'dial up/down' the amperage that you want it to use.

So, trying to use 'others' experiences with their home charging is going to be all over the place. There is no 'single' home charging option, but, thankfully, MANY options, as NONE of us have the same needs, requirements, or logistics with 'where' and 'how' we live. Some have very few, like those who might reside in an apartment or condo where they can't control their charging at home. Others of us have practically ANYTHING we wish, and can decide to spend as little, or as much, as we'd like.
Me - I prefer the basic Ford Mobile Charger, at 30amps at 240v, as my regular everyday charger. No need for anything more, and, matter of fact, I could probably use my 20amp 240v outlet just as well, or even my exterior 20amp 120v outlet .... any of these will work. Fast? maybe not, but that's not always the end goal.
 
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