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Discussion Starter #1
If I want to power a freezer/frig/ combo how far will 6 80 watt Shell panels and an Zantrex 120VAC inverter go? Saw a youtube video of a guy with a Sears mini frig/freezer that uses 30 watts an hour....how would that compute with what I have? Thanks for all help.
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Pretty sure Shell hasn't made panels in a LONG time. Do they have a date of manufacture on them ? Just curious.
 

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I would call them oldies--but goodies......
Likely better quality than the cheapened stuff flooding out of china today.

You did nor post the wattage rating of the old Xantrex inverter. . . .
We have no idea what fridge/freezer you have . . . .

And so your learning curve must begin.........
 

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Discussion Starter #4
They are 14 years old and have been stored in the boxes they came in under cover in the garage. The packing slip was still attached and the info on the inverter is Xantrex DR512, 120VAC .....Pretty sure my next step is Solar Power for Dummies. I'm too old to do the work myself but can likely find someone to do the labor once I understand what needs doing.
Just wanted to have an idea how much money I will need to invest to get a food preservation/ freezer up and running.
Thanks for replying.
The freezer will likely be a purchase Item if the ones we have are high usage.
 

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Just howling at the moon
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Get a Kill-A-Watt meter and run the frig on it for a week to get an average daily watt hour usage. Without knowing how many watt hours you need in a day we can't give any usable suggestions.

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"...now what"

Wow. Seems a bit of "what" would have been appropriate prior to the purchase.

You mentioned a book...good idea. A little reading/research is always a good thing. My experience has been that if you get stuck after having demonstrated at least some effort, help will be more forthcoming. Based on the information you gave, I'm not sure anyone would know where to start with offering help.

There's a lot of good, basic information to be had for free too.

Good luck and good reading.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
As intimated, the original question was way too broad and I should have done more reading before even asking. Got Solar Power for Dummies on the way and a meter on the list. The Sun Danzer freezer seems to be the one to buy but WOW what a price tag. Now will just have to do the math to see which is cheaper, more solar or more freezer....
Again, thanks for all the replies.
Looking forward to other forums in the future....I'm not entirely newbie, been a chicken, cow, garden worman for over 40 years. Maybe I will be able to contribute as well.
 

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The Sun Danzer freezer seems to be the one to buy but WOW what a price tag.
Indeed. The 8.1cuft model DCF225 runs in the 1200 buck range. From what I read, it uses about 500watthours per day @ 70 degrees ambient temperature. (800 at 90 degrees)

Assume you kept it 70 year round, then a 1/2kwhr/day power use = 182.5 kilowatt hours per year.

I just bought a Danby 8.7cuft Energy Star rated chest freezer. It was $360 from Walmart, (delivered to local store, with sales tax), so roughly 1/3 the cost of the Sun Danzer. The 'yellow tag' that comes with it states the annual power use is 262kwhr/year..(doesn't give a temperature range, but I'll guess it is 70 degrees also)...about 80kwhr more per year, for a slightly larger freezer, AND 1/3 the price.

SO if you took that extra 800 bucks and invested it in more solar gear, you could put up 800 more watts of panels. In my neck of the woods, that translates into about 800kwhrs/yr extra power production.....10 times what you'd need to overcome the savings on the Sun Danzer.....leaving you with an extra 700 (heck, say 500....or 300 even) kilowatt hours per year for other use.

SO, in my mind, the Danby is the way to go over the Sun Danzer, even though the power use is more. IF one were to die, I could replace the Danby 3 times for one Sun Danzer.

The only advantage the SD does have is it's ability to run directly off 12/24vDC.....thus eliminating the need to run it thru an inverter. (with the associated power losses there). THAT could be a significant advantage, not easily translated into bucks.
 

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I certainly like my SunDanzer. I choose to run it off my battery bank, tho I could run it solar direct. The SunDanzer has the premium compressor in it. . .which generally far outlast other compressors....You have to put your ear close to the unit to hear it running.
Danby use to be a good name. But I wonder how much they have cheapened the unit up so as to sell thru wallyfarts. and still make enough profit to survive......

My SunDanzer has been purring along for many many years now.
I certainly understand TnAndy's reasoning, . . .But you can't argue with the top quality of the SunDanzer
 

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Not knowing where you live - it is hard to predict what success you will have with solar panels - especially since they are not 100% efficient.

In Western Pennsylvania, we only have 55 - clear, cloudless days per a year.
Not enough to ever recoup what it would cost to install solar panels.
Rule of thumb - it costs 4 times as much to produce your own power as it does to buy it off the utility company.

The battery bank might have a 6 year lifespan, so as soon as you think you are finally breaking even, the batteries dies and you have to start all over again.

A propane - Servel - refrigerator would be a much better investment in my opinion.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for all the great responses.
TAndy made really good sense concerning the cost effectiveness of the Sundanzer. Pretty much off the list now. Yes, the direct hook up would be convienent but money is an issue so putting it to more solar seems the more practical use. Thanks.
I am intriqued with the butane frig/freezer. My husband had one in his travel trailer back in the day. But I didn't know him then so no hands on experience.
More and more study
 

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TAndy made really good sense concerning the cost effectiveness of the Sundanzer. Pretty much off the list now.
Sundanzer/etc type equipment was clearly the way to go even just a few years ago when panels were $4-5/watt. What happened is the bottom dropped out of panel prices, and now you really owe it to yourself to "bean count" the numbers.

As I said, if you want to run a far more simple system, and directly use low voltage DC, then you have to look to this type of equipment.

But if you plan to invert DC to AC anyway, my thinking is they are no longer competitive.

And unless you have your own natural gas well ( hey, some folks DO ! ) out the back door, I wouldn't look at absorption type refrigeration (propane) either. That is just trading one source of energy you have to buy for another. I can't make propane, or butane. I guess in a real pinch, I could make alcohol (if you can find an alcohol burning refrigerator). But once you put in the solar, the electric power is yours to generate.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
West Texas still has more sun than gas and we have none of one and lots of the other....sooooo....got the meter on the little energy star freezer we have and will go from there. Will see if it is reasonable with added panels. The freezer attached to panels won't be opened but once a week on a regular basis.
Did a lot more reading about the propane frig.....that's just silly how much gas it uses....not an option for my purposes.
 

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In our rv the fridge runs off one 100 watt panel/2 golf batts and uses at most one tank of propane per month, 30 lb. Not free but very reasonable. Very small freezer in the fridge but it works great.

I do lust after those sundanzer freezers.:)
 

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In our rv the fridge runs off one 100 watt panel/2 golf batts and uses at most one tank of propane per month, 30 lb. Not free but very reasonable. Very small freezer in the fridge but it works great.

I do lust after those sundanzer freezers.:)
Those rv refrigerators don't need much electricity when running on gas, probably a lot less than the 100 watt panel and the 2 golf cart batteries. They just need the 12 volts to run the circuit board and the interior light. The propane is what is providing the energy for cooling in your case. Nothing wrong with that.

That type of refrigerator would be more difficult to run just off of electricity, though, as it would take a good bit more to be able to run the heating element that replaces the gas flame for full electric operation. I believe just a standard home type refrigerator would be way more efficient even running it on an inverter. (An energy star one is even better.) Quite a few rvers are going to a home type unit these days, especially in the larger, high end rvs, and if living off grid is important to them, adding the solar and battery capacity to handle the load. More bang for the buck. Not only do they have considerably larger refrigerators, they likely aren't using as much energy as the typical rv refrigerator would use.

It is nice to have the option of using propane for cooling. We do sometimes since we don't have the solar to run a household unit... yet. :) Mostly we're plugged in to the grid, at least for now. Not sure what next year brings.
 

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Just howling at the moon
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.... The packing slip was still attached and the info on the inverter is Xantrex DR512, 120VAC ...
I didn't notice that earlier. If my memory is correct that is a modified square wave inverter. Your frig/freezer motor may not like it. If it does run on it it will run hotter than usually so it'll consume more power and not last as long as it should.

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