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How my RV Satellite Internet is set-up!

My System 


My system consists of a satellite dish, tri-pod mount and modem with a wireless router connected to a laptop computer. What makes this "truly anywhere internet" is that the system is totally solar powered!

Solar panels convert sunlight to electricity ... this electricity charges my batteries ...

An inverter uses that battery power and converts it to 110 AC power ... which powers my computers and the satellite equipment.

As long as the sun shines, the batteries get charged.

At night, when the sun doesn't shine, my battery capacity keeps everything running smoothly.

A balance needs to be established, of course ...  If the solar panel can't keep up with the power demand, I will add another panel. If the battery bank will not supply the required capacity, I will add more battery capacity. If all else fails, I will start my generator (although that is the very last resort).


 The Dish

First the tripod is set in place and the dish and arm are attached with the hand wheels - no tools are neccessary. There is a twin coax cable that runs from the dish to the modem that enters the RV through any door or window opening ... I will install a more permanent hook-up arrangement in the near future.

Cost: just under $2000 Canadian funds including shipping and taxes.



The Internet Service




The Modem

 The twin coax cables are attached to the modem. The modem is powered by 110 A/C which is supplied by the inverter (using battery power), or generator power or shore power, if available. This powers the satellite electronics through the twin coax cable. The modem has all the software built in to communicate with the satellite but does have to be fed input to do so. More on that later. The modem is connected to the wireless router with an ethernet cable.

RV Satellite Internet - the modem



The Wireless Hub or Router

RV's are small - a wireless set up enables you to connect anywhere within the RV or anywhere within 50 feet or so. You can work in bed, at the dinette table or outside in your lounge chair. Your choice.

To enable wireless operation a wireless router is used. If you are connecting straight to your computer you can skip this step. Just plug the ethernet cable into a port on your computer.

The ethernet connector from the modem is installed into the input port of the router. Your wireless adapter in your computer connects wirelessly to the router.

The router also requires 110 volt power which is supplied by the inverter and the battery bank.

Cost: $30 to $50 or so, depending where you shop.

RV Satellite Internet - the wireless hardware


 The Inverter

I chose a 1750 watt inverter because it will run the computer equipment, the satellite dish and the coffee maker all at the same time. The capacity of the battery bank will determine how long everything will run without an external source of power to recharge the batteries. I currently have two six volt deep cycle batteries recharged by a 110 watt solar panel. I think I will add an additional pair of batteries to double my capacity. And another solar panel to double my off-grid charging capacity.

.Inverter installed



The Office

The trailer I purchased has a rear bunk bed area that I converted into a small office space. At about 5 feet wide and 6 feet long, it is adequate for my needs. It houses all the computer stuff (my laptop and my main desktop), a computer sound system for the tunes, and a small 110 volt fridge for cold beverages. If you are more limited in space, the inverter, modem and wireless router could be installed in an outside compartment. (And I guess the bar fridge is a small indulgence!)

The office is totally powered by the inverter and battery bank as I wanted everything to be independent from an external power source. I ran extra 110 volt wiring directly from the inverter to the office so that it was isolated from the rest of the shore power electrical system.

RV Satellite Internet - the office



 The Solar Panel

This is a 110 watt solar panel and will supply about 8 amps per hour of charging power in direct sunlight. I will be adding a second panel to double the charge capacity in the future. My goal is to be totally power independent without resorting to a gasoline powered generator. I will calculate the power usage of each device and trim down power usage where required.

If I need to run the air conditioner to be comfortable then the generator will come into the picture.

 RV Satellite Internet - the solar panel