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Old 04-07-2009, 02:46 PM   #11
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Madison area, Wisconsin
Trailer: Casita, 16' 1996 LD
Posts: 58
Re: solar panel for trickle charge

A 12 or 20 watt solar panel is not alot of charge capability. 60 watt is a guesstimate of wattage needed to keep a battery topped off...and that's with good sun and low power usage. It's time consuming, but if you determine your wattage needs by listing all your loads....the amperage they draw. LED replacement is a real boon to reducing the load. Not much you can do about the fans and pumps other than use them minimally.

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Old 04-12-2009, 10:43 PM   #12
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Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: North Vancouver, British Columbia
Trailer: 2012 B17
Posts: 19
Re: solar panel for trickle charge

We installed a solar panel to our roof and are very satisfied with the results. We call our Escape "Solace"

Check out their web page. WeGo Solar will build you a system for your rig which you can then install.

Cheers, Bobccat

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Old 04-16-2009, 02:30 PM   #13
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 15
Re: solar panel for trickle charge

I listed all the loads and came up with less than 12 Ah/day. We use a battery lamp when dry camping. No lights, no fan, no furnace. Minimal water pump. I calculated using less than 4 minutes/day for the water pump. The biggest draws are the propane alarm and the refrigerator which still draws .4 amps even when on propane. I calculated the fridge for 24 hr/day but I'm wondering if it only draws when it's running. In that case, with the fridge only running 12 hrs/day, the total amp hours per day required drops to less than 7. All theoretical until we try it in June!
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Old 07-16-2009, 02:11 PM   #14
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 15
Re: solar panel for trickle charge

We bought the GoPower Duralite GPDL-20 20 watt solar panel, non-glass waterproof, unbreakable. It is not installed. We just bring it out when dry camping and a thin retractable cable lock keeps it from wandering away.

Used it for the first time in June and we're really happy with it. Three days of drying camping at Manzanita Lake in Lassen Volcanic National Park with good sun and the battery stayed in the green the whole time. At night the battery charge dropped to good but after a short time with the panel in the sun it came back to excellent. The third day the monitor showed excellent charge, even after one of us showered. We ran the furnace for a bit in the evening and to take the chill off the air in the morning. Also used a light in the evening (and we don't have LEDs). We were able to use more power than we expected! That was with really good sun.

3 days of dry camping in Del Norte campground in the Redwoods was more of a struggle for the solar panel. The monitor dropped to good and never got back up to excellent. However our site was a full shade site. The panel had only mottled echoes of sunlight to work with. We used the water pump sparingly and used a light in the evening.

For our purposes, the 20 W panel is grand. Best of all it is QUIET. One less generator reverberating through the redwoods.

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