solar panel for trickle charge - Escape Trailer Owners Community

Go Back   Escape Trailer Owners Community > Escape Tech > Maintenance, Winterizing and Routine Care
Click Here to Login
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 03-28-2009, 04:47 PM   #1
Junior Member
 
hbgs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 15
solar panel for trickle charge

hi. Does anyone have experience with using solar panel to trickle charge the Escape battery? Want to dry camp for a few days using minimal battery. I estimate less than 12 Ah/day. Would use water pump and occasional light. We do not have an air conditioner or microwave. We want a small portable solar panel, i.e. not mounted and no charge controller. We tried a 5 watt Coleman (300 mA) but found that it was not quite enough (and the battery cables were reversed so we took it back). Any experience or recommendations with solar panels? Flexible or otherwise?

Heather B.
__________________

hbgs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-28-2009, 07:30 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
Jim Bennett's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Trailer: 2017 Escape 5.0 TA
Posts: 11,933
Re: solar panel for trickle charge

Hi Heather, welcome aboard.

I too am thinking along the line you are, however I am thinking about getting a couple mid-sized panels that I would hinge to fold together (for convenient storage) providing around 5A. A 300 mA panel would need to be hooked up full time in order to keep up at all, even with minimal use of electricity.

The disadvantage with a portable setup is that you can't charge while you travel, and need to be set up to use them. You also would need to be able to secure them so they don't get stolen.

The advantage is that you only need to used them when away from a 110V hookup, and no need to mount them on top of the trailer. On shorter (weekend) trips, I doubt I would need topping up the batteries at all and the panels could just stay behind.

On the other hand, I am also strongly considering using a gen set to top things up. I am not going for A/C right away, but if I plan to travel to hot climates in the future I would put it on. In the many hundreds of nights I have spent in a trailer, the only time I have ever hooked up the 110V AC, was when visiting friends, never when camped.

__________________

__________________
2017 Escape 5.0 TA
2015 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5L EcoBoost
2009 Escape 19 (previous)
“Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” — Abraham Lincoln
Jim Bennett is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-28-2009, 07:54 PM   #3
Member
 
HABBERDABBER's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Madison area, Wisconsin
Trailer: Casita, 16' 1996 LD
Posts: 48
Re: solar panel for trickle charge

A couple of weeks ago I ran across a Casita owner in Myakka State Forest campground in Florida, north of Punta Gorda. He'd been dry camping for 6 weeks there, involved in a house search and purchase. He had two 30 watt flexible solar panels bungee corded to the side of his Casita. They were off his sailboat, no charge controller, and he said they kept him going just fine. No water, electricity or anything at this campground, just chemical toilets and water available at the ranger office. I would guess a controller would be recommended to extend the life of the battery, but it worked for him. Got a tour of the Casita, which he liked, except for the noise from the furnace when he kicked in at night.

I hope to have a used Escape in a few weeks, I have a 30 watt panel I intend to start with and also have a charge controller. Roof mount For short is possible, but I'll build a simple folding stand for the panel for increased effenciey and more options for orientation & placement. LED's will soon replace the incandescent bulbs in the interior.
HABBERDABBER is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-28-2009, 09:08 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
Jim Bennett's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Trailer: 2017 Escape 5.0 TA
Posts: 11,933
Re: solar panel for trickle charge

HD, I have not really heard much of the flexible panels. I do know a canoeist who does a multi-week trip every year that has a small one to keep his satellite phone, and a couple other small batteries charged with.

One other advantage to a portable setup is that you can easily angle it to get the maximum sun, but I guess with the right setup on a rooftop you could do the same. All the ones I have seen only tilt, if you could swivel them it might make a huge difference.

HD, do you have a specific Escape you are looking at?
__________________
2017 Escape 5.0 TA
2015 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5L EcoBoost
2009 Escape 19 (previous)
“Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” — Abraham Lincoln
Jim Bennett is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-28-2009, 10:13 PM   #5
Member
 
HABBERDABBER's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Madison area, Wisconsin
Trailer: Casita, 16' 1996 LD
Posts: 48
Re: solar panel for trickle charge

Jim,

I'm intersted in a 17B. Google West Marine & search solar panels. The flexible panels are sold there and other venues. What they lack in efficiency, they make up in durablity and flexibility. Like the Casita owner, I sail, and am aware of the "wet" camping systems and techniques for independent energy production on the water.
HABBERDABBER is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-28-2009, 10:17 PM   #6
Senior Member
 
Jim Bennett's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Trailer: 2017 Escape 5.0 TA
Posts: 11,933
Re: solar panel for trickle charge

Thanks, will have a look.

Edit: I had a look and the idea is interesting. They would sure be easy to store when not in use. The are a bit pricey for their output, but that is not surprising considering their benefits.
__________________
2017 Escape 5.0 TA
2015 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5L EcoBoost
2009 Escape 19 (previous)
“Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” — Abraham Lincoln
Jim Bennett is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-01-2009, 11:30 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
Bruce Wray's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Pollock Pines, California
Trailer: 2009 Escape 19
Posts: 452
Re: solar panel for trickle charge

I just saw a 60 watt Coleman set of panels, with cables, inverter and a bunch of other stuff I know very little about on the Costco website: http://www.costco.com/Browse/Product...lang=en-US&s=1

I don't know if it's any good (I'm not a fan of Coleman any more), or more than you're looking for. Maybe someone knowlegeable can check it out and evaluate it.

Bruce
Bruce Wray is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-01-2009, 11:53 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
Jim Bennett's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Trailer: 2017 Escape 5.0 TA
Posts: 11,933
Re: solar panel for trickle charge

That does not look like too bad of a setup. I wonder how small it would pack up, the panels are 14x1x39" each, so stacked together would only be 3" thick. Still a bit big to store. They have the same kit at Costco.ca as well. This kit does seem like it is available only at Costco, both in the US and Canada.
__________________
2017 Escape 5.0 TA
2015 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5L EcoBoost
2009 Escape 19 (previous)
“Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” — Abraham Lincoln
Jim Bennett is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-06-2009, 02:03 PM   #9
Junior Member
 
hbgs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 15
Re: solar panel for trickle charge

I'm looking at either GoPower Duralite 20 w (solid but unbreakable with 5 year warranty) or a foldable Sunlinq 12 w (1 year warranty). We'll buy something before we take off with the trailer in June so I'll report back on what we got and how well it works. Both of these have grommets I figure we can thread with a thin cable lock to secure them to the bumper.
hbgs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-07-2009, 02:40 PM   #10
Junior Member
 
Phil Underwood's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 8
Send a message via AIM to Phil Underwood
Re: solar panel for trickle charge

i have two solar panels on the roof, them seem to work great and are maintenance free, i'm not sure of the amps, but i checked the voltage at my battery 13.4 volts when we were boon docking.
__________________

Phil Underwood is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off






» Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:23 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright 2012 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.