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Old 12-29-2015, 04:35 PM   #1
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Solar 19

Would anybody be willing to help me out on what we need to order on our build sheet? We'd like to go with solar on our 19 what will have a u shape in the front. Dual 6 v batteries? Placed under dinette? Solar panel(s) on the front of the roof? Do we need an inverter? Which one? (only use coffee pot, cell phone charger, shaver, hair dryer, etc, and there is the fridge) Do we need surge protector? Outside plug for portable solar, just in case? What plug ins can be used with just solar? Do we need the transfer switch for on all outlets (option)?
Read most the treads, but getting sooo confused. Seen you all are very helpful on this forum. Really thumbs up!!! Hope someone is willing to help me out.....?
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Old 12-29-2015, 04:50 PM   #2
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Hi Marry - a lot depends on how much time you plan on being in places with shore power vs. camping without power. For anyone who camps a lot without shore power, I think dual 6v are essential and solar will go a long way keeping them charged for you. Inverters are one of those things that depends on how much AC stuff you want to run while on battery. Surge protectors are great insurance in my opinion. I already have an external solar, so am probably going to ask Reace to put in a plug for that - but that is not an official option yet.

Welcome to the forum and you will get plenty of help and opinions!
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Old 12-29-2015, 04:59 PM   #3
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Definitely get the solar and dual six batteries as well as the extra insulation and thermal windows. Surge protection also. This is a great start and other things can be added later.
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Old 12-29-2015, 05:06 PM   #4
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Surge protector: what does it do? What does it protect from? (Going without a.c., microwave)
Inverter needed?
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Old 12-29-2015, 05:16 PM   #5
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Surge protector - helps prevent the electronics in the trailer from being damaged from "bad" electrical circuits, voltage spikes, low voltage, etc that seem to be all too prevalent in trailer power posts in RV campgrounds.

Inverters are only to run AC powered appliances and devices while you are on battery power only,
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Old 12-29-2015, 05:35 PM   #6
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So 160W solar panel with charge controller and a surge protector I need?
And I will be able to use all plug ins in the trailer without further modification?
Also what is needed to use a portable solar on the side?
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Old 12-29-2015, 05:39 PM   #7
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You can just hook the portable solar directly to the batteries using the portable's charge controller. But I think the better route is to run the panels into the Escape's charge controller to add to the mounted panel's output.. To do this, you must get Reace to agree to add a receptacle that is wired into the controller. There is no agreement yet on the best receptable/plug arrangement - there are a couple of thread where this is currently being discussed.

Waterproof Solar Inlet - Interest From Others

Adding More Solar than 160 Watts
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Old 12-29-2015, 05:49 PM   #8
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Do we need a switch or something to go from solar to normal power?
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Old 12-29-2015, 05:51 PM   #9
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Marry
To go solar, you need the 160W panel and the controller. When going with solar you don't have to have the twin 6 volt batteries, but it's a good thing to do.

You mention "will be able to use all plug ins in the trailer without further modification?". You will have to get an Inverter, if you plan on running a hair dryer go with the biggest one ETI sells, currently 1500watt. Going with an inverter you need to decide if you want just one receptacle powered (default) when not hooked to city power, or all the receptacles. "All" is an optional $300 transfer switch.

Going with an Inverter, you should definitely get the twin 6 volt batteries.

You should do some research on battery power, in relation to using an inverter. A hair dryer sucks a lot of battery capacity.
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Old 12-29-2015, 05:52 PM   #10
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Marry,

There are 2 power systems in our trailers: the 12v and the 120v. Your normal househouse plugs, as for your hair dryer and coffee pot, run on the 120v system. Various built-in things, like the fridge and all the lights, run on the 12v system.

Also, standard, is a thing often called a "converter", which converts 120v power to 12v power.

So, with no options, when you are at a campground with "shore power" -- that is, when you have a site that you can plug your trailer into a 120v post -- all of your outlets (both 12v and 120v) work. And, your battery will charge up as well if it's depleted.

If your trailer is not plugged in to 120v, and you have no additional options purchased, then your 12v systems will all still work, by drawing power off the battery. But your 120v system will not function. No hair dryer, no coffee pot, no microwave oven.

OK, let's talk options. There are three relevant to this conversation: battery upgrades, solar and an inverter.

First, the inverter. It does the opposite job of the converter. The converter allows a 120v power source to power your 12v system. The inverter allows a 12v power source (like your battery!) to power the 120v system in your trailer. So with an inverter, you can use your 120v appliances even when you aren't plugged in to 120v power. But be careful -- it's very easy to draw your battery down too far running high power appliances like hair dryers and coffee pots. Don't plan on using them for more than a few minutes a day.

I don't have an inverter, so best get information on the details and options for an inverter from others.

Battery upgrades are obvious: they let you go longer before you need to charge your battery.

Solar is simply a way of charging your battery when you are not plugged in. With a large enough solar system and cooperation from the sun, you can fully charge your battery each day. But the sun doesn't always cooperate, so some times its good to have both solar and an upgraded battery (to let you last multiple days without good sun).

So, in summary:
- if you always have a campsite that lets you plug in to 120v, you don't need any of these.
- if you will only occasionally not be able to plug in, but still want to be able to use your 120v appliances in those circumstances, you are probably ok with just an inverter. But monitor your battery level to make sure you don't drain it.
- if you will not be able to plug in more than occasionally, and still want your 120v appliances, some combination of upgraded battery and solar is a good idea to make sure you have enough capacity. But you still need to monitor your battery levels.

Hope that helps...
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Old 12-29-2015, 05:53 PM   #11
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The Surge Protector is a good thing to have, but has nothing to do with solar.
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Old 12-29-2015, 06:06 PM   #12
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Thank you! This is info that helps understand the inverter/converter issue. (I might come up with some more questions later...)
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Old 12-29-2015, 06:14 PM   #13
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Doug - very nice intro to trailer power summary!
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Old 12-29-2015, 06:49 PM   #14
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Doug - very nice intro to trailer power summary!
2X! I agree, very informative.
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Old 12-29-2015, 06:58 PM   #15
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Electrical explanation

Doug's explanation was very well done. If there's a reference section for the inverter, solar and converter question every time it comes up , this could be the concise definitive post.
Nice job indeed.
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Old 12-29-2015, 07:27 PM   #16
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marry, please read this The 12volt Side of Life (Part 1) and part 2
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Old 12-29-2015, 07:50 PM   #17
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Marry,
On a 19, the batteries are placed in a battery box or front storage box on the tongue of the trailer, not under the dinette. I have dual 6 volt batteries in a front storage box and this works fine, although it does make the tongue kind of heavy.

I also don't have an inverter and that's been fine for us. I have a small plug-in inverter and use it to recharge our electric toothbrushes. The surge protector is a great idea, as I have one experience already with overvoltage in a campground.
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Old 12-29-2015, 07:54 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marry View Post
So 160W solar panel with charge controller and a surge protector I need?
And I will be able to use all plug ins in the trailer without further modification?
Also what is needed to use a portable solar on the side?
If you are getting solar, then I take it you want to boondock (not hooked into electric at a campground) at least some of the time. Yes, the two six-volt batteries are good to get with solar.

When not hooked up, if you want to use your 110 outlets and run a high-draw item such as a hair dryer, you need the 1500 watt inverter, and then can only probably run on low for a little while. Your 110 outlets will not work without an inverter and to use all of them, you need the transfer switch in addition to the inverter.
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Old 12-29-2015, 09:06 PM   #19
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So 160W solar panel with charge controller and a surge protector I need?
There are many options you can skip at first and add as you gain camping experience. For example, we asked ETI for "A/C ready", "Television Ready" and "Microwave ready" options but skipped the actual air conditioner, microwave & tv. The next owner can add these rather easily since the framework and wires are ready.

The same can be done for most options regarding batteries, solar, etc. If you ask ETI to build your trailer "solar ready" and "dual 6v battery ready" and add these later if you are so inclined and don't mind doing a bit of research and labor yourself. We also skipped the inverter and surge protector. I do own a nice inverter but have yet to find a solid reason to bring it along camping. And I was recently advised to bring a surge protector to a specific campground that will be our home for 4 months soon. I purchased a "full trailer" portable surge protector on Amazon and will take it along for this trip, but will leave it home for most boondocking.

The transfer switch may be one of the exceptions that you need ETI to install - if you decide you are doing the type of camping where you need one.

What really counts is knowing what your camping style is, and how it might evolve as you settle into your new trailer. We had the advantage of 40 years of tent camping and a few years of living on a sailboat. Still, probably, there is something that someday I am going to "wish I asked ETI for...". The other option is "get is all and hang the expense". That is not an unreasonable approach - puts the strain on your wallet and takes it off your mind.

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Old 12-29-2015, 09:07 PM   #20
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The Surge Protector is a good thing to have, but has nothing to do with solar.
It's also good to have 'em at home.
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