Does solar really beat having a generator? - Page 7 - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 10-13-2014, 07:23 PM   #61
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Myron, I bought an 80W folding panel from this place and am happy with the quality of the panels. Eco-Worthy

It came with an attached inexpensive controller that can easily be bypassed for better ones. They have folding ones all the way up to 200W. Their prices seem to beat just about everyone else - I believe they are direct importers from China.

For us, the panel with get only occasional use, so I am going to try using their included controller at least for a while to see how it does. I bought thru their eBay site and was able to get it slightly cheaper there than from their website.

They sell both mono and poly models.
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Old 10-13-2014, 07:29 PM   #62
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Myron,
You won't be sorry investing in a solar charging system. It can provide a lot of freedom to use those 12 volt items with reckless abandon. It doesn't make sense to use a gennie to re-charge batteries. It takes too long, makes noise, and uses fuel. You also can't leave your generator charging while you're gone for fear of theft, just like portable solar panels.
I have been using 2 100w Renogy panels that I installed kick stands to make them portable. I had an upholstery shop sew up a custom case to store them face to face. The panels are not attached to each other which provides better placement options. Often I will only use one which will top off a 88% battery in about 2 hours of glowing silent sunny energy.
I opted to mount a Morningstar Tristar 45 MPPT on the trailer right next to the battery. It will properly charge any battery, but may be considered overkill for only a 2 panel system.
By mounting the controller near the battery, your wire runs out to the panels can be smaller gauge than if mounted on the panels. I used 8 ga. twin lead marine cable which is sheathed with white vinyl, and is very flexible and handles well.
For terminations I chose the standard MC4's to connect the panels. They are weatherproof and do not void the panel warranty. The opposite end got the Anderson connectors sized to fit the wire gauge.
The controller is mounted in a plastic NEMA box mounted on the trailer tongue. It also houses a mini circuit breaker panel and a shunt for the Trimetric battery monitor.
Everything has been working impressively.
Russ
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Old 10-13-2014, 11:51 PM   #63
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Originally Posted by fudge_brownie View Post
I believe that all flooded batteries that Escape installs are ventilated.
I'm sure that all of the battery installation are ventilated... sufficiently to avoid a dangerous build-up of hydrogen gas. Sufficient ventilation to dissipate the heat of high charge rates or charging at high voltage is another matter.

Although some owners choose to use valve-regulated (VRLA) batteries - such as the AGM - I think all of the battery choices offered by ETI (one group 27 12V, one group 29 12V, or two one "golf cart" 6V) are of the flooded type... so they will consume water.
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Old 10-14-2014, 07:37 PM   #64
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]The built in WFCO charger will only fill your batteries to 76% of their useful capacity.
Paul I'm having trouble understanding why the WFCO will not charge more than 76% for dual 6v batteries. I understand that an ideal charging voltage will maximize the life span of the batteries. For example I have read the ideal charge rate of NiMh batteries is a current that is 1/2 the rated capacity of the battery - that that rate of charge makes them last the longest - ie a 2000 mAh rated battery charged at 1000 mA. But if you charge them at a lower current, it takes longer to charge (and may not give you the longest battery lifespan), but it eventually gets the battery to its capacity.

So wouldn't a lower voltage (as long as that voltage is at least say 13- 14v) with a decent amount of amps, get our dual 6vs to their capacity - but it just takes longer to get there?

I know I didn't pay nearly enough attention to chemistry in college so maybe there is something about the chemical reaction going on inside lead acid batteries during charging that explains it? Or maybe my aging brain is just missing something simple.
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Old 10-14-2014, 10:50 PM   #65
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Generators are like plastic bags in grocery stores: they need to go away-especially in campgrounds. I would be as embarrassed with using one as I would cranking my Bose Soundwave. With the technology that exists, most people can do without a generator. Just takes time for the innovation to diffuse through society unfortunately.
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Old 10-14-2014, 11:05 PM   #66
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Generators are like plastic bags in grocery stores: they need to go away-especially in campgrounds. I would be as embarrassed with using one as I would cranking my Bose Soundwave. With the technology that exists, most people can do without a generator. Just takes time for the innovation to diffuse through society unfortunately.
Last time I camped in California people ran their tow vehicle engines to charge up their batteries if they didn't have a generator since there were no electric hookups in the state campground.
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Old 10-14-2014, 11:08 PM   #67
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Generators are like plastic bags in grocery stores: they need to go away-especially in campgrounds. I would be as embarrassed with using one as I would cranking my Bose Soundwave. With the technology that exists, most people can do without a generator. Just takes time for the innovation to diffuse through society unfortunately.
Although I tend to agree with you, what are the options when camping during several days of overcast rainy skies with no power available ? How good is solar now during constant overcast grey days ? Our trailer is solar ready, but we won't be camping much where power is an option and unfortunately fall camping means rain/grey skies. I am seriously considering solar, but is the technology there yet for me to recharge the batteries during these conditions ?
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Old 10-14-2014, 11:08 PM   #68
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Great now we're attacking plastic bags, what next....

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Old 10-14-2014, 11:17 PM   #69
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unfortunately fall camping means rain/grey skies. I am seriously considering solar, but is the technology there yet for me to recharge the batteries during these conditions ?
For moderate power usage, yes...

The furnace fan is the big draw in fall weather. As long as you don't need to run the furnace a lot, you will get enough power from grey skies. Of course this doesn't answer "how much is a lot?" and "how grey?"...
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Old 10-14-2014, 11:18 PM   #70
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Doesn't take time. Takes money. 20 years of waiting and you'll still be in the dark. $20 trillion dollars and we'll all have our own nuclear power plant the size of a thumb drive we just plug in to power our stuff.
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