Dual 160w roof solar + 90w portable - possible? / 320w :run fridge? - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 08-08-2016, 06:26 PM   #1
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Question Dual 160w roof solar + 90w portable - possible? / 320w :run fridge?

Hi all

On the home stretch of the final detail of our 21'

I don't want to debate the merits of towing with the fridge on propane.... i prefer not to. I know this is hotly debated. I would prefer not to debate that....

My question is.... ETI tells me that they CAN put dual 160 w solar panels on a 21' on the roof, as long as it is done during the initial build. I'm pretty sure this is so they can re-enforce and do blocking as need be, to make the 2nd panel secure.

Yes we are getting HVAC, and they know this.

Yes we are getting the dual 6v.

I also have a 90 w portable panel... i'm going to have ETI wire in my pigtail during the build.

We like to boondock... sometimes in the cloudy snowy mountains.

My 1st question is.... would the stock solar power system be able to handle 160w + 160w + 90 w?

Just in case we are in the shade, it is grey, and we have the portable panel out, and while we are hiking the sun comes out.

The second question is - assuming fully charged dual 6v..... and sunny California towing..... i am guessing that having 160w + a second 160w on the roof could pretty much run the fridge on electrical?

Our tug does a pretty good job of feeding power back, as well (after I had much thicker wire wired in my a towing shop. The stock tow package wire was a joke )

thanks
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Old 08-08-2016, 06:53 PM   #2
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See my post on the thread "dual solar panels on a 21" it's post#2.


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Old 08-08-2016, 07:09 PM   #3
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Quote:
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See my post on the thread "dual solar panels on a 21" it's post#2.


John
Hi John

POST #2 there says "Hi: OldstersOutside... Ask Jubal; he knows every thing about wiring an Escape trailer!!! Alf"

You're not Alf. and I don't know who Jubal is.

I'm confused.
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Old 08-08-2016, 07:11 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Losangeles View Post
Hi John

POST #2 there says "Hi: OldstersOutside... Ask Jubal; he knows every thing about wiring an Escape trailer!!! Alf"

You're not Alf. and I don't know who Jubal is.

I'm confused.
It was actually post #4. Direct Link: Dual Solar Panels on a 21
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Old 08-08-2016, 07:18 PM   #5
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Sorry gang. Just looked, it's post 4. If memory serves, I had a seniors moment there. Mostly memory doesn't serve. I just wish it would let me know when it let's me down! Thank for catching me.

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Old 08-08-2016, 07:20 PM   #6
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For #1, yes, the stock 30A controller can handle the 3 panels but it's not the most efficient setup. You'd be better off going MPPT.
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Old 08-08-2016, 07:41 PM   #7
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Mppt??
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Old 08-08-2016, 07:45 PM   #8
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Old 08-08-2016, 07:45 PM   #9
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To directly answer your questions.
1. The stock controller is rated for 30 amps. The manual states the controller can take up to 495 watts at 12v. You look to be ok but are getting close IMHO. The controller manual also states the max voltage it can tke from a panel is 28v. The ETI supplied panels have an output voltage of 17.2 v. There will be some drop thru the wires to the controller. I don't know what that will be. You should check he voltage output of your portable and contact the ETI supplier (currently gopower/samlex).

2. In my experience with our rmd 8555 fridge two x 160 panels will power the fridge while towing or not towing if they are in direct sun. In cloudy conditions they will come close to doing so. Our fridge uses 2-3 amps at 110 volt. That's 220-330 watts. But it's only intermittent usage, more duration depending on ambient temp. My experience is at 80-90 F. Not 100 plus.

John (not gonna say what post # this is)
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Old 08-08-2016, 08:19 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Mppt??
There are 2 types of solar controllers PWM and MPPT, MPPT's a bit better then PWM under certain conditions.

It's a moot point as ETI only installs PWM. Forget I typed it.
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Old 08-08-2016, 08:40 PM   #11
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Go for it!

Your plan to put dual 160 w solar panels on the roof is a GREAT idea that you will never regret and dual 6 volt batteries is also. You will easily always re-charge those batteries by mid-morning, no matter how you draw from them during the day. The ETI charge controller is JUST FINE for your setup. At this point don't get hung up about the solar charger technology. What you have will work well. Many owners myself included, make changes later over time and you can too.

I have 3 mounted and adjustable solar panels, four 6 volt batteries, a programmable solar controller , and , and...but we all like to tinker over time. Your plan is GREAT! Go for it!

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Old 08-08-2016, 08:55 PM   #12
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Your plan to put dual 160 w solar panels on the roof is a GREAT idea that you will never regret and dual 6 volt batteries is also. You will easily always re-charge those batteries by mid-morning, no matter how you draw from them during the day. The ETI charge controller is JUST FINE for your setup. At this point don't get hung up about the solar charger technology. Your plan is GREAT! Go for it!

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Old 08-08-2016, 09:17 PM   #13
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The second question is - assuming fully charged dual 6v..... and sunny California towing..... i am guessing that having 160w + a second 160w on the roof could pretty much run the fridge on electrical?
thanks
Yes, you can run the fridge on this setup, at least in full sunlight, in the summer. I have 355W total from three roof-mount panels that will run the fridge without draining the batteries, while towing at least.

You will be surprised at how much difference the time of year and time of day make in producing power from solar panels. Even in sunny California.
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Old 08-08-2016, 09:23 PM   #14
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Our tug does a pretty good job of feeding power back, as well (after I had much thicker wire wired in my a towing shop. The stock tow package wire was a joke )
thanks
Please elaborate on your mod of the towing harness. I think I have the same problem with getting output from the truck's alternator to the trailer's batteries.
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Old 08-09-2016, 03:06 AM   #15
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Thanks everyone for the thoughts...... I wasnt planning on the extra $850 CAD ($650-ish USD currently) for the SECOND roof mounted solar panel.... but thinking about how we like to camp, and given that we'll have the all plug inverter and dual 6v, it would be great to never have to worry about power, pretty much ever, it sounds..... even towing with Fridge on electricity.

we would monitor stuff, but 320 watts on the roof would be sweet. GET OUT THE BLENDER HONEY IT'S MARGARITA TIME!

Quote:
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Please elaborate on your mod of the towing harness. I think I have the same problem with getting output from the truck's alternator to the trailer's batteries.
I discovered (the hard way) that the towing package on the Acura MDX uses super thin wire to get the power back to the trailer connection.

I confirmed this with a senior tech at Acura, who happened to tow things and know about towing.

I went to a nearby trusted hitch shop in Monrovia and they ran super thick wire from the battery back to the hitch, and also wired in some sort of fuse on that wire as protection, somehow. I'm not so hip on the exact details, but they knew what they were doing

I noticed an immediate change when towing our (now sold) Casita..... when towing all day, with the fridge on 12v, after the mod we'd arrive with a 100% charged Casita battery....

before the mod was done, we'd arrive with a 60% discharged Casita battery.

cheers

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Old 08-09-2016, 08:07 AM   #16
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Many wiring setups have "some sorta fuse thingy" to protect different parts of the electrical system. As I became more familiar with my particular setup, I located the fuses, pulled them apart and noted the fuse being used and got a spare of that type and size. If they never overload good, if they do, I'm prepared. They are in my plastic tool box with other "emergency" components. Last trip, my porch light bulb burned out. Fixed now and a spare if it happens again. NoteTo self,' turn light off in driving rain.
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Old 08-09-2016, 08:34 AM   #17
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I find with the 100% LED lights now in the Escape that the license plate is still not a LED bulb and does burn out.
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Old 08-09-2016, 09:21 AM   #18
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I find with the 100% LED lights now in the Escape that the license plate is still not a LED bulb and does burn out.
Hi: cpaharley2008... Some things are still "Old fashioned". Alf
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Old 08-09-2016, 10:01 AM   #19
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There are 2 types of solar controllers PWM and MPPT, MPPT's a bit better then PWM under certain conditions.

It's a moot point as ETI only installs PWM. Forget I typed it.
MPPT comes into play when and if the panels are 24 volts or higher. Escape uses 12 volt style panels. MPPT is (was?) expensive so save your $$.

--
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Old 08-09-2016, 11:03 AM   #20
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I discovered (the hard way) that the towing package on the Acura MDX uses super thin wire to get the power back to the trailer connection.
...
I went to a nearby trusted hitch shop in Monrovia and they ran super thick wire from the battery back to the hitch, and also wired in some sort of fuse on that wire as protection, somehow. I'm not so hip on the exact details, but they knew what they were doing
Assuming that this custom wire completely bypasses the Acura installation, it definitely needs to have an over-current protection device (a fuse or circuit breaker) in this circuit near the battery. I used an auto-reset circuit breaker (cuts out if current gets to high, then resets itself after a time delay), but a manually reset circuit breaker and a fuse are both reasonable alternatives.

The Acura system would likely also have a relay which turns off power to the trailer when the engine is not running, to keep the trailer from draining down the tug's battery. Although some people like to manage this manually - by unplugging the trailer every time they stop - normally a custom installation would include a relay. The relay is usually controlled by ignition (or accessory) switched power, but can also respond to voltage.
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