Initial Impressions of Dual 6V with Solar - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 05-22-2013, 09:58 AM   #1
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Initial Impressions of Dual 6V with Solar

We were out camping with our new 19' this past May Long Weekend and were able to give our trailers dual 6V and solar system its first true operational test. There were four of us sleeping in the trailer and two additional family members staying in tents at our site. The trailer was parked in an area of the campground with unimpeded access to sunshine. Weather was fairly good with partial blue skies for most of the time we were there, but there were some overcast periods with even a bit of light rain. We did not have any electrical hookups and were relying on batteries for power. Our power consumption was fairly heavy, as we used the water pump, fridge (on propane), furnace on off throughout each night, watched a few DVD movies on TV, charged an Ipad and 2 Ipods, and made ample use of the inside LED lighting. Although the solar controller indicated that the battery level was as low as about 83% just before we went to bed in the evenings, by the time I would get up at about 7:30am the following morning, the dual 6V's were always at 100% charge. We are extremely happy with this performance and are eager to continue to use our 19' in a wide range of settings and circumstances.

At this time, I would not hesitate to recommend to others considering a new Escape, to go with the dual 6V batteries and solar option.

One thing I did notice with the excellent electrical and charging system in the Escape is that the generator noise coming from our neighbors in the campground seemed extremely loud and irritating. Hopefully we will be able to spend more time boondocking by ourselves and avoid generator noise as much as possible.

dave
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Old 05-22-2013, 09:06 PM   #2
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Dave,
Do you have any numbers of actual amp hour usage? Is it possible a group 31 or 29 battery with
less total would have worked?
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Old 05-23-2013, 12:49 AM   #3
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We were also out this past weekend, and benefited from our solar set up. I tried something new by using an igloo DC cooler to supplement our fridge. I did not keep it plugged in all the time, as it did draw the batteries down as low as 41 percent, but as soon as we unplugged the cooler, we were back to 100 percent in short order. And that is with shade most of the time. The thing I love about the solar is that you never worry about running the batteries down, as they just bounce back as soon as the sun is up. In this case, I really didn't need the cooler, I was just play'in around!
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Old 05-23-2013, 01:11 AM   #4
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We were also out this past weekend, and benefited from our solar set up. I tried something new by using an igloo DC cooler to supplement our fridge. I did not keep it plugged in all the time, as it did draw the batteries down as low as 41 percent, but as soon as we unplugged the cooler, we were back to 100 percent in short order. And that is with shade most of the time. The thing I love about the solar is that you never worry about running the batteries down, as they just bounce back as soon as the sun is up. In this case, I really didn't need the cooler, I was just play'in around!
Dave, It sounds like you are really happy with your solar system. So am I and know exactly how you feel. Isn't it great to get power from the sun!!

BTW, I am also going to supplement my fridge (freezer) capacity with an EvaKool portable cooler (ordered) that is supposed to keep ice for up to three weeks. I will probably remove the freezer section from my fridge to open up the space for 100% refrigeration and keep all frozen stuff in the portable icebox.

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Old 05-23-2013, 01:22 AM   #5
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Just added Solar Charging to my trailer. Used a 120 Watt panel. Routed the wires down the fridge vent, under the trailer to the electrical box. Have two 6-volt batteries mounted on the hitch. It charges even in low light.
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Old 05-23-2013, 09:12 AM   #6
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Dave, It sounds like you are really happy with your solar system. So am I and know exactly how you feel. Isn't it great to get power from the sun!! ...
Steve
It is great. Even though there is a fairly hefty cost for the solar option, every time those batteries are charged to 100% by the sun, it kind of feels like you have gotten something for free.
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Old 05-23-2013, 10:14 AM   #7
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I like the idea of the Igloo DC cooler! (we only have the smaller version of interior refrigeration). We have a 12V jack outside the trailer we could plug into. Does the Igloo draw much power? We're just running two new (group 27) 12V batteries and an Escape solar kit.
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Old 05-23-2013, 09:56 PM   #8
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The solar install from the factory is cheaper than having it installed later. Reace does a fine job.
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Old 05-24-2013, 12:52 AM   #9
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The Igloo cooler ($99.00 at Costco), does draw a fair amount of current. I'm not into the technical monitoring and calculations, but when the sun was out the batteries charged, but in the shade they would lose ground. Of course it is a cooler, so it keeps nice and cold even when not plugged in, so keeping it plugged in intermittently worked fine. When driving it cools well on DC. I have read that Engel coolers draw far less power, and can even be used as a freezer, but they start around $800. They are used by EMTs to transport organs etc, so would be fine for beer too.
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Old 05-24-2013, 01:43 AM   #10
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My son and his wife took our 19 out for 4 days of camping / hunting. They used the solar exclusively for power including running the fridge all day, propane at night. Batteries dropped to mid 40% by dinner time. Fully charged early in the morning. Weather was mixed cloud, rain and sun ( on the "Sunshine Coast").
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Old 05-24-2013, 11:20 AM   #11
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I guess with an Escape solar install, one never has to worry about plugging in to a surge protector until the AC is needed!?!
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Old 05-25-2013, 12:22 PM   #12
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Those of you with a solar panel and an inverter.

Where is your inverter located, where did you splice into a 12v line or did you tap into the battery itself for simple 110v power. Does anyone have pictures?
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Old 06-18-2013, 10:16 AM   #13
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Spent this past weekend in the 19' camping at an unserviced site in Jasper National Park. Most of the weekend was cloudy with only a few sunny periods. We had pretty heavy morning and evening usage of the electrical including water pump, furnace (on-off all night), Max-fan, chargers for IPods, Television (watched a movie), and interior lights. Even with all of this, the dual 6V batteries with solar charger performed very well and I don't recall seeing the battery charge level drop below about 80 percent. I cannot say enough how happy we are with this system.

Despite the rain, I still managed to get some good whitewater paddling in on the Athabasca River with my son.
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Old 06-18-2013, 07:02 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J Mac View Post
Those of you with a solar panel and an inverter.

Where is your inverter located, where did you splice into a 12v line or did you tap into the battery itself for simple 110v power. Does anyone have pictures?
You should connect the inverter directly to the battery with a fuse and appropriately heavy cables. We located ours under the front driver side bench seat since our battery is on the tongue.

See Inverter installed! | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

I connected 110 volt power from the inverter to the top of each of the 110 volt outlets. The bottom of each outlet is on shore power. (You can split the top and bottom of each outlet.) I installed a remote on/off switch for the inverter close to the front 110 volt outlet. We leave the inverter off except when we need 110 volt power. This saves a bit of energy.
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Old 06-19-2013, 02:02 AM   #15
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Reace installed our 1500 inverter the week before the Osoyoos retreat. It's new to us and again - we love it. He installed it next to the battery under the dinette, and the control panel for it is near our 02 and LP sensor (again - under the dinette). Easy access to turn on/off.

We asked Reace to change the outlet that houses our microwave and other 'kitchen' appliances. We have the 5.0, so the microwave is mounted on the counter opposite the shower/toilet area.

Love the inverter... When on the road we can stop, use the microwave, make a cup of coffee and get back on the road in minutes. When boondocking I can even use my blow dryer for my hair (under 1500 w). Happy Camper.
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Old 06-19-2013, 07:24 AM   #16
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Here is a photo of my installation. 1000w inverter wired directly to the batteries with #0 cable, fuse & switch.
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