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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Originally Posted by ddevin View Post
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.

Steve
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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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