Solar 160 w? vs Dual 6V Lifeline AGM batteries? why is the solar costly? - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 09-21-2015, 03:56 AM   #1
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Question Solar 160 w? vs Dual 6V Lifeline AGM batteries? why is the solar costly?

Solar 160 w? vs Dual 6V Lifeline AGM batteries?

About to order our 21’ Escape! Getting started on planning our build sheet…

I myself intensely dislike hydrometers and sulfuric acid…. so I upgraded the stock (1 stage) Casita power “brain” (Parallax Power Supply Lower Section 7345 Converter) to a fancier one. (PROGRESSIVE DYNAMICS ) then installed a sealed AGM Lifeline GPL-27T battery. Sealed, high performance. Works great!

My question is…. this is a $300 battery (ouch)

should i just get ONE for our 21’ escape, and save up for the roof top solar add on ($850) ?

or get TWO 6 v plus the solar panels? (or is that overkill?)

we do like boondocking……. but we do not need the inverter, and don’t need to use 120v at all when boondocking. Just fridge on propane, occasional furnace on propane, LED lights… not much….

oh and any guesses as to why the solar add on is $850? That seems like a LOT...... i know the panels and the electronics are not very much...... seems a bit overpriced? Surprising to me when I see a fair price for mostly all the other mods. What am I missing?

thanks for any thoughts.
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Old 09-21-2015, 07:55 AM   #2
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There is nothing wrong with installing the AGM battery but I'd wait until the stock dual sixers nead to be replaced. The 6 volts are have thicker cells and will last a long time. True once a year you some some water but other than that they are maintenance free. Another issue is size, dual 27 AGM's may not fit. Definitely a good match up with the stock solar.
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Old 09-21-2015, 08:47 AM   #3
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I don't think it is a matter of dual 6V vs solar, but a balance of what your needs are.

If you have adequate solar collection on a daily basis, I would think a single 12V would be adequate, especially if you don't need an inverter. I am thinking of going this route, but still thinking.....

If you were a heavy power user, and used an inverter regularly, you might want to increase your storage to allow for these periods of higher draw.

Still, having dual 6V to me seems like fairly cheap insurance to ensure you do not run out of power on an extremely cold night, when the daytime skies might be constantly overcast. Worse case scenario, but you know it will happen if you are not prepared.

I haven't yet looked at costs for available solar, but if you would rather build in your own system, that is an option later. The labour would certainly be cheaper.

Regarding flooded vs AGM, there is no doubt that the AGM is better, but the 6V flooded seem to work just great, and checking the levels once or twice a year, is no big deal, so I will likely opt to save a few bucks there.
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Old 09-21-2015, 11:24 AM   #4
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I wud go with dual 6v and 1 solar panel.
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Old 09-21-2015, 11:29 AM   #5
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Battery capacity is the foundation of a good off-grid system, so the dual 6V was an easy decision for us. The flooded battery's have always worked fine for us, so have never considered going to the price point for AGM's. The $850 for solar installation is right inline for having it professionally installed, but when you pay for it with the current exchange rate in USD it's a great price. I would like tilt capability on the panel rather than a fixed mount, but may mod that in after the fact.
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Old 09-21-2015, 12:20 PM   #6
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Thanks everyone for the good thoughts....

I already own a Honda 2000 that I modded (with a kit) to run on propane (and it works great!)

and I already own a portable solar panel (with an long optional cord, to place the panels where there is sun - as in a forest....)

so perhaps a better use of $ and weight would be to have ETI add a way to tap my portable solar panels into their solar system......



that would be the best setup for us, i think.


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Old 09-21-2015, 12:26 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Losangeles View Post
I already own a Honda 2000 that I modded (with a kit) to run on propane (and it works great!)
Wow... cool! I didn't know that was possible!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Losangeles View Post
so perhaps a better use of $ and weight would be to have ETI add a way to tap my portable solar panels into their solar system.
That's what I'm going to do. I don't have a portable solar panel, but want the option to easily add one later.
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Old 09-21-2015, 12:27 PM   #8
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or leave the generator at home, get the factory package with dual sixers and have them install a tap for your portable panel. Other than a/c, you would not need a generator.
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Old 09-21-2015, 12:29 PM   #9
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Adding a portable solar panel to the existing installation isn't a problem. I have the 160 watt panel, and had ETI place the charge controller close to where I intend to bring in the wire for the portable unit at a later date. You can either connect direct to the batteries, or through the charge controller.
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Old 09-21-2015, 12:48 PM   #10
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Honda 2000 propane gas conversion:

A few different make conversion kits... and after a bunch of research I went with Propane carbs: 1-877-425-8383

It was a little fiddly to do myself - but someone who was more mechanically minded than me would find it easy.

I took my time, and did give them a call once to have them walk me thru one step.

It consistently starts on the first few pulls, and fits in a large Tupperware type bin I bought at HoneDepot.

The big plus for Propane + Honda 2000 conversion kit is:

It can still run on gasoline if need be……. but I have NEVER put gasoline in the 2000.

We live in an earthquake zone (SoCal) and a generator is a good thing to have!

Gasoline goes stale and bad in 6-ish months… so I did not want to have to keep gasoline around, and also have to rotate it….

We always have 3 bottles around… and propane NEVER goes stale.

Plus I can securely strap the 2000 into the back of our SUV tug, and there is zero smell, as it has never had gas in it.
When we boondock we sometimes take the Generator, but just end up leaving it in the tug the whole time. It is insurance.

Did I mention that I REALLY hate battery acid and hydrometers?

so this is why I’m leaning towards one sealed AGM, adding roof solar, plus a tap to get into the system with my portable solar panels, plus we have the 2000 propane generator.

:-)

If i was to get the dual 6 volt wet - I know they go under the dinette seat…..

if I was to NOT get the dual 6v…. where does the single 12 v go?

thanks
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