Solar considerations on a 21; Where to locate Batteries - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 02-12-2015, 11:31 AM   #1
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Solar considerations on a 21; Where to locate Batteries

I'm wanting a large solar system ( Steve HFT type ) I'll start with 2 6v batteries, maybe go to 4 if needed ( love the SteveNovacool refer ) So the tongue seems to be the best location, if I were to increase battery capacity. But now I'm fighting large tongue weights. What are real world weights for the 21? The spec is #360 plus 4X 66 lbs batteries, a 25lb solar panel on the roof = 650 lbs 4500 lb loaded trailer @ 13% = 585lbs . So it seems that when loading the trailer you " load back heavy" behind the rear axel to compensate, does that work ?

Am I just dreaming or is it possible to put 3 160 watt panels on the roof , Probaly not going w/ air conditioner but I would like to install second Maxx fan in it's place. With all those panels on the roof, It's like parking in the shade


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Old 02-12-2015, 11:52 AM   #2
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... But now I'm fighting large tongue weights. What are real world weights for the 21? The spec is #360 plus 4X 66 lbs batteries, a 25lb solar panel on the roof = 650 lbs 4500 lb loaded trailer @ 13% = 585lbs . So it seems that when loading the trailer you " load back heavy" behind the rear axel to compensate, does that work ?
That works to reach a desired tongue weight, but it puts the big masses out at the ends of the trailer which is bad for stability. I would rather find a way to place those huge boxes of lead (the batteries) closer to the axle, and avoid the tongue-heavy problem in the first place.
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Old 02-12-2015, 12:13 PM   #3
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There are a bunch of Escape 19's listed on the "Trailer Weights in the Real World" spreadsheet at LakeshoreImages. I keep this Excel sortable version of Frederick's original kept at Fiberglass RV. (With Frederick's permission).
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Old 02-12-2015, 03:44 PM   #4
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Now that the furnace has moved out of the street side dinette, maybe Reace can locate another battery box there.
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Old 02-12-2015, 05:18 PM   #5
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Now that the furnace has moved out of the street side dinette, maybe Reace can locate another battery box there.
Now that's finding a silver lining!

Does that mean all four batteries in the back, two under each side of the dinette, given that the stock battery location in a 21-foot is under the forward end of the curbside dinette seat (or is that just with a single battery?)

If you don't mind a set of 4 batteries located as two widely separated pairs (rather than all four together), then a pair in the dinette and a pair up front (on the tongue? under the bed?) seems like another viable option.

Another option (regardless of furnace location) is to put all four batteries under the bed.
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... Only about a foot of the black tank intruding into the center front and the hot water tank took up a foot or so at the back of the compartment. On that unit there was a storage compartment accessible from inside at the foot of the bed behind the water heater.
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Under the bed seems like a big space which could still accommodate even four batteries in a box even with those other things in it, at the expense of storage of course.
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Old 02-12-2015, 05:50 PM   #6
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The tongue weight on my 21' BlackJack is 500# loaded. I have one group 29 battery in the rear as well as other items stored in the dinette storage. I have very light outdoor mats and clothes under the bed. I'm planning on replacing the single battery with dual 6ers very soon and hope to reduce my tongue weight. I'd strongly suggest installing the dual 6ers on each side of the rear dinette, that should help with your heavy tongue weight which you will have with the 21'.
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Old 02-12-2015, 06:14 PM   #7
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The tongue weight on my 21' BlackJack is 500# loaded. I have one group 29 battery in the rear...
I'd strongly suggest installing the dual 6ers on each side of the rear dinette, that should help with your heavy tongue weight which you will have with the 21'.
Good info, Jim. It looks like any forward weight shift is problematic, so even with four batteries they should all be in the back, or at least half of them with the other half under the bed (not on the tongue). Mass out at the ends of the trailer is undesirable, but the front end of the dinette seat is much closer to the axle than anywhere on the tongue.

If there is space under the curb-side dinette seat, the tidiest installation would likely be to put in one box big enough for four batteries in that location, only putting in two batteries to start if desired.

Two batteries on each side of the dinette is still an option, but is not as easy to wire properly.

Does anyone know what the side-to-side weight distribution is like? Will having four batteries all under the curbside dinette seat cause an issue with being too curbside-heavy?
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Old 02-12-2015, 06:28 PM   #8
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I was told I could not order 4 in the curb side on my 2014. If that does not change then its a split we are looking at.
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Old 02-12-2015, 08:35 PM   #9
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Jim,
Thanks for your info, as Brian said seems that a split in the rear dinnet would be best for good weight distribution. The wiring with a split battery set up should work with sizing cables with voltage loss in mind. Although 4 in a row would be easier. Maybe Reese couldn't' put 4 on the curb side because of space restrictions not weight. With the heater moved……..Maybe . Did Reese give a reason why?

If the water heater was moved forward under the bed,( so the batteries would be closer to the axel and farther from the tongue) 4 batteries would fit side by side perpendicular to the outside wall.

Seems the tongue weight on the 21 is much higher than the 19. I think I read that Steve ( HFT) with 4 batteries on the tongue is 500lbs also.
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Old 02-12-2015, 10:01 PM   #10
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That works to reach a desired tongue weight, but it puts the big masses out at the ends of the trailer which is bad for stability. I would rather find a way to place those huge boxes of lead (the batteries) closer to the axle, and avoid the tongue-heavy problem in the first place.
Brian, scientifically you are right but in this case I think this is pretty theoretical. If you put two 6's in back to start with and put a second pair on the tongue later with #4 or larger cables connecting the bunch I think you would have the ideal setup. Long cables will work fine with typical trailer loads including a DC fridge. The 130 lbs front and back are fairly light compared to the rest of the trailer and the tongue weight would be in a very acceptable range for your TV. If you get the front box (which you absolutely should) you have room for the next pair if you decide to go that route. 4 batteries hidden under the dinette will not be easy to access no matter how you arrange them. BTW, go for the three big panels, 4 may even fit on a 21!...

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Old 02-12-2015, 10:28 PM   #11
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With the furnace space now available in the rear, the converter can be installed on the back of the "U" and both dinette sides are now open. With weight equalization an issue, what other options a being considered in the trailer? I Have the oven on the curb side and the larger fridge on the street side. The water heater is fixed and any additional batteries under the bed will intrude upon the hatch space opening as there has to be a vent to the outside. One pair may fit forward of the w/h that is all. My suggestion is have ETI install one group 29 on the curb and another on the street side. The larger group 29 box is the same as the dual sixes box, making an upgrade simpler during post delivery as the wiring will all be in place. If you drop the a/c, dual ETI 195 panels should fit on roof. The weight saving from dropping the a/c should compensate for the additional steal sixers.
Just my thoughts, run it by Reace.
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Old 02-12-2015, 10:35 PM   #12
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Am I just dreaming or is it possible to put 3 160 watt panels on the roof , Probaly not going w/ air conditioner but I would like to install second Maxx fan in it's place. With all those panels on the roof, It's like parking in the shade
Craig
My Escape 21 had the 95W panel, and I had an additional 100W panel added to it by AM Solar in Oregon. When AM Solar added this panel I was told that the trailer had room for two more 100W panels, which could be located at the front, longitudinally and side-by-side. However, these panels appear to be smaller in size than the 160W panel that Escape now provides. My trailer has the A/C unit and one roof vent.

I have the dual 6V batteries. AM Solar warned me not to add additional battery capacity unless I was sure I needed it. If I did, I could run into the problem of never being able to get the batteries fully charged via the solar panels.
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Old 02-12-2015, 10:46 PM   #13
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good point on the additional drain on the converter and controller with more than one set of sixers
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Old 02-13-2015, 10:10 AM   #14
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Something to consider...installing Lithium batteries...cut the weight in half compared to AGM and increased usable capacity. The downside more $$$ but they will outlast wet cell batteries. Check out AM Solar if you have questions...great company.
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Old 02-13-2015, 08:58 PM   #15
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I agree that the right type of lithium battery (which I believe is LiFePO4) would work well in a trailer. Unfortunately, that extra cost is about $1000 per battery (plus perhaps a specific charger to suit them), and I would find it difficult to justify that cost premium.

Lithium would help the weight and balance issues.
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Old 02-14-2015, 12:18 PM   #16
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I agree that the right type of lithium battery (which I believe is LiFePO4) would work well in a trailer. Unfortunately, that extra cost is about $1000 per battery (plus perhaps a specific charger to suit them), and I would find it difficult to justify that cost premium.

Lithium would help the weight and balance issues.
Yes Lithium power to weight ratio is outstanding. AM solar told me 3-4 times the cost per amp hr up front, But predicted life span is 3-4 time longer. But I can't find any real world stories to back up these claims of life expectancy. Maybe because they have been around for very long. With good battery management one can get 7-10 years from a lead/acid battery. Still, very expensive to save some weight.
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Old 02-14-2015, 12:37 PM   #17
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Help with solar question. What does the stock Escape solar panel wiring look like underneath the panel? Is there a connection between the panel and the wire into the trailer than can be opened? I'm wanting to add another panel and need a joint where I can use the mc4 "Y" connector to connect the new panel and then push the joint back under neath the original 95 watt panel on the roof?
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Old 02-14-2015, 12:39 PM   #18
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Brian, scientifically you are right but in this case I think this is pretty theoretical. If you put two 6's in back to start with and put a second pair on the tongue later with #4 or larger cables connecting the bunch I think you would have the ideal setup. Long cables will work fine with typical trailer loads including a DC fridge. The 130 lbs front and back are fairly light compared to the rest of the trailer and the tongue weight would be in a very acceptable range for your TV. If you get the front box (which you absolutely should) you have room for the next pair if you decide to go that route. 4 batteries hidden under the dinette will not be easy to access no matter how you arrange them. BTW, go for the three big panels, 4 may even fit on a 21!...

Steve
Just how restricted is the access to the batteries under the dinette? Once in place Wouldn't I only need to add water on occasion ?
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Old 02-14-2015, 12:53 PM   #19
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You have easy access to the battery under the dinette, here are some pictures
Attached Images
File Type: jpg DSCN1375.JPG (136.5 KB, 19 views)
File Type: jpg DSCN1378.JPG (122.8 KB, 15 views)
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Old 02-14-2015, 12:54 PM   #20
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If you put two 6's in back to start with and put a second pair on the tongue later with #4 or larger cables connecting the bunch I think you would have the ideal setup. Long cables will work fine with typical trailer loads including a DC fridge.
I agree that the long cables can be managed. My concern would not really be with the length, but with matching the two banks so that a difference in cable length causing one bank to do more of the work, and the other to not get fully charged. Maybe Steve has a good point, and that the currents would be so low (even while charging?) that the voltage drops over heavy cable would be small enough that this would not be a concern.
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