Solar power question - Escape Trailer Owners Community

Go Back   Escape Trailer Owners Community > Escape Tech > Escape Systems | Water, Waste, Charging & Propane
Click Here to Login
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 10-06-2019, 02:23 PM   #1
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2019
Location: Greenwood, Indiana
Trailer: 2019 Escape 5.0TA
Posts: 13
Question Solar power question

Hi all. I'm just about to finalize my build sheet and need to talk about solar options.

I chose to have the dual batteries.


I understand that a solar panel will only charge my batteries unless I get an inverter. That said, I need to know how much solar power to get for boon-docking.

I have the 190W Solar Panel with Charge Controller selected. I can get an additional 190W panel for the roof or I can opt for the Zamp Solar Port. ETI will install the Zamp port and connect it to the roof mount charge controller. This would enable both the portable panel and roof mount panel to be regulated through the charge controller.



I like the idea of having both panels on the top - I will, however, not be able to have the TV Jack - I am still undecided on the TV options. Leaning toward no TV.



Is there an advantage to getting the Zamp instead of the additional roof panel? Will the two 190W Solar panels provide enough electrical power while boon-docking?



Thanks for your help.
__________________

__________________
Carmel Clown
Carmel Clown is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-06-2019, 02:38 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
Jim Bennett's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Trailer: 2017 Escape 5.0 TA
Posts: 14,154
Unless you use an inverter lots, a single panel will service you just fine. Worst case scenario is having to watch your draw when cloudy, but your batteries can handle 2 or 3 days of moderate usage with no charge. Having a smaller portable for additional charge when needed it is all that I would do.
__________________

__________________
2017 Escape 5.0 TA
2015 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5L EcoBoost
2009 Escape 19 (previous)
“Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” — Abraham Lincoln
Jim Bennett is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-06-2019, 02:51 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
Vermilye's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Oswego, New York
Trailer: 2017 Escape 21, 2018 Ford F150
Posts: 3,429
Rather than repeat them here, check the facebook page for my suggestions.
__________________
Jon Vermilye My Travel Blog
Travel and Photo Web Page ... My Collection of RV Blogs 2018 F150 3.5EB, 2017 21
Vermilye is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-06-2019, 03:05 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
alanmalk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Arvada, Colorado
Trailer: '21 - 'Velocity'. Tow: Toyota Tacoma V6, 4X4, manual.
Posts: 761
The maximum power you can make is dependent on: The number of panels you purchase, how much shade you camp in, the time of year, the daily weather and your latitude. In that regard, if you are leaning towards making lot of power then go for both the second roof panel AND the portable inlet. The portable panel will partially compensate for high latitudes and your shady location.

How much solar you need is purely dependent on your camping style.

Using the high drain appliances will suck up the battery power (via the inverter). Microwave, toaster, coffee maker, hair dryer, etc, all consume lots of power, primarily to make heat.
alanmalk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-06-2019, 03:26 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: North Van., British Columbia
Trailer: 2014 Escape 19, sold; 2019 Escape 21, Sept. 2019
Posts: 4,808
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carmel Clown View Post

I understand that a solar panel will only charge my batteries unless I get an inverter.
Not sure what you mean by that. Solar charges batteries inverter or no inverter.

Unless you do get an inverter and plan to heavily use a microwave then one fixed panel should do you just fine.

Ron
Ron in BC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-06-2019, 03:26 PM   #6
Senior Member
 
John in Santa Cruz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Mid Left Coast, California
Trailer: 2014 Escape 21
Posts: 1,482
i have the older 160W rooftop solar with the dual batteries, and I'm fairly careful about my DC usage, I've never had any issues boon-docking for a week+ at a time. generally by mid morning my batteries are fully charged. I'm generally camping in the spring-to-fall season, rarely more northerly than 42N (I live at 37N), and most often out in the open since I'm doing astronomy at night, trees get in the way. I don't use any sort of 120VAC electrical appliances, although I do have a portable 300W inverter I'll use to recharge laptop batteries and such. I cook and heat with propane.
__________________
2014 Escape 21 (home away from home)
2002 Ford F250 7.3 Diesel 4x4 (tug)
1993 Mercedes 300CE Cabriolet (daily driver)
2006 Yellow Lab (Maggie... RIP Feb 2019 )
John in Santa Cruz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-06-2019, 03:31 PM   #7
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2019
Location: Greenwood, Indiana
Trailer: 2019 Escape 5.0TA
Posts: 13
Solar

Thanks guys.

Sounds like I should have the zamp port put in and get the panels when or if I need them.
__________________
Carmel Clown
Carmel Clown is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-06-2019, 04:14 PM   #8
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Santa Rosa, California
Trailer: 2014 Escape 15B sold, 2019 Escape 19
Posts: 91
I installed 320w panels on the roof but we do use the inverter and when conditions are not ideal we need to watch power consumption. We don’t have a TV antenna and I'll probably add more solar in the future. We do have a 100w portable but we’re usually away from the trailer during the day, not a good idea to have the panel outside when you are not around.
It’s not very difficult to calculate power needs but it’s much harder to predict how much power your solar system will produce, conditions vary a lot depending on location, session, and weather conditions.
Effie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-06-2019, 06:21 PM   #9
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2019
Location: Greenwood, Indiana
Trailer: 2019 Escape 5.0TA
Posts: 13
Solar

Thanks everybody.
__________________
Carmel Clown
Carmel Clown is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-06-2019, 08:55 PM   #10
Senior Member
 
Perryb67's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Lanesboro, between Whalan and Fountain, Minnesota
Trailer: 2018 5.0 TA
Posts: 399
We have over 180 nights in our 5.0 since we purchased it last October 26 and mainly camp in the winter/shoulder seasons. We purchased ours with the 170 watt solar package. I wish we would have had Escape install the Zamp port. We've never run out of juice, but we don't have an inverter either. I do have a feeling we'll be adding a 100 watt or larger flexible panel in the front next summer. On the 5.0 the panels are not flat but angled slightly, so sometimes your choice of site works against you.

We're currently in Bar Harbor, but tomorrow we start heading back home. We spent 11 nights in the same campsite on Cape Cod with no electric and our power finally got down to 12.2 in the morning. We were happy. We got electric for one night on the way to Ba Haba and this morning were sitting at 12.4 after 7 not so sunny days.

We also have AGM batteries and are very happy with them. They truly are maintenance free and you never have to check for water. Some say AGM's charge easier too.

Again, get at least one panel and have them install a Zamp port.

Enjoy,

Perry
__________________
Those who know everything use pens. Intelligent people use pencils.
Perryb67 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-06-2019, 11:46 PM   #11
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2019
Location: Greenwood, Indiana
Trailer: 2019 Escape 5.0TA
Posts: 13
Solar

Thanks Perry. I don’t know what a AGM battery is, though.
__________________
Carmel Clown
Carmel Clown is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2019, 12:03 AM   #12
Senior Member
 
John in Santa Cruz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Mid Left Coast, California
Trailer: 2014 Escape 21
Posts: 1,482
AGM is Absorbed Glass Mat, a variety of what are sometimes called 'sealed lead acid' (SLA), although the more technically correct name is 'valve regulated lead acid' (VRLA) in that they are not completely sealed, if they are overheated due to overcharging, they have a pressure release valve that can vent.

AGM batts cost double or triple what a conventional wet cell lead acid deep cycle battery costs. Their advantage is, under normal operation they can't leak acid, and they don't lose water via evaporation, so you don't ever have to top them off (in fact, you can't, since hte cells are sealed).

they also aren't fussy about being mounted sideways, or on end, but thats of little interest to an RV.

they tend to be pretty rugged and last a decent time, as long as they are never abused by overcharging or over discharging.

I have to date stuick with conventional golf cart wet cell batteries. I can't justify the expense for AGM/VRLA batts

Then, there is the even more insanely expensive lithium, about 10X the price of wet cell deep discharge batteries.
__________________
2014 Escape 21 (home away from home)
2002 Ford F250 7.3 Diesel 4x4 (tug)
1993 Mercedes 300CE Cabriolet (daily driver)
2006 Yellow Lab (Maggie... RIP Feb 2019 )
John in Santa Cruz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2019, 12:42 AM   #13
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
Trailer: 1979 Boler B1700
Posts: 11,793
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carmel Clown View Post
I understand that a solar panel will only charge my batteries unless I get an inverter.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron in BC View Post
Not sure what you mean by that. Solar charges batteries inverter or no inverter.
I assume that Sharon and Karen meant that they understand that the solar panel only provides 12 V DC power (for the battery), and that they won't have 120 V AC power unless they also get an inverter.
Brian B-P is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2019, 05:03 AM   #14
Senior Member
 
Doug2000's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: London, Ontario
Trailer: EX 2007 Escape 17B, 2020 E 19' on order
Posts: 234
I only used the deep cycle for charging phones, cameras, the furnace and trailer lights.

With my 2007 Escape 17B, I only ever used 4 40 watt portable panels with a charge controller clipped to the battery with alligator clips. We often camp on shaded lots so roof top wouldn't do me any good. I upgraded to an AGM battery and found it to be day and night, what a difference. Worth the money. Charged faster, discharged slower, it could sit for months with no charging and not drop 0.1 Volt.

I have always preferred to keep things simple and simple to fix.
__________________
2020 Escape 19 on Order
Trailer #6 was a 2007 Escape 17B
2019 Toyota Tundra 4.6L 4X4 DC
Toronto to LA was Epic in my 17B
Doug2000 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2019, 10:00 AM   #15
Senior Member
 
alanmalk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Arvada, Colorado
Trailer: '21 - 'Velocity'. Tow: Toyota Tacoma V6, 4X4, manual.
Posts: 761
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carmel Clown View Post
Thanks Perry. I don’t know what a AGM battery is, though.

I am reading this and thinking you may be the exact candidate to benefit from using AGM batteries. One of the advantages of AGM is that you don't need to know as much about the care and feeding of batteries as you will need to learn to keep your standard (wet) batteries in good condition. Yes, as mentioned above, they will cost you 2 to 3 X as much as ordinary batteries. But if you kill your ordinary batteries from one of the common reasons and have to purchase another set - your costs will even out in the long run.


But now we might have to steel ourselves for another AGM vs. Wet debate.
--
Alan
alanmalk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2019, 12:44 PM   #16
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Bainbridge Island, Washington
Trailer: 2019 21'
Posts: 8
We have two solar roof panels AND a Zamp port in a 2019 E21. The Zamp port is in the outside rear of the trailer near the batteries. I haven't tried extended boondocking so I don't know if the two panels will supply sufficient power, but I've been told that 2 panels in the winter in southern Arizona supply enough power for normal 12v use. We'll soon find out. I have a Honda 2200i generator for backup. The 2200i will start and run the air conditioner.
Lou & Lorna is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2019, 04:42 PM   #17
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2019
Location: Lake County, California
Trailer: 2019 Escape 21
Posts: 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carmel Clown View Post
Is there an advantage to getting the Zamp instead of the additional roof panel?



Thanks for your help.

I opted for the Zamp port primarily because I might want to park in the shade on any given outing. I like the idea of being able to chase the sun with a corded panel.
__________________
Richard
rjreeves is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2019, 04:57 PM   #18
Site Team
 
cpaharley2008's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Chilliwack, British Columbia
Trailer: Escape#4, 2019 Escape21 DejaView pulled by 2014 Ram Hemi/8sp
Posts: 19,385
The Zamp allows portability, both intentional as well as unintentional, as in theft. The rooftop works quietly and safely behind the scenes, 24/365.
__________________
Jim
It is not the years in your life but the life in your years Lincoln
cpaharley2008 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2019, 05:01 PM   #19
Senior Member
 
Jim Bennett's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Trailer: 2017 Escape 5.0 TA
Posts: 14,154
Never lost a portable solar panel while in use, and leave it unattended all the time. For that extra boost once in a while I really like it.

Though it was stolen. That was after busting the glass on the door to get in.
__________________
2017 Escape 5.0 TA
2015 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5L EcoBoost
2009 Escape 19 (previous)
“Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” — Abraham Lincoln
Jim Bennett is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-2019, 09:51 AM   #20
Senior Member
 
Red Dog's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Retired from Dallas & Full-Timing, Texas
Trailer: 2017 21' Escape as of 01/16/17
Posts: 1,105
Quote:
Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
The Zamp allows portability, both intentional as well as unintentional, as in theft. The rooftop works quietly and safely behind the scenes, 24/365.


I agree that the rooftop model works quietly and safely behind the scenes.

However, after traveling full time through all 50 states and all the Canadian provinces, we have never lost our portable solar panel due to theft. Perhaps I am too trusting but I don’t think so.

In my opinion, the portable solar panel allows for times when a shade is inevitable. Plus, I use a 50’ 10 gauge extension cord to extend my range and harness as much light as possible.

Fred M.
__________________

__________________
Fred M.

"Whoever said retirement was overrated...
...never had an Escape"
Red Dog is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
boondock, solar, zamp

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off






» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by Escape Trailer Industries or any of its affiliates. This is an independent, unofficial site.


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:57 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright 2012 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.
×