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Old 11-01-2014, 03:14 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
I think anyone considering battery-powered air conditioning should look at one document from Dometic, whether or not they are interested in a system sold by Dometic:
[]
Nice unit but carrying 8 Group 31 batteries Don't think it has much of a future for use in a trailer.

Ron
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Old 11-01-2014, 03:16 PM   #42
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These are the solar panels I want to mount on the roof

PowerFilm - lightweight, thin, flexible solar panels

It could be cleanly installed while maintaining the esthetics of the escape and actually improve the aerodynamics of the trailer.
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Old 11-01-2014, 07:42 PM   #43
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These are the solar panels I want to mount on the roof

PowerFilm - lightweight, thin, flexible solar panels

It could be cleanly installed while maintaining the esthetics of the escape and actually improve the aerodynamics of the trailer.
Kind of low wattage for their size.
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Old 11-01-2014, 07:47 PM   #44
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Nope, not paying $15-$17 bucks per watt at full output power. Way too spendy for me.
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Old 11-01-2014, 08:04 PM   #45
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There might not be as much free, unobstructed area on the roof as you think. Also, and my main reason for not wanting roof mounted panels is that having had solar panels for many years I've found that they do need cleaning from time to time. You'd be amazed at the film of fallout that accumulates and must reduce output.

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Old 11-01-2014, 10:35 PM   #46
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Flexible thin film solar panels are becoming more common and I expect the cost to decrease and become more cost efficient than rigid panels. The golf cart style panels can be snapped into place and are easily removable for storage. Panels similar to these are available for about $1.25 / watt. Controllers, wiring and switch gear push the cost to slightly over $4.00 / watt fully installed.

They may not have the power density of rigid panels, but the ease of handling might make that a moot point. Any solar installation has serious cost benefit questions. From a purely cost perspective you can't beat the small generators now available, but cost isn't the only reason we consider solar.

The solar part of my project would be the last part and might not happen for several years as panel power density and cost improve on this still emerging technology. Charging batteries is the easy part, I already own several suitable generators, although I would prefer solar for the noise and emission advantages. I imagine that even with a proper sized solar array there would still be occasion to use a generator to top off batteries.

I expect this camper project to take several years for completion and to evolve over time. I appreciate all the comments and input. There is incredible experience on this forum and I intend to take full advantage of it.
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Old 11-01-2014, 10:58 PM   #47
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Originally Posted by Ron in BC View Post
There might not be as much free, unobstructed area on the roof as you think. Also, and my main reason for not wanting roof mounted panels is that having had solar panels for many years I've found that they do need cleaning from time to time. You'd be amazed at the film of fallout that accumulates and must reduce output.

Ron
I watch the charge current readout on my solar controller and if it seems a bit low I just hose them off and run a push broom across them, then rinse again with a hose. Takes maybe 3 minutes a couple times a year........
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Old 11-01-2014, 11:08 PM   #48
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I think standards require a roof escape hatch.
Not unless it's a very recent standard. Neither our 2002 trailer nor our 2010 motorhome (built in the U.S., so compliant with U.S. and Canadian standards) has a roof hatch.

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A side emergency exit wouldn't help if the trailer fell over on that side, so I think 2 are required on different surfaces.
That makes some sense, but it only means that with the door as primary exit, the alternate exit (of an Escape) would need to be at the rear, the front, or (most practical for the bunk area of a 5.0/5.0TA) the street side. On the other hand, unless we're worried about tornadoes, falling on it's side seems like a minor concern for a trailer which is not occupied while in motion.

A bigger concern is that there be an exit which doesn't require passing the likely sources of fire, which I suppose would be the kitchen and furnace. An emergency exit anywhere in each end with a bed would be suitable in this respect.
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Old 11-01-2014, 11:15 PM   #49
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Nice unit but carrying 8 Group 31 batteries Don't think it has much of a future for use in a trailer.
The point is that the information is not just applicable to the Dometic system. Any battery-powered A/C system would have similar energy requirements, and the resulting large battery bank. This is one reason that that I think anyone planning such a system should read this.

Yes, the weight of batteries will make this unacceptable for most travel trailer owners until something like lithium batteries become affordable. Another problem is that while long-haul trucks are on the road and charging the batteries for more hours a day than the air conditioner is running (as explained in the article), travel trailers routinely spend days in camp (even at unserviced sites) before driving... and even then may not see a long driving day for charging.
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Old 11-01-2014, 11:30 PM   #50
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I was thinking of something like this for the A/C

MasterFlux - Products - Condensing Units
Interesting - I had not heard of a DC "outside" unit before. That would have the advantage of not needing an inverter, but would need to run from a converter when AC power is available. It does look awkwardly shaped compared to the truck units.

If using a dedicated battery bank, it would make sense to me to go with the 48V model, with four 12V batteries in series, keeping current down and keeping the batteries balanced.

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That looks similar to the Dometic system. The compressor may run directly on 12V, although their "details" are short on, well, details.

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Originally Posted by DiamonDiver View Post
I feel comfortable building a FG enclosure to attach to the rear of the trailer over an extended bumper. I'm not concerned about GVWR, I have a 3/4 ton 4wd tug that recently towed a 14K 5th wheel through the Rockies from Arizona to Montana.
My concern is not with the truck's GCWR (there's always a bigger truck available), or even with the trailer's GVWR (although one gets closer to that with a few hundred pounds of batteries); it is with the stability of the trailer with a major mass added to either end, but especially to the rear. There is always the frame to consider, although an Escape's 1.5"x3" rectangular steel tubing runs right out to the bumper.

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Another thing is that no matter what this rig eventually cost it will be cheaper than a boat.
Ah yes, that hole in the water which one attempts to fill with money.
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