Solar or just the prep - Escape Trailer Owners Community

Go Back   Escape Trailer Owners Community > Escape Me | General Topics > General Escape
Click Here to Login

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 04-11-2019, 06:56 PM   #1
Senior Member
 
StillCampin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: Oakville, Washington
Trailer: 2008 Chalet Aframe & 2014 Montana 3900FB 5th wheel
Posts: 126
Solar or just the prep

I am definately going the solar route as I do enough desert boondocking to make it worthwhile. Even tho I already have 2 100 watt portable panels, I want to start with 2 panels on the roof.

Unfortunately, the cost for 2 panels installed is exactly double the cost of one panel even tho it doesn't include the solar controller for the second. I'm told that the amount not spent on a controller is equivalent to extra work needed for the second panel. How 2 panels, 1 controller, 2 sets of wire, mounts, installation, etc costs $1700cdn beats me but that is what it is.

Making this cost more objectionable to me is that I will be replacing the solar controller that ETI installs with one that can handle the 2 rooftop plus my 2 portable panels. (I will be using my existing Renogy Commander MPPT 40 amp controller and running the panels parallel.) I also know that the price of solar panels in the US is near $1/watt so the ETI installation cost comes to way more than do-it-yourself - but I know nothing about installing panels on a fiberglass "egg" so I'm weighing my options.

My build is already quite non-standard so I have to consider what can I do and what is best to have ETI do? Of the options I'm aware of, it is either have ETI do everything and then replace some things, or have just the solar prep done and do everything else myself.

The thing is, I do not know exactly what the prep includes besides the skimpy description of MC-4 terminated wires being ran.

Are the wires ran from roof to where the controller might go? I ask because ETI will not run a hard-wired camera cable from the roof rear down thru the inside to the tongue even tho I think it would use the fridge vent to go inside.

Is it 2 sets of wires or one with a combiner box?

Are mounts installed or is that up to me? This is where I have absolutely no experience.

If mounts are installed, what spacing so I know the panel size needed? Can the spacing be specified?

There is probably more that I don't know but if I can do it myself I can possibly save a fair amount; tho only about 2% of the total rv cost so it may not be worth it.

So far ETI is slow responding to these questions - the fire may be slowing things down for this where other questions haven't been affected.

Anyone with knowledge or experience with working with the prep option that can provide me with additional info?
__________________

StillCampin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-11-2019, 07:24 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
rubicon327's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Burlington Twp., New Jersey
Trailer: 2010 Escape 19
Posts: 2,797
From the horses mouth

Given the amount of technical information you need I would call ETI and request a call back from Reace.
__________________

__________________
ďOne way to get the most out of life is to look upon it as an adventure.Ē― W.F.
rubicon327 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-11-2019, 08:21 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
Perryb67's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Lanesboro, between Whalan and Fountain, Minnesota
Trailer: 2018 5.0 TA
Posts: 224
You've obviously never priced what a solar installer would charge. $640 (US dollars) per panel with a controller is cheap! Really cheap! That's $1,280 (US) for 340 watts! I have friends with 300 watts on their Airstream who paid over $4,000 (again, US) to a well known installer for the convenience of not having to do it themselves. However, do-it-yourselfers can always do it for less.

Enjoy,

Perry
__________________
2018 5.0TA
2015 Ford F150, XLT, 3.5 EB, Max Tow Package, 6.5 box
Perryb67 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-11-2019, 08:30 PM   #4
Site Team
 
padlin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Southwick, Massachusetts
Trailer: 5.0 TA #6, 2012 F150 EB
Posts: 5,135
Quote:
Originally Posted by StillCampin View Post
Unfortunately, the cost for 2 panels installed is exactly double the cost of one panel even tho it doesn't include the solar controller for the second. I'm told that the amount not spent on a controller is equivalent to extra work needed for the second panel. How 2 panels, 1 controller, 2 sets of wire, mounts, installation, etc costs $1700cdn beats me but that is what it is.

Just for giggles I looked up the Amazon prices. If buying the single Gopower panel and controller and the single expansion panel it'd run $1345 CAD. Granted ETI should get them cheaper them retail.


I installed my own panel on the roof, a little time consuming but not all that difficult if you are a do it yourselfer. I used Grape panels from HD. I got "solar ready", it was just the cables from the roof to the area of the batteries. The roof end had mc4's, the battery end was just the bare cables. No cables were run for a controller. This was in 2014 so things may have changed. They used a cable gland to go through the roof and some Proflex.
__________________
Happy Motoring
Bob
padlin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-11-2019, 09:47 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: SLO County, California
Trailer: 2014 21
Posts: 3,015
If you have ETI install 2 panels you will have 8 more penetrations through the roof to maintain. Prior to around 2015 they used VHB tape or 3M 5200 yet when some owners reported panels flying off they decided on through-bolting as to greatly(if not completely) reduce exposure to liability.

AM Solar in Springfield, OR has been using VHB tape for over two decades and report they have never had a panel fly off. The preparation is critical and they evidently make sure that is done right every time. You can see great DIY videos on their website and can call them for answers to questions- a great company!
__________________
"Are You Sure?
- Russell Casse, Independence Day
Rossue is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-12-2019, 07:03 AM   #6
Senior Member
 
EdColorado's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: Front Range, Colorado
Trailer: 2018 21’ The Last Hurrah
Posts: 260
As I found out during my Built Sheet stage on the 21' you can either have two panels OR the TV antenna but not both. There isn't enough room on the roof per ETI.
__________________
Drive slowly. Stop often.
EdColorado is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-12-2019, 10:01 AM   #7
Senior Member
 
StillCampin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: Oakville, Washington
Trailer: 2008 Chalet Aframe & 2014 Montana 3900FB 5th wheel
Posts: 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by EdColorado View Post
As I found out during my Built Sheet stage on the 21' you can either have two panels OR the TV antenna but not both. There isn't enough room on the roof per ETI.
Ditto for the 5.0. But from pictures I've seen a solar panel in front of the rooftop escape hatch while pics on the ETI site shows the Jack antenna further back. But, I suppose the pic I saw with the panel on front could have been customer mounted.

Fortunately, I use a satellite dish for tv, not off air, 99%+ of the time. For that <1% of the time I'll just continue to use the antenna on a pole that I have now.

If nothing else, the lack of the Jack antenna makes room for the XM antenna I'll be putting on the roof.
StillCampin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-12-2019, 02:21 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: WI, Wisconsin
Trailer: 2018 Escape 5.0 TA
Posts: 290
Quote:
Originally Posted by StillCampin View Post
Ditto for the 5.0. But from pictures I've seen a solar panel in front of the rooftop escape hatch while pics on the ETI site shows the Jack antenna further back. But, I suppose the pic I saw with the panel on front could have been customer mounted.

Fortunately, I use a satellite dish for tv, not off air, 99%+ of the time. For that <1% of the time I'll just continue to use the antenna on a pole that I have now.

If nothing else, the lack of the Jack antenna makes room for the XM antenna I'll be putting on the roof.
Our late 2018 5.0 has dual panels, and the front panel is to the rear of the hatch. Side note, you can clean the leaves off the panel from the bed through the hatch.
MikeS is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-13-2019, 10:02 AM   #9
Senior Member
 
StillCampin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: Oakville, Washington
Trailer: 2008 Chalet Aframe & 2014 Montana 3900FB 5th wheel
Posts: 126
Follow-up

Reace called me and explained exactly what the solar prep entails: just the cable run from a rooftop entrance fixture to the area under the dinette where they would put the controller. Everything else, including any mounting mechanism is left for the customer/installer.

I've decided to have ETI do the full solar install and then I'll replace the solar controller, inverter, displays & such. I'm going to be moving the remotes to above the fridge anyway.

Regarding the tv antenna & the second panel, Reace thinks the location of the front panel has recently moved so the antenna may be able to be installed. I asked him that if he verifies that to be the case then I wanted to have the antenna added back to my build sheet.
__________________
Tom W
( 5.0TA on order )
StillCampin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-13-2019, 01:47 PM   #10
Senior Member
 
tdf-texas's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Baytown, Texas
Trailer: 2017 21' Escape
Posts: 1,059
Quote:
Originally Posted by StillCampin View Post
Follow-up

Reace called me and explained exactly what the solar prep entails: just the cable run from a rooftop entrance fixture to the area under the dinette where they would put the controller. Everything else, including any mounting mechanism is left for the customer/installer.

I've decided to have ETI do the full solar install and then I'll replace the solar controller, inverter, displays & such. I'm going to be moving the remotes to above the fridge anyway.

Regarding the tv antenna & the second panel, Reace thinks the location of the front panel has recently moved so the antenna may be able to be installed. I asked him that if he verifies that to be the case then I wanted to have the antenna added back to my build sheet.
If you are going to replace the solar display, you may want to ask Reace to not mount it as it leaves a big hole in the paneling.
__________________

__________________
If It Isnít Perfect, It Isnít Finished
tdf-texas is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

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 06:06 PM.


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