160 watt solar panel enough? - Page 3 - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 08-12-2017, 10:09 AM   #21
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I have 240W on the roof, and have yet to not be fully charged by midday. Maybe once we get to fall and have colder nights where we see more furnace use it might take longer, but I am starting to wonder if I will ever need the 80W portable I have.

Jim, don't you camp in the shade? That's why I'll have portables in addition to those on the roof.
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Old 08-12-2017, 10:31 AM   #22
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Jim, don't you camp in the shade? That's why I'll have portables in addition to those on the roof.
This year so far I seem to have sites with shade only part of the day, but in the future, likely more with shade.
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Old 08-12-2017, 10:52 AM   #23
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That's why I'll have portables in addition to those on the roof.
I think we're going to end up there as well. We've been in 3 places in the ADK's and the last two have been heavily shaded and we needed to charge with a generator. In both cases, we simply couldn't get the trailer and hence the fixed panel into the areas of the site that could provide enough solar energy.

These 100 watt 8# panels look pretty interesting, certainly easier than hauling a 50# generator and gas cans.

Lensun 100W 12V Ultralight Folding Solar Panel with MC4 Connector, Portable for Outdoor Camping
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Old 08-12-2017, 11:45 AM   #24
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A lot of it is how long you'll be in one spot. In the fall/winter we use 20-25 amps, I can go 5 days if it stayed dark the whole time. In the summer we use about 10 amps, could go 11 or so days without solar if we had to. Pull into a CG with hookups for a night or travel for a day, and your good to go again. We've done this with our previous non solar non 6v trailer, except shorter duration.
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Old 08-12-2017, 12:21 PM   #25
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No one has ever complained about having too much solar...
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Old 08-12-2017, 05:26 PM   #26
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I think it is important to contemplate how you camp. Some people hang out at their camp all day and are able to watch and move their portable panels during the day. When I camp I am not usually around camp during the day and would not be comfortable leaving a portable solar panel unattended.
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Old 08-12-2017, 07:52 PM   #27
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My response to OP is "all of the above": get both 160W panels and buy a portable panel as well.

I have three solar panels on the roof of my Escape 21, totaling 355W. Yet recently in Olympic National Park my batteries became seriously undercharged. It wasn't because of the weather-- it was sunny (rare for that place I know); it was because my campsite was well-shaded and the panels got only an hour or two of direct sunlight per day, if that. If I had had a portable panel I could have found a spot in the sun and parked the panel facing the sun. In that case I bet the portable panel would have produced more electricity than the solar panel array on my roof.

I sometimes use a microwave via inverter for a few minutes a day while boondocking and I usually watch TV at night (but you won't do that in Olympic NP either). But having the power is much better than not having the power and thus having to worry about your batteries.
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Old 08-13-2017, 01:36 AM   #28
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We camped at Diamond Lake in Oregon this summer. In fact we saw two other Escapes there. We used a single portable 100 watt panel. It worked great with our two 6 volt batteries. We occasionally used the microwave for cheese and crackers. Our site was in the shade so a roof mounted panel would have been inefficient. I would not have wanted a site in the sun cause we would have needed to run the AC to keep cool. I did not feel insecure about leaving the panel out while we were gone. I think it depends on the campground. I am thinking of mounting two 160 watt panels on my truck canopy.
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Old 08-13-2017, 08:51 AM   #29
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We have one 27F deep cycle battery and one 100 watt portable solar panel . We have camped for 4 to 5 days off grid in the Summer and never depleted our single battery below about 70% .
In the Fall / Winter , when the sun's angle is lower and we run our furnace , then our system is marginal .
If you have 2 solar panels (320 Watts) and 2--6 Volt batteries ( 235 amp hours) and the system still won't keep up then to my way of thinking your solar system is not the problem , consumption is .
There are other ways to accomplish the same goal without using electricity.
If you are not willing to limit consumption then maybe a generator or a camp site with electricity is the only answer.
We do have an inverter but have never found a good reason to use it.
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Old 08-13-2017, 08:59 AM   #30
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We have one 27F deep cycle battery and one 100 watt portable solar panel . We have camped for 4 to 5 days off grid in the Summer and never depleted our single battery below about 70% .
In the Fall / Winter , when the sun's angle is lower and we run our furnace , then our system is marginal .
If you have 2 solar panels (320 Watts) and 2--6 Volt batteries ( 235 amp hours) and the system still won't keep up then to my way of thinking your solar system is not the problem , consumption is .
There are other ways to accomplish the same goal without using electricity.
If you are not willing to limit consumption then maybe a generator or a camp site with electricity is the only answer.
We do have an inverter but have never found a good reason to use it.
Excellent post. There's no reason why a single 160W panel and dual 232Ah 6V batteries would not hold you in good stead indefinitely - at least the way we boondock. With that basic setup, the limitation we face when boondocking isn't running out of power (our batteries are back to full charge usually by 10 am) but running out of potable water and food.
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