DIY Solar Installation Question - Page 2 - Escape Trailer Owners Community

Go Back   Escape Trailer Owners Community > Escape Tech > Modifications and Alterations
Click Here to Login
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 02-22-2013, 12:01 AM   #11
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
Trailer: 1979 Boler B1700
Posts: 9,040
I have not used them, but some people have suggested trolling motor connectors - suitable for 12V DC and significant current, sealed for outdoor use, and readily available. An example: Marinco ConnectPro Receptacle & Plug
__________________

Brian B-P is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-22-2013, 12:37 PM   #12
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Terrace, British Columbia
Trailer: 2012 Escape 19
Posts: 306
OK, here's another question. Has anyone actually put a hole in the trailer shell to install a connector for the solar panels? How is this best accomplished? What to watch for, any tips, etc? This isn't someting one wants to screw up <g>.

Doug
__________________

__________________
We're still have'n fun...
NuthatchBC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-22-2013, 01:04 PM   #13
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: N/A, Indiana
Trailer: Escape
Posts: 931
I have not done the installation on a Escape or fiberglass shell trailer. I did the the installation on a Aliner with foam laminated walls. After carefully determining the location I drilled a pilot hole from the inside to outside. The pilot hole was smaller than the pilot bit in the holesaw that I used on the outside of the Aliner. The initial pilot hole was just large enough for the wiring. Might want to check with Reace for advice on wall thickness where you want the penetration.Wall thickness may determine the type of connector that you want to use (surface mounted, thru hole, etc.).
Jubal
__________________
"Never argue with an idiot. They only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience." George Carlin
Jubal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-22-2013, 01:37 PM   #14
Senior Member
 
Jim Bennett's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Trailer: 2017 Escape 5.0 TA
Posts: 11,932
For a permanent install on a trailer roof, these look like they would be good additional weather protection. Available in single and double entry. Click on the photo for a link.

__________________
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 02-23-2013, 04:47 PM   #15
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Beaverton/Aloha, Oregon
Trailer: 2011 17B
Posts: 10
External Solar install on 17B

We got a 135W panel from CEA Solar. For me, the selling point was the case. I went portable rather than rooftop because I like the trailer in the shade but the solar, for some reason, likes bright sun. This meets our dual battery and usual load (LED lights, fan in hot places, DVD at night). What I did:

1. I used a troll motor connector (see above) for water/salt/capacity reasons.

2. Use a correct sized circle cutter/saw for the hole. Start slow and never let the saw get too fast or you will melt/burn things. The shell is only ~ 1/8 inch so the cut will be quick. Cut the "bubble wrap" insulation with a knife. Seal everything with marine "goop" sealant/adhesive and use stainless steel screws. I sealed the plug too. Corrosion is not your low voltage friend.

3. Use 10AWG wire. I used the excess from the rough solar wiring Escape did. Low voltage requires higher current and higher current requires larger wire. Terminate everything properly. The receptacle can terminate the wire directly but attaching to lugs and blocks should use the same crimp connectors the factory uses. Your trailer is a high vibration environment under tow and "wrap the wire" connections are begging for trouble. See (4) for the spectacular results. Tie wrap the new wire to the existing wiring harness so there are no loose wires here.

4. Fuse the "+" side entering the trailer! Any not-terminated line is always hot and if you short it, you will weld your wiring harness. I used an extra 20A resetting circuit breaker from my brake wiring kit. Attach the load side of the breaker to the lead going to the battery cut-off switch. Hint: I weld 1/8 steel with 20V at 100A. Dual batteries are 12V at 150A easily...

5. For location, I chose the space between the shore power receptacle and the water panel. Check the inside where there are no blocks or obstructions. The wire runs are short so no I2R losses.

Results? It work great. We are in the shade, the panel is in the sun and even with trees in the way, a day's charge keeps it in the green.
lieb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-23-2013, 05:20 PM   #16
Senior Member
 
thoer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Galesville, Wisconsin
Trailer: 2017 21 "Blue II" & 2017 Highlander XLE (previously 2010 17B "Blue" & 2008 Tacoma)
Posts: 3,955
Lieb, you got me looking at CEA (welcome to the Forum by the way) and they have some interesting stuff. This 130 watt folding portable RV solar battery charger looks interesting and seems to be completely self contained. It looks like it could be used without drilling any holes in the trailer and could be quickly hooked up to the batteries. Am I missing something?

Eric
__________________
Eric (and Mary who is in no way responsible for anything stupid I post)

SAE Towing Standard "Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance." George Bernard Shaw
thoer is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-23-2013, 06:10 PM   #17
Senior Member
 
Jim Bennett's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Trailer: 2017 Escape 5.0 TA
Posts: 11,932
Quote:
Originally Posted by thoer View Post
. It looks like it could be used without drilling any holes in the trailer and could be quickly hooked up to the batteries. Am I missing something?

Eric
Yep, any 19 without a storage box, and even a couple that do, have the batteries under the dinette seat, like mine.

I chatted via email with the sales manager for CEA because I was interested. They will ship to Canada for anyone interested, though will only do UPS, as they claim the package is to big to ship USPS. He was quite helpful though.

HERE is a link to the user manual.

He also sent me a PDF of the 10 Amp PWM Charge Controller they use, but it is a bit too big to upload. I could email it if anyone is interested.
__________________
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 02-23-2013, 06:14 PM   #18
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Beaverton/Aloha, Oregon
Trailer: 2011 17B
Posts: 10
CEA Solar

That is the unit we got. Yes, it is nice, especially the hard walled case. It is also heavy so I stow it in the pickup truck when we are travelling.

As for install. They have a couple optional plugs, a 12V lighter socket, clips, and round lugs. I kept the lighter plug and clips because they can be used elsewhere. the lugs don't work with the dual batteries because the leads are too short. This is also a hostile (corrosion and vibration) so I went for the bulkhead connector. The trailer operates in a hostile environment so loose wires and ad-hoc connectors is not my idea of a good time. What I did was take that set, cut off the lugs and wired it to the troll motor plug. I kept the fuse in place for the reasons mentioned earlier.

The charge controller on the panel will not apply power unless it detects a battery on the other end but the fuse is a nice bit of safety since it takes a second or so to detect the disconnect.

I also got the 25' extension cord but if I had see it, I could have fabricated one on my own. Just remember wire gauge. household zip cord will not do.
lieb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-23-2013, 06:29 PM   #19
Senior Member
 
Jim Bennett's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Trailer: 2017 Escape 5.0 TA
Posts: 11,932
I ended up getting a Coleman 40W unit, the one on sale a few weeks back at Canadian Tire, for $100 (regular $250). Still on back order, and they said the order expects it to arrive late April, though they guarantee the price because of this back order. I really have had no trouble with my batteries lasting, but thought it would be nice to keep them topped up while boondocking.
__________________
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 02-23-2013, 06:38 PM   #20
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Terrace, British Columbia
Trailer: 2012 Escape 19
Posts: 306
Well, I know I won't be using one of the external shore power receptacles. Checked one out at our local RV dealer today...$182.00. It looks like the best, both in price and serviceability, is the trolling motor connector. A lot smaller entry hole required as well. As long as it will seal well it should work fine. Does anyone know what diameter cable it will take? I plan on using a cable with two #8 conductors which is roughly 1/2 to 3/4 inch in diameter. I checked the listing for the connector and didn't see any reference to its diameter.

Doug
__________________

__________________
We're still have'n fun...
NuthatchBC 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






» Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:22 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright 2012 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.