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Old 02-24-2013, 03:04 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by hotfishtacos View Post
I don't really understand the practical advantage of portable solar panels used for a 19' Escape trailer. We have a 19' and are glad the solar panel is mounted on the roof. It is in a great location on top of the trailer and puts out a lot of charge power. We often leave the trailer site when we set up and wouldn't want to worry about someone taking it when we are gone. We also don't want to haul something large, fragile and expensive around while camping. I also like the batteries up front in my storage box. In fact I added two more batteries there and now have 460 amps at 12 volts of battery storage. There is still all the room I need in the box for my power cords, hoses, wheels chocks, etc. I plan to add another solar panel next month. This will give me an average of about 10 amps of charge rate which will top off those 4 batteries quickly. I also like the 30 amp Go-Power controller that was installed in the trailer which would handle up to 4 solar panels of you ever wanted that many.
Just curious, have you checked the tongue weight with the 4 batteries in your storage box?
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Old 02-24-2013, 03:42 PM   #32
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[QUOTE=hotfishtacos;22944]I don't really understand the practical advantage of portable solar panels used for a 19' Escape trailer.

There was a thread just in recent weeks in which people with portable panels explained why and how they used them. In addition to their comments, there are people who have their Escapes stored elsewhere in outside storage. Someone can come along and rip a panel off of the roof when no one is around. Of course, they might even be able to do that in residential areas but not as easily.
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Old 02-24-2013, 05:24 PM   #33
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... I would rather not fiddle around with drilling umpteen holes in the roof for mounting purposes....
Doug
Doug,

Reece doesn't drill any holes in the roof for mounting the solar system. The mounting rails are glued on with a product made by Plexus. It melts into the gel coat. The only hole through is for a single pair of wires into the trailer. On top of the roof, solar panels are always daisy-chained to each other.

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Old 02-24-2013, 05:27 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by Eugene We View Post
Just curious, have you checked the tongue weight with the 4 batteries in your storage box?
Yes, it is at 550 but I have some weight I can move behind the axles to take it down around 400-450 which is where I like it. BTW, the batteries are 68 lbs each!...so I got a pretty good upper body workout moving them around while making the new mountings...
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Old 02-24-2013, 06:18 PM   #35
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Refrigerator Vent C-Box | Combiner Boxes
An alternative to drilling holes in the roof if you have a refrigerator vent.
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Old 02-24-2013, 06:28 PM   #36
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Since there are some questions regarding my batteries I have some pictures here of my battery setup. Notice that I have 4 six volt Interstate batteries for a total of 460 amps of reserve capacity. There are two 3 gauge wires connected to a 2000 watt inverter inside the trailer and I included a battery cutoff switch. I fabricated all of the 4 gauge battery cables at the various lengths I needed.









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Old 02-24-2013, 06:29 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by Jubal View Post
Refrigerator Vent C-Box | Combiner Boxes
An alternative to drilling holes in the roof if you have a refrigerator vent.
Great idea!
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Old 02-24-2013, 06:50 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by hotfishtacos View Post
I don't really understand the practical advantage of portable solar panels used for a 19' Escape trailer.
Hmmm.....I thought it was explained already, it has been discussed quite a bit here and on the FGRV site, but will give it a shot. For me, I rarely will need to top up my batteries, as we tend to err towards minimization. No electric grills, coffee pots, or anything. Just lights, pump and furnace. A bit of charging of devices and playing the stereo.

Some of my reasons for going portable.
- Any boondocking trips of 4 nights or less, it would not even be needed, or brought along. My dual batteries have plenty of capacity for this length of time in cold weather.
- The 40W panel is not that big to store when needed, and there are lots of nice bigger sets that fold up and are well protected. Set up is just minutes. I too have a lot of room left over in my tow to carry a panel or two.
- The panel can be positioned more easily for maximum performance.
- It can be lent out to someone else going out, or someone in need where you are camping. I know some of the tent trailers my brothers and friends have, with only one battery, run the furnace a fair bit, and are always needed to top up their batteries.
- It can be used for charging any battery, not even those for trailers.
- Cheaper and easier to initially set up.
- Plus, I am sure I could come up with a bunch of other reasons if pressed, and am certain others have their own reasons other than these as well.

I hope this has helped you better understand why I like the idea of a portable panel. We all have our own reasons for doing what works best for ourselves. Many say they could not function without the front storage box, while I personally see no reason for it, as without it I still have hordes of storage space unused. Again, personal choice.

I do however understand why some people want the permanent mounts, and some day may do the same myself. but for now the portable setup better suits my needs.
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Old 02-24-2013, 07:18 PM   #39
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Jim

We each have our opinions and after reading your reasons for going portable I am now even more convinced that the truly "practical" approach is to go with a permanently mounted option.

....and I'll bet my canoe is faster than yours!...
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Old 02-25-2013, 06:37 PM   #40
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I opted for portability/cost/simplicity. We generally try to camp plugged to shore power with the need for air conditioning down here. I only have the single 12 volt factory battery to reduce weight. When we boondock for more than a couple of days, I can bring the Honda or the 50 watt solar panel.

I used a 30 amp marine receptical and SunSaver controller.

I might add that solar panels slowly degrade in time and a few years down the road will need to be replaced.
Attached Images
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File Type: jpg Solar Panel Install 004.JPG (182.8 KB, 11 views)
File Type: jpg Solar Panel Install 005.JPG (103.8 KB, 9 views)
File Type: jpg Solar Panel Install 007.JPG (172.6 KB, 13 views)
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