Electrical System Upgrade Recommendations? - Page 2 - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 09-07-2016, 10:53 AM   #11
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Hi: gbaglo... What's wrong with chasing sunbeams around the camp site... beer in hand? Alf
escape artist N.S. of Lake Erie
Maybe I could train my kids to move the panels while I drink beer...

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Old 09-07-2016, 10:57 AM   #12
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We've been building a step by step solar resource on Scamp Owners International that I think would help you a lot.

Solar for Scamp Trailers | Scamp Owners International

You definitely need to have step 1-Lifestyle, 2-Power Consumption and 3-Battery down before looking at solar panels as those three steps are the backbone of an off-grid system. Taking the base steps will reveal whether you even need solar for your lifestyle and/or save a good bit of money in buying the correct items.
That's a great resource! I will do some reading this weekend. Thanks Greg!

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Old 09-07-2016, 11:05 AM   #13
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Michael, in reading your post, I think the biggest improvement you could make is to add solar. You don't seem to be using alot of power, but what you do use isn't being put back. Sure, dual 6V batteries will give you more amp hours, and I would probably include that if I were adding solar power.
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Old 09-07-2016, 11:14 AM   #14
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Biggest power draw is the furnace fan, but I like to be warm.
I would like to use the unit more in the fall and spring and I envision that will require more furnace run time. We have even considered using it for skiing at some of the smaller hills but that will require some further upgrades to protect the plumbing systems.

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It sounds like you don't have heavy enough wiring from the tow. I specified 10 gauge as recommended by ETI. Otherwise, they would have used 12 gauge.
The wiring is factory from Toyota. I will check the wire gauge if I can open it up the wire bundle. I have read about people running dedicated heavy gauge charging lines from the tow to the trailer.

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Old 09-07-2016, 11:39 AM   #15
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Michael, in reading your post, I think the biggest improvement you could make is to add solar. You don't seem to be using alot of power, but what you do use isn't being put back. Sure, dual 6V batteries will give you more amp hours, and I would probably include that if I were adding solar power.
That was my preliminary thought as well. I floated the post to see what other people have done in similar situations and have received a lot of good info.

ETI quoted me about $1500 to retrofit both solar and dual 6V. That is a lot of money after buying the trailer, adding the storage box and replacing the tires this year.

I think I would like to do some of the work myself over the winter once I figure out a solution. I am not sure about mounting solar panels but I think I can do most of the internal wiring.
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Old 09-07-2016, 11:43 AM   #16
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Has there been any discussion about a lithium battery to replace the stock battery? This in addition to a portable solar panel to charge the battery may be the ideal setup.
Lithium batteries are lighter than lead batteries, last longer, no maintenance and can be completely discharged with no harmful affects.
Are there any experts on the forum that can give an informed opinion? Do they have more capacity (AH) and are they worth the money?
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Old 09-07-2016, 11:46 AM   #17
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Some vehicles have a power outlet that can be used as a generator if need be. My Toyota Tacoma, for example, has one at the end of the truck bed that I've used on occasion when a tree canope blocked my roof top solar system. It isn't the best on fuel economy but it's a lot quieter than a lot of the generators I've had the displeasure of listening to
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Old 09-07-2016, 11:47 AM   #18
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all the extra capacity would do it stretch the time between recharges, unless you also add a power source (such as solar or a better way to charge from the tow vehicle). I knew a guy who just doubled the battery capacity in his trailer and that was enough, because it got him through a long weekend and that's as long as he ever spent away from services.
That extra capacity might be enough to get us through a week or more in the summer; at that point we probably need to stop for laundry, showers, etc so a electrified spot like a KOA is good for that. The extra capacity sounds like a requirement for shoulder season and winter camping if we want to use our furnace and lights in the evenings.

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If you want to start a long debate, ask "can the two vehicle effectively recharge the trailer battery?" It can, but with most vehicles and their wiring it doesn't work very well.
I need to take readings of the systems on both the tow vehicle and trailer to figure how much it really is charging the trailer. It didn't seem much more than a trickle though. There are lots of post about this on Toyota forums and it seems to be a common discussion item.

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and is marginal to hopeless if running the refrigerator on 12V power at the same time.
I run the fridge on propane while travelling... that will also start another long debate!
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Old 09-07-2016, 11:58 AM   #19
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Some vehicles have a power outlet that can be used as a generator if need be. My Toyota Tacoma, for example, has one at the end of the truck bed that I've used on occasion when a tree canope blocked my roof top solar system. It isn't the best on fuel economy but it's a lot quieter than a lot of the generators I've had the displeasure of listening to
Our 4Runner has a 400W inverter and an outlet in the back like the Tacoma. Did you just plug the trailer right into the outlet to charge? That sounds like a great idea!

The second to last night of our trip was in Fish Creek CG in Glacier. The guy across from us in a big 30' trailer placed his twin portable generators with the exhaust pointed directly at our picnic table and fired them up at 08:00 in the morning. I didn't enjoy my coffee and breakfast at the picnic table very much.
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Old 09-07-2016, 12:08 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by pstyer View Post
Has there been any discussion about a lithium battery to replace the stock battery? This in addition to a portable solar panel to charge the battery may be the ideal setup.
Lithium batteries are lighter than lead batteries, last longer, no maintenance and can be completely discharged with no harmful affects.
Are there any experts on the forum that can give an informed opinion? Do they have more capacity (AH) and are they worth the money?
I'm not an expert, but I did stay at a campground near a Holiday Inn last night! LOL
The last time I checked, a 12v automotive type battery with adequate amp hours which would probably work in an RV had a retail price in excess of $1,000. That is a hefty price tag.
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