Just Can't Make up our Minds about These Mods - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 05-04-2016, 04:10 PM   #1
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Location: North GA, Georgia
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Just Can't Make up our Minds about These Mods

We really appreciate your current thoughts on these modifications for our 19' trailer build sheet:
1. We use the little yellow plastic chocks on our Casita with no problems, but it seems everyone is using a much larger kind of chock with the Escape. Will the ones we have not work on the larger trailers?

2. Even after reading all the posts we could find, we can't decide on the installed solar panel vs the prewired hatch for solar. Has anyone ever had a leak with the solar panel on the roof? If you have the portable panel, how big does it need to be to make a difference? We are only getting the 29 battery instead of the dual 6's. Will that make a difference in our decision? Someone said that if you have to replace one of the dual batteries, you have to do the other one at the same time and it gets expensive, so we opted for the 29. If we don't have electric hookup, it is because we are in a parking lot overnighting or in a campground without electric for two days tops. Will we regret not getting the roof solar panel now?

3. Our third major hangup is the inverter. We aren't getting any extra 12 volt outlets, and we would like to make coffee and possibly fire up the microwave in an emergency, but we can't decide if it is worth it. Where does the inverter live if we get one, and does it require special wiring to make all of the outlets work?

4. Lastly, is there a gauge that comes standard that tells you the level of the batteries with the Escape, or do you need to get the inverter and/or solar panels to get the gauge?

5. Is there one hitch lock that is better than another?

We admire all of the posts that show how you guys have modified your trailers and show how you have fixed problems that occur. We are totally inept when it comes to any of those things. I know that these questions have probably been addressed many times, but our heads are swimming. We are really happy and excited about our new Escape, but we need to get our build sheet done. We would love if you could add your thoughts to this thread to help us out.
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Old 05-04-2016, 04:28 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trav View Post
We really appreciate your current thoughts on these modifications for our 19' trailer build sheet:
1. We use the little yellow plastic chocks on our Casita with no problems, but it seems everyone is using a much larger kind of chock with the Escape. Will the ones we have not work on the larger trailers?
The 19 isn't that much larger, but you do have more wheels to chock. I wouldn't worry too much about the chocks. The plastic ones you used on your Casita will also work on the Escape. Chocks can be found anywhere. Don't sweat it. You do need something to level side to side though, and I find it better to raise both wheels on one side when I level, so I use Andersen levelers. Another benefit of these is that they act as the chocks too. There are cheaper alternatives however, like leveling blocks, which work just as well.

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Originally Posted by Trav View Post
2. Even after reading all the posts we could find, we can't decide on the installed solar panel vs the prewired hatch for solar. Has anyone ever had a leak with the solar panel on the roof? If you have the portable panel, how big does it need to be to make a difference? We are only getting the 29 battery instead of the dual 6's. Will that make a difference in our decision? Someone said that if you have to replace one of the dual batteries, you have to do the other one at the same time and it gets expensive, so we opted for the 29. If we don't have electric hookup, it is because we are in a parking lot overnighting or in a campground without electric for two days tops. Will we regret not getting the roof solar panel now?
Prewired for solar means you'll be adding a roof mounted panel later. The wiring is terminated on the roof. The prewiring isn't really intended for using with a portable panel that isn't roof mounted. If you want to stay out for several days at a time with no hookups, solar makes alot of sense. Otherwise, it's an expensive option. If you do decide to get solar, the dual 6v batteries mean you'll have more capacity to store the electricity you produce. More stored power means a longer time you're able to go without shore power. The group 29 battery does have decent capacity however. A couple days boondocking with a group 29 is not a problem. My short answer would be to get the dual 6v batteries if you get solar, and just go with the single group 29 if you don't get solar.

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Originally Posted by Trav View Post
3. Our third major hangup is the inverter. We aren't getting any extra 12 volt outlets, and we would like to make coffee and possibly fire up the microwave in an emergency, but we can't decide if it is worth it. Where does the inverter live if we get one, and does it require special wiring to make all of the outlets work?
Again, another pricey option that may not be necessary. If you want to use AC appliances when boondocking, get an inverter. If you're hooked up, an inverter doesn't come into play. The inverter is installed under the dinette bench on the driver's side in the 19 - which is out of the way. If you want it to power more than one outlet, you have to add the "transfer switch to all outlets" option.

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4. Lastly, is there a gauge that comes standard that tells you the level of the batteries with the Escape, or do you need to get the inverter and/or solar panels to get the gauge?
A battery monitor is not standard in Escapes. If you get solar, it will come with a charge controller, from which you can read the battery voltage/charge state. Some folks without solar (and even with solar) have installed a Trimetric battery monitor or similar because it's readings are very accurate. I believe Escape will prewire for a battery monitor if not install it. I might recommend a battery monitor if you're not getting solar, but I would probably not worry about it if you are getting solar. That's because the Samlex charge controller that comes with the solar package can monitor battery voltage very well.

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5. Is there one hitch lock that is better than another?
Yes. Some hitch locks offer very little security and are easily pried off or removed. The best ones encase the entire ball receiver area in some kind of rectangular or tubular steel vault. Expensive, but perhaps worth it if you want real security. But, even a cheap hitch lock is better than nothing. We haven't bothered to upgrade our hitch lock, using a relatively cheap one so far. There are lots of threads on the topic of hitch locks here. Just search for hitch lock in the search link at the top of the forum page.
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Old 05-04-2016, 04:35 PM   #3
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A battery monitor is not standard in Escapes. If you get solar, it will come with a charge controller, from which you can read the battery voltage/charge state. Some folks without solar (and even with solar) have installed a Trimetric battery monitor or similar because it's readings are very accurate. I believe Escape will prewire for a battery monitor if not install it.

Hmmm... I have a panel which shows me the status of my tanks and the status of my batteries. There are more sophisticated ones out there but I believe all Escapes are still coming with this monitor.
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Old 05-04-2016, 04:46 PM   #4
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A battery monitor is not standard in Escapes. If you get solar, it will come with a charge controller, from which you can read the battery voltage/charge state. Some folks without solar (and even with solar) have installed a Trimetric battery monitor or similar because it's readings are very accurate. I believe Escape will prewire for a battery monitor if not install it.

Hmmm... I have a panel which shows me the status of my tanks and the status of my batteries. There are more sophisticated ones out there but I believe all Escapes are still coming with this monitor.
You're correct - there is a "monitor" of sorts, but of course, it doesn't tell you the actual voltage. Just four lights that indicate "Charged (or Charging), Good, Fair or Low". I should have been more clear. Thanks.
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Old 05-04-2016, 04:57 PM   #5
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We have opted not to get solar for now. And we did not get pre-wired for solar either. For the next 10 years or so, while we are still working, I don't see us doing much boon-docking. Our thinking is that when we retire, if we do more boon-docking, to get some sort of portable panels and use them.
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Old 05-04-2016, 09:36 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by GregandTeresa View Post
We have opted not to get solar for now. And we did not get pre-wired for solar either. For the next 10 years or so, while we are still working, I don't see us doing much boon-docking. Our thinking is that when we retire, if we do more boon-docking, to get some sort of portable panels and use them.
We made the exact same decision for pretty much the same reason. We do have the dual 6V however.
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Old 05-05-2016, 12:03 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trav View Post
We really appreciate your current thoughts on these modifications for our 19' trailer build sheet:
1. We use the little yellow plastic chocks on our Casita with no problems, but it seems everyone is using a much larger kind of chock with the Escape. Will the ones we have not work on the larger trailers?

2. Even after reading all the posts we could find, we can't decide on the installed solar panel vs the prewired hatch for solar. Has anyone ever had a leak with the solar panel on the roof? If you have the portable panel, how big does it need to be to make a difference? We are only getting the 29 battery instead of the dual 6's. Will that make a difference in our decision? Someone said that if you have to replace one of the dual batteries, you have to do the other one at the same time and it gets expensive, so we opted for the 29. If we don't have electric hookup, it is because we are in a parking lot overnighting or in a campground without electric for two days tops. Will we regret not getting the roof solar panel now?

3. Our third major hangup is the inverter. We aren't getting any extra 12 volt outlets, and we would like to make coffee and possibly fire up the microwave in an emergency, but we can't decide if it is worth it. Where does the inverter live if we get one, and does it require special wiring to make all of the outlets work?

4. Lastly, is there a gauge that comes standard that tells you the level of the batteries with the Escape, or do you need to get the inverter and/or solar panels to get the gauge?

5. Is there one hitch lock that is better than another?

We admire all of the posts that show how you guys have modified your trailers and show how you have fixed problems that occur. We are totally inept when it comes to any of those things. I know that these questions have probably been addressed many times, but our heads are swimming. We are really happy and excited about our new Escape, but we need to get our build sheet done. We would love if you could add your thoughts to this thread to help us out.
Trav,
We have the works on our 21. Depending on where you are in TN, you could come to Signal Mountain and take a look. Look us up--Bill Sonnenburg, and call the house.
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Old 05-05-2016, 02:05 PM   #8
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Thanks everyone. Appreciate the input. Bill, we might take you up on the invite one of these days. We have only seen the inside of an Escape for a few minutes at a campground and at a rest area. Thanks again.
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