Let the sun shine ... on your solar panel? - Page 2 - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 10-10-2010, 12:57 PM   #11
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Re: Let the sun shine ... on your solar panel?

Hello Elizabeth, We have just finished our first summer with our Escape (Escape Pod), and spent 32 nights in her! The best decision we made was the solar panels, the ones supplied and installed by Reace. We boondocked for 10 nights in Saltery Bay Provincial Park on what is known as the Sunshine Coast, but despite the name, our campsite rarely saw direct sunlight due to the huge cedar trees. Our batteries were kept charged at all times thanks to the panels. We do have LED lights, which make a big difference. We used the lights as much as needed, which really isn't much when camping, charged our boys electronic gadgets, and even showered every few nights. We used a jerry can to keep our water full, and have a portable container on wheels for dumping the grey/black water tanks. You can buy these at RV places. They are expensive, so our friend just uses a water container (dedicated to this job!). We have also camped in Jasper (mountains) when it went below freezing at night, and the furnace needed to run on and off at night to keep the trailer warm. Again, despite the cloudy skies, the batteries rebounded as soon as daylight returned, for 3 nights in a row. We also have air conditioning (because we have a dog!), but the solar panels clearly will not power these. We also went with the extra insulation and tinted windows, which helps to keep the trailer not only warm, but cool on hot days. We have never needed to use the AC. We just changed our tow vehicle from a Honda Odyssey to a Toyota Highlander, in part based on comments made on this forum. We still have to get our new tug rigged for towing. Enjoy!
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Old 10-10-2010, 02:07 PM   #12
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Re: Let the sun shine ... on your solar panel?

Congratulations Dan and Elizabeth!
I am so happy for you both! I am very sure that you both will be pleased with your decision.
Sandra
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Old 10-10-2010, 02:15 PM   #13
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Re: Let the sun shine ... on your solar panel?

DDevin,

Thanks so much, this is very helpful to us (just read your post aloud to Dan, my husband, who also sends thanks).

So, you're thinking that without Reace's solar you would have had less ability to boondock in these situations? You would have run through the battery too quickly? And ultimately the solar actually did charge things up even though you were getting filtered sun at best? I think 90% of the time "filtered sun" is all we're going to get around here.

Thx again!



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Old 10-10-2010, 07:31 PM   #14
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Re: Let the sun shine ... on your solar panel?

Ah! Boondocking off the power grid. It's easy to do but so hard to define because so many variables come into play. Time of year, amount of sunshine, temperature, altitude, pets, showers, and the list can go on and on.

I think I can make it for two weeks in midsummer on my two 6 volt batteries. Can others do the same? Hard to say yes because all those variables come into play. Now my tanks will not hold two weeks of "output" but with LED's, limited use of the fan, no showers and no furnace it is doable. Change the date to mid October and all bets are off.

Car charging is cool. I never realized my battery charged from my car until I bought the handy Equus Battery Monitor. I just happened to leave the monitor plugged in for a five hour drive. I was surprised to see the charge on the battery had gone up. I did not think it went up that much, seeing it had five hours of charge. Made me wonder just how fast of a charge came from this method.
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Old 10-11-2010, 08:45 AM   #15
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Re: Let the sun shine ... on your solar panel?

Paul in my opinion you are absolutely correct about how hard it is to compare how long batteries last while boondocking. The only thing I know for sure is that the dual 6v batteries and LED lighting help greatly. As far a I know, the rate that the trailer batteries are charged by the tow is directly related to the output of the tow's alternator. On our Tacoma, a higher capacity alternator was included in Toyota's optional tow package (along with a larger battery, transmission cooler, etc) and it charges very quickly while towing.
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Old 10-16-2010, 10:49 AM   #16
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Re: Let the sun shine ... on your solar panel?

We may have been able to get by on these trips without the panels, but the beauty of the panels is peace of mind. It was fun to check the monitor and see the panels go down to say 60% after a night of running the furnace, and then see them rebound to 98% by the end of the day. This was in cool conditions with freezing overnight, 3 nights in a row. With our previous RV, one night of furnace use would kill our batteries. On our summer trip we estimate that we took 6 showers, and never thought twice about turning a light on. In contrast our friend who travelled with us with his trailer was frequently seen wearing a headlamp to conserve his battery power. Buit then again, he has a Scamp !
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Old 10-19-2010, 05:29 PM   #17
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Re: Let the sun shine ... on your solar panel?

ddevin, do you recall -- were you in a sunny or shaded situation on those days you went from 60->98%?
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Old 10-23-2010, 10:32 PM   #18
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Re: Let the sun shine ... on your solar panel?

The solar system will not run an AC unit. You will need a generator for that. The Escape Solar system will keep the batteries charged during direct or shaded sunlight. During the daylight people charge their computers and cell phones using the 12 volt plug in. Honda makes the EU2000I generator that weighs 41 pounds. It may take 2 hooked together to run the AC depending on the size. LED lights would be best for boondocking they draw very little juice.
Have fun planning your new trailer.
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Old 11-05-2010, 10:34 PM   #19
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Re: Let the sun shine ... on your solar panel?

I can imagine in the not so distance future, they will make awnings that will double as a solar panel. Power Film makes a shelter for the military that can generate up to 2 kilowatts of power (http://www.powerfilmsolar.com/milita...ld-shelter.php). The cost is high now but they will likely produce more products when it is cost effective.
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Old 11-05-2010, 10:49 PM   #20
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Re: Let the sun shine ... on your solar panel?

I'm waiting until they have an app for that....

baglo
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