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Old 01-14-2014, 10:36 AM   #61
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Location: Sandia Park, New Mexico
Trailer: 2008 Escape 5.0
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Originally Posted by fudge_brownie View Post
Dave and Fran
The same numbers hold true here in Wisconsin. If you have sun, flat is almost better than an angle in June and July. The bigger variable for us is tree cover. With the state heavily forested, having portable solar has distinct advantages over roof top mounted.
Too many trees not usually a problem here in much of New Mexico....especially as you head further south.....

Fran & Dave
2008 Escape 5.0
2011 Frontier Crew Cab Short Bed Pro4x
Sandia Park, New Mexico
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Old 02-15-2014, 02:42 PM   #62
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Location: Calgary, Alberta
Trailer: 2004 Trillium Outback
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Interesting thread, lots of good information. Thought I'd just add my 2cents worth based on my experience, but little real or useful knowledge
Currently we have a 15 to 20 year old solar panel mounted on top of our 2004 Trillium Outback, measures about 2ft by 4ft and is either 80 or 90watts, BP cells. Had it such a long time that I've forgotten a lot of the details, have used it on several RV's and this trailer plus used it to charge a battery that then automatically powered outside garden lights when it got dark(a time with no RV).
The dealer installed it for us on the Outback. So, looks like they used 14 gauge wire, not the best. Runs from panel to regulator is about 5ft, then about 9ft to the battery area. The regulator is a Soltek 20Amp unit and displays the battery voltage and charge amps alternately. We have two Alliance A105-5 6V batteries that are now 8 years old.
I just went outside and looked at everything, the batteries are slightly frozen on top, normal in our cold winters. The panel is putting out 1.5 amps in bright light facing away from the Sun, batteries sit at 13.4V, then turned on the DC fridge and a light dropped to 12.9V, recovered quickly after turning them off. These batteries have seen a lot of heavy usage and have never been a problem, I can use a lot of power when doing astrophotography, PC, Camera with cooling, telescope drive plus the fridge is DC only. Have never run out of power even after dry camping for a week. I check and add distilled water a couple of times per year at least.
Right now we're debating on taking the system off our trailer before we sell it in the spring and keep it ready for our future 19ft Escape, September delivery. Need to talk to Rease about how we'd mount it to the roof though. I really like having it continually charging the batteries, in the winter just brush the snow off the panel and it goes and goes.
Steve and Mai

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Old 02-15-2014, 04:43 PM   #63
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Location: Janesville, WI, Wisconsin
Trailer: Escape 19 (sold) Escape 21 2014
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The continuous charging is a nice point for having a permanent panel on the roof. Of course for those that store the trailer indoors it is not relevant. Batteries like that steady incoming charge. Sure a lot easier than taking the batteries off the trailer, storing then and hooking up a trickle charge. Free too.

My two cents would be to leave the panels on the Outback. With their age, lots of travel, lots of sun they maybe reaching their end of life. It also makes your unit more attractive to the next owner, maintenance free.
Paul and Janet Braun
2003 Toyota 4Runner V8 now 2012 Toyota Sequoia V8
Escape 19' 2010 now 2014 Escape 21'
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Old 02-15-2014, 06:03 PM   #64
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Agree with you Paul and Janet on leaving it on for the next owner given its age. It's just served me so well and is so well made compared to the new stuff that I hate to leave it In the summer it still puts out well over 4 amps on a nice sunny day.

Following up a bit more on this threads purpose I would vote for putting the regulator as close to the batteries as possible, keep the wiring runs as short as possible and use 8 or 10 gauge wire in order to get the most capacity out of your panels. But given my experience you can still get very good performance without the optimal setup.
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Old 02-17-2014, 07:55 PM   #65
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Strongsville, Ohio
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19
Posts: 78

Thanks so much for following up with your actual run-time information. We do a lot of guessing and calculating, so your experience over a long period of time really valuable. I think you are right in that a "pretty good" installation is probably good enough! Pretty sure mine will go on the roof. And yeah...you might as well get some new ones for your new trailer!


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