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Old 05-20-2013, 11:55 PM   #1
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Portable Solar Storage

To give you an idea of how technology changes there was not a solar option when we ordered our Escape for delivery in 2010. Now you can opt for a factory install and have a painless solution to your power needs. Because we do a great deal of boon docking and we like our electronic devices I needed to find a method of keeping charged. In the middle of summer we could go about 10 days on the dual 6 volt batteries before getting below 50%. Now, we have an iPad user who loves to listen to music and needs a frequent charge. Some sort of alternate power was going to be necessary.

At first I looked at small solar devices designed just for iPad type devices, costs were around $90 US, they were small and probably would have fit the bill. Unfortunately that only solved part of the problem, what about fall camping, more lights, some furnace time? I was going to need something more robust. Recently Mike Magee posted a low cost alternative solution for solar. I followed this link and ended up with a nice solar solution for the price of $155 US. My concern was storage of the panel. It is a 75 watt size and too large to fit in the wardrobe. The 60 watt model would fit nicely and take minimum space. If you converted the wardrobe to shelves you are out of luck.

For storage of the 24x39 panel I ripped two 2x4’s to make a shelf that I hung on the underside of the queen bed. On the Escape 19 the doors open wide enough to make it very easy to slide the panel out of the way. For an extended camp I would leave the panel out in the elements, they are designed to handle rain. Everything about this project is minimal, no fancy stand for the panel, a lawn chair works fine; simple and small electrical connectors, all portable; no holes drilled in the Escape, everything is outside.

With one trip using the panel we have found the batteries were kept topped off nicely.
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Old 05-20-2013, 11:59 PM   #2
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Mike uses a vehicle side 7 pin bargman connector to connect the solar to the trailer. Plug two connectors, open the lawn chair and find the sun.
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Old 05-21-2013, 10:34 AM   #3
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Nice setup. Should work great for you.

I just picked up a 40W Coleman unit, and will be hooking it up through the 7 pin connector too. When we used to have a big trailer parked like a cabin, we used to hook up batteries we charged at home the same way. Worked good.
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Old 05-21-2013, 11:55 AM   #4
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Does the 7 pin go straight to the battery? I didn't even know that was an option!
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Old 05-21-2013, 12:42 PM   #5
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Yes, from the charge converter, you just have to hook up the positive to 12V charge terminal on the plug (black), and the negative to the ground terminal (white).

It would probably be better to have the charge controller right by the batteries with leads hooked directly to them, and use a waterproof connector to hook up our panel leads to, but the 7 pin connector route is much easier.

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