Solar: Roof or Portable ... why not both... - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 06-22-2015, 05:46 PM   #1
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Solar: Roof or Portable ... why not both...

I like many have been having a internal debate with myself on my next solar upgrade ...

Put another 160 on the roof for easy use or a portable unit so i can recharge in the shade.

this guy has a craft solution:
Portable Solar Panels? - Boondocking - Escapees Discussion Forum
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Old 06-22-2015, 06:11 PM   #2
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I have a question regarding the portable solar panel. How is it hooked up to your battery for charging? Is it as simple as clamping leads to the battery post directly from the panel?
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Old 06-22-2015, 06:40 PM   #3
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My 40 watt Coleman portable ( $99 on sale at Canadian Tire every couple months ) plugs into the controller that comes with it and wire from controller clamps on to positive and negative terminals on battery.
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Old 06-22-2015, 06:41 PM   #4
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HI Slick,
i've yet to buy my panel yet.

most vendors show portable units connecting to the battery via the 7-pin connector, vs. roof fixed units via MC20 connections



I like the idea of having all power go into the controller vs. direct to the battery
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Old 06-22-2015, 06:43 PM   #5
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I don't connect via the 7-pin because that is at the front of the trailer and my battery is on the rear bumper.
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Old 06-22-2015, 06:46 PM   #6
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Quote:
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My 40 watt Coleman portable ( $99 on sale at Canadian Tire every couple months ) plugs into the controller that comes with it and wire from controller clamps on to positive and negative terminals on battery.
That may be the ticket when I'm hunting in northern Maine for a week, the only problem is if the sun cooperates or not. Perhaps a small generator may be a better choice. Late November in northern Maine usually means cloud cover and snow.
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Old 06-22-2015, 07:08 PM   #7
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Cover your bases.
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Old 06-22-2015, 07:14 PM   #8
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Cover your bases.
How many of those panels would be required to charge a group 29 single 12 volt escape battery?
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Old 06-22-2015, 07:33 PM   #9
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I'll leave that question to the solar experts.
There are so many variables, time of year etc.
I've not yet had enough experience with these that I'm willing to leave the generator at home.
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Old 06-22-2015, 07:36 PM   #10
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How many of those panels would be required to charge a group 29 single 12 volt escape battery?

Charge from what state? 50% depleted is a lot different than 10%. Then there's the variable of the charge controller and the amount of sun, since the current produced varies widely depending on that. Too many variables to give a single answer.
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Old 06-22-2015, 07:55 PM   #11
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I have a set of portable 90w panels and a 45' cord. Really not enough to fully recharge so I'm in the market for a Zamp Solar 120 or 150w unit.

Thought about a rooftop panel but we don't want to give up a nice shady campsite.
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Old 06-22-2015, 08:07 PM   #12
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Does anyone know about how long to charge the battery with the tow vehicle plugged in and running with battery at 50%? The generator is sounding more reliable and viable every min.
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Old 06-22-2015, 08:07 PM   #13
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Doesn't the panel charge the batteries when you are moving? I know the tow vehicle will charge themduring moving but just want to know if the solar panel can as well. For those who have a panel what is on the readout panel in the trailer and is it an on-off switch?

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Old 06-22-2015, 08:09 PM   #14
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The only thing I know about any of this stuff, is you can't expect to run your A/C off (only) batteries and probably not your furnace (for more than a day). All this electricity stuff gives me a headache...
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Old 06-22-2015, 08:24 PM   #15
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Google "solar made easy Escape Forum" great post by Fudge_Brownie. Was going to do that for the 17B before jumping for a 21. It shouldn't take more than 4 hours in sunlight.
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Old 06-22-2015, 08:27 PM   #16
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The only thing I know about any of this stuff, is you can't expect to run your A/C off (only) batteries and probably not your furnace (for more than a day). All this electricity stuff gives me a headache...
Generators give me one.
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Old 06-22-2015, 08:40 PM   #17
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Generators give me one.
Understood. Fortunately I don't live where/when I camp and it's HOT and A/C is needed as a boondocker. It's going to hit over 100 degrees this weekend in Portland. If Ten Forward had A/C and I owned a generator... I'd be sleeping in it!
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Old 06-22-2015, 09:58 PM   #18
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We are opting for both for our 5.0 TA which is on order. A fixed 150W panel on the roof should charge the dual 6V batteries most of the time and is much more convenient than a portable panel. However, a portable panel is great for shady campsites, Denali National Park on Labor Day weekend when the sun is very low on the horizon, and for keeping a solar charge on the trailer while parked at home under a cover. ETI will install an exterior electrical access hatch for $35 near the batteries for the cord running from the panel to the batteries. Haven't decided what size portable panel to pick up yet.

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Old 06-22-2015, 10:02 PM   #19
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I have the 160 watt roof panel, which does great. I also plan on some point to add a portable solar unit to supplement winter camping or shady spots. To that end I had Reace place the charge controller down by the converter, inverter, and EMS, and a port on the front driver side through which I can run the power cord. The intention is to wire the portable panel directly into the existing controller. One COULD plug the second panel directly into the battery bank, but this way I'm going to get full use of the controller.
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Old 06-22-2015, 10:27 PM   #20
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Lots of possible configurations but I think you are on track with a fixed and portable combo. Giving oneself options is a great thing!

I didn't get the rooftop panel, as I recall it was only 90w or so and didn't seem cost effective. Now that they're installing 150w, I'm pondering having ETI put together and ship a kit down my way to augment my portable rig. I do agree the portable unit is bulky, inconvenient, and could easily sprout wings and fly away if its not secured.
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