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Old 08-14-2015, 10:49 AM   #1
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Couple of build sheet questions-solar & propane

Greetings everyone,

We are coming up on our build sheet deadline and have a few more decisions to make. Here are two:

1) We have all but decided to get the ETI solar panel option. I know that many of you prefer the detached panels and the logical argument for parking in the shade with remote panels in the sun. Others say that the time spent driving uses the rooftop panels to recharge the system. My question is: Are there any of you who have both and how well might such a setup work?

2) The exterior propane connection option offered by ETI appears to be handy for using a BBQ outside the trailer. I have heard that this connection may not work for all applications and that it is possible to create my own connection at the propane tank valve array. Can anyone present some clarification on this issue?

Many Thanks,
Allan
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Old 08-14-2015, 11:04 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by liveoakal View Post
Greetings everyone,

We are coming up on our build sheet deadline and have a few more decisions to make. Here are two:

1) We have all but decided to get the ETI solar panel option. I know that many of you prefer the detached panels and the logical argument for parking in the shade with remote panels in the sun. Others say that the time spent driving uses the rooftop panels to recharge the system. My question is: Are there any of you who have both and how well might such a setup work?
One factor is lifestyle. Kind of two types of trailer users. There's the drive somewhere nice, setup for a few days etc. and there's the travelers, that's us. Usually on the road at least 2 out of 3 days.

So the type of use anticipated can be a factor. For us, on the road almost every day, using the truck alternator to keep the batteries up has worked just fine. And the solar panel could be moved into sunlight if we were camped in the shade.

There are pros and cons about permanently mounting the panels on the roof and if you search a bit you'll find some interesting info.

Ron
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Old 08-14-2015, 11:05 AM   #3
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Al,
1)We originally were just going to use a portable solar panel and PWM controller, so we could follow the sun. Then thought we could use the pole-mount idea of Ron in BC. We've got so many projects and mods lined up that we have to cut down the list so we can enjoy camping itself. And security for portable anythings is a factor. So we went for the roof-mount by ETI, specifically requesting bolted mounting. We'll still get plenty of power production(capture).

2)We decided not to have an exterior connection for propane. We have a grill (Duro) and a stove (Coleman) that both have their own regulators, and they are thus supplied by the high-pressure line directly from the tanks, and not the low-pressure downstream of the trailer tanks' regulator. So we're borrowing KarenH's solution:
Here was her solution.

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Old 08-14-2015, 11:59 AM   #4
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The ETI installed exterior propane quick connect needs a bbq with no regulator.
The hose off of the propane tank array needs a bbq with a regulator.
Camping world and such sell models that have both.
Here in Canada they cost over 200 dollars.

Just a small bbq with a small propane bottle system can be found for 30 dollars.

The propane tank array, with a hose and an adapter can power the 30 dollar bbq, the exterior propane quick connect cannot.

Anyways that is my experience, I have the quick connect but can't use it.
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Old 08-14-2015, 12:44 PM   #5
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We use the external LP connection to run a propane firepit. Handy for winter season camping in the NorthWet - morning coffee under the awning while watching the rain.........
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Old 08-14-2015, 01:00 PM   #6
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The best part about the solar panels, for me, is that every time i step onto the trailer the batteries are charged!
It's like magic. I used to have to make sure that the batteries were charged before we went out or for winter parking.
Now, it's all done for me by sun faries.
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Old 08-14-2015, 03:22 PM   #7
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We use the external LP connection to run a propane firepit. Handy for winter season camping in the NorthWet - morning coffee under the awning while watching the rain.........
I added the propone quick disconnect for the same reason. I got all sorts of grief from my camping buddy when I purchased the propane fire pit. Then, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park outlawed bringing in any wood from outside the park (due to various bugs being imported) and now he is burning store bought fire logs while I burn propane!
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Old 08-14-2015, 03:47 PM   #8
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I have the 160 watt rooftop panel on my 19, but also had ETI add a porthole (front driver side) where I could connect a portable solar panel later on. Reace suggested placing the solar charge controller closer to where this porthole was situated, so that I'd have a very short wiring run to the controller, and not need to struggle with a long wiring run through cabinets.

I didn't get the external propane connection simply because it is low pressure and I'd be unlikely to use. I have a portable fireplace for which I bought a smaller tank.

Bob
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Old 08-14-2015, 03:58 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by jxoco View Post
The ETI installed exterior propane quick connect needs a bbq with no regulator.
The hose off of the propane tank array needs a bbq with a regulator.
Camping world and such sell models that have both.
Here in Canada they cost over 200 dollars.

Just a small bbq with a small propane bottle system can be found for 30 dollars.

The propane tank array, with a hose and an adapter can power the 30 dollar bbq, the exterior propane quick connect cannot.

Anyways that is my experience, I have the quick connect but can't use it.
Hi: jxoco... Since you're in Surrey... why not run over to Dickenson Marine Dickinson Marine // Quality Marine Products Since 1932 | Dickinson Marine and buy the Hi-Lo flame control and exchange the regulator off the appliance. I bought the Spitfire 180 Grille and flame control and can use the quick connect. VERY Convenient!!! Alf
escape artist N.S. of Lake Erie
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Old 08-14-2015, 05:49 PM   #10
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Thank you everyone for the great response.

I think we will go for the rooftop solar and forego the quick-connect propane in favor of the KarenH solution (do we owe her royalties?).

And the quote from dfandrews: "We've got so many projects and mods lined up that we have to cut down the list so we can enjoy camping itself." Most appropriate!

Thanks again,
Allan
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Old 08-17-2015, 07:08 PM   #11
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We have the rooftop solar (and two 6v batteries) and have been away fro three weeks and had plenty of power for our needs. I am intrigued at the idea of a port to be able to use a portable panel as well as I think the time for more solar capture will be in the spring and fall when we use more power and there is less sun. Too late for us to add this but has anyone added a port post build, or found a way to connect into the fixed panel.
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Old 08-17-2015, 07:15 PM   #12
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I'm no expert, and I don't have a roof top solar panel, but I just connect my portable panel to the battery terminals with alligator clips. Easy, because the battery on my 17 is on the rear bumper.
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Old 08-17-2015, 08:26 PM   #13
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I believe Jon V has several posts on his, as well as HFT (hotfishtacos) on his install.
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Old 08-17-2015, 10:59 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheLonePine View Post
We have the rooftop solar
I am intrigued at the idea of a port to be able to use a portable panel as well
has anyone added a port post build, or found a way to connect into the fixed panel.
Like you I have the solar panel off my prior unit.
And in the off season, when the sun is low on the horizon, is when the furnace is used the most.
I hope the two 6 volts are up to the task of running the furnace overnight and I'm concerned about topping up the batteries in the daytime. I hope an additional, panel will help.

What I had done on my prior rig was run a cable, just white lampcord out the AC shore power plug hole.
I used Deans remote control car battery plugs to connect the cable to the panel to this. The deans connectors are very small, very sturdy and easily take 30 amps.

The problem then becomes the inside wiring up to the back of the solar controller. The panels are added in parallel with the rooftop unit. I don't yet know how to do this part.
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Old 08-18-2015, 01:08 AM   #15
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Hi John .... you may want to Google up voltage drop charts to see what you are loosing (or not) on your lamp cord leads off your portable panels. I usually use the charts for wire gauge with less than 3% drop for the length of cords used. Some charts are for "round trip" electrons and some for one way.


Good Luck,
Tom
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Old 08-18-2015, 11:43 AM   #16
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I think I have found the solution to my question of how to add a portable solar panel to my existing fixed one without an installed solar port. This from gopowers web site:

http://gpelectric.com/files/gpelectr...stallation.pdf
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