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Old 09-20-2013, 09:27 AM   #1
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solar

Hi,

I was discussing solar panels with a buddy at work. He said to make sure the solar panels for the escape 21 i'm buying is the silicon type of panels that have a 10 year life span. If it's the cheaper type of solar panels it's life span is only about 2 years. I'm not sure which type of panels are offered on the ecscape trailers, anyone know this? He also said if they are the longer lasting silicon type, it's a good deal with them installed. He said you can purchase (which he has) a portable unit that around 40 watts for 50 dollars locally. You'd have to get your self a couple of them, but 100 dollars and not permanently mounted might be the way to go. This is a great option for those who have a trailer without the solar mounted already.

Thanks
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Old 09-20-2013, 09:33 AM   #2
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I believe the solar panels Escape installs are the "good" kind as most are still in operation. The manufacturer is Carmanah .
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Old 09-20-2013, 09:28 PM   #3
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The solar panels are monocrystalline and made from silicon

Monocrystalline Solar Panels: Advantages and Disadvantages

This is a link to the solar panels installed by Escape.

http://gpelectric.com/products/retreat-solar-kit
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Old 09-21-2013, 08:05 AM   #4
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Mine is still going after 2 1/2 years...
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Old 09-21-2013, 10:38 AM   #5
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Thanks for your responses. The take i'm receiving from you is, the solar panels offered are a worthy upgrade.
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Old 09-21-2013, 10:41 AM   #6
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Thanks for the sites 182, this is really what I was looking for.

Mike
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Old 09-21-2013, 12:53 PM   #7
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Since we are on the topic of solar Panel, I like to ask the experts a question that is it necessary to install a transfer switch when you have a 1500W inverter installed by the Escape factory. What I need to know is that when I connect the trailer power cord to shore power at a campsite and also have the solar panel charger switched on? Thanks
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Old 09-21-2013, 01:48 PM   #8
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Whether you need a transfer switch depends on how you set up the output of the inverter. In my case I added a separate receptacle for the inverter so no transfer switch. If you want to power some of the same receptacles with the inverter that are normally powered by shore power, a transfer switch is necessary.

Some individuals use an adapter to plug the trailer's 30 amp power cord into the inverter, thus powering the entire trailer. If you do this it is important that you turn off the high draw devices such as an air conditioner, electric water heater, etc, and insure that there is no power to the converter.

As to charging, you can charge the battery(ies) from multiple sources. For example, charging from the solar panel & the converter works fine, as does from the solar panel and the tow vehicle through the 7 way connector.
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Old 09-21-2013, 01:56 PM   #9
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Jon,
Thanks for the info. You're advise is well taken. I appreciated your contribution to the fiberglass forum. I knew your the authority in RV electrical issue.
Tonny
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Old 09-21-2013, 09:50 PM   #10
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You might want to ask how they are epoxied on now and what type compared to the past. Mother nature can produce some heavy winds.

"I have had two solar panels blown off my trailer"

Unique problems - no warranty?
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Old 09-21-2013, 10:45 PM   #11
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gocamp,
Thanks for sharing your experience with solar panel. I read your posting on "unique problems"
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Old 09-22-2013, 07:40 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vermilye View Post
Whether you need a transfer switch depends on how you set up the output of the inverter. In my case I added a separate receptacle for the inverter so no transfer switch. If you want to power some of the same receptacles with the inverter that are normally powered by shore power, a transfer switch is necessary.
I distributed power from the inverter to the top half of each of the power outlets by splitting them -- you just cut the link between the top and bottom part of the outlet, and connect power from the inverter to one side. The outside outlet is a GFCI type, so I installed an extra outlet under the passenger side bench with a split outlet. I can then connect the outside outlet to either shore power or inverter power. This method is similar to the one Jon is using and no transfer switch is needed. See Ladybug goes solar!
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Old 09-23-2013, 08:10 AM   #13
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Hi Brain,
Thanks for the info. I plan to have the electrical outlet split into 110V and 12V to avoid installing a transfer switch. Outside GFCI outlets, can they be divided into 2 power sources during building phrase or do I have to install 2 seperate 12V outlets next to the 110 V. Your feedbacks would be appreciated.
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Old 09-23-2013, 08:19 AM   #14
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I read in the forum that some members raise the solar panel three inches to enhance solar power receiption. I like to get input from you all the pros and cons of having it raise 3 inches. Thanks.
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Old 09-23-2013, 10:56 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tonny LR View Post
Hi Brain,
Thanks for the info. I plan to have the electrical outlet split into 110V and 12V to avoid installing a transfer switch. Outside GFCI outlets, can they be divided into 2 power sources during building phrase or do I have to install 2 seperate 12V outlets next to the 110 V. Your feedbacks would be appreciated.
Tonny
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The output of the inverter is 110 volt power, the same as the power supplied from an outside source at a campsite (=shore power). A transfer switch allows you to select whether 110 volt outlets in the trailer are powered from the inverter or from shore power. As Jon described, the transfer switch should not be supplying power to the converter or to the air conditioner when you are running on inverter power. If you have separate outlets (or split outlets) for inverter power and shore power you don't need a transfer switch. This is the simplest solution.

You can't split the outside GFCI outlet. If you want two sources of 110 volt power there you will need either two separate GFCI outlets or be able to switch the outside outlet either to inverter power or shore power. I switch the outside outlet. Since this is a bit complicated the simplest solution is to not bother having inverter power on an outside outlet.

The 12 volt outlets are supplied from the 12 volt system (battery) and no transfer switch is needed for them, since the solar panel controller and converter are both connected to the battery.
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Old 09-23-2013, 11:53 AM   #16
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Hi Brian,
Thank you for explaining solar power so well.
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Old 09-23-2013, 04:11 PM   #17
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Tonny
The output of the inverter is 110 volt power, the same as the power supplied from an outside source at a campsite (=shore power). A transfer switch allows you to select whether 110 volt outlets in the trailer are powered from the inverter or from shore power. As Jon described, the transfer switch should not be supplying power to the converter or to the air conditioner when you are running on inverter power. If you have separate outlets (or split outlets) for inverter power and shore power you don't need a transfer switch. This is the simplest solution.

You can't split the outside GFCI outlet. If you want two sources of 110 volt power there you will need either two separate GFCI outlets or be able to switch the outside outlet either to inverter power or shore power. I switch the outside outlet. Since this is a bit complicated the simplest solution is to not bother having inverter power on an outside outlet.

The 12 volt outlets are supplied from the 12 volt system (battery) and no transfer switch is needed for them, since the solar panel controller and converter are both connected to the battery.
Brian, when I installed my 2,500 watt inverter I wanted to power all of my outlets with either shore or inverter power and absolutely wanted the outside GFI outlet on both for blender, toaster, crock pot and griddle use outside. I also wanted to power my microwave from the inverter so the transfer switch was the way to go. In my opinion a manual transfer switch is generally a simpler and lower cost way to go because you don't have all the trailer wiring to all the outlets and it gives flexibility for later additions/changes. It also makes both outlet receptacles available always. BTW, my inverter switch cost $65 and I installed it completely on a Saturday afternoon.
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Old 09-23-2013, 04:24 PM   #18
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hotfish and Brian
Do you have any breakers on the AC circuits between inverter and outlets? There must be a 12V breaker on the inverter input circuit, but is the AC wiring protected properly? I have seen AC breaker panels included in the wiring diagrams for automatic transfer switches.
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Old 09-23-2013, 04:29 PM   #19
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In my opinion a manual transfer switch is generally a simpler and lower cost way to go because you don't have all the trailer wiring to all the outlets and it gives flexibility for later additions/changes. It also makes both outlet receptacles available always. BTW, my inverter switch cost $65 and I installed it completely on a Saturday afternoon.
Steve
Since we have a small 300 watt inverter I was able to wire the top half of each outlet with cab tire. I ran it along the top inside corner of the driver side overhead cabinets using cable ties. I admit that an inverter is a more elegant solution since you don't need to unplug anything when you switch from shore power to inverter power. On the other hand, having separate outlets for inverter power is more foolproof -- no chance of trying to run the converter on inverter power (a losing proposition).
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Old 09-23-2013, 04:30 PM   #20
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hotfish and Brian
Do you have any breakers on the AC circuits between inverter and outlets? There must be a 12V breaker on the inverter input circuit, but is the AC wiring protected properly? I have seen AC breaker panels included in the wiring diagrams for automatic transfer switches.
Yes! On my setup the transfer switch changes the supply source to the breaker panel (either shore or inverter) so all circuits are intact with breakers for each one. All active circuits are still protected and you can turn off any circuit individually at the breaker panel.
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