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Old 09-22-2012, 04:43 PM   #61
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Re: Solar musing

Daylight isn't exactly the term I was thinking of when I posted, sorry I should have been clearer. Often campsites around here are in fairly heavily forested areas with large tall trees. Unlike some other areas on the continent even in full sunshine, in some campsites the light that does get through is closer to twilight than daylight. Add cloudy/rainy skies (sometimes for weeks at a time), shorter days (due to seasons and latitude) and I don't think there is near enough light.

OK, now I'm just getting depressed thinking about the upcoming Fall/Winter... hold on, maybe this is a message that I should just move South .

Dave
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Old 09-22-2012, 07:17 PM   #62
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Re: Solar musing

Sales guy at a place that sells batteries, solar and generators told me that a generator can provide power in two hours that it would take two weeks with solar. Of course, he likely was exaggerating, and he didn't say what size generator / solar. But, that was his take on solar. I got the generator elsewhere.

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Old 09-22-2012, 08:43 PM   #63
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Re: Solar musing

There would be no comparison between the environmental footprint of building a solar panel which will be used for decades (and then recycled) compared to running a generator, or God forbid idling a vehicle engine. In terms of the extra drag caused by having the panel on your roof, I believe it would be negligible. The panel is almost flush. Your Maxfan would create more drag.

In terms of living in the Northwest, again, from years of experience, no problem. Sure, they take a little longer, but they easily re-charge the batteries. As I've stated on the forum before (sorry!), we have booddocked for two weeks in a campground with thick cedars and limited direct sunlight, and no problem. Cloudy skies I have found are less of an issue than shade. With respect to the length of day, we live in Alberta! When we spring ski, it is dark by 7.

I agree with Baglo, it really is not complicated. You put the panel on your roof, and never think about your batteries again-until you read the forum and people question about how practical they are!
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Old 09-22-2012, 10:43 PM   #64
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Re: Solar musing

Interesting discussion as it is raising a number of valid points pro and con but so many variables.

Thanks for responding about the Northwest but I was asking about the Pacific Northwest. Roberts Creek provincial campsite is what I meant by a dark campsite, nearby Porpoise Bay provincial campsite has a number that are just as dark but also a few bright ones. In contrast around Northeastern BC, say Fort Nelson with the big skies/sunny weather even in the winter, solar would likely work very well.

The crunch for me is when you have to use the furnace. Older campers used to have a convection furnace (no fan/hot air rises) which likely didn't heat as well but didn't gobble electricity.

Dave

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Old 09-22-2012, 10:46 PM   #65
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Re: Solar musing

I agree with Ddevin. We live on the west coast of BC and were recently camping in some shady spots for a few weeks and the recharging of the batteries from the solar panel was no issue.
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Old 09-22-2012, 11:37 PM   #66
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Re: Solar musing

"The crunch for me is when you have to use the furnace. Older campers used to have a convection furnace (no fan/hot air rises) which likely didn't heat as well but didn't gobble electricity".

Escape is now using the low amp draw Atwood #8012 which pulls less than 2 a/h while running so over a 8 hour period running @ 50% you will only be pulling 8 a/h from your battery bank.
This is the lowest draw of the current available furnaces.
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Old 09-23-2012, 12:36 PM   #67
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Re: Solar musing

Dave D., thanks for the clarification, yes, I do mean the Pacific Northwest as well. I have been to Roberts Creek, and you are right, that is the darkest campsite I have ever seen! The spot where we spent two weeks boon docking was right down the road at Saltery Bay. It was not as dark as Roberts Creek, as we would get shafts of sunlight which occasionally would hit the panels. Our last two extended trips were down the Oregon/Washington coast. The panels performed well, but I must admit, our sites were not as dark as Roberts Creek-there may be limits!

When we camp in Jasper during the shoulder seasons, there is snow on the ground, and the furnace runs a lot. Not an issue.
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Old 09-23-2012, 08:06 PM   #68
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Re: Solar musing

We have been in darker individual campsites but Roberts Creek does stand out as all the campsites are dark but I guess cooler in a heat spell. Thanks for the real life responses, it is easy to spend money on the Escape and it didn't seem solar was going to work very well around here. Thanks for the information on the furnace. I'm hoping we have the newer furnace with the lower draw, on our old trailer the furnace could kill the battery pretty quickly.

In the future we will be traveling further afield so if extra batteries don't cut it I will likely install a solar system. I do have 2 small generators but unless I'm every going to run a drill or saw I will leave them at home.

Thanks,

Dave
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Old 11-25-2012, 05:07 AM   #69
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Smile Solar Musings

My husband boon docked the entire month of October at Leighton Lake in the interior of B.C. We have no generator but do have the factory solar panel, dual 6 volt batteries and dual propane. A couple of his retired buddies were there in their mega trailers and ran their generators frequently although they had heavier demands - running their satellite TV services and computers plus charging the batteries for their boats. My husband never ran out of battery power and the batteries would be back to full charge by noon - he also uses the solar to re-charge his boat motor batteries. The last couple of weeks, the temperatures dropped drastically. He had drained all the tanks but kept the furnace running day and night so nothing would freeze. He's extremely pleased with the trailer's performance and feels the solar panel was the best investment in the build.

At the end of the day, I guess it depends on how you want to camp. If you want to camp like you're staying in a fancy hotel, the the solar won't be enough for your jetted tub and wet bar.
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Old 11-25-2012, 10:54 AM   #70
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