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Old 08-04-2010, 03:45 PM   #1
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Solar Panel - do you need 2 batteries?

Hi-

We own a 19 foot escape and would like to add a solar panel to it since we dry camp most of the time. We only have one battery though. Do we need 2 to do this and if so is this a possible conversion? I seem to remember Tammy saying that when we ordered if we wanted 2 batteries we had to decide then since it altered the build of the trailer.

Any recs on solar panel kits too??

Thanks so much,
Michelle and Ted
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Old 08-04-2010, 05:16 PM   #2
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Re: Solar Panel - do you need 2 batteries?

Michelle,

The only reason you would need 2 batteries is to get longer battery life between charges. But with 2 batteries it would take more power or a longer time to charge them. So if you are doing well with your current battery setup, all you need to do is add the solar cells. I think I have seen some info on the fiberglassrv site regarding buying and using solar cells. The best bet will be info from someone already doing it.

Eric

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Originally Posted by MichelleC
Hi-

We own a 19 foot escape and would like to add a solar panel to it since we dry camp most of the time. We only have one battery though. Do we need 2 to do this and if so is this a possible conversion? I seem to remember Tammy saying that when we ordered if we wanted 2 batteries we had to decide then since it altered the build of the trailer.

Any recs on solar panel kits too??

Thanks so much,
Michelle and Ted
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Old 08-04-2010, 08:28 PM   #3
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Re: Solar Panel - do you need 2 batteries?

Yep, Eric is correct idea, go to this link

http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f...lar-37770.html
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Old 08-05-2010, 11:47 AM   #4
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Re: Solar Panel - do you need 2 batteries?

Michelle - You don't need two batteries in order to benefit from adding solar. The solar helps replenish power by charging the battery/batteries whereas having two 6 volt batteries provides more power storage capacity compared to a single 12 volt battery as stated by Eric. Both are useful for prolonging power supply when camping off the grid for extended periods. However, neither requires the other & each would be beneficial on their own.

Personally, I'd suggest converting to all LED lighting before anything else. Beyond that, you should consider your specific factors (How many consecutive days do you like to boondock; Are you a frugal power user or do you like to not worry about it?; Do you leave lights on for long periods at night, run the fan often, have the stereo/tv on?; What can you afford?) to help you determine what else you need &/or what would be "nice to have" & worthwhile to add.
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Old 08-05-2010, 11:55 AM   #5
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Re: Solar Panel - do you need 2 batteries?

We have the dual 6v batteries as well as a 95 watt solar panel. In addition, we have all LED lighting, tinted thermal windows & the insulation pkg which makes for a relatively energy efficient unit prime for boondocking. Overall, we're happy with our setup. However, since there are four of us, we tend to be limited more by the black tank capacity rather than power capacity. We're considering getting a 16 gallon Tote-Along portable holding tank made by Barker to help us get around that issue.

Our solar kit was installed by Reace & crew when our trailer was built. He got our kit from Go Power!.
http://www.gpelectric.com/content/pr...ct/?i=GP-RV-95

I'd suggest contacting Reace directly for the answer to your question about the feasibility of converting from one 12v to two 6v batteries. I'd guess that it can be done - the question is whether or not it'd be easy &/or costly.
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Old 08-12-2010, 01:45 AM   #6
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Re: Solar Panel - do you need 2 batteries?

Our family of four just got back from a three week trip, and the solar panels that were installed by Reace worked incredibly well. We were in a a very shadey site most of the time, but the panels kept our batteries charged at all times. We are not wasteful with power, but never had to even think twice about taking a shower or turning lights on. We also have LED lights and the two 6V batteries. We did use a portable tank to empty both the grey and black water. This is our first summer with our trailer, but have spent 29 nights in it already. Love it!
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Old 08-12-2010, 06:01 AM   #7
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Re: Solar Panel - do you need 2 batteries?

Heh Devin, what equipment do you have? 13, 15, 17, etc?
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Old 08-13-2010, 01:23 AM   #8
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Re: Solar Panel - do you need 2 batteries?

We have a 17B. We went pretty heavy on the options, with extra insulation, tinted windows, digital TV antenna, air conditioning, and as I mentioned, 6V batteries and solar panels. If I had it to do again, I would skip the TV antenna. The solar panels are great. We did a few days in Jasper, Alberta in the spring, and it froze each night. We were boondocking, and even though the furnace ran each night, and the days were cloudy, the batteries were charged the whole time. The air conditioning is for when we head down to California one day. We tow with a Honda Odyssey. It rides pretty low in the rear when towing, but I may just need new shocks. I am considering my options for a different vehicle, as I have over 200 thousand kilometers on it. Any advice?
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Old 08-13-2010, 08:25 AM   #9
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Re: Solar Panel - do you need 2 batteries?

Hi: ddevin...Since we tow a 5.0 I'm not up with tow vehicles, for the other Escapes, other than pickups. I have heard the Honda Pilot is a very capable tugger. The Toyota Highlander and even some domestic SUV's are ok. Your options are more than mine!!! Alf
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Old 08-14-2010, 01:38 AM   #10
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Re: Solar Panel - do you need 2 batteries?

Thanks, the Pilot is one vehicle that we are considering. The odyssey is great is most ways, but coming back from the coast the front wheels spun when heading up a hill in the rain! Thanks for the advice!
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