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Old 08-28-2020, 08:25 PM   #1
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Smile New Member - 2021 19 Scheduled for May

I haven't been creeping too long, but recently put down a deposit on the above. My wife and I will be fully retiring in a couple of years; her from teaching, myself in IT. I really have appreciated the constructive and supportive nature of this forum so far - they all can go south a little, but this one seems to be a fairly mature group (not just age).
Now the decisions start. Looking at some of new options on the 19; especially the Lithium battery and compressor fridge, or are they just "shiny things". They do seem to be the way to go with respect to modern technology and efficiency. Now wondering if I should increase from 1 to 2 solar panels. I don't think we'll be hard core boondockers, but it would be nice be free to spend a week or three wherever we choose, and not limited to 120v service.
Our TV is a 2016 Toyota Tacoma, and the 19' is about as large as I want to go considering we live in Colorado and will need to transit high elevations. We owned a fifth wheel years ago and quickly realized a diesel was required for that one.

Cheers to all and look forward to sharing wisdom and experiences!
Mark
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Old 08-28-2020, 11:03 PM   #2
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I can’t comment my experience with the lithium battery or the compressor fridge because these were not options when I bought my 19 in 2018. What I can say is the traditional fridge seems to work extremely well, on both propane and A/C. I’ve had no problems with mine. It takes a few hours to cool down in the summer, but once it does, it works great. If I was ordering a new Escape, I don’t think the compressor fridge would be an option I’d prioritize.

As for the lithium battery and extra solar panel, I think whether these items are worth getting would mostly depend on how much stuff you think you’ll be running off electricity when you’re boondocking. My trailer has 1 solar panel and dual 6-volt batteries, and I seriously never even think about having enough power to run the lights, fan, water pump, stereo, and charge my devices. The only time the batteries are down in the mornings at all is if the furnace runs at night. Even without direct sunlight, the panel has them charged to full by mid-morning, at the latest. Usually they’re full literally minutes after the morning sun hits the panel.

But, if you’re thinking you might want run a microwave, electric coffeemaker, television, etc. the extra panel and lithium battery are definitely worth considering.
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Old 08-29-2020, 06:28 AM   #3
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Pretty much agree with Salmo7000. How much power do you think you'll need? We get by fine with 1 panel and the 6v flooded batteries but there are limits. I can park anywhere for 5 or so days if I need the furnace, maybe 10 in the summer. After that I need to ensure I've got some sun. We're pretty conservative with our power use, no microwave or coffee brewers.
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Old 08-29-2020, 06:50 AM   #4
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Appreciate the feedback! Honestly, we don't know how much power we'll use yet, but want to make decisions such that I balance out "I wish I woulda" vs "what was I thinking". What I'm understanding is that Lithium batteries will come back up to full charge much faster and maybe one panel is sufficient if we go that route. We won't be trying to run high power items off of the batteries, such as microwaves (not in our build), and for the most part just running the trailer equipment and recharging personal devices. Coffee maker might be the only thing we have to consider.
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Old 08-29-2020, 06:58 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by MarkC View Post
Appreciate the feedback! Honestly, we don't know how much power we'll use yet, but want to make decisions such that I balance out "I wish I woulda" vs "what was I thinking". What I'm understanding is that Lithium batteries will come back up to full charge much faster and maybe one panel is sufficient if we go that route. We won't be trying to run high power items off of the batteries, such as microwaves (not in our build), and for the most part just running the trailer equipment and recharging personal devices. Coffee maker might be the only thing we have to consider.
I use both my microwave and coffee maker and have no problem. My ETI installed solar panel(190) brings the batteries (2 AGM 6v) back fairly quickly in the morning.

I knew nothing about solar and was pleasantly surprised that even when in the shade it still charged the batteries.
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Old 08-29-2020, 07:27 AM   #6
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My goodness, so many opinions. I mostly agree with.

However!

1. I have drained my 2x 6v batteries around 6 pm simply by using the microwave for 3 minutes on a very cloudy day. The power panel showed me 0% power for a few hours. The heater would not come on until I charged them a little bit. I probably damaged the 6v system by letting it drop so low. Get the lithium!!! Cannot overstate this. When my 6v fail, I am going straight to lithium (unless something better shows up)!!!

Why 3 minutes of microwave could do that is still a mystery. Most of the time I can't reproduce that one.

You can NEVER have too much power and all of these systems are easily defeated if you do not pay attention. I didn't!

2. Two solar panels is the bomb! They charge FAST and I love it.

3. The 5.0 is no longer than the 19 foot and it has more room. As fifth wheels go, it is both small and light. My TV is a Toyota Tundra 5.7L V8. Never a problem, even on our very high roads over 10,000 feet. Your Tacoma should be great, if the engine is big enough. Not sure what you got.

4. I do not envy you. We ordered ours on Thanksgiving weekend and picked it up in May. The waiting was pure hell. Particularly over the long cold Winter. You are about 100 miles from me. If you want to see my 5.0, cmon up! There is another one even closer to you than me!

5. All these trailers are small! And light! So pulling them is on the easy side. Even the big 5.0 is still small.

6. Congrats. You will love it!
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Old 08-29-2020, 09:42 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkC View Post
I haven't been creeping too long, but recently put down a deposit on the above. My wife and I will be fully retiring in a couple of years; her from teaching, myself in IT. I really have appreciated the constructive and supportive nature of this forum so far - they all can go south a little, but this one seems to be a fairly mature group (not just age).
Now the decisions start. Looking at some of new options on the 19; especially the Lithium battery and compressor fridge, or are they just "shiny things". They do seem to be the way to go with respect to modern technology and efficiency. Now wondering if I should increase from 1 to 2 solar panels. I don't think we'll be hard core boondockers, but it would be nice be free to spend a week or three wherever we choose, and not limited to 120v service.
Our TV is a 2016 Toyota Tacoma, and the 19' is about as large as I want to go considering we live in Colorado and will need to transit high elevations. We owned a fifth wheel years ago and quickly realized a diesel was required for that one.

Cheers to all and look forward to sharing wisdom and experiences!
Mark
As to the lithium battery, much depends on which one Escape plans to use. If they are looking at a single 12V 100 amp hour battery such as Battleborn's, there is a limit of 100 amp draw (a bit more for short draws). That may not be enough for running the microwave. I added 2 at the suggestion of Battleborn since my upgraded microwave can draw as much as 140 amps. I believe the 700 watt that Escape installed (at least in 2017) draws under 100 amps, so it may not be a problem.

Other than that, I love the lithium batteries. They stay in the bulk charging stage until 98% full, resulting in shorter generator runs & better use of solar panels. They produce over 12V all the way down to 10%, which makes inverters happy (and can be drawn down to 10% without harm). They don't need to be checked for electrolyte level, and the self discharge is millivolts per month.

Still, if you are only occasionally going to dry camp, I'm not sure they will be worth the investment. Same with a pair of solar panels. The second panel eliminates the TV antenna - not important to me, but might be to others. Most are fine with a single panel.

One possible problem - there is a low temperature cut off for charging, 32F for some, 25F for Battleborn) and most do not recommend drawing from the battery below -4F. Battleborn suggested that I move the batteries to a warmed space if the expected temperature goes below -10F. If you need to deal with the cold, one substitute is lead crystal or SiO2 batteries. I believe both are the same technology by different companies. Same temperature range as lead acid, with many of the advantages (with the exception of weight) of lithium.

Can't help on the compressor refrigerator, although even the Americana 6 cu ft (Dometic DM2663LBX) I have in my 2017 21 struggles when the temperatures get over 95F. I need to constantly adjust the temperature control to keep it between 35F - 40F when the outside temperatures swing between 40F - 80F (I have medications that want that range). I suspect the compressor refrigerator would do a better job at regulating temperature, although I'd want plenty of battery if I was going to dry camp with one.
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Old 08-29-2020, 12:55 PM   #8
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3. The 5.0 is no longer than the 19 foot and it has more room. As fifth wheels go, it is both small and light. My TV is a Toyota Tundra 5.7L V8. Never a problem, even on our very high roads over 10,000 feet. Your Tacoma should be great, if the engine is big enough. Not sure what you got.
I would not recommend using a Tacoma to tow a 5.0TA, perhaps a 5.0SA. From what I've read there'd be an issue putting a hitch in the bed. Even if you have enough power in the Tacoma you'd likely want to move up like Alf did, first having the single axle towed with a Frontier but now with his 5.0TA he has a Ram diesel.
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Old 08-29-2020, 01:01 PM   #9
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Not considering a 5th as the Tacoma doesn't have proper capacity for the hitch weight and I have a cap on full-time. My rule of thumb is to shoot for 50-60% of capacity dry weight and leave some insurance capacity to load what is needed in both the TV and RV. Living at 6500 feet, without forced induction, makes this even more critical.

Found out the hard way towing our old 5'ver over Slumgullion Pass with my 95 Dodge Ram 5.9L gas engine. It was a first gear climb and I had the heater on high to try and cool it down.
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Old 08-29-2020, 01:02 PM   #10
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Boy have we heard that one before. They pounded me with that when I bought a Tundra. I had a heck of a time getting someone to install it as per TradeMasters recommendation. But I did. I got the standard Gooseneck package without rails. There are a number of threads pertaining to my situation.

It works great. The Tundra is an excellent TV. I CANNOT do 90 turns. I'll hit the cab. I mean I did. But I love it and it handles better than great.

As always check with Escape Industries and probably TradeMasters too. I trust those guys. You would have to check, but I think your Tacoma has greater payload capacity for king pin weight than my Tundra does.
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Old 08-29-2020, 01:33 PM   #11
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Solar in February in Minnesota

We have the ETI*solar*setup (1 panel, dual 6 volt lead acid batteries, inverter wired to all outlets). We have camped in all conditions, sunny, cold ie: 20s F, cloudy, heavy tree cover etc.

We use our inverter extensively, ie: laptop computer with two additional screens (8 or more hours a day), another laptop, our instant pot, toaster, phone charging, hair dryer, 120 volt television streaming.

February 2020 trip was the only time we have gotten our batteries down to 50%. This was in Minnesota, after about 18 hours.

It was overnight, then heavy cloud cover, and 20 F weather. Furnace running, laptop with 2 additional screens (6 hrs), another laptop (2hrs) television (2 hrs), lights. Batteries fully recharged again while on the road.


The furnace seems have been a big factor (draw) for us. The winter sun and less daylight also falls into this equation.

We are more travelers than boon dockers, so the*solar*with inverter works very well for us even in the winter in Minnesota.
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Old 08-29-2020, 04:46 PM   #12
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February 2020 trip was the only time we have gotten our batteries down to 50%. This was in Minnesota, after about 18 hours.
So Ronn you couldn't get out of MN after 18 hours. I know the state is big but...

Just kidding I know you had to spend a night getting south. When we head south we usually get to Sioux Falls then get a hotel the first night, stay in trailer the second usually in MO.
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Old 08-29-2020, 08:29 PM   #13
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The 18 hours comment made me think of the punchline of an old joke. “I had a pickup like that once too”.
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Old 08-30-2020, 10:30 PM   #14
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So Ronn you couldn't get out of MN after 18 hours. I know the state is big but...

Just kidding I know you had to spend a night getting south. When we head south we usually get to Sioux Falls then get a hotel the first night, stay in trailer the second usually in MO.
Hi Adrian. Actually it was on our trip returning home. We over-nighted at a Minnesota casino and Colleen worked the next day before completing our trip.

On our way south we over-nighted in Iowa and Missouri before our first stop in Arkansas. We de-winterized leaving Arkansas. Besides having the hose freeze up by leaving it hooked up in a campground Arizona, we had no problems with freezing. That was our trial run in cold weather, we won't be as anxious about freezing up anymore.

Picture is a stop in Tulsa OK where we stayed a few days to see our grandson.
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