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Old 01-03-2019, 10:06 PM   #21
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Worth it for sure. Installed it on my powerboat and got the factory option on our 5 TA. Realistically it is the only way you can boondock for several days whether on land or sea.
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Old 01-03-2019, 11:12 PM   #22
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Solar is great for most needs whether installed or portable. We chose portable to save a few dollars and avoid holes in the roof. We have 2 100 Watt panels that neatly store under the bed in a our 19. The portable makes for more work and storage but can be moved and angled to get the fastest charge particularly during the spring and fall in the north. I use a chain and lock for security but am not happy with that solution. Another reason we liked portable is that the solar technology continues to improve and over the life of the trailer there could be significant upgrades. If we used solar on a daily basis I think I would prefer the roof mount just to avoid the hassle of set up and storage. In either case you can not loose with solar.
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Old 01-03-2019, 11:22 PM   #23
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So far the factory roof panel with the twin 6v has been all we’ve needed and worked well. I’ve added a plug for a portable if more is ever needed, but I think an eventual Lithium battery upgrade when it’s time to replace the batteries will deliver more bang for the buck.
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Old 01-04-2019, 12:37 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by sclifrickson View Post
Not to be persnicketty, but it’s “MPPT” (Maximum Power Point Tracking). Ok, maybe that is a tad persnickety.
No problem I forgot to check before post . Pat
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Old 01-04-2019, 05:57 AM   #25
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We purchased our Escape used just a few months ago and certain things it did not have that I thought I would have wanted like wrap around dinette and outside shower I now have decide I do not really want, now the solar is a different thing.
Grover (what we call our home on wheels) came with no solar, I've spoken to a few other Escape owners and they recommend when I decide to do that to take it back to the factory but to be honest I like the no hole in the roof better. The solar is not something we need today but hopefully in 2-3 years from now we will be doing more camping off the grid. I do wonder what advances will happen in that time frame in solar product options.
Enjoy your Escape when you get it .

Happy and safe travels to all,

Steve
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Old 01-04-2019, 06:54 AM   #26
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I know is a contentious issue here, but there are no hole options for mounting solar panels if you are comfortable with them.

From AM Solar
"Fiberglass roofs – We have been using a type of 3M double-sided tape on our mounts since the mid 1990’s, and we have never lost a panel. As long as the tape is properly installed on a clean surface at the correct temperature, it will hold. As an added level of protection, we use a layer of Dicor self-leveling sealant around the entire perimeter of the mount, and cover the screw holes/heads as well. The sealant protects the tape and any potential roof penetrations from water intrusion and decay."
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Old 01-04-2019, 07:21 AM   #27
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As an added level of protection, we use a layer of Dicor self-leveling sealant around the entire perimeter of the mount, and cover the screw holes/heads as well.
I believe Escape does this on their mounts also.....
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Old 01-04-2019, 10:06 AM   #28
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When we got our 17B, we hummed and hoed about getting solar, but it was suggested it was a popular option but at the time we didn't want to go for it, we thought that we would want to plug in every few days to recharge the battery. So we went for the solar pre-wire option.

That turned out to be a mistake as we discovered that we liked boon docking way more than we expected. Also finding free or cheaper spots without hook-ups saved quite a few $ too.

So we went back to ETI and had it retro fitted. Never regretted that and when we decided to upgrade to a 21, the factory solar option was checked, no question. We like the convenience of the fixed panel on the roof, you never have to worry about it being stolen, nor having to get it out and hook it up etc. And its always going, even when you are on the road. It has worked really well for us.
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Old 01-04-2019, 10:43 AM   #29
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One of the good thing I noticed about having solar on the roof (instead of the portable one) is it charges while the trailer is under the sun, while driving, in rest stop, in storage if you didn't have cover on (even if you do a little get thru which is enough to maintain charge).. this works well for us since we store the trailer in the side yard.. which gets about 1-2 hours of sun a day, I don't need to plug it in and the battery charge is maintained ..
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Old 01-04-2019, 10:45 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Chris & Patricia View Post
When we got our 17B, we hummed and hoed about getting solar, but it was suggested it was a popular option but at the time we didn't want to go for it, we thought that we would want to plug in every few days to recharge the battery. So we went for the solar pre-wire option.

That turned out to be a mistake as we discovered that we liked boon docking way more than we expected. Also finding free or cheaper spots without hook-ups saved quite a few $ too.

So we went back to ETI and had it retro fitted. Never regretted that and when we decided to upgrade to a 21, the factory solar option was checked, no question. We like the convenience of the fixed panel on the roof, you never have to worry about it being stolen, nor having to get it out and hook it up etc. And its always going, even when you are on the road. It has worked really well for us.
If folks are planning to do a lot of boondocking, getting the factory installed solar is a no brainer. I never considered not getting it, and I can't imagine not having it. People we have camped with are invariably envious, as they have to deal with a generator and hauling fuel to run it. Plus the noise and fumes, no thank you. Having the panel permanently on the roof makes it so I don't even have to think about it. It's always up there, doing its job. I don't have to worry about storing it in a place where it won't be damaged, hauling out it, hooking it up, or putting it away. I've also been amazed at how fast it recharges the batteries, even in the shade or on cloudy days. Right now the trailer is sitting outside our house during the shortest days of the year, no direct sunlight, and about 1 inch of snow on top of the panel. Batteries are fully charged. I check every day, and there has been no need to plug the trailer in to charge them. As far as I can tell, the factory installed system works extremely well and is totally trouble-free, and I can't imagine why anyone would not want to have it, or use some sort of portable system, unless they aren't anticipating doing any boondocking.
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Old 01-04-2019, 11:26 AM   #31
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As more and more camping / scenic areas are limiting / banning generators and the quality / cost of solar improves there may come a time where solar is standard on all homes / trailers
In the future if vehicles go all electric , the concept of charging your trailer battery from your vehicle may go by the wayside .
One issue I see is the desire by many to make Solar complicated and require an engineering degree to operate a myriad of monitoring equipment .
ETI’s system may not be state of the art but it is reasonably priced , works well , simple and does not require you to spend your whole day tweaking / monitoring the system
Camping is supposed to be relaxing and enjoyable
If I wanted to spend my day reading meters , I wouldn’t have retired!
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Old 01-04-2019, 02:35 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by steve dunham View Post
As more and more camping / scenic areas are limiting / banning generators and the quality / cost of solar improves there may come a time where solar is standard on all homes / trailers
In the future if vehicles go all electric , the concept of charging your trailer battery from your vehicle may go by the wayside .
One issue I see is the desire by many to make Solar complicated and require an engineering degree to operate a myriad of monitoring equipment .
ETI’s system may not be state of the art but it is reasonably priced , works well , simple and does not require you to spend your whole day tweaking / monitoring the system
Camping is supposed to be relaxing and enjoyable
If I wanted to spend my day reading meters , I wouldn’t have retired!
Good battery monitors make keeping track of how much power is left in your batteries easier not harder. Trying to calculate the actual reserve left in a battery using a voltmeter gets close to requiring an engineering degree. I have an electrical engineering degree and had difficulty keeping tract of the all the factors involved such as the surface charge, Peukert factor, etc. My Victron battery monitor does all that for me such that all I have to do to see what % battery I have left is to read the value on the monitor.

So I think you have this a little backwards. The low tech systems make it difficult to monitor how much battery power is left where the "complicated" systems make it easy. Again, you get what you pay for.

Oh, and for those of us that boondock camp understand that you need to know how much battery is left.
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Old 01-04-2019, 03:11 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by tdf-texas View Post
Good battery monitors make keeping track of how much power is left in your batteries easier not harder. Trying to calculate the actual reserve left in a battery using a voltmeter gets close to requiring an engineering degree. I have an electrical engineering degree and had difficulty keeping tract of the all the factors involved such as the surface charge, Peukert factor, etc. My Victron battery monitor does all that for me such that all I have to do to see what % battery I have left is to read the value on the monitor.

So I think you have this a little backwards. The low tech systems make it difficult to monitor how much battery power is left where the "complicated" systems make it easy. Again, you get what you pay for.

Oh, and for those of us that boondock camp understand that you need to know how much battery is left.
The advice I received when I called am solar was ,the first item to purchase was a good battery monitor to see what my batteries were doing then worry about solar and controllers . Pat
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Old 01-04-2019, 03:15 PM   #34
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The advice I received when I called am solar was ,the first item to purchase was a good battery monitor to see what my batteries were doing then worry about solar and controllers . Pat
I have the factory solar and I installed the Victron 712 monitor. I can't say a bad thing about the setup, I am REALLY happy with the Victron battery monitor and the install was painless and straightforward.
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Old 01-04-2019, 03:25 PM   #35
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I have the factory solar and I installed the Victron 712 monitor. I can't say a bad thing about the setup, I am REALLY happy with the Victron battery monitor and the install was painless and straightforward.
Pat
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Old 01-05-2019, 10:07 AM   #36
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We’ve opted for the ETI installed 170W Solar Panel with Charge Controller. Will bring a Victron 712 monitor with us at orientation, for them/us to install.

For us, we’ve never boondocked with our Casita because our HW tank is electric only, and we have no furnace nor propane “Buddy” heater. Could’ve easily changed that, but we were content with having hookups-especially electricity. But that may change when we begin camping with our Escape, this spring.

Solar equipment will keep the battery topped, even if we don’t boondock. We don’t intentionally plan on using a retail parking lot, rest stop, or other places to pullover, except for dire need or safety. But if we do, then the solar power will be greatly appreciated. (Although parking lots might be a form of boondocking). Sort of.

However, I’m not dismissing a national or state park, or other site that has no hookup facilities. We will have the ability to take it on when that happens. If it happens often, then we may add a panel. Wait, here it comes...

Using the tired and worn cliche; “it’s better to have and not need, than to need and not have.”
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Old 01-05-2019, 10:24 AM   #37
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We’ve opted for the ETI installed 170W Solar Panel with Charge Controller. Will bring a Victron 712 monitor with us at orientation, for them/us to install.

For us, we’ve never boondocked with our Casita because our HW tank is electric only, and we have no furnace nor propane “Buddy” heater. Could’ve easily changed that, but we were content with having hookups-especially electricity. But that may change when we begin camping with our Escape, this spring.

Solar equipment will keep the battery topped, even if we don’t boondock. We don’t intentionally plan on using a retail parking lot, rest stop, or other places to pullover, except for dire need or safety. But if we do, then the solar power will be greatly appreciated. (Although parking lots might be a form of boondocking). Sort of.

However, I’m not dismissing a national or state park, or other site that has no hookup facilities. We will have the ability to take it on when that happens. If it happens often, then we may add a panel. Wait, here it comes...

Using the tired and worn cliche; “it’s better to have and not need, than to need and not have.”
We previously had somewhat eschewed the idea of pulling over at Walmart and other similar spots. However, when your on the road wanting to get somewhere, often they make convenient spots to park and are free. We often look at casinos as places where there are cheap spots just to pullover for the night. The advantages are that they are generally close to a highway and conveniently located for gas and shopping without haveing to disconnect the trailer. With all your on-board needs met with a 21, you might want to consider it too, especially with your solar panel keeping the battery topped up. If you manage black and grey tank usages we can go four of five days without having to hook up and sometimes gas stations have dump stations free to paying customers and we take advantage of that as well.
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Old 01-05-2019, 11:39 AM   #38
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We have encountered dump stations at rest areas since some of the big semi's have on board toilets. Ohio will even rent you a spot with electric for a fee. But having the flexibility of stopping when and where you want is one of the benefits of Escaping.
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Old 01-05-2019, 12:07 PM   #39
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We have learned a lot over the years from the FT’ers, and one of the biggest items is managing budget when ur out there for extended times. Free overnight stops when ur pulling from one location to the next is a big way they keep the budget inline.
When we’re traveling to a location now, we look for Cracker Barrel’s, Walmart, Casino, etc that allow for free overnight stops and food/services in the morning before getting back underway. Having the factory solar helps with these type of stops as well.
The money saved allows for longer stays at nice destinations.
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Old 02-24-2019, 02:51 PM   #40
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170W & Zamp port?

Trying to get our build sheet finished up this week. Would appreciate your opinion(s) on whether or not it makes sense to get the Zamp Solar Port installed if we are getting the 170Watt Solar Panel. Would it be redundant? Overkill? Good for re-sale? The majority of our outings we will have shore power but there will be times in Nat'l Parks w/o electricity. Thanks
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