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Old 05-19-2018, 12:32 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by Patandlinda View Post
Yes the first item I had installed , suggested by AM Solar was a Victron battery monitor . Then when I installed our solar on the roof bought a Victron solar charger to go with our system . Pretty neat they have a free app , I installed on my I-pad to check on battery and solar charger using blue tooth , no smart phone for me . I can be sitting in the house and check battery and solar . Our portable though is Go Power 80 watt . Pat
Thanks.
So, separate solar charge controllers, but the current from both goes through the battery monitor. The monitor will show the contribution of both panels; although the Victron software can only show solar charging information (such as panel voltage) from the rooftop panel and Victron charge controller, the state of battery charge it shows will be the result of both panels charging.
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Old 05-19-2018, 12:40 PM   #42
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Could anyone who installed a Zamp solar connector and wired it to use the factory Go Power controller comment on what is involved and how difficult it is to do?
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Old 05-19-2018, 12:45 PM   #43
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Can you call someone on an iPad? I know Lisa can't on her Samsung tablet, though all the apps are the same.
Many tablets don't have a mobile network connection - only WiFi - so they are inherently incapable of making a normal "phone call", although they could do a VoIP call over any network connection. Even with mobile network hardware, they may not have the internal phone app, which is basically just a product marketing decision to distinguish between phones and other mobile devices. Originally, devices such as the Blackberry didn't have a speaker or microphone so they required a headset when phone call capability was added, but now that's not an issue for a tablet (at least as a speakerphone).

Facetime, Skype, and other streaming audio/video apps don't need the mobile network hardware or the phone app, so they are available on many platforms (smartphones, other mobile devices, computers, televisions...).
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Old 05-20-2018, 06:02 PM   #44
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Thanks.
So, separate solar charge controllers, but the current from both goes through the battery monitor. The monitor will show the contribution of both panels; although the Victron software can only show solar charging information (such as panel voltage) from the rooftop panel and Victron charge controller, the state of battery charge it shows will be the result of both panels charging.
Brian went out a took a couple pictures . Pat
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Old 06-12-2018, 05:24 PM   #45
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I am a Zamp Solar Authorized Dealer in Florida. Would be glad to help or just look on Tin Can Solar for what you like. I can even send you a solar sizing guide that is a PDF document from Zamp Solar.
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Old 06-27-2018, 06:45 AM   #46
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think panels have come a long way since I fitted mine seven or eight years ago. Mine is 36w and does a good job in reducing voltage losses from a day sailing or being at anchor for a day or two, but it doesn't keep up with my actually quite efficient fridge, nor did I expect it to. It was expensive at the time but is still in good condition, unlike that of a friend who bought the same one, where some of the cells are discoloured. I presume this is because he may have trodden on his, where I have carefully avoided doing so, so I would be wary of assuming that a panel is robust enough to cope with wear of this kind.
Read more at Recommendations for solar panel.
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Old 06-13-2019, 02:26 PM   #47
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1, roof mounted solar iS mostly useless.
2. Most panels I see at Harbour Freight, Amazon, etc, are junk.
3. I use German panels from ML Solar and mount them outboard with an MPPt controller.
4. 95% of dealer mounted solar I see are wrong.
I've been doing solar powered camping for over 20 years. Hope this helps.
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Old 06-13-2019, 02:58 PM   #48
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1, roof mounted solar iS mostly useless.
2. Most panels I see at Harbour Freight, Amazon, etc, are junk.
3. I use German panels from ML Solar and mount them outboard with an MPPt controller.
4. 95% of dealer mounted solar I see are wrong.
I've been doing solar powered camping for over 20 years. Hope this helps.
So when I spend a week without hookups relying on my roof top solar and using the inverter with the microwave (sparingly) and the electric tea kettle each morning and TV each night and the furnace as needed, my Victron battery monitor is lying to me when it says my batteries are 70%-100% each afternoon? I should have just skipped the rooftop solar and I would be better off?
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Old 06-13-2019, 03:14 PM   #49
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my rooftop solar allowed us to charge my wife's ebike battery using a 200W inverter without taking a serious dent out of the trailer batteries, several times while dry camping. This ebike battery pack charger takes 100-120W for 6-8 hours to fully charge, its a 865 watt-hour battery (18AH at 48VDC, 56V charging voltage).

yeah, totally useless.


sure, its not optimally efficient if its not aimed square at the sun all day long, but it still generates sufficient power through a good portion of the day.
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Old 06-13-2019, 03:54 PM   #50
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1, roof mounted solar iS mostly useless.

This is incorrect, and bad advice to others.
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Old 06-13-2019, 04:01 PM   #51
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Old 06-13-2019, 04:22 PM   #52
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My factory rooftop solar does not perform as well as I had expected or hoped for .
Is it “USELESS” ? Defiantly Not !!
My Renogy 100 watt portable solar panel often produces more energy than my 160 watt roof top panel when we park our trailer in a shaded area . That result is due to a choice I made not from any fault of Escape
As long as my batteries are charged up at the end of the day , I am a happy camper
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Old 06-13-2019, 04:30 PM   #53
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This is incorrect, and bad advice to others.
Agreed. A fixed roof mount is not perfect, but it does the job of charging the batteries most every day while having to do nothing to it.

I bring a portable for the rare bad day and am fortunate to have used it about one outta twenty days, and those were not always a must.
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Old 06-13-2019, 04:52 PM   #54
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If you are expecting to see the full 160 watts (or what ever the panel is rated at) from a rooftop panel, you will be disappointed. The specifications for solar panels depend on 90° sun, and optimum conditions. Kind of like horsepower ratings of vehicles or how long your deck stain is going to last. That said, they are not useless.

One solution for those that plan to use solar only during the low angle, short winter days is to tilt the panels to the proper angle for the location. You can see a 3-4 fold increase in output. During the summer months when most people camp, the sun in high enough overhead that tilting becomes less useful or necessary.

I do feel that the match of a 160 -170 watt panel to the 232 amp hours of batteries in the typical Escape trailer is a bit under powered. A rule of thumb is to have at least 1 watt of solar for every amp hour of battery capacity. I have 2 roof mounted 160 watt panels on my 21, and, at least during the summer, have no problem using 40 - 50 amp hours per day. During the winter, I tilt the panels, and have rarely added the portable panel.

Personally, I prefer rooftop panels that I can pretty much forget about (at least in summer), and will continue to charge the batteries as I move from place to place. I also carry a portable panel for the times I'm parked in the shade or want the added input during a string of cloudy weather.
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Old 06-13-2019, 04:58 PM   #55
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So far in 4 years we haven't exceeded our power or recharging needs with the factory rooftop solar setup. For a useless panel it's working pretty good.
I do have expansion capability for adding a portable panel if needed, but so far have never needed an additional portable panel.
While not consumers at Jon's level (yet), we use about 12-20ah per day on average.
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Old 06-13-2019, 05:10 PM   #56
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I'm very happy so far with the rooftop solar panel and dual 6 volt batteries. The convenience is hard to beat, and knowing that the solar panel is charging the batteries all day when we are driving is a plus. We know from our previous trailer that we are fairly frugal with electricity and expect that this setup will work well for us except in rare circumstances.

Your camping style has a lot to do with it - do you expect to be boondocking with no hookups for extended periods? If so the dual 6 volt batteries will make that much easier, regardless of your solar capability, and give you much longer between needing to recharge your batteries if you encounter an extended period of cloudy/rainy weather or are deep in a dense forest with no sun. If you don't expect to be boondocking frequently, or not for extended periods, the factory rooftop solar setup would probably handle all your needs. And external panels are one more thing to set up after a long day of driving when you are tired and just want to settle in and relax.
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Old 06-13-2019, 07:17 PM   #57
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In terms of efficiency, a rooftop panel is about 50% efficient...sure, if you mount 1,000w of panel and get 500w...you're still good...but why do that? I can almost guarantee that a dealer installed a PWM controller (70% efficient). Microwave (60-80 amps) out of a 80 aH battery?
Assuming you're using a 1000w inverter? The rest of the Math just doesn't add up. AS a EE who has installed DC pumps all over the world and over 20 years experience with solar, I am amazed that even Math has become a matter of personal opinion. I guess we are using "alternative Math". I agree...Math is bad advice.
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Old 06-13-2019, 07:21 PM   #58
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I guess in all my stupidity I somehow lucked out.

I here I thought it was my electrical background and lots of research on solar. Oh well, a long as it works good, we're happy.
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Old 06-13-2019, 07:36 PM   #59
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Microwave (60-80 amps) out of a 80 aH battery?

Is an 80 aH battery even an option on an Escape built trailer?

Rich, your expertise and experience aside, your suggestions do not jive with the extensive expertise and real world experience represented on this forum. I dare you to find me one Escape owner with factory roof solar who finds it as failingly useless as you claim. Okay, maybe you can find one. There are some crabapples out there. Find me two.
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Old 06-13-2019, 07:53 PM   #60
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In terms of efficiency, a rooftop panel is about 50% efficient...sure, if you mount 1,000w of panel and get 500w...you're still good...but why do that? I can almost guarantee that a dealer installed a PWM controller (70% efficient). Microwave (60-80 amps) out of a 80 aH battery?
Assuming you're using a 1000w inverter? The rest of the Math just doesn't add up. AS a EE who has installed DC pumps all over the world and over 20 years experience with solar, I am amazed that even Math has become a matter of personal opinion. I guess we are using "alternative Math". I agree...Math is bad advice.
I don’t see anyone arguing math. I see multiple owners with rooftop solar taking issue with your statement that it is “mostly useless” based on actual experience. I have 340 watts of rooftop solar controlled by a PWM controller. Somehow I’m still able to use the microwave and other high draw appliances and end a week of travel without dead batteries.

Nobody is arguing that rooftop solar is ideal from an efficiency standpoint, but in my experience it is a LONG way from useless.
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