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Old 04-01-2020, 09:10 PM   #1
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Solar panel

Question, will the solar panel on my new 19 charge the battery when the cutoff switch is off?
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Old 04-01-2020, 09:19 PM   #2
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Yes but let Reace answer that one for you.

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Old 04-08-2020, 09:47 PM   #3
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Question Solar panel ??

We are hopefully going to be able to pick up ouir new E21 this June..

I did not go with the roof top solar panel...mainly bks I already own a 140W ZAMP folding panel kit w controller...which we bought a couple yrs ago when we had the casita. It worked well for that rig, but I guess I am still a light with understanding the 2-6V battery setup we will have. AS I understand it tne wires leading to the E21 battery bank will be Pos to one battery and thjr black wire will do to the neg post on the other battery..is that correct? Our panels put out 12.8-9 V and have their own built-in controller . Am I right or what??
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Old 04-09-2020, 06:15 AM   #4
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Correct, the + cable goes to + on one battery, the - cable goes to the - terminal on the other battery. Then there is a short cable connecting the other + to the other -. This gives 2 6v batteries a 12v output.


You need to do the same with the panel leads. Most put in a Zamp/SAE connector in the side of the trailer near the batteries and connect it's leads to the batteries permanently. You would put a Zamp/SAE connector on the leads of the solar panel and just plug into the trailers connector when needed.
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Old 04-09-2020, 06:26 AM   #5
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Holly,
With all the custom changes to your new Escape, I think you will be disappointed with the dual 6 batteries and inverter and a portable solar panel. The solar on the roof works 24/7/365 all silently and without anything the owner needs to do. Stopping for one night or even towing during the day, without roof solar your trailer will discharge because your tow will not charge your batteries, in fact the trailer may discharge your tow vehicle battery if the draw is strong enough in the trailer. Read this The 12volt Side of Life (Part 1)
both part 1 and part 2. It should give you a basic understanding. I do not like to see new owners posting afterwards with "Wish I had known or Now what do I do" when things do not go as planned. The factory solar works and is very important to the use of the trailer, more so than other options.....Every one of my Escapes had roof solar and I never ran out of power, never had any issues. I can not emphasize this too much.
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Old 04-09-2020, 08:33 AM   #6
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Holly,
With all the custom changes to your new Escape, I think you will be disappointed with the dual 6 batteries and inverter and a portable solar panel. The solar on the roof works 24/7/365 all silently and without anything the owner needs to do. Stopping for one night or even towing during the day, without roof solar your trailer will discharge because your tow will not charge your batteries, in fact the trailer may discharge your tow vehicle battery if the draw is strong enough in the trailer. Read this The 12volt Side of Life (Part 1)
both part 1 and part 2. It should give you a basic understanding. I do not like to see new owners posting afterwards with "Wish I had known or Now what do I do" when things do not go as planned. The factory solar works and is very important to the use of the trailer, more so than other options.....Every one of my Escapes had roof solar and I never ran out of power, never had any issues. I can not emphasize this too much.


We've now camped 271 nights on the road in our 5.0. I've needed our portable in only two campgrounds. I don't want to set up the portable, move it, and worry if it's going to get stolen. We have a 170 watt ETI installed, roof mounted, system.

At $850 US the 190 watt is a steal!!!! Our portable does not work when in its case, but the roof mounted panel works all the time.

Your choice.

Perry
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Old 04-09-2020, 09:00 AM   #7
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portable solar

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Originally Posted by Perryb67 View Post


We've now camped 271 nights on the road in our 5.0. I've needed our portable in only two campgrounds. I don't want to set up the portable, move it, and worry if it's going to get stolen. We have a 170 watt ETI installed, roof mounted, system.

At $850 US the 190 watt is a steal!!!! Our portable does not work when in its case, but the roof mounted panel works all the time.

Your choice.

Perry
//////////////////////////////////////////////// Stil wondering about this. We used our portable Zamp setup for two seasons in the Casita w/o any problems, tho we did use a chain to the panel frame when we had it deployed. Worked fine for us. Still we are beginning to think the roof-mounted thing wd be better. I just cannot see spending another grand for a system we don't use much.
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Old 04-09-2020, 09:21 AM   #8
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//////////////////////////////////////////////// Stil wondering about this. We used our portable Zamp setup for two seasons in the Casita w/o any problems, tho we did use a chain to the panel frame when we had it deployed. Worked fine for us. Still we are beginning to think the roof-mounted thing wd be better. I just cannot see spending another grand for a system we don't use much.
A roof mounted portable is working all the time. The older I get the less I want to deal with a portable.

Chains/cables just prevent opportunity theft, are a pain to deploy, and are another reason I will rarely use our portable.

We use way more amps in our Escape than we ever used in our Casita, since it's more three season than our Casita ever was, and we go out earlier in the spring (except this spring) and later in the fall (try December in Minnesota). While we loved our Casita, we love and use our Escape much, much more.

It's only money, you can't take it with you, and your children will spend it on toys anyway.

Enjoy,

Perry
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Old 04-09-2020, 09:28 AM   #9
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Holly,
Your answer tells me you do not understand how your trailer will work. Everything on the trailer is 12v, except for the air conditioning, even the thermostat is 12v. without batteries, you may as well be sleeping in a $40K tent. ""don't use much"- it will be used all the time particularly when unoccupied, when towing, sitting still. It is nothing like your portable panel. Perhaps you cut the inverter or additional closet space to offset the option cost, otherwise you were advised,
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Old 04-09-2020, 09:44 AM   #10
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Holly,
Your answer tells me you do not understand how your trailer will work. Everything on the trailer is 12v, except for the air conditioning, even the thermostat is 12v. without batteries, you may as well be sleeping in a $40K tent. ""don't use much"- it will be used all the time particularly when unoccupied, when towing, sitting still. It is nothing like your portable panel. Perhaps you cut the inverter or additional closet space to offset the option cost, otherwise you were advised,
Have to agree again.

If I had to delete one item it would be the inverter first, and closet second, but NOT the roof mounted solar panel. In fact, the inverter was deleted on ours and we don't miss it, but it can be added later, much easier and at less cost, than I could add a solar panel. When you purchase a single solar panel the wiring is already on the roof to add a second, if you need one. We found out we don't need a second panel, and we don't need an inverter.

We chose not to get the second closet either (we have a 5.0) and appreciate the space to throw our stuff when we go inside.

As always, YMMV.

Enjoy,

Perry
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Old 04-09-2020, 09:55 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
Holly,
With all the custom changes to your new Escape, I think you will be disappointed with the dual 6 batteries and inverter and a portable solar panel. The solar on the roof works 24/7/365 all silently and without anything the owner needs to do. Stopping for one night or even towing during the day, without roof solar your trailer will discharge because your tow will not charge your batteries, in fact the trailer may discharge your tow vehicle battery if the draw is strong enough in the trailer. Read this The 12volt Side of Life (Part 1)
both part 1 and part 2. It should give you a basic understanding. I do not like to see new owners posting afterwards with "Wish I had known or Now what do I do" when things do not go as planned. The factory solar works and is very important to the use of the trailer, more so than other options.....Every one of my Escapes had roof solar and I never ran out of power, never had any issues. I can not emphasize this too much.
If you spend much of your time dry camping, the rooftop panel(s) - I have 2 of them, are well worth it. While I'll have to disagree with Jim (cpaharley) on the 12/7/365 since you won't get much out of the panel at night (although I did watch a beautiful sunset at 11:30PM in Alaska, and the panel was still producing power), not having to set up a portable panel is well worth the addition. I'd still carry the portable for use when parked in heavy shade or when you need a bit more power. Also useful to recharge a dead tow vehicle battery.

If you have Escape install a ZAMP style connector on your new 21 and do not have them install a rooftop panel, the connector will be connected to the batteries, and you use your portable panel controller.

Check the polarity before connecting your 140 watt ZAMP panel - ZAMP uses the opposite polarity that is standard for the SAE connector (the type ZAMP uses). I have no idea which way Escape wires them, but it is worth checking. ZAMP sells a polarity reversing cable if you don't want to dig into the wiring.

If you do go with the rooftop panel, Escape wires the ZAMP connector to the input of the GoPower controller. In that case you will need to bypass the controller on your portable panel.
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Old 04-09-2020, 10:36 AM   #12
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You are right Jon, it should be 12/7/365, my point being it is always available for use when needed and when charging.
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Old 04-09-2020, 10:43 AM   #13
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I agree completely. Just picking on you!
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Old 04-09-2020, 11:12 AM   #14
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Yes but let Reace answer that one for you.

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If you spend much of your time dry camping, the rooftop panel(s) - I have 2 of them, are well worth it. While I'll have to disagree with Jim (cpaharley) on the 12/7/365 since you won't get much out of the panel at night (although I did watch a beautiful sunset at 11:30PM in Alaska, and the panel was still producing power), not having to set up a portable panel is well worth the addition. I'd still carry the portable for use when parked in heavy shade or when you need a bit more power. Also useful to recharge a dead tow vehicle battery.

If you have Escape install a ZAMP style connector on your new 21 and do not have them install a rooftop panel, the connector will be connected to the batteries, and you use your portable panel controller.

Check the polarity before connecting your 140 watt ZAMP panel - ZAMP uses the opposite polarity that is standard for the SAE connector (the type ZAMP uses). I have no idea which way Escape wires them, but it is worth checking. ZAMP sells a polarity reversing cable if you don't want to dig into the wiring.

If you do go with the rooftop panel, Escape wires the ZAMP connector to the input of the GoPower controller. In that case you will need to bypass the controller on your portable panel.
Perhaps it is different now, but a year ago when ETI installed the ZAMP port I provided them, they only did the “through the shell” part of the work. It was up to me to make the electrical connections after delivery.

Oh, and a year and 13,000 miles later, I have yet needed to use my portable. I may stop taking it with me.
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Old 04-09-2020, 11:43 AM   #15
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I recently installed a Zamp port and constructed a polarity reverser. I do not have a panel yet, but I installed it because it was inexpensive to do and should conditions ever dictate that I need a portable panel, I will have a “plug and play” situation. I would not use the Zamp as the primary source of solar, only as a means to augment the amount of available charging current. The rooftop panel is far more convenient.
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Old 04-09-2020, 11:53 AM   #16
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2 years now with our solar install and even if we bring our portable along , not once have used it or needed it . Pat
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Old 04-09-2020, 12:05 PM   #17
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Holly;
Like many others I have both the factory roof-mounted panel and a large portable. There are occasions to deploy the portable - which I find somewhat unwieldy. Camping in deep shade (think Glacier National Park, Colorado mountains, etc.) and late season camping when days are short and nights are cold (running the furnace a lot). On most other camping trip the roof system is quite sufficient and I leave the portable packed.

Something that hasn't been mentioned: Resale. Future buyers will expect - and pay for - a roof panel. In the long run you will get your money back.

And to repeat what has been mentioned: Driving to your campsite. Your tow vehicle alternator is unlikely to charge your batteries due to design factors beyond our control. But since there is almost never deep shade while driving, a roof panel will ensure your batteries will be well charged when you arrive. Makes life so much easier.

But none of the above negates your ability to do just fine with only a portable. Be frugal with your power use and camp is sunny locations and you will be just fine. Its a camp-style decision that makes you happy!

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Old 04-09-2020, 12:53 PM   #18
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Oh, and a year and 13,000 miles later, I have yet needed to use my portable. I may stop taking it with me.

I've actually needed mine once in 3 or so years, and even then I could have managed without. If they didn't fit out of the way in the front storage of the 5.0TA I wouldn't take then along.
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Old 04-09-2020, 01:04 PM   #19
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I did not go with the roof top solar panel
I was of the same thinking as you, I would put in the port and buy a portable panel if I found the need.

Thankfully one of my caveats as we did our build sheet was using the KISS principle. I did find that I needed to keep reminding myself that in 5 years I'd be that much older and would I still be willing to use the trailer if I had to do such tasks. That principle has served us well.

I added the solar and I am echoing the good things mentioned by others in this thread. The rooftop solar has served us well.

I am glad we took the KISS approach with our build sheet. By thinking to the future and just maybe we've added some years to enjoying our Escape.
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Old 04-09-2020, 03:10 PM   #20
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I've actually needed mine once in 3 or so years, and even then I could have managed without. If they didn't fit out of the way in the front storage of the 5.0TA I wouldn't take then along.
Last fall I removed the top step, added a hinge, and a removable floor, to store shoes in that wasted space. Never have heard a good reason why ETI doesn't have storage underneath that top step.

I remove the shoes and floor to get at the portable. The portable and case take up about four inches in the back of the lower storage area. The portable is now hidden and so out of the way we'll probably forget where its stored when needed.

Enjoy,

Perry
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