Portable/briefcase solar? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-20-2013, 01:17 AM   #1
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Question Portable/briefcase solar?

Hi!
I've tried searching the forums, but seem to get a zillion results from a whole bunch of unrelated posts no matter how many keywords I add. I even looked in the FAQ about searching, but it had no syntax tips and adding AND didn't seem to make any difference in the results. I may be handicapped by habitual google use

Has anyone used something like this for their trailer? This is from Go Power and comes in 80 and 120 watt versions, here's the 80: Go Power! GP-PSK-80 80W Portable Folding Solar Kit with 10 Amp Solar Controller : Amazon.com : Automotive

We have a used Escape 17B that's new to us this season, and we're looking for easy and relatively inexpensive solar and this seems to fit the bill. It requires no wiring, you simply open the battery case and clamp on the leads to charge the battery, then take them off and store it in the (locked) TV when you're done. I haven't found any downsides in online research, but I also haven't found anything specific to travel trailer use...

Any help is much appreciated! (And any search tips, since I seem to be incapable...)
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Old 05-20-2013, 02:00 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hillary View Post
Hi!
I've tried searching the forums, but seem to get a zillion results from a whole bunch of unrelated posts no matter how many keywords I add. I even looked in the FAQ about searching, but it had no syntax tips and adding AND didn't seem to make any difference in the results. I may be handicapped by habitual google use

Has anyone used something like this for their trailer? This is from Go Power and comes in 80 and 120 watt versions, here's the 80: Go Power! GP-PSK-80 80W Portable Folding Solar Kit with 10 Amp Solar Controller : Amazon.com : Automotive

We have a used Escape 17B that's new to us this season, and we're looking for easy and relatively inexpensive solar and this seems to fit the bill. It requires no wiring, you simply open the battery case and clamp on the leads to charge the battery, then take them off and store it in the (locked) TV when you're done. I haven't found any downsides in online research, but I also haven't found anything specific to travel trailer use...

Any help is much appreciated! (And any search tips, since I seem to be incapable...)
A few years ago I did something like this. I bought a solar panel a controller and make a fold up frame. The size of the panel 65 Watts. I found this to be quite adequate for our usage, a few LED lights and the furnace when needed. I've been able to keep the 74 amp hour house battery and a 50 amp hour radio battery (ham radio) charged with my solar panel. My total bill was very close to the 80 Watt panel.
I made it even simpler to use, I added a short "pig tail" on the batteries with an Anderson Power Pole connector on the ends and mating connector on the solar panel wiring. I simply set the solar panel in the sun and plug it in to which ever battery needs charging.

I've seen several in campground like the one you linked to. Everybody seemed happy with them.
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Old 05-20-2013, 02:26 AM   #3
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pretty expensive. You could buy 2 smaller panels and the controller and cable/wires for alot less. I originally contemplated a panel that I could move around as needed and I think at the end of the season Im buying something that will be roof mounted to be out of the way.
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Old 05-20-2013, 06:58 AM   #4
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I know you didn't ask but FYI, choose the "Google search" box at the bottom of the search drop down and enter your search term. Much better results.
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Old 05-20-2013, 07:22 AM   #5
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You could just buy two panels, a controller and a pair of alligator slips for a lot less. Put hinges between the panels and store the whole thing in an artists' portfolio canvas case.

Sources:

Solar Cell, Solar Panel, Renewable Energy, Wind Energy, Charge Controller, Solar Trackers - Solar Cell, Solar Panel, Solar PV, Solar Products, Charge Controllers, Solar Trackers

Solar Cell, Solar Panel, Renewable Energy, Wind Energy, Charge Controller, Solar Trackers - Solar Cell, Solar Panel, Solar PV, Solar Products, Charge Controllers, Solar Trackers
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Old 05-20-2013, 07:50 AM   #6
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Good links Tom I haven't seen that place before.
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Old 05-20-2013, 08:00 AM   #7
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Good links Tom I haven't seen that place before.
eBay has some good prices, too.
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Old 05-20-2013, 08:04 AM   #8
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I'm using fairly large 85W panels because I got a great deal on them. Use 2 in the garden for drip irrigation, LED garden lights, and the fence charger for my beehives.

Another place to look is Sun Electronics, they give you the cost per watt on all their panels. I'd like some smaller panels, because I'd like to have 2, even if I don't need one. Two is One and One is None.

I'd start with a really good charge controller, find the best you can afford then move up a step in price. Then, get panels that fit your size parameters and power needs. Good cabling and a mount, and you'll probably be happier down the road if you need to add panels or battery capacity.
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Old 05-20-2013, 08:05 AM   #9
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I know you didn't ask but FYI, choose the "Google search" box at the bottom of the search drop down and enter your search term. Much better results.
Good advice. This has been discussed a number of times.
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Old 05-20-2013, 02:22 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by hillary View Post
Hi!
I've tried searching the forums, but seem to get a zillion results from a whole bunch of unrelated posts no matter how many keywords I add. I even looked in the FAQ about searching, but it had no syntax tips and adding AND didn't seem to make any difference in the results. I may be handicapped by habitual google use
The forum's search is crude, and does not support boolean expressions (so "AND" is not a recognized operator). Use the Google search option (at the bottom of the search menu) or just use Google or another web-based search tool, restricting the search to just this site (in Google, that means adding "site:fiberglassrv.com"). Your expectations are just too high for the internal search tool.
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Old 05-20-2013, 02:50 PM   #11
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Thanks everyone for the replies!

I hadn't realized there was a google search box, obviously that makes all the difference in the world... Now that I know about it, I don't know how I missed it!

Byron: thanks for the tip about the pig tail, if we go this way that's definitely an addition that makes sense!

I didn't want to start with a permanently mounted one because I don't want to put holes in the fiberglass and run wiring, and we're not sure how long until we upgrade trailers. If it's a few years it might make sense to have one mounted, but if in a year or two we want to we wouldn't necessarily get our money back on a mounted panel... If we order a new trailer at some point, I'd definitely get it pre-wired for solar if not outright have a panel installed.

When I looked at components for making our own portable set, it didn't price at a lot cheaper for components from reputable solar companies. By that, I only mean ones that will hopefully be around in 5 years and have decent customer ratings. It was about $100 less to put it together ourselves, but Go Power has a really good reputation for standing behind their products, and their briefcase will be nicer than anything I could jury rig.

A lot of our camping will be without hookups, but usually just a weekend at a time. We take our dogs racing and lure coursing, so being able to camp almost anywhere (usually in the middle of a field) without a bunch of set up time and with a comfortable bed, bathroom and some sound, temperature, wind and rain(!) insulation is amazing. I figure the solar will be able to pull us through weekends without any trouble, and mean we can go on longer vacations in the middle of nowhere too. If I never wake up in the middle of the night in a wet tent again, I'll be a happy camper!
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Old 05-20-2013, 04:46 PM   #12
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Sharon purchased a similar type portable briefcase solar setup and loves it. Here's the link. I was going to buy one too because its so simple to use. But after reading about solar on the forum and what others have done, I ended up going with a flexible, credit card thin panel and roof mounted it with super strong tape. Its a great way to go, because you can keep charging when you're away from camp for the day. I was concerenced about getting a portable ripped off. There's a lot of solutions and great ideas on this forum. The google search will get you there. Good luck.
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