It was cold ran heater Monday morning battery still seem fine after taking the chill out of the Scamp.
This time last year we had just gotten back from a trip to Yellowstone where nighttime temperatures were in the teens. With its 50-watt roof-mount solar panel
, 55 amp-hour AGM battery
and LED lighting
throughout, our trailer was perfect for dry-camping. Just about the only thing that is high-demand electric in our dry-camp setup is the furnace
The pity was the furnace
ran just about all night the first night we were at Yellowstone and just about flattened our battery. There's a story about that here, somewhere
. The point is, even small solar
setups will likely provide enough juice to keep your LED lights
on. It's when you throw in a high-amp appliance or two that hings go rapidly downhill.
We considered two approaches to fixing our furnace
power situation. One was to buy a Wave 3 catalytic heater. The other was to expand our solar
The Wave 3 catalytic heater uses no battery power at all, so it's a great option if you run on solar. We bought one but decided to upgrade our solar panels instead, but the Wave 3 may yet go in to our trailer. Why? The same reason that catalytic heaters don't suck battery reserves down also makes them almost silent: they have no energy-sucking, noise-making fan. That gets real attractive when the noisy furnace comes on several times a night.
The other option we explored was to add capacity to our solar array so we can replenish our battery more easily. We decided to install a second, 55-watt solar panel
on our roof, bringing our system capacity up to 105 watts. 105 watts should be adequate to top our batteries off after a cold, cold night as long as we park in a sunny spot. Parking in a warm, sunny spot is not a problem when the temps drop below freezing at night; for times when it's warmer I'm figuring the heater won't need to run as much and we can park in a spot with partial shade and still come out on top.