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Old 12-03-2022, 02:07 PM   #1
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Name: DaveWI
Trailer: 2014 16Ď Scamp Deluxe
Wisconsin
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Portable Solar Panels

I have a 16í Scamp Deluxe and Iím thinking about getting a portable solar panel for boondocking. What are my best options and how do i decide? Thanks.
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Old 12-03-2022, 05:17 PM   #2
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Name: Robin
Trailer: 2013 16ft Scamp
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I have a 100W Renogy Solar Suitcase along with a 100W Jackary with 500W solar generator. Both suit me well as I donít want to mount anything to my roof and Iíve read that flexible panels have shorter shelf lives. This set up works we,, for me as I mostly boondock.
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Old 12-03-2022, 07:45 PM   #3
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The Renogy 100 watt suitcase is a good place to start. Hard glass panels with an aluminum frame in a canvas zip up cover. Probably get the one with a controller in it for simplicity, but it's possibly better to mount the controller near the batteries. Get an MPPT style controller. Get the correct connector plugs and get a 25-50' contractors #12 extension cord to run the power to your trailer. This will give you enough cord to reach the sun in most cases, it is a durable cord you can step on, and it's large enough gauge wire to easily carry the current. A 100 watt collector is not much power, but they do work surprisingly well. It's likely you'll want more power before long, but you can deal with that later by adding another set, or reconsidering the roof mount. Factor in also, that ground collectors can be aimed at the sun for optimum power collection, whereas flat roof panels will top out at about 65% of their rated output.
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Old 12-04-2022, 04:46 AM   #4
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The cheap route!
I guess it depends on what you plan to power up. We have a simple system with a 100W portable panel and just 1 / 12 volt gel battery.
we are very frugal with power just using it for our LED lights for reading at night, heater if cold, and water pump for showers.
We cook most our food on LP, our fridge is LP.
We've been out for extended trips in the White Mts. of New Hampshire, 2weeks or more, and never had a problem.
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Old 12-04-2022, 11:32 AM   #5
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Name: Michelle
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Washington
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We have a 90 watt portable solar panel (meaning it's not mounted on the camper). As one person noted, we also put a long cable on it and put quick disconnect on the battery.
It works very well for keeping the battery charged. Here in the PNW, sunlight can be hard to find in the forests so you do end up moving the panel around to catch the sun, if your campsite is any way shaded. It's why, in our case, we have the portable rather than a panel on the roof.
We're pretty happy with it. Will we switch to a higher wattage? I don't know.
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Old 12-05-2022, 12:10 PM   #6
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Wisconsin
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Thanks everyone. Good advice. IMO since Covid campgrounds are populated by lots of people who never camped or shouldn’t. Hence, my interest in boondocking. Example: at our last outing our camper neighbor fired up his leafblower!
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Old 12-05-2022, 12:36 PM   #7
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I had the misfortune to camp next to a leaf blowing deplorable once. Until then I figured it was some RVing legend.
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Old 12-05-2022, 08:45 PM   #8
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Jeez. I've seen a video several years ago of some idiot using a leaf blower on the 8x10 stretch of green grass next to his monster RV. Had I been there, I think I would have gone out after dark, pick up every leaf I could find and put them all back. But then, it would have given him an excuse to blow the leaves again.
You wonder why he even spent alll that money on a RV when he could have his trophy lawn in front of his house.
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Old 12-05-2022, 09:37 PM   #9
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Let’s move on from leaf blowers. What about the folks with decorative lights on all night - think State Fair on Saturday night. A little Las Vegas in the woods.
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Old 12-06-2022, 12:06 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveWI View Post
I have a 16í Scamp Deluxe and Iím thinking about getting a portable solar panel for boondocking. What are my best options and how do i decide? Thanks.
I thought we were trying to give you info about solar panels?
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Old 12-06-2022, 06:19 AM   #11
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I hit on an ideal solution:
A leaf blower powered generator!
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Old 12-06-2022, 04:42 PM   #12
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With Christmas tree lights! Blinking ones!
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Old 12-07-2022, 12:29 AM   #13
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I highly recommend Rich Solar. I used them for my rooftop solar panels, controller and mounts. Their customer service was outstanding. The shipment arrived quickly, nothing was damaged. Their solar panels are not made in China and of excellent quality. I ordered 2 different types of mounts and had no problems returning the one I decided not to use.

Here’s the link. They’re even having a pre holiday sale!

https://richsolar.com/collections/solar-panels

You did not discuss how much boondocking you plan to do or where you’re thinking of storing the solar suitcase.

If you’re planning to dry camp for the majority of you travel days, you should consider a lithium battery.

Also, be open to the possibility of eventually installing rooftop panels.While researching adding solar to my trailer, I started a thread asking if portable panels were preferable to rooftops:Solar Panels - On Roof or Portable- Whatís Best

What I learned is most members who started with portable panels eventually installed rooftop solar systems. The reason: portable is a pain to transport & set up. However, when seeking shade, it’s nice to have a portable solar unit.

Several Scamp owners on this site have installed panels on their rooftops. You might want to research their posts. The biggest drawback for your Scamp is finding a space within the cabin for your solar controller, fuse box, and other miscellaneous items [AKA, Solar Basement]. If you decide to get a lithium battery & locate it in the cabin, you’ll be taking up even more storage space.

Good luck with your project.
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Old 12-07-2022, 10:08 AM   #14
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Name: DaveWI
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Portable Solar Panels

Thanks everyone. Great advice!
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Old 12-08-2022, 03:18 PM   #15
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Name: RogerDat
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I have had 2 different portable folding solar panels. The first was 40 watt. Just had LED lights to run, and charging phone or laptop. Size fit side of closet so I had an option to attach it to that wall. With a furnace, and newer fridge that uses some power even on propane and a water pump I bought a 100 watt.

I think the biggest issue is how sturdy the legs are. The 40 watt I felt the legs were very light weight and required more care. The 100 watt was a bit more solid. When reading reviews look for reviews with feedback on the legs.

In addition to considering size and knowing where you can store it pay attention to weight. A 100 watt panel with controller isn't terribly heavy but it isn't light weight either. Sturdier legs and frame will add weight. I can handle ours, my fairly small wife wouldn't be able to.

Plus 1 on using contractor grade #12 extension cord if you want to have a longer lead. I went with portable because as much as if I can I will park in shade. My hitch plug charges from tow vehicle when driving so I expect to arrive in camp fully charged. So I don't gain on the road charging from a roof mount.

They make SAE 12 volt plugs that are widely available. Amazon to Walmart. Or marine store if you want to pay top dollar. They are a red & black wire 12 volt plugs that only go together one way. Common use is for battery to trolling motor. These are good for making connections for portable solar.

I cut off the battery clamp from the solar suitcase cord, added the SAE plug, put an SAE on the battery that comes out just under the battery cover. Making a nice weather tight, can't do it backwards connection.

I also added an SAE connector to the battery clamps wire I cut off originally, so I preserve the ability to use those original clamps if needed. Charging car battery for example. I did once kill the battery while camping. Got a jump but I was in a state park, boondocking I would probably been forced to use solar.

Ran furnace to keep camper 48* F at night, cloudy day and 100 watt panel had no trouble taking the battery up to full charge. I haven't tried to see if 100 watt could keep up with running the furnace during the day to maintain more comfortable temperature and replace the night use. I also re-positioned the panel 3 or 4 times during the day to keep it aimed at the sun.
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Old 12-08-2022, 03:52 PM   #16
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Thanks Roger
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Old 01-14-2023, 09:35 PM   #17
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Name: Darrell
Trailer: Scamp Deluxe 16ft
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Cool Portable solar panels

I'm not a expert on them, but I've had good experience with semi flexible 100w panels I've got two. I made a simple aluminum frame for them, light weight and a (single panel) out produced the ridgid 100w panel I tried to replace the single 100w semi flexible panel I was using alone. I noticed the ridged panel has to be set almost perfectly to be efficient and effective. Details on its use and setup a Renogy MPPT controller 100 amp LiPo battery running a fridge freezer full time numerous LED lights and ect 12 devices. Not in my Scamp but my Jeep. Excess power is sent to starting battery, the panel (now 2) are mounted flat on roof. If I don't receive enough sunlight hoyrs for over 3-4 days it can be ran down AKA cloudy, rain storms fall winter short sunlight days. I'm hoping to install a few and LiPo battery in /on my Scamp. To many projects to do. 🤔
I would be tempted to use the same type in portable system after making a lightweight frame for them too. I like trying to assemble my own 12v systems. I started collecting some stuff for my Scamp but haven't started it yet. Big reason for my current project so I can start working on Scamp after I finish this one.... it's hard to tear into a big project when you use it daily. As a full time RV'er.😉
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