Solar package/Tank monitors worth it on new Scamp? - Fiberglass RV
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Old 08-18-2022, 08:55 AM   #1
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Name: Josh
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Solar package/Tank monitors worth it on new Scamp?

I'm taking delivery of a new Scamp from the factory this fall and need to lock in my options order. I'm questioning the value of 1) the solar package $475 and 2) the tank monitors $350. These are fairly pricey, so not sure how much they are needed.

As of now, I don't intend to much boondocking and will only do 2-3 night trips at a time - likely at campgrounds with hookups. I guess I'm wondering if I will regret not getting these options in the long run.

Thanks for any insight!
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Old 08-18-2022, 09:55 AM   #2
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For your use case, I'd say you probably don't need those options.



If you decide to take longer trips and / or stay in campgrounds with no hookups, a solar setup might be useful but it's not that difficult or expensive to add a portable solar panel and controller. The advantage of a portable solar panel is that you can park the trailer in the shade and still charge your battery.



As to tank monitors, I don't have tanks in my trailer but I assume that they are electronic monitors and that there is a way to manually monitor the levels. If the tank levels aren't too difficult to monitor manually, I'd skip the tank monitors. On the other hand if manually monitoring is a pain, it might be worth it.
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Old 08-18-2022, 10:58 AM   #3
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I think I just answered your question on FB, but welcome over here! Short version... qualified no to both. Solar is good but easily added. I'd want to know a lot more about Scamp's package to decide whether it's a good deal vs. aftermarket. The only monitor you really need is a battery monitor, and you can get a better one as a stand-alone.

For your initial build stick to things that are hard to add later: fridge, water heater, furnace, A/C, power roof vent screen door (some are now standard, but all used to be options). I would personally skip the factory awning in favor of less expensive and more wind-resistant alternatives, but plenty of people do like it.
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Old 08-18-2022, 11:26 AM   #4
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The popular argument against solar on the roof is that you have to park in the sun. I used to think that too, but there is much more to the story than that.

Roof solar works any time the trailer is in the sun. While parked in storage, while driving, while stopped at a rest stop during your trip, or while camping. You don't have to get out the portable system every time you stop in order to get the benefits. Zero setup and take down. You don't have to worry about someone stealing the portable system if you go for a hike and it keeps the sun off the roof of the trailer under the panels which can help interior temps.

If it is really hot and your batteries are fully charged, you can still park in the shade if you want to. If you decide you want more power than the roof system is providing, you can add a suitcase system to the mix very easily because you'll already have the controller and interior wiring. And if you do that, you can set it in the sun while parked in the shade.

I don't know what size system Scamp offers, but $475. sounds like a good deal if the system is at least 100 watts.

A system lying flat on the roof will not produce as much as the same size system on the ground and aimed properly at the sun, but the roof system is always deployed and on, so it requires no setup or place to stow it. it is working much more of the time, on average, than a portable system on the ground. And you only get the benefits of the properly aimed system if you keep adjusting it during the day.

Once you see how well solar works, you'll never want to be without it again. So go with the largest system that you can comfortably afford and that will fit the roof of the trailer. Make sure the installer does not put the panels where they are shaded under the AC, or in other ways. It must have direct sun to produce power.
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Old 08-27-2022, 10:44 AM   #5
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Name: Lynn
Trailer: '06 Scamp 16
Rochester, New York
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solar/tank monitors

Having just been to the Scamp Homecoming and factory tour, I believe their solar package consists of a Renogy 100 Watt Solar Suitcase and a plug on the battery box. You can buy the suitcase directly from Renogy right now for $270. It comes with clips on the cable to attach to your battery. You can add a plug yourself if you find you want it.

As for tank monitors, you can see the black tank level by looking in the toilet and the fresh water tank is translucent plastic under the rear seat. I think the grey water tank is also viewable, but I'm not sure. You won't fill it in 2 or 3 days. We have only the 12 gallon fresh tank and a porta-potti. The 2 of us are always good for at least 4 days boondocking.
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Old 08-27-2022, 12:38 PM   #6
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You might want to wait on the solar to see how your future camping needs change. The picture shows one possibility for solar location that allows the trailer to be parked in the shade and the solar in the sun and angled to get increased efficiency. Actual picture is at Padre Island National Seashore in January. After a couple years I added another panel on the front end of the truck topper.
Cheers John
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Old 08-27-2022, 06:18 PM   #7
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Name: Diane
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Originally Posted by Raspy View Post
Roof solar works any time the trailer is in the sun. While parked in storage, while driving, while stopped at a rest stop during your trip, or while camping. You don't have to get out the portable system every time you stop in order to get the benefits. Zero setup and take down.
If you decide you want more power than the roof system is providing, you can add a suitcase system to the mix very easily because you'll already have the controller and interior wiring. And if you do that, you can set it in the sun while parked in the shade.
A system lying flat on the roof will not produce as much as the same size system on the ground and aimed properly at the sun, but the roof system is always deployed and on, so it requires no setup or place to stow it. it is working much more of the time, on average, than a portable system on the ground.
You make a good case for rooftop solar. It sure would be nice to have it charging while traveling.
Since it’s always on, it can be operating concurrently with the solar suitcase? And it can be operating concurrently with shore power and the converter?
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Old 08-29-2022, 08:45 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunnyone View Post
Since itís always on, it can be operating concurrently with the solar suitcase?
Yes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sunnyone View Post
And it can be operating concurrently with shore power and the converter?
Yes.

Enjoy,

Perry
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Old 08-29-2022, 09:20 AM   #9
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Raspy Said

ďMake sure the installer does not put the panels where they are shaded under the AC, or in other ways. It must have direct sun to produce power.Ē

Very important (and not easy to do) if your Scamp is a 13 ft with air conditioner on roof.

Cheers John
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Old 08-31-2022, 02:21 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by sunnyone View Post
You make a good case for rooftop solar. It sure would be nice to have it charging while traveling.
Since itís always on, it can be operating concurrently with the solar suitcase? And it can be operating concurrently with shore power and the converter?
Solar charging while charging from shore can cause a conflict where the solar sees the higher voltage of a charging battery, compared to the lower voltage of a discharging battery. This higher voltage makes the controller think the battery is fully charged and it will go into float mode. But that's OK if you are plugged in. Then, you don't need the solar. Same is true if you are charging from an Anderson plug while driving during the day, and charging from the solar, as it is always on. They can conflict and get confused, leading to a very low charge rate. This problem can be fixed by using Victron for the solar charger and for the dc-dc charger powered by the Anderson circuit. The two Victrons can communicate with each other via Bluetooth and can work together to add their charging capacities. The conflict you might see with other equipment won't hurt anything, it will just cause the controllers to not perform as you might like them too. And of course, driving at night with the Anderson plug working, eliminates the conflict too.
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