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Old 04-07-2021, 04:22 PM   #1
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Trailer: Scamp 13 ft
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Question Basic solar for 13' Scamp

We don't watch TV, have a microwave, a computer, etc. We use the electrical system to run LEDs, maybe to charge our phones (not often), and on really cold mornings we'll run the furnace for a bit. On hot afternoons we might run the fan for a while.
What is the simplest, most basic, solar setup that I should get? I'm picturing portable and perhaps briefcase-style. I'd rather not have to remove the battery cover to recharge it. Can I use either the 7-pin pigtail or the power cord that brings power in through the converter?
I've talked with three RV shops and have received confusing and conflicting answers. Thank you!
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Old 04-07-2021, 05:42 PM   #2
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Basic solar

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Originally Posted by Mike J. L. View Post

What is the simplest, most basic, solar setup that I should get? Thank you!
Solar can be as simple as a 100 watt panel, a charge controller and the wire to connect to the battery with clips. Thatís what I have except I plug onto a jumper coming out of the battery box. I have 25í of #12 wire and set the panel out in the sun while the RV is in the shade. The controller should be on the battery end of the wire. Mine is not but it should be, it was just more convenient to mount the controller on the panel..
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Old 04-07-2021, 05:51 PM   #3
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I have two 40-watt portables that run into a junction box, through a single controller and attach to the battery terminals with alligator clips. They are branded Coleman.

That's all I needed so far, but might need my Honda 1000 genset with my new CPAP running all night.
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Old 04-07-2021, 06:30 PM   #4
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Name: Gordon
Trailer: 2015 Scamp (16 Std Layout 4) with '15 Toyota Sienna LE Tug
North Carolina
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First, you described your needs pretty well.. and that helps a lot. But you left out how much sun you expect to get.. are you going to be in winter or summer, in Canada or Florida.. where the sun shines most every day for most of the day, or maybe one day out of seven and for only a few hours.. ? ... so thats a huge variable to consider, and also relates to how much battery capacity you need.

As for the other question, yes it is a good solution to use a portable set up with the solar controller output fed into the 7 pin charge line - the same one that your tow veh uses. Get a 7 pin female end like the one on your tug wired to your solar setup and when set up at camp plug it into the camper's 7 pin plug. You only need the ground (neg) and charge line connections. Its a little easier than a portable solar (suitcase) set up with alligator clips that go onto the battery (you don't need to remove the battery cover) yet it makes the same connections (with perhaps a fuse added).
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Old 04-07-2021, 07:51 PM   #5
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Thank you all

Iím the guy who started this thread and I think youíve told me what I need to know. I live in NW Oregon and use the Scamp year-round, but mostly in the 6 warmer months. We get more sun (or bright clouds) than many might think especially on the 2/3 of Oregon thatís desert.

Anyway, Iíll get a 100+ watt portable with controller and an adapter to the towing pigtail. That sounds simple enough.

In the winter Iím usually alone and would use very little electricity.

Thank you all!!
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Old 04-08-2021, 03:44 AM   #6
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Name: Gerry
Trailer: 1979 Boler 1300 / 1991 Casita Freedom Deluxe
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I have the same hook-up as Ken in thread #2 except i did mount the controler inside my Casita.
We traveled cross country 2 years ago and maybe we stayed at campgrounds that had hook ups for electric about 20 nights over the 3 months we were on the road.
The rest of the time we used the charging system from my Toyota 4 Runner to charge system while on road and when staying in campgrounds without power we hooked up 100W solar panel.
We have all Led lights and used gas for fridge and heat if needed. Used 12 volt power for lights furnace and water pump when needed.
Be frugal but we never once ran out of 12V power.
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Old 04-08-2021, 07:18 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerry View Post
I have the same hook-up as Ken in thread #2 except i did mount the controler inside my Casita....
That is the better way to do it. Few controllers are weather proof and the system works best when the run from the controller to the battery is shorter. But if the OP does not want to to that wiring, then alligator clips or the 7 pin and the controller outside the camper will work for occasional use when it wont rain on a controller that is not waterproof. It also makes it easier to use the solar for other things. My controller is inside the camper but I also have a second inexpensive controller that I can pair up with the portable panel(s) for other uses.
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Old 04-08-2021, 07:58 AM   #8
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Name: Larry H
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Hi Mike,

Looks like you could make your own 100W (2x50W) folding panel with a PWM controller for about $150 at your Home Depot?

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Grape-So...-50W/206869234

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Renogy-1...PG10/310544377

Or you could get a Renogy ready made one for about $260.

https://www.renogy.com/100-watt-12-v...-with-voyager/

Great idea to plug the charger into the trailer pigtail.

Good Luck,

Uncle Larry
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Old 04-08-2021, 08:10 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Larry C Hanson View Post
Hi Mike,

Looks like you could make your own 100W (2x50W) folding panel with a PWM controller for about ...
Thats what I did.. rolled my own suitcase solar. I wish I had paid the extra money for a commercial version. YMMV but IMHO there are some aspects such as support legs and controller mounting that are hard to DIY.
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Old 04-08-2021, 11:46 AM   #10
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Name: Rita
Trailer: Escape 17B
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Solar for Scamp 13"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike J. L. View Post
We don't watch TV, have a microwave, a computer, etc. We use the electrical system to run LEDs, maybe to charge our phones (not often), and on really cold mornings we'll run the furnace for a bit. On hot afternoons we might run the fan for a while.
What is the simplest, most basic, solar setup that I should get? I'm picturing portable and perhaps briefcase-style. I'd rather not have to remove the battery cover to recharge it. Can I use either the 7-pin pigtail or the power cord that brings power in through the converter?
I've talked with three RV shops and have received confusing and conflicting answers. Thank you!
Hi Mike,
We had a 2011 Scamp 13' with bath, furnace, and LED lights, but no microwave,no TV, no AC. Sounds like yours. We like to boondock. Our solution to charging the battery when parked for several days without hookups was a soft 50watt solar charger which we only put up when we would be without power for several days. I attached a 1 inch length of webbing to it and we hung it over the vent opening in the top and secured firmly under the tube container.
This worked for us. Not costly. We used it for years until our Scamp became a Covid casualty in a complicated set of events and we sold the Scamp.

I am going to try to attach some photos of our set up. I am not very good at this. If you want more info about what we used on a Scamp like yours please feel free to contact me.
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Old 04-08-2021, 03:33 PM   #11
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Name: Terry
Trailer: 1971 Hunter compact Jr, 1979 Terry 19', 2003 Scamp 16'
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I use a 100 watt Renogy panel with 30' of 10 Aug as a portable unit. It works well. I have large suction cup feet which I purchased on Amazon at each corner. When I have good sun or if I will be gone all day I put it on top of the Scamp. I also Colman 100 watt panel permanently mounted on my camper shell with battery in the bed of the f150.
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Old 04-08-2021, 03:39 PM   #12
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Not weather proof

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Originally Posted by gordon2 View Post
That is the better way to do it. Few controllers are weather proof and the system works best when the run from the controller to the battery is shorter.
Thanks for the reminder, I have a new clear cover for my new controller and have not yet installed it.
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Old 04-09-2021, 10:48 PM   #13
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Name: Michael
Trailer: Trail Cruiser
Alberta
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Mike, I'm an avid lifetime boondocker. I camp for months at a time using ONLY solar. Here's some things I've learned.
Calculate how much power you use. Multiply the amp/hr rating of each appliance by the hours of daily use. Add these numbers together to get consumption. Double this number to avoid over discharging your battery and double it again for other contingences like cloudy days etc. This is your (minimum) battery capacity.
Calculate how much solar you will need for battery maintenance. How much sun do you get and for how long? Will there be enough sunlight for the panels to achieve capacity? Will this necessitate extra panels?
Panel placement should be safe and secure. The panels and the wires that connect them are fragile and damage easily. Your roof works best. If you don't want to mount them permanently consider a bracket etc. for temporary mounting.
Mount your controller inside your unit if possible.
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Old 04-14-2021, 01:04 PM   #14
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Name: Wesley
Trailer: Riverside Whitewater Retro
California
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You can use a brief case type and run the wires to the battery box. Add a connector to te battery box case that is wired to the battery inside. When needed, just plug in. There are many types of connectors, but make sure to get one with a water proof cover. SAE type connectors are inexpensive and easy to install (some call them Zamp connectors).
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Old 04-14-2021, 01:30 PM   #15
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Name: Lynn
Trailer: '06 Scamp 16
Rochester, New York
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#14 is the best answer to the question first posed:
"What is the simplest, most basic, solar setup that I should get?"
It should do what you want and nothing would be lost if you decide to upgrade it.
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