Power options when not hooked up to external power source - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-05-2020, 05:55 PM   #1
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Name: Vic
Trailer: Trillium 4500
Ontario
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Power options when not hooked up to external power source

I'm planning my first trip in a Trillium 4500 as soon as I feel ready. I'm wondering about power if I'm not in a trailer park or connected to external power source. How can I get my interior lights to work? Am I correct in thinking I simply have to find the right wire and connect it to a battery which is charged by a solar panel (for instance)?
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Old 09-05-2020, 06:04 PM   #2
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If you are only running interior lights, leave with your battery fully charged and you will be fine for a few days or more. Do you have a battery now? Does it charge when you are plugged into the tow vehicle?

Don't know what you mean by "find the right wire". Is your trailer already wired?

More information please.
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Old 09-05-2020, 07:16 PM   #3
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Name: Huck
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Usually the lights inside the trailer run off the battery. The battery is usually charged by sending power from the tow vehicle to your trailer battery or by external power you have connected to your trailer.

For short periods of time, your battery may have enough charge to run your lights, charge your phone, etc. For longer periods of time, people use either solar panels or a generator.
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Old 09-06-2020, 09:21 AM   #4
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Name: Bill
Trailer: Scamp
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Power options when not hooked up external power source

Quote:
Originally Posted by vicinto View Post
I'm planning my first trip in a Trillium 4500 as soon as I feel ready. I'm wondering about power if I'm not in a trailer park or connected to external power source. How can I get my interior lights to work? Am I correct in thinking I simply have to find the right wire and connect it to a battery which is charged by a solar panel (for instance)?
Good advice from others already. When boondocking, always unplug the electrical hookup from the tow vehicle. That way, you won't drain its battery, too. Start the TV before plugging in the trailer.
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Old 09-06-2020, 11:36 AM   #5
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Name: Peg
Trailer: 1995 Scamp
Wy & Az
Posts: 57
I have several solar lanterns and a solar charger for my phone so I use very little of my battery power. I do have a solar panel that is wired into my battery in case I need to use the trailers power. This is usually good for at least three or four days.
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Old 09-06-2020, 11:39 AM   #6
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Name: Nicolas
Trailer: 1978 Boler
Almonte, Ontario
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If your tow vehicle is wired with either a 6 pin or 7 pin connector, it is possible that you have power to your battery while towing. Depending on that connection, it is always wise to disconnect the trailer from the TV so that its battery is not drained. The best solution is A) a fully charged battery, a solar panel to charge the battery on sunny days, C) ensure that your electric needs are low draw (LED bulbs).
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Old 09-06-2020, 01:31 PM   #7
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Name: Curt
Trailer: '78 Trillium 4500
Alberta
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Know your trailer!

First things first - find out if your trailer has a battery! You are not going to power any lights without shore power if you don't have one. Batteries should be installed in a box on the A-frame at the front of the trailer, in order to prevent gasses in the trailer.

Our 1978 Trillium 4500 does NOT have a battery. We use propane for the fridge and flashlights for light if we do not have power provided at our campsite.

I have toyed with the idea of adding a battery and solar, but that is a lot of expense for just interior lights, as our 3 way fridge doesn't work at all well on 12 Volt.
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Old 09-07-2020, 12:15 PM   #8
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Name: Nicolas
Trailer: 1978 Boler
Almonte, Ontario
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Since going solar with a good battery, I have found that there is more than lights that get powered by the battery: phone/tablet charger; air circulation fan; rechargeable-battery charger; the radio and lanterns that use the rechargeable batteries.
Regrettably, unless you have a super fridge, I agree, the 12V system coming from the tow vehicle is really meant to keep the already cold fridge cool while driving between campsites. Propane is the off-grid answer for the fridge at the campsite.
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Old 09-07-2020, 12:36 PM   #9
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Name: Steve
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The easiest way to not drain your trailer battery when camping off grid is using solar and limiting your use of 12 VDC
We can go 3 or 4 days on a fully charged battery by simply controlling our use of DC
IE; switching to LED bulbs , running the furnace , lights and water pump only when absolutely necessary and leaving non essential / superfluous electronic equipment at home
We only take one cell phone when camping and charge it from our vehicle
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Old 09-07-2020, 01:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicolas View Post
Since going solar with a good battery, I have found that there is more than lights that get powered by the battery: phone/tablet charger; air circulation fan; rechargeable-battery charger; the radio and lanterns that use the rechargeable batteries.
Regrettably, unless you have a super fridge, I agree, the 12V system coming from the tow vehicle is really meant to keep the already cold fridge cool while driving between campsites. Propane is the off-grid answer for the fridge at the campsite.
Lots of people DO make good use of solar power and/or batteries. We are of the mind that when we go camping, we are doing so partly to get away from screens and other devices. Cell phones are for emergency use only, the only tablet we own I will occasionally use as an e-book. If we were to spend months wandering, I could see using a phone or tablet with wireless data to help locate the next night's stay, but our trips are usually planned before we leave home. If we take phones, they are charged in the cockpit while travelling.

But that's just us. We also do NOT have a heater in our Trillium - have never felt the need for one, not in our old soft-topped tent trailer either.

As I said - first things first - find out if you have a battery. If you don't, none of these comments regarding charging or using a battery off-grid will do you much good. If you don't have a battery, try camping without one for a while. You may be like us and find that there is no need for one. Or you might decide that it is an absolute necessity, and then you can find all kinds of useful information here on FGRV.com to help you determine what kind and size of system you need, where to get it installed, or how to do it yourself!

Welcome aboard!
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Old 09-07-2020, 05:14 PM   #11
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Trailer: Black Series HQ19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicolas View Post
Since going solar with a good battery, I have found that there is more than lights that get powered by the battery: phone/tablet charger; air circulation fan; rechargeable-battery charger; the radio and lanterns that use the rechargeable batteries.
Excellent example of Roemer's Law, which is: Usage will always rise to meet supply.

So, it's a good idea to oversize the system if you can. You'll want that extra power later on.
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Old 09-07-2020, 06:20 PM   #12
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Name: Paul
Trailer: Trillium 4500
Ontario
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vicinto View Post
I'm planning my first trip in a Trillium 4500 as soon as I feel ready. I'm wondering about power if I'm not in a trailer park or connected to external power source. How can I get my interior lights to work? Am I correct in thinking I simply have to find the right wire and connect it to a battery which is charged by a solar panel (for instance)?
where in Ontario are you located
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Old 09-07-2020, 10:24 PM   #13
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Name: Renee
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Rechargeable lamps are available as well as rechargeable fans.
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Old 09-08-2020, 07:02 AM   #14
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2- one hundred watt solar panels in the sun kept my battery up, ran the furnace fan, roof fan, lights, fridge controls, charged my phones, and charged my Tow vehicle battery for a week while i was unplugged from hydro, the fridge cooled on propane, but needs 12v to work
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Old 09-08-2020, 08:07 AM   #15
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Name: Manley
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vicinto View Post
Am I correct in thinking I simply have to find the right wire and connect it to a battery which is charged by a solar panel (for instance)?
If you have solar then it is most likely you have a battery and the battery is already hooked up to your lights.

If you do not have solar/battery essentially you are correct, you would need to connect lights to battery and battery to solar.
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Old 09-09-2020, 11:20 AM   #16
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Name: Steve
Trailer: Scamp 13
California
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in your trailer change your lights to led and that saves your battery. in my case I use 2 -35 watt 12 volt portable solar panels I have them on 20 foot cords so I can place them on the roof or any where I want. In my case the fridge runs on propane but has a 12 volt fan to make it work better. we have a propane heater but it has a 12 volt fan to move heat and we have a 12 volt fantastic fan in the roof to circulate air in the trailer. I also use a 12 volt dvd player with video screen taking power. the solar panels keep up with this usage and recharges the battery by day. this has kept up with our usage for the last 5 years so we are good to go. we normally do not camp in 100 % shade by choice. We normally do not camp where there is 120 volt AC power unless we stay in State parks which is getting harder and much more expensive to do these days in California. You can do this on the cheep with good research and handy hands or you can go way over kill and very expensive if you want all the bells and whistles with battery usage monitors. for the start keep it simple for at least a year then revise and add if you think you need to complicate things.
get a controller twice as much wattage as your total solar panels it isnt that much more money and will leave your later option door open.
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Old 09-12-2020, 12:15 PM   #17
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Think Solar!
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Old 09-12-2020, 02:00 PM   #18
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Name: Mike
Trailer: Boler
Nova Scotia
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Power when not in campgrounds

Quote:
Originally Posted by vicinto View Post
I'm planning my first trip in a Trillium 4500 as soon as I feel ready. I'm wondering about power if I'm not in a trailer park or connected to external power source. How can I get my interior lights to work? Am I correct in thinking I simply have to find the right wire and connect it to a battery which is charged by a solar panel (for instance)?
Howdy, I wired all lights and inverter to a large deep cycle battery. Great for running all light and computer fans in the roof. It also includes exterior lights. If you use LED lights all the way around inside and out, you could do a lot of Walmarts before you need external power. When I am at a campground, I charge up with a little 110v to 12 v trickle charger or if you have a solar panel and controller you can do that as well. Make sure you find a way to secure the panel as it is an attractive item. My inverter runs 110v apartment size fridge and microwave and coffee maker when we are at Walmarts, so we do alright in our 13' Boler.
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Old 09-13-2020, 12:55 AM   #19
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Name: Jeff
Trailer: 1980 Trillium 1300, 2005 Bigfoot 21
Free State of New Hampshire
Posts: 31
Power off the grid

Jackery power pack 500 and 100wt panel covers all the boondocking needs.


https://www.jackery.com/pages/portab...SAAEgItAPD_BwE
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Old 09-13-2020, 06:12 AM   #20
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Name: Mike
Trailer: Boler
Nova Scotia
Posts: 56
Power in boondocking

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Originally Posted by Governor Bud View Post
Jackery power pack 500 and 100wt panel covers all the boondocking needs.


https://www.jackery.com/pages/portab...SAAEgItAPD_BwE
I agree , but, in Canada, no generators allowed in Walmart parking lots, no leaving the trailer there by itself....no awnings out, etc.... I find the deep cycle battery and an inverter work well ..
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