Solar Set-Up for My Casita 16' - Fiberglass RV

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Old 01-09-2011, 11:31 AM   #1
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Name: TravelRN910
Trailer: 2017 17' Casita Spirit Deluxe
Posts: 25
Thumbs up Solar Set-Up for My Casita 16'

I have been researching (a lot!) on the net for THE BEST and strongest in power output for the space, solar set up for my 1994 16' Casita. I would appreciate any and all suggestions from anyone willing to share what has worked for them or not worked for them. I am interested in Boondocking often and with as much appliance availability as possible. OK, now, lets hear those suggestions. Please give as much detail as you can if describing your set-up. Pictures are always welcome! Thanks

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Old 01-09-2011, 12:04 PM   #2
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Trailer: Casita
New River AZ
Posts: 1,043
I have a 50 watt kyocera panel and in the following link i copied the portable stand (post #2) and carrying case (post #7) from azcharlie and am very pleased with performance
My solar controller is mounted next to the battery box and i used 10 gauge wire which has pigtail leads at the electrical door..... then i have two lengths of 25 foot each extensions with pigtails to move the portable solar to just about anywhere i want. I also drilled a hole into the solar panel frame for a cable lock to keep the honest "Honest"
There are many ways to do it and this is just one of many..... good luck on your search as there is much info out there

scroll up to post #2 and #7

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Old 01-09-2011, 12:39 PM   #3
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Name: Joe
Trailer: none
Posts: 51
Here is a link to a previous post I made about my solar install
I have traveled a few thousand miles with no problems, I camped in Yellowstone, the Black Hills of South Dakota, Devils Tower and many Forrest Service Campgrounds, all with out hookups. I had plenty of power to run my furnace, lights, and CPAP machine.
The one battery did quite well, but I plan on adding another for more capacity in case I encounter many consecutive cloudy days. I did not worry about tilting the panel or having an open camp site, most sites had some trees and the panel fuly charged the battery daily.
If there is enough room on your roof, two panels with two battery's should give all the power you need.

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Old 01-09-2011, 05:12 PM   #4
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Trailer: 16' Casita
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I started out with the Harbor Freight 3 panel set up. Used it one time and sold it at a yard sale for much less than I paid for it. they were to heavy, to bulky, to time consuming to set up and subject to theft.
For under $200.00 I purchased a 50 W Ramsond solar panel and their controller on eBay.
I permanently mounted it on the roof of my 16' Scamp and hooked it up through the controller to a deep cycle group 29 battery. I also changed all the interior lighting to LEDs.
Most all of my camping is in the boondocks, the system has never let me down.
Last September I took a 2 week, 4000 mile trip through Utah, Colorado, Wyoming and Idaho. On most days my battery was fully recharged by noon.
The only time I had to hook up the charge line from my vehicle was when I was caught in a 3 day rainstorm in the Tetons .
I have not noticed much difference when the sun is lightly filtered by trees.
Adding solar power was one of the best and easier modifications I have done to my Eggs
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Old 01-10-2011, 05:19 PM   #5
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Name: Rick
Trailer: former Boler, now 1980 Trillium 4500
Posts: 368


On my Boler last year, I ended up installing a Photowatt 40 watt solar panel on the roof of my tow vehicle, with two wires running down to the 7-pin connector, through the connector to the trailer battery, and had my Sunsaver solar controller mounted in the battery box with the battery. This was after several discussions on this forum, found here:

The advantage of this setup was that I did not have to set up my solar panel each time I set up camp, and I could charge the battery while driving or while parked at the campsite. The other advantage was that the whole installation remained outside the trailer, so that no wires ran into it at any point. The disadvantage was that the tow vehicle had to be parked somewhat near the trailer while camping. I made a 20 foot extension cord out of a standard electrical extension cord so that the van could be moved away. I actually had one weekend at a baseball tournament where my team was gathered in several trailers and RVs and I had to park further away than my umbilical cord would allow, otherwise it worked out great. My charging needs were taken care of, especially since our furnace uses no electricity.

I considered mounting the solar panel on the roof of the trailer, with both pros (convenience) and cons (perhaps not getting enough sunlight if we camp in the shade). As it turned out, I replaced both the trailer and the tow vehicle last October, so I am glad that I did not install it permanently on the trailer.

However, this spring I will again be contemplating the same issues. There is a good chance I will go for the trailer roof mounted panel, as the convenience is overwhelming. So far I have not needed the second solar panel, we will see how it goes this year. Given my recent experience changing the trailer and our lack of time with the new one, I will try to make it semi-permanent rather than permanent, just in case we change trailers again.

Rick G
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Old 01-10-2011, 09:05 PM   #6
Name: Michael
Trailer: Li'l Hauley
Posts: 5,892
Peterh has taught solar panel workshops, I believe. Here is one of the threads he's posted in. Might be a good one to PM if you have questions.
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Old 01-10-2011, 09:16 PM   #7
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Name: George
Trailer: Waiting for the Sprinter van and designing the converion modules.
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2 60W solar panels installation

I finished installing my two 60W solar panels on Bigfoot 21RB.
Material list:
- 60W Solar cells 60 Watt Solar Panel 60 Watt Solar Panel [EMM60W] - $155.00 : The Energy Mill, Renewable Energy Products
- Charge controller Morningstar SunSaver MPPT 15L, MPPT Charge Controller, 15 Amp, 12/24Volt , LVD Override Protection with monitor and battery temperature sensor. MPPT charge controller utilizes solar power with voltage above the 13.6V, optimum voltage for my solar panels is 18.4V. MPPT charge controllers are gaining popularity and are getting less expensive.
- Cables 10 AWG included with solar panels from the panels to the charge controller (parallel) and the 8 AWG cable from the controller to the batteries.
- Mounting hardware
- 1/8 x 3 aluminum flat bar.
- 1 x 3 x 1/8 aluminum rectangular tube.
- wide VHB tape.
-Various SS nuts and bolts.
Each panel is mounted on four 3 x 4 feet which gives a total of 48 inch^2 of VHB bond area. Cloudy weather is not good for testing, but during one sunny morning I got an almost 4A charge which is about 1/2 of expected 8A operating current at optimal conditions. With high summer sun I should be OK.
Attached Thumbnails
GR291887.jpg   GR291885.jpg  

ZR151114.jpg   ZR151115.jpg  

Solar panels 11 30 2010.jpg   ZR111106.jpg  

ZR111108.jpg   ZR111109.jpg  

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Old 01-16-2011, 12:08 AM   #8
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Trailer: 2005 19 ft Scamp 19 ft 5th Wheel
Posts: 1,555
George, that's a very nicely done install.

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