Off grid extra batteries / solar or generator? - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV

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Old 01-24-2018, 03:56 PM   #21
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Name: Byron
Trailer: 2006 Scamp 13' towed with a 2005 Dodge Dakota 4.7l Magnum W/full tow package (over kill)
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Originally Posted by the_fixer View Post
2017 scamp 13 with bathroom
3 way fridge
Gas cook top
Gas heater

We are going to be camping at sites with no hookups about 1/2 of the time this summer and I am wondering how to make the power last for a week long trip where you do not have access to power.

Our use would be

A few interior LED lights at night for a few hours

Maxfan while cooking or to cool the scamp down in the evening

A quick shower every few days (water pump)

Charging cell phones

Heater fan for a short bit if it is cold in the morning

We currently have the larger group 27 battery but not sure how long it will last with the above listed usage. We spent 14 days in it last fall but we're at sites with hookups most of the time.

Do you think I could get away with just adding batteries? If so what kind and how many?

Add a small portable solar panel? My major concern would be if we were in a shady site and if it would charge the battery / batteries enough to be worth while.

What about a small generator like the Honda 2000?

Would love to hear what you are doing and hear recommendations. Feel free to point me to reading material as well.


I have a 65 Watt single panel that does all I need. Depending on the weather I have to recharge the Group 24 Battery (74 amp hour) abut every 4 days. With the water pump and Maxfan it might be every other day. You don't need tons of power. I often manage for up to 100 days in the SW. I would suggest you set the panel so can "chase the sun".

Even a high priced system like quoted above is cheaper than generator and one once you have it there's no gasoline, oil, noise, or fumes to deal with.

Byron & Anne enjoying the everyday Saturday thing.
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Old 01-24-2018, 06:06 PM   #22
Name: RogerDat
Trailer: 77 Scamp 13
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Each of your electric items will probably be labeled with how many amps it draws. Figure out about how much time it will run for each day times that devices amps.

So a water pump may draw more amps than say a fantastic fan but it runs only for short periods. Adding up the amps x hours of use for all your electric devices gives you a total number of amp hours you will need per day.

Then take 1/2 the battery capacity in amp hours. Typical deep cycle might be around 100 amp hours, you don't want to draw below 50% charge because that degrades the battery life. So you have (without any charging) about 50 amp hours or 7 amp hours a day. Two batteries would double that.

A 100 watt solar panel would put back in about 5 amps per hour of good sun. So maybe 4 hrs at 5 amps and 4 when the sun is lower in sky at 2.5 amp output per hour. Total of 30 amp hours a day going back into battery. So if you used 30 amp hours per day your solar would keep battery charged if you used 37 amp hours per day your battery charge would go down by that 7 amp hours stored power every day.

You don't have to do 100% full charge daily, your solar (or generator) charging can be used to extend the number of days until your battery gets down to 50% charge even if it doesn't top off the battery every day.

It ends up being a balancing act between draw, and reserve stored in battery and charging and amp hours are the common denominators that allows comparing all on same terms.

I only have two lights (led) and a fan. Plus whatever phone, tablet, camera etc. I charge. So a 40 watt panel at 1.75 amp hour charge will extend stay on a single battery to longer than dear wife wants to spend in the boondocks.

To be honest I'm pretty sure I could have skipped the solar, one battery would last as long as she wants to be roughing it. Been there done that, now she likes hot showers close at hand.

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Old 01-25-2018, 04:27 AM   #23
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and if your 12V stuff is in watts, just divide watts / 12 to get amps. 36W fan is 3 amps at 12V.
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Old 01-25-2018, 10:50 AM   #24
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Name: Dave
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I am leaning towards a portable solar kit at this point and going to explore extending the battery capacity as well once I have a better idea if the one battery is enough for us.

Been checking out the Zamp and go power portable units in the 100+ watt versions.

The Zamp looks like it is designed slightly better, the go power is less money. Building one would save me a little bit but not sure if it is worth it honestly.
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Old 01-27-2018, 02:45 PM   #25
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Name: Bruce
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I have Honda 3000 inverter generator. That I have been using for close to twenty year. It will run every thing in my camper for 24hr on about 5 galleons of gas. That is using the AC to. A friend of mine has a Honda 3500 copy form Harbor freight that seem to be as good are better then mine. And they are around $600-700 depending on were you live.
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Old 01-27-2018, 04:00 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Alex Adams View Post
By the way Dave, if you want to learn more than you ever wanted about solar go to this blog:

Thanks Alex, a lot of good info.
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Old 01-29-2018, 10:53 PM   #27
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Name: Nick
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You could do it with batteries but you will need a large truck to haul them around. ha ha.

I'm working on winterizing my scamp 13 and have dealt with this problem. But first - electric heating with batteries is DOA. It takes way too much energy to make electric heat. One of the ways I can heat is to use a Honda 2000 to run electric heat if necessary, that with a little gas furnace provides a lot of heat.

By the way, the best change I have made so far was to convert my Honda to propane. It costs more to use - can't remember how much - but the convenience and infinite life of the propane makes it a far superior energy source from my perspetive. There are many companies selling these conversion kits, allmost all I've seen I would not touch. A company call Genconexx in MA sells a really nicely engineered kit. Unfortunately expensive, one does get what they pay for.
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Old 01-30-2018, 09:44 PM   #28
Name: Bob
Trailer: Bigfoot
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We have a 100w panel on the roof and two 6V golf cart batteries.
That gives us an easy weekend of boondocking without worrying about power and up to a week of boondocking power if we conserve and if we don't need to run the furnace. In winter we might bring the Honda 2000 especially if it's overcast or raining
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Old 01-31-2018, 08:24 AM   #29
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Name: Dave
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My wife and I discussed it and she looked over the solar and currently we leaning towards the following.

Non regulated portable suitcase style panels with the solar controller installed inside the scamp. The thought is that will allow us to monitor the battery even when the panels are not attached as well as protect the controller from the elements.

Purchase unregulated suitcase panels such as the renogy 100watt or Zamp 120watt



Install a port on the scamp that feeds into the solar controller.

Solar controller installed inside of scamp. Picking a little better unit as it would allow an upgrade to additional panels in the future.

Go power

Zamp ZS-30a

Battries: I think I will stick with the one group 27 that I have for this summer to get a better idea of how long our power will last allowing me to be better informed when we upgrade the batteries later.

However I am think that 2 trojan t105 AGM batteries might be what we end up with.

Any red flags that stand out to you or things I should do differently?
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Old 01-31-2018, 08:34 AM   #30
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Name: Alexander
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The port you've selected uses 12 gauge wiring. If you decide to really upgrade the panels you might hit a bottleneck there. One thing I have learned in researching solar is to plan on using larger gauge wire than just what the amp rating is. This will help prevent voltage drop (wasted energy) which could prevent your solar charger from doing a proper job. The 12 gauge should be fine for what you are putting in now for the port. I would use 10 gauge wire from the panel to the port and internally to the trailer from the port to the charge controller. Alternately you could go with something more robust for a port like:

Think of electricity behaving like water, only so much can go down the pipe at once and anything else is wasted.
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Old 01-31-2018, 08:52 AM   #31
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I believe they are available in a heavier gauge will keep that in mind or use a different style.

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