Scamp Solar Project - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-03-2020, 01:56 PM   #1
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Name: Paul
Trailer: Scamp
California
Posts: 31
Scamp Solar Project

We have owned a 2013 13' Scamp for about 5 years now (second owners).

This is my first camper/trailer, and to be honest, it has been a bit of a love/hate relationship.

Early on, it was all about fixing things we thought shouldn't have needed fixing in a 2 year old trailer (the original owner claimed it only had ~8k miles on it). These would include the lead-acid deep cycle battery, the refrigerator (usually freezing stuff on shore power or 12v or not cooling at all on propane), the heater (often not starting, or when it did, it wouldn't shut off for 15-20 min after reaching way too high a temperature).

Later, its about fixing the plumbing (kinks in the drain tube blocking the sink), hand pump faucet coming unscrewed and ultimately not pumping) and both faucets too low to be useful.

The list is nearly endless, some of which I'll eventually post about, but today, it is about installing "plug in solar".


The Plan:

First fix, get rid of the lead acid battery and install a pair of higher output AGM batteries.

Second, figure out a way to more efficiently use the tongue of the trailer for 2 batteries and 2 propane bottles.

Third, rewire portions of the trailer for: a solar charge controller, a battery monitor, and a low-voltage auto shut-off and some bus-bars.


Solutions:

First: Because of the price, we chose a pair of VMax AGM 125Ah batteries (instead of Li ion).

Second: We found a Carlson-Stromberg (sp?) tongue rack, which we then modified to better fit the curves of front of the 13' Scamp. We then found a battery box and twin propane tank rack to fit w/in the tongue/rack space. We also repainted (rattle-canned) the front 1/3rd of the frame, as the paint was already rusting through in many places.

We ran this way for about a year, but found the batteries were still not filling our needs for much more than a day off grid (I am now paranoid about discharging past 50%). So we decided to invest in solar and a inverter-generator.

Third: We ordered a 175w Renogy flexible (frameless) panel, a Victron 100v/50a solar controller, a Victron 712 battery monitor, and a Vicrton battery shut-off. (Plus of course, the dozens of other bits and pieces).

Current configuration is pictured below.
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Old 08-03-2020, 06:32 PM   #2
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Impressive!
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Old 08-04-2020, 11:24 AM   #3
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Name: JAMES
Trailer: SCAMP
New Hampshire
Posts: 26
Fantastic solar layout

I am very impressed by your layout!
Would it be too much to ask for parts list
of your solar system. Many kudos to you!
Thks,
polskasila@gmail.com
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Old 08-04-2020, 01:58 PM   #4
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Name: Paul
Trailer: Scamp
California
Posts: 31
Parts List (probably missing a few things)

Quote:
Originally Posted by polskasila View Post
I am very impressed by your layout!
Would it be too much to ask for parts list
of your solar system. Many kudos to you!
Thks,
polskasila@gmail.com
Here ya go, the majority of this stuff I got from Amazon, so to keep the list clean, I'll let you search with the product headlines listed here.


Electronics/Solar

- Renogy 175 Watt 12 Volt Flexible Monocrystalline Solar Panel
- 2 @ Vmaxtanks VMAXSLR125 AGM 12V 125Ah SLA Rechargeable Deep Cycle Battery
- Victron Energy SmartSolar MPPT 100/50 Charge Controller
- Victron BatteryProtect (Smart 12/24V-65A)
- Victron BMV-712 Battery Monitor
- Victron Energy Temperature Sensor for BMV-702/712
- 2 Pack of IP68 Waterproof Solar Cable Entry Gland by Restmo, Weather Resistant Dual
- Red & Black 5/16" 4 Stud Power Distribution Block -BUSBAR- With Cover
- ZOOKOTO 80 Amp Circuit Breaker, Marine Trolling Motors Boat ATV Manual Power Fuse Rest, Waterproof (80A) 12V-48VDC
- ZOOKOTO 60 Amp Circuit Breaker, Marine Trolling Motors Boat ATV Manual Power Fuse Rest, Waterproof (60A) 12V-48VDC


Trailer Frame/rack Materials:

- Stromberg Carlson CC-255 Trailer Tray
- 2 @ JEGS Performance Products 10265 Stainless Steel Battery Tray Kit
- 27" Diamond Plate Aluminum Battery Lock Box (from www.rvlockbox.com)
- Bulldog 500200 Powered Drive A-Frame Tongue Jack with Spring Loaded Pull Pin - 4000 lb. Capacity (White Cover)
- Flame King Dual RV Propane Tank Cylinder Rack for RVs and Trailers for 20lb Tanks - KT20MNT (Tanks not Included)
- SHINESTAR 15inch Upgraded Braided RV Propane Pigtial Hose with Gauge, 1/4 Inverted Male Flare, 2-Pack
- Marshall Excelsior MEGR-253 Reg 2-Stage Auto Vert Bulk
- Marshall Excelsior MEGR-RVB Mounting U-Bracket
- 2 of Camco 57633 90 Elbow Connector for Olympian Wave Heaters
- Flame King Thermo Plastic Hose Assembly for LP and Natural Gas, 32 Inch, 3/8 Inch ID - 100383-32



Tools (I didn't have):

- PORTER-CABLE PC1014 Forstner Bit Set, 14-Piece (great for drilling fiberglass/gelcoat)
- IWISS Battery Cable Lug Crimping Tool from AWG 8-1/0 with Cable Cutter


Wire and cable stuff:

- CERRXIAN 55cm 10AWG SAE Socket Solar Weatherproof Sidewall Port DIY Cord, SAE Quick Disconnect Wire Harness Panel Mount Power Cable
- 2 @ Valemo Home 10 Feet 2x10 AWG Twin Wire Solar Extension Cable with Female and Male Connectors, Solar Panel Cable Wire & Adaptor
- LIXIN SAE Adapter, with SAE Polarity Reverse Adapte,10AWG Cable Conector for RV Panel Solar
- 4 Gauge 4 AWG 15 Feet Red + 15 Feet Black (30 Feet Total) Welding Battery Pure Copper Flexible Cable Wire - Car, Inverter, RV, Solar by WindyNation
- SELTERM 4 AWG Stud UL Heavy Duty Wire Lugs, Battery Cable Ends, Bare Copper Eyelets in three sizes:
1/2"
3/8"
1/4"
- Camco 47470 Black 5/16" Stud 18" Long 2-Gauge Marine Battery Cable and Lug Assembly Tinned
- Camco 47480 Red 3/8" Stud 18" Long 2-Gauge Marine Battery Cable and Tinned Lug Assembly
- 2 Pack 1/2 inch Heat Shrink Tubing, 3:1 Adhesive-Lined Large Heat Wire Shrinkable Tube by MILAPEAK (4 Feet, Black & Red)
- 4 Ft 4:1 XHF 16mm Diameter High Flame Retardant Heat Shrink Tubing Automobile Special Grade Wire Cable Adhesive Lined Tube Insulation
- Cable Clamps Assortment Kit, 46 Pcs 304 Stainless Steel Rubber Cushion Pipe Clamps Assorted with 5 Size 1/4'' 3/8'' 1/2'' 3/4'' 1'' For Wire Cord Inst
- GS Power 10 AWG (American Wire Gauge) 99.9% Oxygen Free Copper OFC Wire. 25 FT Red & 25 FT Black Bonded Zip Cable for Car Audio Speaker Primary Remote
- 270pcs 3:1 Dual Wall Adhesive Heat Shrink Tubing Kit, 5 Sizes (Diameter): 3/8, 1/4, 3/16, 1/8, 3/32 inch, Marine Wire Cable Sleeve Tube Assortment
- Arlington LPCG50-10 1/2-Inch Strain Relief Electrical Cord Connector, 10-Pack
- 3 @ Sigma Electric ProConnex 49092 Underground Feeder (UF) Cable Connector 1/2-Inch
- Colorimetrics White Putty Tape/Butyl Tape 1/8" x 1" x 30' (Single Roll)
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Old 08-04-2020, 02:37 PM   #5
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Name: Chris
Trailer: Trillium
British Columbia
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Impressive..
I have to ask .. Where in your Scamp did you find the space to install all these components so nicely??
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Old 08-04-2020, 03:53 PM   #6
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Name: Paul
Trailer: Scamp
California
Posts: 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris from Comox View Post
Impressive..
I have to ask .. Where in your Scamp did you find the space to install all these components so nicely??
CfC, thanks.

We have the "Bunkbed" option (no bath) in our 13', so I used the starboard/right storage bin where the aut-to-trailer wiring enters the trailer. The image of the internal components is "stitched from 8-9 cell phone pictures, so its a bit warped.

I think I still have room to grow, but the Victron products (IMO) seem to have a smaller footprint than many other components on the market. That certainly helped the fit.

Additionally, I still have some wire to "stretch" and "shrink" as well as some switches, a small fuse panel for added lights in the front bunk area, and a much needed entry light. So it should look better by the time I finish with it.

One problem in this area is you are working in a bulkhead with little elbow room and it really doesn't allow for a pre-built electrical board like you see in many larger trailers.
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Old 08-04-2020, 08:00 PM   #7
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Name: J.D.
Trailer: 2014 Scamp 16 Layout 6
West Virginia
Posts: 27
W_O_W! Just WOW!

Just got a Scamp and this is the direction I want to go. Thanks so much for posting and especially for the parts list!
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Old 08-14-2020, 01:34 PM   #8
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Trailer: Scamp
California
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Photo update on Scamp Solar project:

1) Added a Blue-Sea 6 port fuse block (so I can add some lights in the front portion of the trailer w/o going to the bay under the bed).

2) Added Ferules and heat-shrink to the leads from the Victron Solar Controller to the pos/neg blocks.
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Old 08-19-2020, 01:12 PM   #9
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Name: Craig
Trailer: Casita
Arizona
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This engineer says GREAT JOB!

What convinced you not to mount a panel on the roof?

And a bigger question: What did all of the modifications cost? Ballpark is fine.
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Old 08-20-2020, 04:49 PM   #10
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Name: Paul
Trailer: Scamp
California
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Alan View Post
This engineer says GREAT JOB!

What convinced you not to mount a panel on the roof?

And a bigger question: What did all of the modifications cost? Ballpark is fine.
I'm going to have to get back to you on the total cost, some of it was done in stages, and I tend to buy slightly upscale.

I went for a floating solar panel because it allows me to move the panel into the sun w/o having the trailer there too.

We travel a lot in the eastern Sierra in Ca, where we get to work around the trees and shade. The downside is we can't leave it out when we are gone. I'm planning on more panels if/when we go Lithium.

My wife has serious issues with the cost of Li batteries, so it might be a little while.

Thanks for the query...
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Old 08-21-2020, 10:14 AM   #11
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Name: Craig
Trailer: Casita
Arizona
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Thank you. Your system sounds superb, and I think others would like to know what a top-shelf system might run.
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Old 08-21-2020, 04:46 PM   #12
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Trailer: Scamp
California
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Alan View Post
Thank you. Your system sounds superb, and I think others would like to know what a top-shelf system might run.
Craig, I jus ran it down. Everything, including:

The front rack, dual 125ah AGM batteries (cables, battery box, stainless hold downs), dual propane setup (valve, hoses, lock, twin tank rack), hull penetration covers, various sizes of heat shrink tubing, 4g welding cable, solar system (175w panel, charge controller, fuse blocks, battery monitor, battery shutdown, cables, cable ends).

I've left out things like screws and clips, but rough total:

$2500.00

The system is essentially ready for up to three more panels (on the roof or free standing).

At about $1200, the charge controller, solar panel, and two batteries are essentially half the cost.

Hope it helps.
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Old 08-21-2020, 09:22 PM   #13
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Name: Craig
Trailer: Casita
Arizona
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Thanks, Paul, for your willingness to share this information. I read a lot of system descriptions over the last couple of years but not a lot were as extensive or as thoroughly described as yours. Further, many spec'ed the cost of certain parts but not of the whole system. This serves as a great benchmark.

I estimate the cost of my 2-panel (Newpowa Mono-C, 100 watts/panel), single lead acid battery (original 85 Ahr deep cycle), Bogart BMS (monitor, charger, shunt, temp gauge, associated wiring), 300-watt Pure Sine Inverter, cabling, and nibbles and bits to cost about $900...and about 900 hours of my time. But of course, it's a labor of love.

Next year, I suspect we'll be adding a pair of batteries and a tongue-mount battery holder. For now, we pray for sunshine, conserve our small bucket of energy, and charge all of our devices in the afternoon when the Bogart tells us that there are unused volts being collected.
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Old 08-22-2020, 07:58 AM   #14
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Trailer: Scamp
California
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Part of my thoughts here revolved around size. The Victron Solar Charge Controllers have a pretty small footprint, and the phone app seems to work with all three components fairly well.

The component I like the most? Its that Carlson Rack, boy has that worked out well for us. I am next planning to find and attach a collapsible cell antenna mast to it...
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Old 08-22-2020, 11:44 AM   #15
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Trailer: '88 Scamp 16, layout 4
North Florida
Posts: 1,517
Very nice and clean installation. I am upgrading the batteries on the tongue of my Scamp (when they finally get here) and am thinking about weight. I originally had two propane bottles and one group 27 battery when I bought my Scamp. I removed the steel two-tank mount and one propane bottle, and replaced them with one bottle and two golf cart batteries for a net increase in weight.

Even after removing the steel bottle mount, a second battery weighs more than the second bottle AND mount. No free lunch with battery capacity, more capacity means more lead and more weight. Of course you could go lithium (at a hefty dollar cost) to loose some weight.

The new batteries I have coming are a taller golf cart battery and add another 17 pounds EACH to the tongue. I am not happy about it but tow with a full size (F150) truck so am not too broke up. I am looking forward to the new, more powerful batteries over the smaller, five year old ones I have now.
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Old 08-22-2020, 12:09 PM   #16
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California
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When we bought our 13, it had one bottle and one marine deep cycle 12v (a group 27 I think) battery.

At that time the trailer towed a bit squirrelly, even in light winds, after the addition of the rack, two (72lb ea) AGM batteries and the dual #20 bottles, it really seemed to help. I have seen people claim an increase in tongue weight helps the trailer ride better.

Sorry, I can't tell you any numbers for the tongue weight. but its probably 70-80lbs more than stock.

If we ever go Li, it may go back to closer to stock.
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Old 09-10-2020, 10:15 PM   #17
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Name: David
Trailer: 2013 Scamp 13 S1 BB
IL
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Nice setup, that is a lot of battery for the scamp. I have a 105ah group 31 deep cycle battery and an 85watt portable panel. This was enough to use the lights and fan and charge 2 laptops and 2 phones while at the badlands recently for a week. I know everyone's usage is different, but I was actually thinking if I ever upgrade to lithium it will be too much power lol.
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Old 09-11-2020, 10:24 AM   #18
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Name: JAMES
Trailer: SCAMP
New Hampshire
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Thanks for posting the update! Remarkable!
I'd like to mention another important Scamp 13 (mine is 5yrs old) issue and that is the drain pump for the shower/bathroom is subject to the pump's electric connectors actually rotting out to the point of breaking off. I removed mine and was amazed at the lack of protection against the elements. I was fortunate to replace the corroded wire connectors and drill out enough of the corroded tab to expose enough stable metal to solder a wire to the tab.
After cleaning all connections, reconnecting and using epoxy cement to enclose the connections (water proofing) on the pump it works like a charm! Also all wire crimp connectors need to be replaced and waterproofed with at least electric tape as they will corrode inside the crimp connector if not. I am rather surprised at probably all trailer mfrs that don't give attention to equipment that is exposed to the weather! Also replaced steel rusted support band for pump with alum band and rusted hose securing bands with stainless steel ones. I highly recommend this fix, worth the time!
Jim
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Old 09-13-2020, 07:50 AM   #19
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Name: Paul
Trailer: Scamp
California
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Polskasila:

I live in (relatively) dry Southern California, and even so, having a background in general construction and fiberglass fabrication (automotive and marine), I am always concerned how little these trailers builders seem to consider long term effects of exposure to the elements or the potential issues involved in any system failures. It is clear, redundancy and long term durability is not high on their lists during development or fabrication.

That said, they DO allow for lots of modifications without stripping them to the bare bones.
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Old 09-13-2020, 08:02 AM   #20
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Gompka: Thanks for the feedback...

I have to admit, the years of issues with lead/acid batteries has left me wanting both redundancy and robustness. So yeah, I probably over engineered it.

Add to that, I am a person who often asks myself when facing a failure (no matter how trivial) "how can I prevent this in the future?", so I tend to "do it right" so I can set it, use it, and forget it.

To that end, we just had a trip in the eastern Sierra, and the smoke was thick for days, so thick in fact, it and the daily thunderstorm buildups left us under producing even with hours in direct sun. Had our system not been what it was, we would have been running on a generator a significant part of the time, something I really prefer not to do (I hate being "That guy with the generator").

Also, as stated above, I am a bit paranoid about over discharging our AGM's... So yeah, I overbuilt, but I have already seen it as "working" for us.
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