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Old 05-11-2019, 11:18 AM   #41
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Name: Cheryl
Trailer: Casita
Florida
Posts: 31
We bought a 100 amp solar panel off of Amazon for like $75.00 We went 17 days without plugging in and we used our fans every day. Also got a 35 ft. extension cord to be able to move it into the sun. It felt so great not to need to plug in.
17' Casita, one battery, propane fridge and LED lights.

Have fun at the beach. Where do you go?

Cheryl



Quote:
Originally Posted by DebiT View Post
It's not that I don't want to use it. It's that, while I have the hookup for one, 8 don't yet have portable solar panels and am a little overwhelmed by all the choices. I would love to hear recommendations for portable panels suitable for keeping a fully charged battery topped off. Please no rooftop recommendations at this time, just portable
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Old 05-11-2019, 11:27 AM   #42
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Name: T
Trailer: Designing and building
Florida
Posts: 131
LED and Solar:
These technologies are both moving forward very quickly. Any authoritative reference from more than a year ago may be outdated. We bought our huge lithium pack for the new trailer a couple years ago, and not much has changed in LiFePo batteries, but in that time solar has both fallen in cost and increased in efficiency to the point where our initial design decisions are obsoleted - we will be purchasing solar last at this point, and will likely go with MiaSolé semiflexible panels adhered to the roof instead of the LG framed that were the best for our needs previously.

LED bulbs:
Look to Dr. LED and Scandvik as decent brands with solutions that should fit your existing fixtures.

Solar:
If you have a controller, just get a framed panel that outputs 125-150% of your daily watt-hour needs and hook it to your existing controller. Put a handle on the panel frame to make it easy to carry, and make a cover for it out of old campaign signs to protect it when it's not in use. Make sure it can't get knocked over in use.

We have an oversized panel (it were cheep), so we chose a Morningstar PWM controller to avoid exceeding the battery charge rate.

We have a single 55Ah AGM battery, which will run fridge, LED lights, and vent fans for 24-48 hours depending on usage and temperature. With the panel it's indefinite runtime. The solar controller has a low voltage shutoff, which keeps us from damaging the battery.

Attached are photos of the panel. Normally we just toss it on the top of the trailer, or sometimes lean it up nearby.
Attached Thumbnails
IMG_20190511_122728.jpg   IMG_20190511_122821.jpg  

IMG_20190511_122755.jpg  
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Old 05-11-2019, 12:04 PM   #43
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Name: Dale
Trailer: Scamp 13
Ohio
Posts: 13
Solar Options

We have been using solar panels for several years. My experience is that one 100 watt panel per battery will keep things going as long as you are careful with power use. One 100 watt panel will give you about 5 amps charge for your battery. Two will give 10 amps in the real world and have your battery back up to power by early afternoon. We bought two 100 watt panels and simply put them on the bed until we got to our destination. We then took them outside and ran the wire to the plug on the camper. With Anderson plugs, you will need to have Anderson plugs put on yours cable that goes from the panels to the camper. Keep the length of the cables short and use good quality heavy wire. #10 wire will work quite well. Be sure to pay attention to polarity. + to + and - to -. If you are not sure about what that means, ask for help. Take a look on Amazon and check out panels and prices. Mono panels are more efficient than Poly panels. That means you can use smaller size panels. The ones I bought have plastic corner caps on the aluminum frames. They are not to large to move around easily and do the job.

As for your original question, about three days from your battery, I would not do it because the more you pull a battery down, the shorter its life. One solar panel would probably do the job and keep your battery happy. I keep mine hooked up at home too. That way the battery is always fully charged. The controller should keep the battery in perfect shape and never allow it to overcharge.
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Old 05-11-2019, 12:06 PM   #44
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Name: Deborah
Trailer: Currently shopping
CA
Posts: 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by cherylbredin View Post
We bought a 100 amp solar panel off of Amazon for like $75.00 We went 17 days without plugging in and we used our fans every day. Also got a 35 ft. extension cord to be able to move it into the sun. It felt so great not to need to plug in.
17' Casita, one battery, propane fridge and LED lights.

Have fun at the beach. Where do you go?

Cheryl
Hi Cheryl

$75?! That sounds great! Do you by any chance have a link to that? Even if it didn't last, it would be a great way to learn about solar.

I camp mostly at Carpinteria, just south of Santa Barbara, about 90 minutes from my house. Very excited to now be able to make reservations for Beach Row, right on beach, only for 18' and under so less competition for sites. No hookups, in the loop that I like.

Deborah
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Old 05-11-2019, 12:19 PM   #45
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Name: Deborah
Trailer: Currently shopping
CA
Posts: 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dale Thompson View Post
We have been using solar panels for several years. My experience is that one 100 watt panel per battery will keep things going as long as you are careful with power use. One 100 watt panel will give you about 5 amps charge for your battery. Two will give 10 amps in the real world and have your battery back up to power by early afternoon. We bought two 100 watt panels and simply put them on the bed until we got to our destination. We then took them outside and ran the wire to the plug on the camper. With Anderson plugs, you will need to have Anderson plugs put on yours cable that goes from the panels to the camper. Keep the length of the cables short and use good quality heavy wire. #10 wire will work quite well. Be sure to pay attention to polarity. + to + and - to -. If you are not sure about what that means, ask for help. Take a look on Amazon and check out panels and prices. Mono panels are more efficient than Poly panels. That means you can use smaller size panels. The ones I bought have plastic corner caps on the aluminum frames. They are not to large to move around easily and do the job.

As for your original question, about three days from your battery, I would not do it because the more you pull a battery down, the shorter its life. One solar panel would probably do the job and keep your battery happy. I keep mine hooked up at home too. That way the battery is always fully charged. The controller should keep the battery in perfect shape and never allow it to overcharge.
Dale,

Thanks for this. I am asking my seller about battery specs, which he will get me tomorrow, so I don't have to pull it out. He's pretty sure it's a group 27 RV deep cycle battery, about $130 and new.

I have an Victron Energy BlueSolar charge controller, MPPT 75/15, at the link below. The appendix at the back has additional information. It has Andersen connectors. It looks like if I got a BlueTooth dongle I would see the controller info on my phone; I need to watch the YouTube on the next link below. So I guess the remaining info I would need is how to understand the polarity information on the Andersen connector end that I have, and on any solar panel I would buy.

I'm a little overwhelmed but also excited, because it seems I'm learning about some things little by little, and starting to assimilate the info. I know the polarity part is what I don't want to screw up. Seems like if I can understand that, then I'm almost there with trying out some solar.

https://www.victronenergy.com/upload...E-ES-SE-ul.pdf
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Old 05-11-2019, 01:22 PM   #46
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Name: Bush
Trailer: Vagabond
Nevada
Posts: 32
Solar Panel

I can go almost indefinitely with this setup: (click on links)

I use a Harbor Freight solar panel and a Deep Cycle conventional battery. You can get this tomorrow (Mothers Day) for 25% off which brings the price down to $150 and it's a complete system with controllers and accessories. This battery and solar panel setup is about the cheapest system I have found for the money that actually works endlessly.

The solar panel is "portable" but it's big and heavy and I got tired of setting it up so I ended up mounting on the roof which has its pros and cons. The battery is a bit expensive for a conventional one but much cheaper than lithium so it's a compromise and you need 100+ Amp Hours to last any substantial duration.

I'm in a 1975 13' Vagabond with propane fridge, led light bulbs in original fixtures with no shower, microwave or anything with a major electrical draw. I do have a small LED TV, water pump, heater and charge camera, and computer batteries. I rarely drop below 75% of my battery capacity and it's usually fully charged well before noon each day, usually by 10:30a.

I have gone weeks and have never run out of juice but have gotten a bit low when the sun doesn't shine. Hope this helps...
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Old 05-11-2019, 11:19 PM   #47
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Name: Ray
Trailer: scamp
Indiana
Posts: 880
Quote:
Originally Posted by DebiT View Post
I have just purchased a new to me 2015 Spirit Deluxe 17. I love to camp at a local beach campground, arriving Friday noon and leaving Sunday noon.

Is it likely the battery will last for that length of time? Our old Class A did, but it had 2 12 v house batteries. I think the seller told me it was battery; I can easily check.

I have a connector for solar, but I don't want to deal with it if it's not necessary. Any longer trips would always have hookups

Thanks in advance. 

|I always take a generator. But I am fairly power hungry. I have cpap and also do ham radio. But even with a big load I can get a full day easily. Couple of hours of the generator will charge things.
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Old 05-12-2019, 01:08 AM   #48
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Name: Jim
Trailer: ‘05 Casita
California
Posts: 11
Battery usage

I have a 2005 Casita. Switched all bulbs to LED, rarely use air conditioner when hooked up, have 2 12 volt batteries. My experience is that 2 days is easy. 3:days without a generator or solar to top off is iffy. I believe that draining the batteries too low affects their life span.
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Old 05-12-2019, 09:28 AM   #49
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Name: Deborah
Trailer: Currently shopping
CA
Posts: 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by JImL View Post
I have a 2005 Casita. Switched all bulbs to LED, rarely use air conditioner when hooked up, have 2 12 volt batteries. My experience is that 2 days is easy. 3:days without a generator or solar to top off is iffy. I believe that draining the batteries too low affects their life span.
I think this is the big question. Friday noon to Sunday noon is technically 2 days. Obviously I'm going to have to try this out. I know I want to end up with solar, just so I don't have to worry.

How do you have space for 2 batteries in a Casita?
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Old 05-12-2019, 09:57 AM   #50
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Name: Jim
Trailer: ‘05 Casita
California
Posts: 11
2 batteries

I got lucky buying used. 1 battery is on board, the other on the tongue. Here is a picture:
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Old 05-12-2019, 10:03 AM   #51
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Name: Deborah
Trailer: Currently shopping
CA
Posts: 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by BushWacker View Post
I can go almost indefinitely with this setup: (click on links)

I use a Harbor Freight solar panel and a Deep Cycle conventional battery. You can get this tomorrow (Mothers Day) for 25% off which brings the price down to $150 and it's a complete system with controllers and accessories. This battery and solar panel setup is about the cheapest system I have found for the money that actually works endlessly.

The solar panel is "portable" but it's big and heavy and I got tired of setting it up so I ended up mounting on the roof which has its pros and cons. The battery is a bit expensive for a conventional one but much cheaper than lithium so it's a compromise and you need 100+ Amp Hours to last any substantial duration.

I'm in a 1975 13' Vagabond with propane fridge, led light bulbs in original fixtures with no shower, microwave or anything with a major electrical draw. I do have a small LED TV, water pump, heater and charge camera, and computer batteries. I rarely drop below 75% of my battery capacity and it's usually fully charged well before noon each day, usually by 10:30a.

I have gone weeks and have never run out of juice but have gotten a bit low when the sun doesn't shine. Hope this helps...
Thanks for this. I saw it, but it does look very unwieldy for me as a solo woman.

Even though I may well be able to be ok from Friday noon to Sunday noon, I've determined that I do want to get a portable solar setup, sooner rather than later. I started a new thread to that effect. I'm hoping to do this on my own, rather than hiring someone to help.

http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f...ext-89010.html
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Old 05-12-2019, 04:33 PM   #52
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Name: Ray
Trailer: scamp
Indiana
Posts: 880
cpap

OK for me I am on cpap at night. And I do have a 12 volt adapter. But that is mostly so I can run off of the generator. The machine will drain a battery in 3-4 hours. So if you need to do something like this batteries are not going to be an answer.
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Old 06-03-2019, 10:26 PM   #53
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Trailer: 1982 Burro 13 ft (My Burrito!)
Posts: 89
I have a wonderful devise called a JUMP START & have used it for so many things, including charging my camper battery! Look into it! Also has work light, compressor, ports to charge cell phone, computer, etc! I use an extention cord to charge it, as no long plug, but it charges quickly! I've used most of the 5 functions, including for powering my CPAP! I absolutely LOVE IT! Also has plug in for powering electrical items like my CPAP, radio, computer etc
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Old 06-03-2019, 10:28 PM   #54
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Name: Deborah
Trailer: Currently shopping
CA
Posts: 72
Do you have a link for how to find this?
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Old 06-04-2019, 03:28 AM   #55
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Name: T
Trailer: Designing and building
Florida
Posts: 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by computerspook View Post
The machine will drain a battery in 3-4 hours. So if you need to do something like this batteries are not going to be an answer.
The answer, should you choose it, is bigger batteries.
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Old 06-04-2019, 09:06 AM   #56
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Name: Michael
Trailer: Casita 16ft.
California
Posts: 338
Quote:
Originally Posted by computerspook View Post
OK for me I am on cpap at night. And I do have a 12 volt adapter. But that is mostly so I can run off of the generator. The machine will drain a battery in 3-4 hours. So if you need to do something like this batteries are not going to be an answer.
Wow that's a lotta juice you are using. Are you running your machine through the inverter with humidification turned on? Most if not all cpap machines are DC native. If you run them directly on DC without the humidifier, you can save a lot of electrons. Resmed machines are 24vdc. Their DC adpater chord has a dc to dc converter inside to allow 12vdc operation. I have a Phillips Dreamstation. It is 12vdc native.
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Old 06-05-2019, 03:47 AM   #57
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Trailer: Bigfoot 19 ft
Posts: 718
Hi DebiT
Congratulations on your new trailer.

I mostly boondock in my trailer. I’ve had it for 10 years. My energy needs are fairly modest: lights, auto stereo system (12 volts), water pump, microwave. The refrigerator $ stove is powered by propane.

The first thing I did was buy a generator & mount it on my bumper - something you may not be able to do with a Casita. The second thing I did was replace all my light bulbs with LED bulbs. I eventually added a second, deep cycle battery to my trailer. Along with the 2 new batteries, I installed captains reading lamps by my bunk and a couple of 12 volt cigarette outlets for my mobile devices. I can go 3-5 days without recharging. But I do need the generator for the microwave.

I am ready to add solar next year to support ceiling fans and a CPAP unit.

But you don’t have to do any of those things right away. If you want to take your Casita somewhere for the weekend, just do it!

For this weekend trip, you can greatly extend battery life by using other light sources in the cabin. What you can do is purchase one or two battery powered camping lanterns from Costco or Walmart. Also get a couple of voltage candles at Home Depot. They run on AAA batteries and make great nightlight in the bathroom and cabin - not to mention candlelight dinner. Also get a headlamp for reading in bed, walking your dog, and navigating the cabin should you wake up & need something.. I usually arrive at my destination at night and need the headlamp to unhitch. Trust me, you will not regret any of these purchases. You’ll still be using ceiling lights, but only a couple at a time. I want to say that once the dishes are done & the bed is made, you really won’t want the cabin all lit up. The lanterns & voltage candle will be perfect.

If I read your posts right, you Trailer is wired for solar, but you don’t know exactly what components are in the trailer and if they work. You don’t know what kind of battery you have and if it will work probably with your solar system.

Before you purchase anything - even LED bulbs, I strongly recommend that you attend the Colorado or Oregon Rally. Even if it’s all filled up, you can still camp in another spot and mingle with the rally participants. You can learn so much just looking at how the various trailers have been tricked out. These people are extremely knowledgeable and can take a look at your battery and your solar wiring & controller. They can show you how to mount a second battery to support your solar set up. If you want a generator, they can help you determine how minimum power needed to start (as opposed to run) your AC or microwave.

You also need to identify a repair service. You need to find something relatively close to you. You want to find people that are really knowledgeable about trailers in general and understand how to work with fiberglass. And they won’t charge you an arm & a leg. These are experts who will also help you evaluate your trailer.

Regarding solar, there is a wealth of knowledge on this site. It is well worth your time to go through archives and read various threads on the subject.

Hope this helps.
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Old 06-07-2019, 07:07 PM   #58
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Name: Deborah
Trailer: Currently shopping
CA
Posts: 72
HI Jane. Thanks for this. If I had room for 2nd battery easily, I. Would probably consider that, and it would probably be enough. But that's not easy in a Casita. I'm going to play with a 100w solar panel see what happens. It seems like a fun project
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Old 06-08-2019, 12:57 PM   #59
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Name: Bush
Trailer: Vagabond
Nevada
Posts: 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by DebiT View Post
Do you have a link for how to find this?
I have this one from Harbor Freight: https://www.harborfreight.com/4-in-1...ter-62374.html With a 20% coupon it costs $56.

They make a better one at almost twice the price and a cheaper one with no air compressor.
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Old 06-08-2019, 02:50 PM   #60
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Name: Deborah
Trailer: Currently shopping
CA
Posts: 72
Just to clarify, these cannot recharge the trailer battery on a camping trip, right?
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