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Old 03-03-2021, 08:13 AM   #21
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Name: JD
Trailer: Scamp 16 Modified (BIGLY)
Florida
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I assume that all of the installations with MPPT are installing the panels in series and especially if the panels are mismatched.
My theory is that whatever voltage the panels are putting out the series current will more or less optimize the maximum power voltage for the string better than if they are in parallel.
I matched the three 100 watt panels and installed a MPPT controller that will handle the maximum voltage output and assume that if a part of a panel is shaded the blocking diodes will pass the current and make the best of things.
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Old 03-03-2021, 01:25 PM   #22
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Washington
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Hello!

Just thought I'd share what we have on our new Scamp 16!

We purchased 2x Renogy 100 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline solar panels for $190 from Amazon. We mounted with VHB and Eternabond tape on the roof. The no-holes install is amazing, and we've driven in freezing and very hot and humid weather, and while checking these every single day, haven't found a single problem! We found that even though these panels are smaller and more efficient, it may have been a tough sell to get two more of these installed on our roof, even without our A/C. We've been considering a bracket system to get these mounted at an angle and adding more being that the sun shines bright down here, but we don't pull as much as we'd like in the mornings and two hours before sunset.

However, we run our laptops and fans off of this install with the default Scamp battery (which is garbage, I don't know why these are included and just produce waste) while we wait for our 204ah SOK Lithium battery to be delivered. We used to have 200W of solar in our NuCamp truck camper and they kept our 200ah of Battleborn batteries topped up 90% of the time, so I have little doubt we'll have any issues with our new battery.

We also have the Victron Energy SmartSolar MPPT 100V 30 amp 12/24-Volt Solar Charge Controller (Bluetooth) and it was more expensive than our panels and wiring combined, at $226, but this would be the second time we've purchased it and we have no regrets at all. The monitoring on my phone is so convenient. We did the solar install ourselves this time around, and it felt great to know every bit of the installation. I love Will Prowse's videos, and his word is the gospel for us when it comes to RV electrical!!

In terms of recommendations, 1 battery may be enough, 2 will obviously be better! And if you can swing it, get the 400W of panels, it will definitely help with recharging on cloudy days. Don't let people lie and say that you get nothing on a cloudy day, we boondock and live full time in our rig, and have for the past 4 years with a variety of RVs, mostly in Seattle, WA and rarely have an issue! Avoid shade, of course, but worst case, find a plug or drive to a dump station to get that bit of juice in the battery until the next sunny day.

Happy camping!
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Old 03-03-2021, 01:32 PM   #23
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Name: Rob
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Colorado
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We have 3 170 watt monocrystaline solar panels on our Bigfoot 25RQ. We haven't found a downside to having greater solar capacity on the roof.
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Old 03-03-2021, 03:47 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by rubicon327 View Post
Tom: Just to prevent any confusion I assume you mean converter not inverter.
My inverter is mounted between the shore power plug and the fuse panel. It is also connected to the batteries of course. I could also have separate wire coming in for a generator. Now when it sees power from either the grid or a generator it will start charging the batteries.

It does all of this in milliseconds. A few days ago I tripped a breaker and lost shore power while I was watching TV. The TV didn't even blink. I don't have the generator input wire connected. If I had bought this trailer with a built-in generator it would be connected.

So I guess you could say my inverter is a converter. I have never understood why it is called a converter rather than a charger or a or a power supply.
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Old 03-04-2021, 12:00 PM   #25
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Oregon
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Thanks Jane!!

Am waiting for my second 25B21RB, a 2021 due from factory in late May-early June. I've been getting advice from former camping buddies about equipment while I wait for delivery. One good friend recommended the BattleBorn 12v lithium ion battery. I decided that it made a lot of sense. $949 is A LOT of money to spend on any battery technology but I did it. The next thing going through my mind was how am I going to prevent theft when the rig is in the storage facility? Your photo of the battery mounted under the dinette seat the PERFECT solution!! I'm going to find an automotive battery holder to bolt to the floor instead of using a metal strap. Thanks for posting!
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Old 03-04-2021, 12:11 PM   #26
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Trailer: Scamp 16 Modified (BIGLY)
Florida
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Back in the day when I was All Exalted Chief of all wires and electricity we had a zillion batteries in service. We replaced all kinds of batteries in the industrial equipment and rolling stock.
My electrician mentioned that the batteries we were replacing were not the brand that we stocked for years in the store room.
He suggested installing a lock and hasp for the hold down and we reduced our battery cost by over 50%.
A lock of some sort would at least make it a bigger problem for the thief and perhaps attract some unwanted (for him) attention.
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Old 03-04-2021, 12:29 PM   #27
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Oregon
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There is a product that is sold that is an attempt to prevent battery theft that is nothing more than straps and padlocks. I have a DeWalt battery powered grinder that would make short work of that approach to theft prevention. Since my BattleBorn lithium ion battery does not outgas like a lead acid battery, I feel perfectly safe in storing/installing this BattleBorn inside the rig. It is also better protected by being out of sight from the usual installation location.
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Old 03-04-2021, 12:51 PM   #28
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Florida
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I have vents for my flooded cell battery and I also installed it inside, under a bunk. I have room to add a second battery or two gold cart batteries when this battery dies.
Nothing will prevent a determined thief from either steal something or causing even even more loss from damage.
Back in the day I had a rabbit Diesel with a $50.00 AM/FM/Cassette stolen by thieves who had figured that a screwdriver punched through the door panel and then the same screwdriver breaking the plastic dash apart and quickly removing the radio and assorted bits and pieces of controls.
Stealing a $50.00 radio cost close to $1000 to repair.
Heck if he was in serious need of cash I might have given it to him.
By the way I never locked the Rabbit door after that and put a Dymo tape label on the door saying, " Please don't wreck the car to break in the door is unlocked. A similar note on an Alfa Romeo Spyder after some fool sliced the top to get in. The door was not locked then.
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Old 03-04-2021, 05:23 PM   #29
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i almsot never locked my convertibles, and neither did my friends with similar models. back when I had a 1984 VW Rabbit Convertible/Cabrio, a friend with the same model had his top cut and they didn't even get in because there's a 1" thick coarse fiber blanket between the outer top and the headliner they couldn't cut through. they never even tried the unlocked door. stupid is as stupid does!
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Old 03-04-2021, 05:34 PM   #30
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Maybe they weren't trying to get in.
I had the hood of my new Highlander key'd and I don't think they were trying to open it.
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Old 03-05-2021, 02:17 AM   #31
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sigh. this is why we can't have nice things.

we spoiled ourself last christmas. I'm hoping we can avoid spiteful parking lot events. we should probably keep an ugly older car for exactly those times, like having to night park in the wrong part of San Francisco to go to a show. the 1990 300E2.6 with peeled paint and dents on every fender, hah, noone will hardly see that. our new wagon? eeek.

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Old 03-05-2021, 02:18 AM   #32
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In Europe, that wagon probably could tow the local equivalent of a Casita or Scamp 16 or 17.
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Old 03-05-2021, 08:43 AM   #33
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Is anyone old enough to have seen the Urban car on Saturday Night Live that when you parked it converted from a nice Cadillac to a rust hulk with flat tires when parked?
Back when SNL was funny.
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Old 03-05-2021, 09:21 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John in Santa Cruz View Post
i almsot never locked my convertibles, and neither did my friends with similar models.
I just left the top down on my 64 Karmann Ghia convertible.

Enjoy,

Perry
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Old 03-05-2021, 03:54 PM   #35
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Back on topic...

I agree with Perry about having at least one portable panel. You can keep some heavy gauge jumper wire with whatever terminals work for your system and run it out into the sun while you are camped in the shade to keep cool. You can even move it around to catch more sun. I also have a 7-pound Acopower portable that can be hooked to the battery with alligator clips. It works great and can be used for other trailers/batteries instead of permanently mounted.
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Old 03-05-2021, 03:58 PM   #36
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Regarding storing expensive batteries safely, I disconnect mine and take them inside. I actually do that because, if you listen to interviews with the BattleBorn CEO or do other research, you will see that it is better to store the batteries with less than full charge in moderate temperatures. So mine live in the garage in the winter unless I am camping.

Also, regarding the blemished BattleBorns, I bought one. The only blemish I could find was a slight tear in the plastic bag it came in.
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Old 03-05-2021, 04:54 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jane P. View Post
I cannot safely mount a generator on that trailer. Bigfoots are now designed to carry a generator under the carriage. So I will be dependent on solar when camping. I do most of my boondocking during the Winter and early Spring in Northern California and Oregon.
As folks have noted, your solar won't produce when the shade our cloud cover is deep enough. You may be interested in a recent thread concerning what to do if the solar doesn't keep up.

My primary focus in this thread was simply how to effect a cheap interim practical (if inefficient) means of occasionally charging the batteries if the solar didn't keep up.

The DC to DC power controllers mentioned in the thread can apparently also control solar, but I have no particular knowledge or experience to share regarding that or solar in general.

Our factory-installed panels were through-bolted on the roof of our Escape built in December 2017.

https://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/...ing-94893.html
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Old 03-07-2021, 02:00 AM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by USCanuck View Post
Am waiting for my second 25B21RB, a 2021 due from factory in late May-early June. I've been getting advice from former camping buddies about equipment while I wait for delivery. One good friend recommended the BattleBorn 12v lithium ion battery. I decided that it made a lot of sense. $949 is A LOT of money to spend on any battery technology but I did it. The next thing going through my mind was how am I going to prevent theft when the rig is in the storage facility? Your photo of the battery mounted under the dinette seat the PERFECT solution!! I'm going to find an automotive battery holder to bolt to the floor instead of using a metal strap. Thanks for posting!
Happy to be of help!

I highly recommend the Battleborn. They have come down in price to $899. If either you or your spouse have served in the military, they will give you $50 discount. Or, you can buy one with a blemish on the casing for a $50 discount. $850 is still a lot more of money, but long term, you will realize substantial savings over deep cell batteries.

Per Air Doug’s Post, he has had good experience with the reduced priced “blemished” Battleborn.
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Old 03-07-2021, 03:05 AM   #39
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I get 4-5 years out of a pair of $90 each Costco golf cart batts, which have had plenty of power for everything I've needed combined with my 160W solar. every 6 months or so, I have to check the water level, current pair that are ~ 3 years old are just about due for their first water add..

I can buy 10 of these pairs for the cost of a pair of battleborns. please explain this 'substantial savings' ?
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Old 03-07-2021, 03:50 AM   #40
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Trailer: Bigfoot 25B21RB
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Civilguy View Post
As folks have noted, your solar won't produce when the shade our cloud cover is deep enough. You may be interested in a recent thread concerning what to do if the solar doesn't keep up.

My primary focus in this thread was simply how to effect a cheap interim practical (if inefficient) means of occasionally charging the batteries if the solar didn't keep up.

The DC to DC power controllers mentioned in the thread can apparently also control solar, but I have no particular knowledge or experience to share regarding that or solar in general.

Our factory-installed panels were through-bolted on the roof of our Escape built in December 2017.

https://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/...ing-94893.html
Hi Civilguy,
Thanks for your reply. I also read that thread. But I think they were referring to a new truck design concept where a generator is integrated into the truck. This is intriguing, but doesn’t help my situation: I’m not in the market for a new tow vehicle, and for a variety of reasons prefer an SUV.

The term of art describing this situation is “days of autonomy”. You only have a limited amount of time off the grid if your batteries are not being sufficiently recharged.

One nice thing about having a fiberglass trailer - it’s relatively easy to pack up and leave the area. I have found that I need to “pick up sticks” to dump my grey water tank and replenish my fresh water tank every few days. When my husband is with me, we have to empty our black water tank every 10 days or so. If we cannot find a mobile septic service, we need to tow the trailer to a dump.

However, towing, even with a DC-DC charger, it takes 5 hours to fully charge the battery. So running the car engine when parked would be rather inefficient.

Through the years, I rarely stayed in one place more than a few days before moving on to another training area or test site. But it wouldn’t be unusual to stay in one place for 7-10 days either. A perfect backup solution would be to bring a generator, as I had done with my previous 19’ trailer. Unfortunately, I cannot mount anything on my current trailer, and have no room in my TV.

Another possibility is to find some business or acquaintance where I can plug in the trailer.

One thing I can’t get my head around is whether 3-4 100 watt panels covering the most of the roof would more efficiently harvest sunlight [on cloudy days] than 2 larger panels covering only one section.

Eventually, I will need to address mounting considerations - especially if I decide to get the heavier panels. I am interested that your panels were bolted onto the roof.
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