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Old 02-23-2018, 05:58 AM   #1
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Name: Arthur
Trailer: 2005 Scamp 5th Wheel
New Hampshire
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Solar Panels & Theft

I am going to add solar 100 watts to my system this spring and had a serious questions about the location of the panel and theft. It seems that there is a great possibility of "loosing" your panels when left on a stand rather than on a roof but on the stand gives you flexibility and better options for higher output. I am particularly concerned because we plan on doing a lot of boondocking.

Does anyone have any experience from which they can speak?

FYI my rig is a Scamp 19.
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Old 02-23-2018, 07:25 AM   #2
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Name: J
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My intention is to put an obvious sticker on the top of the frame that says...

"I assume you spotted the cameras?"


Plus they need tools to pull the MC4 connectors apart. I'm not convinced that adding a 20' chain is the way to go.

Interested to hear others ideas.
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Old 02-23-2018, 07:26 AM   #3
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The only time I have ever worried about theft in a campground is when the host at NFS campground in the U.P. of Michigan warned me of cooler theft. It seems the locals raid the campground for coolers looking for beer.
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Old 02-23-2018, 07:34 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by widgetwizard View Post
..

Plus they need tools to pull the MC4 connectors apart. I'm not convinced that adding a 20' chain is the way to go.

Interested to hear others ideas.
No, just wire cutters, or in the case of MY portable panels, just pull the trolling motor type plug out of the camper's shell.

But I agree the risk of theft is low. A short length of light chain can help casual thieves as long as there is something to chain it to nearby. If the campground has suspicious people around I might lock them up but thats a rare situation.

In the past, I said mostly in jest, that this sticker is all you need.

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Old 02-23-2018, 08:43 AM   #5
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The only time I have ever worried about theft in a campground is when the host at NFS campground in the U.P. of Michigan warned me of cooler theft. It seems the locals raid the campground for coolers looking for beer.
I have had mostly good interactions with Yoopers but that is pretty darn funny. You have to worry about the human wildlife in the U P more than the natural variety like bears, lol. Every time we have camped in the U P there tended to be large family groups clustered in the campgrounds with much socializing into the evenings.
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Old 02-23-2018, 09:22 AM   #6
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... You have to worry about the human wildlife in the U P more than the natural variety like bears, lol. ..
Well between bears and people, maybe chaining up the solar panel is not such a bad idea after all.....

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Old 02-23-2018, 10:53 AM   #7
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Many of you are familiar with a neighborhood application called Nextdoor.

Hardly a day goes by where a neighbor doesn't post about "Porch Pirates" following delivery trucks to steal packages. Some make a living stealing packages and they don't even know the contents. An iPhone, or Baby Diapers? It is a good way to fund a drug habit.

City neighborhoods and campgrounds are different. But it seems to me that if there are people willing to steal beer, there are people willing to steal solar panels worth hundreds, then sell them to fund a beer habit.

It's also why I don't leave my wallet on the picnic table.
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Old 02-23-2018, 11:15 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by ArthurBNH View Post
I am going to add solar 100 watts to my system this spring and had a serious questions about the location of the panel and theft. It seems that there is a great possibility of "loosing" your panels when left on a stand rather than on a roof but on the stand gives you flexibility and better options for higher output. I am particularly concerned because we plan on doing a lot of boondocking.

Does anyone have any experience from which they can speak?

FYI my rig is a Scamp 19.
I have 2, 100 watt panels that I put out on the ground in National Forest camp grounds and while we are boondocking for the last few years. I have never had a problem with anyone disturbing anything at my camp site. The most we do is stake them down with tent stakes. They are the light weight flexible panels and this is to keep the wind from moving them. While tools make it easier to unhook the connectors they can be disconnected fairly easily without the tools.
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Old 02-23-2018, 12:01 PM   #9
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A few years ago, we would go to Quartzsite during Jan. and Feb. Always hearing about Honda gens. being stolen. Had heard there was an underground market for them. I always locked it when we used it but put it inside when out site seeing and at night when finished with it. One year, an Airstream camped about 100 yds. from us and backed up to ravine lost theirs. The ravine makes for an easy escape route.
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Old 02-23-2018, 12:27 PM   #10
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I have 4 100 watt panels on my bigfoot and the panels are very thin and flexible. They can't be seen unless you are on a ladder and I believe that
theft is very remote. Add a couple of golf cart batteries and a 2000 watt inverter and you are independent of plug in parks. I added a generator
for the air conditioner.
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Old 02-23-2018, 12:34 PM   #11
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I use a lockless monster on my portable solar panel. Only takes a couple of minutes and gives me a little piece of mind. The cable is pretty thin, so a determined thief could probably cut it, but it certainly deters someone just picking my panel up and strolling off with it.
Lockless Monster – The "Lock-less" Anti-Theft Cable
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Old 02-23-2018, 01:37 PM   #12
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We have a Renogy 100 watt portable solar panel
We plug it in , face it toward the sun , move or rotate as necessary
We have never employed any security device, so far no need or desire

Yuppers are a very friendly bunch but it does help if you speak their dialect of english or language . I found it much easier to learn then the language / dialect used in the southern US but then again I did grow up in Minnesota.
(Watching the movie Fargo will not help )
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Old 02-23-2018, 01:42 PM   #13
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My insurance company says they will cover anything "bolted" to the trailer but not a generator if it is not bolted. Just sitting it on the ground, etc. is not covered. I am guessing the same for solar panels.
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Old 02-23-2018, 01:45 PM   #14
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My insurance company says they will cover anything "bolted" to the trailer but not a generator if it is not bolted. Just sitting it on the ground, etc. is not covered. I am guessing the same for solar panels.
I think you'd be hard pressed to deploy enough solar panels to reach the deductible anyway.
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Old 02-23-2018, 01:51 PM   #15
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I think Theft and Vandalism are $100 ded. on my policy which is part of my auto policy. Would be worth checking on.
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Old 02-23-2018, 01:58 PM   #16
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I think Theft and Vandalism are $100 ded. on my policy which is part of my auto policy. Would be worth checking on.
Maybe while you are hooked to the vehicle? Best read your policy, including all the small print.
I have separate vehicle and trailer insurance.
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Old 02-23-2018, 05:28 PM   #17
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This has always been a concern of mine as well. I lay them on the roof of my trailer and go away for a few hours but never for overnight. If I'm gone overnight I always take them down and put them inside my trailer. I would like to hard mount them to the roof but I'm concerned about overnight theft. I would never leave them on a stand, to easy to steal.
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Old 02-23-2018, 06:21 PM   #18
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Nobody has posted that they experienced theft at their campsite (I haven't either) and that's good to know.
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Old 02-23-2018, 06:24 PM   #19
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I had my cooler taken from my camp site. Found it around the corner, dumped out. I think they were looking for booze.
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Old 02-23-2018, 08:48 PM   #20
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Solar & thief

This is my second Casita, both have solar panels bolted on the roof, so thief should be no problem. The only way to go.
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