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Old 01-19-2020, 11:05 AM   #1
Name: Scott
Trailer: Scamp - Gently Used
Posts: 40
Storage solar for scamp

Solar newbie here. I would like a quick setup solar option for my scamp when itís at the storage facility. We donít need to live off solar as we donít boondock that often. What do I need for preferably a quick connect and disconnect for battery health during times of storage.
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Old 01-19-2020, 12:35 PM   #2
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Name: Gordon
Trailer: 2015 Scamp (16 Std Layout 4) with '15 Toyota Sienna LE Tug
North Carolina
Posts: 4,406
How long will it be stored? What temperatures?

Chances are you can simply charge the battery, then disconnect it (with a switch or by removing the cable), and you will be fine for many months.

If you must continue for use a fan for ventilation or something like that, than solar charging in storage might be a good idea. But then you have to think about theft, occasionally cleaning off the panel, etc. Unless its a very very safe place you likely would want it permanently mounted on the roof.

But if the battery is disconnected, then the rate of self discharge is usually so low that you can go months before recharging.
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Old 01-20-2020, 09:24 PM   #3
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Name: Dave (and/or John)
Trailer: Scamp 16 (sold), Escape 19
Posts: 1,040
Coleman used to have a small solar unit for maintaining your battery that was placed on top of your air conditioner. Seems like it shouldn't be too hard to get a small panel and place it up there.
We actually have a 90 watt panel permanently mounted on top of our Scamp.
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Old 01-21-2020, 06:13 AM   #4
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Name: Kenneth
Trailer: Scamp
Posts: 777
Solar storage

Originally Posted by RogueIT View Post
Solar newbie here. I would like a quick setup solar option for my scamp when itís at the storage facility. We donít need to live off solar as we donít boondock that often. What do I need for preferably a quick connect and disconnect for battery health during times of storage.
There are lots of options for storage solar, I use one like this. It is so small that no controller/regulator is needed.
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Old 01-21-2020, 07:50 AM   #5
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Name: Gordon
Trailer: 2015 Scamp (16 Std Layout 4) with '15 Toyota Sienna LE Tug
North Carolina
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Originally Posted by AC0GV View Post
There are lots of options for storage solar, I use one like this. It is so small ...
And here is why I still suggest a battery disconnect switch...

With ten hours of good sun this solar panel will provide under 1.5 amp-hours of charging each day. If you have only a propane alarm in the camper, the alarm will take roughly between 1 and 3 amp-hours a day Mine uses about 1.8 amp hours a day. So the panel will not keep the battery fully charged if a propane alarm is on.

The panel would be fine for overcoming the self-discharge of a disconnected battery, but that is not even needed until the length of storage becomes fairly long. It is a little shorter time in hot weather but still usually measured in months.
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Old 01-21-2020, 10:14 AM   #6
Name: RogerDat
Trailer: 77 Scamp 13
Posts: 3,513
Vampire drain on battery when stored is an issue. Battery cut off switch or disconnecting cables can address that. One can disconnect camper from battery and leave solar connected.

Connector for plugging in solar you might look to SAE to SAE 12 volt connectors.

Amazon search:

I used some like these to connect a 40 watt folding (suitcase style) panel to mine. Not for storage but for boondocking.

I used 3 of the connectors (best deal was buying 4).
  • One SAE with rings added connects to battery
  • One soldered onto solar panel leads after cutting off original connector.
  • One on solar panel original connector so I can plug in the clamps if I wanted to use those to say charge a car or boat battery.
This allows me to still plug in the original battery clamp connector to the solar panel or plug the solar panel into my battery box. I leave the battery box SAE connector wrapped to the main lines coming from battery box so it is outside the box ready to plug in. Has a cap and I keep some dialectic grease on it to prevent corrosion.

My panel can on a good day put out about 10 amp hours but my old style camper doesn't have any 12 volt draw except for 2 LED lights so it works and the folded 40 stores easier. I may put in a fantastic fan but on low that is only 1 amp an hour.

I bring battery into garage and keep on battery maintainer plugged into wall for the winter. There are at least 5 months it will probably sit so that seems easiest way to maintain it for me. I also have a small Inverter and 12 volt plug so in a pinch during a power outage it can be used for power to charge phones or run a light. Nice thing about LED bulbs for the house lamps, low battery draw on inverter.

If I was in a storage yard I would only go with a solar panel attached on roof or possibly a small one designed for maintaining sitting on a table inside could do the job. I think with the vampire draw eliminated due to cable disconnected the little ones could work. I think anything loose outside is tempting a thief.

PS. those little "maintainers" are awful expensive per watt. Might be worth comparing cost of those small devices against cost of a roof mounted panel that would overall be more useful as well as keeping battery charge maintained. Little comparison shopping might be in order. My 40 watt folding was around $110 Maintainers run $25 to $100 for 10 watts or less.
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Old 01-21-2020, 04:09 PM   #7
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Name: Larry
Trailer: Casita 17' Spirit Deluxe (aka: Tweaker's Casita)
Southwest Ohio
Posts: 128
Offline Battery Maintenance

The approach to use a small solar panel to maintain the battery while the travel trailer in storage is interesting. A couple of thoughts:
  1. make sure that everything is turned off (water heater, fridge, furnace, lights, bath fan, microwave, TV, antenna gain/amplifier/booster, water pump, etc.)
  2. insure that the solar panel provides enough power to both charge the battery and run whatever is not turned off (propane detector, etc.)
Note that according to the usage chart in the Casita Trailer A-Z Ownerís Guide, the propane detector (hard wired on my Casita) draws .05a and, by itself, would drain the battery in 1700 hours (71 days).

In my case, I cover my Casita and store it in a storage lot where electrical connections are not available. Before I knew any better, after six weeks of non use the battery was DEAD.

For me the simple approach was to install an anderson type of disconnect in the battery compartment or a battery disconnect/cut-off switch. I chose the anderson disconnect which simplifies the process to remove the battery from the Casita during the winter when I put it on a battery charger/maintainer in my heated basement.

To facilitate the battery removal process, I built a battery maintenance shelf.
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Old 01-21-2020, 06:37 PM   #8
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Name: Kelly
Trailer: Trails West
Posts: 2,964
If you are going to store the trailer take the battery out and put it in your garage/shed/house on a little battery tender charger. Less stuff for someone to steal if they break into the trailer.
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Old 01-23-2020, 10:26 AM   #9
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Name: Andy
Trailer: Scamp 16'
North Carolina
Posts: 26
If you are going solar, I have noted a couple of posts that mention that they were not using a controller with the charge system. It is possible to do so, but charge controllers will keep your battery healthy and make it last longer.

I have tried non-controller short term solar setups (temp, normally an amateur radio setup). Most batteries can handle that short term. For an RV install, a charge controller is needed. There are a couple of types, for the technical, this page is a good read...

On my Scamp, I am fabricating a bracket to hold two panels, this will mount to the front hitch. The panels are on a tilt/swivel mount, so that I can manually point them at the sun. I get 30W of power per panel at 20V, run thru a controller to a set of 12V batteries (split controller, each panel charges 1 battery). I have not gone to LI-FE yet, but am planning to do so in the future. I do have a separate LI-FE batt for internal electronics, but that is a separate issue. I have manually wired the camper to run off of 12V, one battery is for fridge, etc, the other is for internal lights (LED), TV, radio, and a 1600W inverter for a small coffee pot. Both have a voltage display showing status of charge and batt voltage. So far, in boondocking, I can run for a week with no problem (limit is the wife, not power). I do have a cooler and ice for some typical fridge items to reduce load on the fridge, so that lowers power consumption a bit.

The LI-FE system is for my radios. It is a small unit, with a 25W panel to charge the battery. It sits atop the camper, with a tilted frame to hold it up. Silcone feet on the frame to prevent marking the roof. I can run a 100W radio (about 160W consumption total) for a day with no problem. The LI-FE battery can also provide up to 450A as a jump starter, so if you run your battery down in the TV, no problem.

Lead-Acid batteries are tough enough to survive some non-regulated solar charging, but I did kill a high quality battery in a cabin once. The charge controller had gotten damaged, so I had cut it out of the circuit and scheduled a return to the cabin in a week's time to fit a replacement. As another person was going to use the cabin during that time, I left the panels connected with instructions to disconnect the battery at the time of leaving, which he forgot to do. It took me two week to get back up, in that time the battery was fried, after two weeks of full sun. Overcharging can also kill a battery. After replacing the battery and a new charge controller, it has worked well for more than 5 years in the cabin.

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