Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 03-05-2013, 12:42 AM   #1
Rivet Master
 
interstateflyer's Avatar
 
2017 25' International
Currently Looking...
Currently Looking...
Los Osos , California
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 871
Images: 7
Solar on a Bambi International 19'

Has anyone here installed a solar panel on their Bambi 19? I'm exploring solar solutions for our recently purchased 2013 International Bambi 19.

We're dry campers.....most of the time. I'm wondering if a panel large enough to keep the two 12v group 24 batteries charged is possible on a Bambi.
__________________

__________________
interstateflyer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2013, 02:27 AM   #2
Rivet Master
 
2005 19' Safari
GLENDALE , AZ
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 2,441
I investigated adding solar to our 19-foot Bambi, but there doesn't appear to be roof space to install enough square footage of panels to do much more than keep the batteries charged while in storage.

I bought one portable panel, and it's fun to play with. However, in actual usage, it won't fully recharge two batteries after using the furnace overnight in cold weather. Therefore, we use one or two Honda 2000's to recharge our batteries and provide 110-volts AC for appliances, depending on the season (and whether we need the air conditioner).

If others have successfully installed solar panels on a 19-foot Bambi, I would also like to hear details and see photos.
__________________

__________________
Phoenix is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2013, 05:45 AM   #3
Rivet Master
 
Bruce B's Avatar

 
2012 16' International
Jamestown , Rhode Island
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 1,387
Images: 1
The whole solar thing is kind of interesting.
We have a factory installed solar setup on our 16' Airstream. It utilizes a little 60 watt panel that I thought was too small to do much. As we came south this past month we spent a few days in Flamingo with no electric hook up and I watched my batteries slowly gain in net charge over a couple of days (i installed a Tri-Metric battery monitor so I can keep an eye on battery charge). This was using lots of Fantastic fan at night, led lights and the refrigerator fan was running constantly.

I was amazed at how well it worked for such a small panel. If we really want to recharge after a substantial discharge I will need to add panels but that hasn't got to be on top of the trailer..... The charge controller Airstream uses will control up to 25 amps of current and we are using a max of 5 now. Two additional 125 watt panels set up beside the trailer in a sunny climate would be more than sufficient to do the job...

Bruce
__________________
Bruce B is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2013, 11:30 AM   #4
Rivet Master
 
interstateflyer's Avatar
 
2017 25' International
Currently Looking...
Currently Looking...
Los Osos , California
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 871
Images: 7
I have a 75 watt panel on my 2005 Interstate and it keeps the single coach battery charged to max while dry camping. Understand though....we only use lights (liberally), fantastic fan (sometimes all day), radio and the propane safety system.

My AS dealer's service manager discouraged any solar solution for the Bambi. He stated that roof space would limit us to such a small panel that the yield would be insufficient to maintain two batteries while dry camping. He also mentioned that the trailer's control system would "howl" if the input was from a low wattage panel. I also got the feeling that they may not want to drill holes in the roof and possibly risk water leaks or expose themselves to any other type of damage liablity.

I like the external panel idea except for the storage space required.

What I am interested in is exploring the flexible, roll up panels. Still need to research their yield and efficiency.
__________________
interstateflyer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2013, 11:43 AM   #5
Rivet Master
 
interstateflyer's Avatar
 
2017 25' International
Currently Looking...
Currently Looking...
Los Osos , California
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 871
Images: 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce B View Post
The whole solar thing is kind of interesting.
We have a factory installed solar setup on our 16' Airstream. It utilizes a little 60 watt panel that I thought was too small to do much. As we came south this past month we spent a few days in Flamingo with no electric hook up and I watched my batteries slowly gain in net charge over a couple of days (i installed a Tri-Metric battery monitor so I can keep an eye on battery charge). This was using lots of Fantastic fan at night, led lights and the refrigerator fan was running constantly.

I was amazed at how well it worked for such a small panel. If we really want to recharge after a substantial discharge I will need to add panels but that hasn't got to be on top of the trailer..... The charge controller Airstream uses will control up to 25 amps of current and we are using a max of 5 now. Two additional 125 watt panels set up beside the trailer in a sunny climate would be more than sufficient to do the job...
Bruce
That is encouraging. It sounds like we have the same trailer. I'm going to check with AS the factory option 60 watt panel is available for retrofit on my 2013 International Bambi.
__________________
interstateflyer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2013, 11:50 AM   #6
Rivet Master
 
KJRitchie's Avatar

 
2008 25' Classic
Wichita Falls , Texas
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 4,222
Just buy this and hook it up to your batteries.
90 watt folding portable RV solar system - Economy series
Sale price $399 for the 90watt. They have larger units too.

Allows you to park the AS in the shade and move the panel around to follow the sun. I use a single 60watt on my single battery on my Casita and it keeps the battery charged while we are in National Park campgrounds. This one has the controller built on so you just clamp it on the battery terminals. A lot of Casita owners buy from this company.

Kelvin
__________________
KJRitchie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2013, 02:15 PM   #7
Rivet Master
 
2005 19' Safari
GLENDALE , AZ
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 2,441
Quick notes on portable solar panels:

* Panels must be stored when traveling, which may significantly reduce storage in your tow vehicle.

* Panels must be secured or stored when you leave your campsite and (perhaps) overnight, which is inconvenient.

* Panels usually must be re-positioned throughout the day to optimize output.

* In warm weather, use of solar panels sometimes conflicts with campsites. Specifically, if your Airstream is parked in direct sunlight so that you can use the solar panels, the trailer will heat up significantly during the day. However, if you park in the shade, panel output will be decreased.

Therefore, after several attempts at using a large portable solar panel, I now rely on one or two generators when boondocking.
__________________
Phoenix is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2013, 02:37 PM   #8
Rivet Master
 
Bruce B's Avatar

 
2012 16' International
Jamestown , Rhode Island
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 1,387
Images: 1
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phoenix View Post
Quick notes on portable solar panels:

* Panels must be stored when traveling, which may significantly reduce storage in your tow vehicle.

* Panels must be secured or stored when you leave your campsite and (perhaps) overnight, which is inconvenient.

* Panels usually must be re-positioned throughout the day to optimize output.

* In warm weather, use of solar panels sometimes conflicts with campsites. Specifically, if your Airstream is parked in direct sunlight so that you can use the solar panels, the trailer will heat up significantly during the day. However, if you park in the shade, panel output will be decreased.

Therefore, after several attempts at using a large portable solar panel, I now rely on one or two generators when boondocking.
Yes this is all true but solar panels are so quiet!
Solar delays the need to charge. That alone is enough for me to like its contribution to the batteries.

I have a generator too. If you want a/c it is the only way but I really object to the noise of a generator running. My Honda 3000IS is as quiet as small generators come but it is still irritating ( far less irritating than two 2000's running though) then there is the space consumed by two generators, gasoline, the maintenance and the hassle of ethanol fuel too.

I was surprised on this trip at just how much I got from my solar panel. I will try to add some auxiliary panels and see what happens....

I will report back next season!

Bruce
__________________
Bruce B is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2013, 02:40 PM   #9
Rivet Master
 
KJRitchie's Avatar

 
2008 25' Classic
Wichita Falls , Texas
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 4,222
Maybe we've been lucky but we have had no issues with theft in Glacier National Park at several campsites where we have used our solar panel for the last couple of years.

You still have to secure and store generators (more likely to be stolen IMO) when not used and when leaving the campground.

Even if the solar panels are not directly pointed to the sun they pick up enough to continue charging. If I'm going out for the day I set mine out so at the highest peak the panel is at best position. We've always come home to a full battery for evening activities.

If your 19' Bambi doesn't have LED lights then convert over to them.

These fold up panels take up less storage than a generator as they are thin and not that heavy and slide in easily between other objects. While I couldn't get a Honda 2k generator into the back of my 4Runner there is a narrow space between my 50qt cooler and the wheel well that my 60w panel fits in perfect.

Even the small 2kw generators are noisy and smelly and you have to store gas containers safely in your tow vehicle. Some people use a safe siphon to suck gas out of their TV fuel tank for small generators.

We thought about a Honda generator vs solar for our Casita. We could run the generator to power our 9k BTU AC but we found with the limited need for it so solar worked out well for us. Clean and quiet.

With a Bambi 19' ft with two batteries you have a lot of capacity and a 90watt to 120 watt would keep them topped up easily unless you have a ton of electronic devices or watch a lot of TV using an inverter.

If I was full timing I would have both just to cover those rainy and cloudy days when solar is not useful.

Kelvin
__________________
KJRitchie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2013, 03:48 PM   #10
Rivet Master
 
47WeeWind's Avatar
 
1948 16' Wee Wind
1953 21' Flying Cloud
Denver , Colorado
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,149
Images: 20
Solar panels as window guards . . .

Mount two large solar panels as hinged window guards above the front and rear windows of the 19' Bambi International. When down flush against the trailer while traveling they act as window guards. When camping, open them to horizontal position for better battery charging.
__________________
Fred Coldwell, WBCCI #1510, AIR #2675
Denver, Colorado - WBCCI Unit 24
Airstream Life "Old Aluminum"
Airstream Life
"From the Archives"
47WeeWind is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2013, 06:58 PM   #11
2 Rivet Member
 
2010 22' Sport
Carver , Massachusetts
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by 47WeeWind View Post
Mount two large solar panels as hinged window guards above the front and rear windows of the 19' Bambi International. When down flush against the trailer while traveling they act as window guards. When camping, open them to horizontal position for better battery charging.
I've considered this approach. Anyone done this? I wonder if having the panel below the top of the trailer if the shading from the trailer would reduce the panel efficiency too much to be worthwhile.

Thanks.
__________________
etobolski is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2013, 07:29 PM   #12
Rivet Master
 
TBRich's Avatar

 
2006 19' Safari SE
Tucson , Arizona
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 4,483
Images: 64
We have factory solar on our 2006 19' Safari SE (same package as new Flying Clouds)...the single panel is in front of the AC and behind the forward Fantastic Vent. It think it's between 50 and 60 watts. We really like it, and we are surprised at how well it keeps our two 24 Group AGM batteries topped off. We have two 2000 Honda generators (the 2nd for when we need AC) as well, but when we have good sun we don't use the gennies until we need to... We have converted all our interior lights, storage compartment lights, scare light and door step light to LEDs which make a huge difference in power use.

Roof-mount vs free-standing. We prefer the roof mount. We don't have to worry about putting the panel away, moving it around or it getting ripped off...besides I'm not sure if we could find the place to stow it ... we tow with a short bed truck with a tonneau cover, which helps limits what we drag along (that was not an accident),

That having been said, I do believe that you can get a better system with more wattage with an after-market installation. Friends of ours had a custom solar job done on their 16' and it's very robust...
__________________
TB & Greg and Abbey Schnauzer
AirForums #21900 . Membership Chair, 4C
Unit #3954
Travel Log: AZBambi...On the Road Again
TBRich is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-06-2013, 11:45 PM   #13
Rivet Master
 
interstateflyer's Avatar
 
2017 25' International
Currently Looking...
Currently Looking...
Los Osos , California
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 871
Images: 7
I saw this solar panel in the 2012 International Parts Catalog. Has anyone installed this particular "factory" system?

I'm wondering if it could be used with my 2 battery system.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	Solar-1012-International.jpg
Views:	167
Size:	90.8 KB
ID:	180353  
__________________
interstateflyer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-07-2013, 12:02 AM   #14
Rivet Master
 
switz's Avatar

 
2014 31' Classic
2015 23' International
2013 25' FB International
Apache Junction , Arizona
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 4,799
Images: 8
The Los Angeles dealer installed a solar panel on the roof of a 19' airstream which could top up the battery.
__________________

__________________
WBCCI Life Member 5123, AIR 70341, 4CU, WD9EMC

TV - 2012 Dodge 2500 4x4 Cummins HO, automatic, Centramatics, Kelderman level ride airbag suspension, bed shell

2014 31' Classic model 30 twin beds, 50 amp service, 900 watt solar system, Centramatics, Dill TPMS, disc brakes, 16" tires & wheels
switz is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Solar prewire location 2006 16' Bambi CCD KiwiAS Generators & Solar Power 2 02-28-2014 06:47 PM
2010 Airstream 19 International Signature Bambi REPO eBay Watch Airstreams on eBay 0 01-06-2012 08:40 AM
2006 Airstream International Bambi 19' eBay Watch Airstreams on eBay 0 10-06-2011 11:00 AM
Rosco :: 2004 International CCD Bambi Grizzly6 Airstream Registry Discussions 0 08-19-2011 09:31 AM


Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:17 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.