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Old 05-26-2016, 11:54 PM   #29
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As for the comment about having the factory do the work on my trailer, I had a very bad experience with 2 separate Airstream dealers. The work they did to "repair" a leak on my 2010 cost almost $10,000 and the leak was not fixed. Since I had to return to the factory to have the leak fixed, I am a bit gun shy about having other people work on my trailer.

Again, I HAVE NOT MADE UP MY MIND ABOUT WHAT SYSTEM AND WHO WILL INSTALL IT!
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Old 05-27-2016, 01:33 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PJohnson View Post
I do appreciate the suggestion but I would rather have the factory do the work for the following reasons:
I prefer to not have the after market companies practice on my trailer.
.
I' m sorry but your use if the word "practice" was not taken out of context.
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Old 05-27-2016, 10:34 AM   #31
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Instead of arguing about context and the use of a word, how about we provide potentially useful input?

Based on the experience, OP has expressed valid concerns about using a dealer for the work and favoring JC to do it. OP has also clearly identified goals for said system. Feedback here seems to be that OP can get a much more powerful system, well installed, for the same cost of a low power system at JC via some of the sources recommended here.

The rest of the commentary seems pretty irrelevant, though it would more likely drive the OP away from this group vs inviting deeper engagement. Nice.

It will be great to hear what OP decides to do and how that turns out.
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Old 05-27-2016, 11:13 AM   #32
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My 2006 Safari had a Jackson Center installed solar package that came already attached to the trailer. It was... small, maybe 80 watts?

It was not wired into the trailer. Nobody bothered to check if the solar was working.

The RV Dealer spent hours to find the wiring and I said just drill a hole and drop the wires over the refrigerator. I was not impressed with anyone on this project.
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Old 05-27-2016, 12:46 PM   #33
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My used 2012 25fb came with a factory installed 180 watt Zamp system. Upgraded the house power converter to the Progressive Dynamics 4655, and batteries to Trojan T-105-RE's. Total upgrade cost of $600. While I wouldn't choose the Zamp system if I were doing it today, it has worked surprisingly well. Use it all day, including a plug in inverter for short stints with my laptop, and about 2 hours of TV at night. Still have juice left, and recharges fully by noon the next day. But if I run the furnace much, forget it...

If all you want to do is top off your batteries while in storage, you could just get a portable Renogy 100w suitcase for under $300 and clip it to your battery terminals.
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Old 05-27-2016, 06:42 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by Rocinante View Post
Instead of arguing about context and the use of a word, how about we provide potentially useful input?
Wasn't arguing and OP has had plenty of useful input.
I've learned a lot anyway.
Basically summing up, the factory is not the best choice for solar install after the build and there are lots of choices out there for getting what he wants at a more reasonable price and with a cleaner install.
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Old 05-27-2016, 07:00 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by PJohnson View Post
Apparently, I offended some people by using the term "practice." Since I did cancer research at a university medical center I am accustom to using the term in the same context as "practicing medicine." I did not intend it to be taken in the same context as "football practice."



BTW -- there is no place in any of my posts that suggest that I have made up my mind. If I practiced medicine with the same regard for listening to people's concerns as some of you, a lot of people would be dead.

That is the nature of just about ANY internet forum I have ever participated on.

On this forum there are a few hot button issues that raise emotion levels, solar is one of them.

Dont take it personal, and remember to "filter", and remember a few grains of salt.

That said, Lewster who is an installer and a poster on this forum, well we don't ALWAYS see eye to eye, but If I was going to have someone install solar on my trailer he is the man I would want to do it.


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Old 05-28-2016, 01:22 PM   #36
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Apparently, the consensus of opinions for those who responded about their experience with the Airstream service center was, at best, disappointment. Therefore, I need to investigate other options. Is there a consensus about which equipment is the best?
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Old 05-28-2016, 01:36 PM   #37
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For a small to medium system, you won't do better than the Blue Sky controller with IPN Pro remote, and either the Grape or Renology panels. This system will give you a proper three-stage battery charger, ability to program flooded or AGM cells, and a quality battery monitor. You can still reuse the existing solar pre-wiring and CAT5 cable and you'll only need to add one remote display for both the solar charger and battery monitor.
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Old 05-28-2016, 03:00 PM   #38
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If the desire is simply to keep batteries charged while in storage so they are charged for a camping trip then I'd consider the low cost portable solar set offered by Harbour Freight.
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Old 05-28-2016, 04:36 PM   #39
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Simple battery maintenance for storage purposes only is best accomplished by using a quality, complete system from companies like BatteryMinder.

Their 15 watt panel system has a fully integrated 3-stage solar charge controller that will keep the batteries fat and happy ........... But again for storage purposes ONLY.


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Old 05-28-2016, 05:00 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PJohnson View Post
Apparently, the consensus of opinions for those who responded about their experience with the Airstream service center was, at best, disappointment. Therefore, I need to investigate other options. Is there a consensus about which equipment is the best?
Hello PJohnson. I, for one, have been very happy with my Airstream factory installed solar system during the build of my trailer in December, 2006. As documented in my notes, seen in post #194 of the thread, "Factory installed Solar Charging System", we continue to enjoy 5-day camping trips with no hookups and my two 53-watt solar panels bring our 2 Lifeline AGM batteries back to 100% by mid-morning each day!

New Airstream travel trailers, starting with the 2017 model year, now come from the factory with built in Zamp Solar ports.

If I were you (and considering your needs), I would look closely at the Zamp Solar Portable Solar Charging System (that has a built in controller and display monitor panel) and attaches directly to your batteries (no need to put any additional holes in your trailer)!

Good luck with this and please keep us informed on what worked for you!

Zamp Solar Portable Solar Charging System
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Old 05-28-2016, 05:58 PM   #41
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What good solar can do

We've had our solar system for more than 11 years. Last year, we were on the beach at Lake Tahoe for 4 weeks without having to move. We watch surround sound movies at night and my wife keeps the furnace turned up to obscene levels. We use a collapsible boat dock cart with a reinforced axle and bigger tires with a Rubbermaid 20 gallon container to transfer water to the trailer. I have an electric hose pump that I drop into the tank to fill the water. It hooks up to my solar and runs great. I have a blue "gray water" tank that I can use to empty the gray water but I keep that to a minimum by having a round tub in the sink and just tossing that water outside like a tent camper. Black water is good for 4 weeks if I use a bottle to pee in at night and the campground restrooms during the day. My wife uses the Airstream toilet exclusively.

We've camped in the snow in winter with the tank heaters on and short days and have still been good for a week or so before seeing a significant drain.

I never have to worry about boon docking.

My point is that a really good solar system has it's rewards. We bought a Yamaha generator when we first had the trailer and used it twice. I wonder if it even works anymore.

Don't take the comments from the forum personally. We are all just sharing here.
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Old 05-30-2016, 08:17 AM   #42
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I second everyones thoughts on the factory doing the solar. You can do so much better elsewhere.
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