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Old 05-04-2016, 05:43 PM   #15
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Fair weather campers do not need a generator or solar. Take care of your batteries and move from hookup to hookup. No added weight from the generator and no added cost for solar. From time to time you will want to go places that do not have hookups. The parking lot above the Balloon fest is a good example. The generator can make that trip. AW's comment on a conversion to propane is worth considering. Other folks seal up the generator in plastic after they run it dry and only purchase fuel when they need aux power.

Good luck and travel safe. Pat
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Old 05-04-2016, 07:17 PM   #16
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Depends on how and where you camp.

If I lived in Florida and boondock I would go generator as I'd need the A/C because of humidity.

If I lived in Florida and stayed in full hook up campgrounds. I wouldn't bother with either.
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Old 05-04-2016, 07:52 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KJRitchie View Post
I think solar is more important out West. East coast boondocking is rather limited, right?
Along the east coast states in particularly there is almost zero boondocking. Public lands are in abundance out west.



Also, I wouldn't say it's important as much as more viable based on how much sun the west gets comparatively.



This is why most of your big solar plant projects are in the American South West.
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Old 05-04-2016, 08:49 PM   #18
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I installed 600W of solar with 4 6V Lifeline AGM's, and also carry a Honda EU3000i Handi generator. Granted, this is the whole enchilada, but what works best for me is a combo. I purchased the solar package from AM Solar. I also installed a Magnum MSH3012 Inverter. With my setup I can run my 15000 BTU A/C for a couple of hours on batteries, or run the microwave, or whatever. This is the advantage of a 30 AMP inverter. (BTW you do NOT have to drill holes in your roof to install a solar setup --thanks, Lew!) While I (too) like to park in the shade, the 6 solar panels completely recharge the batteries while I'm driving. If worse comes to worse, I can start up the generator. It's all about how you use your trailer, and obviously, what your pocketbook can handle. When my Lifeline AGM's die off, they'll be replaced with lithiums. While I'm not always "off the grid" -- I like the freedom that my electrical setup provides. And, the Classic uses a lot of power -- awning, recliners, dinette, stabilizers. I added to this with a Winegard roof mounted sat dish for the TV and a dishwasher for convenience and to save water. Yes, it is possible to rationalize ANYTHING!
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Old 05-04-2016, 10:22 PM   #19
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I skipped solar when my trailer was at Colonial. Glad I did purely because I don't need it. That may change next year when we go to Utah, but since I'm on the east coast now I rarely go anywhere where I don't at least have 30amp power. So even the generator gets used rarely and often left behind.

I belive the answer to this question is totally based on how you intend to use the trailer.
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Old 05-05-2016, 08:08 AM   #20
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Thumbs up TAP....Dock'n

"Along the east coast states in particularly there is almost zero boondocking. Public lands are in abundance out west."

Forever Wild since 1894....Home of the USA's largest State Park.
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"The Adirondack Park"

"The Adirondack Park was created in 1892 by the State of New York amid concerns for the water and timber resources of the region. Today the Park is the largest publicly protected area in the contiguous United States, greater in size than Yellowstone, Everglades, Glacier, and Grand Canyon National Park combined. The boundary of the Park encompasses approximately 6 million acres, nearly half of which belongs to all the people of New York State and is constitutionally protected to remain “forever wild” forest preserve. The remaining half of the Park is private land which includes settlements, farms, timber lands, businesses, homes, and camps."


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Old 05-05-2016, 08:13 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ted S. View Post
I skipped solar when my trailer was at Colonial. Glad I did purely because I don't need it. That may change next year when we go to Utah, but since I'm on the east coast now I rarely go anywhere where I don't at least have 30amp power. So even the generator gets used rarely and often left behind.

I belive the answer to this question is totally based on how you intend to use the trailer.
I believe based on my use I won't need it, but since the trailer is at Colonial (and it will likely never be back there) I thought it might be a good time to have one installed. $ is not the issue. I am not made out of money, but I value convenience, and I am not installing this myself. And finding someone down here to do this is "problematic".

Decisions, decisions.... oh, and I would probably need to upgrade the batteries while I'm at it....

I say I won't need it, until I do. Then I will be sorry I didn't do it...
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Old 05-05-2016, 09:03 AM   #22
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Lew Faber divides his time between Florida and Oregon from what I understand.
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Old 05-05-2016, 09:36 AM   #23
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I believe based on my use I won't need it, but since the trailer is at Colonial (and it will likely never be back there) I thought it might be a good time to have one installed. $ is not the issue. I am not made out of money, but I value convenience, and I am not installing this myself. And finding someone down here to do this is "problematic".

Decisions, decisions.... oh, and I would probably need to upgrade the batteries while I'm at it....

I say I won't need it, until I do. Then I will be sorry I didn't do it...
When I had my trailer at Colonial I thought about having them install a wire run from the roof to the front battery compartment. Size the wire conservatively and you can always complete the install with panels and charge controller when you are ready. That part should be straight forward.

You might consider that option.
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Old 05-05-2016, 11:41 AM   #24
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I have both solar and a generator. Would't be without either.
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Old 05-05-2016, 11:56 AM   #25
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We bought a 26U a few months ago and had our dealer - Camper Clinic II - install the factory solar package. They did a great job. Also upgraded the batteries to Lifeline. Leverages existing wiring and integrates well. We park the AS a reasonable distance from the house so solar means we don't have to worry about keeping the battery charged, or having power when we do the prep for a trip - plenty of battery power for lights, initially getting the fridge cool, fan etc etc. Plus, should really enhance dry camping flexibility. Also bought the Honda 2000i, as in Texas, you need the AC.
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Old 05-05-2016, 12:11 PM   #26
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If you like shade, fixed solar on your trailer will not be a good solution since you need good sun to recharge your batteries with solar panels.

We are part-time full-timers, wild camping a lot. We upgraded our batteries and 95% of the time are fine with our 200W Zamp Solar portable panel. We also have a generator because we visit places that do not get a lot of sun (like the Pacific Northwest in the late winter/early spring or Yosemite Valley in the fall when the sun barely gets above the cliffs). Our generator is advertised as a super-quiet model but I think it is loud and intrusive in natural places. I much prefer solar because it is clean and quiet.

In your case, you could get a portable solar panel and supplement it with your generator. But, if you are not going to be away from hook-ups very often, your generator will probably meet your needs at least to start, especially since you said that you do not mind the noise and mess.

Here is our review of our 200W panel if you are interested... http://www.naturephotoguides.com/tra...system-zs-200p
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Old 05-05-2016, 12:25 PM   #27
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We have a dealer-installed Zamp 150 Watt panel on our roof and stock batteries.

The panel has allowed us to camp indefinitely without hookups in sunny locations (e.g., Joshua Tree NP) as long as we're incredibly conservative in our use. No heater, no TV, occasional fans, and absolutely no AC.

If we're camped in a fairly shady location, it's pretty much useless. The best we've managed in that situation was 3 days and 2 nights with batteries that are reading a lower voltage than I would like. (E.g. 12.1 Volts, which folks here will tell you is pretty darn low.)

So, we need to either get a generator or make a significant upgrade to our batteries and solar plant. I'd really prefer the latter because I'm a nerd, and because I don't enjoy the sound, weight or extra fuel consumption of a generator (even the quiet ones).
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Old 05-05-2016, 01:20 PM   #28
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As for generator, permanent solar or portable solar, I have all three. If one was only going with one of the three I would probably recommend the generator, because of microwave and air conditioning.

I mostly dry camp, and go for days on just the permanent solar (I bought the Airstream with one 100-watt panel installed. I switched out all the lighting with LEDs and can get along great with just this permanent panel. That being said, I drink coffee and would like to sometimes zap it with the microwave. I always have a generator in the back of my truck (Yamaha 2800 watt inverter generator), so about half the time we go camping I will pull it out so I can fire it up for the microwave, or if it's hot enough in the summer I might run the air conditioner (A/C) with it. It is marginal for the air conditioner, as when you hook up the generator it tries to carry all your "hotel" loads, charge your batteries, etc.. So sometimes I will have to open the breaker that supplies the converter, then start the A/C, then reclose the breaker to the converter.

Now the portable solar definitely has it's place too. I have a high quality folding 80-watt portable unit that I purchased when I had my previous Airstream. This unit comes in very handy when camping in the winter, as the sun angles are so low that I get much more out of it, pointed at the sun, than I do the flat panel on the roof. It also has the advantage that if you have the Airstream in the shade you can move the portable panels out into the sun.

Bottom line is you have most flexibility with a generator, but if you don't need to use the microwave or the air conditioning, solar is by far the best in that it takes care of your battery, you can run your fantastic fans as needed, lighting is ample as long as you don't turn them all on all the time. If you do have a few days of heavy clouds though, a generator is still a good idea to have for backup.

Last year we went to a wedding party in central California where it was 108 degrees during the day and only got down in the 90's at night. So we had two days of running the generator 24 hours per day. It did it, but we had to add gas several times.
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