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Old 02-15-2018, 09:22 AM   #21
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Put flexible panels on your roof, and they work in the daytime. Im adding a fourth panel for a total of 400 watts.
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Old 02-15-2018, 09:32 AM   #22
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Portable Solar

I have the 160 W Portable Zamp Panels. They fold into a suitcase size which I keep in the bedroom when underway.The ability to move the panels greatly increases the output. I also have a 15' extension cable so I can move them as much as 30' from the trailer tongue where the plug is.

Two weeks ago, I had them set up while dry camping in Big Bend NP. There was enough tree cover that I had to move them a couple of times during the day. I got 40 Amp-Hours out of them in winter sun in a partly shaded camp site. I doubt I would have gotten much of anything if they had been fixed mounted on top of the trailer.

As to security, I have a 25' chain with padlock. I chain them to the trailer tongue. The chain is not heavy enough to stop someone with bolt cutters, but enough to stop the casual thief.

One other thing. People are very interested in the solar panels. They started several friendly conversations.
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Old 02-15-2018, 09:41 AM   #23
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I've never had roof mounted solar and I've got a trailer, not a coach.

Now that I've disqualified myself as a relevant respondent... I built a 200 watt suitcase from 2 100 watt Renogy panels. I added a 12 volt, 50 amp quick disconnect (Anderson power) to the battery bank and put a matching coupler on the panel's controller. I like this arrangement since I can park the trailer in the shade and move the panels in the sun. Pics in my gallery.
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Old 02-15-2018, 09:44 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GammaDog View Post
I've never had roof mounted solar and I've got a trailer, not a coach.

Now that I've disqualified myself as a relevant respondent... I built a 200 watt suitcase from 2 100 watt Renogy panels. I added a 12 volt, 50 amp quick disconnect (Anderson power) to the battery bank and put a matching coupler on the panel's controller. I like this arrangement since I can park the trailer in the shade and move the panels in the sun. Pics in my gallery.
You are a relevant poster. This subject is need driven and not unique to MOHOs nor trailers. The subject cross pollinates....until specifics of installation and wiring are discussed.
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Old 02-15-2018, 09:55 AM   #25
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RV Glands

Why not use an RV gland on the side of the AI which goes to a combiner located on the inside of the AI? Then it's plug and play.
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Old 02-15-2018, 09:55 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GammaDog View Post
I've never had roof mounted solar and I've got a trailer, not a coach.

Now that I've disqualified myself as a relevant respondent... I built a 200 watt suitcase from 2 100 watt Renogy panels. I added a 12 volt, 50 amp quick disconnect (Anderson power) to the battery bank and put a matching coupler on the panel's controller. I like this arrangement since I can park the trailer in the shade and move the panels in the sun. Pics in my gallery.


Seems like a popular setup for the trailers and certainly relevant to the motor homes. Frankly this type of setup can be used with anything, from off grid homes to car campers.
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Old 02-15-2018, 10:03 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by coasttocoast View Post
Put flexible panels on your roof, and they work in the daytime. Im adding a fourth panel for a total of 400 watts.
With 400 watts worth of solar panels what can you actually use in a given day without worrying. Coffee maker, toaster, TV etc.
I am not interested in the formula just the simple basics of learning the benefits of the investment.
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Old 02-15-2018, 10:12 AM   #28
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With 400 watts worth of solar panels what can you actually use in a given day without worrying. Coffee maker, toaster, TV etc.
I am not interested in the formula just the simple basics of learning the benefits of the investment.
Coffemaker??? maybe one time. Microwave, sure, but limited warming, not cooking a roast. TV, sure.

I would guess that with 400 watts, you will realistically re-capture about 115 - 140 Ah per day. So you'll have to do some figuring and behavior modification.
Latitude and sun exposure is key..as is time of day.

I use about 28 - 30Ah per day with no TV, microwave, nor coffeemaker. Just lighting, some audio and the electronics for the fridge, h20 heater, etc.
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Old 02-15-2018, 10:22 AM   #29
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I used the GAMMADOG set up, adding a 30A inline mppt charge controller, a couple of 20ft extension cables and a splitter. Makes the panels movable, amiable, and allows for future panels to the controller. All using soldered Anderson connectors, connecting via a tongue mount wired directly to the batteries.
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Old 02-15-2018, 11:39 AM   #30
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For us, we have a portable GoPower 80W with carrying case. It stores easily and we can move it to sunny spots. That is a big advantage while camping. Plus, we have used it now with 3 different AS's. There are + & - to both fixed and portable...we just did not want to have to replace each time we decide to get something else to tow.
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Old 02-15-2018, 01:16 PM   #31
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I started to try using the external connection for a 200 watt portable system I had earlier. I contacted Airstream tech support and got a definite NO on that plan.
I discarded the portable unit after I had my lithium upgrade....just as well...the Zamp controller (at that time) on the portable unit was not compatible with a lithium setup.
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Old 02-15-2018, 01:58 PM   #32
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Goal Zero Yeti 3000

I love all this discussion about portable panels being a viable option. Good info!!

To add to the mix, I just successfully tested the integration of a Goal Zero Yeti 3000 portable power station into the Interstate electronics. It's my cost-effective lithium battery alternative and can be fed direct by solar panels, either mounted or portable. It can also be recharged from 110v inside the coach when hooked up to shore power.

I'm starting a new thread to discuss this, so we don't dilute the current topic.
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Old 02-15-2018, 03:11 PM   #33
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Can anyone recommend a commercial solar panel installation company within easy drive of Knoxville, Tennessee?
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Old 02-15-2018, 03:37 PM   #34
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Randy at best converter sells the Zamp 200 watt portable suitcase for over $100.00 less than Amazon. I'm sure Lewster will match Randy's price as well. Both Randy and Lew have shared priceless information on solar installs for our benefit. The least we can do is give them our business.
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Old 02-15-2018, 06:06 PM   #35
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Looking forward to new thread. Interested in power stations vs. generators,etc. Quick question . Any reason for the Yeti vs. Kodiak system? Thanks, Ron
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Old 02-15-2018, 07:39 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by capt_ron777 View Post
Looking forward to new thread. Interested in power stations vs. generators,etc. Quick question . Any reason for the Yeti vs. Kodiak system? Thanks, Ron
The Kodiak has the same output specs, both are sine wave output, but the Kodiak is 1100Ah vs 3000Ah for the Goal Zero. The capacity was a big deal for me.
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Old 02-15-2018, 08:42 PM   #37
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We had the full 300 watts of flex panels installed on the trailer when we bought it. Our old Casita had 80 watts of portable panels, I love not having to deal with the portables. With 300 watts our batteries at 75% in the morning charge in about an hour. So I don't worry about tree because they don't stop the charge, just slow it down a little. I had thought about having an extra portable panel but don't see the need. I don't have a battery monitor this time around as I felt it just gave me info I really don't need and with the fixed panels I can't do anything about it anyways. Solar is so nice and quiet.
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Old 02-15-2018, 09:12 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by Tronadora View Post
The Kodiak has the same output specs, both are sine wave output, but the Kodiak is 1100Ah vs 3000Ah for the Goal Zero. The capacity was a big deal for me.
You're not exactly comparing apples to apples. The Kodiak is 1100Whr, weighs 20lbs, and costs $1875. The Yeti 3000 (I assume that's the model you're referencing) is 3075Whrs (NOT Ahrs....a 3000Ahr battery would be the size of a refrigerator), weighs 70lbs, and costs $3000. A Yeti a bit closer to the Kodiak in price would be the 1400, which is 1425Whr, weighs 45lbs, and costs $1800.

All that being said, there is one important spec to keep in mind with these little beasts. Both have a 1500W continuous output limit (AC + DC combined), with a 3000W max surge. You will need to keep that in mind as you think about how you want to connect it to your coach based on what you are trying to run.
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Old 02-15-2018, 09:39 PM   #39
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Quite right. Good catch, sir.
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Old 02-16-2018, 06:14 AM   #40
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Jackery PowerPro

Besides the Kodiak and Yeti, there is another lithium battery alternative. It is the 500 WHr Jackery Power Pro. It can be found on sale for $500. It weighs 12 lbs. On a $/WHr basis, it beats the others. I have two of them which practically equals the Kodiak but at almost half the cost.

There is a solar panel available for the Jackery but I did not buy it and have only charged with the 110V charger either when connected to shore power or in the men's room of campgrounds that have a 110V outlet for shavers (ladies room for hair dryers?). When I charge in the men's room, I have a cable lock to chain it to the sink. I have 160W of Zamp Portable Solar which I use to recharge the trailer batteries. In the case where I have extra solar, I figure I could turn on the inverter and charge from 110 outlets in the trailer.

I like the flexibility of two units and have found them an easy adjunct to the wet-cell batteries of the trailer. They have a limitation of 300W output, but that has not been an issue for me as 300W is enough to run the furnace fan in winter camping and have power left over to recharge the trailer batteries.

I connect the Jackery through its 110V port so a pigtail is needed for the connection. When you do this, you have to watch out for 110V loads in the trailer. One time I connected the Jackery and it flipped off on overload. It turned out that the refrigerator draw was more than 300 W. I flipped the refrigerator to propane only and carried on. Another time, we had a small electric portable vacuum that was connected to recharge. Had to unplug that.

My intention on the next trip is to connect the Jackery with a battery charger rather than trying to power the entire trailer and use it only to recharge the trailer batteries directly. The 12lb weight is very nice for moving it around.
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