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Old 08-07-2022, 04:06 PM   #41
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We have built in solar at this point, but we used portable for years. There is a major difference. With the built in, we never have to think about it...it is there, it is working. With the portable, we had to put it out, set it up, move it around, take it in, store it...and worry that someone was going to steal it when we want to leave camp.

We haven't ever been in a place where we didn't get enough sun to recharge built in solar in the trailer daily (since 2018) although, we've been places and had weather before that would have been an issue before. But, it was an issue even with the portable panels.

The portable is better than nothing, but built in is a luxury.
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Old 08-07-2022, 05:05 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by gypsydad View Post
Not in Glacier Park, nor many other campgrounds with forest/tree canopies across the North America. 25' of cable won't help you. A generator makes life much easier while camping...now, desert camping like Borrego Springs, Grand Canyon, or Moab type camping...as long as the sun works, solar is great....but even then, a week or more you may still be glad you have a generator as backup.
As I said. I live in the Pacific Northwest.
Specifically on Vancouver Island.
My truck(300w) can be placed 25 feet away and my portable (100w) can go another 25ft in another direction.
I have only had to pull my generator out a couple of times and that has been due to rain for 2 or 3 days which we have been known to have.
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Old 08-08-2022, 10:10 AM   #43
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Originally Posted by gandttimes View Post
As I said. I live in the Pacific Northwest.
Specifically on Vancouver Island.
My truck(300w) can be placed 25 feet away and my portable (100w) can go another 25ft in another direction.
I have only had to pull my generator out a couple of times and that has been due to rain for 2 or 3 days which we have been known to have.
And, as I said...there are times when you need a generator! Solar only takes you so far due to weather/location. A generator is smart insurance when camping for sure.
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Old 08-09-2022, 11:57 AM   #44
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Originally Posted by gypsydad View Post
And, as I said...there are times when you need a generator! Solar only takes you so far due to weather/location. A generator is smart insurance when camping for sure.
Hi

I keep hearing that

We've been doing this for 3 to 6 months a year sine we got the trailer back in 2017. There's been a generator along on pretty much every trip. I have yet to need it .....

No, that's not an endorsement of this or that battery / solar setup. It also is not a suggestion that you only camp in the desert. We most certainly camp in the woods a lot of the time. It's more a function of the mix of sites you happen to use and how often you can do a full recharge.

Some math:

The DC/DC on the 7 pin will put 15A into the batteries. If we drive for 8 hours, that's 120AH. Even without solar, that gets us well into the "positive" category for the day. Solar typically adds to that ( and in some cases will more than double it). Net result is that if we leave home fully charged, "travel time" does not knock the batteries down at all (even with a more rational 4 to 6 hours of driving ).

If we hit a campground with power ( even 15A ). The batteries charge overnight. That is a nice thing with lithiums. "Campground" in this case might not cost us anything. We have found a number of Harvest Hosts and Boondocks Welcome locations that are ok with an overnight 15A plug in.

Net result is ( and yes this does get into batteries ....) we are fine running for a week or two before a generator might be needed. So far that's never happened. We still have one along with us. ( We also worry about needing A/C out in the boonies. That also has yet to be an issue ).

Bob
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Old 08-10-2022, 10:49 AM   #45
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Hi

I keep hearing that

We've been doing this for 3 to 6 months a year sine we got the trailer back in 2017. There's been a generator along on pretty much every trip. I have yet to need it .....

No, that's not an endorsement of this or that battery / solar setup. It also is not a suggestion that you only camp in the desert. We most certainly camp in the woods a lot of the time. It's more a function of the mix of sites you happen to use and how often you can do a full recharge.

Some math:

The DC/DC on the 7 pin will put 15A into the batteries. If we drive for 8 hours, that's 120AH. Even without solar, that gets us well into the "positive" category for the day. Solar typically adds to that ( and in some cases will more than double it). Net result is that if we leave home fully charged, "travel time" does not knock the batteries down at all (even with a more rational 4 to 6 hours of driving ).

If we hit a campground with power ( even 15A ). The batteries charge overnight. That is a nice thing with lithiums. "Campground" in this case might not cost us anything. We have found a number of Harvest Hosts and Boondocks Welcome locations that are ok with an overnight 15A plug in.

Net result is ( and yes this does get into batteries ....) we are fine running for a week or two before a generator might be needed. So far that's never happened. We still have one along with us. ( We also worry about needing A/C out in the boonies. That also has yet to be an issue ).

Bob
Well, there you go, UB! 2 weeks not an issue for you as long as you have access to the sun, or are driving 4-8 hours a day, right? If boondocking for, lets say 2 weeks, and the sun isn't cooperating, you might find yourself needing to use the generator after a few days,depending on your use draw; especially if it's cold and you need the furnace, right?

I used my generator most every other day while in Glacier last month, after first 4 days of camping, without the grandkids. Once they arrived, we did use the furnace couple of times to take the chill off in the morning. I ran the generator once a day for 1.5-2 hours when I got down low, during the appropriate morning hours. When we switched camp sites after a week, I was able to get some sun during the day for few hours, and I did use my portable GoPower 80W solar to top off vs the generator. Fortionate to be able to move it around to follow the suns rays in that site, between the tree tops.

Folks invest $1000's of dollars in the solar panels and Li batteries, and I am envious to see these "how long I can go without plugging in" posts...but, reality is: a generator for back up is a good thing; not a bad thing.
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Old 08-11-2022, 11:16 AM   #46
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Originally Posted by gypsydad View Post
Well, there you go, UB! 2 weeks not an issue for you as long as you have access to the sun, or are driving 4-8 hours a day, right? If boondocking for, lets say 2 weeks, and the sun isn't cooperating, you might find yourself needing to use the generator after a few days,depending on your use draw; especially if it's cold and you need the furnace, right?

I used my generator most every other day while in Glacier last month, after first 4 days of camping, without the grandkids. Once they arrived, we did use the furnace couple of times to take the chill off in the morning. I ran the generator once a day for 1.5-2 hours when I got down low, during the appropriate morning hours. When we switched camp sites after a week, I was able to get some sun during the day for few hours, and I did use my portable GoPower 80W solar to top off vs the generator. Fortionate to be able to move it around to follow the suns rays in that site, between the tree tops.

Folks invest $1000's of dollars in the solar panels and Li batteries, and I am envious to see these "how long I can go without plugging in" posts...but, reality is: a generator for back up is a good thing; not a bad thing.
Hi

I most certainly agree that there *is* a combination of events that will get us pulling out the generator. So far, our pattern of staying here and staying there has not yet hit that combo. We might hit it some time next month .... who knows.

I certainly would *not* suggest that folks trust that solar will keep them going off grid for months and months in a wide range of locations and seasons. I suppose you could just stay in "RV resorts" all the time ..... yuck .....

Bob
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Old 09-21-2022, 11:46 PM   #47
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Zamp baby

I have a 230w portable ZAMP legacy for $960 to see if solar was a good fit. Works great with a few hours of direct sunlight. 8 nights, lights, fan, movie, everything as normal, no ac. Always charged back up during the day. Not sure how well fixed panels on the roof would compare. I have 2 Battle born 100ah batteries. Pleased but more might be better. I lock them up all the time
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Old 09-23-2022, 07:35 AM   #48
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Originally Posted by Dick tracy View Post
I have a 230w portable ZAMP legacy for $960 to see if solar was a good fit. Works great with a few hours of direct sunlight. 8 nights, lights, fan, movie, everything as normal, no ac. Always charged back up during the day. Not sure how well fixed panels on the roof would compare. I have 2 Battle born 100ah batteries. Pleased but more might be better. I lock them up all the time
Hi

Do you have a shunt based monitor on the batteries?

Bob
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Old 09-23-2022, 11:06 AM   #49
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I have a 230w portable ZAMP legacy for $960 to see if solar was a good fit. Works great with a few hours of direct sunlight. 8 nights, lights, fan, movie, everything as normal, no ac. Always charged back up during the day. Not sure how well fixed panels on the roof would compare. I have 2 Battle born 100ah batteries. Pleased but more might be better. I lock them up all the time
Having fixed panels on the roof, no doubt, is a great feature to help with your charging needs while traveling or camping with sun access. (no trees) But, as mentioned earlier, when you sell, you may or may not recover your investment and of course, again, they only work when you have direct sun access. Appreciate the value they bring; don't misunderstand. I went portable because, well, this is my 4th AS...the portable has served me well in the last 2 over last 7-8 years. Today, if I were doing it over, I would get the larger 140W suitcase, but the 80W I have works great..just takes a bit longer to charge when I use it. 3 hours~ typically is will top off my set up. It also stores nicely at the foot of my twin bed against the bathroom wall bulkhead.
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Old 09-24-2022, 12:31 AM   #50
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Hi

Do you have a shunt based monitor on the batteries?

Bob

just the standard "prewired" AS setup. plugged into ZAMP outlet on the tongue.
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Old 09-24-2022, 07:46 AM   #51
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just the standard "prewired" AS setup. plugged into ZAMP outlet on the tongue.
Hi

Ok, I would be *very* cautious with that sort of setup. You have a very limited view of the battery status. What you *think* is fully charged may well not be.

Bob
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Old 09-24-2022, 08:18 AM   #52
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Best portable solar panel choices? And is portable sufficient?

In upstate NY the sun angle is tilting away. I camped at North South Lake for better part of a week, a few cloudy days. With two 100 Battleborns and an 80 watt roof panel there was no trouble keeping them at 97% with the non-compressor refrigerator and lighting needed and furnace for a 1/2 hour ( once ). I brought a generator as a backup. I was pleasantly surprised to see numbers jump to 100% on the App very quickly even with a good layer of cumulus clouds about 60-70%. I have a 120 watt Zamp portable but opted to leave it home.
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Old 09-24-2022, 10:52 AM   #53
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just the standard "prewired" AS setup. plugged into ZAMP outlet on the tongue.
I do not use the Zamp. I was told those wires from the Zamp plug are too small. I wired my GoPower with the included battery cables which have a connector to the GoPower, and just tuck them away in the battery compartment when not in use. They are about 24" long total. I also have/do use the included 24" portable GoPower charge cable with alligator type clips and connector to the GoPower when using to charge other folks batteries from time to time when they need some help. Really, this is a pretty sweet set up for portability and has served us well with 3 different sets of batteries.
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Old 10-05-2022, 08:04 AM   #54
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I supplement my 200w rooftop panels with one (recently purchased a second) Paxcess 120w portable panel. This has been very useful in partial tree covering. I have a 20a Rich (Renology has an identical unit with their name on it) Solar MMPT controller. Technically, the 320watt solar capacity pushes 20-25a in full sunlight exceeds Rich's specifications, but I'm never in full light when in use. Something to consider if you're looking to add a solar solar panel to an existing system. This winter, I plan to add a secondary solar charge controller dedicated to the portables.

I've found these Paxcess panels to be excellent. Now priced at $150, including shipping. I paid about $180 each for mine.
https://www.amazon.com/PAXCESS-Porta...44308859&psc=1
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Old 10-06-2022, 02:04 PM   #55
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4th Season...2 180w Zamp suitcase's.

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Old 10-08-2022, 07:29 PM   #56
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I purchased one without a built-in controller as my solar port is wired through the Victron solar controller in the trailer which manages both the rooftop and portable panels.
I'll have to trace the wiring on my 2021 27' FC, but per the Zamp's web site, the Zamp connector on the hitch is direct wired to the battery, bypassing the charge controller.

Airstream Trailer Factory Solar Options:

Solar Pre-wire (Standard On All Trailers): This factory option comes with a pre-wired Zamp Solar Side Wall Port wired directly to the battery bank. This is perfect for connecting a regulated (charge controller equipped) Zamp Solar Portable Solar Panel Kit.

https://www.zampsolar.com/blogs/sola...-solar-options
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Old 10-09-2022, 09:12 AM   #57
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Thru the 7-pin.

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Old 12-06-2022, 05:09 PM   #58
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I have a Bluetti 200 watt portable panel and love it. https://www.bluettipower.com/collections/solar-panels
I plug right into the umbilical and works well.

Mine came as a package with a generator and I've used both (great boondocking). https://www.bluettipower.com/product...or-for-camping
It doesnít appear that Bluetti panel comes with a solar charge controller. What controller do you use prior to plugging into the camper?
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Old 12-06-2022, 07:29 PM   #59
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It doesnít appear that Bluetti panel comes with a solar charge controller. What controller do you use prior to plugging into the camper?
The Bluetti generator is equipped with MPPT controller

When plugging into trailer I don't have a controller but do have battery monitoring and given my use case (occasional and in the PNW) this seems to be sufficient. You could add a controller, fairly inexpensive DIY job. Bluetti is MPPT..

good reading here: https://www.solarreviews.com/blog/wh...rge-controller
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Old 12-06-2022, 09:42 PM   #60
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The Bluetti generator is equipped with MPPT controller

When plugging into trailer I don't have a controller but do have battery monitoring and given my use case (occasional and in the PNW) this seems to be sufficient. You could add a controller, fairly inexpensive DIY job. Bluetti is MPPT..

good reading here: https://www.solarreviews.com/blog/wh...rge-controller
Arenít you risking damaging your batteries without a charge controller?
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