We recently ordered a 2021 Caravel
16 without solar option - didn't order solar as I plan to upgrade to Lithium battery so I don't want to waste money on the AGM batteries.
As we are completely newbies of RV camping, I want to try things out and figure out what kind of camping we like the most before we invest in something expensive. I live in PNW and we plan to do a lot of 2-3 day trips in the state parks, which may or may not have electrical hookup.
Also since 2020 models, Airstream switched to all-electrical fridge on Bambis and Caravels. The Nova-Kool 3.1cu fridge draws 2.2A. I have heard many people(include the dealer) saying they drains battery fast, so that adds urgency to add solar - so I can have food in fridge for 2-3 days.
I plan to stick with what comes with the new trailer for the rest of year if possible. Here are the plan towards a rooftop panel, and questions:
1. from Sept to end of the season, I want to stick with standard lead-acid battery if possible, and buy a Renogy 100W suitcase panel to make the battery last longer, question here is I saw some post in this forum says the charge controller needs to be in mptt model, and the charger controller comes with the $249 Renogy panel is not, is that necessary? if it's connected directly to battery, why can't I use it with the zamp port next to battery?
2. Replace the lead acid battery with BB Lithium 100Ah. I'd also move the battery to under the dinette couch, next to fresh water tank. I could do this sooner this year, but I'd rather be camping than working on this project in the limited weekends left in the season. a compromise is to buy the battery but put it in the battery tray behind the propane cover. but I'd have to figure out a way to secure it so it won't disappear after I take a hike.
3. Hopefully after this year we will figure out what camping style we like and install rooftop 90/100w panel. I will buy charge controller, battery monitor, mounting bracket, etc (I plan to go all zamp) For the same reason, I want to tackle this next year, before season starts.
I also hope that the suitcase panel would still be useful even I have the rooftop ones. so there won't be anything thrown away and wasted, except the dealer provided lead-acid battary.
With all these installed, 100w rooftop + 100w suitcase, 100ah BB lithium battery, I am hoping that with conservative electric usage (no tv, minimal lights, water pump) we can keep food in fridge cooled for 2-3 days.
Please let me know if this is a sound plan or not, and suggestions are much appreciated, thanks!