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Old 01-29-2021, 12:18 PM   #1
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2019 22' Sport
Cambridge , Wisconsin
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Solar on a Bambi

We have a 2019 22' Bambi. We have started boondocking and find that if we don't have great sun on a long weekend, the portable solar panel and single battery start to get precariously low by then end of the weekend. We have the pre-wire for roof panels, but without another battery, I don't know that adding more panels would make a difference. Has anyone put two batteries on a Bambi? Any other issues I am missing?
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Old 01-29-2021, 07:32 PM   #2
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South of the river , Minnesota
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You will find that solar panels on the roof make a significant difference, more so than battery capacity.
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Old 01-29-2021, 08:05 PM   #3
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2020 22' Bambi
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Piling on with my similar situation to drive further dialogue….

I have a 2020 Airstream Bambi 22FB. It came from Airstream as “Solar Ready” from the factory which as far as I can tell means that all it has is the tongue mounted Zamp port and the Zamp 3 port roof cap.

The tongue mounted Zamp port wires directly to the batteries with no controller.

I have already installed 2 Lion Energy 1300 lithium batteries and am looking to add solar to keep them topped off when boondocking. I still have the batteries located in the factory provided tongue mounted battery box and am aware not to charge them in low temps.

Has anyone out there started with basic “Solar Ready” package and added a full-up solar system, i.e., batteries, panels, charge controller, inverter, etc.??

I saw on another forum discussion that the factory WFCO battery charger should be changed to a WFCO Lithium charger (WF-8950L2-MBA). Any thoughts on how necessary it is to do this?

Another question: where does the wiring from the Zamp Roof cap go within the Airstream. It is just capped and stowed near the fuse box or somewhere else?

Thanks....
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Old 01-29-2021, 08:27 PM   #4
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2019 22' Sport
Carlsbad , California
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2019 Sport 22’ owner. I do agree that rooftop solar in addition to a portable panel makes a great combo. I’ve added a 170w Zamp panel on the roof, with a Victron 100/20 solar controller, and a Battle Born lithium battery. This setup has worked great and I no longer worry about running out of amp hours.

Yes, the charge controller should be changed if you plan to recharge the battery primarily through shore power or a generator. But, the current one will mostly recharge the battery, and the solar can easily top it off.

I would start with looking at batteries before you assume too large an install. 300w solar in combination plus lithium gets you a good way to boondocking without hesitation.
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Old 01-29-2021, 08:27 PM   #5
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2019 22' Sport
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prettygood View Post
2019 sport 22’ owner. I do agree that rooftop solar in addition to a portable panel makes a great combo. I’ve added a 170w zamp panel on the roof, with a victron 100/20 solar controller, and a battle born lithium battery. This setup has worked great and i no longer worry about running out of amp hours.

Yes, the charge controller should be changed if you plan to recharge the battery primarily through shore power or a generator. But, the current one will mostly recharge the battery, and the solar can easily top it off.

I would start with looking at batteries before you assume too large an install. 300w solar in combination plus lithium gets you a good way to boondocking without hesitation.


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Old 01-30-2021, 05:25 AM   #6
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Chelsea , Maine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jammer View Post
You will find that solar panels on the roof make a significant difference, more so than battery capacity.
This is true as long as the sun is shining.
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Old 01-30-2021, 10:14 AM   #7
Don P
 
2015 23' FB Flying Cloud
Seattle , Washington
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Solar

Here's what I did with my 2014 22 Sport: first, I got rid of the stock battery and replaced it with two golf cart 6-volt batteries in order to increase amp-hour capacity. This necessitated fabrication of a custom battery tray to accommodate a heavy duty plastic box made for two GC batteries. Next, I installed three 50 watt panels on the roof using the prewire. I mounted an inexpensive PWM charge controller on the wall just below the emergency escape window, conveniently close to the battery bus bar. On cloudy days, or when parked in the shade, I break out a Renogy 100 watt solar suitcase unit which plugs into the battery using SAE connectors.

This is a rather simple set-up but serves my needs quite well. However, I camp almost exclusively in the Rockies during the summer when there is abundant sunlight. Three days without sun is about as long as I can go before the batteries start approaching 50% charge. Everyone has different power requirements. Good luck.
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Old 01-30-2021, 12:35 PM   #8
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2019 16' Sport
Trinidad , Colorado
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I have a 2019 16RB and use the Renogy 200a12v deep cycle gel battery with my solar panels. Works great!
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Old 01-30-2021, 01:50 PM   #9
Len and Jeanne
 
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2015 19' Flying Cloud
Creston Valley , British Columbia
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We have 2 6-volt batteries. When fully charged, they're enough for a weekend or a longer trip where we drive some.

We've really learned how to spare our batteries when stationary. We also carry a generator and battery charger for overnight sites with electrical.

We inquired of our usual Airstream mechanic about solar, but he (a) didn't think we had enough roof space, or that (b) solar was always the way to go in forested areas, where sites are often shaded.

His recommendation was just to carry a spare set of charged-up batteries that could be swapped out.

This isn't our ideal solution and it may not be anybody else's but it's worked so far.
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Old 03-05-2021, 07:05 PM   #10
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What solar panels did you end up buying for your 22' Bambi? We have purchased the lithium batteries, inverter, and charge controllers but not sure which solar panels will work best.
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Old 03-05-2021, 09:10 PM   #11
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2021 16' Caravel
Kirkland , Washington
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Originally Posted by Prettygood View Post
I have the same charge controller, and notice you used the 'load' +/- connectors instead of 'batt' +/-, is there any reason to connect it that way?

Thanks!
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Old 03-05-2021, 11:30 PM   #12
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2001 19' Bambi
kent , Washington
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[His recommendation was just to carry a spare set of charged-up batteries that could be swapped out. [/QUOTE]

Out of hundreds of posts here on generators and solar panels, I can't believe this is the first time I've seen anybody mention the the simplest, most cost effective solution. An extra set of batteries + portable solar panels will get most people through a long weekend of boondocking. Certainly an extra battery takes up less storage space than a generator.

In my experience, when boondocking the limiting factor isn't battery capacity, it's water capacity / grey tank capacity and the need to take showers. And for longer trips, once every few days stay at a place with water and electrical hookups.
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Old 03-06-2021, 03:34 AM   #13
Don P
 
2015 23' FB Flying Cloud
Seattle , Washington
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Solar panels for 22 Sport

I found three Siemens 50 watt panels on Craigslist that fit my rooftop quite well. This was after a lot of searching. I don't know if they are readily available. The best solution would be to map out your roof to see what will fit, keeping in mind that you should avoid shading by the A/C housing. I no longer have my 22 Sport so I cannot offer a map. Good luck.
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Old 03-06-2021, 06:26 AM   #14
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2019 22' Sport
Carlsbad , California
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hovr View Post
I have the same charge controller, and notice you used the 'load' +/- connectors instead of 'batt' +/-, is there any reason to connect it that way?



Thanks!


That’s an excellent question, and my answer is “because I didn’t pay enough attention!” Good catch, I’ll switch them to Battery.

That being said, it has been charging the battery fine, so no harm no foul I guess
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Old 03-06-2021, 06:38 AM   #15
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2011 22' Sport
MERIDEN , CT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anderpat2000 View Post
We have a 2019 22' Bambi. We have started boondocking and find that if we don't have great sun on a long weekend, the portable solar panel and single battery start to get precariously low by then end of the weekend. We have the pre-wire for roof panels, but without another battery, I don't know that adding more panels would make a difference. Has anyone put two batteries on a Bambi? Any other issues I am missing?
There are some excellent examples (with pictures) of 200w installs on the 22' Sport on this forum. There is one sport owner that has 320w with a 150w panel that serves as an awning over the back window. There are multiple threads (at least a half dozen) so I will not attempt to link here. Just do a search and you'll have pages of examples.

I'm installing 200w with 200ah lithium in the spring.
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Old 03-06-2021, 10:58 AM   #16
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2019 22' Sport
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffofCT View Post
There are some excellent examples (with pictures) of 200w installs on the 22' Sport on this forum. There is one sport owner that has 320w with a 150w panel that serves as an awning over the back window. There are multiple threads (at least a half dozen) so I will not attempt to link here. Just do a search and you'll have pages of examples.



I'm installing 200w with 200ah lithium in the spring.


On that note, it would be very easy to install the 170 and two 90w panels on the Sport 22’ for 350 watts on the roof. I have plenty of room, and may expand in the future
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Old 03-07-2021, 11:23 PM   #17
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2011 22' Sport
Portland , Oregon
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Here is one recent example of solar install on a 22FB that seems to maximize the roof space. Bambi Solar Limitations
https://www.airforums.com/forums/sho....php?p=2368177
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Old 03-12-2021, 10:42 AM   #18
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Interior battery on 16/19

any 16/19 Bambi owners that have installed the lithium on interior? If so where? Photos would be awesome! Thanks!
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Old 03-12-2021, 11:07 AM   #19
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1977 31' Sovereign
Rochester , WASHINGTON
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stunami View Post
[His recommendation was just to carry a spare set of charged-up batteries that could be swapped out.
Out of hundreds of posts here on generators and solar panels, I can't believe this is the first time I've seen anybody mention the the simplest, most cost effective solution. An extra set of batteries + portable solar panels will get most people through a long weekend of boondocking. Certainly an extra battery takes up less storage space than a generator.

In my experience, when boondocking the limiting factor isn't battery capacity, it's water capacity / grey tank capacity and the need to take showers. And for longer trips, once every few days stay at a place with water and electrical hookups.[/QUOTE]
Mechanics often go with the obvious.I would be carrying at least one or 2 spare fully charged big deep cycle boat batteries, ( around $99 each at Wally World) in case tow vehicle battery failed in middle of nowhere.
Plus they take a real beating.Along with a $29 car battery charger(Harbor Freight/ etc)
As well as a any size gasoline generator ( bigger the better, of course).That solves all the electrical needs, in the boonies.
Solar is like hitching a horse a brand new Corvette.Sure, you'll circle the track eventually, with 1 Horsepower...
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Old 03-12-2021, 11:51 AM   #20
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2021 25' Flying Cloud
2015 22' FB Sport
Golden , Colorado
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For out previous Airstream, a 2015 Sport 22, we had a single 150 watt solar panel and two standard Interstate 24 lead acid batteries. I replaced the light bulbs with LED, and this combination worked great. We were generally able to boondock continuously without running out of juice during the summer months. We would occasionally run low in the fall if we had a cloudy stretch or were parked in a particularly shady spot for a while. We purchased a generator that we basically only used once, and we stopped lugging it along on trips exceptin the fall. Water and grey tanks were a slightly limiting factor, managed through water jugs and tanks for draining and disposing of grey water. With our new FC 25, we have gone to more solar and three BattleBorn 100 ah batteries, anticipating a bit more daily usage and to give us some reserves in the shoulder seasons.
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