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Old 05-04-2016, 11:11 AM   #1
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Trying to decide - solar or generator?

I am trying to decide whether to have some solar panels installed while my TT is at Colonial or rely on a Honda EU2000 generator (which I already own)?

How does one "charge" the batteries with the generator?

I am thinking that with how infrequently I plan to run off batteries, I am better of relying on my generator to charge them, I just don't know how that is done.

Or would I be better off with a small solar panel installation (Zamp)?

Thoughts please.
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Old 05-04-2016, 11:17 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FCStreamer View Post
I am trying to decide whether to have some solar panels installed while my TT is at Colonial or rely on a Honda EU2000 generator (which I already own)?

How does one "charge" the batteries with the generator?

I am thinking that with how infrequently I plan to run off batteries, I am better of relying on my generator to charge them, I just don't know how that is done.

Or would I be better off with a small solar panel installation (Zamp)?

Thoughts please.
Dealer installed solar is always the worst. So you are better off going with the generator, as you answered your question. I know Colonial has a good reputation, but still, not going to be the best solar you can buy and you will be on the loosing side of bang for buck.

As for charging, tt's done by plugging your 30amp cord into your generator with a 30amp to 110 adapter.

Mine looks like this


Zamp tends to be overpriced for what it is. You could add a simple Renogy 100-watt suitcase to add to your arsenal if you want a solar backup solution.


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Old 05-04-2016, 11:20 AM   #3
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This is great, thanks.

Since I haven't picked up the TT yet, I don't know what cables it has, but I assume it has the one power cable, and I would assume it is 50 amp since the TT has the 50 amp service. Would this still work?

http://www.amazon.com/Conntek-14222-...50+amp+to+110v

Or this one

http://www.amazon.com/Camco-55168-Po...QDMSB859C8ZN55
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Old 05-04-2016, 11:33 AM   #4
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If you plan to boondock rarely, skip the PV. Run the generator when needed to charge up the batteries and run the margarita machine.
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Old 05-04-2016, 11:54 AM   #5
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I just went through the same analysis and am sitting at my computer waiting for today's UPS delivery, which is scheduled to have my Yamaha 2000. So that should answer your question on which way I went.

If I go with solar in the near future I will likely start with a portable suitcase, not a fixed system.

As for the adapter, what I do is go from 50 amp to 30 amp using something like this.

http://www.campingworld.com/shopping...-handles/69613

That way, if I'm at a campsite and I only want 30 amp, I can plug in with the adapter.

To then get from 30 amp to standard 110, I use a second adapter that looks like this.

http://www.amazon.com/Female-Adapter...o+110v+adapter

Same as what you are looking at ultimately but provides the flexibility of hooking up to 30 amp.

And BTW, I too was very confused about all the adapters before I got my trailer. Once you have the trailer and cord and get to a campground or two you'll figure it out quickly. Don't sweat it too much.
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Old 05-04-2016, 12:50 PM   #6
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It is a semi complex decision.

Some think it is a bit of a toss up, depending on how you camp.

In case you didn't know…

The main drawbacks for a generator, are cost of the gasoline, having to carry gasoline, and the noise.

The main drawbacks of solar is the cost, having to park in the sun, and needing to drill holes in the cabin.

Sorry…blah blah blah…my bad.

My real point is that there is a real chance that you might change how you want to camp, once you have a trailer, and realize your camping options. For me…campgrounds are my least favorite ways to camp. I like going to music festivals, and boon docking. You already have a generator. You could always get portable or installed solar system later.
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Old 05-04-2016, 12:54 PM   #7
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I am a fair weather camper. Concrete pads, 50 amp service. lots of shade. I don't see myself "boondocking" very often. And i like the shade a lot. So the more I thought about it, solar looked like less of an option. I already own the generator, which is whisper quiet (its actually an inverter). But maintaining it and having gas are the minuses. But I can live with those. Since my TT is at the dealer over 1,000 miles away, I was thinking now is the time to get something installed I would otherwise not do myself. But looks like it may not be for me.
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Old 05-04-2016, 01:04 PM   #8
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Get the generator converted to propane. Than just use a quick disconnect hose to your propane on the trailer. No more worries other than changing the oil. JMHO
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Old 05-04-2016, 01:50 PM   #9
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Go with the generator for a while. Unless you spend more than 3 nights at a site with No electricity in nice weather you will not need either solar or to use the generator. The generator will run things the solar can not. Cold, rainy weather, like we had when we were in Jasper park needs the generator. We have been traveling heavily for 10 years and I have no desire for solar yet.
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Old 05-04-2016, 03:00 PM   #10
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Thumbs up A lot depends on where you camp.....

......remember you need Sol to solar.....


....rain or shine.


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Old 05-04-2016, 03:53 PM   #11
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I have the Zamp and the Honda and use both depending on situation. Its nice that the Zamp is quietly working in the am hours prior to the time window when you are allowed to use the generator.
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Old 05-04-2016, 04:01 PM   #12
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I started with a Renogy 100 watt suitcase and two Trojan 6 volt batteries. The suitcase is an excellent performer as long as there is sun. Useless on cloudy overcast days of course. I have a Yamaha EF2000ISV2, the new model, being delivered tomorrow direct from Yamaha. On the same truck should be a propane conversion kit from US Carburetion. If all goes well I plan on acquiring another 2000 in the near future. I have another 30 amp controller and 100 watt panel that I can wire into the suitcase.
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Old 05-04-2016, 04:15 PM   #13
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Decided against solar at the time I ordered my AS. Yes environment friendly but expensive and somewhat inefficient (no sun no charging). My Yamaha EF2000 iS V2 generator does it all, except AC. At 44lbs it's easy to maneuver & store in back of my truck, it plugs into the front of my AS for instance power when needed. I carry gas in a 5 gallon metal can with an easy pour thumb operated spout. My truck bed has a hard cover & when in use I chain it to one of the bed tie down rings. Hair dryer, toaster, microwave, water heater all work when in use just not at the same time. Solar panels give you half that at triple + the cost of a small generator.
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Old 05-04-2016, 04:29 PM   #14
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Planning on some boondocking out West and lots of National Park, Forest Service campgrounds so I'm planning on a little of everything. 200w on the roof, 200w of portable that can run in parallel with the roof solar and eventually a 2000w generator for back up. I'm only going to have 220ah worth of batteries. Anything more is too heavy to lift so will wait for lithiums.

I think solar is more important out West. East coast boondocking is rather limited, right?

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Old 05-04-2016, 04:43 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, 06:17 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, 06:52 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, 07:49 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, 09:22 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, 07:08 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."

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