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Old 02-18-2020, 09:08 PM   #1
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tampa , Florida
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To Carport or leave uncovered

We bought a 2020 26' FC last month and plan to keep it parked on land in north Florida. There is no power accessible on the property so we will depend on our solar panels to keep the batteries charged.
I would like to have a carport built to protect the AS but the roof will restrict the suns rays to the solar panels.
My dilemma: leave the AS exposed so the batteries can maintain a charge?, or protect the AS with a carport and not worry about the batteries discharging?
Any suggestions or advice would be appreciated.
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Old 02-18-2020, 09:18 PM   #2
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Protecting your coach from the strong Fla sun, not to mention rain/wind possibly carrying salt, is a good idea. Could you use a couple of portable solar panels set outside of the carport to keep your batteries powered? Or on the carport roof?

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Old 02-19-2020, 10:25 AM   #3
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Just thought of something else in favor of the carport: the sun will heat up the interior of your coach like you won't believe, destroying stuff and making your coach uninhabitable when you arrive to use it. And with the rain and insects in Fla, you can't leave anything open for ventilation. So the carport idea gains even more, IMHO.

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Old 02-19-2020, 10:50 AM   #4
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Cover it, whenever possible. Add external solar panels to keep batteries charged up.
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Old 02-19-2020, 11:33 AM   #5
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wwesthof, I agree with the other posters - protect the AS at all costs

Take a look at PulseTech’s line of solar chargers. They have some that work with two 12V batteries in parallel like the one below so perfect for your application.
https://www.pulsetech.net/store/sola...-chargers.html
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Old 02-20-2020, 04:35 AM   #6
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Thank you all. After reading the comments I began to wonder why I would even place the charging of batteries at the same degree as protecting a new AS!!!..duh!!! It is a no brainers! Thank you.
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Old 02-20-2020, 07:28 AM   #7
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Either purchase and install a real battery disconnect switch or disconnect the negative side of the batteries when you leave the trailer. The batteries will hold their charge for weeks if you do. If not they will be dead in days. Repeated discharge will kill the batteries.

Here’s a simple disconnect that some people use. Depending on how your trailer is wired you may need two, one for each battery.

https://www.amazon.com/Post-Battery-.../dp/B001N729FS

Note:
Merely driving with the trailer connected to the tow vehicle typically will not provide sufficient charging. You shoudl be sure your batteries are fully charged before leaving the trailer. A night or two at a campground with shore power will do that.


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Old 02-20-2020, 08:09 AM   #8
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My trailer is stored under a carport but just enough light leaks in to keep the batteries charged with roof mounted solar.
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Old 02-20-2020, 09:00 AM   #9
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I have used a Pulse Tech solar charger for years to maintain the battery in my tractor which is stored in a shed in the back yard. Their products are great. There is no way I would leave our AS uncovered. One hail storm is all it would take, not to mention the other elements.
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Old 02-20-2020, 09:15 AM   #10
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Great question. We heartily agree, whenever possible store the Airstream under a roof. A small portable solar panel and a simple solar charge controller, even if you just alligator clip it to your battery terminals, should keep the coach batteries happy during storage and will keep your trailer in much better condition overall. We rent space for Rocinante where she's stored inside a building when we're not on the road. As others have observed, covered storage is particularly important in hot southern states where the sun is also especially strong.

Forgot to mention, we actually have a separate battery disconnect switch and lithium batteries. As a result, when we store the trailer, we turn the switch to off (e.g. no battery power to anything, not even the propane detector or the jack), and when we return the batteries are still fully charged.
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Old 02-20-2020, 09:27 AM   #11
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If you want, why not? But you don't have too.
For me getting the axles unloaded is more important.

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Oh...and I just charge and isolate the batteries and leave them in the AS. I used to remove and trickle, but found that unnecessary. Both the AGM's and the BB Lithiums have held the charge very well thru the Winter.
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Old 02-20-2020, 09:33 AM   #12
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My AS is a 2000 Excella. It has always been under a carport type shelter. People can't believe it is 20 years old. The interior is also great. I vote for portable solar panels and a carport.
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Old 02-20-2020, 09:43 AM   #13
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If you find the solar panels on your Airstream are not able to keep the batteries charged while under the carport, is it possible to install a solar panel on the roof of your carport to attach to your Airstream when it's inside?
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Old 02-20-2020, 09:57 AM   #14
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I wish I could build my carport. City Permits is my problem.

Your problem could easily be solved by getting an external solar panel. A 100w will be enough to keep your batteries charged. Build your carport.
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Old 02-20-2020, 11:13 AM   #15
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What about the possibility of adding a skylight or translucent panel to the carport over the area of the solar panels. Will not get full charging power, however over time should keep it fully charged.
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Old 02-20-2020, 11:34 AM   #16
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I highly recommend the carport for al of the obvious and stated reasons. Cant you have electrical service installed? Keep the batteries topped off and to run a dehumidifier.
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Old 02-20-2020, 12:51 PM   #17
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I’m sure you’ve already determined to cover it, no question!
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Old 02-20-2020, 04:35 PM   #18
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I keep my Airstream parked under a cantilevered carport. The roof has translucent panels that reject uv and heat from the sun. I have 50 amp service plugged into the trailer. In your case I think the translucent panels would permit enough light to activate your solar panels.
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Old 02-23-2020, 07:47 PM   #19
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I don't even have my Caravel yet and I've already built a carport for it! And with the wind here, I had glass put on two sides to protect it from blowing rain, or more likely, snow.

But now I'm intrigued by the idea of hanging a portable solar panel on one side of glass to keep it powered up.

Lots of good info here. Thanks, guys!

Vivian
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Old 02-26-2020, 10:23 AM   #20
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I just purchased my 28 ft Classic and read advice to not cover airstream because might ruin finish? Should I buy a cover and if so, which brand? Best Regards CoCo
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