Solar Charging Panel on Tent Trailer Roof?

Discussion in 'Camping, Hiking, Cooking' started by Ed Call, May 16, 2011.

  1. Ed Call

    Ed Call Mumbling Moderator Staff Member

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    Guess I should have asked for suggestions from everyone but Salmo g! Actually, the tent trailer is to improve the odds of a comfortable prolonged weekend trip the the Mrs and the girls. If that ain't camping, I could care less. It is fun to spend time with them in a comfortable base camp.

    Steve agrees with you, but he was glad to be in the tent trailer this winter on the Yakima. It was cold and the heater was not working but it sure beat sleeping outside.

    We'll be doing some daddy daughter backpacking this summer too. The more outdoor adventures the better. I don't mind if they have comfortable accomodations to sleep if we are venturing to new and fun places.
     
  2. Jerry Daschofsky

    Jerry Daschofsky Moderator Staff Member

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    Ed, you're sooooooo right. You rarely will hear someone bitch in a nice warm camper after spending all day on a freezing river.

    And on a sidenote I concur with the generator scenerio. I have one I use on my Alaskan. Works like a charm (but I don't have a battery setup, I use it as a 110v setup).
     
  3. Dan Nelson

    Dan Nelson Hiker, Fisher, Writer, Bum

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    iagree iagree

    Hear, hear! If it takes a few little solar-powered comforts from home to get kids into outdoor adventures, we should all be advocating more power in camp!

    Mumbles, you have my respect and admiration for keeping your family fit and active in outdoor adventures.
     
  4. Ed Call

    Ed Call Mumbling Moderator Staff Member

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    Dan, guilty of not being very fit myself. The girls are working on me though!
     
  5. Kent Lufkin

    Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

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    "One hundred fifty years ago, we lived in the wilderness and dreamed of civilization. Today, we live in civilization but long for wilderness." - David James Duncan

    K
     
  6. bennysbuddy

    bennysbuddy the sultan of swing

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    Maybe not ,but having hot water and a furnace means I won't be sleeping alone!!!
     
  7. Vladimir Steblina

    Vladimir Steblina Retired Forester...now fishing instead of working

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    Mumbles,

    I had two tent trailers that I ran with solar panels. I had water pump, furnance fan (uses lots of power), and lights. Also ran my laptop.

    IF you are camping ONLY in summer a 30 watt panel will keep your battery charged just fine. Do NOT get anything less than a 30 watt panel for summer. They will not recharge your battery.

    IF you are using it for camping in fall hunting season then I would get a 125 watt panel. The amount of solar gain drops dramatically in fall.

    IF you have a electric trolling motor then just buy the 125 watt panel. It will generate enough power to keep your electric motor charged and also the tent trailer.

    With the 125 watt panel you will need a charge controller to avoid over-charging your battery.

    I just mount the 125 watt panel with those plastic ties for electronic cables on my bike rack that sits on top of the tent trailer. I take it down when moving and also use it with my 5th wheel. You can see the panel next to the rocket box. It is BIG.

    [​IMG]

    The Costco and Harbor Freight panels are pretty bad. You really should buy a solar panel from a reputable dealer. Here are two that I order from

    http://www.windsun.com/

    http://www.backwoodssolar.com/

    Your idea of a generator is also good. I have a Honda generator in addition to the panel. The panel charges my friends electric motor and keeps the battery fully charged. At night, we fire up the generator and party with all the "excess" electricity. Oh, the Honda generator is great for yard work, etc. etc. I put it on a little red wagon and drag it around the yard for trimming, running electric chainsaw etc. etc.

    The Honda is inefficient for charging batteries. Your trolling batteries are much better charged with solar.

    Buy the 2000 rather than the 1000. You can run more important stuff with the 2000.
     
  8. Mark Walker

    Mark Walker Active Member

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    Well, if you're going to go generator and you plan to run AC, you'll need at least a 4000.
     
  9. Vladimir Steblina

    Vladimir Steblina Retired Forester...now fishing instead of working

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    It is NOT camping if your running the air conditioner!!

    Furnace is ok, hot showers are ok, cell service ok, high speed internet is ok, microwave is ok, satellite tv is ok, but not an air conditioner!! Please.....hot weather is for camping!!

    But if you must you can get a kit ($150) to wire two Honda 2000 together to get 4000 so you can run your air conditioner. Wimps..
     
  10. Steve Call

    Steve Call Active Member

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    Ed, you're right I very much appreciated the bunk in your travel trailer in March. No complaints, and I fully understand needing to make an outing fun for the wife and kids. Make the most of every opportunity you get. My response/agreement with Salmo g came the day after I returned from 5 days backpacking/fishing down in Oregon. Our only concession to electricity was a headlamp. We slept on the ground, which I my age is becoming more of a challenge each year, cooked using wood, iodine tabs to purify our water........ my &^@# pump died on me again! It's not for everyone, certainly not for youngsters.

    Steve
     
  11. Holly Glen

    Holly Glen Member

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    :thumb::thumb::thumb:
    "... Mrs and the girls. If that ain't camping, I could care less. It is fun to spend time with them..." and "...daddy daughter backpacking..." :thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb:

    I love to hear Ed talk about his "Girls"

    Of all the "things" in LIFE I have had..and I have LOST---loosing my FATHER was the hardest, most poignant, least replaceable, and remains the deepest cut even 25 years later.

    Ed, I do not know these folks-- and the name kinda scares my liberal ass--but
    they have some interesting stuff take a look;

    http://www.patriotsolargroup.com/

    cheers!
    Hg
     
  12. Ed Call

    Ed Call Mumbling Moderator Staff Member

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    Mark, no air conditioning in the house so none in the tent trailer. I guess if it is really bad we can hit the SUV, turn on the AC and make the 30 mile drive out to some ice cream shop (and I'll call that camping if I want...Salmo g).

    Steve, there is a time and a place and a combo of features for every situation. When the girls are along I'm more interested in them having a great time because that means I'm having a good time. They want to hit the Yakima this weekend. I'm afraid the 8000cfs has me rethinking their plan.

    Holly, good to hear from you again. I hope they value my presence a fraction of how I value theirs. They sure do tolerate a lot from my grumpy old ass. Hope you've been well.

    Vlad, thank you for the informative post. That is a lot of great information to share. I think the generator idea is for silence, Hondas are known for that, and running stuff. Not really for charging batteries. I do think that I'll continue to consider the the panels. Most likely the smaller one for now. I think wehn we know the weather is going to be bad we opt for sites with hook ups. When the weather is good it seems we are more inclined to travel a bit further.
     
  13. Grayone

    Grayone Fishin' to the end, Oc.P

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    Ed...pretty much like Vlad said. Just to reinforce a point , the furnace in tent trailers will kill your batteries in short order. Always have a generator or be prepared to charge with your vehicle.
     
  14. Jerry Daschofsky

    Jerry Daschofsky Moderator Staff Member

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    I'll third the furnace. I know I wired in two seperate batteries (one was primarily for the furnace, the other was a slave that worked on the main system but pulled power to the furnace battery if needed). That old prowler could suck the juice outta it fast. Why I bought my generator.

    And yes, generators suck trying to recharge UNLESS you buy a battery charger to plug into it to plug your battery into. What we used to do with the batteries at our cabin down on the Nooch (well, still do). Works like a charm.