Looking to buy solar panels

Discussion about camping gear you recommend or have questions about, or camping techniques that have worked well for you. Maybe even gear that is well suited to the Fish Creek experience.
karen230
Devote FCP Camper
Devote FCP Camper
Posts: 142
Joined: Mon Mar 29, 2010 10:57 am

Looking to buy solar panels

Postby karen230 » Tue Apr 16, 2019 8:50 am

Hi,

So we are getting a new TT and it has a "solar prep" so we just need to purchase the panels. The dealer hasn't been much help yet but maybe they will clear up a little confusion on delivery day when they go through the TT with us. But because I am a planner and need to begin preparing for the purchase, do any of you use the solar panels? Do you like them? How did you determine what was best for your trailer? I have begun searching the dealers website but they do not list the panels so we will have to go in and look for them, which is fine since I know I am not going to purchase them until after we take delivery but would be nice if I could see what they have so I can compare.
User avatar
CampADK
Site Admin & Devote FCP Camper
Site Admin & Devote FCP Camper
Posts: 3749
Joined: Sun Sep 17, 2006 11:01 am
Years at Fish Creek: 15
Camping Equipment: 13ft Scotty 1976 Cabin Cruiser Reno
Your Real Name (optional): Dave & Kate McGrath
Camp Sign Name (optional): CAMPADK
Location: Ottawa, Ontario
Contact:

Re: Looking to buy solar panels

Postby CampADK » Mon Apr 29, 2019 1:32 pm

I have a ZAMP 80W panel these days for our 13ft Scotty. All that is required really as we don't have a fridge in the trailer. The ZAMP are not cheap but it folds in half for much easier storage than the full size panels and it has full metering on it so I now what the heck is going on power wise. Used to have a big 130W panel but it was heavy and a pain to transport. Used to have that when we had our 19ft Airstream.

For charging electronics etc I have a Goal Zero Yeti Lithium Power Box with a foldup 28W panel. Not huge but the idea is I can move the box out on our dock along with the 28W panel to get clear unobstructed sun. That is the biggest problem with solar...

The main things to consider are
1. What/how much are your power requirements. ie what items will you need to power?
2. Where do you camp and for how long? Our you out in the open or in dense woods. Huge difference!

If you only use lights and maybe a water pump for your sink your needs are much less than someone trying to power a fridge and a CPAP.

If you camp mainly in the ADKs you will find you'll need a larger panel, and you'll have to be willing to pay attention and move the panel throughout the day to keep it in the sun. For some sites solar will be useless. Any shade (even a little) from trees can mean your power output of the panel will be reduced dramatically! A panel fitted to the top of your trailer will be about useless in the ADKs. If you were camping at say Coles Creek, Southwick Beach or Keuka Lake which are very open for example, a solar setup will work quite well. If you get a few cloudy days you solar panel will only charge minimally though.

I still bring my Honda 1000W just as backup and usually only run it for an hour or so after several cloudy/rainy days. But I only power lights and charge iphones/ipads, several camera batteries and coffee frother in the trailer. No fridge or other power hogs which will tie you to generators and/or very large solar setups.
karen230
Devote FCP Camper
Devote FCP Camper
Posts: 142
Joined: Mon Mar 29, 2010 10:57 am

Re: Looking to buy solar panels

Postby karen230 » Thu May 02, 2019 5:15 pm

Someone told me it will trickle charge the battery on the trailer, I guess that is what I am really interested in. The fridge runs on propane so it would be the lights, water pump and furnace. We used to have 2 batteries but we moved and now we aren’t sure where the 2nd battery is.

Return to “Camping Gear and Techniques”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest