Simple Solar Installation?

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DowneastME
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Simple Solar Installation?

I have a 2000 Scamp 13' with a very basic layout.  There is only a furnace and fridge under the counter.  There is no inverter, so without shore power, I have use of the lights (12v which I've converted to LEDs), the fridge (propane or 12v), the furnace (propane and 12v), and a MaxxAir fan which I had installed two years ago. There is no AC.  I have a Group 24 deep cycle, lead acid battery on the hitch frame which receives a charge via the truck's alternator while driving as well as from a trickle charger I installed when plugged in to shore power.  I would like a simple, but more robust setup for future, extended boondocking and have considered various options including upgrading my 12v battery.  For extended use without shore power, I keep coming back to solar.

My thought is this;  I am considering buying the Jackery Explorer 1000 Portable Power Station with portable, foldable solar panels.  It's not a cheap system, but it's essentially plug and play and is well reviewed.  I propose to put it under the rear dinette seat storage compartment where the Scamp's 110 power supply line resides.  It should fit upright according to product specifications.  I would then run solar panel lines through the electrical line portal to recharge the batteries when needed.  For the limited power needs I have, beyond those mentioned above (charging laptop, phone, gps), I am thinking of just plugging in the Scamp's 110v line with 15 amp plug into the power station.  With no converter, the interior lights will still be dependent on the front mounted lead acid battery.  Perhaps not the most efficent way to manage the 12v electrical demands, but the solar power station would keep the 12v battery charged by means of the trickle charger I've installed in one of the front bench storage compartments and plugged into one of the 110v wall outlets at the front of the kitchen cabinet.  The most efficient operation of the fridge comes via propane I believe, so I would plan on using that mode.  I believe the fan/blower on the furnace runs off the 12v battery, so it too would be similarly recharged by the Jackery.  I also have the option of running a small electric heater I have onboard for when shore power is available, but would use that sparingly because of the power demands.  If anything, I think the 1000w power station may be overkill, but should provide plenty of buffer for power demands over time without panic due to unforseen weather/solar conditions, etc.  Plus, when at my homestead base, it can be easily removed and used as a backup power supply there as well.

I would appreciate any constructive reviews/comments of this proposed setup.  Why isn't this a straight forward, minimal modification/install proposal?  Am I missing something?  Thanks in advance!

Greg A
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Solar Install

Make sure you go through our Solar Resource step by step.

https://scampowners.com/solar-scamp-trailers

The Jackery does work as advertised from what I've heard, but is a very expensive option that isn't really the best solution.

Since you have the LED lights, and minimal usage with most being the furnace if it's needed your next step before looking at panels is battery. Your Group 24 battery is too light duty. I'm assuming it will come in around 90-100ah which means you only have 45-50ah to use and your money should go there next.

I'd get away from a flooded battery and at a minimum buy an AGM rated at 200ah or up.

Trojan's are a well-known deep cycle product:

https://www.trojanbattery.com/motiveagm/

https://www.trojanbattery.com/solar-agm-2/

Once your read through the battery section of the solar resource you'll see the differenc. With your current battery, if you run the furnace and use 20ah daily, you can go for 2 days without putting anything back in.

If you go with a 220ah AGM you can use 110ah which gives you 5 days at the same usage before needing to put anything back in. Most camping trips are 3-4 days max and you could go strictly on battery for those without any recharging with a more robust battery system.

After you resolve the battery, then look at panels/generator or combination for recharging while boondocking. You probably would be fine with a 100ah portable panel directly to the battery on the tongue and not bother with permanent mounting.

I currently have 200ah of Lithium with a roof mount solar. At the 20ah usage level I can go 10 days with no recharge and they recharge in 1/3 the time. The Lithium option is $$$, but well-worth it for full-timing.

 

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ac0gv
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I like 12 VDC

Remember that much charging (phones etc) can be done from 12 vdc with out converting it to 120 AC first. For the price of a Jackery you could upgrade your current battery and add solar charging along with a good inverter.  I up graded to a pair of 6 volt batteries and just carry a portable 100 watt panel with a 25 foot cable and charge with that. I do have a small inverter but sedom use it.

DowneastME
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Thank you both for your responses and recommendations.  I agree that a battery upgrade is needed.  I'll go ahead and read up on the battery section.  I had started looking previously into a Group 27 AGM battery and will resume that search;  looking into the Trojans.

Greg, do you know if an AGM battery requires a different type of trickle charger when plugged into shore power?  Or will the charger I have more than likely be adequate?

More research ... thanks again!