Solar battery charger/maintainer suggestions - Dutchmen Owners

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Old 05-28-2017, 02:23 PM   #1
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Solar battery charger/maintainer suggestions

Hey all, brand new Coleman 300tq owner here trying to find all the essentials our new camper. Our last was a Jayco 23b hybrid, so a nice step up to a TT. Really looking forward to no more beds to set up LOL

Anyway, I'm looking for recommendations on a solar battery charger that can be used to help keep batteries charged during dry camping. We'll be adding the second battery, and just want that little extra "help". I've seen some of the 40 to 100 watt folding suitcase style, and like those set ups. But not completely understanding the whole electrical draws and needs associated with the camper and solar charger, I just want to be sure to pick the right thing without overpaying for more, or less, than I needed.

So again, I'm looking for something that can just be connected while dry camping to boost the batteries after the night time drains. This is mostly 4 night type trips and we use power sparingly. But it would be nice to not worry to much about the interior and exterior lights, radio, fridge, etc. Lights are LED as well.

Thanks in advance!
Kyle
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Old 05-28-2017, 07:04 PM   #2
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Hi Kyle,

The minimum would be 160 watts if you are conservative with your power usage and are in a decent sun exposure area, 200 watts would be better yet. I have a 100 watt folding panel set that I bought when I had my smaller camper. Think of a battery bank like a bank account, you have to put back in what you spend or there will be a penalty. (that being dead batteries, cold and darkness!)

There are a lot of considerations: where do you camp? East coast in the forests? portable panels are a plus, however being portable they do have the potential to grow legs and wander off. If you camp in open spaces the roof top are the way to go. Set and forget. My long term plan is a combination of roof top and portable for when we are under the trees.

With solar more watts is usually better, but they cost more. Wiring size and distance is critical, and you need a way to monitor what you are putting in and taking out, Trimetric or Victron are both good choices, then you have to decide on a controller for the panels.

Determine how much power you would possibly use in a single day, then allow for a few cloudy/rainy days. Size your system accordingly. Many people find out that a small inverter generator is cheaper and easier in the long run.

Aaron
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Old 05-30-2017, 03:08 PM   #3
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2x6V golf cart batteries, 300 watts of solar mounted fixed and flat on the roof, and you've got a solid solar charging system. But as wahoonc said, how you use it and how you park/set them up will play a big role in how it will work for you. I personally wouldn't worry about a monitor even though it is extremely satisfying to be able to see what is going on. A voltmeter and/or hydrometer will tell you everything you need to know and the great thing about permanently mounted solar is that it requires no user input.
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Old 05-31-2017, 09:22 AM   #4
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Thanks for the responses. Sounds like I'll hold off on doing the small solar to charge and just wait for the right bigger system. I think a generator makes more sense instead of paying for solar parts twice.
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