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Old 09-21-2017, 12:30 AM   #1
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Solar

We are buying a wolf pup 16fq. It is prewired for solar. What is the best least expensive solar to use for occasional boondocking. Just 2 of us, but would love to charge phones.
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Old 09-21-2017, 01:42 AM   #2
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Well that's a loaded question...

I'll let others dive into the usual argument over which solar setup is better

For charging phones alone a solar setup is almost overkill. Phone batteries are small compared to the trailer battery and won't drain a lot from it. I mostly charge my phone in the tow vehicle when I'm going somewhere.

There are other power uses in the trailer though, the fridge control, lights, water pump, fans, furnace etc. so if you want to stay out for more than 2-3 days you need a way to recharge the battery.

Personally I use a tiny 40W setup with a Wolf Pup 16 FB (older version of the 16 FQ). It works ok when there's plenty of sun, but in sites where there's only 3-4 hr usable of sun during the day it does not keep the battery topped off.
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Old 09-21-2017, 09:47 AM   #3
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Guess that question was sort of vague. Sorry. Guess I would need all the rest of those creature comforts. As you can tell, we are newbies. Guess I am looking for what we need wattage wise. Or at least suggestions. For the most part we have sunshine. We are in AZ., But sometimes could be in a treed area.
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Old 09-21-2017, 11:21 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katy S View Post
Guess that question was sort of vague. Sorry. Guess I would need all the rest of those creature comforts. As you can tell, we are newbies. Guess I am looking for what we need wattage wise. Or at least suggestions. For the most part we have sunshine. We are in AZ., But sometimes could be in a treed area.
Do you want to mount on the roof permanently or have the ability to use the Solar port on the Wolfpup and put the solar away when you don't have a need for it?

Using the Solar port on the side, people would normally purchase a portable solar "suitcase" that has the built in charge controller. Wolfpups have the port (Which is just wiring to the battery, but NO charge controller).

If permanent roof mount, you need to purchase the solar panel and charge controller and wire directly to your battery, I wouldn't use the solar port on the side of camper for this install.
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Old 09-22-2017, 12:35 AM   #5
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As the thread is pretty quiet allow me to take a stab at it:

For small trailers that don't have large battery banks the weight of the solar panels is small so a portable setup is feasible and a little more flexible as the panels can be moved in a good position. Once you approach 200W the panels get large and heavy and a permanent installation on the roof is more convenient.

The trailer probably has a connector compatible with ZAMP products. For some reason ZAMP chose to change polarity around from other vendors' pinout, easy to fix just something to be aware of. ZAMP makes a good product, panels are made in the US but ZAMP is also expensive. There are similar kits from other vendors, check Amazon. Don't go for the cheapest, some of the low end charge controllers have quirks like needing a fair amount of voltage from the battery to actually start working. Better controllers start from the solar panel output alone which helps when the battery is really low.

Speaking of controllers, there are two basic types, PWM and more advanced MPPT controllers. For a small setup PWM is fine as the output of the panel under load is not much higher than the battery charging voltage. MPPT can deal with higher voltages typically found in larger installations.

HTH
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Old 09-22-2017, 12:38 AM   #6
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Thank you for your help
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Old 09-22-2017, 04:46 AM   #7
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There is a lot of information here:
https://handybobsolar.wordpress.com/
He is dealing with much larger systems, but I think his information will still help with a smaller set up.
I have 200 watts worth of panels, I lay them on top of my tonneau cover during the day to charge my batteries, although flat is not the best angle it works for me. I run the output of the panels through a 30 amp charge controller and have 4 6v batteries connected to a 1500 watt inverter, it won't run my AC, but lights, chargers, Keurig coffee maker, even my adsorption fridge were all good for the week I used it in Ocracoke NC last June.

Hope this helps,
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