Well, we finally took the plunge and bought our first travel trailer. We started camping three years ago with a Coleman Mesa popup that a friend of the family blessed us with. It was a great start but now we have decided to increase the size and capabilities of the trailer as our family and ambition for camping have grown. We bought a 2006 Flagstaff M-23lb which has a triple bunk setup with a front queen. It's fantastic which is why we couldn't pass up the deal even though we can't go camping for at least another 3 weeks due to prior commitments. During the last week or so and over the next few weeks I am planning on putting together a plan to update the power supply on the trailer and get it so we can do some extended weekends off grid. After reading some great stuff from Fire Instructor, Herk (Sp?) and some others this is what I have planned so far. Let me know what you think! I'm an un-intimidated newbie so I need all the guidance I can get before I do something stupid.
1. Replace the 3 year old car battery the trailer has now with a 12 volt AGM Trojan 31 series with 110 amp hours of life.
2. Replace all of the 12 volt lights inside the trailer to LED style.
3. Install a 100 watt solar panel with a 10 amp Morningstar SolarSaver Charge Controller via a kit from Solar Penny
4. Install a marine style break on the POSITIVE side.
5. While installing the solar panel, I am planning on using door hinges and mounts to create tilt options so I can angle the panel for better winter power solutions (sun sits low in the SW in the winter).
Reasons for only one battery to start:
a. Budget Constraints (later I want to add a second battery in parallel).
b. Only boondock a few times a year (I prefer campgrounds so kids can play without worrying about wild animals and I like to meet other campers).
c. When we boondock it is always with my wife's family for an extended weekend.
d. We are low power users---never even had a battery in the popup, just used a bit from the TV. I can't see how we would use 50 amps a day except in rare situation where the furnace would need to run.
e. When I boondock, I could borrow my father-in-law's Honda generator to keep batteries from getting low charge if I get in a bind. He plugs in his fifth wheel every morning.
f. Weight is an issue. I have a 2004 Dodge Durango SLT with Hemi and I don't want to overburden it. When fully loaded I'm close to GVCWR. Got a few hundred pounds to spare, so sticking with one battery at first to see how I do and keep the weight off.