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Old 06-02-2024, 02:29 PM   #1
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Boondocking Upgrades

Hi all. I just bought a new to me 2022 Shamrock 233S. Been reading threads on here like crazy. We are leaving for a trip to Rocky Mountain NP in two weeks where we will be 4-5 nights without electric hookup. Currently we just have the one 190w solar panel, one 12v 85ah battery and the original solar charge controller. We do not plan to be very power hungry as we will be out most of the day hiking but want to mainly just be able to run the fridge for those 4-5 days as well as the water pump when we need it and minimal usage of lights. I tested the battery in the driveway from full charge at 8pm only running fridge and only made it about 18 hours before battery was about 20-25% (there was essentially 0 sun considering it was over night and heavy cloud cover the next day).

My question here is what upgrades might get me to last the lets say 4 days without shore power?

My first thought is upgrade to a 300ah LiFePO4 battery. If I only do this, is it a pretty much just swap out the batteries situation and changing the battery type on the solar charge controller?

Second thought is adding another solar panel. I know they are not a miracle energy source but again we are not power hungry and just looking to make it around 4 days running the fridge.

If I did just the battery upgrade or both would that get me those 4 days do you think? If I did one or both of those upgrades would I need to upgrade the solar charge controller and is that a pretty easy switch out as well ie just changing the panel in the wall?

I’m new to this and any help would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 06-02-2024, 03:27 PM   #2
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EMace,
You are thinking correctly (your existing Lead Acid 85AH battery is only sufficient if you are ALWAYS CONNECTED to Shore Power). For Boondocking, or camping without shore power, it is HIGHLY advisable to upgrade your battery to LiFePo4, 300AH LiFePO4 would be great, but you could probably get by with 200AH. Adjust your Solar Charge Controller (SCC) for LiFePO4, AND adjust your Converter/Charger (120V to 12V) to LiFePO4 also if it is not self adjusting.

YOU SHOULD REPLACE YOUR LA Battery with a LiFePo4 BATTERY, you may be able to find a 200-300AH LiFePO4 battery that will fit in your Battery Box on the front of your TT, but you can also mount a LiFePO4 anywhere, as the DO NOT off-gas or require maintenance like a LA battery. You could put one under your bed or in an outside storage access if needed.

Your main 12V DC power draw will be your Refrigerator (assuming it is a 12V DC compressor fridge, as most newer ones are). Not knowing what model Refer you have, it will at a MINIMUM draw 25-50 AH per day, more if it is a larger Refer.

If you are ALWAYS parked the Sun, your 190W Rooftop Solar should replace that 25-50AH every day. Camping in campgrounds or boondocking usually means you will be parked in the shade for some, or most of the day. This will require more Power input to your LiFePO4 battery(ies).

There are several OPTIONS:
1 (BEST)- Add a 200W Portable Solar Panel (w/it's own SCC) and a 40-50 ft 10/2 AWG Cord, connected directly to your Battery via the "Solar on the Side" Port (if you have one). You will likely need to make this Cord yourself, contact me thru the forum for info.
You can move this Panel around to stay in the sun, if parked in the shade, gaining power all day.

2- Add a second 190W Solar Panel to your roof , your current SCC will most likely handle the extra current (consult the forum for more info). Most Solar panels will gain some power even when overcast and/or in shade (mine do) and this may be enough power for you, particularly if your TT roof has some sun exposure during the day.

3 (Worst)- Gas Generator; buy, carry, and use (hopefully minimum time) a smaller 2200W-2800W QUIET gas Generator.- This will not make you any friends in a campground and MAY NOT be ALLOWED in some.

I mostly boondock or camp in campgrounds without Shore Power with Option 1 all over the west and have only needed to use a Generator once in 5 years, when we had overcast skies for 5 days.
Our 250AH LiFePO4 battery will sustain us for 4-5 full days with only MINIMAL Solar power input. We camped this May in the Redwoods in N CA (mostly shaded campsites), and our LiFePO4 battery never dropped below 75% SoC (State of Charge) over 14 days using Option 1.

I do plan to add Option 2 this year, for more convenience.

Good Luck.
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Old 06-02-2024, 03:44 PM   #3
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I have 2 x 100ah lifepo4 batteries
2x 370 watt solar panels 50 amp controller .. haven't used converter since upgrading


upgrade the battery to at least 200ah, will give you about 3 days if it is raining
add at least one more panel... you should not have to upgrade controller if you have a 30amp controller...
If you go 600w or more solar definitely get a MPPT controller

you can do all of the above in stages... get batteries then add on more solar

depending on your location you may need a generator until you have battery and solar sorted out...
a small 1000w generator will charge the batteries. Go bigger generator if you want to use air conditioner
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Old 06-02-2024, 04:43 PM   #4
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Is your fridge running off your batteries or propane?
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Old 06-02-2024, 05:17 PM   #5
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2 100 amp lithium batteries.

200 watt portable solar kit/suitcase. (Comes with the solar charger)

A generator for your use at the moment is almost worthless. RMNP campgrounds have limited generator use hours, so unless you want to be at the campsite a lot of the time so you can use your generator it’s pretty much pointless.

If anything upgrading to 1 100amp lithium battery and solar panels would be a significant improvement over what you have now.
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Old 06-02-2024, 05:31 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Aussieguy View Post
I have 2 x 100ah lifepo4 batteries
2x 370 watt solar panels 50 amp controller .. haven't used converter since upgrading


upgrade the battery to at least 200ah, will give you about 3 days if it is raining
add at least one more panel... you should not have to upgrade controller if you have a 30amp controller...
If you go 600w or more solar definitely get a MPPT controller

you can do all of the above in stages... get batteries then add on more solar

depending on your location you may need a generator until you have battery and solar sorted out...
a small 1000w generator will charge the batteries. Go bigger generator if you want to use air conditioner
I was going to recommend the same battery upgrade at minimum. This is encouraging for me, since I just upgraded to 200Ah (2x100) lithium, and I am in the process of putting 600W of solar on the roof. My goal was just a couple of nights running lights, fans, 12V fridge, but charging devices including laptop, and running Starlink (converted to 12V). Seems like a 1-2 night goal with all that is realistic.

For the OP I think that's even better news, since there's no mention of high draw loads like I plan. So yeah, definitely go for Lithium, and stuff as much solar on the roof as you can.
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Old 06-02-2024, 07:23 PM   #7
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Is your fridge running off your batteries or propane?
It’s a 12v only fridge. Dometic 8 cu ft.
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Old 06-02-2024, 07:41 PM   #8
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Thanks everyone for your help!!! So Iím pretty positive Iím going to upgrade to lithium first.

As far as second step, could I get something like the Renogy 200 Watt Solar Suitcase?

That would put me at say 390 watts solar and 200-300 ah lithium. Would this get me to a decent boondocking situation?

Anyone have experience with those solar suitcases?
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Old 06-02-2024, 08:14 PM   #9
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While not a true solar suitcase, I did get a full 200 watt solar system from HQST Solar (Renogy) and foldable brackets and made my own portable system. The nice thing about two separate panels is that you can place them in different directions, or spread them apart if shaded areas are an issue. I also have 40ft of cable so I can move them around quite a bit, which came in very handy in Glacier, Yellowstone, and most definitely Grand Teton to be able to get as much sun as possible.
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Old 06-02-2024, 08:26 PM   #10
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While not a true solar suitcase, I did get a full 200 watt solar system from HQST Solar (Renogy) and foldable brackets and made my own portable system. The nice thing about two separate panels is that you can place them in different directions, or spread them apart if shaded areas are an issue. I also have 40ft of cable so I can move them around quite a bit, which came in very handy in Glacier, Yellowstone, and most definitely Grand Teton to be able to get as much sun as possible.
Do you just hook it straight on the battery terminals? If you have two batteries in parallel do you hook it to +and- of one battery at a time or + of one and - of the other?
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Old 06-02-2024, 08:42 PM   #11
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Do you just hook it straight on the battery terminals? If you have two batteries in parallel do you hook it to +and- of one battery at a time or + of one and - of the other?
The panels go to the solar charger that came with the system. The solar charger is then hardwired to the batteries via a bus bar. On the solar charger the panel cables are supposed to be hardwired to it (set-screw holding the wires in place) but I got quick disconnects and hardwired them into the solar charger, thus allowing me to connect and disconnect the panel cables easily.

For the cables going to the batteries, they are ran through the bus bars, positive wire to positive bus bar, negative to negative. And yes, you should hook positive on one battery, and negative on the other, that way it has to flow through both batteries.
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Old 06-02-2024, 08:55 PM   #12
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The first commenter mentioned also needing to change the power converter to work with LiFePO. I figured out how to change the inverter over but can’t figure if I need to do the converter or if it’s auto? It is the WFCO wf-8955pec OEM part that’s standard in the 2022 Shamrock 233s. Any idea if I need to do anything with that?
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Old 06-02-2024, 09:11 PM   #13
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The first commenter mentioned also needing to change the power converter to work with LiFePO. I figured out how to change the inverter over but canít figure if I need to do the converter or if itís auto? It is the WFCO wf-8955pec OEM part thatís standard in the 2022 Shamrock 233s. Any idea if I need to do anything with that?
Iím not familiar with that one, others here are, but you could look up the manual for it and see if it is a lithium acceptable converter. I do know that WFCO did have problems with their auto switch for a while, not sure when they got it fixed.
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Old 06-02-2024, 09:58 PM   #14
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Yes. Two solar panels with 190w each and 2 batteries of 100aHs is a lot better.
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Old 06-03-2024, 07:36 AM   #15
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your converter is not lithium ... it would say AD in the model for auto detect

BUT it will charge a lithium battery ... slowly
You can use it to charge the battery WITH the solar and it can re-charge a heavily depleted battery.

Get enough solar and time... how often / where do you camp?
solar will keep the battery fully charged

I have 12v fridge 2 100ah batteries and 2x 370w solar panels on the roof (700w solar)

camped in Ohio (Toledo) 3 adults running 12v fridge and FURNACE fan without the need for any other charging... MY converter is turned OFF


If you intend to boondock maximize your solar on roof... It charges while you are driving
small trailer around 19 foot can have 800-1000w of solar
My 24 foot can fit about 1500w of panels but the 740 is enough for my needs (for now)

get enough solar working and you can run an inverter...

plan ahead and work in stages... work out what sizes and where to put panels FIRST
then you won't have to move them around if you decide to add more later.

Each RV roof layout is a bit different...
I was lucky my rear section was totally free of any roof clutter, so I could buy 2 residential sized panels 370w each (Facebook $150 each)
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Old 06-03-2024, 10:03 AM   #16
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The first commenter mentioned also needing to change the power converter to work with LiFePO. I figured out how to change the inverter over but canít figure if I need to do the converter or if itís auto? It is the WFCO wf-8955pec OEM part thatís standard in the 2022 Shamrock 233s. Any idea if I need to do anything with that?
The WF-8955PEC is what I have in my TT. It is not designed for lithium, but it can charge them up to about 80%. In my experience it doesn't do a very good job of keeping the battery up. I often see my batteries drain down to about 30-40% before it starts charging again, while plugged into AC.

I have a Progressive Dynamics PD4655LIV converter that I'll be installing. It's a drop in replacement for the WF-8955.
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Old 06-10-2024, 06:37 PM   #17
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My 4 days boondocking with limited solar

We tried boondocking for the first time last Fall with our 2022 Forest River Microlite with 190 watt rooftop solar. We had 2 lead acid batteries. Fridge would run for 24 hours and would run down our batteries. Solution? I ran my truck for about 30 minutes each day.
That was enough to charge my batteries. Problem solved for a few bucks worth of gas.
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Old 06-10-2024, 06:50 PM   #18
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The first commenter mentioned also needing to change the power converter to work with LiFePO. I figured out how to change the inverter over but canít figure if I need to do the converter or if itís auto? It is the WFCO wf-8955pec OEM part thatís standard in the 2022 Shamrock 233s. Any idea if I need to do anything with that?
Does you converter have AD at the end of the model number, if so it's one of the auto detect ones and it will only switch to LiFePO4 mode when your Lifepo4 batter discharges to around 20% Until it switches over it will only charge your LiFePO4 battery to around 80% when you are on shore power. The good thing is your Solar Charge controller once changed to LiFePO4 mode will fully charge your Lifepo4 batteries until your converter switches over.

Changing your lead acid to LiFePO4 is a game changer and I recommend that you get two small form factor 100 AH batteries an connect them in parallel that way if for some strange reason on fails you are not with out 12V until you get it replaced. I use the following that you can buy direct or on Amazon and have had them for 2.5 years and boondocking all winter in the south west.
https://ipowerqueen.com/collections/12v-series/products/power-queen-12v-100ah-group-24-lifepo4-battery

If you have the 30amp GoPower Solar charge controller you can add up to 600 watts on the roof. This is what I have

I also have the Renogy 200 watt solar suitcase with the built in solar charge controller and this extension cable
https://a.co/d/gTks02b

You can use the clamp on connectors that come with the Renogy suitcase to clam directly to you battery or it contains a SAE connector that you can plug into the side of your trailer of it has the SAE solar port but be aware the port on your trailer polarity may be reversed so test it with a voltmeter before plugging in and if so you can get one of these to fix the polarity https://a.co/d/1UDd650

If you go with two batteries make sure you hook them up in parallel like in the following link https://images.app.goo.gl/kAt1neBPVNCLXZdB8

If you have any questions please post them here or message me.

You will enjoy boondocking, and as you do more and find you need more battery storage you can easily add more to a LiFePO4 bank and if needed you may be able to get a larger battery box that sits on top of the tongue.

Also if you have any plans to camp I the cold you will want to go with self heated batteries or put a heating pad on the box like I did (we have camped in 9į) with no problems with the heating pad, you are unable to charge a LiFePO4 battery below 30į and unable to discharge below -10į with out damaging them.

Also think about adding a shunt at some point this is the only way to tell the true state of charge on a LiFePO4 battery because the voltage does not drop off below 12V until nearly fully discharged.

Also you are able to fully discharge a LiFePO4 battery with out damaging it where a lead acid battery can only be discharge to 50% with out damaging it.
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Old 06-10-2024, 06:58 PM   #19
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Is your fridge running off your batteries or propane?
If he was running fridge on propane, he wouldn't have asked the question.
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Old 06-10-2024, 07:45 PM   #20
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Boondocked in Flagstaff Superlite 529IKRL for 4 nights in Joshua Tree NP. I have 2 x 200 watt panels feeding 2 x 100 amp lithium with with Victron 150/45 solar controller. Ran three vent fans along with 2 way refrig and water pump lowest monitor showed was 62% and it was back to 100% by noontime. Love my setup going to add 2000 watt inverter soon. Never used the generatorÖ
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