Remote solar?

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GypsyDogs

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here's a question- (while Serenity is in the shop... sigh)

Would it behoove me to put the solar panels and batteries etc in/on the truck/canopy and Not the trailer.. so when in use, we have the option to park the trailer in the shade? and just essentially run an 'extension cord' for power?

Just thinking here... Upsides- parking the living space in the shade.
Downsides- would have to disconnect power to use truck singly- as in 'run to town for a cup of sugar..'
 

jimindenver

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I have been setting panels out in the sun and running the cords back to the charge controller near the batteries for at least five years now, often you will see it called portable solar. The set of cords are up to 50 ft long which allows me to avoid shadows and track the sun. Many have seen my truck when I am in camp with a big solar panel on it, in a few days it is being replaced by a larger panel and being installed on a rack that will tilt.

The advantage for me is the tilting panel will let me track the sun and be less likely to grow feet when I am not around. I also do not need to load/unload it, set it up or have it taking up space while I travel. Not being packed away as I travel means it can still charge my batteries on the road. Really it is the best of both worlds and I don't have to move a 50 pound panel anymore.
 

Optimistic Paranoid

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Lot's of people run electricity from remote solar panels back to the solar charge controller and batteries in their vehicle.  No problem.

You are asking about having the panels AND the batteries remote from the camper and running power back to it.  Bit more problematical.  Unless you adapted a HUGE power cord - such as are used for 30 amp or 50 amp RV power hookups - you are going to lose a LOT of power due to voltage drop.  It would also be darn near impossible to have an inverter in the camper.  You'd almost certainly have to put the inverter in the truck with the batteries and run a separate ac power cord back to the camper.

in summary:

Solar panels on truck = good idea.
Solar panels and batteries on truck = bad idea.

IMNPHO, of course.
 

frater secessus

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I've thought about this, basically making a tow vehicle a shore power donor. Run a small inverter (enough to run normal trailer loads) and an extension cord to the trailer's converter). When not separated by distance use a heavy 12v umbillical. Heavy trailer loads would wait until vehicles were rejoined or be run from the tow vehicle directly.

Potential upside: main battery bank resides in a towing vehicle more suited to carry them, and the weight could be placed over rear wheels for added 2wd traction. Bank could potentially be larger in this configuration since not so limited by packaging or weight. Banks easier to vent in camper top. More room for panels on TV rack. TV can be located in clearing for direct sunlight. Panels stay with vehicle if you need to run to town.

I am leaning toward a Eurovan with stand-up room, but if doing something like the above I was thinking 4wd truck with camper and full length rack pulling an A-frame hardside trailer.
 
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