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Old 07-19-2005, 06:30 AM   #15
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hello Kopit, as I mentioned before we prefer off season camping, for example last new year's we were camping in central BC and the coldest it went down to was minus 39c.
we have found that once below zero the effective capacity of the camper batteries are cut in half.
we experimented first with one 15 watt panel, then 2 panels, now we have four. roof mounting the panels is not very efficient when the sun just clears the horizon.
our furnace is our biggest power hog but it is necessary when we camp. have considered catalytic heaters but do not like the amount of moisture they pump into the camper.

newfoundland is on my to do list.
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Old 07-19-2005, 12:26 PM   #16
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Hello Rockman,

If you come to The Rock, you should feel right at home.

BC is on my to do list. I have in mind to be in AK May 1, work my around and come down to BC after.... one year.

How do you haul your solar set up around?

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Old 07-20-2005, 06:09 AM   #17
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good morning Kopit.
portability of the solar panel array was high priority when I designed the unit.
I hinged the four panels together along their length, the outside panels fold inward, then the two pairs fold outward (looks like a collapsing "W"). the backside has 2 swing out legs to support the panels at any angle.
then I took a 25' three conductor outdoor extension cord and cut the female end of at about 3'. this cut end was hard wired onto the camper batteries with the female plug dangling out the battery compartment vent/drain hole.
the cut end of the remaining 22' of cord was soldered onto the output wires of the 4 panels. I used a three 12 gauge conductor cord to guarrantee correct polarity when connecting.
now all I do is put the panel in the sun and run the male ended 22' cord over to the camper and connect to the hard wired female end attached to the batteries. I do carry and extra 25' cord in case I need to lengthen the reach.
in full sun the charge indicator lights up in the camper's monitor panel.
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Old 07-21-2005, 02:08 AM   #18
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Morning rockman,

Some practical questions.

How do you carry your panels in transit? What are the physical dimensions of this 'package'??

& do you travel with any pets? I travel with two dogs, currently 30+kg/70 lbs ea. They are tied onto the truck frame, being official big dogs. This makes some things very interesting re. things attached to the camper - electrical hook ups for present. If you travel with pets, how do you get around this one?

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Old 07-21-2005, 06:10 AM   #19
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Hello Kopit.

we too are dog owners. one bernese/collie cross is 80lbs and the other is a setter/spaniel cross 40lbs. our truck is 4 door model so they ride in the back seat which is carefully protected from their claws.

when the solar panels are folded up for transport they have the length and width of only one panel but are 4 panels deep.
we usually transport the panels on the floor of the camper or up on the cab over bed.

so far the dogs have not caused any damage by tripping or tangling up in the cord linking the solar panels to the camper. if possible we spread out a 10x10 foot astro turf type outdoor carpet at the rear of the camper to try to keep the mud outside. I run the solar panel cord under this carpet when convenient.

sorry I have not taken any photos of the solar panel or its connections or I would post them here.
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Old 07-24-2005, 01:31 AM   #20
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Hello rockman,

I'd love to see photos when you get a chance. This is something that I will plan over the winter to be put in place by this time next year.

I'd also like a picture of the panels as 'packed' for transit in your camper.

One of my dogs rides in my camper. She is secured, but has some moving room. She loves my dinette seat. I think I'd have to figure a way to 'pack' the panels away from where she can reach. So, what's the weight of the 'solar package'?

My dogs wear down their claws. I never have to trim!!!!!

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Old 07-25-2005, 06:18 AM   #21
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good morning Kopit.

I prefer to lay the solar panels on the overcab bed during transport, but if they are wet I will put them on the camper floor or in the basement.

as each panel is bolted top and bottom to a piece of 4"x13" strip of 1/4" plywood. the folding hinges are attached to the plywood. do not know the combined weight but it's only slightly heavier than the four 15 watt panels.
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