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Old 10-21-2012, 08:53 PM   #1
Steverino's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Central PA
Posts: 91
Recommendations for solar battery maintainer

Happy Fall, all!

One more trip next weekend & then it's time to put her (the rig, not the DW) to bed...

After suffering this season with marginal engine and house batteries, I'm planning on buying new ones next Spring. Meanwhile, I'm going to take some steps to help ensure better battery performance & longevity in the future.

Step 1: install a Trick-L-Start (http://www.lslproducts.com/TLSPage.html) so that my engine battery gets some love when I'm hooked to shore power, and

Step 2: install a basic solar battery maintainer so that when the rig is in storage (where there's no shore power) all the batteries will get some positive encouragement.

Question 1: can anyone recommend a good basic solar panel setup? I am not looking at supporting boondocking or extraordinary loads - just enough to keep my batteries from going dead when the rig is not being used.

Question 2: regarding installation of a solar panel - I assume most come with some sort of RV-appropriate mounting bracketry... What about wiring? What's the best way to get wires from the roof to the basement? I assume I'll need to go thru the roof and then find a cabinet or some "dead" space to use to get down to the floor... Any tips / pointers? I figure it's impossible to fish through the walls since they probably have foam filler...

Any advice much appreciated!


2000 Jayco Designer 3230
32' - E450 - Triton V10
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Old 10-22-2012, 08:29 PM   #2
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Michigan
Posts: 7,369

I spent some time a few years ago looking into solar, and there is a few things that need to be considered when going solar, even with the basic approach you are describing.

I have heard so many different options on sizing an RV solar battery maintainer, trickle charger, etc.. One important thing to confirm is will there be any level of "amp" draw from the batteries while the RV is in storage (LP detector, etc.).. Also, will the solar panel be in a location that will get adequate sunlight and be free from debris (leaves, snow, ice. etc.).

I was once told that a solar battery maintainer should be at least have a 10-15 watt panel, but I never did confirm this. Also, I would imagine that some from of controller/regulator may be required to avoid over charging the batteries.., I'm just thinking out load here.

SunForce is one solar product manufacture that I have run across on some forums, but I don't have any first hand experience to make any recommendations. Click on the "Products" tab after opening the web page: http://www.sunforceproducts.com/

Couple of other solar forum/product source links:



When I was looking into solar power for my TT, the guys at AM Solar were a great resource. I realize that you aren't looking for a full blown system, but they still may be able to steer you in the right direction: http://www.amsolar.com/

Help this helps.



2016 GM 2500HD 6.0L/4.10
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2005 Jayco Eagle 278FBS (retired)
1999 Jayco Eagle 246FB (retired)
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Old 10-23-2012, 07:22 PM   #3
Steverino's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Central PA
Posts: 91
Hi Bob,

Thanks for the reply and the leads to check out. Any & all help is welcome!
I know that a flat panel on the roof will be subject to snow & leaves, but figure it's still better than nothing at all. I too am curious as to whether a controller is needed if one is using only very low wattage panels. I'm figuring on little to no draw when the rig is dormant - I finally discovered that the dash radio was imposing a 2 amp draw and added a dash switch to kill it. Based on my testing, I think that was the only engine batt. draw, and I think when I follow Jayco's instructions there should be no draw on the house battery either.

I'll report back on what I find as I go.

2000 Jayco Designer 3230
32' - E450 - Triton V10
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