I Got the Solar System!

90 Watt portable folding solar system — includes a multi-stage PWM solar controller mounted to the back of the panels.

UPS brought my solar system today.  All I had to do was hook a permanent connector to the battery terminals, run it out through the vent louver of my battery box and plug in the panel.  To say I am thrilled is a major understatement!

Charge reading at 5:30 pm. I am thrilled!!!!

I didn’t extend the built in legs for the solar panel because at my latitude this time of year I needed only an 11 degree tilt.  So I just put a couple of boards under it.

I was very surprised to see it charging at 13.80 volts that late in the day!

Even when clouds moved over the sun and the panel was totally in overcast conditions, my meter was still showing 13.33 volts at 6:00 pm.

It came in a very nice aluminum case with foam padding to protect the panels when I’m not using them.

The solar panels came with a very nice padded aluminum case.

My only concern is the weight.  The panels themselves are only 26 pounds.  However, with the 12 pound case, the total weight is 38 pounds, which is a little hard for me to carry.   So I guess the solution is to let Ron carry the panels in the case for me.  Or use my little folding dolly.

I also plan to install my Windox Maxx vent this evening or in the morning.  I got it so I could leave a window open when it rains so I can run a fan inside the Casita for ventilation in bad weather.

The foam padded interior of the case.

The only thing we won’t be able to use with the solar panels is the air conditioner.  (We don’t carry a microwave when we camp.) So we need to either head to the mountains where it’s cool enough without air conditioning… or wait until the summer heat is past — to enjoy our new boondocking capabilities.

If you are looking for a quality portable solar system from people who really care about their customers, check out CEA Solar!  They are great people to deal with!

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11 Comments

  1. Congratulations! I vote to head for the mountains so we can have a report on your solar capabilities. I know you are excited!

    • Kim, if we can squeeze it into the budget, we’ll head to the mountains in August!

  2. Congratulations on you panels. I know a couple of people that have that system and they are well pleased with it. The biggest complaint is like you said, the weight. Both are single ladies and they struggle with it sometimes.

    • Jerry, I have a little folding dolly that we keep in the back of the truck. I am hoping that will make the weight manageable. If not, I have wondered if I might want to permanently mount the panels to the Casita roof someday and just plug them in when I need them. Will see how we manage with them.

  3. Lynne

     /  July 9, 2012

    You are going to love the freedom that the solar gives you. We got our panels out west last January and I love to watch them charge the battery. Now I look for places that do not have electricity!

    • Lynne, thinking about being able to camp places like Mt. Pisgah campground and Mile High Campground in the North Carolina mountains without hookups is something I’ve dreamed of for a long time! It feels like freedom, doesn’t it? 🙂

  4. The weight is a problem since I also am single and old. There is a blog called RVSue and her canine crew. Sue also has a Casita and she tows with a Van, Sue didn’t want the panels on the Casita because of the fiber glass, and had the panel put on the van roof. I will have to look into this for when I purchase my van.
    I hope the panels are everything you hoped for.

  5. Marsha

     /  July 10, 2012

    We typically camp w/o power and currently use a smaller generator to top off the battery. This sounds like a great alternative. I’ll be interested in hearing about your first outing with the solar panel to see how it meets your needs.

    We also have the Window Maxx vent installed on the rear window of the Casita. It creates a nice breeze with the Fantastic Fan on. We got the ready to install one from Little House Customs.

    • Marsha, did you post about having your WindowMaxx vent in the rear window on a forum?

      I had been planning to have mine on the curb side small window. But I read where someone had theirs in the rear window and it made so much more sense. The opening is a lot larger, so you get more fresh air. After reading that, I changed my mind about where to put mine.

      I also got the ready-to-mount one from Little House Customs. They are such a boon to Casita owners!

      I’ve got some doctor visits and medical stuff this month, so I am hoping it won’t be too long before we can go camping again!

  6. Marsha

     /  July 10, 2012

    Yes – I’m on both Casita forums, so I may have posted something there. We talked about adding the vents to another window, but so far haven’t. I kind of like having the entire unobstructed view from the dinette window. For now having it in the back window creates a nice cross breeze using the Fantastic fan.

    We also haven’t done much camping this summer, which is disappointing. We rustic camp and were going to go this past weekend, but it was just too hot. We are planning a two week trip into Canada for the end of this month, beginning of August and I’m really looking forward to that. I feel camping-deprived.

    • Canada sounds wonderful. I am so happy for you! Do you have a blog where you post pictures and trip reports?

      Isn’t it odd how once you get a Casita, you feel positively deprived when you can’t get out camping? It morphs from a luxury to a need!

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