While our Scamp was fairly complete when we purchased it, we have made some modifications over the years to improve the function and utilization of the camper. While I have these shown and described on the various Scampering About pages, I thought it would be a good idea to have a single page that shows all of the modifications we have made over the years as a single point of reference. Below you will see how we incorporated solar panels, added 12-volt accessory receptacles, switched to LED lighting, and more.
Solar Panels for Boondocking
I have done a few things with our Scamp to enhance the lighting possibilities. One of the first things I did was to add an additional light just inside the front door. Originally, the only light in this part of the trailer was on the opposite end of the couch and not in a very convenient position. I often found myself trying to turn on a light just inside the door that was not there. Then I had the idea of, "Hey, why don't I put one there?" It was so easy to install, that I did it on a camping weekend. I first attached it to the wall using wood screws, but they were too long and stuck out the other side of the wood. This was bad since they could catch on your clothing when entering or leaving the trailer. I used wood dowels to cover up the screw ends, but those did not work very well either. I eventually replaced the screws with nuts and bolts. You can see the mounting position in the first picture above. It is the one on the bottom. The one on the top was a battery operated tap light that I tried in a effort to provide light and save the battery on the trailer. It did not work out so well.
Which brings me to my second point about lights. They do draw amps away from your battery, and not a small amount either. I had been considering changing to LED bulbs for quite some time, since they hardly use any battery power, but I could not find any lights that replicated the light coming from the incandescent bulbs. Then I found BrightTech LED replacement blubs on Amazon. They were advertised as LEDs that had a softer glow to them than the traditional LEDs, and the reviews on the bulbs were all very good. I ordered two just to see how well they worked, and I fell in love with them from the start. You can see what they look like in the second picture above, and you can see by looking at the third and fourth that there is no difference between them and the incandescent bulb. I immediately ordered the remainder of the bulbs I needed to replace the incandescent bulbs. When I received all of the new ones, I did a test. I put all incandescent bulbs in, then checked the amp draw. Then I put the LEDs in and did the same thing. I found out that with all LEDs turned on, which was six, I was drawing the same amount of amps as if I had just one incandescent bulb on. That was pretty impressive. Over the last few years, when we go off grid, I have noticed better performance of our trailer battery, and I feel much better about using the lights now when off grid.
Other things I have done with lighting come in the way of outdoor solar lights. I noticed other campers using them for decoration, and to mark hard to see objects in the dark. That is when I came up with the idea of putting solar lights around the panels at night. Since I place them where the best sun is during the day, they are not always in the same spot around the camper. So I use the solar lights to mark their placement. Also, since I move the panels around during the day to catch the best sunlight, the solar lights are good markers for where I need to put the panels back at night so they catch the best sun in the morning. When we are not using the solar panels, I used them as part decoration, part marking the edge of things such as the trailer mat, the tongue of the trailer, and the edge of the campsite and driveway. The most recent solar light I added was to light up our sign at night. I purchased it at a local hardware store and it original was designed as a house number light. Turns out it works really good for illuminating our sign as well.
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