In Case You Hadn’t Noticed…

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In addition to what we post here, Stef and I have also been contributing over at  Those of you who subscribe to our YouTube channel have probably already seen the videos, but there are also some articles there (that don’t have videos) that you may have missed.

For example, Stef wrote an interesting piece on how being social helps you to live longer.  Seriously.  Who knew?!

Stef and the Introverted RVers


And I’ve put up a couple videos for them.  The first was one exploring the Energy Management System that Winnebago is putting in their small coaches.  This is a gizmo that helps keep you from tripping circuit breakers in your RV.  And you might think that this is just a Winnebago thing, but at the Pomona show recently, I saw that other manufacturers were following Winnebago’s lead and adding an EMS in their coaches as well.

EMS Control Panel


And finally, just this week, there’s a video that explains Winnebago’s solar power option, and walks through the process of adding a solar panel to the roof of our Travato.  (Spoiler alert… it’s really easy.)  We’ve got 300 watts of solar panels on our roof now, and when it’s sunny, we get plenty of free energy.

RV Solar Roof


And if you dig around, you might find a couple other things over there that we’ve written, as well as interesting stuff from their other contributors.  Not the least of these is a video wrap-up from the Driftless Adventure, which was our shakedown cruise with our new Travato.  If you watch closely, you can spot Lance rolling along in the video!

Don't look down!

Don’t look down!

Anyway – if you haven’t stopped by the winnebagolife website, you’ll probably want to check it out.  Cheers!


James is a former rocket scientist, a USA Cycling coach, and lifelong fitness buff. When he's not driving the RV, or modifying the RV (or - that one time - doing both at once), you can find him racing bicycles, or building furniture, or making music. In his spare time, he works for a large IT company.

    9 thoughts on “In Case You Hadn’t Noticed…

    1. Graham Smith

      James, you don’t mention the brand of panel you added. I’ve been looking at options and prices vary but are generally $350 and up for a 100W expansion panel. But, there is one (call it Brand R) that’s half the price of others for their best panel. And they have a 150W panel which makes the most of the available ports. Comments?

      1. James

        You’re probably fine to use the less expensive panel. I would just call Zamp first and make sure the operating parameters of the new panel were within what the controller can handle. (They likely are.)

        I’ll be leading some sessions on Solar this weekend at the Good Sam RV show in Phoenix. If you’re in the area – stop by!!

    2. Eugene F Adams

      James…I have a 2007 Sunny Brooke 38 BWQS 5th Wheel and I would like to put the solar outfit you speak about in the Winnebago video you did…how can I go about this in a cost effective way??? The panel mounted system you show looks like the best approach….thanks…eugene

      1. James - Post author

        I would start with a call to ZAMP Solar. You can get preliminary prices on line.
        Since I already had the roof rack, mounting to that was easy. But if you didn’t already have the rack, it would be pretty expensive to add.
        You could always start with just the basic ZAMP kit with the combiner box, etc. And then add shop for a deal on the other panels.

    3. Rick L.

      I currently have a “Lance” truck camper but am considering the Travato because the truck camper is cramped inside. Saw a 2016 K at a local RV show. I really like the twin bed arrangement. My only concern is the Truma system. I see you have really prepared your G for winter conditions. Can you comment on how well the Truma heats your Travato in cold temps? Can it keep up with cold conditions, say, into the 30s? Thanks. Rick L.

      Comment on portable solar: I love the expandability of the Zamp solar on the Travato. One problem with the port on the side: If you simply hook up one of Zamp’s portable systems to the side port, you will have competing solar controllers. Ideally you would have a portable solar panel sans the controller for the side port. It would be nice if Zamp made a portable panel that allows you to either run it through its controller or as a stand alone panel. My guess is that this would be an easy DIY project though. How are you hooking up your portable panel to the side port? Thanks.

      1. James - Post author

        The Truma is the LAST thing you need to be concerned about! It’s performance in all respects is far above anything you’re used to in a standard RV appliance. Seriously. I’ll be making a video about the Truma this month. Stay tuned for that, but by no means should you let the Truma hold you back.
        Our panel is mounted on the carport roof. It’s a 20 watt panel from Zamp. It came without a controller, because it’s not really intended to be a “portable” panel. (Though it’s small enough to be portable…) So we just wired it up!

        1. Rick L.

          Thanks. Will look forward to the video on the Truma system. Regardless, I’m glad that the Travato now has a propane option for the hot water. Having to be plugged in or run the generator seemed like a real limitation with previous Travatos.

    4. BobB

      Nice video on adding the solar! Lots of other interesting articles on WinnebagoLife, too.

      So now the next question, James. Are you going to get a portable 100W solar panel to plug into that empty socket on the side of Lance, so you can have 400W of power? (plus some minimum solar power if parked in the shade). Sounds tempting!

      1. James - Post author

        Well, I might consider that… but then I’d have to find a place to store it!
        Honestly though, I think even the 3 panels are overkill for our needs. (I just think they’re cool.)


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