Skylight or Stargazer window experience?

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Skylight or Stargazer window experience?

Postby Esteban » Tue Sep 11, 2018 1:25 pm

Some teardrop trailers have a skylight or a Stargazer window installed in the roof, the front facing wall, or the curved area in between the front wall and the roof. I'm considering whether or not to buy and install one. Stargazer windows from Vintage Technologies come in two sizes: 45" x 9" or 40" x 9". They cost $136.95 for the window + $27.50 for a trim ring. Stargazer windows are tinted and do not open.

I'm considering buying one for the Benroy(ish) teardrop I'm building. It would provide more light and more feeling of openness.

I'm also considering/wondering whether its nicer to install one on flat on the roof, or into the curved transition area between the front wall and the flat roof. I don't favor installing one in the front facing wall.

:thinking: What are your pro & con thoughts and/or experiences about having a skylight or (partly) front facing window in a teardrop trailer?
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Re: Skylight or Stargazer window experience?

Postby Minics04 » Wed Sep 12, 2018 7:12 am

I have installed the window you are looking at from Vintage tech. I have the 45" x 9" Couple of things to note:
1. My window leaked around the rubber gasket that holds the window in. This has been noted by others on this forum. I used ProFlex RV Sealant to seal the gasket and it is now leak free.
2. There are 2 different trim rings. One is like 2 1/2 Inches and the other is 1 3/4 inches. How do I know? Yes, I had to purchase one of each after ordering the incorrect size. I was not informed about this at the time of purchase. Order the correct size for your wall(ceiling) width.
3. I agree about the added light into the camper, but...the summer sun really warms up the inside! Most of the time during the day I have Reflectix Insulation cut and fitted into the window to keep the sun out. It is bright as soon as the sun starts coming up( I don't mind this), but it might wake you up as others have commented about.
4. Condensation. Keep it as low as possible. We use our camper for 3 seasons. It will condensate and drip on you! Again, I use Reflectix and the fan to control the condensation.
5. Gets dirty and needs to be cleaned often.
6. Water puddles on my window. I wipe it off after a rain. Sealed tight with the ProFlex RV sealant.
7. No instructions on how to install window. I drilled pilot holes for the screws to hold the trim ring into the window.

I'm kinda on the fence if I would install another one in a teardrop. Advantages and disadvantages. I do like the light. Does need a little babysitting i.e. Covered up to keep sun out during day/wiping off puddling water/ cleaning glass

Good Luck!
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Re: Skylight or Stargazer window experience?

Postby Cosmo » Wed Sep 12, 2018 8:01 am

My trailer has a larger front facing widow which is at about a 60 degree angle so you can use it as a star gazer too. For me it does exactly what you said. Provides good viewing lots of light (light cheers me up without limits).

The window provides endless entertainment looking at nature. I have windows on all 4 sides of the trailer but the front one is huge. It has a pull down skylight shade that is about an inch thick with air gaps in it. Much like you would find on a home skylight.

It’s a big window and I noticed if I have the shade open it conducts cold into the trailer more than with the corrugated skylight shade closed. Its noticeable. Closing the shade virtually eliminates condensation on the colder uninsulated glass surface.

With the shade open I do get a some condensation so I leave the top vent open which passes most respiration moisture out of the trailer. If I am sleeping directly under the window looking up and breathing straight up – I leave the roof vent fan on the lowest exhaust setting and open the ventilation ports I have and I get no condensation on the glass. Meaning I can control condensation with ventilation.

I love my windows and it was a primary factor in my purchase.

=Cosmo





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Re: Skylight or Stargazer window experience?

Postby jaysul » Wed Sep 12, 2018 11:27 pm

I made my own from a picture window with lexan siliconed to the top to prevent water collection and for the 40$ total i spent on it i love it you can’t beat the stars on a clear night!! Two rain storms and a couple of car washes later and dry as a bone!ImageImage


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Re: Skylight or Stargazer window experience?

Postby tiiiiii85 » Thu Sep 13, 2018 3:03 pm

Cosmo wrote:My trailer has a larger front facing widow which is at about a 60 degree angle so you can use it as a star gazer too. For me it does exactly what you said. Provides good viewing lots of light (light cheers me up without limits).

The window provides endless entertainment looking at nature. I have windows on all 4 sides of the trailer but the front one is huge. It has a pull down skylight shade that is about an inch thick with air gaps in it. Much like you would find on a home skylight.

It’s a big window and I noticed if I have the shade open it conducts cold into the trailer more than with the corrugated skylight shade closed. Its noticeable. Closing the shade virtually eliminates condensation on the colder uninsulated glass surface.

With the shade open I do get a some condensation so I leave the top vent open which passes most respiration moisture out of the trailer. If I am sleeping directly under the window looking up and breathing straight up – I leave the roof vent fan on the lowest exhaust setting and open the ventilation ports I have and I get no condensation on the glass. Meaning I can control condensation with ventilation.

I love my windows and it was a primary factor in my purchase.

=Cosmo



I love vistabule huge window!!

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Re: Skylight or Stargazer window experience?

Postby Esteban » Thu Sep 13, 2018 7:10 pm

:thumbsup: Thanks for your replies, informative ideas and photos. It's helping me figure out what to do. Please keep them coming with pros and cons and design ideas. My design concept will to be similar to what Minics04's photo shows.

The idea is to have skylight in the forward area, a Fantastic Fan above the entry doors, and a 58" x 26" 160 watt solar panel mounted flat on the rearward flat part of the roof. The partially curved galley lid will be the rear end.

:thinking: Figuring out the best/optimal spacing is a little tricky & still up in the air.

My teardrop plan is to have a Benroy(ish) profile. (Maybe) it will have a 24" curved transition area from the front wall to the flat roof. It will be 5'4" wide and 10'1" long. The hatch design is not finalized and very subject to change. The Galley lid may be circular, or oval, shaped then flatten at the bottom.

:thinking: I'm trying to decide whether or not to mount the skylight/Stargazer window on the top of the roof. My design preference is to mount the skylight/Stargazer window in the front curved area. That may complicate construction. It would reduce spacing constraints. It might provide a nicer/better, somewhat private view toward the front and toward the sky too. Maybe it'd let in less solar heat, depending on which way the teardrop faces the sun while camping.

I'm going to fiberglass (using carbon fiber cloth) & paint the outside walls, roof and hatch surfaces. Not skin them with aluminum. It's cost competitive, considerably lighter weight, strong, easier to build more than 5ft. wide, and will eliminate almost all penetrations that could cause water leaks and/or wood rot.
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Re: Skylight or Stargazer window experience?

Postby Minics04 » Fri Sep 14, 2018 7:09 am

I positioned my stargazer window directly above our heads when laying down for a clear line of sight to the sky. FYI.
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Re: Skylight or Stargazer window experience?

Postby tony.latham » Fri Sep 14, 2018 9:14 am

I'm going to fiberglass (using carbon fiber cloth) & paint ...


Why carbon fiber instead of glass? It's been a few years since I bought carbon fiber and I would think it would prohibitively expensive for a project of this size. Has something changed?

:thinking:

Tony
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Re: Skylight or Stargazer window experience?

Postby Pmullen503 » Fri Sep 14, 2018 12:30 pm

Carbon fiber is overkill. You'd be better off spending the extra money on better plywood. I'd pop for marine plywood before spending more on carbon fiber.
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Re: Skylight or Stargazer window experience?

Postby Esteban » Fri Sep 14, 2018 2:21 pm

I drive a Subaru Forester with a tow rating of 1000 lbs. for a trailer without brakes or 1500 lbs. for a trailer with brakes. My trailer will have a Dexter #9 axle with electric brakes. The goal is to build a 5'4" wide x 10'1" long trailer that will weigh less than 1200 lbs. I'm being careful to save weight where I can reasonably do so.

I'll use epoxy, carbon fiber cloth and 1/8" plywood for the outside roof and wall skins to help keep my teardrop's weight in check. Carbon fiber cloth will considerably strengthen thin plywood. I've estimate that fiberglass provides about a 90% weight reduction compared to an aluminum skin. A fiberglassed skin should be more water and rot resistant too. I bought discounted carbon fiber cloth from uscomposits.com. The ~$220 cost to use carbon fiber cloth is about $150 more than using fiberglass cloth. It's well worth it for the 50% weight savings (~60 lbs) achievable by using 1/8" plywood instead of 1/4" plywood for the roof, walls, and galley lid.

:) Do I NEED to use carbon fiber cloth to have a lighter weight outer skin? Maybe not. But for only about $150 more than using fiberglass cloth I decided the added strength and weight savings are well worth it to me. Part of the cost will also reduced/offset by the lower cost of using 1/8" plywood instead of 1/4" plywood, or two layers of 1/8" plywood for the curved sections of the roof and galley lid.

:thumbsup: All in all using carbon fiber cloth adds very little, if any, extra construction cost.

The walls will be built with 1/8" Baltic Birch plywood. The roof and galley lid will use good quality 1/8" x 4' x 8' plywood purchased from a hardwood supply store. Not cheap quality luan plywood.

The cost to fiberglass, even with carbon fiber cloth, the outside skin compares very favorably to the total cost of aluminum sheets, trim pieces, sealants, and fasteners.

High quality manufactured teardrop trailers can easily cost $20,000 or so when useful upgrades and nice options are included in one. My goal is to build a custom teardrop with similar, sometimes even higher quality parts and construction materials. My teardrop will have solar power and some fun goodies (potentially) like a skylight for a small fraction of that cost.

Please keep sharing pro and con ideas, experiences, construction details and photos about skylights.

:thinking: I recently discovered information about Heki Rooflights sold by Dometic. Some open wide enough for you to stand up in the opening. They can combine the best features of a Fantastic Fan and a skylight in one fixture. They are pricey imports from Europe. Google Search results for Heki Rooflights
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Re: Skylight or Stargazer window experience?

Postby slowcowboy » Fri Sep 14, 2018 5:37 pm

I got me in 09 a auto moon roof off eBay. Works great. Now I got in 014 .the large back window out of a old motor home to go in the new kampmaster build...so it's still in debate wether to install it or not in the roof.my builds not there yet as I got it on slowcowboy build time..Slow.
Plans. there was supposed to be plans to be followed when I built this thing. Opps! AH, gee, tum,tee tum. I think I forgot about the plans 2 years ago. ------Tow vehicles, 1995 ford explore, 1994 ford ranger, 1993 ford F-150, 2009 4x9 Off road teardrop, on harbor freight greatly modified frame.
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