Simple solar set up

Discussion in 'Boondocking' started by gladecreekwy, Apr 10, 2020.

  1. gladecreekwy

    gladecreekwy Well-Known Member

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    [/ATTACH] Got this going late last season. Just pulled my camper out and thought I’d post my set up. Very simple system, all from Amazon. Under $200 59919[/ATTACH] Dokio 100 w panel
    B59B0DC8-518F-4022-B613-883F19A439D7.jpeg Removed alligator clips and replaced with SAE connector D0206107-B5B8-4BFB-85C3-F4244F38E170.jpeg 25” SAE to SAE extension cord 2AB53811-EC12-4861-A7EF-13C99BE324BE.jpeg SAE to battery
     

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  2. gladecreekwy

    gladecreekwy Well-Known Member

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    And all fits in the bag FD8B2F22-B7D7-4E85-9EBC-A2CE7668A68D.jpeg
     
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  3. rabird

    rabird Howdy!

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  4. tfischer

    tfischer A bad day camping beats a good day at the office

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    We picked up a similar 150W one last year that is also a Dokio. I did some mods to it so that the charge controller is near the battery and the higher voltage line from the panel to the controller is the long one (meaning voltage drops are lessened). Worked out very well for us. I made a few extension cords for it which mean I can place it up to 50' from the camper.
     
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  5. gladecreekwy

    gladecreekwy Well-Known Member

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    Might pick up another 25” extension. Didn’t need it last season, not many trees where we camp but it would be nice to have the option
     
  6. mk4

    mk4 Member

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    I have a similar setup. 25ft pigtails to 2-100w panels in series. I store a panel on each bunk end and place out where ever the sun is at.
     
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  7. JimmyM

    JimmyM Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    I assume you're using a MPPT charge controller with your panels in series. What one do you have?
    I have 2x 160W panels in series into a Victron 75/15 charge controller.
     
  8. NMroamer

    NMroamer Well-Known Member

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    You might want to putting your panels in parallel.
    Series is high wattage low current. Parallel offers enough wattage and more charging current.
     
  9. JimmyM

    JimmyM Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    It depends on the type of charge controller. Series panels are better if you have an MPPT controller
     
  10. WVhillbilly

    WVhillbilly Well-Known Member

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    Are you guys mounting your charge controller in the camper? I could put mine in the front storage compartment and run wires out to the battery easily.
     
  11. tenttrailer

    tenttrailer Art & Joyce - Columbus, O

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    WVhillbility, That is how I would do it. Drop the wire down through the floor. Keep it dry and out of the elements.

    When I installed solar on the roof. I put the controller in a storage box. One thing I also did do was installed where the wire came in and out of the camper a weather proof junction box with two switchs. 1) switch panel to controller, 2) switch from battery to controller. I
     
  12. WVhillbilly

    WVhillbilly Well-Known Member

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    Ours is "pre wired for solar" which means it has Zamp wiring.
    Which I'm not sure where it goes yet, and if I remember right the SAE connector is reverse polarity from everyone elses.
    I'm going with stand alone panels, because I don't want to park in the sun.
    I keep seeing the same guy selling Renogy panels on FB, but I think by the time I'd buy them and a controller I wouldn't be saving any money over just buying the package from Renogy.
     
  13. tenttrailer

    tenttrailer Art & Joyce - Columbus, O

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    I got at two different times panels from eco-worthy. First set is about 6 years old now, no issues. I think they have the best deals.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2020
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  14. tfischer

    tfischer A bad day camping beats a good day at the office

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    I bought a solar suitcase and it had the controller mounted to the underside. I removed it and replaced the "glue" with strong velcro-type tape. That way I can unmount it and mount it on the side of my battery box when we are camping, but if I ever really just want to use the solar suitcase as it was intended I can do that too. I put quick connects everywhere so it's all just plug and play.
     
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  15. mk4

    mk4 Member

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    Victron 100/20. My renogy 2 x 100W has a max output of ~17 A when in series. And I've seen ~16 A, so I'm glad I went with the 20. But I want to go 300W or 400W, so I'm going to need to upgrade to the 30 and go series/parallel or go with the 45 and stay series.

    What kind of max charge currents are you seeing. You'd think you'd max out charge current but are well under the voltage limit. I wonder if your Victron controller is compensating the voltage to stay under the current limit?
     
  16. mk4

    mk4 Member

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    I mounted mine in the driver side dinette seat. The pigtails are fed through the 120 V hookup door.
     
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  17. JimmyM

    JimmyM Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    You're correct. It self limits output current to 15A. But I camp in the northeast. And the most I've ever gotten out of the panels was 218W IIRC.
    Are you sure they're in series? The max current output for a 100W panel is ~5.5A
    Nevermind. I think you meant output current. Not panel current. 12V*16A is 192W. That's impressive from 200W of panel.
     
  18. ryansewell320

    ryansewell320 New Member

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    Nice setup. Is the fuse a must with all solar setups?
     
  19. gladecreekwy

    gladecreekwy Well-Known Member

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    Honestly not sure but it came with the pigtail. Cant hurt. Im sure someone knows better. I could see it protecting my batteries from a lighting strike to the ground near my panels ?
     
  20. gladecreekwy

    gladecreekwy Well-Known Member

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    Update: since we are mostly weekend campers we haven’t had a chance to put our solar set up to the test. This weekend it kept my two batteries fully charged in our TT for five days. Mix of sun and clouds. Very happy with it at less than $200 all in.
     
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