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Old 11-08-2015, 05:14 PM   #31
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The samlex controller is a 30 amp one and has the ability to add another panel to it. I might go the route as Jim did with the portable panels. What sort of access have people asked for to allow the wiring to the controller?
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Old 12-17-2015, 04:03 PM   #32
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We are getting our 19 next March and the options sheet is due in jan. We are getting the solar anel and intend to add a portable panel as well. I have a few questions.
1. Is it better to feed the portable thru the main controller or direct to the battery.
2.if thru the battery won't there be a fight between voltages from the main and portable controllers?
3.I have read that it's important to reduce the resistance between the controller and the battery which means larger wire size as the run length gets bigger. Lots of portables with controllers have 30 ft cords with small wires. Isn't this a bad thing. Anybody using portables direct to battery out there, what's your experience?

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Old 12-17-2015, 04:15 PM   #33
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I personally think it would be better to feed a portable panel through the controller, but there are folks who just connect direct to the batteries and have no problem. By feeding through the controller you'd know exactly what's going into the batteries.
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Old 12-17-2015, 04:21 PM   #34
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When we order our new 21 I am going to see if Reace will install this receptical: MinnKota 12V to feed my external panel into the controller. I've looked at lots of them and this is the only one I have found that will take up to 8 gauge wire, can carry plenty of current and appear water resistant. I sent the link to him to see if he thinks it will work ok.
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Old 12-17-2015, 05:42 PM   #35
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Through the controller is best.
They suggest you get a 2nd panel the same or as close as possible in voltage levels.
And yes, the cheesy wire that comes with the portables is not optimal, heavier is better but of course not as convenient.
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Old 12-17-2015, 06:09 PM   #36
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I just run the two 40 watt panels through a controller to the battery terminals.
I can't monitor the charge, but that pretty much doesn't matter, because I know of no way to make the sun shine any longer or brighter.
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Old 12-17-2015, 06:28 PM   #37
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My thoughts are that going thru the controller is best. I just finished talking to the Samlex tech support guy and found out that their portable suitcase units come with a 10A controller set at 14.4V. This is a normal trickle charge for lead acid batteries. The rooftop panel comes with the SCC-30 controller where the voltage level can be set higher (better for charging). If you do this and then connect the 14.4V portable to the battery it will see the higher voltage from the main controller and not charge the battery. So connecting a portable to the main charge controller is the way to go. Just need ETI to provide the wire run from main controller to a connector on the outside of the trailer.
This was an interesting conversation with the tech guy saying the panels would not be fighting each other (sure sounds to me like they would be).
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Old 12-17-2015, 06:30 PM   #38
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Now I just need to find a portable suitcase panel without a controller.


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Old 12-17-2015, 06:57 PM   #39
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The suitcase solar panels I've seen have a controller fastened to the back of one of the panels. It shouldn't be too hard to bypass this controller and link up with the 'in house' controller.
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Old 12-17-2015, 08:33 PM   #40
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Two panels directly connected together (such as to the same controller's input) will not "fight" each other - one won't confuse the other one - because they have no intelligence or logic. They will affect each other, just as anything connected to a panel affects it. If they do not have identical characteristics or if they are not in identical conditions then neither will operate ideally... but they will both operate. An example of different conditions might be one set flat on the roof and another set propped up at some angle.

For any controller type other than a maximum power point tracking (MPPT) design, having two separate controllers won't help - non-MPPT controllers respond to nothing other than the battery voltage and charging current, so all panels might as well share one controller (thus, no controllers confusing each other). If you do use MPPT controllers, separate controllers for panels in different conditions would help optimize each panel's output.
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