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Old 10-03-2015, 09:25 PM   #91
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Ha! That's funny!
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Old 10-04-2015, 04:45 PM   #92
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My head is spinning with solar options and my wife says I cannot talk to her anymore about this subject. The rules are keep it simple and don't destroy our 21" escape to be delivered in April 2016. I ordered the 2 6volt batteries and inverter.

So the facts are, I have a portable 95 watt solar kit with PWM controller that I used with my previously owned RV with a single 12v battery, and would like the option of using the 95 with the Escape. I believe I can connect directly to the Escape battery, if no other solar equipment is involved. i have a special door ordered from ETI.

If I purchase an addition portable 130 watt solar kit with a PWM controller, can I connect both directly to the battery in full sun, and would partial shade on one panel affect how the controllers read and delivers power to the batteries?

If I purchase the installed ETI roof 150 watt panel and PWM controller, can I connect directly to the battery with my portable 95 panel with PWM and all will work well?

My complicated other option, is to have the two portable kits mentioned above and set them up to use both with their PWM controllers bypassed and use one MPPT controller inside the Escape?

I spoke with a solar rep from one of the solar companies and he said a MPPT controller was required if two portable units with PWM were used , and the PWM units needed to be bypassed if connected directly to the batteries. I am skeptical this this information is correct.

It appears choosing counter tops and dinette color option were not enough. Anyway thanks in advance for any help.
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Old 10-04-2015, 05:36 PM   #93
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ETI uses a Samlex controller. They will not install MPPT that I know. You could do that yourself?
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Old 10-04-2015, 09:03 PM   #94
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The simplest is to just connect all of the panels together, in parallel, at the input to the solar controller, the samlex or gopower or what ever one they have installed.
The panels just have to be the lower voltage, '12 volt' ones. the actual voltage of these are 12 to 20 or so volts, they are 36 cell panels not the 44 cell high voltage ones.
the controller can take 30 amps which is about 450 watts of panels and a safety margin.
MPPT is not required in 12 volt systems, save your money and instead get a trimetric meter and shunt to accurately measure the amps into and out of the batteries.
After reading a bit and living with your system you can add the trimetric controller to the system, down at the batteries.
There is quite a bit of information on the internet about this stuff.
I would reccommend you at least read 'Handy Bobs Blog'
https://handybobsolar.wordpress.com/
I have found everything in his blog very accurate.
I have found his criticisms well founded.
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Old 10-04-2015, 09:30 PM   #95
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I'd use the ETI setup for a bit and see if augmenting with more panels is really needed. Easy to overcomplicate things when your camping style may not really need all that solar.
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Old 10-04-2015, 09:59 PM   #96
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jxoco View Post
The simplest is to just connect all of the panels together, in parallel, at the input to the solar controller, the samlex or gopower or what ever one they have installed.
I'll second what jxoco is saying...

Multiple panels play together nicely, even if one is shaded, as long as each one has an isolation diode (which is very likely installed already). And in the rare case where a diode is missing, they are a buck (1 USD) or so. I'm planning to do just that with my second panel.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jxoco View Post
MPPT is not required in 12 volt systems, save your money...
Yes, MPPT is nice on paper but the higher price can not be justified when the chosen panels are designed for 12 v. charging. (Aside: The innards of MPPT is a DC-DC converter that changes 24-36 volts down to 14 without loss. An ordinary voltage regulator would have to waste much of that power as heat. Nice technology but our trailer panels are typically 18-20 volts so there is really no advantage to MPPT.)

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Old 10-04-2015, 10:09 PM   #97
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That's what we did last year while camping off the grid in the Keys for a month. We had to park in the shade, so I ordered a portable panel from Amazon and paralleled it into the existing controller. Worked great.
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Old 10-04-2015, 10:38 PM   #98
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That's what we did last year while camping off the grid in the Keys for a month. We had to park in the shade, so I ordered a portable panel from Amazon and paralleled it into the existing controller. Worked great.
My thinking exactly.

Our next trip - in a few weeks - will be to the Gore Canyon area of the Colorado River (aka "Pumphouse" ). I expect to get a couple of hours of low-angle sun at best. The portable (aim-able) panel will be much more efficient than the roof panel in this instance. I hope to have a working arrangement - it charges the batteries while I go fishing...

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Old 10-04-2015, 10:50 PM   #99
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Thanks everyone.

I think I can use all your comments and head down the right road with regards to solar. I always do my own mods, but when electricity is added I usually have the look of a deer in headlights.

I live in Las Vegas, Nevada, and spend a lot of time in southern Utan, Northern Nevada, Arizona and California, which all have considerable sunshine. I think I will start without the ETI roof mounted solar panel, try to park in the shade and augment with my 95 watt portable kit.

If I can't keep up, I can cut my usage or add another solar panel, and save my money by not buying the MPPT controller. I was disappointed that the solar expert, I called gave me incorrect information, but I have every confidence, the information received from all of you is 100% correct.

After I get used to my new Escape 21' maybe I can return the favor and answer some questions on this forum, but not electrical questions.
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Old 10-04-2015, 11:07 PM   #100
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Thanks everyone.
...
but I have every confidence, the information received from all of you is 100% correct.
Be careful. There is an old saying that I just made up...
Answers are free, correct answers cost $$$.

Remember, I said "I hope to have a working arrangement...". I'll let you know in a couple of weeks if it really does work as planned.

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