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Old 04-13-2018, 08:58 PM   #1
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Portable solar 17B, basic questions

This is coming from a ignorant solar camper. We have a 2017 17B with the twin 6V batteries. Already have purchased a 100 watt folding Renogy panel and plan to add their other products. We plan on a Voyager controller in that it is waterproof if it gets caught in the rain. Do we need a temperature sensor for it? Only $4 more, but one more thing to hook up and keep track of. The other Renogy products would be a 40 foot, 10 gauge adaptor kit (controller to panel) and a 10 gauge tray cable (controller to batteries) which can be cut to length, and the MC4 tool. Does this sound like a reasonable plan and do I connect the tray cable to one battery or the positive of one and the negative of the other? Also, does the panel need to be covered until connected and is there a sequence for connecting the components? Sorry for all the questions, but as I said "ignorant".
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Old 04-13-2018, 10:12 PM   #2
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We have a 2017 17B with the twin 6V batteries...
Does this sound like a reasonable plan and do I connect the tray cable to one battery or the positive of one and the negative of the other?
Two 6V batteries are in series to make 12V. You want to land right where ETI did with the main +12V power wire and ground (one on each battery). The other wire you see just links the two batteries and is left alone. Do not connect to one battery as it would only be 6V. I canít really speak to the other parts of your plan but they sound reasonable. Keep the distance from the solar controller to the battery as short as practical for the best efficiency.
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Old 04-13-2018, 11:04 PM   #3
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Bought the Renogy 100W suitcase and like it, however do not like their extension cables as they are too unwieldy and sent them back. Better to have the cords made from Offthegridrvs.com. Met them at Quartzsite and bought a 15' cable. Like 10 gauge lamp cord vs.a round curly wire that doesn't store well.

I would contact them for help with you needs.
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Old 04-14-2018, 05:44 AM   #4
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Hi Tony, where are the batteries on your trailer? Is the controller just to be connected when you want to use it? The Renogy tray cable comes with ring terminals. If these are just temporary connections, alligator clips might be nicer. If it's not permanently mounted somewhere I wouldn't bother with the temp sensor. Do keep the "tray" cable as short as practical, it's important to try and keep the controller close to the batteries.

I have different equipment then you're going to have but have never worried about keeping the panel/s covered when hooking up. I just make the panel/s the last thing I connect and point it where I want after connecting.

Ross makes a good point, flexible cables are a good thing. I'd follow his suggestion on sourcing your panel to controller cable elsewhere. The short controller to battery cable doesn't matter as much, hopefully it's only a few feet long.

If you haven't already committed, you could call Offthegridrvs.com, not that I've dealt with them. You can get everything you need from them, and end up with more flexible cables. Just tell them what you are trying to do. From a quick look at their site, they carry some affordable outdoor and water proof controllers.
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Old 04-14-2018, 02:11 PM   #5
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Tony,
I too purchased a Renogy 100 watt portable panel. I connect it to my controller (mounted next to the batteries) with 40 foot of 6 gauge super flexible duplex cable sold by Polarwire.com. Itís maybe a little overkill but I have minimal voltage drop. I use a 20 amp view star controller sold by Renogy, but actually made by Ep Solar. I keep my controller in my storage box next to my 6 volt batteries on our 19. I donít think you have that option on a 17.
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Old 04-14-2018, 03:38 PM   #6
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Hi Tony, where are the batteries on your trailer?
As far as I know, every Escape 17' has the battery or batteries outside at the rear just ahead of the bumper; a single in a box or dual batteries in separate boxes (one on each side of the spare).

While the location is readily accessible, the individual battery box lids can be inconvenient to open (because they are tucked under the curve of the rear wall of the trailer body), and the two terminals to clip to are in different boxes with significant separation; I would want to install wires to a connector (perhaps mounted in the wall of one of the battery boxes) and just plug in the portable panel rather than clipping to battery terminals each time.

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I keep my controller in my storage box next to my 6 volt batteries on our 19. I donít think you have that option on a 17.
On a 17, a small extra box could be mounted on the bumper to house the controller.
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Old 04-17-2018, 10:20 AM   #7
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Just where, on a 17 with dual batteries, is the junction of the wires coming from each battery box? I assume it is inside? Wouldn't that junction be the place you would want to connect the controller?
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Old 04-17-2018, 02:32 PM   #8
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Bought a Ecoworthy 120w portable solar panel with a controller. Plan on plugging it in via the trailer 7-pin. Figure that way I'm not fussing with tying into my existing solar or trailer wiring or trying to hook up to the batteries. That way I can use this solar panel either on my truck camper or on my Escape via the 7-pin.
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Old 04-17-2018, 02:51 PM   #9
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I have used that seven pin bargman connector for solar on my 19, it works very well. On the other hand, the 19 has the batteries right on the tongue. With the 17 I believe you have too long a wire run from the solar controller at the bargman to the batteries on the rear bumper. Recommendations for distance from controller to batteries can be a little as three feet. Whatever distance, shorter is better.
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Old 04-17-2018, 03:17 PM   #10
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Just where, on a 17 with dual batteries, is the junction of the wires coming from each battery box? I assume it is inside? Wouldn't that junction be the place you would want to connect the controller?
Why would there be a junction? They're in series, not in parallel, so there is just a single conductor between the batteries, and other than that the same wiring as a single battery... it's just that the positive comes from one battery box and the negative from the other. There's no point where wires from each battery positive terminal join, for instance.

Wiring details vary by year even within the same model and equipment, but at least at one point the dual-battery 17 ran the connecting cable between the batteries alongside the other cables, so that connecting cable ran into the trailer and back out, rather than simply along the bumper between the boxes. That made it look more complicated than it was.

The place where connections to positive and negative battery terminals is available in the dual-battery setup of a 17' (without adding cable) is anywhere inside the trailer where the positive runs... such as at the power centre. That's a straightforward place to make a solar charge controller output connection (and/or to install a controller), but it's not readily accessible to the outside for a portable panel socket unless you install the socket through the trailer wall, or reachable from an access door. There's an outside access door on the rear curbside of a 17', but not on the rear streetside where the power centre and other wiring is located.
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