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Old 07-25-2019, 08:44 PM   #1
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Solar Question

Purchasing a 2013 19’ Escape equipped with a factory installed 90 watt solar panel on the roof. Can I somehow use the portable, folding 90 watt unit that I already have? If so, how do I hook it up?
Craig
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Old 07-25-2019, 10:16 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by MaineGuide View Post
Purchasing a 2013 19’ Escape equipped with a factory installed 90 watt solar panel on the roof. Can I somehow use the portable, folding 90 watt unit that I already have? If so, how do I hook it up?
Craig
The basic idea is to run the two units in parallel. What that means is the positive of the factory panel and the positive of the suitcase panel will be joined at some point, and the same with the negatives. I joined them right at the connector on the solar regular. It was the most convenient place for me. Note that my portable panel did not have its own regulator.

But something to watch out for... The total you will now have is 180 watts (in ideal conditions). It is possible that in 2013 your solar regulator can not handle 180 watts of input. Check the owner's manual or do some online research.

If you aren't happy with the Escape provided regulator - too small perhaps - and - if the portable has its own regulator, then you can make the parallel connection between the Escape regulator and the battery.

So, yes, use them both. Just make the connections at the appropriate location.

--
Alan
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Old 07-26-2019, 12:41 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaineGuide View Post
Purchasing a 2013 19’ Escape equipped with a factory installed 90 watt solar panel on the roof. Can I somehow use the portable, folding 90 watt unit that I already have? If so, how do I hook it up?
Craig
Somethin' like this perhaps?



You will need to install a external port like this:

https://smile.amazon.com/SAE-Plug-We...gateway&sr=8-3

Also you will need to wire the external panel in parallel to the existing solar panel & bypass the portable solar controller. I re-wired the portable panel and added a few extra connectors so that if needed I can re-configure to use the onboard controller when needed
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Old 07-26-2019, 03:15 PM   #4
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With the limited information you have supplied here are some thoughts.
  • Do you have dual six volt batteries and what are their ages?
  • The technology for solar controllers has changed with MMPT now the standard. It maybe time to replace.?
  • Has your Escape unit been stored outside?
  • Can you reuse the mounting system and replace the panel?
  • How short of power are you? Using what measurement/methodology?

I would have some other considerations for your review. More information always is an aid.
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Old 07-26-2019, 03:54 PM   #5
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If it was me, I'd add a ZAMP port feeding to the input of the solar controller and use that to plug in the portable panel. I don't believe Escape ever used anything smaller than a 25 amp controller so there would be no problem with 190 watts feeding it.

You will need to bypass the controller built into the portable panel - when I did mine I used a pair of SAE connectors (the same as the ZAMP connector) so I could use the panel bypassed or with the controller. Be sure to check the polarity of all the connectors in the chain - ZAMP likes to reverse them from the standard SAE wire colors.

If you want to make a permanent feed to the internal controller, a surface mount SAE connector is available from either ZAMP or for less at eBay.

If all the wiring makes you nervous, just use the battery clamps that came with your portable to attach it to the batteries, using there panel's built in controller. There is no problem using two controllers feeding the batteries.
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Old 08-06-2019, 06:31 PM   #6
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So you’re saying that all I need to do ito avoid the clips is create an external connection on the battery box and plug in the portable unit to operate along side the factory unit
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Old 08-06-2019, 07:42 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaineGuide View Post
So you’re saying that all I need to do ito avoid the clips is create an external connection on the battery box and plug in the portable unit to operate along side the factory unit


You want the external port on the trailer (where you plug your external panel in) to be as close to your trailer’s existing solar controller as possible (not necessarily as close to the battery as possible).

To install this in parallel with the roof panel you simply attach the leads from the external port to the same input terminals as the roof panel.

Three things to be mindful of:

1. Make absolutely sure that you get the polarity from the portable panel, through the port, and to the controller, correct. Double, or even triple check this.

2. If your portable has a built in controller, you should bypass this.

3. Make sure you have the correct plug on the end of your portable’s cable to fit whatever solar port you choose. The SAE/Zamp are the most commonly used, but there are a number of other options out there.
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Old 08-06-2019, 11:38 PM   #8
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Easy to hook up, put in a fuse. Use both controllers. Super simple. I did. Did you know you can use your portable concurrent with the rooftop unit?? 180w!!!

PM and Ill walk you thru it.

Greg
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