Which portable solar panels with roof solar and ETI controller? - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 01-24-2018, 07:59 PM   #1
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Which portable solar panels with roof solar and ETI controller?

We've got an April 2018 pickup date for our 5.0TA. In addition to the roof mounted solar panel, we ordered a Zamp port for portable solar. My understanding is that the portable solar panels will use the same controller that the roof panel will use so we shouldn't buy/use portable solar panels with controllers.

Does anyone have any suggestions about which portable panels to buy, what features to look for, and what is the maximum wattage for the portable solar panels the trailerís controller (in conjunction with the rooftop solar on our build sheet) can handle? Thanks.
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Old 01-24-2018, 08:05 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jkordzi View Post
We've got an April 2018 pickup date for our 5.0TA. In addition to the roof mounted solar panel, we ordered a Zamp port for portable solar. My understanding is that the portable solar panels will use the same controller that the roof panel will use so we shouldn't buy/use portable solar panels with controllers.

Does anyone have any suggestions about which portable panels to buy, what features to look for, and what is the maximum wattage for the portable solar panels the trailerís controller (in conjunction with the rooftop solar on our build sheet) can handle? Thanks.
I believe Escape uses 30A controllers, that can handle up to 500W worth of solar panels. parallel panels should be the same voltage rating... the 160W GoPower panel factory installed on my E'21 has an open circuit voltage rating of 22.50V and 18.8V at max load. you can string 3 of these in parallel, for 480W total on that controller.... Thats compatible with the 100W Renogy Solar Suitcase kits (available sans controller), and probably most other similar kits.
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Old 01-24-2018, 10:07 PM   #3
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100 watt Lensun solar panel

I have been very pleased with the Lensun 100 watt panel. It is a little pricey, $299 on Amazon, but is very light and portable. I am able to fold it up and store it between the bed and the refrigerator wall on the 19. I have the model with no controller and plug in through an outside adapter. Works great. Easy to setup. Down side on all portables, also easy for someone to steal.
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Old 01-30-2018, 09:12 PM   #4
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Here's a video review if your interested in these.

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Old 01-30-2018, 10:25 PM   #5
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That is sure an interesting alternative. I think the flimsiness of the legs could be remedied by slipping small pvc sleeves on them. Stability on the ground could be improved in several ways. I wonder how sturdy the panels will be over time. The weight (9 lbs!!) is a BIG plus. There's only one review on Amazon, price $299.

Renogy 100 watt suitcase w controller @$250 @ 30 lbs.

Zamp 80 watt $489, latest generation $600. @27 lbs.
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Old 03-08-2018, 11:29 AM   #6
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Did you have the solar plug-in outside adapter installed when the trailer was built?
I need to add a outside solar plugin on my 21 Escape can it be done by Escape company or is there another way of doing it ?
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Old 03-08-2018, 11:55 AM   #7
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We went with the GoPower 120 portable. Nice package.
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Old 03-08-2018, 12:38 PM   #8
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I have the Go Power 120 also. The wiring slips through the battery vent tube. But, I just installed 2 AGM 6V batteries today and I noticed that the new batteries block the vent into the battery box enough to where I will have to route the Go Power cables a little differently.
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Old 03-08-2018, 01:38 PM   #9
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Thanks for the recommendations. Do you folks use the onboard controller for the ETI roof solar panels?
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Old 03-16-2018, 11:10 AM   #10
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Been doing some more investigating and this is what I think I know. ETI installed a 160W panel on the roof and this controller from GoPower on my 5.0TA: Solar Panel Charge Controller 30 Amps 500 Watts - Increase Battery Life | Go Power!. My outside Zamp plug is wired to the onboard controller, so my portable unit should not have a controller. I was advised by GoPower that the best option would be to try to match the power output of the rooftop solar, or when using both the rooftop solar and the portable, whichever was lower would bring the other down. So for instance, if I used one of their 120W suitcase units, and the rooftop and the suitcase unit were both getting full sun, the rooftop unit would be limited to 120W. Not a big consideration, but I think I'm going to try to get a 160W or 200W portable unit. I'm actually thinking of making my own folding unit, since it seems that riveting on hinges and folding legs to the aluminum framed panels would be pretty easy. Then I'd have to wire the panels in parallel (18V max output) and solder on 15' or so of heavy gauge wire and a Zamp (or switched polarity SAE) connector. Thoughts?
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Old 03-16-2018, 11:37 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jkordzi View Post
Thoughts?
If wired in parallel and the two panel voltages are the same, the watts (thus amps) are added up while the voltage remains the same, no matter whether they are different size or not. Almost all panels you would use would be around 18V, but good to confirm. So you should be just fine with whatever portable you choose.

If you were running in series, then the amperages should match and the voltage is inconsequential, as the amperage of the two in series stays the same, but the voltage adds up..

I ran three pairs (wired in series), including one set of portable, and these three pairs are then run in parallel to the controller. The two panels in series have the same amperage, and all pairs have the same (or really close) voltage, but the portable is lower amperage. This diagram better explains.
Solar Installation
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Old 03-16-2018, 11:52 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by jkordzi View Post
Been doing some more investigating and this is what I think I know. ETI installed a 160W panel on the roof and this controller from GoPower on my 5.0TA: Solar Panel Charge Controller 30 Amps 500 Watts - Increase Battery Life | Go Power!. My outside Zamp plug is wired to the onboard controller, so my portable unit should not have a controller. I was advised by GoPower that the best option would be to try to match the power output of the rooftop solar, or when using both the rooftop solar and the portable, whichever was lower would bring the other down. So for instance, if I used one of their 120W suitcase units, and the rooftop and the suitcase unit were both getting full sun, the rooftop unit would be limited to 120W. Thoughts?
I think you might be misinformed. As long as th panels are hooked up in parallel I think it does not matter what size it is. I know people have different size panels on their roof hooked into a combiner box. Basically you would be doing the same thing.

Yes, what Jim said above.
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Old 03-16-2018, 12:38 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by jkordzi View Post
I was advised by GoPower that the best option would be to try to match the power output of the rooftop solar, or when using both the rooftop solar and the portable, whichever was lower would bring the other down.
If you are running the panels in parallel, then the panel voltages should match. The power output of the panels don't matter - just the voltage. Escape will install the Zamp port in parallel with the roof panel and the GoPower 160 watt panel is 18v so adding a portable panel that outputs 18v will be fine.
http://gpelectric.com/files/gpelectr...cs_CTI-160.pdf

[edit] Wow! you guys sure type fast - two replys to the goofy info from GoPower while I was typing out this one!
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Old 03-16-2018, 01:08 PM   #14
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Thanks. I think I either received bad info from GoPower or more likely just misunderstood. I am looking at making my own suitcase solar setup though.
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Old 03-16-2018, 01:13 PM   #15
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Work from the back. Figure out where you're gonna store it when complete and if it will fit. I still don't know where to conveniently keep my two 40W panels.
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Old 03-16-2018, 01:34 PM   #16
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Thanks. I think I either received bad info from GoPower or more likely just misunderstood. I am looking at making my own suitcase solar setup though.
Amazon sells the Renogy 100 watt suitcase with case without controller for $239 with free shipping. It is the setup I use. Some People prefer the flexible 100 watt panels. Flexible panels are lighter and smaller since I believe they are trifold.
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Old 03-16-2018, 03:28 PM   #17
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Been doing some more investigating and this is what I think I know. ETI installed a 160W panel on the roof and this controller from GoPower on my 5.0TA: Solar Panel Charge Controller 30 Amps 500 Watts - Increase Battery Life | Go Power!. My outside Zamp plug is wired to the onboard controller, so my portable unit should not have a controller. I was advised by GoPower that the best option would be to try to match the power output of the rooftop solar, or when using both the rooftop solar and the portable, whichever was lower would bring the other down. So for instance, if I used one of their 120W suitcase units, and the rooftop and the suitcase unit were both getting full sun, the rooftop unit would be limited to 120W. Not a big consideration, but I think I'm going to try to get a 160W or 200W portable unit. I'm actually thinking of making my own folding unit, since it seems that riveting on hinges and folding legs to the aluminum framed panels would be pretty easy. Then I'd have to wire the panels in parallel (18V max output) and solder on 15' or so of heavy gauge wire and a Zamp (or switched polarity SAE) connector. Thoughts?
actually, you need to approximately match the solar VOLTAGE, not the 'power' rating when they are wired in parallel like this. most all these RV panels for 12V systems are 18-22V open circuit.
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Old 03-16-2018, 03:53 PM   #18
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You will get the best performance when paralleling panels by matching Vmp. That is a specification found in most ads for panels, and usually on the back of the panel itself.
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Old 03-16-2018, 04:28 PM   #19
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[edit] Wow! you guys sure type fast - two replys to the goofy info from GoPower while I was typing out this one!
I am just a quick young 60 year old with mad fast typing skills.
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Old 06-12-2018, 06:22 PM   #20
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That depends on the Amp rating of the Charge Controller. Nothing less than 30 Amps. Did you buy Zamp Solar panels or something else? There basic Deluxe Roof mount kit includes a 30 Amp charge controller and a 3 port roof mount. The Solar port is for portables that can be 40, 80, 120, 160 or 200 Watts and each comes with a charge controller as part of the portable kit.
Never connect solar to your battery without a charge controller in between.
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