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Old 11-20-2016, 03:11 PM   #11
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Thought about having an extra 100W portable solar panel for low light winter conditions. Couldn't I just connect a portable solar panel to the trailers 7-pin plug-in using a connector such as below and call it good vs drilling another hole in my trailer and installing a Zamp solar port or something similar?
Yes, but would your portable panel include a charge controller? A 100-watt panel is too much to leave connected directly to the batteries without monitoring - eventually it could over-charge the batteries (given enough time).
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Old 11-20-2016, 03:32 PM   #12
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First off, let me thank those of you contributing here. Greatly appreciated.

Let me clarify......I'll have a 100w portable solar panel w/o a controller so I won't be connecting it directly to the 6V batteries. Was hoping to keep it simple and just plug into the trailers 7 pin plug-in vs putting another hole in my trailer to add a Zamp type solar port outlet. Hadn't thought of the in-house solar panels getting shut off by using the trailer plug-in.

Another idea.....I can have Escape run wires from the solar controller in the trailer to the P/S rear dinette storage area. I'm having the outside hatch installed to access the storage area anyway. So I should be able to add a connector to the wires from the controller ending in the storage area and plug in the portable solar panel.

That way the 100W portable solar panel w/o a controller goes through the same system as the in-house 160W solar panels, I have no hole in my trailer and the connection to the portable panel is out of the weather. I think I have a plan.
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Old 11-20-2016, 04:04 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by advenas View Post
Let me clarify......I'll have a 100w portable solar panel w/o a controller so I won't be connecting it directly to the 6V batteries. Was hoping to keep it simple and just plug into the trailers 7 pin plug-in vs putting another hole in my trailer to add a Zamp type solar port outlet.
There is nothing but wire between the trailer's 7-pin connector and the battery, so in an electrical sense plugging into there is connecting directly to the battery.

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Originally Posted by advenas View Post
Another idea.....I can have Escape run wires from the solar controller in the trailer to the P/S rear dinette storage area. I'm having the outside hatch installed to access the storage area anyway. So I should be able to add a connector to the wires from the controller ending in the storage area and plug in the portable solar panel.

That way the 100W portable solar panel w/o a controller goes through the same system as the in-house 160W solar panels, I have no hole in my trailer and the connection to the portable panel is out of the weather. I think I have a plan.
That works, as long as you're okay with having the hatch open whenever the portable panel is in use.
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Old 11-20-2016, 05:04 PM   #14
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Our plan is to have ETI install a little hatch (same as the one the power cord goes through, even though we are getting a removable power cord) put in on the driver's side far aft to use for the wiring to a portable solar panel and /or for the wiring to a cell phone antenna on a removable mast mounted to the rear bumper. That way I can place the antenna and mast when the cell booster is needed at camp and have the booster and internal antenna under the dinette seat, and ETI is putting a pigtail there for an external solar panel that will already be wired into the controller for the ETI solar panel mounted on the trailer roof. We are thinking that will work out ok.
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Old 11-20-2016, 05:31 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by casejh View Post
Our plan is to have ETI install a little hatch (same as the one the power cord goes through, even though we are getting a removable power cord) put in on the driver's side far aft to use for the wiring to a portable solar panel and /or for the wiring to a cell phone antenna on a removable mast mounted to the rear bumper. That way I can place the antenna and mast when the cell booster is needed at camp and have the booster and internal antenna under the dinette seat, and ETI is putting a pigtail there for an external solar panel that will already be wired into the controller for the ETI solar panel mounted on the trailer roof. We are thinking that will work out ok.
I am doing exactly the same thing. Bought a Renogy 100 watt folding panel without a controller that comes with MC4 connectors. I will need to install corresponding connectors on the pigtail but already have them. I will be using a removable mast for an occasional TV antenna or a WIFI antenna. Our cell antenna will be permanently mounted on the trailer.
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Old 11-20-2016, 05:34 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by advenas View Post
First off, let me thank those of you contributing here. Greatly appreciated.

Let me clarify......I'll have a 100w portable solar panel w/o a controller so I won't be connecting it directly to the 6V batteries. Was hoping to keep it simple and just plug into the trailers 7 pin plug-in vs putting another hole in my trailer to add a Zamp type solar port outlet. Hadn't thought of the in-house solar panels getting shut off by using the trailer plug-in.

Another idea.....I can have Escape run wires from the solar controller in the trailer to the P/S rear dinette storage area. I'm having the outside hatch installed to access the storage area anyway. So I should be able to add a connector to the wires from the controller ending in the storage area and plug in the portable solar panel.

That way the 100W portable solar panel w/o a controller goes through the same system as the in-house 160W solar panels, I have no hole in my trailer and the connection to the portable panel is out of the weather. I think I have a plan.
Rick, you could have Reace install one of these so when you plug in the extra solar panel into it, it adds into the current going into the controller from the roof top system. That is what I had planned before I decided that the rooftop would be adequate for our needs.

Sidewall port

Or as case and Stephen mention, there are also ones like this that I planned to just remove the coax and mount what I needed into it.
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Old 11-20-2016, 06:59 PM   #17
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A question on the MC4 connectors related to the above plan? Do you not need a special tool to "open" a MC4 connector? I thought I had read that somewhere and immediately thought to myself, "I will never find that tool when I need it."
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Old 11-20-2016, 07:09 PM   #18
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If you google it, there are Utube video's on the connectors. There is a specialized tool, about $3 worth. Pushes in a couple tabs on either side of the connector from the looks of it. I'm considering chopping off the MC4's and using SAE's or Anderson Power poles. I believe the "Zamp" connector Thoer shows is really an SAE 2 conductor.
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Old 11-20-2016, 07:14 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by fudge_brownie View Post
A question on the MC4 connectors related to the above plan? Do you not need a special tool to "open" a MC4 connector? I thought I had read that somewhere and immediately thought to myself, "I will never find that tool when I need it."
The MC4 connectors use a couple of small plastic wrenches to tighten or loosen the end cap but that only needs to be done on the initial install of the connector. I suppose careful use of a couple pair of slip joint pliers would work as well.
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Old 11-20-2016, 07:15 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by casejh View Post
Our plan is to have ETI install a little hatch (same as the one the power cord goes through, even though we are getting a removable power cord) put in on the driver's side far aft to use for the wiring to a portable solar panel and /or for the wiring to a cell phone antenna on a removable mast mounted to the rear bumper. That way I can place the antenna and mast when the cell booster is needed at camp and have the booster and internal antenna under the dinette seat, and ETI is putting a pigtail there for an external solar panel that will already be wired into the controller for the ETI solar panel mounted on the trailer roof. We are thinking that will work out ok.
Interesting idea...but I hate the thought of putting yet another hole in my trailer. I was hoping to find a way to utilize either the trailer plug-in or the outside hatch to the storage area for my solar. I hadn't thought of my cell antenna yet or my AM/FM radio antenna. But figure those could be run through the outside hatch also.

Of course, I am planning on being around the trailer while using these items and when not they'll be stored. So having the hatch ajar shouldn't cause problems. Except now I'm wondering about heat loss in cold weather and varmints in warm weather.
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