whats the best portable solar panel? - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 02-22-2017, 08:51 AM   #1
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whats the best portable solar panel?

We are getting the solar panel on top of the Escape, but are also adding the solar port. We want to try out boondocking and would like to get an additional solar panel that we can set up if needed and point toward the sun.

We do not want one with a skimpy frame and one that is not too difficult to store but we do want one that will generate some good power. We would probably carry it in the back of our suv.

Any suggestions?

Do any come with protective covers?
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Old 02-22-2017, 10:01 AM   #2
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While we're on this topic... The portable solar panels if I've seen fold with the solar cells on the outside. Then you put them in the supplied soft or hard case.

They put the most delicate party on the outside! If they have a hard case then they require even more source to store. I seems more logical (at least to me) to fold with the cells on the inside rather than the outside. Am I missing something here?

Rich
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Old 02-22-2017, 10:13 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by ReagentGrade View Post
While we're on this topic... The portable solar panels if I've seen fold with the solar cells on the outside. Then you put them in the supplied soft or hard case.

They put the most delicate party on the outside! If they have a hard case then they require even more source to store. I seems more logical (at least to me) to fold with the cells on the inside rather than the outside. Am I missing something here?

Rich
Folding them the way they do allows a good storage and protection for the cables and charge controller. The glass panels are actually not delicate at all, built to withstand the forces of nature.
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Old 02-22-2017, 10:18 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by ReagentGrade View Post
While we're on this topic... The portable solar panels if I've seen fold with the solar cells on the outside. Then you put them in the supplied soft or hard case.

They put the most delicate party on the outside! If they have a hard case then they require even more source to store. I seems more logical (at least to me) to fold with the cells on the inside rather than the outside. Am I missing something here?

Rich
It is easy to get a few pebbles on the surface of the folding panels when set up on gravel. Fold the glass sides together with a pebble in between could crack the glass. As long as you use a padded carrier to avoid scratching while traveling, I would stick with the glass on the outside. It is pretty tough stuff...

As to "best" panels, since you will be connecting the portable panel in parallel to the rooftop panels, you should look for a panel that has the closest voltage (Vmp) ratings to the rooftop panel. You will need to look up the specifications for the panels Escape uses (currently GoPower) & what ever portable you plan to add.

If Escape wires the port to the input of the GoPower controller, either use a portable panel without a controller, or bypass it if one is built in.
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Old 02-22-2017, 10:38 AM   #5
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I'm in the process of designing my portable system and will probably purchase this 160 watt unit. Looks like a good buy for $179 (US). https://www.solarblvd.com/product_in...oducts_id=2754

I'm waiting to hear from them about a price without the solar charger, which I really don't want.
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Old 02-22-2017, 10:46 AM   #6
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I am looking at the RENOGY Foldable Solar Suitcase Kit 100W Mono Without Charge Controller. to hook up to the zamp port you need a MC4 Sae adapter and their mc4 extension cord that comes in 10 or 12awg
It also comes in a cloth zippered case.
What do you guys think?
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Old 02-22-2017, 10:47 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by The Quilting Lady View Post
We are getting the solar panel on top of the Escape, but are also adding the solar port. We want to try out boondocking and would like to get an additional solar panel that we can set up if needed and point toward the sun.

We do not want one with a skimpy frame and one that is not too difficult to store but we do want one that will generate some good power. We would probably carry it in the back of our suv.

Any suggestions?

Do any come with protective covers?
This is the unit I went with. I got the 90 w version as that should meet our needs. It is designed to cater to the off-road community so is very rugged with a simi-hard molded case. Since the controllers are all contained in the unit, and I have my battery in the front storage box, I also have a port for the storage box wired to the battery that allows me to plug it directly to the port without having wires snaking under the lid. This system is independent of the ETI roof top panel so does not use any of the ETI components.

https://overlandsolar.com

Note: everyones needs are different so you will need to evaluate all the feedback to determine what meets your needs and camping style.

Edit: I should have stated that the way I'm using this system is independent of the ETI components. They are designed so the on-board controllers can be bypassed to integrate into an existing system.
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Old 02-22-2017, 10:48 AM   #8
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That's a really good price even if you throw the controller in the garbage. I just paid $239 for a 100 watt panel without controller from Renogy. At $179 for 160 watts that is a deal. Someday I plan on putting two tilt-able 160 watt panels on our trailer but for now I plan on just using a portable 100 watt panel. I just won't use more than we put in. Being tent campers for years just having a toilet and a few lights is a luxury.
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Old 02-22-2017, 11:01 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by SeldomSeen View Post
I'm in the process of designing my portable system and will probably purchase this 160 watt unit. Looks like a good buy for $179 (US). https://www.solarblvd.com/product_in...oducts_id=2754

I'm waiting to hear from them about a price without the solar charger, which I really don't want.
Very good price.
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Old 02-22-2017, 11:01 AM   #10
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The glass panels are actually not delicate at all, built to withstand the forces of nature.
Glass is glass. They do shatter. Don't ask me how I know.

If I wanted an additional panel for portable use I'd get a flexible one. Much lighter, and easier to store. And, if desired, easier to make a protective sleeve for.

Ron
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