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Old 08-03-2019, 10:43 AM   #1
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Portable solar panels

We decided to pull the trigger and bought a Highlander. We will give you an update on how it tows after we pick up our trailer in Oct. All of your feedback has been so helpful. Thanks!
We ordered the option to have a portable solar panel in addition to the fixed, and would like to know what is a good brand and where to purchase ?
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Old 08-03-2019, 12:20 PM   #2
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We purchased a Renogy 100w folding panel w/o controller from Amazon along with the cables to connect it to the Zamp port which ETI installed during our build. Have only had occasion to use it once so far and it worked as expected. It came with a nice "semi-hardside suitcase" which holds the 2 panels and protects them while we are on the road. Hopefully some of the solar experts on the forum can respond with other alternatives for you. We chose this one because of the reviews, the travel case and Amazon shipping.
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Old 08-03-2019, 12:45 PM   #3
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We have the Renogy 100 watt solar suitcase . It was purchased for use with our 17ft Casita SD . Works extremely well with our Casita , have never used it with our Escape but I assume it would work equally as well .
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Old 08-03-2019, 01:09 PM   #4
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We have the Lensun 100w portable solar panel. Very light, rugged, and fits in the wardrobe of the 21'. Since we bought ours, they have come out with 160w and 200w versions as well.

https://www.amazon.com/Lensun-Foldab.../dp/B071FSLZGT
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Old 08-03-2019, 01:37 PM   #5
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I have the Lensun as well. Lightweight, effective, so far durable.
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Old 08-03-2019, 03:28 PM   #6
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If you already have the solar from the factory, how do you hook up the folding panel. We are getting ready to order a E21 and this was one of my questions
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Old 08-03-2019, 04:37 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kodakajika View Post
If you already have the solar from the factory, how do you hook up the folding panel. We are getting ready to order a E21 and this was one of my questions
It depends -

If you use the controller on the portable panel, you need to connect it to the battery side of the trailer's built in controller (this is assuming that you ordered a rooftop panel). If you didn't order a rooftop panel but did order a SAE (ZAMP) connector on the trailer to connect a portable panel, it will be wired to the batteries so the panel controller will work.

If you have a rooftop panel & an Escape provided controller, and ordered a exterior SAE connector, it will be wired to the input of the trailer's solar controller. For your portable panel to work, you must bypass the portable panel's controller.

You could connect from the portable panel's controller to the batteries, but on a 21, with the batteries under the seat, that would be a PIA.
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Old 08-03-2019, 08:10 PM   #8
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IF I had to use external solar with my 21, I would install a marine powerpole jack near the battery vent, and wire this to the existing controller's solar input. I'd use blue+yellow or something instead of black+red, so it wouldn't be confused with +12V ... actually, I might get a dual PP outlet, and have a black+red wired directly to the battery (with a 30A fuse), and a (other colors) for the solar controller. I'd probably also replace my PWM GoPower solar controller with a MPPT if I was doing this, so I could tap 12V outside the trailer to power DC stuffs (I have made a series of PP to cigar plug, PP to SAE, etc connector pigtails for various purposes).
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Old 08-03-2019, 11:43 PM   #9
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With a Zamp port & Renogy portable I had to reverse the polarity on the panel.
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Old 08-04-2019, 01:36 AM   #10
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is the Zamp connector an SAE? I hate those things, there's no standard for the pin or the socket being + and -, in fact, the two that plug together are opposite, one side has an exposed +, while the other side has an exposed -
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Old 08-04-2019, 04:40 AM   #11
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Solar Ready

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vermilye View Post
It depends -

If you use the controller on the portable panel, you need to connect it to the battery side of the trailer's built in controller (this is assuming that you ordered a rooftop panel). If you didn't order a rooftop panel but did order a SAE (ZAMP) connector on the trailer to connect a portable panel, it will be wired to the batteries so the panel controller will work.

If you have a rooftop panel & an Escape provided controller, and ordered a exterior SAE connector, it will be wired to the input of the trailer's solar controller. For your portable panel to work, you must bypass the portable panel's controller.

You could connect from the portable panel's controller to the batteries, but on a 21, with the batteries under the seat, that would be a PIA.
Jon, my previous owner purchased an option called SOLAR READY, and the charge was only $40.00 in 2014.

Do you know what this is?
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Old 08-04-2019, 04:48 AM   #12
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Jon, my previous owner purchased an option called SOLAR READY, and the charge was only $40.00 in 2014.

Do you know what this is?
its probably solar wires on the roof that go down to where the solar controller would be installed if you had the rooftop panels.
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Old 08-04-2019, 07:38 AM   #13
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I got solar ready, it is as John says, mc4 connectors on the roof where ETI would install a panel, and in my case down to the under the rear bench batteries. They left enough cable there to run to where they would have installed their solar controller.
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Old 08-04-2019, 09:41 AM   #14
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Looking for MC4

John and Bob, thanks for the quick responses. I looked at the build sheet and the charge was $50.00, not $40.00.

The previous owner (Dave, a really nice guy) included a Renogy 100W solar suitcase with a Viewstar controller. He told me he only used the solar one time to ensure it worked, ran the wire thru the curbside window beside the dinette, and connected with alligator clips to 2 wires over the corner of the dinette.

Bob, your solar ready description makes a lot of sense to me and would make it easy to join the solar controller to the Escape battery. I just went outside and inspected the roof and do not see any MC4 connectors.

I'll research how to post a thumbnail picture and show the 2 wires over the dinette corner.
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Old 08-04-2019, 10:28 AM   #15
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Photo Attached

Took a while to get orientation correct - maybe.

Dave told me he attached the solar alligator clips to the wires shown to the left of the captain light.
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Old 08-04-2019, 12:54 PM   #16
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Might be Dave had them run non standard. Sounds like the 2 cables run down the corner piece and to the batteries on your install. I can take pics of mine if you wish but as you don't see the cables up on the roof yours is obviously different.


Do you have the hatch door on the passengers side down at the bench seat level? That's how I run in my portable panels when needed. I run them to onboard solar controller (no controller on the panels) as opposed to yours going right to the battery/s.
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Old 08-04-2019, 02:54 PM   #17
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No hatch door under dinette bench

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Might be Dave had them run non standard.

Do you have the hatch door on the passengers side down at the bench seat level? That's how I run in my portable panels when needed. I run them to onboard solar controller (no controller on the panels) as opposed to yours going right to the battery/s.
I don't have that hatch door, wish I did. I expected to see the solar cables on the battery terminals, but they're not present, guess there's another way to connect directly.

I had 100W solar on the Casita roof and have only stayed at 3 campgrounds without electricity. Not sure how much I need the solar but finally unzipped the suitcase to see what we have. My main focus has been the refrigerator and propane alarm and they seem to be under control.

I'm running 2 fans, some lights, and the fridge on propane to see how long it takes to discharge the original Interstates to 50%.
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Old 08-04-2019, 04:02 PM   #18
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We bought the Go Power 80 watt folding kit . Really haven’t had a need since the solar install . But we bring along just in case . The Go power has a adapter that just plugs into trailer cord at front of trailer . Very easy . I did try it out when I first purchased . But the Lensun solar I installed on the roof is working great . Pat
And Go Power gave us lots of connections to battery with alligator clips , etc.
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Old 08-04-2019, 04:11 PM   #19
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I don't have that hatch door, wish I did. I expected to see the solar cables on the battery terminals, but they're not present, guess there's another way to connect directly.

I had 100W solar on the Casita roof and have only stayed at 3 campgrounds without electricity. Not sure how much I need the solar but finally unzipped the suitcase to see what we have. My main focus has been the refrigerator and propane alarm and they seem to be under control.

I'm running 2 fans, some lights, and the fridge on propane to see how long it takes to discharge the original Interstates to 50%.
With our 17B & no solar and dual 6V we were good for 4-5 days before needing to charge. Sometime it would take over a day to get them full. If you start using your portable I think you will be surprised at what a good job it does in a relatively short amount of time. The heater is the big draw on amps for most.
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Old 08-04-2019, 04:52 PM   #20
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Go Power Adapter

Pat, I found the adapter on Amazon for $31.95 and the seller comments state it will only work with Go Power. I don't understand that, but I suspect my son could make it work or build a 7-pin adapter from scratch.

Food for thought.
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