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Old 01-09-2014, 08:55 PM   #31
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Thanks to Bob, SantaCruzer there is a better device to use when connecting your portable solar to the Escape. Called a "deck connector" it is for marine applications using two wires that are polarized. Bob pointed out the below model from the West Marine catalog.
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Old 01-09-2014, 11:01 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by fudge_brownie View Post
The use of this NEMA plug is common on water craft. It is a marine style plug and thus has the water tight characteristics necessary to be used on the outside of the trailer.
I agree that it's suitable for the location; the only question is using it for this purpose

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Originally Posted by fudge_brownie View Post
It is also advertised for use on an RV. That is not to say it is correct, I am not familiar with the code that would cover this.
It's perfectly appropriate for use on an RV as a 120V AC power inlet. I doubt there's an enforceable code that says anything about connectors used for this application, but I don't know.

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However, it is the male plug in the receptacle, certainly it could be mistaken for 110 but we do not commonly plug in the female end of an extension cord.
No, but that's exactly how it is intended to be used, to provide power to the RV. Since Escapes all come with 30 amp service, they don't use this style of connector, but someone familiar with small trailers might reasonably expect this to be the shore power inlet. I agree the chances of the mistake are small.

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Originally Posted by fudge_brownie View Post
You have said there may be many connectors suited to this task. There certainly are, however, I have not found one that has the characteristics of surface mount on fiberglass, water tight, and a color that will match well on the outside of an Escape. Perhaps you could suggest an alternative.
I was thinking of electric trolling motor connectors, but those marine deck connections look suitable, too. I was also thinking of the Powerpoles, and even the Neutrik audio connectors, but neither are weather-sealed.
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Old 01-10-2014, 01:24 AM   #33
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Eric

Can you put the solar controller in the Escape and run #8 AWG wire to the battery, keeping in mind that the distance should be 2 meters or less? This would eliminate the need for a water tight box.
I noticed on a couple of posts the comment that solar controllers should be installed within a couple of meters of the batteries (the closer, the better). Yet Solarland, Samlex & Carmanah all offer 90W - 135W portable solar panel kits c/w built in controllers, that in some cases, result in the distances between controllers & batteries of 10 meters of more.

Conflict??
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Old 01-10-2014, 07:37 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fudge_brownie View Post
Thanks to Bob, SantaCruzer there is a better device to use when connecting your portable solar to the Escape. Called a "deck connector" it is for marine applications using two wires that are polarized. Bob pointed out the below model from the West Marine catalog.
Is this connector not designed for power coming FROM the trailer. If it was to be used for connecting solar panels, the exposed prongs would be hot coming from the panels. Not a good scenario. Though, I may be missing something in the plan.
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Old 01-10-2014, 08:58 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by Stargeezer View Post
I noticed on a couple of posts the comment that solar controllers should be installed within a couple of meters of the batteries (the closer, the better). Yet Solarland, Samlex & Carmanah all offer 90W - 135W portable solar panel kits c/w built in controllers, that in some cases, result in the distances between controllers & batteries of 10 meters of more.

Conflict??
I have wondered about that same thing. My (very far from solar expert) understanding is that the solar panel puts out voltages higher than required (or recommended) for charging. The job of the controller is then to output the required charge voltages in the various charging cycles. The longer (and smaller) the wires, the more voltage drop. So a voltage drop from the panel to the controller is more acceptable than a voltage drop AFTER the controller.

I contacted solarblvd and asked if the controller on the 100w foldable model is attached in a way that it could be removed (yes). I also asked about output voltages and cycles of the provided controller, but the person who replied did not seem to know anything about the controller itself.

I am looking at the Sunforce 60031 as a reasonably cost controller to use with that panel. I'm leaning toward encasing it in a water resistant box and attaching it right onto one of the battery boxes.

We are not big electric users when camping, and really only do much battery draining in cold weather when using the furnace. We don't boondock for long periods. We also already have a Honda generator, but try to only use it when in campgrounds where other more noisy ones are already running. So for us, it is not really practical to spend a lot on solar.
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Old 01-10-2014, 09:01 AM   #36
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Is this connector not designed for power coming FROM the trailer. If it was to be used for connecting solar panels, the exposed prongs would be hot coming from the panels. Not a good scenario.
Good catch Jim... although it's less of a concern in ~20 V and a few amps of capacity than it would be with household power voltages or battery current capacity, I think it's a valid point.
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Old 01-10-2014, 09:32 AM   #37
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Portable Solar Wire Lengths

Larry,
You are correct in in questioning the placement of the solar controller in relation to the distance to the battery. If I could add, many of these "prepackaged" units have a 2-3 meter wire of unknown gauge to be used to connect to the battery. One in particular comes with alligator clips or battery clamps to make that process easier. The manufacturers expectation is that you do not add additional wire, if you do then it becomes an issue. However with 2-3 meters of wire you are not going to have as good a chance to catch some rays. Too short.

One solution may be to replace the wire from the built in solar controller with a higher gauge. I have an inexpensive Morningstar controller that comes with 16 AWG wire to the battery. Now that is really light, but I kept the run to the battery at .5 meter and it works, probably not the best, but this controller was less than $30.

Another issue with the "packaged" panels is what is the controller that is included? Are there any specifications? Read above to see what Eric found on the solarblvd unit, or rather what Eric did not find out.

It is interesting that the length of wire on the other end, that is from the solar panel to solar controller, is much more forgiving. Using a 14 AWG wire it is acceptable to exceed 30 meters. The reason is, a 60 watt solar panel is putting out about 17 volts and 3.5 amps, there is not enough loss from wire length to prevent the controller from sending the necessary 14.8 volts to the battery.

Eric
Thanks for contacting solarblvd, it was interesting to know the solar controller can be removed from the "packaged" panel(s). I would be worried about a solar controller that solarblvd folks could not define. You are wise to be looking at an alternative controller. I looked at the Sunforce and could not find any decent specifications. If I were using a water resistant box, at that price point, I would lean to the Morningstar Sunsaver SS-6 6A, 12V PWM Charge Controller. This is an established brand and solarblvd is selling it at nearly the same price as the Sunforce.

I would like to know if anyone sells the portable panels without a controller and wiring?
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Old 01-10-2014, 09:38 AM   #38
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If I were using a water resistant box, at that price point, I would lean to the Morningstar Sunsaver SS-6 6A, 12V PWM Charge Controller. This is an established brand and solarblvd is selling it at nearly the same price as the Sunforce.
Thanks for that Paul. With the 100w panel I would need to go with the SS-10 I guess
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Old 01-10-2014, 11:39 PM   #39
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RE: thoer & fudge_brownie posts...
The kits provided by these manufacturers are very popular with marine & rv users. In addition, these kits are built in such a manner that the solar panels & controllers are matched... no third party engineering required. The cables between controller and trailer I/P vary from 16' to 25' (with optional extension cables available in some cases). Recognizing that these suppliers are very reputable and their products very popular, doesn't this fly in the face of the distance limitation between controller and batteries expressed in some of the forum posts? In addition, this is "plug & play" technology, including the ability to plug directly into the trailer's seven pin (tow/trailer) connector.

The following link (Carmanah... Go Power) has a video & spec info for panels and associated controllers:
Portable Solar Kits (120, 80 & 40 watts) | GPElectric

Samlex can be found at Home & Solarland at Solarland

Comments appreciated...

Larry
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Old 01-11-2014, 01:25 AM   #40
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I tried the voltage drop calculator.
Wire Resistance and Voltage Drop Calculator

Using 32' of 14/2 that the 90w kit comes with the Samlex comes in at 2.95% loss. If I read correctly under 3% is the target, if I did this right it would be in specs. I used the controllers Bulk Charge 14.4v rate and the panels max 5.16A current.

The Gopower is hard to tell as I couldn't find anything on the controller they use but they do include 16' of 12/2 and an optional 30'.
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