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Old 10-24-2016, 04:53 PM   #1
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portable solar hookup

We spent a week under a group of large pines in Yosemite National Park which rendered our rooftop solar panel unusable. I purchased a 100 watt solar panel with 30 amp controller from Amazon for $168 and hooked it up. install wasn't too bad.
Jerry
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Old 10-24-2016, 05:31 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by jerryandmaria View Post
We spent a week under a group of large pines in Yosemite National Park which rendered our rooftop solar panel unusable. I purchased a 100 watt solar panel with 30 watt controller from Amazon for $168 and hooked it up...
I believe that the Renogy Wanderer is a 30-amp charge controller (rather than 30-watt)... which is good.

I'm glad this worked out well. As discussed in previous threads, it is also possible to just wire the external panel into the input of the trailer's existing solar charge controller.
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Old 10-24-2016, 05:35 PM   #3
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I thought about that, but can't figure out how to get at the wiring in the back of the controller where the roof top panel comes in.
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Old 10-25-2016, 10:49 PM   #4
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I am in the process of putting together my build sheet for a new 17B. I am ordering the two 6V batteries and the solar panel options that Escape installs. I am not ordering an AC unit nor will I be using many electrical appliances, etc while boondocking. I think the only serious current draw will be the furnace if it's cold out.

So the question is....would there be any benefit to having a portable solar panel system to augment the Escape panels? Other than winter time with low sun and high draw using the furnace a lot I can't think of any.
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Old 10-26-2016, 06:28 AM   #5
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I would agree with you, with light usage I have no need for a portable unless I want to stay off grid in the winter for more then a few days.
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Old 10-26-2016, 07:52 AM   #6
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In my case I probably use more amp hours than most but I found that with 195 watts of solar on the roof I still needed my portable 160 watt panel during the winter at Quartzsite, AZ. I use between 30 - 40 amp hours per day. During the summer, I find the rooftop panels provide all I need since I rarely use the furnace.
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Old 10-26-2016, 08:05 AM   #7
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In my case I probably use more amp hours than most but I found that with 195 watts of solar on the roof I still needed my portable 160 watt panel during the winter at Quartzsite, AZ. I use between 30 - 40 amp hours per day. During the summer, I find the rooftop panels provide all I need since I rarely use the furnace.
Jon, when you use your portable panel, do you isolate the fixed panels from the charge circuit. I was told recently at a solar shop here in town that the system will only perform as good as its weakest link (he called it the Buffalo Theory).
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Old 10-26-2016, 02:59 PM   #8
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Jon, when you use your portable panel, do you isolate the fixed panels from the charge circuit. I was told recently at a solar shop here in town that the system will only perform as good as its weakest link (he called it the Buffalo Theory).
I'm not sure what he is referring to. In the case of panels wired in series, unless you have bypass diodes, any shaded panel will limit the charge current from all panels.

Added panels should be wired in parallel, and as long as the voltages are close, there should not be a problem. I chose my added rooftop panel to provide as close a match voltage wise to the Escape installed 95 watt panel as possible. They work well together even though the Escape GoPower panel is a mono with a Vmp of 17.2 & the added 100 watt panel is poly with a Vmp of 17.4.

I set my portable panel so that I could bypass the built in (to the panel) controller & feed it to the input of the trailer's controller. So far it has worked well even though the portable panel has a Vmp of 18.

During the low angle winter sun I usually found I got more charging current from the 160 watt portable than I did from the combined 95 & 100 watt panels on the roof. The roof panels are flat & the portable can be aimed at the sun...
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Old 10-26-2016, 03:20 PM   #9
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Added panels should be wired in parallel, and as long as the voltages are close, there should not be a problem...
That looks right to me. With a simple on-off or PWM controller (that is, anything other than Maximum Power Point Tracking), the panel(s) will be forced to run at the battery voltage until the battery is nearly fully charged anyway, so using separate controllers wouldn't change that. Once the PWM controller starts throttling back the rate of charge, it won't matter if the panels are not at their optimal voltage.
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Old 10-26-2016, 04:20 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Vermilye View Post
I'm not sure what he is referring to. In the case of panels wired in series, unless you have bypass diodes, any shaded panel will limit the charge current from all panels.

Added panels should be wired in parallel, and as long as the voltages are close, there should not be a problem. I chose my added rooftop panel to provide as close a match voltage wise to the Escape installed 95 watt panel as possible. They work well together even though the Escape GoPower panel is a mono with a Vmp of 17.2 & the added 100 watt panel is poly with a Vmp of 17.4.

I set my portable panel so that I could bypass the built in (to the panel) controller & feed it to the input of the trailer's controller. So far it has worked well even though the portable panel has a Vmp of 18.

During the low angle winter sun I usually found I got more charging current from the 160 watt portable than I did from the combined 95 & 100 watt panels on the roof. The roof panels are flat & the portable can be aimed at the sun...
Not certain what he was referring to either, maybe it was the fact I was talking an 80W portable, with about 200W on the roof. I have no idea what the voltage output of both are, or will be. Maybe I was misunderstanding him too. I do have the portable already, but still undecided as to what I will do on the trailer, have Escape install, or install later. I am contemplating using a couple 100W flexible panels too.

What is your plan for your new trailer as far as solar goes?
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Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
That looks right to me. With a simple on-off or PWM controller (that is, anything other than Maximum Power Point Tracking), the panel(s) will be forced to run at the battery voltage until the battery is nearly fully charged anyway, so using separate controllers wouldn't change that. Once the PWM controller starts throttling back the rate of charge, it won't matter if the panels are not at their optimal voltage.
Are you suggesting a separate charge controller for the portable panel? This is what the fellow at the solar store here said to do, but to isolate both systems, so it was one or the other operating, at least that was what I understood. The guy seemed to know his stuff, maybe I need to go visit again and get ideas straightened out, so that way I can get it straight in me own wee mind.
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