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Old 05-11-2017, 05:18 PM   #1
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Solar port placement

We are getting a Zamp solar port installed on our Escape 19 which will hatch this October. We are not getting the solar option or prewiring for it as we have a Renogy suitcase unit with controller that has worked well for us with our Scamp.We are also getting the dual six volt batteries, which will be mounted in the optional front storage box. Our ETI rep says most owners have the solar port placed in the side rear, near the 120v outlet. This would be several feet from the batteries. My Renogy has a 15 foot cord. My question is this: Would the batteries charge slower if the wires are longer? I know wire gauge can have an effect on this as well. I don't know what gauge Escape normally uses for this. I initially thought I would have the port installed on the front side, just a foot or two from the batteries, but cosmetically, not to mention the potential "tripping factor" of having charge wires between the trailer door and the tug, it's probably better to place it in the rear. Feedback please?
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Old 05-11-2017, 06:01 PM   #2
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Linda, I would put the port into the storage box itself. As you are only planning on a portable panel that would put your port close to the batteries and probably closer to where you will be setting up the panel. If ETI won't put it there for you, it would be a pretty easy procedure to do yourself.
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Old 05-11-2017, 06:50 PM   #3
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we decided to place ours at driver side rear because we want it to be sort of "out of the way" (so no passenger side)... it probably will affect the charging a little since there will be some loss.. but that shouldn't be a big factor since it's a small trailer.. we have the solar panel on roof option.
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Old 05-11-2017, 06:59 PM   #4
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I have the solar option, but am planning on a secondary portable panel one of these days. Since I'll want to tie the portable panel into the existing controller, I had Reace place the controller under the driver side bench seat, since it's a little more accessible there as opposed to their standard location. ETI put in an access port on the driver side near the front.
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Old 05-11-2017, 08:16 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ljswany View Post
...
My Renogy has a 15 foot cord. My question is this: Would the batteries charge slower if the wires are longer? I know wire gauge can have an effect on this as well.
...
Yes, with a longer cord the batteries will charge slower. And yes, wire gauge has a significant impact.

I took the liberty of guessing your current gauge size and guessing the amperage of your portable panel, and did some on-line calculations.

You can conclude from these numbers that doubling the cord length would require that you increase (smaller numbers) by 2 sizes in order to maintain the same charge. 2 sizes (standard American sizes) means for example from 18 ga up to 14 ga.

Actual panel amperage doesn't actually matter. All that matters is that if you double the wire length you need to go up 2 sizes from what you start with.

There is in fact a tiny, insignificant, bit of improvement if you read the voltage drop numbers. Use this smidgen of improvement to your advantage by leaving a couple of feet of the original thinner wire attached to the panel and connect the 30 feet of new wire to the smaller wire for a total of 32 feet.

The real downside to going up 2 sizes is going up in price by 4 times. Ouch!

--
Alan

PS. I just noticed I used AC current instead of DC current. It makes no difference at all for calculating voltage drop in this application.
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Old 05-11-2017, 08:23 PM   #6
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Linda, I would put the port into the storage box itself.
I would do the same. Easy and right next to the batteries on a 19.
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Old 05-11-2017, 10:07 PM   #7
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I would say that a big improvement would be to make sure that your charge controller is mounted close to the battery not on the solar panel. Voltage drop won't be near as big an issue. It is still an issue though.
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Old 05-13-2017, 10:14 PM   #8
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Smile

Thanks for all the input, everyone! We are placing the port very close to the dual batteries.

Ray (Linda's lackey)
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