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Old 11-15-2023, 06:04 PM   #1
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Portable Solar Panel

We're considering adding a portable solar panel to our kit and wanted to get your thoughts on this Renogy 100 watt with controller. It's $165 right now.

Our 2022 21C has the factory roof mount solar panel with the victron controller. Is this as simple as clipping it to the batteries (not to the victron)? If you think I can order the one with no controller and connect it to the viltron let me know.

FYI, I am the 220/221 type of electrical engineer.

https://www.renogy.com/100-watt-12-v...-with-voyager/
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Old 11-15-2023, 06:57 PM   #2
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We have that same suitcase solar which we use to supplement our 150w panel on our 2015. We added a zamp port ( ours was not equipped with that option) and a connection from the zamp port to the battery. Ours is the Renogy with a controller. We keep a 10’ and 20’ cable to connect with. It has been more than enough for our needs. Also, you will need an adapter or wire your zamp port to match the Renogy (reversed from what Zamp does.)
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Old 11-15-2023, 07:08 PM   #3
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Thanks fellow Missourian!

Is it too heavy/cumbersome?
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Old 11-15-2023, 09:14 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WillyB View Post
We're considering adding a portable solar panel to our kit and wanted to get your thoughts on this Renogy 100 watt with controller. It's $165 right now.

Our 2022 21C has the factory roof mount solar panel with the victron controller. Is this as simple as clipping it to the batteries (not to the victron)? If you think I can order the one with no controller and connect it to the viltron let me know.

FYI, I am the 220/221 type of electrical engineer.

https://www.renogy.com/100-watt-12-v...-with-voyager/
We did have a zamp port installed by Escape. We have 2x100W Renogy suitcase panels without the controller, as they go directly into the solar controller already installed there is no need for the portable panels to have a controller.
We did require a reverse polarity adaptor to make the Renogy panels suitable for use with the Zamp port, a very simple and inexpensive adaptor.

With our 190W roof top and the 2x100w portables we have lots of solar power. Without the portables we did find the rooftop wasn't enough in many situations. Either the trailer was shaded or the sun a bit too low in the sky. The portables allow us to chase the sun
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Old 11-15-2023, 09:16 PM   #5
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Thanks fellow Missourian!

Is it too heavy/cumbersome?
for us it is not an issue. Not too heavy and they fold up so they don't take a lot of space.
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Old 11-15-2023, 09:18 PM   #6
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for our 2019 the Zamp port was an option. I think the 2022 models had the Zamp port as standard, but I could be wrong
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Old 11-15-2023, 09:22 PM   #7
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We have a 130watt GoPower portable solar kit with controller. I chose to wire directly to our batteries and skip the Zamp port since it also went through our onboard Victron controller. The kit isn't that heavy and we have only had to use once when parked deep in some trees. Otherwise the two 190watt rooftop panels pull in plenty of power.
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Old 11-15-2023, 09:26 PM   #8
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When we plugged in the wires and adaptor from the portable panels to the zamp port, I felt there was a bit of strain on the connections, with the weight of the wires from the portable panels pulling it down, so I got this little gizmo to prop up the wires as the come into the zamp port, relieving the stress on the connection. Works really well

https://www.amazon.ca/Fishing-Tripod...C2PNDGWM&psc=1
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Old 11-15-2023, 09:39 PM   #9
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I have a Renogy 100W Suitcase w/o controlller. It is reverse wired for a Zamp port and includes 15" of cable. We've used it twice and is in new condition.

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Old 11-15-2023, 09:39 PM   #10
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Not too heavy-I am a nearly 70 year old and sadly not buff grandma and I load/unload it easily!
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Old 11-16-2023, 09:52 AM   #11
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In 2019, only 3 months after receiving our 5.0, we quickly realized we needed portable solar to augment the single 170 watt panel on our roof. The best portable at the time for us seemed to be the Renogy 100 watt.

I'd read enough about line loss, so passed on the controller at the panel. I installed a Zamp port and reversed the polarity by wrapping the red Zamp wire with black tape and the black Zamp wire with red tape. I then color-code wired it to it's own Victron 100/20 controller (The 170 watt ETI panel connected to its own GoPower controller).

We've seen over 110 watts many times in Feb/March in Arizona with a max of 119 watts. I doubt you'll ever see that kind of production with the controller mounted to the panel (the lower the voltage the higher the line loss). I purchased three 15' Zamp extension 10 awg cables and always seem to need at least 30', using 45' quite often as well.

We chose to have Victron equipment in our trailers. The 600 watts of 24v panels goes into a 100/50 Victron controller, the 100 watt panel into a Victron 100/20 controller, and a Victron BMV 712 shunt to accurately estimate our remaining amps, and coordinate the the two solar controllers. We didn't need a DC-DC controller in our 5.0 (4 winters), nor in our Bigfoot (1 winter), and personally feel it's overkill.

Despite having 600 watts on our current Bigfoot 25RQ, we still need the portable when in heavy shade. We kept the Renogy 100 watt portable and Victron controller when we sold the 5.0 (but left the properly wired Zamp port with the 5.0). Last winter when we only had 160 watts on the roof it was needed 75% of the days. Terry now uses a 12v CPAP every night, so now we have an additional 15 amps for our daily usage. This upcoming winter in Arizona/New Mexico, with cold nights, we'll need 60-75 amp production from our solar to keep up.

Food for thought,

Perry
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Old 11-16-2023, 11:48 AM   #12
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In our 2019 21C we also use a Renogy 100 watt protable w/o controller to supplement our rooftop 170 watt panel via a Zamp port installed by ETI & polarity reverser. We have covered storage for our trailer in winter so at the moment, our 300 AH litium battery is being charged by the 100 watt Renogy only since the roof panel is under cover. The Renogy panel has been good but as it is faced with glass. it is a bit heavy. The weight does help to keep it from being blown over by wind when deployed.
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Old 11-16-2023, 01:17 PM   #13
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Learning a bit here about the GoPower rooftop panel and Renogy portable panel have the same voltage specs.

I'm assuming adding the Renogy is as simple as wiring to my Victron controller?

Sounds too simple!
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Old 11-16-2023, 07:44 PM   #14
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This is a very interesting thread and right along the lines of the mods I'm currently considering. Like Perry, I also have a single 170W roof-mounted panel on our 5.0

I also have been considering adding some portable solar panels; we had the Zamp port option installed on the 5.0 at the factory. Our Factory golf cart batteries are generally pretty good but last year we noticed on cloudier days or when the trailer was incorrectly oriented, we had trouble keeping our batteries topped up.

Another option I'm considering is purchasing a Solar Generator; for example, a Jackery 2000 Pro with portable Solar Panels and then using it to charge our batteries on days when they fail to top up.

For us, the pros of this solution also include being able to directly charge our electric bikes when we're boondocking and using the generator as backup power during our frequent power outages at the remote family cottage.

Opinions - comments on this solution? Has anyone tried this? Thanks
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Old 11-16-2023, 09:16 PM   #15
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This is a very interesting thread and right along the lines of the mods I'm currently considering. Like Perry, I also have a single 170W roof-mounted panel on our 5.0

I also have been considering adding some portable solar panels; we had the Zamp port option installed on the 5.0 at the factory. Our Factory golf cart batteries are generally pretty good but last year we noticed on cloudier days or when the trailer was incorrectly oriented, we had trouble keeping our batteries topped up.

Another option I'm considering is purchasing a Solar Generator; for example, a Jackery 2000 Pro with portable Solar Panels and then using it to charge our batteries on days when they fail to top up.

For us, the pros of this solution also include being able to directly charge our electric bikes when we're boondocking and using the generator as backup power during our frequent power outages at the remote family cottage.

Opinions - comments on this solution? Has anyone tried this? Thanks
As I understand "solar generators" are just a battery , inverter and solar panel in a nice package at a high price. Wouldn't it be better to upgrade your existing system with that money ?
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Old 11-16-2023, 10:18 PM   #16
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We have the GoPower 190 on the roof, and a Renology 200 watt portable. As long as the sun shines, we do well. When itís cloudy and below freezing for several days, we canít keep up.
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Old 11-17-2023, 10:29 AM   #17
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If you're adding a portable solar panel consider what your adding it for. If you're going to use it to supplement you roof solar when parked in shade, you'll be better off using a separate controller on the portable and wire your zamp port directly to the batteries. If your batteries are easily accessible you can just use clips directly on the batteries. If you set it up the portable to share the roof solar controller (parallel connection) and one of the panels is in shade, it will degrade the output of all the panels. How do I know this? My trailer came with the zamp port wired directly to batteries so I decided to do a test. I rewired the zamp port to go through the Victron controller and and covered most of the 190W roof panel. My 100W Renogy produced very little power. Got a separate controller for the Renogy and rewired the zamp port back to feeding the batteries directly. With the roof solar covered, the Renogy panel produced lots of power. If you have lithium batteries as I do, make sure the controller you use supports lithium charging. The one WillyB is looking at does. It's the same one I have, same panel as well.
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Old 11-17-2023, 11:09 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SRS View Post
If you're adding a portable solar panel consider what your adding it for. If you're going to use it to supplement you roof solar when parked in shade, you'll be better off using a separate controller on the portable and wire your zamp port directly to the batteries. If your batteries are easily accessible you can just use clips directly on the batteries. If you set it up the portable to share the roof solar controller (parallel connection) and one of the panels is in shade, it will degrade the output of all the panels. How do I know this? My trailer came with the zamp port wired directly to batteries so I decided to do a test. I rewired the zamp port to go through the Victron controller and and covered most of the 190W roof panel. My 100W Renogy produced very little power. Got a separate controller for the Renogy and rewired the zamp port back to feeding the batteries directly. With the roof solar covered, the Renogy panel produced lots of power. If you have lithium batteries as I do, make sure the controller you use supports lithium charging. The one WillyB is looking at does. It's the same one I have, same panel as well.
I had similar results when we purchased our 100 watt Renogy panel and tied it into the GoPower controller. Each solar bank will provide closer to maximum output using separate controllers. That's why I added a Victron 100/20 for only the portable and kept the rooftop using the GoPower controller (later changed to a Victron 100/30 controller).

Food for thought,

Perry
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Old 11-17-2023, 11:27 AM   #19
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We purchased a Bluetti 350 watt portable panel and used it for 4 weeks this year boondocking. Two weeks in the Rockies and two weeks in Washington DC at Greenbelt park (no electric hookups available but very convient to the DC Mall via Metro). We were keeping four 100 AH Lifepo4 batteries charged with the portable. You can see it's about 8' long when opened but folds nicely into 1/4th that size. I installed a Victron controller in the Escape so it runs about 37 volts to the trailer enabling me to use a standard 10 gauge cord to run to the panel following Eggscapes example. On a sunny day it would charge the batteries in 1-2 hours in the Rockies, but in Washington DC later in the year it charged most of the day. We also endured about 4 days of rain and no sunshine and the batteries went down to about 50%. All in all very happy with the Bluetti 350 portable panel. I might add something to the roof in the future but don't really know if it's worth the hassle, time will tell.
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Old 11-17-2023, 12:51 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Perry Butler View Post
I had similar results when we purchased our 100 watt Renogy panel and tied it into the GoPower controller. Each solar bank will provide closer to maximum output using separate controllers. That's why I added a Victron 100/20 for only the portable and kept the rooftop using the GoPower controller (later changed to a Victron 100/30 controller).

Food for thought,

Perry
Perry and SRS,

Would the Renogy panel with their controller connected to the battery work fine or would it be best get the Renogy panel without the controller and wire through a separate Victron then to the battery?
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