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Old 02-02-2023, 10:21 PM   #1
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Portable Solar Panel Suggestions

Hi, I have a 2022 21ne with the Zamp Port. I am now researching portable panels. I saw that Carl in the last Q&A said to buy a 24 volt panel because anythng less would slow the system. Most of this is new to me. Any suggestions for a solar panel? What works for you? Should I go zamp, or are there good but less expensive options? And if I don't go zamp what is the issue again with reversed polarity? I think 100 watts would do as I have two 190 panels on the roof. Thank You for your responses.
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Old 02-02-2023, 10:43 PM   #2
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Do you have a roof panel? is so i get something that matched that spec, But if not you can use any portable you want. are they still using the go power 190 watt panels?if so there a 12-volt system.
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Old 02-02-2023, 11:43 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chesaka View Post
Carl in the last Q&A said to buy a 24 volt panel because anything less would slow the system.
That vast majority of solar panels have 18V-22V open-circuit (no connection) output to drive charge controllers for 12V batteries. When the load of a battery that needs a charge is connected to those panels, the voltage output from the panel drops as a function of how much current is being drawn.

Some charge controllers can accept much higher input voltages to charge lower voltage batteries, so some system designers wire panels meant for 12V systems in series to allow the use of smaller gage wire to gain a little more efficiency. Perhaps this is what Escape is doing? (Or maybe they're just providing providing some panels that have a 24V open-circuit voltage.)

If Escape engineers have wired the two rooftop panels in series, and if your Zamp port is wired to the input of the charge controller, then you would also need to wire your two portable panels in series (or find the rare portable panel with 36V - 44V output for charging 24V battery systems).

I don't have my trailer yet, but my long-term plan is to install a second charge controller in the trailer for the remote panels, and wire its output in parallel to the output of the controller Escape already provided. That way the external panels will not need any compatibility with the rooftop panels.
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Old 02-03-2023, 12:06 AM   #4
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Escape uses Go Power! panels with 20V rated DC voltage and 24V open circuit voltage. Multiple panels are wired in parallel.
https://gopowersolar.com/products/hi...-solar-module/

To get a compatible portable get something close to these specs. This is what Escape meant in the Q&A. With a solar array wired in parallel to the same solar controller all of the panels should have the same voltage rating. The rationale behind this is the current output will add together, but the system output voltage will be equal to the panel with the lowest voltage rating.
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Old 02-03-2023, 12:08 AM   #5
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For the past four years we have been using Renogy's 100 watt portable and have been very satisfied. Many times we have seen it provide over 105 watts and that's in January/February.

We have a Zamp port, but simply wrapped the red wire with black electricains tape and the black wire with red electricians tape and wired with the color code. Reversers are known to fall off in transit and if not caught, is wired incorrectly and can possibly ruin your portable. In one case I know, after Renogy replaced two portable panels the owner called me up and I told him the Zamp port is wired reversed and to wrap the wires as I've already said. He called back after wrapping the wires (reversing them) that the portable worked great.

I didn't want to run the portable with our GoPower controller, so we purchased a Victron 100/20 for the portable and ran the wires directly from the 100/20 to the batteries ( with a 20 amp breaker on the red wire) and never regretted our decision.

We also replaced the cheap PWM GoPower controller installed by Escape with a Victron 100/30 for our rooftop panel, and felt we got more watts into our batteries. Plus if you have a Victron battery monitor (BMV-712 for us) our two Victron solar controller worked together with the battery monitor for better solar control.

Enjoy,

Perry
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Old 02-03-2023, 02:15 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by chesaka View Post
Hi, I have a 2022 21ne with the Zamp Port. I am now researching portable panels. I saw that Carl in the last Q&A said to buy a 24 volt panel because anythng less would slow the system. Most of this is new to me. Any suggestions for a solar panel? What works for you? Should I go zamp, or are there good but less expensive options? And if I don't go zamp what is the issue again with reversed polarity? I think 100 watts would do as I have two 190 panels on the roof. Thank You for your responses.
Thank you chesaka for asking this question. We picked up our 2022 21C in mid December and are also thinking about purchasing a portable panel. We would also appreciate people's input on which 24 volt panel to purchase. We have 2 - 190w panels on the roof and 2-100Ah lithium batteries. We haven't had a chance to use our trailer yet, but I think I might wait until we have made a few trips before I decide what size of panel we will require or maybe we will be able to survive without one.

After picking up our trailer we asked Escape about the Zamp port being reverse polarity. Here is Escape's response:

Is the Zamp solar port reverse polarity?

Zamp port is SAE wired.

I also found this on the Zamp website. Does this mean if you have a panel that is not a Zamp you will require an adapter?

4. Is the Zamp Solar port reverse polarity?
No, but they are different from other brands of solar ports because all of our SAE plugs are polarity-protected for safety reasons. That means the positive pin on all of our SAE plugs is set back and covered to prevent accidental contact that could damage your panel, short your battery, or give you a pretty nasty shock. So, because of the polarity protection on our plugs, Zamp Solar ports are only compatible with Zamp Solar SAE plugs.
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Old 02-03-2023, 08:47 AM   #7
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Beware of the cheaper flimsy fold-out solar panels that don't have a metal frame. I ruined one by leaving it out in the rain. I guess it was made of cardboard beneath the solar cells, or something else that couldn't get wet. I bought another, larger one but I don't leave it out in wet conditions. Otherwise they work fine.
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Old 02-03-2023, 09:21 AM   #8
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IMO Escape makes this more complicated than they need to. I struggled with this when Samuel told me I needed a 24 volt panel. What they are talking about is output of the panel. When shopping for a panel to connect to the solar port, you still want to look at 12 volt panels. Whatever you choose, look for one that has an output close to 24 volts.

My solar port was wired SAE, but you should use a volt meter to make sure. My solar port was not connected to the controller which in my opinion is better. You can then get a panel with a built in controller and you don't have to worry about mismatch panels de-rating your system.

Here is a link to a good but complicated article about mismatched solar panels. I had to read it about 3 times and do the math before I started to get a handle on the issues:
https://www.explorist.life/using-mis...r-panel-sizes/
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Old 02-03-2023, 09:35 AM   #9
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You really have to check how ETI wired your port. Mine was wired Zamp. I have a 200watt Renology portable, and the stock ETI GoPower roof panel and controller. I do have Victron stuff to wire someday.
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Old 02-03-2023, 11:04 AM   #10
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So something like this should work, with a MC4-to-Zamp adapter?

https://ca.renogy.com/renogy-100w-12...wo-controller/

If I understand correctly:

- Portable panels should match the open circuit voltage of the fixed roof panels.
- ETI still uses GoPower 190W panels with a 24V open circuit voltage.
- ETI currently wires the Zamp port in parallel with the roof panels, so they will share the solar controller.
- Some trailers were produced with the Zamp port wired directly to the battery. This may be a good thing, if your portable panels feature their own controller. Otherwise, it should be straightforward to rewire it.
- Check that the polarity of the port matches the panels. Rewire or install a polarity reversing adapter if necessary.

There are two items that I remain unclear:

- Are there any advantages/disadvantages to running portable panels off a separate solar controller, wired straight to the battery in parallel with the roof panel controller? I would think that utilizing a single controller would be more efficient, assuming that the panel voltages match and you stay within the controller's capacity.
-I believe ETI currently installs the 30A Victron solar controller. What is the maximum total wattage of the panel array that can be connected? I looked up the specs shown below. Since the panels are 24v, that mean it can accommodate a maximum of 880w, correct?
Attached Thumbnails
Victron30Aspecs.jpg  
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Old 02-03-2023, 11:07 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SRS View Post
IMO Escape makes this more complicated than they need to. I struggled with this when Samuel told me I needed a 24 volt panel. What they are talking about is output of the panel. When shopping for a panel to connect to the solar port, you still want to look at 12 volt panels. Whatever you choose, look for one that has an output close to 24 volts.
A 24 volt panel is not needed with a portable that is angled to the sun. Our Renogy 100 watt portable starts producing power as soon as the sun is up. Every rooftop 12v panel laying flat needs an hour or two to match the output of an angled portable. Last week (January) in Death Valley our 100 watt portable was producing more daily wattage than our 160 watt rooftop. The daily difference in the summer is the reverse.

This May I’ll be installing 24v Rich solar panels to our roof. A MPPT controller needs a solid 18v or more to fully use the early morning incoming watts. A 24v panel will produce that voltage earlier in the morning and later in the day. 24v panels can also more efficiently use a 10 gauge wire, since there is less resistance with 24v than with 12v.

Rich Solar is the only mfg I’ve found so far that makes 24v medium size panels (roughly 26 x 58”). Three will give us 600 watts, but we could only install one 340-400 watt larger size panels. You can’t have enough solar.

However, the real reason I’m installing more rooftop panels is I find portables a PITA. Once we added 300 watts to the 170watt panel on the 5.0’s roof we no longer needed to carry the portable. Even in summer shade we got enough watts to keep the batteries happy.

Enjoy,

Perry
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Old 02-03-2023, 11:39 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Selkirk View Post
There are two items that I remain unclear:
- Are there any advantages/disadvantages to running portable panels off a separate solar controller, wired straight to the battery in parallel with the roof panel controller? I would think that utilizing a single controller would be more efficient, assuming that the panel voltages match and you stay within the controller's capacity.
-I believe ETI currently installs the 30A Victron solar controller. What is the maximum total wattage of the panel array that can be connected? I looked up the specs shown below. Since the panels are 24v, that mean it can accommodate a maximum of 880w, correct?
Great summary. An advantage of a portable on its own charge controller would be higher efficiency if it is in full sun while the rooftop panels are shaded. I could see this being the case a lot of the time depending on where one camps. The solar experts on here can confirm or dispute. Also an advantage would be redundancy. If you have an issue with one controller you will still have some charging from the other one. Oh and yes the 880W is the nominal input power at 24V for the Victon 100/30. If this is exceeded the controller will limit the input power. I don't think you need to worry about getting anywhere near that limit.
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Old 02-03-2023, 11:56 AM   #13
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So something like this should work, with a MC4-to-Zamp adapter?

https://ca.renogy.com/renogy-100w-12...wo-controller/
Yes the 100 watt Renogy panels shown in your link will work. The first panel shown ($229) does not include a controller so it would be wired to your existing solar controller. The second panel kit ($289) includes a controller so it would be clipped straight to the battery.

This thread includes confusion between 24v and 12v terminology. The Renogy panels you referenced are described as 12v, which means that they are for a 12v system as in an Escape. But they have an open circuit voltage of 24v and an optimum charging voltage of 20v. This is typical of a "12v" panel. The controller will reduce the voltage to properly charge a 12v battery.
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Old 02-03-2023, 12:02 PM   #14
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Portable solar

I've had reasonable performance from this outfit and its gear.

https://www.lensunsolar.co
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Old 02-03-2023, 01:20 PM   #15
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So something like this should work, with a MC4-to-Zamp adapter?

https://ca.renogy.com/renogy-100w-12...wo-controller/
I use that exact panel in fact. It works very well.
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Old 02-03-2023, 05:01 PM   #16
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I have a Renology 200 watt portable. That simply plugs and unplugs from its attached controller. Sometimes I use that controller direct to battery. Sometimes I unplug and use the Zamp port via the ETI controller.
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Old 02-04-2023, 04:17 PM   #17
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the reverse adapter is about $10.
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Old 02-04-2023, 06:21 PM   #18
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I've had reasonable performance from this outfit and its gear.

https://www.lensunsolar.co
Fixed link:

www.lensunsolar.com
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Old 02-04-2023, 06:44 PM   #19
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I have a Renology 200 watt portable. That simply plugs and unplugs from its attached controller. Sometimes I use that controller direct to battery. Sometimes I unplug and use the Zamp port via the ETI controller.
I was going to do something similar. I have an older GoPower 130watt kit that I was going to wire a bypass to get around the controller and use an adapter to reverse the polarity and plug into the Zamp connector on the trailer. We have the 2 190watt roof top panels and the Victron controller on our 5.0.
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Old 02-05-2023, 06:58 PM   #20
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We have two Go Power 130 portables in addition to the panel on the trailer (160). The Go Power panels are relatively expensive (unless you find a sale), but are sturdy and reliable. They have their own charge controllers so I connect them via a connector direct to the dual 6-volts on the bumper. We stay charged up in gloomy weather.
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