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Old 08-13-2019, 11:13 AM   #61
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Thanks guys, I'm going to get 2 panels on the roof. I think that should cover my usage boon docking even in less than ideal conditions.
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Old 08-13-2019, 11:18 AM   #62
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Thanks guys, I'm going to get 2 panels on the roof. I think that should cover my usage boon docking even in less than ideal conditions.
It is still handy to carry a portable. I have 2 160 watt panels on the roof, made them tiltable, but sometimes in the dead of winter, I'll add a 160 watt portable panel. Also useful if parked in the shade.

When wired in parallel, I have not had a problem producing the full output from the portable with the roof top panels in the shade. While there may be very little current from the rooftop panels, they still produce enough voltage that they do not pull down the portable. I do have bypass diodes on the GoPower rooftop panels.
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Old 08-13-2019, 12:37 PM   #63
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Hmmm- this might be true. When buying a solar system for the house a Tigo optimiser was part of the system. It was explained that a primary benefit was to isolate a shaded panel(s) as to not drag down the performance of the others.
We too have a home 11.3 kW system. When looking over the proposals, both companies used "micro inverters" mounted under each panel that converted the DC from the panels into AC and isolated each panel. When I asked why they didn't just use one large inverter they both gave that same explanation about shading, or if one panel experiences problems. Also with the DC converted into 240v AC there is much less loss on the wire running from the panel groups to the utiltilty connections.
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Old 08-13-2019, 02:07 PM   #64
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After talking with a solar installer, I apparently need to go a different direction. He said if the roof panels and portable are wired together at the GoPower controller, that they effectively become one panel electrically. So even if the portable is in full sun, but the roof panels in mostly shade, that the portable output will be severely limited. So I may buy a relatively inexpensive controller and mount it next to the GoPower, connected to a port for the portable and to the batteries.
home systems are often wired in series, but RV systems are generally wired in parallel. in series, what he said is true, in parallel its not.
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Old 08-13-2019, 03:09 PM   #65
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I believe Jon has a good point. He points out winter usage issues with tilting panels as a time when portable maybe needed. I am frequently in heavy forested areas and a rooftop panel may not get any sun during the day due to trees. I also am a heavy user of battery, with my son on a CPAP, it is not uncommon to have 25% of the battery gone in the AM.

Portable is critical.
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Old 08-13-2019, 04:52 PM   #66
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After talking with a solar installer, I apparently need to go a different direction. He said if the roof panels and portable are wired together at the GoPower controller, that they effectively become one panel electrically. So even if the portable is in full sun, but the roof panels in mostly shade, that the portable output will be severely limited. So I may buy a relatively inexpensive controller and mount it next to the GoPower, connected to a port for the portable and to the batteries.
Hummm ... While I would never argue with the 'experts' my real world experience does not support this theory. We have 2x100W on the roof and a Portable

If you only had Roof panels the same should be true .. if one panel is in shade then the power output of the others would be 'severely limited'. Taking this to the extreme you would then need to have a controller per panel!!!

Before I would install ,a second controller I would install a inline 3-way switch to resolve this issue... A=Roof, B= Portable, C=Roof+Portable. this way I could select the bank of solar panels to charge the battery.
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Old 08-13-2019, 08:48 PM   #67
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home systems are often wired in series, but RV systems are generally wired in parallel. in series, what he said is true, in parallel its not.
Pairs of my system panels are in series, as is my portable. I have never had trouble with getting a good charge amperage from my portable when the trailer panels are shaded. Two permanent sets are in parallel, as is the dual portable panels. The only difference to using series in my setup is that the input to the MPPT controller is at 36V. I had a local solar company review my plans and approve. The only difference they made was adding two breakers on either side of the controller for isolating things if I need, as well as current protection in the case of a fault somewhere.
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Old 08-13-2019, 09:43 PM   #68
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so your portable panel is also 36 volts ?
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Old 08-13-2019, 10:34 PM   #69
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...
Before I would install ,a second controller I would install a inline 3-way switch to resolve this issue... A=Roof, B= Portable, C=Roof+Portable. this way I could select the bank of solar panels to charge the battery.
With our ordinary fixed and portable panels that most of us use in our Escapes, there is no need to "resolve" anything. The built-in blocking diode in each panel effectively isolates a shaded panel and allows all sunlit panels to contribute - automatically, with out user intervention. In Boolean logic, diodes form an "OR" circuit - A or B or Both.

As others have pointed out - a higher voltage system that uses series panels has shading issues. But the vast majority of us use parallel panels by default.

And like many others above, I plug my portable directly into the Escape provided Go-Pro regulator - when the factory panel is under trees. Works like a charm.
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Old 08-14-2019, 06:38 AM   #70
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so your portable panel is also 36 volts ?
Yes it is (was, but was stolen). Being two panels with a cheaper controller, I just wired it up with MP4 connectors so I could either hook it in series at 36V to tie directly into the trailer, or connect it at 18V and run it through the controller to charge any 12V system independently.

I am likely replacing it with a Lensun two panel portable and will do the same, wiring in series, though this time will just use a separate controller I have if connecting in parallel.
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Old 08-14-2019, 08:00 AM   #71
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With our ordinary fixed and portable panels that most of us use in our Escapes, there is no need to "resolve" anything. The built-in blocking diode in each panel effectively isolates a shaded panel and allows all sunlit panels to contribute - automatically, with out user intervention. In Boolean logic, diodes form an "OR" circuit - A or B or Both.

As others have pointed out - a higher voltage system that uses series panels has shading issues. But the vast majority of us use parallel panels by default.

And like many others above, I plug my portable directly into the Escape provided Go-Pro regulator - when the factory panel is under trees. Works like a charm.
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Alan - good to hear, I'm going to go back to my original plan and use that same method. Did you have any trouble getting two large gauge wires to fit into the GoPro's inputs?
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Old 08-14-2019, 10:39 AM   #72
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Did you have any trouble getting two large gauge wires to fit into the GoPro's inputs?
Yes, I did have a problem with two large gauge wires fitting into the GoPro's input connectors. My solution was to use smaller gauge wires from the panel connector at the trailer to the GoPro - a total of about 3 feet one way (or 6 feet total).

Yes, there is an increase in voltage loss for smaller gauge, but the total extra loss for those 6 feet is tiny. As long as the majority of panel wire is heavy gauge your loss is acceptable. That's because most "12" volt panels actually produce around 17 to 18 volts - so there is some buffer.

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Old 08-14-2019, 10:47 AM   #73
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Yes, I did have a problem with two large gauge wires fitting into the GoPro's input connectors. My solution was to use smaller gauge wires from the panel connector at the trailer to the GoPro - a total of about 3 feet one way (or 6 feet total).

Yes, there is an increase in voltage loss for smaller gauge, but the total extra loss for those 6 feet is tiny. As long as the majority of panel wire is heavy gauge your loss is acceptable. That's because most "12" volt panels actually produce around 17 to 18 volts - so there is some buffer.

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Thanks again Alan - I had the same thought. I've got 10 gauge to run from the panel to the SAE connector I'm going to mount on the trailer and figured if I did need thinner wire for the short run it was not going to be any huge loss.
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Old 08-14-2019, 10:58 AM   #74
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We decided to pull the trigger and bought a Highlander. We will give you an update on how it tows after we pick up our trailer in Oct. All of your feedback has been so helpful. Thanks!
We ordered the option to have a portable solar panel in addition to the fixed, and would like to know what is a good brand and where to purchase ?
I am too lazy to read all of the postings - so forgive me if someone already warned you about the towing package and brake setup? If they didn't, we LOVE our 2018 Highlander - get excellent mileage on long trips (close to or at 15 mpg on long trips for the 19 foot Escape). BUT we were surprised to learn that even with the tow package we had to take it to a trailer shop to get it wired for the electronic brake (the dealership would have charged twice as much to send it over to the shop). That would vary by City - but be warned.
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Old 08-14-2019, 01:17 PM   #75
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Yes, I did have a problem with two large gauge wires fitting into the GoPro's input connectors. My solution was to use smaller gauge wires from the panel connector at the trailer to the GoPro - a total of about 3 feet one way (or 6 feet total).

Yes, there is an increase in voltage loss for smaller gauge, but the total extra loss for those 6 feet is tiny. As long as the majority of panel wire is heavy gauge your loss is acceptable. That's because most "12" volt panels actually produce around 17 to 18 volts - so there is some buffer.

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I did the same, however I made the combination within 6" of the controller. The loss with 6" of #6 (the SAE connector was #10 wire) wire is insignificant.
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Old 08-14-2019, 04:25 PM   #76
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At the Niagara rally last year I met a man who uses fifty feet of #10 silicone jacket speaker wire to connect his portable panel to his trailer. He was happy with his setup.
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Old 08-14-2019, 04:56 PM   #77
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At the Niagara rally last year I met a man who uses fifty feet of #10 silicone jacket speaker wire to connect his portable panel to his trailer. He was happy with his setup.
i dunno if it was this thread, but I found some #10 'speaker wire' that the fine print said "not AWG 10", which means its Chinese gauge, which is probably closer to AWG12 but not standardized, and also was copper plated aluminum wire, which is junk. real copper AWG 10 is $$$/foot because its a lot of copper.

so, caveat emptor.
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