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Old 05-23-2018, 04:09 PM   #1
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Default Adding Solar to GWV Legend

Finally getting around to buying some sort of solar to charge the house AGM battery. 2 questions...or 3...
Anyone using a 100 watt suitcase folding type portable solar panel? Recommendations if you have any.

The van has a PD9245 converter and so I am wondering about the wiring (assume tie direct to battery..?) and also what solar charge controller would be compatible.
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Old 05-23-2018, 05:16 PM   #2
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Finally getting around to buying some sort of solar to charge the house AGM battery. 2 questions...or 3...
Anyone using a 100 watt suitcase folding type portable solar panel? Recommendations if you have any.

The van has a PD9245 converter and so I am wondering about the wiring (assume tie direct to battery..?) and also what solar charge controller would be compatible.

Those suitcase solar panels are a great idea. I almost bought a set too.
But 9 out of 10 people who bought them never use them.
Go figure.

YMMV

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Old 05-23-2018, 07:27 PM   #3
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So there may be some good deals on ‘like new condition’ ones on eBay...or maybe not - just save them for a rainy day.
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Old 05-24-2018, 12:14 AM   #4
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One of the nice things about a permanently installed solar panel is that you install it, and forget it. I didn't really consider a portable one because of the hassle.
As for the controller, a basic PWM unit should serve you well. With just one panel, I don't think an MPPT controller would be that much better ... but way more expensive.
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Old 05-24-2018, 12:43 AM   #5
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I bought a Renogy suitcase. For about $275 it also comes with a pwm programmable controller with direct read voltage and temperature compensation along with an heavy duty case. One of my panels broke so bought a cheapo Chinese one with a crap controller. I to all panels into the Renogy controller. The cheap China controller is now in the landfill. IIRC, the Renogy controller is good for 20 amps.

I have no issue with spending the 5 minutes that it takes to set up. I did remove the controller from the panels and mounted it near the battery inside the coach. Better to have short wiring run on the battery side of the controller.

I have enough cable to have the panels up to 50' from the Roadtrek so I can still get in the shade usually, if desired. It has been quite cool(one night had 22, several in the 30's and many in the 40's) on this trip.

On TDY at Nason Creek CG near Coles Corner Wa heading to Whidbey island tomorrow.
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Old 05-24-2018, 12:46 AM   #6
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I like the idea of not setting it up each time but haven’t used the rig enough to know much about how it will get used.

The one place I know I will need it is at the ranch in southern Utah. It is in a red rock canyon and off grid. There is water, propane and a small solar setup for power in the cabin but sometimes I will be in the RV.

I also wanted to keep the batteries charged when in storage which is covered so roof top solar kinda sucks at that...
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Old 05-24-2018, 01:25 PM   #7
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I used a portable panel on my first Travato. Installed a pigtail to the house battery and mounted the connector under the van near the edge of the body.

Setting it up was no big deal, but finding a place to store it in the van was a pain. To get any useful wattage, the panels are pretty big. Finding a home for it can be tough.

It really didn't put out all that much - 5 amps tops on a perfect day. That's fine for trickle charging, but doesn't compare to the 40-45 amps you'll get from your alternator charging.

If all you want is some way to charge while in storage, then I'd just mount a panel on the roof of your storage building, or on a post, and run cabling to a pigtail to your house battery. Would serve the purpose of what you are trying to do. Traveling around, solar has limited use and is not really worth carrying around extra hardware.
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Old 05-24-2018, 04:30 PM   #8
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I used a portable panel on my first Travato. Installed a pigtail to the house battery and mounted the connector under the van near the edge of the body.

Setting it up was no big deal, but finding a place to store it in the van was a pain. To get any useful wattage, the panels are pretty big. Finding a home for it can be tough.

It really didn't put out all that much - 5 amps tops on a perfect day. That's fine for trickle charging, but doesn't compare to the 40-45 amps you'll get from your alternator charging.

If all you want is some way to charge while in storage, then I'd just mount a panel on the roof of your storage building, or on a post, and run cabling to a pigtail to your house battery. Would serve the purpose of what you are trying to do. Traveling around, solar has limited use and is not really worth carrying around extra hardware.
Agreed, storage can be an issue. I happen to have a RT 200 Versatile with the outside storage on each side toward the back. The panels fit nicely on the shelf provided.

I don't use a bunch of juice so the 150 watts does just fine though the addition of a new style fridge with a circuit board doesn't help. I do tend to camp where the noisy furnace is required as I am a Florida temperature wimp. Ear plugs are my friend.

I do really like the ability to park the RT in the shade and have the collectors in the sun.

On TDY at Nason Creek CG near Coles Corner Wa heading to Whidbey island later today.
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Old 05-27-2018, 08:29 PM   #9
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Bought a Renogy 100w suitcase about 6 months ago. It does NOT take long
to setup. Did what another poster mentioned and used a cable with lugs for the
battery, running out the rear underbody. Went to a remote area of AZ where, once camped, we wouldn't be driving for days. Each day it successfully charged the cabin battery to full. NOW......that was AZ full sun...shaded only by the RV during part of the day. Recently up in no. AZ and camped in the shady mountains. Was able to find areas of sun while keeping the RV in the shade. Still worked for me. I have an old [97 PleasureWay] RV without much storage. So that is an issue. We put ours on one of the rear dinette bench seats where it wedges in btw the side and the nightstand. But remember.....our PW is old enough so that everything runs off propane exc. heater fan, pump, etc. We only use the 12v ref ridge option when we're on the road.
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Old 05-27-2018, 11:38 PM   #10
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Thanks for the input. I am looking at a 3 panel 120w unit. Could be put on the front windshield I think too.
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