Originally Posted by mklein
Has anyone used a portable suitcase solar panel to supplement the 200 watt panels with the Eco Trek Lithium Battery set up. I have a 60 watt Renogy suitcase panel with a ViewStar 10 amp PWM solar charge controller. Can you tie into the existing Charge Controller or use the portable panel independently? I used this panel on a prior travel trailer and thought I may be able to follow the sun when in more heavily treed areas.
Solar on Ecotrek is pretty much just a placebo. First. The existing panel is not connected to the lithiums. It connects to the AGM backup that starts the BMS when the lithium’s are too low to start themselves. That’s all it does. Not one electron will find its way from the solar panel to power, say, an LED light.
What’s more, the lithium’s can’t be charged unless they are “on”, which causes a 60 watt power drain from each module. If connected to the lithiums the standard 200w solar panel would only increase charge by the excess over 120w (2 modules). That would almost never happen.
Ecotrek is primitive compared to newer systems and is best charged by the GU and is most suitable for those who drive the vehicle every day rather than those doing extended boon docking.