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Old 11-29-2013, 12:45 AM   #1
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Help: Connecting portable solar panel to house batteries

Hello,

I managed to get my hands on a Roc-solid http://www.roc-solidsolar.com.au/por...lar-panels.php120w portable solar panel with MPPT controller. The unit is very well made and based on my research are highly regarded for their quality construction.

I am wonder what is the best way to hook the panel up to my two AGM house batteries. The panel comes with a 30 foot cable ending in alligator clips and a 50amp 'Anderson' connector that attaches to the panel. I've not crawled under the van (yet) to see how the batteries are connected, but I thought it prudent to ask others what approach they've taken when hooking up portable solar panels.

Appreciate any insights or advice.

Thanks,
DJM
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Old 11-30-2013, 07:55 AM   #2
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Re: Help: Connecting portable solar panel to house batteries

I would look at a connector like the Perko Chromed Zinc Watertight Deck Connection Manf Part #1190DP0CHR. http://www.westmarine.com/webapp/wcs...lassNum=50570.
Wire the receptacle side to the battery and have the plug replace the clamps on your portable unit. I would also fuse the hot side of the receptacle close to where you make the battery side connection. You can connect to the house battery side of separator, although depending on your rig, that could be more difficult to reach. Sportsmobile also has a ground distribution area that would be good to connect your ground to. You could of course connect directly to your battery bank.
Seeing as you will be getting voltage loss from the solar controller (on the solar panel) to the battery I would try to make at least the receptacle connection as short as possible.Also the unit looked like it was pretty configurable, so you might want to check the output at the battery and see if you can adjust the output of the controller, for the long cable run of a portable unit.


Hope this helps
greg
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Old 12-02-2013, 07:52 PM   #3
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Re: Help: Connecting portable solar panel to house batteries

Hi Greg,

Thanks for all the info. I've actually figured out how to hook-up my system -- I will take some pics and post them when I get all the parts I need. I dropped the batteries this past weekend and seeing that the batteries are 2 x 6 volts connected to be a large 12v cell and use M8 studs to hook-up. The roc-solid solar panel uses and anderson 50amp connector; the panel comes with a 15 foot cable with an anderson connector on one end and a big alligator clamps on the other end. So, I am simply having a cable made that has anderson connectors on both ends for the lead to the panel and I am having a 'quick disconnect' setup made that has 5/16 tinned copper cable lugs to hook the the battery studs and a anderson connector on the other end. Sound complicated, but it is not. Will post pics that will make it much clearer.

Cheers,
DJM
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Old 12-03-2013, 10:35 PM   #4
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Re: Help: Connecting portable solar panel to house batteries

If you cross water frequently, keep the connections as high as possible. Mine is below the tail light just above the bumper.
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Old 12-04-2013, 01:18 PM   #5
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Re: Help: Connecting portable solar panel to house batteries

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If you cross water frequently, keep the connections as high as possible. Mine is below the tail light just above the bumper.
Thanks for the heads-up. The connector will be about as high as the battery bank, as least in the short term. I can always re-think this if I find myself doing water crossings.

Cheers,
DJM
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Old 12-04-2013, 01:26 PM   #6
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Re: Help: Connecting portable solar panel to house batteries

Greg,

Based on your input, I've re-thought my connector strategy.

I've found this very nice marine grade DC connector, takes up to 8 AWG and can be used to 2 or 3 wire setups:

http://www.westmarine.com/webapp/wcs...g#.Up-AJ42E4vo


So, I am have two 8 AWG cables made with 5/16" lugs on one end, bare wire on the other end. The lugs with attach to the battery, the bare wire into the 'female' side of the marinco plug I listed above. Then, as you prescribe, I will use the cable that came with the panel, trimming off the alligators clips and this will attach to the 'male' end of the marinco plug; as a bonus, the cable supplied with the solar panel already has a high quality, waterproof, 20 amp ATC fuse in-line. So, this is a much simpler setup!

Thanks for your input!

DJM
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Old 12-04-2013, 06:17 PM   #7
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Re: Help: Connecting portable solar panel to house batteries

I like that connector a lot better, that should work great. I would still put a fuse between the battery and the female receptacle ( close to the battery).

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Old 12-04-2013, 08:02 PM   #8
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Re: Help: Connecting portable solar panel to house batteries

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scalf77
I like that connector a lot better, that should work great. I would still put a fuse between the battery and the female receptacle ( close to the battery).

greg
Sure, adding an inline ATC style fuse is not a big problem. My leads to battery are 8 awg, the only inline fuses I can find at the 'MAXI' style with 30 amps being the lowest rating I can find. Is 30 amps low enough? BTW, the fuse in the 15' panel lead is 20 amps.

Any thoughts on these marine style battery terminal fuse blocks? http://www.genuinedealz.com/blue-sea...-terminal-fuse These look interesting as they do not require spicing in an in-line fuse.

Last question, I assume a tinned copper butt connector, seal properly with marine quality shrink wrap is the way to splice in the fuse. Correct?

Thanks a bunch for all your input.

Best,
DJM
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Old 12-06-2013, 07:56 AM   #9
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Re: Help: Connecting portable solar panel to house batteries

Yes, I like to use the double walled adhesive lined shrink tube. If you want to stay away from a butt connector you could try a inline fuse such as http://www.amazon.com/IMC-Audio-Inli...holder+8+gauge . I would try to keep it close to the 20 amp fuse, but it really is not intended as a protection from the panel, as you already have that. Instead we are trying to keep the 8 gauge wire from becoming a fuse in the case of a short, etc. I am not sure how long of a run your 8 gauge wire connection is

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Old 12-06-2013, 10:40 AM   #10
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Re: Help: Connecting portable solar panel to house batteries

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scalf77
Yes, I like to use the double walled adhesive lined shrink tube. If you want to stay away from a butt connector you could try a inline fuse such as http://www.amazon.com/IMC-Audio-Inli...holder+8+gauge . I would try to keep it close to the 20 amp fuse, but it really is not intended as a protection from the panel, as you already have that. Instead we are trying to keep the 8 gauge wire from becoming a fuse in the case of a short, etc. I am not sure how long of a run your 8 gauge wire connection is

greg.

Greg,

The connector you listed looks nice, but appears to be something more suited for home audio use, not for an RV type environment. I've read a bit more and I really like the marine terminal fuse block I listed in my previous post. It give me marine grade protection without the need to splice, fuses are sealed and totally water proof, plus it is available down the street from mt home at West Marine in Portland.

So, my 8 gauge run will be about 18 inches or so. I can get fuses for the fuse block from 30 to 300 amps. So, given the 18 inch 8 gauge run, what would you suggest? Is there some sort of formula to use in estimate fuse ratings?

Thanks again for all your input -- greatly helpful!

Cheers,
DJM
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