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Old 08-28-2019, 12:16 PM   #1
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Quick question for a solar expert

Hi all -

I currently have (3) 100 watt panels on my penthouse top. I am reconfiguring my solar setup and am wondering the following:

- If I go with (1) 160watt fixed panel on the roof is it OK to use a 3 to 1 MC4 branch connector and keep 2 of the branches "empty"?

My plan right now is to have the (1) 160watt panel fix mounted and then carry (2) 100 watt flexible panels (that I already have) in the van. If I need more solar while parked I would connect a long MC4 cable to one, or both, of the empty branches in the 3 to 1 connector and then set the panel(s) where I please (ie...each empty branch would be capable of supporting 1 of my spare 100 watt panels).

Not sure if this these connectors are designed to be left empty or if having empty spots on the branch will mess up my system.

Any insight would be greatly appreciated! -- Thank you.
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Old 08-28-2019, 12:40 PM   #2
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I have a 160 watt panel on my roof with the MC4 "Y" branching off just before the wires enter the penthouse...I too plug my two 120wt auxiliary suitcases to this and have had no issues (other than making sure I remember to connect my cable to the roof "Y" prior to raising the roof!). I have one 75ft long cable that comes off the roof and has a "Y" connector at the end - thats where I plug the first suitcase in and on the other lead of that "Y" have an additional 25ft cord that the second suitcase plugs into - allows me to position both panels in a manner that tracks most of the days sun without having to "tend" the panels to reposition as sun moves.
My connection is at the front of the penthouse top, on the drivers side. To make it simple to get up to the connection I use one of these (handily kept in the drivers door storage pocket):
https://www.walmart.com/ip/Rightline...CABEgKYvfD_BwE

Can use these dust covers for the ends of the cables:
https://www.amazon.com/Connector-ins...gateway&sr=8-3

Member Scalf77 is the expert - check out some of his posts here;
http://www.sportsmobileforum.com/for...els-23929.html
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Old 08-28-2019, 12:42 PM   #3
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Totally epic. Exactly what I was looking for. Thank you!
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Old 08-30-2019, 08:53 AM   #4
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I have 2 100W panels mounted on the roof and a 100W Renogy suitcase panel I can plug into a side port I added. I was able to splice into the roof panel wires going to the charge controller. I used the Zamp sidewall port
Zamp solar RVROOFSIDE Sidewall Port https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00T36YVI4..._BptADbDJQQRHF
And got one of these connector wires, cut it in half and used one half on the 25í wires I added on the suitcase panel. Works great and I donít have to think about plugging in before raising the roof or lowering the roof to plug in if needed....
Nilight 10 Gauge 2 Pin Quick Disconnect Harness,Heavy Duty SAE Connector Bullet Lead Cable,2 Years Warranty https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0057ZQJ12..._wztADb0X88VF8
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Old 08-30-2019, 03:46 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by REF View Post
I have 2 100W panels mounted on the roof and a 100W Renogy suitcase panel I can plug into a side port I added. I was able to splice into the roof panel wires going to the charge controller. I used the Zamp sidewall port
Zamp solar RVROOFSIDE Sidewall Port https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00T36YVI4..._BptADbDJQQRHF
And got one of these connector wires, cut it in half and used one half on the 25í wires I added on the suitcase panel. Works great and I donít have to think about plugging in before raising the roof or lowering the roof to plug in if needed....
Nilight 10 Gauge 2 Pin Quick Disconnect Harness,Heavy Duty SAE Connector Bullet Lead Cable,2 Years Warranty https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0057ZQJ12..._wztADb0X88VF8
Did you remove the charge controller from the Renogy suitcase kit?
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Old 08-30-2019, 04:04 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by REF View Post
...I used the Zamp sidewall port
Zamp solar RVROOFSIDE Sidewall Port https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00T36YVI4..._BptADbDJQQRHF
REF - Interested where you mounted the port on your rig?
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Old 08-30-2019, 09:30 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Twoxentrix View Post
REF - Interested where you mounted the port on your rig?

Obviously on the port side of the van.




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Old 08-31-2019, 12:36 AM   #8
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Quick question for a solar expert

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikracer View Post
Did you remove the charge controller from the Renogy suitcase kit?

No, I got the one without the built in charge controller.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Twoxentrix View Post
REF - Interested where you mounted the port on your rig?



Ha....thank you Herb
Iíll get to that Q tomorrow with a pic
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Old 09-08-2019, 12:33 PM   #9
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I am a new member to the forum. I currently have a 2019 Ford 350 at Quigley waiting for a 4X4 conversion before the build out at SMB West. I have a Zamp 120w suitcase with a built in controller. I plan to install a Zamp sidewall port to use this panel in the new van. I will have 300w of solar on the roof. Will I need to bypass the onboard MPPT controller in the van and attach the portable panel directly to the house battery or should I rewire the panels without the built-in controller and use the house MPPT? I appreciate any input,
thanks. I am enjoying the SMB Forum.
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Old 09-08-2019, 02:09 PM   #10
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I would utilize the controller simply as a level of protection, but you would have to identify what type of controller you plan to use - it'll need to be capable of handling the load of all panels collectively while at peak performance. SMW is capable of providing direction on this, and Several other members here have considerable knowledge on this platform which will prove insightful.
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