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Old 06-25-2020, 01:37 PM   #1
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Portable Solar Panels

I have a 2003 Sportsmobile with a 100W Grape solar panel on the top of the van wired to Blue Sky Solar Boost 2512i(x)-HV and INP-Proremote charge controller and battery monitor, and 2 6 volt GPL-4CT Lifeline AGM batteries. This was done by an RV dealer. The van can only fit a 100W panel on the top. We find that this keeps us in power for about two + days but we want to have power for longer. We typically run our fridge and LED lights. We don't camp where there are hookups.


I was thinking to add a portable solar panel. I don't really know that much about solar power but I was thinking a portable panel of 100-200W would be what I need. I don't want the panel to be too heavy and I don't want to spend the $1300 the RV guy said it would cost for them to do this. Do you have any suggestions for options and the cost? I was hoping to spend less than $500.



Other questions:


Could this just a hook up the portable panel to the batteries?


My understanding is that my existing battery monitor would not register or measure the input from the portable but that this is not a problem if the portable has a controller. Is that true?

Thanks KPSF

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Old 06-25-2020, 04:52 PM   #2
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Depending on how old your panel is, theyíve come a long way, in terms of wattage and size, you may be able to fit 2 100W newer panels up there, I got 2 of these up on the roof from Renogy-
Renogy 100 Watt 12 Volt Eclipse Monocrystalline Solar Panel High Efficiency Module Off Grid PV Power for Battery Charging, Boat, Caravan, RV and Any Other Off Grid Applications https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01B3TEM1E..._qEs9EbC1S51XS
They also make a slightly narrower panel too-
Renogy 100 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar Panel, Compact Design 42.2 X 19.6 X 1.38 in, High Efficiency Module PV Power for Battery Charging Boat, Caravan, RV and Any Other Off Grid Applications https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GF5JY35..._eGs9EbNAG5BDD
Iíve also got one of their 100W suitcase panels without the controller that I have wired through the inboard controller, these are also available with their own controller-
Renogy 100W 12V Monocrystalline Off Grid Portable Foldable 2pcs 50W Solar Panel Suitcase Built-In Kickstand https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00LXG4AXS..._5Ks9EbX6RR1BW
Also available w/without controller-
Renogy 100W Eclipse Lightweight Suitcase Without Controller, Panel Only, Black https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07HN5R2KX..._zMs9Eb5YKEYRS
Thereís a side port plug from Zamp and others that you can wire in to your existing controller and have as a plug in. I donít think having 2 separate controllers connected to your battery works and make sure your current controller can handle whatever wattage you are throwing at it-
Zamp Solar Roof or Sidewall Solar Port, 10 Gauge Wire, Weather Resistant, 12-inch lead, Great for Portables or Roof Mounted Panels https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00T36YVI4..._hzs9EbZZMZ7HY
Then get a length of 10G solar cable and put this onto the end as a plugin to the side port-
Nilight 10 Gauge 2 Pin Quick Disconnect Harness,Heavy Duty SAE Connector Bullet Lead Cable,2 Years Warranty https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0057ZQJ12..._hCs9EbHME8K0P
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Old 06-25-2020, 05:38 PM   #3
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kpsf - Seems you have multiple Thread posted with the same question ??? Might prove to be a little confusing - many of the responses from members play off each other, and these contributions also tend to inspire some creative solutions.
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Old 06-25-2020, 08:08 PM   #4
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So your easiest path would be to wire in a suitcase, folding, or blanket type aux panel in parallel to your existing controller. You should be able to add 200 watts worth of solar without any issues with your current controller.

I usually wire in a anderson powerpole panel mount


The sell bonded zip cord there also, and the mating connectors, even a mc4 adapter if needed.

The difficulty of the job, will be determined by the location of your existing controller, and access to that and a outside place to put the aux port.

$1300.00 sounds very high, $500.00 doable and is really dependent on the portable panel you choose.

The suitcases that Ref referenced would be the cheapest , while folding panels and blankets are more. The folding panels pack up pretty to a pretty small package and can be angled. They are harder to set up versus the suitcase. The blanket just gets laid out.

You do not want to wire a second controller directly to the battery, if you choose a second controller it would need to be done so that the current coming out of the controller was seen by the battery monitor.

-greg
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Old 06-25-2020, 09:44 PM   #5
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Ok Iím looking at adding some to the roof but I have been good with a set up I can move around
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Old 07-06-2020, 09:01 AM   #6
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Flexible solar panels

All I can say about solar panels is donít go with any flexible ones, at least not on a penthouse top. I had to replace two sets of those before installing a rack with a rigid solar panel. Sportsmobile paid for the first replacement, putting in identical flexible Zamp panels, and Zamp paid for the second replacement, putting in rigid panels. So I was not out any extra money, just aggravation. The Zamp installer in Oregon told me that they do not recommend flexible panels because of this failure issue. I am not sure if it only applies to the penthouse tops which may flex or vibrate more than a steel van top.
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Old 07-06-2020, 01:38 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Merton View Post
All I can say about solar panels is donít go with any flexible ones, at least not on a penthouse top. I had to replace two sets of those before installing a rack with a rigid solar panel. Sportsmobile paid for the first replacement, putting in identical flexible Zamp panels, and Zamp paid for the second replacement, putting in rigid panels. So I was not out any extra money, just aggravation. The Zamp installer in Oregon told me that they do not recommend flexible panels because of this failure issue. I am not sure if it only applies to the penthouse tops which may flex or vibrate more than a steel van top.
Curious what reason(s) they gave you for the failures??? My first set lasted 8yrs, and the second set have been on my roof for 5.5 years now with no issues. Flexible panels are also frequently used in the Marine industry.
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Old 07-06-2020, 06:39 PM   #8
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Hello - anyone have any experience with a Zamp controller unit (no panels installed - just 2 ports) and connecting a Lensun mobile package for just a bit of back up electricity?
Thanks,
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Old 07-10-2020, 05:09 PM   #9
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Flexible solar panels

Dear AWOL,

Maybe I was just unlucky. My first panel stopped working after about one year and the second one lasted about three months. When the second one died I was traveling near Bend Oregon so I stopped in at Zampís headquarters. They do not have any service there so they sent me to their best shop in the area which was in Springfield Oregon (near Eugene). That was the place where they told me that flexible panels fail a lot. If Zamp still sells them, again, maybe I was just unlucky.
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