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Old 07-31-2016, 07:42 PM   #1
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Solar charging question, again

I had planned to use a 120 watt folding solar panel kit to keep my batteries charged when the coach is stored in my soon-to-be new location without power. I called the company and they said the built in controller 'was not designed to be exposed to weather". ?? He said it was designed for short term use and did not recommend I hang it on the back of the coach and leave it for weeks at a time.

So, I am thinking I need to find an appropriate sized solar panel that I can secure to the coach ladder when I am parked and a controller that I can put in the battery bay out of the weather. I would need to be able to take the panel off when I am using the coach.

Any suggestions in terms of what I might look for, reliable sellers/sources?
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Old 07-31-2016, 09:30 PM   #2
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Have you done an energy audit of the wattage that will be used in the storage state?
This includes all of the parasitic loads and everything on, plus 10%.
The ladder will be facing in which direction (hopefully South with no obstructions).
Then you figure the approximate amount of actual sunlight you'll be able to harvest per day.
Size your panel. Panel are relatively durable purchase the most watts per $. You'll then size your controller and importantly the wire size and length to you battery array to achieve that wattage. Use ample cabling.
Morningstar controllers.

Best of luck.
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Old 08-01-2016, 07:07 AM   #3
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Solar Charging

Have you looked at a company called Zamp Solar ??

Portable RV Solar - Largest Selection - Zamp Solar
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Old 08-01-2016, 10:42 AM   #4
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Home depot has the 100w panel for $100.

Buy a cheap controller for about $35.

Connect the 12v wires from the panel to the controller using insulated spade connectors.

Disconnect the connectors when you move the rig.

Store the panel. Carry the controller.

Same thing for your folding panel option.
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Old 08-01-2016, 11:44 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deandec View Post
Home depot has the 100w panel for $100.



Buy a cheap controller for about $35.



Connect the 12v wires from the panel to the controller using insulated spade connectors.



Disconnect the connectors when you move the rig.



Store the panel. Carry the controller.



Same thing for your folding panel option.

Got link to the HD 100w panel? Thanks.
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Old 08-01-2016, 12:47 PM   #6
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My bad. $109....... Did that cause your question?



http://www.homedepot.com/s/solar%2520panel?NCNI-5
Quote:
Originally Posted by vsheetz View Post
Got link to the HD 100w panel? Thanks.
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Old 08-01-2016, 03:11 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deandec View Post
Home depot has the 100w panel for $100.

Buy a cheap controller for about $35.

Connect the 12v wires from the panel to the controller using insulated spade connectors.

Disconnect the connectors when you move the rig.

Store the panel. Carry the controller.

Same thing for your folding panel option.
That looks like a pretty good deal. I would need to be able to fashion some sort of brackets that would let me hang the panel from the rear ladder (back of coach will face south in the storage port). Also, I wonder if the 100 watt panel will provide enough 'juice' to keep six, 6 volt AGM's maintained plus the Trik l Start which keeps the chassis batteries? I have full shut off switches for the house and chassis batteries so I can isolate them from any phantom loads.
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Old 08-09-2016, 08:27 AM   #8
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OK, I am going to order the 100W Grape Solar panel from HD. It gets good reviews and it should keep my batteries maintained while coach is in storage.

I see controllers on Amazon and other sites. The prices are all over the place... from less than $20 to up to $200. Any recommendations for a decent controller. I don't want junk but don't necessarily want to over spend for what is really an experiment.
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Old 08-09-2016, 09:45 AM   #9
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My controller was part of a 100w poly panel rv kit from Amazon for about $190.

I think it could have been bought a year ago for about $30.

Since I was only going to use one or two such panels, I saw no need for something more complicated.

It has worked fine, but has no charge level readout.

I get some idea of the output when I look at my digital Link 2000 battery monitor and there is no other charging source.

During sun events the panel seems to keep the batteries at 13.6 dcv with the house battery switch on. This summer, the batteries in storage are always at 12.6 dcv and that includes the chassis batteries via Trik-L-Start.

In the winter, I need to shut off the house batteries to keep them charged.

Mostly, I just occasionally check to see if the green lights are working as they should be.....
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Old 08-09-2016, 06:18 PM   #10
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i used this 20a controller for 2 years. it did what it had said it did. i paid $100 out of ebay at the time. $80 is not bad. (i have since upgraded to a 96a unit to accommodate a larger system).
20A 12V 24V MPPT LCD Solar Energy Charge Controller Regulator 15 30 Power WT | eBay

i bought it based on this review:
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