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Old 12-01-2012, 12:32 PM   #1
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Portable dash solar unit question

I am wondering if these units provide enough juice to keep the battery topped when the motorhome is sitting? I think you plug them into an outlet on the dash.

I have a pusher that has 2 12 volt starting batteries.



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Old 12-01-2012, 05:28 PM   #2
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There are a number of factors. Conventional lead acid batteries self discharge over time (AGM not as much). Parasitic loads will likely be greater than the ability of the solar panel to counter. A solar panel inside is losing some light through the glass and will not catch much direct sun at best.
With out knowing what your current load is and what the panel will actually produce there is no definite answer. A sufficiently large externally mounted panel can work well.

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Old 12-02-2012, 09:36 AM   #3
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I think I posted this on another thread. I saw an ad in last years Motorhome magazine. A portable solar panel with carrying case. 80-100 watts. Ot costs around 700, comes with a carrying case and charge controller.
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Old 12-03-2012, 04:52 AM   #4
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Good grief our 180W panel and Morningstar MPPT controller cost less than $600, and I paid too much. A 120W Evergreen panel on Ebay for $140 and a Morning star Sunsaver PMW controller for $53, both are good brand names.
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Old 12-03-2012, 05:30 AM   #5
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I've used those small dash panels on my old-old motorhome and they were fine in Florida over the winter however I put them on the roof (I think I just tied them quickly to the A/C) and I think I might have had 1 for the chassis and 1 for the house battery (I think those things are under 2W peak). I just used speaker wire or something like that (all I had) to make the cables longer). Test it out with a volt meter but I think I tried it and lost significant power having it on the dash.

I think if you have any load at all on the battery, those won't be able to keep up but it should keep batteries with no load charged up.

I have a 100W panel to install on my new motorhome but if I don't have time to hook it up, I'll probably use the small dash ones on the roof again. I'll post my results in the spring if I do it.

I agree with the other poster. Do not buy those 'portable kits' unless you get a huge sale. I think they are probably marked up about 1000%
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Old 12-03-2012, 06:10 AM   #6
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hi...'04 Swind 32 here with 1 12v V10 batt., 2 6v coach batt., and the small (5-10watt...?) AC mounted factory solar keeps BOTH battery topped off with batt. disconnects to " off " position while sitting in St. Pete, FL. Just hooked up 20watt solar to V10, 12v batt. and I am watching to see how it does.

The above post with dash unit on roof was probably a good example. There is a BIG difference in the output of the dash models...go with the posted biggest 'watts'.

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