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Old 09-26-2017, 03:19 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Edmonton Alberta
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Smile Adding Solar to existing inverter/Charger

Hi All my First Post ,
Just picked up a 1986 Dodge B250 Camper Van.
And want to add an 80 W solar panel and connect to the existing system.
It has an Charger/Inverter I don't think it's a Inverter, I think it charges the batteries while plugged into shore power. it currently has starter battery,Coach Battery and in Isolator.
I want to add another coach battery and connect the solar panels to the existing system.

My Question: If I connect to the existing system( add the new deep cell and connect the solar direct to the coach battery's). will the current from the solar panel cause any problems with the vintage Charger/Inverter ? I want the solar panels to charge the starter battery as well.
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Old 09-26-2017, 03:28 PM   #2
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You need a charge controller

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Old 09-26-2017, 03:38 PM   #3
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I do have a charge controller. Thanks
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Old 09-26-2017, 03:44 PM   #4
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Based on this image, I can just connect direct to the pair of Coach battery's
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Old 09-26-2017, 04:00 PM   #5
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The solar charge controller AND the converter are separate entities,

They each look at the voltage of the battery bank, and react accordingly.

Whoever gets to the party first, will kick into the Charge mode. This will cause the voltage to rise and trick the other controller...as it will see the higher voltage and decide it's NOT time to charge.

If you want one to take priority...you may need to stack the deck.

As an example...let's say that your solar controller only puts out 5 amps (80w panel)...and your converter puts out 55 amps. If your solar kicks in before the converter...your time to fully charge will go up significantly. Having a switch on your PV panel input will allow you to temporarily disable solar. Once the voltage reaches the recharge point the converter will kick in. At that point you can reinstate the solar. The opposite is also possible, should you prefer a solar charge to the converter charge. Other techniques are available....but dependent on the specific type of controller and charger you have.

An 80w system is hardly enough. I would recommend two 100 watt panels as a minimum. They are capable of reliably putting out 10amps of charge. I would put in a selector switch on the battery side. 1-2-OFF on the battery side...and an On-Off on the panel side.

Just turn OFF the photovotaic side of the system. Switch the output side to the selected battery bank...house vs chassis...then reinstate the PV side. You'll be doing well to maintain the batteries when not being used for much. If shore power is available...the converter will do a much better job of supplying 12v power and charging the battery than a 80w panel will ever do.

If you decide to install more than 700 watts of solar...then you may have periods that the solar can equal or exceed the converter. All depends on the amperage of the converter(Charger).

My converter is a component within the 2800w pure sine wave inverter in my coach. It can put out 125a of charge current. My 1440w of solar can only put out 100a...and more than likely only put out 80-85amps. So, if shore power is available....I charge faster on the Inverters charger. If shore is not available...then solar is all I have without starting the generator...so it will do the charging.

I hope this makes sense. Let us know if there is a specific goal you have in mind, as far as using solar.
Charlie & Ronni plus the Sammies...Conner & Ginger.
2016 Ventana 4037
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Old 09-27-2017, 09:52 AM   #6
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Location: Columbus, MS
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Hi ! Welcome to IRV2! We're sure glad you joined the gang!

Congrats on the new rig! Sorry I can't help with your question. Keep her between the ditches!

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!

Joe & Annette

2002 Monaco Windsor 40PBT, 2013 Honda CRV AWD
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charger, inverter, solar

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