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Old 02-03-2015, 09:18 AM   #57
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I see that same 100 Watt Renogy portable set-up for $149 now on Amazon. The Go Power one does only take up half the space because it folds in half and has a padded carrying bag / case. But, still it ( Go Power) is nearly 3 times as much...?
Renogy does have the suitcase set up and that is what I have. And they have it with and without the controller. If I was doing it over, I would get a 30w controller and two suitcases without, plus extra cable. I will have to check to see what you saw on Amazon.
This is what I was talking about:
Amazon.com: RenogyⓇ Foldable Solar Suitcase Battery Charger 100W: Patio, Lawn & Garden
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Old 02-03-2015, 09:59 AM   #58
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We are "light-weight" boondockers in that we boondock only about 25% of the time. There is very little roof space available on our 32' class A so we get by with a portable solar panel that tops out at 5 1/2 amps and three 12v 60Ah batteries. We depend on propane appliances, including a ventless heater plumbed into the bulk tank. The most used light fixtures are LED along with a 32" tv. We often run our generator for an hour or two per day, but not always.

Propane costs are minimal since we avoid the coldest weather. Conversion costs were about $600 in 2013, but we don't boondock to save money. Our most desirable camping spots have been without hookups, most recently on Padre Island National Seashore.



Length of stay for us is dependent on the capacities of our waste tanks, which for us is about 10 days.
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Old 02-03-2015, 10:30 AM   #59
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I got a 100 Watt Renogy portable for about $270. The controller is mounted to the back of a panel and has 15 feet of wire. My plan is to get 50 feet, move the controller to the RV near the batteries on that will give me more flexibility as to panel placement. You can also get the suitcase set without controller, combine with the first and have 200 watts for about the same price of the larger Go Power you mention.
Don't forget, you'll need to increase the size of the wire over that 50 foot run. You won't need battery cables, but if the 15 foot leads are 14ga, you'll need to make the 50ft run 12ga or even 10ga depending on load.
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Old 02-03-2015, 11:04 AM   #60
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Don't forget, you'll need to increase the size of the wire over that 50 foot run. You won't need battery cables, but if the 15 foot leads are 14ga, you'll need to make the 50ft run 12ga or even 10ga depending on load.
By placing the controller near the battery bank, I can make longer runs from the panel to the controller as it is only a short run from controller to batteries where it really counts. I'll have to check current wire size, but not today as it is still below zero out there. I may just need the 20' extensions from Renogy which I believe are 12ga.
If I get another 100 watts, I'll get a 30 amp controller to replace the 10 amp.
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Old 02-03-2015, 01:17 PM   #61
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Okiedoke

The apparent two air conditions do take up space, and more importantly, shadowing problems. We have a 34' 5th wheel and have 1400 W of solar. I would think you could easily put over 600 W of solar on your rig with judicious planning. We used cardboard cutouts of the panels and moved them about on the roof to the get the best siting.
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Old 02-03-2015, 07:31 PM   #62
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That might explain why Go Powers 30' extension cable is $$$ ($69). In off the grid campsites, I try to get a fully shady site to keep the RV cooler, so a extension of so sort will be needed.

Why is the placement of where the controller close to the actual battery being charged so important?
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Old 02-03-2015, 09:48 PM   #63
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Why is the placement of where the controller close to the actual battery being charged so important?
To reduce voltage drop. The voltage from panels to controller is higher than controller to batteries.
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Old 02-03-2015, 10:00 PM   #64
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We don't "boondock" much. A week at Quartzsite is about it. Our rig is semi setup though but the DW likes light and TV so we have to run the generator a couple times a day for 2 hours at a time. Usually it's an overnight or two at Wal*Mart on the way to someplace.
The Magna is all electric except the two burner stove. The refer is a JennAire 22 CF and even the toilet is electric flush (but not a macerator). It also has 400 watts of solar panels and 4-8D batteries and 12.5 KW gen and AquaHot. Overnight will be fine, a week in Quartzsite? Maybe not!!
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Old 02-13-2015, 10:40 AM   #65
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With a controller built into the actual back of the solar panel, how much "voltage" drop could one expect if you now run a 30' cable from the panel to reach a sunny area. So now your 30' or 35' away from the battery you are trying to charge.
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Old 02-13-2015, 11:12 AM   #66
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With a controller built into the actual back of the solar panel, how much "voltage" drop could one expect if you now run a 30' cable from the panel to reach a sunny area. So now your 30' or 35' away from the battery you are trying to charge.
It would be quite a bit. The size of the panels and cable would be needed to calculate how much. Just putting the controller at the battery and connecting with the same cable would pay big dividends.
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Old 02-14-2015, 06:28 AM   #67
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It would be quite a bit. The size of the panels and cable would be needed to calculate how much. Just putting the controller at the battery and connecting with the same cable would pay big dividends.
This is precisely why I plan to move the controller to the RV.
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Old 02-14-2015, 11:32 PM   #68
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When off the cord, I will reserve a site that is full shade to keep the RV cooler, thus a portable solar panel with a 30' extension cord is an option. Go Power has a nice set-up for about $350 ( 80 watts) to $550 (120 watts).
First the solar kits seem too expensive for what you get. Having the panels installed on the roof, lets you charge while you are traveling. While you are in camp, the sun is lower toward the horizon and has little effect on the panels, even if you point them. I use to have a loose panel I pointed and found I was better off with it flat. I saw a rig one time with panels tilted to the north. Someone had told the guy that he would get more solar if he tilted the panels. What they forgot to tell him was to tilt them toward the sun. I just lay mine flat and let the sun do it thing.
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