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Old 04-05-2019, 10:18 AM   #1
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Lightbulb Keeping solar charge controller dry

I am getting ready to use my portable solar panel for the 1st time but I need a box or something to keep my charge controller dry and out of direct sunlight. My Sonic Lite TT is prewired for solar with a Zamp connection out back and I am planning on placing the solar panel wherever I can get the best sunlight since we have lots of trees in Canadian RV parks. We also get lots of heavy showers and the occasional snowfall in the summer.


Keeping the controller under the trailer or inside is not an option. Has anyone solved a similar issue or found a waterproof box that wires can penetrate?
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Old 04-05-2019, 10:35 AM   #2
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There are lots of solutions. Too many to count. You may find a sealed electrical box at Home Depot. Look carefully, less sold things tend to get pushed back behind more frequently sold things.
I think Old-Biscuit found a plastic box that he drilled holes in and installed sealed fittings in for a battery switch.
Since this box will not be used while underway, you can use gravity to solve your problem. A non-sealed box open or partially open on the bottom for cables would work. Having air circulate may be good for the controller.
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Old 04-05-2019, 11:01 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by calgpayne View Post
My Sonic Lite TT is prewired for solar with a Zamp connection out back and I am planning on placing the solar panel wherever I can get the best sunlight
Does the pre-wire Zamp have an internal controller? My Bro-in-law unit has the Zamp connector that he simply added panels to as the controller was inside the unit.

I have portable panels and controller. I use a magnet hook to hang the controller out of weather under our MH. Panels and controller pack up easily when poor weather moves in. Not much solar when it's raining
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Old 04-06-2019, 07:05 AM   #4
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Amazon has many inexpensive and good choices, https://www.amazon.com/s?k=Uxcell+el...ref=nb_sb_noss, and/or you can buy cable glands and any type container and drill holes in for the waterproof glands and make your own specialized box.
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Old 04-11-2019, 11:15 PM   #5
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My new EPsolar Tracer MPPT 20A is large. It has a very nice heat sink on the back. Electronics need to run cool. It's water resistant, not waterproof.

I sealed the seams with some sturdy transparent tape from ACE hardware.
Taped over the display and switches. They still work. Also taped over the terminal screws and wires.

I place the bubble wrap bag it came in over it. It has a cut out over the heat sink. I wedge it upright with the heat sink against the propane tank (larger heat sink). The wires on bottom will not get flooded or get hard rain ricochets. Finally I place the larger solar suitcase bag over this tank area.
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Old 04-11-2019, 11:49 PM   #6
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Get a weather proofed controller.
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Old 04-12-2019, 09:26 AM   #7
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Get a weather proofed controller.
I did not like the choices among the weather proof controllers.

I tried a GreeSonic MPPT controller. It ran MPPT @ 14.5V for 2 hours every day. MPPT totally ignored the temperature probe, or high SOC. It's like MPPT was an added layer.
Also tried a GenaSun GV-10 which is almost weather proof. Temperature compensation is not real time. Just one check at 1st light. Not good for our AZ mountains.
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Old 04-12-2019, 09:52 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Persistent View Post
There are lots of solutions. Too many to count. You may find a sealed electrical box at Home Depot. Look carefully, less sold things tend to get pushed back behind more frequently sold things.
I think Old-Biscuit found a plastic box that he drilled holes in and installed sealed fittings in for a battery switch.
Since this box will not be used while underway, you can use gravity to solve your problem. A non-sealed box open or partially open on the bottom for cables would work. Having air circulate may be good for the controller.
Personally, I like the gravity idea or even a Ziplock bag, but, if you're set on a closed box, check out Harbor Freight's Apache waterproof cases. They're relatively inexpensive, Pelican Box clones. You'll still need to figure something out for wire access:

https://www.harborfreight.com/catalo...k%2Cf&q=apache

Another free option is an appropriately sized plastic bucket with a snap lid, like a kitty litter bucket only smaller. The possibilities are endless.
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Old 04-12-2019, 06:19 PM   #9
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HEAT SINKING is CRITCAL

Nearly all controller have a metal heat sink back plate. It cools the large FET transistors preventing failure. Well, all that heat has to go somewhere. Put it in a plastic box and you have an oven.
Consider an aluminum metal box. Screw the controller down so the heat sink flush mounts to the box. That makes the box part of the heat sink.
I just have not found a box I like for my larger EPsolar Tracer 2210A 20A. It has heat sink fins Maybe I can cut a hole in some Tuperware and stick the fins out.
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Old 04-13-2019, 09:55 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Pappion View Post
Nearly all controller have a metal heat sink back plate. It cools the large FET transistors preventing failure. Well, all that heat has to go somewhere. Put it in a plastic box and you have an oven.
Consider an aluminum metal box. Screw the controller down so the heat sink flush mounts to the box. That makes the box part of the heat sink.
I just have not found a box I like for my larger EPsolar Tracer 2210A 20A. It has heat sink fins Maybe I can cut a hole in some Tuperware and stick the fins out.
This is another reason to consider the open, gravity solution.
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Old 04-15-2019, 09:43 AM   #11
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Thanks for your replies. I had not considered the heat sink issue and was heading toward using a weatherproof box from Amazon. Will try the open, gravity solution.
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