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Old 06-21-2021, 03:47 PM   #1
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150 watt solar panel question

Hi
I have a Creekside 22RB with a very small factory installed solar panel that does not have an auto-shut off ( it has a switch with a caution note beside it.... ' don't leave it on could damage battery")
I'm thinking of buying a 150WATT solar panel at the local Canadian Tire store. The 100 Watt is about $200 and the Coleman 150 Watt is $600! Quite a difference.
I see on Amazon there is a 150 Watt for $177 and a nice controller for $19.

Why would one cost $400 more?
The specs and warranty on the $177 one seems great.

I dry camp most of the time and usually not longer than 3 or 4 days. My unit has two new last Fall 6volt batteries. My Converter is working fine and I had a mid-priced....under $300... inverter installed last year and it seems to work good. I also have a hardwired Progressive Industries RV Surge Protector that also works fine.

Question:
Will a 150watt solar panel be enough to dry camp for 4 or 5 days on my batteries? I'm not wanting to use a micro wave... just maintain power to LED lights, my electric Awning and Keep the fridge and water pump working.

Or.... will 100 Watts be sufficient for what I want?

Gary
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Old 06-21-2021, 04:05 PM   #2
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Here's watt I've found so far.
Anyone here using any of these?
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Old 06-21-2021, 09:38 PM   #3
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I would get a Renogy panel from Amazon. They are a better panel than most and I have never heard of the brand you showed. Renogy has a 200 watt kit with everything you need, brackets, wiring, charge controller and hardware for $400 though you will need to purchase some adapters that reverse the polarity of the cables as the Zamp hardware is wired backwards to the rest of the industry. They are also available on Amazon for I think $20.

You might consider going with the Renogy suitcase if you are only going to get 200 watts. It will be much more efficient since you can aim it for direct sunshine where the roof mounted panels will only collect full sun for an hour or two a day and if you are in the woods they may get partially or completely shaded which can reduce their efficiency greatly.

With reasonable sun 200 watts should be enough to run lights, pump, fridge and maybe a Maxx fan for a few hours as well depending on how much battery storage you have. I would go with a pair of GC2 Interstates from Costco if I was looking to get the most storage for my money, about $100 each at Costco. Edit: just re-read and see you have the GC2s. 200 watts will be a decent match for the use you plan. That is a pretty minimal system, but will extend your battery life for a week of use as you described. A 100 watt panel will not really do enough, especially if mounted to the roof where you cannot maximize it's collection.
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Old 06-22-2021, 10:17 AM   #4
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I have 190 watts of roof mounted solar. With good sun it easily keeps up with basic power needs. If you have a shaded camp or overcast days you will need a genny for a few hours every few days. Heavy furnace use in cold weather can make pretty short work of two 6 volts as well.
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Old 06-22-2021, 07:08 PM   #5
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I have a 190 watt roof panel wired to a Go Power controller, and a 60 watt Colman panel with its own controller for the side port. Although I do bring a 2000w generator, but it has been designated for the wood splitter or booster for the truck if required, and sometimes for the microwave. I have had over 5 days of bad weather when off-grid camping, and am still able to watch movies on the TV, while the furnace is running. I usually go more than 2 weeks at a time. No issues with my 2 x 6v lead acid batteries. Yes they drop in power, but never to the point where major appliances don't function. Someday, with the right inverter and battery system, I look forward to never requiring a generator at all.

Get a good panel, ditch the generator. Your neighbors will like it, and it's less hassle for you.
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Old 06-22-2021, 07:33 PM   #6
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This is a tough question to answer as everyone's power consumption is different. You should probably go to diysolarforum.com and educate yourself. You might also want to watch some of his youtube videos. I would not want to rely on solely solar power without a generator for backup. You may be without power after a two or 3 rainy days. Your comfort, your choice.
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Old 06-22-2021, 08:55 PM   #7
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There are a lot of panels out there and I sure wouldn't get the ones you mentioned here. Grape Solar, Renogy, etc. Grape Solar gives you a lot of wattage per square inch of real estate on your roof. I ignorantly ended up with Samlex panels. They are good panels with a great warranty, but they're too expensive and Grape Solar provides 50 more watts per panel in almost the same foot print.....I'd have 600w of solar instead of 450w of solar for less money. Look and check before you buy.
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Old 06-22-2021, 09:23 PM   #8
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I have been using that controller for several years and it has worked fine.
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Old 06-25-2021, 03:41 PM   #9
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We use a 100 watt portable for short boondocking days. Generator to augment the small solar. 2-3 days usually. We are in sunny So Cal.

Keep in mind the 150 watts will give you about 12 amps for battery charging. I find it takes quite a while to bring our batteries up to 90% with this setup. 12 amps would be optimum under ideal conditions. The water pump is especially prone to malfunction with low voltage. If you have flooded batteries, you need to keep the discharge no lower than 12.2 volts for best battery life. Once the juice gets to 12V or lower, weird stuff happens.

You probably have the small solar panel that they used for awhile from Zamp. It will not overcharge your battery since it's output is only .5 amps. I installed a watering system on our batteries to make refilling them much easier.

Take it from me, your system will want to grow as you find other appliances and electronics to power.

Best bet is to add up all the energy you will use and go from there. There are data sheets on the internet showing energy useage for most RV stuff.
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