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Old 01-27-2021, 06:50 AM   #1
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Adding solar to existing Class B RV + Using to charge Anker powerbank?

Just bought a 2006 Class B Sprinter based RV. It has an Onan 2800 watt propane generator and 30 amp shore power connection. It does not have an inverter. I am in the process of upgrading all the lighting to LED. Only 120 volt appliances are the AC, Microwave, and TV. The change controller is an Intellapower 9245C.

The current house battery is a DC24 (75 amp hours) but the battery box is bigger (16 x 7.5 x 9) than the battery and has a sticker that says DC34. Unsure of the age of the battery. The house battery is located in a box behind the front passenger seat and the rest of the electrical system is in the rear of the vehicle by the left cargo door.

I also have an Anker PowerHouse II 400 power station I bought to power my laptop, TV, and hotspot.

Overall, I want to add some solar to my RV to extend my time between having to use shore power. Not sure of how long I will own the RV so wanting to keep things simple and provide an upgrade path if I want more capabilities in the future.

I was thinking about gluing some flexible panels to the roof (maybe 200-300 watts).

Now here are my questions:

I have two battery banks obviously

The house power system. I figure mostly used at night for lighting and furnace fan. Maybe day use of fan, water pump.

The Anker power system I plan on cycling the most and using during the day a lot but is capped at 65watts charging via the DC charge power. Looks like I can also connect via USB-C to get it up to 130 watts total.

For the house battery, it seems (?) like all I need to do is get some panels on the roof, put a charge controller on there, and connect it to the battery. Does it really matter if I patch it in at the charge controller, battery box, or splice in to the wire running underneath the van?

Second, what should be my strategy for charging both battery devices? Iíve seen some charge controllers with a DC power port. I rather not use the lead acid battery to charge a lithium battery.

Also, I was hoping for a low or no drill solution. The roof has ridges so I was unsure how I would adhere the panels.
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Old 01-29-2021, 02:03 PM   #2
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The flexible panels might not come off cleanly if they are glue-down. It would seem that a "suitcase" system would be ideal if it's convenient for your kind of dry camping. A smaller system that is re-oriented evey hour or two works well though a larger system that need not be moved might be more convenient. Most of these come with a solar controller and you simply connect them to the battey. A 200W suitcase moved every couple of hours will produce more than a 300W system on the roof.

But, for convenience, you can't beat panels on the roof. Aluminum framed panels have natural air cooling (raised an inch or two above the roof) so tend to produce a bit more for a given rating. How to fasten those to the roof depends on a lot of factors.

You can connect the panel solar controller into the battery system anywhere in the 12V wiring where the wire size to the battery is sufficient and the circuit remains connected to the battery all day and any fusing is adequate.

I probably did not research the PowerHouseII sufficiently, but it looks like it's meant to be charged via its 120V 65W adapter. Charging it in any other way would seem to require significant modification.

If you are going to get an inverter to have some 120V capability (beyond the PowerHousee) in the RV, you could use that to charge the PowerHouse via it's 65W adapter. This would add losses in the charge process, but it's a clean and simple approach and gives you more 120V AC power available in the RV. Ideally you would be charging the PowerHouse while the solar is delivering to the house battery.
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2020 GMC Denali 2500HD Crew 4X4 Gas 6.6L Rockwood 8280WS (30' 5th)
1000W solar; 322AH LFP battery, 900W PSW inverter, NovaKool RFU9000 12V fridge, CPAP, Inverter microwave.
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Old 01-30-2021, 07:39 AM   #3
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The powerhouse supports solar charging at 65 watts with MPPT.
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Old 01-30-2021, 11:26 PM   #4
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Lots of options!
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2020 GMC Denali 2500HD Crew 4X4 Gas 6.6L Rockwood 8280WS (30' 5th)
1000W solar; 322AH LFP battery, 900W PSW inverter, NovaKool RFU9000 12V fridge, CPAP, Inverter microwave.
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