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Old 05-13-2022, 09:48 PM   #1
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RV-45D controller

My Beaver Thunder has a built in charge controller for the 100 watt solar panel on the roof. My owners manual says I can go up to 500 watts of panel power. have read that solar panels are only 80-85 percent efficiency, so can I go up to 600 watts and still use the factory controller, it has charging outputs for both the chassis and coach batteries which I really like. Thanks to all for your combined knowledge.
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Old 05-15-2022, 08:45 AM   #2
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IMHO I would not exceed what the manual says. At 500W you're getting close to what the wiring can handle and I'm not a fan of making controller work at 100%. The controller is PWM and if I were adding panels, I'd swap out the controller to MPPT.
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Old 05-16-2022, 12:38 AM   #3
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Sorry, but we don't have enough information to give the advice you want. Here's my take on some questions to start with.

Indeed, you can "over panel" a solar controller as you suggest, but you need to know what you are doing re the specs and panel voltages and such.

We need to figure out what in your system is behind the 500W limit indicated by the manual. Is it the controller itself or wiring between the panels and the controller?

Does the manual indicate series or parallel panels? Typically it would be parallel with a PWM, but need to know for sure. If the manual does not provide enough detail, we need to know the PWM controller specs.

Do you have enough information on the existing panel to know what panels you can get to expand without tossing the factory 100W panel (though more panels like it from the RV maker could work, that could be very costly, more costly than starting over).

Without more information, I would go with Joes suggestion of getting an MPPT controller and also suggest 600W or 800W (three or four 200W panels for lower per Watt cost). You would select the MPPT controller to handle the panels you go with (MPPT controller output current rating and input voltage limit are the critical parameters and need to line up with the panel arrangement ...... likely three 200W in series for 600W or a series/parallel setup for 800W.

There are companies like Rich Solar that can set you up with the right combination of panels and controllers and tell you whether your existing wiring is adequate.
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