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Old 09-16-2014, 08:21 PM   #1
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Waterproof 100W+ portable solar

I'm looking for a good portable solar system that I can use for my RV that is water/weather proof (in case I leave it out or something). Ideally it would be 100W or higher, and maybe even be expandable with an additional panel in the future. Obviously a built-in charge controller would be required.

Am I crazy or are there systems out there like this? I'd love a mounted system but $$$ and convincing the wife that we need to spend the money are not as easy.
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Old 09-16-2014, 08:32 PM   #2
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I don't think I have ever seen a solar panel that was not weatherproof. Think you should be able to find what you are looking for with no trouble! /ken
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Old 09-16-2014, 08:34 PM   #3
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I've seen some reviews that say the system isn't weatherproof. I'm not sure if they are referring to the charge controller or some other part of it.
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Old 09-16-2014, 08:53 PM   #4
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You could buy one single 120 watt panel from craigslist for about 100 bucks or so. If you could get the morningstar ts-45 you would be good to go Mount the controller and disconnect on a board for now. You would be able to upgrade as you see fit. If you wanted to do it all for under 200 right now you'd have to buy one of the disposable charge controllers and just keep an eye on it. As you add to the system you will finally end up with a meter ( ex. trimetric 2025) The last thing I added was the meter and it totally made the whole thing worthwhile. Being able to show someone that the batteries are 100, 90 and so on is the final touch.
While you're planning this is a great time to use your DMM from time to time to measure the batteries and start to get a sense for what's going on.

On a bit of a budget we did the following;

400 amp hrs AGM telecom batteries $250
Tristar 45 amp controller with temp $175
Trimetric meter 2025 $175
Kyocera 120watt panels (2) $200
Wire, Unistrut, hydraulic crimpers, etc. $200


One possible angle with your DW is to convince yourself and her that the batteries will last longer if properly charged.....I'm trying here. Work with me.
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Old 09-16-2014, 08:57 PM   #5
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Built your own portable system for a cheaper cost and better performance of anything you can buy. The controller should be near your battery but not in the same compartment. Therefore, it is sheltered. The panel(s) can be out and about. All can be connected close to the controller with Anderson connectors. See JM's site for PWM vs MPPT and wire size vs distance:

RV Electrical
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Old 09-17-2014, 09:50 AM   #6
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Great info, thanks! Maybe I'll try to build my own 'semi-portable' system with moveable panels and mounted controller as mentioned? I had the Jack Mayer page open in another tab already, so I'll re-visit that for additional info.

So far, I have the dual 6v batteries (I'm thinking of adding two more, as my battery compartment has room for them already and wiring is pretty simple).

Why should the controller not be mounted in the same compartment as the batteries? The batteries are in a large compartment in a class A, which has adequate ventilation. Otherwise I can put it in the next compartment over.

For a small system all I need are the panels and a charge controller? Then use the appropriate wiring and all is good?
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Old 09-17-2014, 10:31 AM   #7
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I have two regular 100w solar panels made portable, we set them out as needed to augment six 100w panels on the roof. I made a folding tilt stand from a couple pieces of PVC pipe.

While I connect them to the solar controller in the coach, if you want a controller local to the panel Morningstar makes a controller designed to be mounted as such and is weatherized.
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Old 09-17-2014, 12:42 PM   #8
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Saw a suggestion or question on a forum once that suggested just plugging small 12 V solar panels systems into the battery via the 12 V battery plug on the 7-pin umblical cord.

We have a full up autonomous solar system and the 12 V battery plug is now used for the backup camera so we would not be using this technique. But I should not like to blithley suggest this to others if it is not a good.

Apparently the newest Open Range RVs do come with a hookup for a 100 W or so folded solar panel (the panel is extra) and some folks were wondering how they could utilize a non-fixed panel system without rewiring.
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Old 09-17-2014, 01:01 PM   #9
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This one is reasonably priced compared to the ones that are outrageously priced !

It also states that the controller is waterproof!


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Old 09-17-2014, 03:50 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MonkeyClaw View Post
Great info, thanks! Maybe I'll try to build my own 'semi-portable' system with moveable panels and mounted controller as mentioned? I had the Jack Mayer page open in another tab already, so I'll re-visit that for additional info.

So far, I have the dual 6v batteries (I'm thinking of adding two more, as my battery compartment has room for them already and wiring is pretty simple).

Why should the controller not be mounted in the same compartment as the batteries? The batteries are in a large compartment in a class A, which has adequate ventilation. Otherwise I can put it in the next compartment over.

For a small system all I need are the panels and a charge controller? Then use the appropriate wiring and all is good?
A single 100w panel will provide a little more than a trickle charge (7-8 amps peak) to 2 6v batts and much less for 4. You'll be adding more so plan on it.

Caustic vapors and controllers, monitors do not do well together.

Get the panel(s), build your panel frame(s), add a controller, a monitor, heavy wiring, connectors and circuit breakers/fuses.

For PWM:

17-18v panels-
Solar Cells, Solar Panels, Renewable Energy, Wind Energy, Charge Controllers, Solar Trackers - Solarblvd

Controller:
SC-2030
SC-2030 Charge Controller

Monitor:
Trimetric 2030RV
Trimetric 2030RV Battery System Monitor

For MPPT:

25+v
Solar Cells, Solar Panels, Renewable Energy, Wind Energy, Charge Controllers, Solar Trackers - Solarblvd

Controller-
Morningstar Tristar TS-MPPT-60, TS-MPPT-45

Monitor-
Trimetric 2025RV
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Old 11-17-2014, 06:01 AM   #11
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I made my own 100w kit from two 50w panels and a good Morningstar Sunsaver controller. Wiring was 50' of 12-2 landscape low voltage wire from the big box hardware store. I have two batteries. I used an Turnigy amp hour meter to monitor it, although not religiously. On a sunny day in early March in AZ, I got 56 AH. So it is a lot more than a trickle charge if you have sun all day. I did move it to follow the sun. At least 2 moves per day will help a lot.

Eco-worthy now sells a ready made 100w kit that looks a lot like mine, only better and cheaper. Well, their controller is cheap and is mounted on the panels,which is a bad idea. The user should either move it to the battery end if it can be removed, or bypass it and use a different one. That controller can be bought for less than 20 bucks.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/complete-kit...item51c6c91b88
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