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Old 02-14-2018, 07:55 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by LB_3 View Post
If they really have their own controller there is no need to wire them into the battery. Just get a cigarette lighter adapter and plug it into the exterior 12v outlet.
Wait... wha ? I had to go re-read my owners manual... it says that the exterior 12v port is an outlet, which I assume is only for delivering 12v to a device other than the coach, but you're saying you can push power INTO the coach through this 12v outlet ? If so, it's probably limited to 10A, right? But what about a panel that's putting out 20v... do you need to do anything about plug it in? or does the extra voltage just spill off into the ether if you don't utilize a MPPT controller?

Pardon me if I just exposed my ignorance.
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Old 02-14-2018, 09:33 PM   #16
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Wait... wha ? I had to go re-read my owners manual... it says that the exterior 12v port is an outlet, which I assume is only for delivering 12v to a device other than the coach, but you're saying you can push power INTO the coach through this 12v outlet ? If so, it's probably limited to 10A, right? But what about a panel that's putting out 20v... do you need to do anything about plug it in? or does the extra voltage just spill off into the ether if you don't utilize a MPPT controller?

Pardon me if I just exposed my ignorance.
A solar controller will limit the voltage to what's appropriate for the batteries selected, so while the panels can put out up to 20v "open circuit", the controller will limit that to what the batteries can handle.

Having said that, I would have 2 cautions re. using that outlet as an input. First, as you guessed, it's likely limited to 10A. 200W worth of panels could push 12A or more into it depending on the controller type. Second, are we sure that outlet isn't tied into the MB chassis CAN-Bus system? If it is, I would avoid using it as a power input and do as LoveToWander has done to avoid any problems. CAN-Bus can be finicky as hell if it sees current where, and in a direction, that it's not expecting to see it. DAMHIK.....
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Old 02-15-2018, 06:01 AM   #17
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I would worry about the security of portable panels.
We used portables in our trailer. Only had one time where someone tried to steal them. We were lucky as we scared them off when we returned to the trailer from a restuarant. This was at Theodore Roosevelt Lake in Arizona. They also had our bicycles ready to go as well. The thieves did make off with a Honda generator that was cabled and locked, they simply cut the cable.

Having the ability to set the panels out in the sun and move them to follow the sun allowed us to maximize charging. Most times, we were fully charged by 11 am. I question the suitcase versions with the controller on the solar panel. The voltage drop is too great to get a good charge. I removed mine and added a controller and monitor in the trailer.
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Old 02-15-2018, 06:10 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by FlyFishinRVr View Post
Second, are we sure that outlet isn't tied into the MB chassis CAN-Bus system? If it is, I would avoid using it as a power input and do as LoveToWander has done to avoid any problems. CAN-Bus can be finicky as hell if it sees current where, and in a direction, that it's not expecting to see it. DAMHIK.....
There is no way that the Can-Bus would be affected. The Can-bus is a communication protocol which is used between the modules (i.e. temperature control, steering wheel communications, dash display and the front and rear SAM's along with the ECU and other modules). Yes it can detect loads on light circuits, but the power circuit of a an auxiliary power system would not be directly (if all) connected to the system. This system should be stand alone. If it is connected it is only to charge the auxiliary batteries through MB's system.

Another source of portable panels is to use flex panels. They don't break and are easy to store. You just need to rig a stand.
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Old 02-15-2018, 06:16 AM   #19
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Here is an overview of the sprinter platform.

http://www.sprinter-rv.com/wp-conten...r-Overview.pdf
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Old 02-15-2018, 09:08 AM   #20
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There is no way that the Can-Bus would be affected.
FWIW, I've personally seen CAN-Bus shut down circuits because it detected a current higher than what that circuit was programmed for. If that external plug is connected in any way to that bus, there could be issues.

Folks can do what they wish, but I won't be pushing current into that plug on my coach.....
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Old 02-15-2018, 09:22 AM   #21
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Put flexible panels on your roof, and they work in the daytime. Iím adding a fourth panel for a total of 400 watts.
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Old 02-15-2018, 09:32 AM   #22
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Portable Solar

I have the 160 W Portable Zamp Panels. They fold into a suitcase size which I keep in the bedroom when underway.The ability to move the panels greatly increases the output. I also have a 15' extension cable so I can move them as much as 30' from the trailer tongue where the plug is.

Two weeks ago, I had them set up while dry camping in Big Bend NP. There was enough tree cover that I had to move them a couple of times during the day. I got 40 Amp-Hours out of them in winter sun in a partly shaded camp site. I doubt I would have gotten much of anything if they had been fixed mounted on top of the trailer.

As to security, I have a 25' chain with padlock. I chain them to the trailer tongue. The chain is not heavy enough to stop someone with bolt cutters, but enough to stop the casual thief.

One other thing. People are very interested in the solar panels. They started several friendly conversations.
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Old 02-15-2018, 09:41 AM   #23
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I've never had roof mounted solar and I've got a trailer, not a coach.

Now that I've disqualified myself as a relevant respondent... I built a 200 watt suitcase from 2 100 watt Renogy panels. I added a 12 volt, 50 amp quick disconnect (Anderson power) to the battery bank and put a matching coupler on the panel's controller. I like this arrangement since I can park the trailer in the shade and move the panels in the sun. Pics in my gallery.
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Old 02-15-2018, 09:44 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by GammaDog View Post
I've never had roof mounted solar and I've got a trailer, not a coach.

Now that I've disqualified myself as a relevant respondent... I built a 200 watt suitcase from 2 100 watt Renogy panels. I added a 12 volt, 50 amp quick disconnect (Anderson power) to the battery bank and put a matching coupler on the panel's controller. I like this arrangement since I can park the trailer in the shade and move the panels in the sun. Pics in my gallery.
You are a relevant poster. This subject is need driven and not unique to MOHOs nor trailers. The subject cross pollinates....until specifics of installation and wiring are discussed.
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Old 02-15-2018, 09:55 AM   #25
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RV Glands

Why not use an RV gland on the side of the AI which goes to a combiner located on the inside of the AI? Then it's plug and play.
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Old 02-15-2018, 09:55 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by GammaDog View Post
I've never had roof mounted solar and I've got a trailer, not a coach.

Now that I've disqualified myself as a relevant respondent... I built a 200 watt suitcase from 2 100 watt Renogy panels. I added a 12 volt, 50 amp quick disconnect (Anderson power) to the battery bank and put a matching coupler on the panel's controller. I like this arrangement since I can park the trailer in the shade and move the panels in the sun. Pics in my gallery.


Seems like a popular setup for the trailers and certainly relevant to the motor homes. Frankly this type of setup can be used with anything, from off grid homes to car campers.
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Old 02-15-2018, 10:03 AM   #27
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Put flexible panels on your roof, and they work in the daytime. Iím adding a fourth panel for a total of 400 watts.
With 400 watts worth of solar panels what can you actually use in a given day without worrying. Coffee maker, toaster, TV etc.
I am not interested in the formula just the simple basics of learning the benefits of the investment.
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Old 02-15-2018, 10:12 AM   #28
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With 400 watts worth of solar panels what can you actually use in a given day without worrying. Coffee maker, toaster, TV etc.
I am not interested in the formula just the simple basics of learning the benefits of the investment.
Coffemaker??? maybe one time. Microwave, sure, but limited warming, not cooking a roast. TV, sure.

I would guess that with 400 watts, you will realistically re-capture about 115 - 140 Ah per day. So you'll have to do some figuring and behavior modification.
Latitude and sun exposure is key..as is time of day.

I use about 28 - 30Ah per day with no TV, microwave, nor coffeemaker. Just lighting, some audio and the electronics for the fridge, h20 heater, etc.
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