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Old 09-15-2019, 08:23 PM   #1
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2015 20' Flying Cloud
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Seeking info from those whoíve added to Airstream factory solar

Our new (to us) 2015 20í Flying Cloud has the 50W factory solar. Iíd like to add to it by adding another panel, 100W is about all I have space on the roof for. In order to do this I will have to move the smaller 50W panel back behind the AC, and use the bigger space up in front of the AC for the 100W panel.

Iíve been looking at the 100W Renogy panel, but the one question I have is regarding connections these two panels up. The feed into the food comes out in probably a 3/4Ē flexible plastic outer conduit/tube, which goes into a junction box on the existing panel.

When I move the existing panel back, this will have to go into the junction box on the new panel and then the feed from the old panel will also have to go in there to connect the two.

My question is whether the junction boxes on the Renogy panels are physically large enough to accommodate these kind of connections, or will I have to use some kind of secondary junction box. Itís kind of hard to tell from the various web pages, but I figure someone on here has probably run into this before..

Any information/ pointers are gratefully received..
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Old 09-15-2019, 09:57 PM   #2
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Hi

In general having two unequal panels is not a good idea. Much better to go with two nice new 100W panels in your case.

Wiring wise, it's Airstream ... who knows what you will find up there. On some trailers the junction box will handle three panels and the only trick is to match whatever connector happens to be there. Both panels go into the same box.

If you get two new panels and a new box, swapping the box should not be a big deal.

Bob
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Old 09-15-2019, 10:34 PM   #3
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Weirdly, itís not a separate box as far as I can tell - looks like itís stuck to the back of the panel itself - I guess I might have to add a separate junction box if all else fails.

Iíd love to have two nice 100W panels, unfortunately this is not an option due to the nature of space time and lack of rooftop real estate Itís a small trailer so itís pretty busy up there and the only panel I can physically fit up behind the AC is the 50W.
I realize that this isnít going to be an optimal set up by any means - from what Iíve read on here the charge controller and wiring from the factory are not the best either. My aim is to give us a bit of a power bump with the minimum of outlay and hassle/rewiring of the trailer.
I hadnít really thought too much about the mismatching, but from what Iíve read, as long as I can somewhat match the voltage ratings of the panels and wire in parallel the losses shouldnít be too bad I hope..

Rob
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Old 09-16-2019, 04:59 AM   #4
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Here is what is inside that junction box on the back of a solar panel: https://www.altestore.com/blog/2017/...nus-terminals/

This box is not intended to be a junction box for connecting multiple panels. You can just splice the wires together from both panels and heat shrink, or black electrical tape, the splices and you will be fine. Also, your mismatched panels will work best if connected in parallel and if the voltage specs are similar on both panels.

I just installed a pair of panels with differing voltages on my 600W series-parallel configuration. Here are the specifications on the differing panels:

Renogy 100D-SS-BC vs AmSolar SP100
Tolerance +/- 3% on both
Max Voltage 600V vs 600V
Max Power 100W vs 100W
Max Power Voltage 17.7V vs 17.9V
Max Power Current 5.7A vs 5.72A
Open Circuit Voltage 21.2V vs 21.6V
Short Circuit Current 6.1A vs 6.24A
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Old 09-16-2019, 06:49 AM   #5
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You might also consider one of the portable solar panels that you can set on the ground and connect to your battery. The one on the roof will still work and you could add a panel or two on the ground.

This actually would be more beneficial as you could move the panel(s) out into the sun or at the right angle to the sun.
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Old 09-17-2019, 09:15 PM   #6
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Thanks for the replies everyone, lots of stuff to think about.. I did think about the portable ones, however, I think if I was out and about on my travels, Iíd be constantly worrying about whether my portable panel would be there when I got back!
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Old 09-18-2019, 08:42 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by L.D.Clara View Post
Thanks for the replies everyone, lots of stuff to think about.. I did think about the portable ones, however, I think if I was out and about on my travels, Iíd be constantly worrying about whether my portable panel would be there when I got back!
Hi

As long as you don't put a big sign on it, you probably will be ok. Taking care of the "dog attention" it's likely to get is a far bigger issue to me.

We've camped out for over 50 years now. I have *never* seen anything wander off from a campsite. Most of that time was in tents and the "stuff" was far more accessible than it is with a trailer.

Have we had issues? Sure we had a car broken into. That was in the wilds of .... errr .... a parking garage in downtown Victoria BC. (Still a lovely place to go and no reason not to go back ....Victoria that is, we may avoid that parking garage )

Could we just be lucky? I suppose so. We certainly could go out this morning and find the truck had been trashed. It very much *does* happen. The point is that the odds of it happening are very low in the typical camping locations.

Bob
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Old 09-22-2019, 04:44 PM   #8
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For the square footage of the 50w, wouldnít a new panel in place of that one give you more generation? Also, you do really need to match the panelsí outputs.
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Old 10-02-2019, 10:23 PM   #9
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From the research Iíve done the newer panels donít really give any/much more power for a given size than the older one.
Itís true that there is more space where the current one is now to accommodate a larger more powerful panel, so I plan to move the old one to the smaller space behind the A/C and use the bigger space up front for the new larger panel.
Iím not worried about matching the output per se, but since they will be wired in parallel it makes sense to make sure the voltages of the panels are somewhat similar..
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Old 10-03-2019, 05:29 AM   #10
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We have it......two 90w panels.....on our '19 serenity.

My question to you, why not ditch the 50W and install two 90W's? Since you're adding one anyway, you'll get more power and not have to give up much space to do it.......use the existing area plus one more panel.

Then you can always add a suitcase to the mix to get more power on a as needed basis.

Just a thought.
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Old 10-12-2019, 09:19 AM   #11
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I use renogy 200 watt suitcase it puts out some serious power. You can park trailer in the shade and still have solar. I just lock it to the a frame via a cable .
Iíve seen up to 14 amps an hour and it meets all my needs.

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