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Old 12-27-2017, 05:57 PM   #1
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Wiring of the Portable Solar Panel Plug

Anybody knows how the plug for a portable solar panel at the front of the trailer
near the battery box is wired? Is it directly to the battery?

It is not shown on the schematics.
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Old 12-27-2017, 06:12 PM   #2
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Yes it is wired directly to the batteries. If you open up the battery box lid you can see the wires coming in.
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Old 12-27-2017, 06:20 PM   #3
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Yes it is wired directly to the batteries. If you open up the battery box lid you can see the wires coming in.
There should be a fuse close to the battery terminals to protect the wiring, IMHO...
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Old 01-23-2018, 10:04 PM   #4
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So there is no danger of overcharging with a portable solar panel if it's wired directly to the battery?
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Old 01-23-2018, 10:33 PM   #5
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Not if you have a controller hooked in between panel and battery
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Old 01-24-2018, 06:20 AM   #6
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Not if you have a controller hooked in between panel and battery
Which, of course, leads to another question. Is there a controller of some kind between the solar panel and the battery?

From the videos I have seen it is described as "plug and play". Just plug the solar panel into the receptacle and it will charge the battery. The video I am referring to is from Colonial Airstream describing the Globetrotter.
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Old 01-24-2018, 06:27 AM   #7
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Which, of course, leads to another question. Is there a controller of some kind between the solar panel and the battery?

From the videos I have seen it is described as "plug and play". Just plug the solar panel into the receptacle and it will charge the battery. The video I am referring to is from Colonial Airstream describing the Globetrotter.
The controllers on the portable solar panels are attached to the solar panel. Then there is a cable that plugs into the Zamp port on the side of the battery box.
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Old 01-24-2018, 11:32 PM   #8
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Not all panels come with a controller
You must have one between the panel and the battery to regulate the voltage coming out of the panel
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Old 01-25-2018, 12:24 AM   #9
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I bought a water proof controller. It sites right next to the battery box when in use, with 30ft run to the panels. Works great.

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Old 01-26-2018, 08:40 AM   #10
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At times I have my AS stored in a lot with no electrical service available. I am thinking that using a portable solar panel from time to time would keep the batteries topped off.

Would that make sense?
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Old 01-26-2018, 09:48 AM   #11
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At times I have my AS stored in a lot with no electrical service available. I am thinking that using a portable solar panel from time to time would keep the batteries topped off.

Would that make sense?
With a decent controller you can just leave it plugged in.
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Old 01-27-2018, 07:02 AM   #12
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With a decent controller you can just leave it plugged in.
I guess my concern with keeping it plugged in would be someone walking off with it. Having it hooked up for a shorter period of time helps minimize the chances of that happening.

Doing some searching it seems like Zamp makes a portable unit. Is that what others are using successfully?

Thanks!
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Old 01-27-2018, 08:32 AM   #13
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I did the same thing as Matti. However, if you buy a non-Zamp panel, you have to reverse the solar plug connection cables on the battery posts. Zamp wires theirs ‘backwards’ of normal plugs so that they are not compatible with other units. Once you do that, you can also plug a battery maintainer into that port.


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I bought a water proof controller. It sites right next to the battery box when in use, with 30ft run to the panels. Works great.

Matti
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Old 01-27-2018, 02:01 PM   #14
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Joe, glad you brought up reversing the wires as they go onto the controller. The leads to the batteries are normal polarity and so, as Joe said, works great for plugging in a trickle charger.
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Old 01-27-2018, 02:19 PM   #15
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Joe, glad you brought up reversing the wires as they go onto the controller. The leads to the batteries are normal polarity and so, as Joe said, works great for plugging in a trickle charger.
Click image for larger version

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ID:	303093 Just running a little load experiment in the driveway with winter light.

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Old 01-28-2018, 08:05 AM   #16
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Joe, glad you brought up reversing the wires as they go onto the controller. The leads to the batteries are normal polarity and so, as Joe said, works great for plugging in a trickle charger.
Attachment 303092Attachment 303093 Just running a little load experiment in the driveway with winter light.

Matti
So the controller (Midnight Brat) is independent of the solar panels? Does it matter which solar panels you use?

And two panels such as shown in the picture produced how much electricity?

Thanks!
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Old 01-28-2018, 09:14 AM   #17
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So the controller (Midnight Brat) is independent of the solar panels? Does it matter which solar panels you use?

And two panels such as shown in the picture produced how much electricity?

Thanks!
There are multiple of options. I would use an MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracking) controller as they are 20-30% more efficient then the PWM (Pulse Width Modulation). The panels should be rated at anywhere from 18-22V Open. I use an HQST MPPT controller which seem to be sold under several different brand names. The rating on the panels are sometimes confusing. They sometime rate the open voltage (18-22V) but other rate the intent application voltage (12V-24V) which is really the battery they intent to charge.

If you look at this Amazon page
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B018BMGTTO...d_w=xLlaJ&th=1
They talk about 12V panel, but the open voltage is 22.5V. It will work fine with the MPPT controller to charge your 12 V battery.
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Old 01-28-2018, 10:57 PM   #18
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So the controller (Midnight Brat) is independent of the solar panels? Does it matter which solar panels you use?

And two panels such as shown in the picture produced how much electricity?

Thanks!
The panels cannot put out more than 18 volts and at least at least be called 12 volt panels. To really charge your batteries the panels need to put out over 15 volts. That is what the controller does is regulate to have the proper voltage and amp flow needed to charge the batteries fully and safely.

All components were bought separately as they came on sale. (Thrifty Finn here) The Midnite Brat PWM controller is sufficient for the two 100 watt panels that I am powering the system with. In full sunshine and a low battery level it puts out a little over 7.5 amps. It takes about 7 hours of good sunlight to recharge my batteries to 100% from a 45amp (60%)draw down.

I use 30 feet of 10awg wire between the panels and the controller, and between the controller is only 1.5 feet of wire. This results in very little voltage drop, keeping the system pretty efficient. There is a lot to learn about building an efficient solar system.

I got the controller for around $80 on sale, so for me the extra $125 was not worth the extra 1.5 amps it would gave squeezed out. Now if I had 600 watts or more the amps gained due to the efficiency of a MPPT controller is equal to the cost of a panel. MPPT controllers take the higher 17 volts put out by the panels and convert it all to amps. Where as PWM controllers loose the difference between the 17 volts the panels put out and the 14.4 volts the batteries are wanting. This where MPPT is more efficient than PWM.

Matti
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