Originally Posted by Aluminated J
Just made a deposit on a 2023 20X with solar package for February 2023 delivery. I've learned a lot from reading the forums that helped me make a decision on the 20X, thank you. Now that I've made a deposit and have made the commitment, I'm pretty sure I'll have lots of questions and will look to all of you for your advice and counsel. Thanks in advance.
Here's my first two questions.
1) I want to be able to connect my unregulated 350W Bluetti solar panel to the Basecamp's exterior solar plug. What's the best way to make this possible, install a second solar controller inside that's tied to the solar plug on the outside of the Basecamp?
2) Can anyone tell me if the 300W roof-mounted solar panels and the 350W Bluetti panel (once connected to the solar plug) will work together to speed up the battery charging process?
Looking forward to being a part of this community and learning from your experience and expertise.
I am surprised you haven't gotten a lot more responses. I'll add my two cents, but there are people that frequent the forum that are far more knowledgeable than I.
The "solar port" on the Basecamp is wired directly to the batteries and does not go through the controller. So, you will need to put a controller between your panel and the battery. I have read about owners rewiring the port so it goes to the onboard controller first, but there are two disadvantages. 1 - your panels likely have different parameters, and you may lose significant energy. 2 - the "solar port" can be used to move electricity in either directions. I use mine to run a 12 volt
water pump when I need to add water to my tank while dry camping. (Be sure to check the polarity on your port. The older (pre 2023) Zamp ports are wired differently than many other solar products.
I am looking forward to reading more answers to your question #2. I have read a in the forum about controllers fighting one another. The support article linked above indicates you shouldn't have any issues until the later stages of charging when the charge needs to be reduced to more of a trickle. At that point one charger should take over, and will be sufficient. I routinely keep our suitcase panel plugged in all day. It stops sending energy when the batteries are full.
300 W on the roof, and 350 W on the ground is a lot. Unless you add a inverter, you will have all the power you need. Our 180 W on the roof gets our batteries to 100% each day if we are parked in the sun in good weather. The 200 W suitcase allows us to reach for sun when parked in the shade.
Did you opt for lithium batteries? They will effectively double you usable power. The extra cost is worth not having to worry about bringing your AGMs below 50% even if you don't really need the extra capacity - obviously that is my opinion and not a fact.
I'll add one more thing I have learned on the forum. What Airstream does with a specific model one month can be very different that a trailer coming off the line a few months later. Something like the solar port being wired directly to the batteries may need to be verified for the new solar package on the 2023 models.
Just had another thought. 350 watts is a lot. You will need to look into your wire choices. When I did the math for my set up, I came up with 10 gauge wire and 20' length for our 200 watt suitcase. You will need thicker cables and or shorter distances. You will also need to look into the gauge of the cables from the port to the battery.