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Old 02-05-2023, 07:19 AM   #1
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2021 27' International
Raleigh , North Carolina
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 209
Plan for adding solar: can I mix panels with this setup?

Hi All,

I'm looking to add rooftop and portable solar to my 27FB and would like to utilize the factory wiring as much as possible. We don't boondock extensively - mainly a few festivals here and there and the occasional weekend trip. Being in the Southeast, we don't have many great boondocking options without tree cover so portable will be a must. I won't be upgrading the stock Interstate batteries for now but I'll be using all Victron components for the charging.

Here is a not-to-scale layout of my roof (the left side is the front):





My initial thoughts were to have equal wattage on both sides. I'm comfortable going up to 400w or so if possible based on the Blue Sea wiring gauge guides that I've seen - I understand I'll likely see a 10% voltage drop. I also want to utilize the preinstalled 3-port Zamp combiner box with SAE connections if possible. If I absolutely need to swap it out, I'll go with the AM Solar combiner box but don't really want the extra work..

One issue with this is the majority of our boondocking will be at a spot where the road-side faces South-Southwest which is tough because I have an abundance of space on the curb-side. This is why I'll have to figure out how to integrate a portable panel somehow..

Some thoughts and questions:
  • I can likely fit 2 of the shorter Obsidian Zamp panels (labeled "S") on the curb-side rear - would it benefit me to wire these in series (thinking that the charger would "wake up" sooner with the higher voltage)? Also thinking that this would keep the amperage the same allowing me to get more out of the factory wiring..
  • Alternatively, I can fit the longer/cheaper Grape Noir long panel in the same spot which gives me less wattage overall but will look more uniform on that side..
  • I can fit the longer, and cheaper, Grape Noir panel on the curb-side front - I'm assuming there is no technical issue in connecting these in parallel with panels of a different design and/or brand? The narrower design also means the panel will see less shade from the A/C in the fringe sunlight hours.
  • I can fit a Zamp Obisidan long panel on the road-side rear and a Zamp Obisidian short panel on the road-side middle section - should these be wired in parallel or series?
  • Is it worth relocating/removing the round Husky antenna at the road-side front to get an extra Obsidian short panel in there? To be honest, the factory prewiring for the antenna renders it almost useless anyway (they add WAY too much extra wire which is difficult to remove). We use the built-in antennas on the Pepwave router. I could always reinstall the cap that was there and put the panel over it.
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2021 International 27FBT
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Old 02-06-2023, 09:19 AM   #2
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2021 27' International
Raleigh , North Carolina
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 209
Bumping this..
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2021 International 27FBT
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