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Open Roads Forum  >  Tech Issues

 > Connecting Portable Solar Panels

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obiwancanoli

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Posted: 09/29/20 09:58am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

As I've been exploring an upgrade of my entire electrical system, I'm contemplating adding additional solar, and looking at options.

I have plenty of room on the roof for a few more panels, though I probably need only 2, at around 300-600W added to my current 480W panels, and a 120W portable. Four Battle Born Lithium batteries are probably installed by now, along with a Victron 100A/50 MPPT controller, and 712 Voltmeter. Given those hot days when you'd prefer to be under some shade, it seemed having a portable would be prudent for those times when you need to be more judicious by having solar you can actually point at the sun.

Thus, I am thinking it might be prudent to add at least ONE portable, maybe up to 300W perhaps, and I had a couple questions for y'all... first, does it make sense for me to consider an additional portable, and if so, how long of an extension cord should I consider? Is 20 ft sufficient, or is 30 ft a more practical length?

Second, can two - or more - portable panels be tied together so that only one lead goes to the batteries? I've looked on Amazon, but amongst the multitude of pages I must sift through, I confess my patience was challenged, and I gave up before having any success in finding a 2-into-1 fitting that combines the two...

* This post was edited 09/29/20 04:36pm by obiwancanoli *

madjack60

littleton

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Posted: 09/29/20 10:03am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Ebay has lots of 2 into 1 upto r into 1 spliters. You may want to check if your charge controller can handle all the extra wattage.

Lwiddis

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Posted: 09/29/20 10:06am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Wouldn't the weight of a 300 watt "portable" solar panel be 50-60 pounds?


Winnebago 2101DS TT & 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 LTZ Z71, 300 watts solar-parallel & MPPT, Trojan T-125s. TALL pole for flags. Prefer USFS, COE, BLM, NPS, TVA, USF&WS, state & county camps. Bicyclist! 14 year Army vet - 11B40 then 11A - (MOS 1542 & 1560)


pianotuna

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Posted: 09/29/20 10:07am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

you will soon tire of deploying portable panels.


Regards, Don
My ride is a 28 foot Class C, 256 watts solar, 556 amp hours of AGM in two battery banks 12 volt batteries, 3000 watt Magnum hybrid inverter, Sola Basic Autoformer, Microair Easy Start.

2oldman

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Posted: 09/29/20 10:20am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

obiwancanoli wrote:

can two - or more - portable panels be tied together so that only one lead goes to the batteries?
To the controller.. sure. You don't need special connectors, just wire them up yourself.

obiwancanoli

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Posted: 09/29/20 10:32am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

pianotuna wrote:

you will soon tire of deploying portable panels.


That may be, but if it's the only way to charge the batteries, best to be able to tap into the sun

Lwiddis

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Posted: 09/29/20 11:08am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I'd get very tired quickly moving around a 50 to 60 pound panel. And where would you store it?

jaycocreek

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Posted: 09/29/20 11:29am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Portable solar is about the only way I could use solar camping in the deep forest hardly ever in the sun.As far as how many feet of cable,it depends on where your camping..I am using about 30ft or just shy of it in this pic.

As far as always moving the panels,you don't have to but if you do,you get the most watts to the battery..Just laying my panels flat like it would be on the roof,I lost a bunch of watts..LOL

[image]


1994 F-350 DRW /460/k&n intake /415# torque/lance 9.6/Engel compressor fridge/3 gr 27 batteries/Honda 2k/Honda 3K/WH Camo 2250/Reese solid bar extension/Buddy heater/3 inverters//Happi Jack tie downs /Firestone bags/Yamaha Rhino/Winch and Lockers

2oldman

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Posted: 09/29/20 11:49am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

obiwancanoli wrote:

how long of an extension cord should I consider? Is 20 ft sufficient, or is 30 ft a more practical length?
The longer the cord the more loss. Consider a series hookup if much over 20'. A 300w panel will likely be 24v.

* This post was edited 09/29/20 11:58am by 2oldman *

jaycocreek

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Posted: 09/29/20 12:40pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

2oldman wrote:

obiwancanoli wrote:

how long of an extension cord should I consider? Is 20 ft sufficient, or is 30 ft a more practical length?
The longer the cord the more loss. Consider a series hookup if much over 20'. A 300w panel will likely be 24v.


While this is true,it can easily be a non issue by buying quality portable solar panels with 23-25% efficiency compared to the cheaper 18% or so..Some of the top names are not the top performers.

If the op is serious about portable solar,I strongly suggest he looks up Hoboteck on youtube and watch as he compares the portable solar panels one on one/side by side..Quite interesting...

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