Ok, ready to order a Solar panel but have a question - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-09-2014, 07:10 AM   #1
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Ok, ready to order a Solar panel but have a question

Ok, after going back and forth with the idea of it and talking with some friends I have decided to pick up a 100 watt panel(or maybe a 120) but have a question.

I'm not going to mount it to the roof because I tend to park under the tree's when I camp so going to use the 20' leash (power cord) to be able to move it into the sun...was thinking of adding a pair of stainless steel loops on the back so I could secure it so it couldn't just be walked away with so easily, but am looking for a charge controller that could be mounted outside(worse comes to worse I could mount it inside and run the connections to the outside through the closet next to my bathroom).

Does the charge controller put out heat? I was wondering if I could pick up some kind of water tight box to put it inside of...While in my driveway the panel will be bungy corded down to keep my batteries topped off...so what are my options? Thanks!
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Old 05-09-2014, 08:37 AM   #2
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Deryk,

You can buy a waterproof controller and mount it to the back of the panel.

Here's an example of one.

Amazon.com: Waterproof PWM LS1024RP Solar Panel Charge Controller Regulator 12/24V 10A: Home Improvement

Hope your project goes well!

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Old 05-09-2014, 08:37 AM   #3
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My cheap Asian controller stays quite cool and my rooftop 100 watt panel makes plenty of juice. Some would argue that the panel's higher voltage would have less drop as opposed to the lower regulated voltage from a controller, an argument for putting the controller by the battery. In the real world it probably makes little difference, though my controller is next to the battery.

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Old 05-09-2014, 08:48 AM   #4
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I did a google search and found this 20A Waterproof IP66 Solar Panel Charger Controller PWM Charge 12 24V LS2024RP US | eBay

I could mount it on my exterior battery box and be able to plug in the panel when needed and would be water proof.
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Old 05-09-2014, 09:00 AM   #5
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Check out the Grape Solar Fab 8,105 watt panel from Home depot.
Wait until HD has the $10 off coupon.
HD has a 90 day return. So you can try it out.
Free shipping. Total should be $130 + tax.

Controller should be as close as possible to Batt.
Check out the 10 amp Sunforce 60031 from Amazon.
Has a LCD display showing voltage. $31 shipped.

Calculate voltage drop between panel and controller, when sizing wire.
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Old 05-09-2014, 10:42 AM   #6
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My son bought two 60 W solar kits at Costco for $170cdn. I had given him a 40 W kit for Christmas, so I bought that from him for $100. I bought my self a 40 W kit when I got his. So now we both have two matched pairs.

I plan to use a piano hinge and a couple of latches to make them into a fold up array. One will be 80 W, the other 120 W. The included controller is just big enough for two 60 W panels. Which means there is a spare controller. The 60 W kit comes with 8' of cable, a 400 W inverter, battery clamps, and a 12 V socket with battery clamps.

The 7 A solar controller is so small, you could mount one inside your battery box, between the + and - terminals.
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60 W Solar System 01.jpg   60 W Solar System 02.jpg  

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Old 05-09-2014, 11:48 AM   #7
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Dave I looked on costco and not seeing it..wonder if its canadian only?
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Old 05-09-2014, 12:03 PM   #8
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Don't mount a controller in the same area as your batteries if they are flooded cells. The gas they put out does not mix well with sparky.


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Old 05-09-2014, 12:09 PM   #9
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You might want to consider one of the semi-flexible panels. The Renology one weighs 3 lbs as compared to 16 for their conventional glass panel. A lot easier to move around.

Renology charges an extra $50 for the semi-flexible one.
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Old 05-09-2014, 12:28 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deryk View Post
Dave I looked on costco and not seeing it..wonder if its canadian only?
I also went looking online and did not find it. Since it is a better deal then the stuff they have online, it may just be in my Costco only. They have more though.
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Old 05-09-2014, 12:30 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by mrprez View Post
Don't mount a controller in the same area as your batteries if they are flooded cells. The gas they put out does not mix well with sparky.


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Good point. Might need to find a very small NEMA4 enclosure for it.
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Old 05-09-2014, 12:30 PM   #12
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Yeah I'm going to go with a waterproof style controller... And mount it outside the battery box. Going to have to get some type of quick connect/disconect fittings for it so it can be easily hooked up.

I'm a little iffy about the flexible panels due to a link someone posted on another posting about a problem with them... and the extra expense. A 20lb panel is not a big deal for me to move around. I am thinking about renology's 100 watt foldable because of the built in stand for it.... but then need a 10gauge wire to run to the battery.

Too many choices lol
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Old 05-09-2014, 12:35 PM   #13
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Have you decided on your batteries yet? I'd make sure the controller can be set to the battery manufacturers recommended voltage setting for recharging and equalization. Not to mention variations in temperature. The controller should vary the charge voltage as the temp change.


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Old 05-09-2014, 12:57 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by mrprez View Post
Don't mount a controller in the same area as your batteries if they are flooded cells. The gas they put out does not mix well with sparky.
Gotta agree with John. Batteries should be outside or in a well sealed and vented enclosure if inside.

Better safe than sorry make sense here.

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