Advice on Renogy 100W Mobile Solar Panel - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-20-2016, 12:21 PM   #1
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Name: Doug
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Question Advice on Renogy 100W Mobile Solar Panel

I'm interested in purchasing the Renogy 100W Mobile Solar panel for when we go off the grid camping. We have a Honda generator that was included in our purchase of our Casita SD17, but it does have to be powered by fuel. Has anyone used this panel? Is it easy to install? What is the advantage over a generator? Can it run our lights and chargers while hooked up to our battery? Do we need a converter? Any advice would be greatly appreciated or any resources you can direct me to would be great.
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Old 09-20-2016, 12:38 PM   #2
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The Renogy 100 Watt Portable Solar Panel is available with or without a controller. For stand alone use, most purchase the version with the built in controller, which matches the panel to your battery. Without the built in controller, you would need to add one at the trailer. This is actually a better solution since the shorter the wiring between the controller & battery, the better.

In either case, the best you can expect from a 100 watt panel under ideal (cloudless long summer days & moving the panel to keep it aimed at the sun) is around 30 - 35 amp hours per day. Shade, or a couple of cloudy days can cut this drastically. Whether this keeps up with your usage depends, obviously, on your usage. If you don't already have LED lighting, switching is a great option. LEDs use about 1/10 the power of incandescent lamps. Most users are fine with one 100 watt panel, but if you add an inverter to do high powered 120V loads, you may need more.

In my case I make a pot of drip coffee each morning, often make toast in a pop up toaster, charge phone, camera & a very power hungry laptop (and do photo editing 1-2 hours per day), and during the short, low angle winter days, often run the furnace for 1/2 - 2 hours during the early morning hours.

I have 2 roof mounted panels (a 95 watt & a 100 watt) that do fine in the summer, but during the winter, even in southern Arizona, I needed to add a 160 watt portable panel to provide the 40 - 50 amp hours I used.
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Old 09-20-2016, 01:49 PM   #3
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I bought the 100 watt Renogy "suitcase" panel/controller combo as a "refurb". I have only played with it in the back yard so far but have discovered one thing. I did not have the brackets tightened and it slid down one day while out in the yard. The temperature soared under the panel where the controller was and it overheated and shut down. Standing the panel back up and resetting the controller got it back working. I would certainly buy it again, and with the supplied controller, just so it can be used as a "stand alone" unit.
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Old 09-21-2016, 01:17 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Jon Vermilye View Post
The Renogy 100 Watt Portable Solar Panel is available with or without a controller. For stand alone use, most purchase the version with the built in controller, which matches the panel to your battery. Without the built in controller, you would need to add one at the trailer. This is actually a better solution since the shorter the wiring between the controller & battery, the better.

In either case, the best you can expect from a 100 watt panel under ideal (cloudless long summer days & moving the panel to keep it aimed at the sun) is around 30 - 35 amp hours per day. Shade, or a couple of cloudy days can cut this drastically. Whether this keeps up with your usage depends, obviously, on your usage. If you don't already have LED lighting, switching is a great option. LEDs use about 1/10 the power of incandescent lamps. Most users are fine with one 100 watt panel, but if you add an inverter to do high powered 120V loads, you may need more.

In my case I make a pot of drip coffee each morning, often make toast in a pop up toaster, charge phone, camera & a very power hungry laptop (and do photo editing 1-2 hours per day), and during the short, low angle winter days, often run the furnace for 1/2 - 2 hours during the early morning hours.

I have 2 roof mounted panels (a 95 watt & a 100 watt) that do fine in the summer, but during the winter, even in southern Arizona, I needed to add a 160 watt portable panel to provide the 40 - 50 amp hours I used.
Hi Jon, I am getting my Casita in Dec and the guy installing it says that 1 90 watt renolgy should be enough. I would use almost as many things as you. I you opinion what should I get.
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Old 09-21-2016, 01:39 PM   #5
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We have had the Renogy 100 watt solar suitcase with factory charge controller for 2 years . Works well with our Casita and have run the refrigerator (On propane) , lights or roof fan, or radio during the day and still managed to charge our battery. Our Casita has one 27F deep cycle battery so 100 watts is plenty. On a sunny day the battery is at 100% SOC in about 4 hours but it takes a,little longer if we are using 12 VDC
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Old 09-21-2016, 03:09 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Judy Too View Post
Hi Jon, I am getting my Casita in Dec and the guy installing it says that 1 90 watt renolgy should be enough. I would use almost as many things as you. I you opinion what should I get.
As long as you summer camp, the 90 watt panel will probably be able to provide almost 30 amp hours per day, enough for most users. Add too much inverter use for high wattage appliances or winter camping where the days are short and the sun at a low angle, and you will wish you had more.

To me, a portable that can be added to the input of your built in solar panel & controller is the ideal solution. Leave it home or in the truck during the summer, dig it out for winter trips, camping in the shade, or a row of cloudy days.
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Old 09-21-2016, 03:49 PM   #7
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I was advised not to put panels on the roof as it can cause too many leaks. should I add them? I don't think 1 small panel will do much and I want to boondock a lot of the time. I will be full timing
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Old 09-21-2016, 08:44 PM   #8
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Sun Power!

I roof mounted three 50W panels, installed a 30A battery charge controller a 300W inverter and upgraded the battery to a sealed AGM. Wonderful results year round. My needs are: to power a 28" LED TV, A power hungry laptop for photo processing, cell phone charging, playing a radio with CD/MP3/sirius/Pandora, a Bluray player, LED lights with as many lumens as the 1157s. My expectation is to watch at least one movie after sundown and still stay in the green. I do monitor the battery voltage and if it drops to 12.0V I back off watching movies and shut off the inverter. I charge the laptop (requires the inverter to be on) during the day and run on it's internal battery at night. I did poke 8 holes through the roof with silicon sealant to mount two of the panels. No rain leaks at all. The third panel is mounted to the air conditioner and leakage was not a concern. If I were to do today, I would glue the panels to the roof using special mounts my local supplier has with Marine Adhesive.
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Old 09-21-2016, 10:10 PM   #9
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do you mean the solar panels that are rolled up and glued to the fiberglass or just gluing the supports. 6 months ago a solar install company told me that the rolled panels get blown off. is that true.
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Old 09-22-2016, 07:07 AM   #10
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I want to reinforce two things that Jon has stated: much regarding solar panels depends on your style of camping, number of batteries, time of year and length of time off the grid. Second, most portable panels place the solar controller conveniently on the back of the panel, the recommendation is just the opposite, place the controller within one meter of the battery.
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Old 09-22-2016, 07:16 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Judy Too View Post
do you mean the solar panels that are rolled up and glued to the fiberglass or just gluing the supports. 6 months ago a solar install company told me that the rolled panels get blown off. is that true.


I have installed a 100 watt Monocrystalline Renogy with 30 amp controller and thread # 10, if necessary I can add on the roof 2 Pannels additional 100 watts without replacement wire or controller.

Installed this spring 2016, without making holes in the roof, attached with VHB Tape (UV protection) 3M and protected against dust and water, a light UV silicone gasket.
The wires passes into the fan of the bathroom, no holes in the roof to insert the wire ...

I live near Montreal and I traveled to Maryland, then in Gaspesie then the Mingan Islands and the sign still stands.
I check occasionally and it remains securely attached.

I followed the instructions from these videos:
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Old 09-22-2016, 11:19 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Judy Too View Post
do you mean the solar panels that are rolled up and glued to the fiberglass or just gluing the supports. 6 months ago a solar install company told me that the rolled panels get blown off. is that true.
No, rigid panels with special glue mounts. They are attached to the corners of the panel and then glued with Marine Adhesive, to the roof.
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Old 09-22-2016, 01:22 PM   #13
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thank you for all the info. I will do a lot more research. I still have a lot of time before I have to make a firm decision.
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Old 09-22-2016, 06:25 PM   #14
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What I want to see it roll up truck tonneau cover with a roll up solar panel affixed to it... But I see no offers of 7' wide roll up panels
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