Portable solar charger from Renogy - Page 3 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-05-2014, 10:39 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Jon Vermilye View Post
Since there is no manual, your guess is as good as mine. It doesn't look all that waterproof, but the panels slope enough that it would thai quite a blow to get much water on it...
LOL thanks.... I looked at the specs on line and couldn't see anything on the topic either.
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Old 03-06-2014, 05:52 AM   #30
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Very nice. Appreciate your pictures.
I was thinking of making my own.
Or just buying like yours to save the hassle.
You mention portable panels costing more, do you have a link?
Thanks
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Old 03-10-2014, 12:28 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by stev View Post
Very nice. Appreciate your pictures.
I was thinking of making my own.
Or just buying like yours to save the hassle.
You mention portable panels costing more, do you have a link?
Thanks
Stev,
Portable suitcase panel systems cost more than raw panels, but when adding up the controller and wire the costs are comparable.
Reasons for building your own: You like to tinker, You want a different controller type or capacity, You want a different stand, You want the controller mounted near the batteries. Not because it is cheaper.
The systems are plug and play and you don't need to understand electron behavior.
Russ
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Old 04-19-2014, 09:57 AM   #32
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I am about ready to pull the trigger on an a' la cart system from Amazon. One of the 100W Renogy kits is about right but I really don't want "portable" panels as large as the 100s. And the 50W kits come with only a 10A controller which limits expandability. And I am concerned about the durability of the smaller controller. So, I think I will order a 50W mono panel, a 30A controller, and some connectors and make my own system. I have a lot of old 12 gauge and make my own "suitcase" panel rig. What I am thinking is to make a pole mount for the tongue and back bumper of the trailer so I can get the panels up off the ground and still be able to orient them to the Sun. I think the ultimate is the roof of my Scamp 16 festooned with flexible panels laid flat. Maybe someday.
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Old 04-19-2014, 10:34 AM   #33
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Tim if you decide to go with the pole mount keep in mind that the angle the panels are at can play a big part in how well they work or don't work. The website www.solarpaneltilt.com has good info on the topic.
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Old 04-19-2014, 11:03 AM   #34
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Just the opinion of a novice, but screwing down 12 awg wire into the Renogy 30 amp charge controller doesn't make the best connection. 14 awg fits the screw down fine, but I had to trim a few strands of wire off to get the 12 awg to fit.
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Old 04-19-2014, 12:48 PM   #35
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If you were considering a pole mount you might want to look at this style for ideas.
IronRidge UNI-SA/14.0 Single Arm Mount 14" Hardware

I liked the way it clamped on and could be folded down for storage or up at different angles as Carol mentioned. Looked like a design I could make out of some channel.
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Old 04-19-2014, 02:22 PM   #36
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I've considered using the mounts for the small satellite dishes you frequently see on the side of the road on garbage day. One more thing on my roundtoit list.
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Old 04-19-2014, 07:18 PM   #37
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What fits on the connectors makes a difference as to what wire you can use but heavier gauge wire is always better. When first reading your post I was inclined to recommend 10 AWG wire, that said, I had problems with my Blue Sky 30 controller accepting the maximum size they recommend, 8 AWG. I had to use 10 AWG to get it to fit into the controller without strands all over the place.

However, what I did, and you can do, is immediately change to a thicker gauge. Your biggest loss in charging ability will be lost between the controller and the battery. Here is where you want at least 10 AWG or thicker wire. Using 12 AWG wire is a bit like every time you go to the gas station you only put in 3/4ths of a tank. You will not get the batteries to their fullest charge. Your car runs on a 3/4ths of a tank as will your batteries, but they will discharge sooner.
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Old 04-19-2014, 08:39 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by Huck View Post
Just the opinion of a novice, but screwing down 12 awg wire into the Renogy 30 amp charge controller doesn't make the best connection. 14 awg fits the screw down fine, but I had to trim a few strands of wire off to get the 12 awg to fit.
Huck,
You'd think they would have lugs to accept 8 ga. for 30 amps. How did you terminate your wires? If your battery is far from your controller you may even want larger than 8 ga. to lessen voltage drop.
Russ
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Old 04-20-2014, 12:24 AM   #39
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Now my battery box is in a fiberglass enclosure on my tongue... are their decent waterproof controllers?
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Old 04-20-2014, 01:22 AM   #40
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Now my battery box is in a fiberglass enclosure on my tongue... are their decent waterproof controllers?
Deryk,
That's a good question. You would think the ones they use on their suitcase systems would be weather proof, but I don't know if any of the stand alone controllers are. I mounted my Morningstar in a weatherproof NEMA box, but it was a little work to git er done.
Russ
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Old 04-20-2014, 09:32 AM   #41
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That's a thought... put it in an enclosure and attach it to my battery box to keep the wire run short.... I'm still not sure...I might attach one to my roof and 1 portable because honestly I prefer camping in the shade lol.... now in my mom's driveway the top one will keep my battery topped off and the portable one would work when I'm camping in the shade... have a little length or wire to move it around.
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Old 04-20-2014, 11:58 AM   #42
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Deryk,
I originally was concerned about sun angles, shade, crummy weather ect. prior to installing a 100 watt mono-crystaline panel with a single group 27 battery, but after having used this se-up for a couple of years, while traveling up the wet coast, those fears left. I noticed that as soon as it started to get light (prior to the sun actually cresting the horizon) the panel started producing electricity. Obviously if one needs to extract every measure of sunlight, angles, tracking the suns path, etc would be crucial, but to replace 30 or less amp hours of electricity used throughout the previous night, what I had, was sufficient to bring the battery up to 13.2 by the end of the day. Of note, I was running a NoveKool 12 volt refrigerator 24/7 for a couple of months at a time, as well as watching a couple of movies each night and recharging laptop, phones, walkie talkies, all "off the grid". I think you should start with a single perm. mounted 100 watt panel and see if would be enough for your needs, as you can always add a suit-case unit, or another perm. mounted one at a later date.
Dave & Paula
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