Portable solar charger from Renogy - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-31-2014, 05:22 PM   #1
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Portable solar charger from Renogy

When I put together my solar charging system I purchased my panels from Renogy. I am impressed with the performance and craftsmanship of their panels.
They just sent me a marketing email showcasing their new 100 watt Solar Suitcase. It is a ready to go system similar to what some of you have assembled. You just unfold the hinged panels, put out the kick stand, and hook the cable to your battery. A 10 amp solar controller is panel mounted making it plug and play. I don't know how long the leads are, so you may need an extension cord to place the panels where the sun shines.
They sent a coupon code for 10% off : "solarcase"
Check it out if you like.

Solar Suitcase - Renogy Solar Panels

Russ
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Old 02-19-2014, 02:07 PM   #2
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Russ, I am looking at Renogy panels myself. The price seems right and like to hear what you bought and how it is working out for you.
I looked at thier store online and was looking for 2 50 watt panels, one to attach to the roof and one to move around if and when needed. No such thing, only 1 100 watt panel in a "kit". Which controller did you go with or did you buy yours as a kit?
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Old 02-19-2014, 03:15 PM   #3
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Wow, that looks appealingly dummy-proof.
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Old 02-19-2014, 03:20 PM   #4
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Shawn,
I did not use a kit. They didn't offer the folding kick stand type when I put mine together. I purchased two 100W monocrystalline panels and made my own stands. I posted some info in a past post that outlined what I did.
The controller I used was a mppt Tristar unit that was overkill for the 2 panel system. You may be best off to just have both panels portable, as you will have to store the one portable panel anyway. 2 panels will just be a little thicker, and roughly 22"x25". The controller can be mounted to the panel that way. You just have to use as large wire as you feel you can handle to preserve voltage. I am using 8 ga. twin marine cable, which is flexible and handles well. My tethers are 30' long and allow pretty good placement options, and have worked well avoiding the long winter shadows. I don't know if the Renogy suitcase system comes with long wire or what gauge it is, but they probably worked it out to function. If you skimp on the wire it will just take longer to charge, which could be bad during cloudy days.
Russ
link to Mono panels:http://www.renogy-store.com/MonoCrys...nel-s/1831.htm
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Old 02-19-2014, 03:26 PM   #5
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Russ, I am seeing Renogy 100 watt solar kit for about 160 dollars on Amazon and Ebay. The whole package. I "think" is a great deal. I just got a email from them saying I can replace the one 100 watt panel for two 50 watt panels for a extra 49 dollars. So for about 200 dollars I can have a 2 panel solar system from Renogy. Does this sound like a good deal or should I still cut bait?
I did a Google search on Renogy and as far as I have read they are good and make or sell a good product. Even better than the new Health Care law (tax)! Lol.
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Old 02-19-2014, 03:29 PM   #6
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Here is the one from Amazon for the Monocrystalline unit. Solar Panel Starter Kit 100W Monocrystalline:100W Solar Panel UL 1703 Listed+2 20' Solar cables+PWM 30A Charge Controller+ Uniquely Designed Z Bracket Mounts - Amazon.com
I am pretty sure I saw it cheaper on Ebay
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Old 02-19-2014, 03:47 PM   #7
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Shawn,
Using 2 50w panels in lieu of 1 100w allows you to split the system like you described, and would have electrically identical outcome. Just remember to avoid shadows at all costs if mounting on the roof, as that really whacks the output.
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Old 02-19-2014, 03:51 PM   #8
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Russ, The reasons I want a split system is I have a sweet Yamaha Generator but my Boler stays in storage under the sun everyday and I can set the MaxFan on auto so it will cool down and get fresh air while I am not around. I think a 50 watt panel will do the trick and when we boondock under the shade I can always put the other panel in the sun. Also I could use the other panel at home when not camping!
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Old 02-19-2014, 04:17 PM   #9
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Here's another folding kit available from Solar Blvd. that someone posted here on the forum a few weeks ago, can't remember who it was, but it comes with a built in controller and a case. 125 watt $190! You might be able to separate it and make it work for your needs.

Solarblvd

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Old 02-19-2014, 04:31 PM   #10
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David, you got me thinking! But it doesn't tell me what the brand is and the cable length is very very short. The other problem would be the controller would have to be installed on the inside and not on the panel because one would be on the roof and the other wouldn't.
Am I the only one that would like one on the roof and the other to be able to be moved around as needed? I think it is a great ideal but who am I? I do like the 60 watt per panel. No one that I have seen has a duel system. One mounted and the other portable. I would think others would like a system like this too but maybe it is just me.....
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Old 02-19-2014, 05:57 PM   #11
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I have read the web site for the Renogy Solar Suitcase and I have a number of thoughts I would like to share. First, it is hard to evaluate because they do not give the specifications on the two most critical parts: the solar controller they provide and the gauge of wire used.

The major design flaw, and this is common to numerous other similar portable products, is the distance from the solar controller to the battery. Recommended distances are "as close as possible" or use very heavy gauge wire, 8 for example between the controller and the battery. Distances should be kept to 3 feet or less would be my recommendation. Because they mount the "waterproof 10 amp controller" on the panel and provide 16 feet of unknown gauge wire with the recommendation not to use more wire, we see a red flag waving.

My second concern would be what voltages this controller is going to be putting out, especially with 16 feet of wire between. We do not know.

Wire gauge is of minor concern between the panel and the controller. Often time 14 gauge will allow runs of up to 100 feet. Gauge between the controller and battery is critical, as is the distance.

Could this be made into a functional unit? Possibly. You would need to remove the controller from the panel and place it next to your battery. I would use the Anderson Power Pole products to make the connections. I have successfully used a 100 foot 14 gauge extension cord. Simply purchase a male and female three way plug and add to your wiring. For short runs joint the plugs, for long runs add an extension cord of a desirable length. Can you tell what type of solar panel it is? Monocrystalline or Polycrystalline, it would be nice to know.

Finally, I worry about the controller. For Interstate batteries the manufacturer recommends an absorption rate of 15.3. Trojan recommends a 14.8 absorption rate. There are very few solar controllers that can reach these recommendations. The Tristar unit that was mentioned above is one, an excellent controller and I do not think it is overkill. Check what your batteries recommend for an absorption rate, it should be available on their website. Because of the variety of brands your experience may vary.

If you want to take your solar knowledge to the next level I would recommend you try Handy Bob's Blog. There is a wealth of information about solar, batteries, charging and wiring. A must read before spending $200+.
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Old 02-19-2014, 06:01 PM   #12
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Shawn, As someone who thinks outside the box, I would like to eventually have about 200 W on the roof of the trailer, and convert the rock guard to a removable solar cell that is as large, in terms of wattage, as possible,. Actually one on the front and back windows. This will be less difficult on a Trillium, since the windows are all flat. It would be necessary for the removable solar cells to have a plug in connection that would allow a large gauge extension cable to be used when removed.

The design is still percolating in my head. I plan to maintain the look of Trillium's rock guard. The solar cells will face toward the window when traveling, and flip over to expose the solar cells. But, before I get to the solar cells, there are about a 100 jobs ahead of that.
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Old 02-19-2014, 08:11 PM   #13
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I found the post about the Solar Blvd Panels. It is the last post in the thread.

Seeking 100 watt solar panel kit

I think no matter how you go you will need to make some custom cables to meet your needs. The ends are readily available and wire will cost what it costs. A small price to pay to get what will work for you!

The controller might just be screwed to the back of the panel and could be relocated.

You might try sending a PM to arlon to discuss details of the panels. Who knows, might be worth a try.

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Old 02-19-2014, 09:11 PM   #14
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You may get the chance to see a combined system soon. I have the stock Escape 95 watt solar panel on the roof of my 17, and will be stopping by Solar Blvd in a week or so to pick up their 125 watt folding panel.

While I don't need the additional panel when parked in the sun in summer, both shade & winter solar angles keep me from a full recovery some days. I have the 6V option, have lots of electronics, a 1000 watt inverter, and have been down as much as 40 amp hours this winter, even here in Arizona.
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