Question on planning for Solar - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-14-2015, 03:33 PM   #1
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Name: JD
Trailer: Scamp 16 Modified (BIGLY)
Florida
Posts: 1,045
Question on planning for Solar

I have a question for those who have installed solar in their eggs.
I am looking into one or more Renology flexible panels and perhaps a Bogart charge controller and battery monitor.
My question is if you have a on-board battery charging system is there a way to automatically switch from the AC powered charger to the Solar when conditions permit?
I want to leave the two systems active and let the "Best" one win.
Since I have a swing compressor refrigerator and it lives better running I want to keep the 12 Volt system charged and ready if I am parked with power or parked in the sunlight and not plugged in for a good while. I don't want to be able to forget to switch from solar to AC or back and have the batteries run down.
I talked with the Guy from Bogart about the charger and would it regulate the charge from a ac powered charger like it would from the higher voltages from a solar panel system.
Any ideas?
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Old 06-14-2015, 05:18 PM   #2
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Name: Bob
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My understanding is if you leave the trailers converter/charger on, it fakes out the solar to think the batteries are full by always supplying 13.6 volts or some such. Normal operation is the solar is always on, the converter/charger is on whenever you are plugged in. I have the Bogart Controller and monitor and that's what it looks like to me.

Don't know about swing compressor refrigerators.

Your last sentence is confusing, what did Ralph at Bogart tell you?
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Old 06-14-2015, 05:28 PM   #3
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Name: Steve
Trailer: casita 17 SD
Pennsylvania
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Solar

I have a roof mount 50 watt panel and an 80 watt portable with a Steca pr1010 controller. The roof mounted panel and the controller is always engaged with the battery and the converter . I don't mess with it when I plug in.

I'm curious as to why you are getting the flexible as opposed to the panel with a frame. My roof top panel is attached with VHB tape. No screws! Panels with no air under them have less output as temperature goes up and that happens whenever the sun shines.
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Old 06-14-2015, 07:44 PM   #4
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Name: JD
Trailer: Scamp 16 Modified (BIGLY)
Florida
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Perhaps the flexible on the Scamp is not the best, butI envisioned the things wrapping over the curved part of the roof, but I haven't tried drapinga flexible panel ove it yet.
As to the question on talking with Bogart the questions was would his controller work to control the charge from a converter (not solar panel) to properly charge the battery. He thought for a minute and said he didn't know why not.
The thought I had at the time was that I could get a better charge controller from a basic stupid power supply feeding the Bogart system. Then perhaps I could come up with an automatic switch to swap the solar to AC when plugged in.
I could increase the output voltage of the power supply to mimic the high level output of the solar array when on AC.
The monitor would still give the power in and out of the battery and the state of charge. I could install this part while I decide what to do about the actual solar panels.
I know a little about electricity, but I haven't worked with solar power yet and a little experience goes a long way.
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Old 06-14-2015, 08:31 PM   #5
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Name: Anne
Trailer: 2014 Parkliner
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Has anyone used a trailer plug connector (see http://www.amazon.com/Go-Power-Trail...QX326X7PBPHCYW) to connect a solar panel to the trailer? Would a separate controller be needed if this were the connection method? I'm asking from nearly complete ignorance!

-- Anne


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Old 06-14-2015, 10:52 PM   #6
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Name: Jim
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Colorado
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Anne,

You need a controller since the voltage from the panels will be somewhere around 14 to 18 volts. You can’t send that directly to the battery because it will ruin it. The voltage has to be dropped to about 14.4 volts maximum to the battery. That is done with a controller.

The trailer plug connector you found could be made to work but it’s expensive and you don't want to run the power from the panels directly to the battery through the 7-blade connector. I used an RV Panel Connector from this site:

73 SAE Connectors, Plugs, Sockets & Cords

Scroll down to item “E”. They were $5.00 each. I see from their site that they are currently out of stock until late June. I ran the red and black wires from the Panel Connector to the controller "Solar Panel" positive and negative terminals. Then ran 10 gauge red and black wires from the controller "To Battery" terminals to the corresponding positive and negative battery terminals. I put fuses in the red (positive) wires leading to the controller as well as the one from the controller to the battery.

I didn’t buy the SAE connectors from them but bought 5 sets of 10 gauge wire for $15 from:

5 10 Gauge 2 Pin Quick Disconnect Wire Harness SAE Connectors | eBay

You will need the 5 sets of connectors. One at the panels, one on the end of the extension cord from panels to camper, one on other end of extension cord to the connector at the camper. You will have to be careful that you use the right connector end. You want the red positive terminal at the panels to be covered because they are producing power and it’s a live terminal, and the corresponding end on the extension cord to have red positive terminal exposed. Likewise, the RV Panel Connector has the red terminal exposed inside the cap. Therefore you have to solder a connector with the red covered on the end of the extension cord coming from the panel. Just make sure the positive red connector is covered in the right places.

You can see the panel I made to hold the two RV Panel Connectors and welded to the front hitch of the Scamp. One is labeled BATTERY and the other is labeled SOLAR PANEL. The BATTERY Panel Connector next to it is for the power cable coming from the tow vehicle to the battery to charge it while traveling since I don't have a 7-blade connector, and as an auxiliary external 12v power source for a future mod. Need another three SAE connectors for that: one on TV and one on each end of a 5-foot cord from the TV to the RV Panel Connector.

I will do a posting of my system one of these days! You can see all the photos in one of my albums, but I haven't done the descriptions for them yet.

If something here was not clear, just ask.

Jim
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Old 06-15-2015, 05:45 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by neparker View Post
Has anyone used a trailer plug connector (see Robot Check) to connect a solar panel to the trailer? Would a separate controller be needed if this were the connection method? I'm asking from nearly complete ignorance!

-- Anne


Sent from my iPad using Fiberglass RV
If you are talking about using a portable solar panel like the folding sets with an attached controller, you could pickup a male trailer plug and connect the panel to pins 1 (gnd) and 4 (12v).

One way or the other, you do need a controller/charger, whether it's the one mounted on the panel or one you put in the trailer.
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Old 06-15-2015, 05:55 AM   #8
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JD, did you get answers to your questions?

I've not heard of anyone feeding 12v from a converter, charger, or a power supply, into a solar controller inputs but it sounds like it'd work, if you can find something that puts out the right voltage level. To some extent it depends on what your batteries are. You set the Bogart controller for the battery type, the controller then outputs the correct voltage to the batteries as long as the input voltage is high enough. Might need diodes on the inputs.
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Old 06-15-2015, 07:51 AM   #9
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Name: Anne
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Thank you for the responses to my question. Much clearer now.

--- Anne


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Old 06-15-2015, 10:14 AM   #10
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Name: Bruce
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Bruce & Ellyn

I'm trying to do the same thing with our Scamp 5th wheel. Can someone post a wiring diagram? That would be most helpful. I was actually thinking of putting a second deep cycle battery above the first one. Has anyone designed a bracket system? If I do ...do I need to have the same batteries and how do I keep both batteries charged? Do I need to switch back and forth with charging and usage? How many Solar watts to charge various amp hour batteries? I really like being the SECOND person to do something.
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Old 06-15-2015, 10:58 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by padlin00 View Post
JD, did you get answers to your questions?

I've not heard of anyone feeding 12v from a converter, charger, or a power supply, into a solar controller inputs but it sounds like it'd work,
Can you explain how it might work? - perhaps a diagram - equipment suggestions. I am like the others I have an onboard converter and charger as well as a solar panel with its own controller. But like others I have always assumed that when plugged into power the onboard charge system somehow convinces the solar panel controller that its got the job in hand and the solar no longer feeds the battery while plugged in. Only way to allow the solar to take full control of charging the battery is to unplug the trailer.

If there is a way to allow both to work or if in fact they both do actually work at the same time would love to know how or how to make it be able to do that. As been stated the onboard charge system does take longer to charge the battery than the solar on a good sunny day.
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Old 06-15-2015, 11:43 AM   #12
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Name: Fallon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redbarron55 View Post
As to the question on talking with Bogart the questions was would his controller work to control the charge from a converter (not solar panel) to properly charge the battery. He thought for a minute and said he didn't know why not.
The thought I had at the time was that I could get a better charge controller from a basic stupid power supply feeding the Bogart system. Then perhaps I could come up with an automatic switch to swap the solar to AC when plugged in.
I could increase the output voltage of the power supply to mimic the high level output of the solar array when on AC.
The monitor would still give the power in and out of the battery and the state of charge. I could install this part while I decide what to do about the actual solar panels.
I know a little about electricity, but I haven't worked with solar power yet and a little experience goes a long way.
Sweet idea. Crank up the voltage on your dumb converter then attach it to the solar panel inputs on your charge controller. Instant smart converter. I'm planning on solar eventually, so this sounds like a great temporary stepping stone. An upgrade to my dumb controller for now & parts for solar later.

Just need to figure out if you can run real solar & converter power as inputs at the same time.
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Old 06-15-2015, 11:55 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Fallon View Post
Sweet idea. Crank up the voltage on your dumb converter then attach it to the solar panel inputs on your charge controller. Instant smart converter..
So how many amps does the built in charger on one of the popular converters such as the PD many use actually put out ?

What amp rating would be needed on the solar controller to play it safe if for example if one had a simple 100w solar panel & the PD converter/charger running through it?
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Old 06-15-2015, 01:28 PM   #14
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A PD4045 tops out at 30@ on either 12v or 120v, or at least that's what the fuses & breakers are set to (12v * 30@ = 360 watts & 120v * 30@ = 3600 watts, so the converter tops out at providing 10% of the total system capacity). The Bogart Engineering SC-2030 Solar Charger controller will handle up to 30@ panel current (and if you drive it with more than 30 it will just limit things to 30 nicely without damage).

Mighty Mini All-In-One System AC/DC Power Distribution Panel and Inteli-Power Converter
SC-2030 Solar Charger — 30 Amps Max- 12 or 24V PWM type | Bogart Engineering
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