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Old 12-23-2017, 04:28 PM   #1
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Crusader pre-wired for solar, what now?

So the question here is this: My Crusader came pre-wired for solar with a Furrion 10amp plug next to front garage. Not looking to go whole hog solar, just something to keep the battery topped off and maybe a little supplemental down the road. Looking at this 100 watt kit from Harbor freight.
https://www.harborfreight.com/100-Wa...U4In0%3D%0D%0A

From what I can see this Furrion connector connects straight to the battery via a terminal block so you would have to use a separate charge controller yes? (so when they tell you/show you it's prewired for solar don't put a lot into that. Appears to be just easily accessible connector that is pre-wired and nothing more). I don't believe the charge controller is the kit from HF is a smart controller at all so I assume a better charge controller would be needed. What else would be needed. I assume I need a special adapter/connector to be able to utilize the Furrion connection? Again, not looking to go 100% solar here for boondocking. Just something to maintain the battery really so I don't have to leave the extension cord out from the garage to the 5th wheel. Thanks in advance.
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Old 12-26-2017, 05:21 PM   #2
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Old 12-26-2017, 05:34 PM   #3
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I'm in the same boat. First camper and have the Zamp plug but not sure what I need or want. The searches I have done seem to lead me down a rabbit hole of in depth information on fully self sufficient off grid stuff rather than you need this controller and a 100 watt panel. I will be following your thread
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Old 12-26-2017, 06:24 PM   #4
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Unfortunately the "Solar Ready" feature is a marketing gimmick. In many cases. the wiring is not heavy enough to be of much good and the connectors are either unique or reversed. You will also need a good controller, I strongly recommend a controller that has 2-3 times the capacity you think you need. Solar is like an rv. Once you have one you always want a bigger one. With a larger controller you can add several panels later if needed. I would look at renogy.com. They sell quality equipment at good prices and provide great service. Not a big fan of HF solar.
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Old 12-26-2017, 06:36 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flybob View Post
Unfortunately the "Solar Ready" feature is a marketing gimmick. In many cases. the wiring is not heavy enough to be of much good and the connectors are either unique or reversed. You will also need a good controller, I strongly recommend a controller that has 2-3 times the capacity you think you need. Solar is like an rv. Once you have one you always want a bigger one. With a larger controller you can add several panels later if needed. I would look at renogy.com. They sell quality equipment at good prices and provide great service. Not a big fan of HF solar.
Thanks Flybob! Was just looking at the HF for the panels knowing it would likely need an upgraded controller. Liked the way they had built in kickstand etc. but looking to know if even the panels are junk or not. I see you have 2 100 watt panels in your sig. What size controller would you recommend? I'll check out the Renogy stuff.
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Old 12-26-2017, 06:46 PM   #6
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You need to make the decision based on how you plan to use it but 30A controllers are a good price point. If I am not mistaken the HF 100W system is 3 or 4 small panels and an inferior controller. I have 700W of solar at home for aux use. Last two 100W panels I bought at renogy were a dollar a watt.
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Old 12-26-2017, 07:02 PM   #7
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You need to make the decision based on how you plan to use it but 30A controllers are a good price point. If I am not mistaken the HF 100W system is 3 or 4 small panels and an inferior controller. I have 700W of solar at home for aux use. Last two 100W panels I bought at renogy were a dollar a watt.
Thanks again Flybob. Research I had done was pointing to the 30A controller too. Thanks for reaffirming that for me. Yes, the HF appears to be four 25watt panels (amorphous) connected together. If anyone has any experience with the HF panels maybe they'll chime in. It's looking though that it'll be more cost effective through Renogy anyway as the HF controller is not up to task for battery maintenance.
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Old 12-27-2017, 03:58 PM   #8
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Thanks Flybob! Was just looking at the HF for the panels knowing it would likely need an upgraded controller. Liked the way they had built in kickstand etc. but looking to know if even the panels are junk or not. I see you have 2 100 watt panels in your sig. What size controller would you recommend? I'll check out the Renogy stuff.
Iím using and happy with my 30A Morningstar MPPT controller.
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Old 12-27-2017, 04:21 PM   #9
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Always use a controller with the solar panels. My Rockwood Ultra Lite 2604ws says it is pre wired for solar, and all that means is it has wires going to the battery from an external plug on the side of the trailer. No controller!! You could easily boil your batteries without one. My plug in port says to only use ZAMP solar panels but I have an old controller from 2000 that fits it perfectly and has the same polarity. From what I have seen from the ZAMP wiring, it looks like it is just intended to trickle charge the battery. It does not look like it can handle the amps needed to power the whole trailer, or charge a bank of batteries as compared to just one 12 volt.
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Old 12-27-2017, 07:48 PM   #10
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Google "handy Bob solar". It is a blog with a lot of good info, at least I thought so. It helped me understand a lot more before installing a Bogart 30 amp pwm controller and a tri metric monitor inside with 2 - 160w panels up top. It discuss the pros and cons of mppt and pwm controllers and many other relevant things. Good luck.
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Old 12-27-2017, 08:48 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flybob View Post
You need to make the decision based on how you plan to use it but 30A controllers are a good price point. If I am not mistaken the HF 100W system is 3 or 4 small panels and an inferior controller. I have 700W of solar at home for aux use. Last two 100W panels I bought at renogy were a dollar a watt.
X2 for the Renogy kits that you can buy online. Very reasonable and installation is straight forward.
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Old 12-28-2017, 11:17 AM   #12
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I have used the HF solar setup for years. All the controller is, is a diode to prevent backflow at night as solar panels will discharge your batteries when no sun. Finding the plug for your Furion connector to fit your "Solar connector" can be an issue. I finally found them on Amazon. You can also use that connector as an outlet. I run my water pump, and a maintainer when in storage through the outlet. I think you'll find the biggest issue is the weight of the panels. I have a 3 panel system, (they discontinued it for the 4 panel) and it is plenty awkward. It works very well for keeping the batteries up when dry camping. The only modification is the Furion lug, otherwise I use the system as it came out of the box. Your "Solar connection" is simply a plug in wired directly to your batteries. I run 4 6 volt golf carts and between them and the solar panel, can sit for 5 days without a generator, (peace and quiet).
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Old 12-30-2017, 04:43 PM   #13
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Thanks all for the advice. I've got some direction to go on now. Much appreciated.
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Old 12-31-2017, 10:12 AM   #14
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Here is a good starting point from a great company, I have used their products for years and have been very happy with them. https://www.renogy.com/renogy-100-watt-portable-rv-kit/
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