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Old 09-17-2015, 08:25 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Metadifluoro View Post
Now that we have figured out the mysterious plug situation it is time to ask the more serious question, what types (brands), panel sizes, and controllers are people with popups using? After doing some calculations on usage, it looks as though we use somewhere between 25 and 30 amp hours per day. A couple of systems we are considering are the Zamp portable 80 watt system (120 maybe), the GoPower portable 80 watt system, and a portable system from BHA Solar that is 120 watts and comes with an inverter. All three come with PWM charge controllers and most everything needed to install or get set up quickly. Any input (pun intended) would be more than welcome.



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I bought the Renogy Solar suitcase 100w.

Best investment I ever made. I'm not an electrician or engineer, and don't have time to learn watts, ohms, amps or other high tech stuff. Shucks, my VCR is still blinking 12:00. I tend to fix things using the 'bigger hammer' method.

But this is simple, just the way I like it. Open the suitcase, prop it facing the sun, plug it in. That's it. The cord has alligator clips for the battery terminals, and a plug connection about 10" from the clips. I leave that pigtail end clipped to the battery, and the plug end hangs just out from under the cover of the battery box. Then I just plug the line in from the solar panel when I need to recharge.
Whatever battery consumption I used overnight (usually almost 50%), is typically replenished within a few hours. Easily by lunch time, the battery is topped off. And I'm still running the cheap Group 24 Marine battery(65 AH) that the dealer threw on the unit.

The unit stows nicely when not in use, protected in a soft case.


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Old 09-27-2015, 11:03 AM   #22
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Thanks. That system is one of the ones on the list.

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Old 09-27-2015, 05:48 PM   #23
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2x on the renogy unit jw34 spoke about. Have one as well, comes with a semi hard zippered case to protect it. I get 18-19v and 5amps according to the controller with good sun and it tops off the battery in a few hours easily. Weighs about 25 lbs or so.
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Old 09-27-2015, 06:06 PM   #24
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The larger the wire, the less the loss and there will be loss. I would not use smaller than 10 gauge wire for 200 watt panels. You will probably add more later, so do it right the first time. I believe you will find that companies that sell solar panel also sell 10 ga wire with them as standard.
Also wire the panels in series to keep the volts up and amps down. Much more efficient.
You need to research the difference between MPPT and PWM controllers. In my experience, the MPPT units are much more efficient. I have both.
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Old 11-18-2015, 01:38 PM   #25
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Thanks for all of the great information and advice. After quite a bit of research we ended up with a portable, folding 120 Watt system from BHASolar. What sold me was the design in which the charge controller is not mounted on the panels, rather It came separate and I'm mounting it in a small, vented box just outside the battery box. This design limits the voltage loss from the charge controller to the battery and enhances the charging capability. Everything has been wired with quick disconnects before and after the charge controller, all with 12 AWG wire. Tried it out last week and it appears to work just as expected. They are currently out of 120 Watt systems, but have 100 Watts available. Some day the system will have paid for itself, but that only means we will have to camp more often.

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Old 11-21-2015, 06:56 PM   #26
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I too use solar power . .however im using a 80 watt panel . ..with two deep cycles.
Depending on the site,and time of year.i can camp easily up to two weeks without an electrity
The trick with solar is to have lots of reserve power,for those cloudy days

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