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Old 01-14-2021, 09:19 AM   #1
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Solar on the Side

Anybody know where to buy a portable suitcase solar panel with a built in MPPT controller? It seems like panels with built in controllers are all PWM.
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Old 01-14-2021, 09:36 AM   #2
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Another option is to get the panels without a controller and add whatever controller you want to the camper.
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Old 01-14-2021, 09:45 AM   #3
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That's what I did, bought the panels that I wanted and added my own MPPT for my portable set up.
most solar suitcases it would not be cost efficient for MFG to add MPPT, typically cases are less than 100W overkill for MPPT.
Though you may find them it would b cheaper to make your own kit.
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Old 01-14-2021, 10:39 AM   #4
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Renogy solar. call help desk . they are great on customer service.
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Old 01-14-2021, 11:06 AM   #5
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I also recommend.
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Old 01-14-2021, 11:54 AM   #6
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I'm a big fan of DIY portable solar kits.

A pair of 100 watt panels with MC-4 connectors already installed, an MPPT Controller of your choice, a 10awg extension cord, a connector that fits the pre-installed one on the RV, and a couple of MC-4 connectors for the extension cord.

Add a couple of hinges and suitcase latch if you wish.

As for tilting there are all kinds of "mounts" available from Amazon and other sources for ~$30.


Add it all up and you'll have plenty of $$ left over after building a far better system than you can purchase off the shelf.


I did this with mine and now am able to "harvest" the max output of my 160watt "kit" and with my Victron 75/15 Smart Solar Controller I can use the bluetooth function while aligning the panels. I can actually see how much voltage the panels are producing real time and adjust the position/tilt of the panels for peak.
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Old 01-14-2021, 02:03 PM   #7
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I have a 100 watt suitcase solar panel and two deep cycle batteries I installed a small meter behind the panel so that I can see the the volts and amps that it is putting out.
I figured that the controller that came with the panel was cutting back too much so I unhooked it and just ran it direct to the batteries. My batteries usually need all that they can get. If a person doesn't baby sit the panel constantly you never get the full output. Anyway I have done this for about 5 years now.
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Old 01-14-2021, 02:40 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by tictoc43 View Post
I have a 100 watt suitcase solar panel and two deep cycle batteries I installed a small meter behind the panel so that I can see the the volts and amps that it is putting out.
I figured that the controller that came with the panel was cutting back too much so I unhooked it and just ran it direct to the batteries. My batteries usually need all that they can get. If a person doesn't baby sit the panel constantly you never get the full output. Anyway I have done this for about 5 years now.
Running 100 watts into a couple of deep cycle batteries is OK as long as the batteries aren't approaching full charge. The panel(s) can deliver around 18 volts max if in parallel and well over 30 volts if in series. What keeps the voltage down is the current draw in the battery but this goes away when charge is full and that's when the boiling commences.

As long as you monitor, no problem. I wouldn't leave the panels connected (without a controller) if you plan on being away for any length of time however.
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Old 01-14-2021, 04:24 PM   #9
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I have a 2020 Zamp US 70 suitcase with many features I like: a swing-out easy read controller, a durable carrying case, a stout frame that will resist wind and that can be staked down. I also got a extension cord at the same time which I believe is essential. It is heavy and was a bit pricey. Perhaps Zamp also has a more recent update model?
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Old 01-14-2021, 05:03 PM   #10
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This is all good info and I'm following as I have wanted to add a portable set up for some time. I know now the $$ is coming down a bit so I might make the move soon.
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Old 01-14-2021, 09:41 PM   #11
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I got the 140 Watt from this source:



https://www.solartechdirect.com/prod...SABEgLTCvD_BwE
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Old 01-14-2021, 09:44 PM   #12
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I got the 140 Watt from this source:



https://www.solartechdirect.com/prod...SABEgLTCvD_BwE
Sure seems expensive considering two 100 watt panels sell for $100 each, $200 for two.
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Old 01-15-2021, 05:53 AM   #13
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Going to fix these on the roof of my rig and wire it all internal: https://www.windynation.com/Monocrys...601?p=YzE9MjY=
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Old 01-15-2021, 10:58 AM   #14
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HQST is another solar source.
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Old 01-15-2021, 04:36 PM   #15
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Thanks for all the great input all. I like the suggestion of getting one independent MPPT controller and connecting panels on my own. Then, I'm not paying for a controller for each portable panel.
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Old 01-15-2021, 06:06 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TitanMike View Post
I'm a big fan of DIY portable solar kits.

A pair of 100 watt panels with MC-4 connectors already installed, an MPPT Controller of your choice, a 10awg extension cord, a connector that fits the pre-installed one on the RV, and a couple of MC-4 connectors for the extension cord.

Add a couple of hinges and suitcase latch if you wish.

As for tilting there are all kinds of "mounts" available from Amazon and other sources for ~$30.


Add it all up and you'll have plenty of $$ left over after building a far better system than you can purchase off the shelf.


I did this with mine and now am able to "harvest" the max output of my 160watt "kit" and with my Victron 75/15 Smart Solar Controller I can use the bluetooth function while aligning the panels. I can actually see how much voltage the panels are producing real time and adjust the position/tilt of the panels for peak.
Totally agree! I have 1200w of rigid panels on the roof of mine and purchased 2 flex 100W panels to add on to the existing Outback controller. I bought a small Victron MPPT 75 for when I sleep in my truck (w the flex 100w panels). The price of panels has fallen so much in recents months.
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Old 01-16-2021, 10:37 AM   #17
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I have the Renogy 200 watt suitcase with MPW controller. We do both types of camping, but during the summer months we mostly dry camp in the mountains. Compared to the system I used to use, (Harbor Freight poly panels), this system is awesome. I'm charged by noon on my 4 6 volt golf carts. I am converting to 2 Battleborn Lifepo4 batteries, and we'll see how the solar changes with those, but I'm very happy so far.
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Old 01-16-2021, 01:48 PM   #18
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I am converting to 2 Battleborn Lifepo4 batteries, and we'll see how the solar changes with those, but I'm very happy so far.
You'll be pleased when you get the Battleborns installed. They'll charge faster than your old Lead/Acid batteries which is great with solar. Depending on depth of discharge you will probably find your batteries charged by early afternoon on a good sunny day.


I've been using a 160watt setup and just yesterday ordered two 100 watt panels to replace it. The 160 watt suitcase unit charged my two Battleborns by 1:00 PM most sunny days. Decided to add the extra 40 watts as the price was too good to pass up. They'll get connected in series and will feed the MPPT controller mounted next to my batteries.
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Old 01-24-2021, 01:49 PM   #19
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I built my own using two Renogy Eclipse 100W panels wired in series with a Victron 75/15 SmartSolar MPPT controller mounted inside the trailer.

Picked up the hardware on Amazon and robbed the folding legs from our old 100W suitcase, but you could easily build legs as well.















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Old 01-24-2021, 03:33 PM   #20
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I built my own using two Renogy Eclipse 100W panels wired in series with a Victron 75/15 SmartSolar MPPT controller mounted inside the trailer.

Picked up the hardware on Amazon and robbed the folding legs from our old 100W suitcase, but you could easily build legs as well.


For those considering a DIY kit there are some less expensive panels than the Renogy and according to an online "reviewer" the panels are identical electrically to the Renogy units which led him to believe they come from the same factory.

They're 100 watt monocrystalline panels made by HQST and sold on Amazon right now for $159/pair.

https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1


These HQST panels are shorter and wider than the Renogy but have near identical electrical specs with only a few millivolt/milliamp differences. Even the labels seem to use the same font.
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