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Old 09-26-2019, 08:47 AM   #1
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Solar Suitcase Upgrades

Our 2020 Mini Lite 2109s came with a factory SAE plug on the outside wall of the trailer, the plug had 10 ga. leads, but Rockwood connected to them with 12. ga wire and ran it all over the trailer, instead of directly to the battery.

I already had a Renogy 100W solar suitcase, but wanted to get a little more out of it. So I removed the factory PWM controller from the panels and soldered 10 ga. copper landscaping wire directly to the panels and re-wired them in series to get around 40V output from them. the leads are 25' long and I made a 15' extension with SAE plugs on each end. I've since removed the inline fuse on the panels since it's not necessary with this string of panels and the gauge wire I'm running.

Inside I connected new 10 ga. copper wire to the factory SAE plug leads and ran directly to a new Victron SmartSolar 75/15 MPPT controller. Also installed a Victron BMV-712 battery monitor with temperature sensor. Mounted the controller in the front storage compartment on 3/16" perforated steel plate with wall stand-offs.

From the new controller I ran 10 ga. copper positive directly to the batteries with an inline fuse and ground to the load side of the Victron shunt.













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Old 09-26-2019, 10:03 AM   #2
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Old 09-26-2019, 11:27 AM   #3
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I did exactly the same with my "suitcase solar" kit using the same controller.

Makes a lot of difference in how much power you can squeeze out of a smaller solar setup.

I solved the "small wire" issue inside my TT by installing bus bars connected to the batteries with heavy gauge wire (#4) and the distance from my Controller to the bus bars is less than a foot. Outside wire to the panels is also #10 awg.

Like the old Western Airline motto "The only way to fly".

A note:

Rather than solder/splice wires I chose to install MC-4 connectors. Gives me flexibility if I need to replace a panel or add a third panel in series. Each of my panels puts out a max volts at ~22 volts and the controller can handle up to 75 volt input. Also allows me to disconnect the main cord from the panels and store separately. It's an old machine power cord with 4 #10 conductors and 40 feet long so it's rather bulky. When I get around to it I'm going to parallel connect the wires in the cord to give me only two "Paired" connectors. Should eliminate what little voltage drop there might be in that longer cord.
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Old 09-26-2019, 12:18 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TitanMike View Post
I did exactly the same with my "suitcase solar" kit using the same controller.

Makes a lot of difference in how much power you can squeeze out of a smaller solar setup.

I solved the "small wire" issue inside my TT by installing bus bars connected to the batteries with heavy gauge wire (#4) and the distance from my Controller to the bus bars is less than a foot. Outside wire to the panels is also #10 awg.

Like the old Western Airline motto "The only way to fly".

A note:

Rather than solder/splice wires I chose to install MC-4 connectors. Gives me flexibility if I need to replace a panel or add a third panel in series. Each of my panels puts out a max volts at ~22 volts and the controller can handle up to 75 volt input. Also allows me to disconnect the main cord from the panels and store separately. It's an old machine power cord with 4 #10 conductors and 40 feet long so it's rather bulky. When I get around to it I'm going to parallel connect the wires in the cord to give me only two "Paired" connectors. Should eliminate what little voltage drop there might be in that longer cord.
So you installed MC-4 connectors on the panels?

If you have a picture I'd like to see it. I was considering cutting the wire outside the junction boxes and adding an SAE plug.
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