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Old 08-14-2017, 11:42 AM   #1
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Real Life Solar Results

A couple of months ago I purchased a 90 Watt Coleman solar panel from Costco in anticipation of camping for three nights without hydro.

The site we were on had trees - meaning shade at times and I was chasing the sun a little bit to ensure the panel was positioned in the sun. Even with partial sun the panel had no trouble keeping my Group 31 DC battery above 12V.

The only power we used was the interior lights occasionally (incandescent, not LED), water pump, charged cell phones (not sure why - we didn't have coverage !).

I am happy with the product and size of the panel and am confident that a 90 Watt panel in an open area would have no trouble keeping a battery topped up and provide power for days based on my power consumption.
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Old 08-17-2017, 11:07 PM   #2
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Solar Charging/Maintaining

Our 5th wheel is not equipped with a 12V outlet. I want to put a low power solar panel inside in a window over the winter to keep the battery from discharging. Is it OK to connect directly to the wires where they go into the inverter/converter panel? Should I put a fuse in the Pos wire, and if so what amperage?

Any advice would be appreciated.

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Old 08-17-2017, 11:36 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by amblt View Post
Our 5th wheel is not equipped with a 12V outlet. I want to put a low power solar panel inside in a window over the winter to keep the battery from discharging. Is it OK to connect directly to the wires where they go into the inverter/converter panel? Should I put a fuse in the Pos wire, and if so what amperage?

Any advice would be appreciated.

Cheers

You should have a charge controller between the panel and the battery(s). In full sun a panel can put out 17-18 volts which can damage the battery. A good multi-stage charge controller will provide 13-14 volts.
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Old 08-17-2017, 11:39 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Dave Lyon View Post
A couple of months ago I purchased a 90 Watt Coleman solar panel from Costco in anticipation of camping for three nights without hydro.

The site we were on had trees - meaning shade at times and I was chasing the sun a little bit to ensure the panel was positioned in the sun. Even with partial sun the panel had no trouble keeping my Group 31 DC battery above 12V.

The only power we used was the interior lights occasionally (incandescent, not LED), water pump, charged cell phones (not sure why - we didn't have coverage !).

I am happy with the product and size of the panel and am confident that a 90 Watt panel in an open area would have no trouble keeping a battery topped up and provide power for days based on my power consumption.
We have a 100 watt panel on top of the trailer. In full sun that is all we need to charge (2) 6 volt batteries. For shady sites we have 2 additional 100 watt panels that can be deployed up to 30 feet from the charge controller.
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Old 08-18-2017, 06:54 AM   #5
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You should have a charge controller between the panel and the battery(s). In full sun a panel can put out 17-18 volts which can damage the battery. A good multi-stage charge controller will provide 13-14 volts.
True - the Coleman panel I bought has a controller that is installed between the panel and the battery. I just clipped the wires (came with panel) to the battery posts.
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Old 08-18-2017, 02:42 PM   #6
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True - the Coleman panel I bought has a controller that is installed between the panel and the battery. I just clipped the wires (came with panel) to the battery posts.
To connect directly to the battery, I would have to drill through the wall of the cargo compartment for an exterior mounted panel. or the bedroom floor for a panel inside. I hope to connect directly to the posts where the cables from the battery are connected to the wizardry in the electrical panel, which is directly below a shelf under a window where I can mount the solar panel. I realize that I will then have to pull some fuses to avoid any parasitic draw, but that's not a problem.


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Old 09-01-2017, 10:04 AM   #7
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To connect directly to the battery, I would have to drill through the wall of the cargo compartment for an exterior mounted panel. or the bedroom floor for a panel inside. I hope to connect directly to the posts where the cables from the battery are connected to the wizardry in the electrical panel, which is directly below a shelf under a window where I can mount the solar panel. I realize that I will then have to pull some fuses to avoid any parasitic draw, but that's not a problem.


Cheers

I mounted my solar charge controller behind my converter/charger/fuse/breaker panel and then ran a pigtail with a two pin SAE connector out of the shore power outlet. I have one of the old style shore power outlets where the power cord is pushed in/pulled out of a hole.

As the charging current is relatively low, I connected the battery side of the charge controller to the posts connecting the converter/charger to the battery. I didn't add a fuse as the solar charger already has a fuse in it.
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