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Old 08-19-2022, 12:59 PM   #1
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upgrading my Solar and Batteries

Hi Folks, kinda new to this forum, just purchased a 2020 Forest River Cherokee Wolf Pup 18RJBBL RV.

as it sits today it came with a furrion 50W Solar kit, they call it the "Juice Pack". interesting I watched a video on this juice pack and it comes with a 50 AMP converter/controller making it easy to add additional solar panels, I am thinking going at least 300W for solar as my fridge is 12v only Dimetic, 13K BTU A/C, stereo system, microwave etc. I will not likely be using this RV in the winter but hoping I can take it Elk Hunting at 9-10K Ft and not have problems if feasible. I plan on using this RV for 6-8 trips a year, longest trip being a week, most others 2-3 days. Most of the camping spots I have been to are pretty open and good for Solar but realize too I will have to get a portable generator in the 3500w range or so in case Solar access is not an option.

Question's are:
1 - Do I need to purchase Furrion solar panels? If not what would be compatible with this current setup?
2- unit has a battery mounted on the tongue of the trailer but want to upgrade that to at least 2 or 3 6v AGM (or other) batteries. Lithium would be overkill for my use.
3- what 6V brands/models would you recommend?
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Old 08-19-2022, 01:32 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by ulysses View Post
Hi Folks, kinda new to this forum, just purchased a 2020 Forest River Cherokee Wolf Pup 18RJBBL RV.



as it sits today it came with a furrion 50W Solar kit, they call it the "Juice Pack". interesting I watched a video on this juice pack and it comes with a 50 AMP converter/controller making it easy to add additional solar panels, I am thinking going at least 300W for solar as my fridge is 12v only Dimetic, 13K BTU A/C, stereo system, microwave etc. I will not likely be using this RV in the winter but hoping I can take it Elk Hunting at 9-10K Ft and not have problems if feasible. I plan on using this RV for 6-8 trips a year, longest trip being a week, most others 2-3 days. Most of the camping spots I have been to are pretty open and good for Solar but realize too I will have to get a portable generator in the 3500w range or so in case Solar access is not an option.



Question's are:

1 - Do I need to purchase Furrion solar panels? If not what would be compatible with this current setup?

2- unit has a battery mounted on the tongue of the trailer but want to upgrade that to at least 2 or 3 6v AGM (or other) batteries. Lithium would be overkill for my use.

3- what 6V brands/models would you recommend?
You can't do an odd number of 6v golf cart batteries. 2, 4, 6 or 8.
If you went with 12v, then you can do odd numbers.
Not sure why you aren't considering FLA 6v golf cart batteries.
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Old 08-19-2022, 02:41 PM   #3
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You can't do an odd number of 6v golf cart batteries. 2, 4, 6 or 8.
If you went with 12v, then you can do odd numbers.
Not sure why you aren't considering FLA 6v golf cart batteries.
looking at those now, any particular brand.model you recommend?
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Old 08-19-2022, 02:46 PM   #4
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looking at those now, any particular brand.model you recommend?
Trojan is probably the highest rated. But many get theirs from Costco or Sam's Club.
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and Zoe the Wonder Dog(R.I.P.)
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Old 08-20-2022, 07:33 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by ulysses View Post
Hi Folks, kinda new to this forum, just purchased a 2020 Forest River Cherokee Wolf Pup 18RJBBL RV.

as it sits today it came with a furrion 50W Solar kit, they call it the "Juice Pack". interesting I watched a video on this juice pack and it comes with a 50 AMP converter/controller making it easy to add additional solar panels, I am thinking going at least 300W for solar as my fridge is 12v only Dimetic, 13K BTU A/C, stereo system, microwave etc. I will not likely be using this RV in the winter but hoping I can take it Elk Hunting at 9-10K Ft and not have problems if feasible. I plan on using this RV for 6-8 trips a year, longest trip being a week, most others 2-3 days. Most of the camping spots I have been to are pretty open and good for Solar but realize too I will have to get a portable generator in the 3500w range or so in case Solar access is not an option.

Question's are:
1 - Do I need to purchase Furrion solar panels? If not what would be compatible with this current setup?
2- unit has a battery mounted on the tongue of the trailer but want to upgrade that to at least 2 or 3 6v AGM (or other) batteries. Lithium would be overkill for my use.
3- what 6V brands/models would you recommend?
1. no
2. Lithium would not be overkill.
3. N/A
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Old 08-20-2022, 07:50 AM   #6
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1. no

2. Lithium would not be overkill.

3. N/A
Now I may be wrong, but I've read and seen videos that by mixing panels thought it can cause the panels to dumb to the lowest output panel causing inefficient useage? So while using furion panels is not needed it would be more true to say loose the furrion panel and go with one brand of the same makes and models unless he's planning on splitting up the arrays.
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Old 08-20-2022, 10:31 AM   #7
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the generator 3500w only required if you want to run the Air conditioner a lot....


if you added a softstart to a/c you could probably run it on a smaller 2500w

just don't expect to use the microwave at the same time...


BUT I do like the 3500w champion because they barely increase in revs where the smaller generators do have to run at higher throttle settings with the a/c



you can set them up to run on propane ... which may be less efficient but save having to carry around gas cans ??
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Old 08-20-2022, 10:37 AM   #8
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Now I may be wrong, but I've read and seen videos that by mixing panels thought it can cause the panels to dumb to the lowest output panel causing inefficient useage? So while using furion panels is not needed it would be more true to say loose the furrion panel and go with one brand of the same makes and models unless he's planning on splitting up the arrays.
Doc, I agree with your basic premise. However, IMO, if you already own a Furrion panel, you should use it. Certainly, you will have reduced efficiency in your array, but you will still remain ahead of the equation both financially and in watts.

There are numerous configurations of panels that one could come up with. They can all be optimized to give the most bang for the buck predicated on matching the voltages as best you can and in the way you wire them as in parallel versus series. you could also use 2 controllers easily if you wanted.
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Old 08-20-2022, 11:07 AM   #9
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Doc, I agree with your basic premise. However, IMO, if you already own a Furrion panel, you should use it. Certainly, you will have reduced efficiency in your array, but you will still remain ahead of the equation both financially and in watts.



There are numerous configurations of panels that one could come up with. They can all be optimized to give the most bang for the buck predicated on matching the voltages as best you can and in the way you wire them as in parallel versus series. you could also use 2 controllers easily if you wanted.
Sure I just assume they are not wanting to run more wires from the roof and use the existing system. Never actually compared gopower (furrion) or renologu for example but I guess depending on howany panels I can see your point of cancelling out the inefficiency.
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Old 08-23-2022, 04:29 PM   #10
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Trojan is probably the highest rated. But many get theirs from Costco or Sam's Club.
Which of the Interstate 6V batteries would you recommend? I see they have a GC2-ECL-UTL, roughly $175 or so and 12 month replacement warranty. the AGM's are 2x as much and a 6 MONTH warranty, yikes !!
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Old 08-23-2022, 04:45 PM   #11
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Trojan is probably the highest rated. But many get theirs from Costco or Sam's Club.
Trojan seems like the best deal, T-105's are @ 150.00 and come with a 4 year warranty.... will have to check out the other trojan products now.
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Old 08-23-2022, 05:25 PM   #12
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If looking for convenient access to buy Home Depot sells Renogy or grape solar kits. Talk to a knowledgeable sales person if they have one. A 400W kit if you have the room for panels would be good. Just leave the 50watt hooked up as is and install the new panels and solar charge controller separately.

Grape
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Grape-So...SKU# 314392422

Renogy
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Renogy-4...SKU# 306359225

The kits are the easiest way to go if you don't know a lot about solar. And stuff is easier to return to home depot.
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Old 08-23-2022, 05:49 PM   #13
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thanks, I will have to find one in Denver somewhere, the Depot up here in the mountains is lacking in choices. thanks for the heads up.
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Old 08-23-2022, 06:02 PM   #14
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Talking

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Originally Posted by nvs4602 View Post
If looking for convenient access to buy Home Depot sells Renogy or grape solar kits. Talk to a knowledgeable sales person if they have one. A 400W kit if you have the room for panels would be good. Just leave the 50watt hooked up as is and install the new panels and solar charge controller separately.

Grape
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Grape-So...SKU# 314392422

Renogy
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Renogy-4...SKU# 306359225

The kits are the easiest way to go if you don't know a lot about solar. And stuff is easier to return to home depot.
Just checked them out, seem to be great options, I have a neighbor who is a master electrician now, I'll see if he can help out after a few beers and maybe a bourbon.
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Old 08-23-2022, 06:05 PM   #15
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It's free to have it shipped to store or to home after you talk with them. Most probably won't carry the kit anyways, but you might get lucky in Denver.
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Old 08-23-2022, 06:24 PM   #16
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Are you sure about the 50amp juice pack controller? I have a 2021 Wolf Pup 16BHS, and the juicepack came with a 50W furrion panel and a 10A controller. That would mean you probably only want to add another 50W to that controller.

I added another 50W (renogy) to that controller, and then added a 30A renogy controller and added 400W on the roof to that controller. Along with my two 6V golf cart batteries, this is working pretty well with the 12V fridge. The system is fully recharging while running the fridge even on cloudy days. I think I may have reached the sweet spot now.

- matt
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Old 08-24-2022, 01:11 PM   #17
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Are you sure about the 50amp juice pack controller? I have a 2021 Wolf Pup 16BHS, and the juicepack came with a 50W furrion panel and a 10A controller. That would mean you probably only want to add another 50W to that controller.

I added another 50W (renogy) to that controller, and then added a 30A renogy controller and added 400W on the roof to that controller. Along with my two 6V golf cart batteries, this is working pretty well with the 12V fridge. The system is fully recharging while running the fridge even on cloudy days. I think I may have reached the sweet spot now.

- matt
You are correct, I went back and looked at the youtube video

and this kit is a 50W solar panel and 30AMP charge controller and 85W battery so you cannot dry camp with it. I have been looking at the renogy solar kit and plan to also upgrade my 12v battery to 2 6v trojans, just not sure which trojan battery yet but soon....
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Old 08-26-2022, 01:44 PM   #18
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Interesting. Mine came with a different controller.
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Old 08-28-2022, 05:51 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by nvs4602 View Post
If looking for convenient access to buy Home Depot sells Renogy or grape solar kits. Talk to a knowledgeable sales person if they have one. A 400W kit if you have the room for panels would be good. Just leave the 50watt hooked up as is and install the new panels and solar charge controller separately.

Grape
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Grape-So...SKU# 314392422

Renogy
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Renogy-4...SKU# 306359225

The kits are the easiest way to go if you don't know a lot about solar. And stuff is easier to return to home depot.
I've not heard of Grape Solar before. I learned that in addition to HD, a few of their products are sold by Costco. do you know anything about them? quality comparison with Rich Solar or Renogy?

thanks
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Old 08-28-2022, 06:09 PM   #20
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I've not heard of Grape Solar before. I learned that in addition to HD, a few of their products are sold by Costco. do you know anything about them? quality comparison with Rich Solar or Renogy?

thanks
No sorry. I have read the reviews but have not seen any YouTube reviews on them. I liked the fact of ease of return to Home Depot vs and on-line store. On the solar forum a lot of people said their shipments from online stores arrived with damaged panels, and it was a real PITA to get replacements.

I was seriously looking at these until Harbor Freight put there's on sale for $90 each and the YouTube reviews people were getting over 100watts at times out of them, so I pulled the trigger on them. Now if I could get the time to work with them.
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