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Old 02-24-2021, 09:44 PM   #1
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Adding Additional Solar to GeoPro16BH?

My wife and I are often going to be boondocking. We have two marine 12v batteries (we’ll upgrade those eventually) and 100w solar. I know there’s a side port to easy add more solar, but I’ve read that the clips don’t fit most standard solar packs.

Has anyone added solar via the side port? Any recommendations for 150-200w solar packs? What about the top and adding a permanent panel? Any recommendations would be much appreciated!

Here is what I’ve been looking at for plugging into the side:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0748FYFSK...RTC2MM8DHBXH8Y
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Old 02-24-2021, 10:49 PM   #2
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It is easy to change the connecting plugs that come on any portable solar panel you purchase in order to fit whatever side plug is on your TT. For that matter it would be easy to wire in another plug directly to your batteries. We went with Renogy panels because of the many positive reviews. We chose a 100 watt panel over 200 watt due to considerations of weight and size. The 200 watt portable panel is not much more money. If we don't use the heater while boondocking, the 100 w panel keeps our batteries (same as yours) topped off if we can move the panels into the sun for a good part of the day.
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Old 02-24-2021, 10:53 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by flyflotrtim View Post
It is easy to change the connecting plugs that come on any portable solar panel you purchase in order to fit whatever side plug is on your TT. For that matter it would be easy to wire in another plug directly to your batteries. We went with Renogy panels because of the many positive reviews. We chose a 100 watt panel over 200 watt due to considerations of weight and size. The 200 watt portable panel is not much more money. If we don't use the heater while boondocking, the 100 w panel keeps our batteries (same as yours) topped off if we can move the panels into the sun for a good part of the day.
Thanks for the info! We are going to start out dry camping and will be using an electric hookup. But there are a few places we have in mind where weíll be boondocking, and it gets pretty cold at night so being able to run a heater would be ideal.

Is this the panel you got? Did you put it up top and wire it into your battery or did you use the side port that you add and remove?

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GF5JY35/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_D7DMAM6GT4B80EX3Z1ZT
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Old 02-24-2021, 11:13 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by BackcountryCamp View Post
Thanks for the info! We are going to start out dry camping and will be using an electric hookup. But there are a few places we have in mind where weíll be boondocking, and it gets pretty cold at night so being able to run a heater would be ideal.

Is this the panel you got? Did you put it up top and wire it into your battery or did you use the side port that you add and remove?

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GF5JY35...6GT4B80EX3Z1ZT
I'm thinking about getting this one because you can fold it and have a carrying case.
https://www.amazon.com/Renogy-Monocr...01&sr=1-5&th=1

Do anyone know what adaptre is needed to plug it directly into the side of the trailer with the solar panel? i have a geo pro 20bhs. I would assume same plug as your?
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Old 02-24-2021, 11:15 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by aboyz View Post
I'm thinking about getting this one because you can fold it and have a carrying case.
https://www.amazon.com/Renogy-Monocr...01&sr=1-5&th=1

Do anyone know what adaptre is needed to plug it directly into the side of the trailer with the solar panel? i have a geo pro 20bhs. I would assume same plug as your?
Yup same plug. I believe these solar packs come with the alligator clips or MC-4 which won’t work with the plug on the side. Need some type of adapter. That’s what I’m trying to figure out.

I’m also curious if you plug in on the side if a controller is needed or if the controller already installed will manage both.
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Old 02-24-2021, 11:26 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by BackcountryCamp View Post
Yup same plug. I believe these solar packs come with the alligator clips or MC-4 which wonít work with the plug on the side. Need some type of adapter. Thatís what Iím trying to figure out.

Iím also curious if you plug in on the side if a controller is needed or if the controller already installed will manage both.
On the currently solar controller there is two battery if you push the status. one is not in used. So I'm pretty sure its wired up to use the current controller. You just plug and play .. do you know what connection is the geo pro solar side panel? we can just get an adapter for it.

Lets both of us research. or if someone have done this before. please link us to the adapter we need to purchase.

thank you all.
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Old 02-25-2021, 01:34 AM   #7
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It’s an SAE input on the side. I know that. But I believe the polarity is reversed or something weird.

This may be helpful: http://jollygeopro406.net/adding-sol...o-your-geopro/
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Old 02-25-2021, 01:51 AM   #8
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I purchased the Renogy 200watt solar briefcase when we had our small Nobo 10.6 trailer, it worked great and would put out 12A of charge. I have not yet used it with our Geo Pro 19BH but it has the same port that the nobo had. The polarity on the Trailer was opposite to the Renogy kit but they sell adapters so you do not need to cut the harness.

My setup is below

Renogy kit:
https://www.amazon.com/Renogy-200-Wa...s%2C225&sr=8-3

Extension Cable:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Polarity adapter:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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Old 02-25-2021, 03:10 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by BackcountryCamp View Post
Itís an SAE input on the side. I know that. But I believe the polarity is reversed or something weird.

This may be helpful: Adding “Solar on the Side” to your GeoPro – JollyGeoPro406
Thank you.. this is very helpful. will purchase one.. Is it possible to use the currently solar control panel inside the trailer? or its not doable? because the solar side plug connect directly to the battery right? so it need its own. Unless there is a way split the wire from the solar on top of the roof to the portable solar. this will allow it to run into the solar panel inside.
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Old 02-25-2021, 03:12 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by awd.nv View Post
I purchased the Renogy 200watt solar briefcase when we had our small Nobo 10.6 trailer, it worked great and would put out 12A of charge. I have not yet used it with our Geo Pro 19BH but it has the same port that the nobo had. The polarity on the Trailer was opposite to the Renogy kit but they sell adapters so you do not need to cut the harness.

My setup is below

Renogy kit:
https://www.amazon.com/Renogy-200-Wa...s%2C225&sr=8-3

Extension Cable:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Polarity adapter:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Can you walk me through your setup. do you just plug everything in in and it should work? or do you need to connect this to the renogy solar controller and open it up and connect the wire? or do you connect it straight to your battery?
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Old 02-25-2021, 10:18 AM   #11
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Thank you.. this is very helpful. will purchase one.. Is it possible to use the currently solar control panel inside the trailer? or its not doable? because the solar side plug connect directly to the battery right? so it need its own. Unless there is a way split the wire from the solar on top of the roof to the portable solar. this will allow it to run into the solar panel inside.
Quote:
What do I need to purchase to use this port?
To use this port to charge your batteries you will need to purchase a portable solar kit with a controller.
So it looks like whatever solar you purchase does need a controller if you intend to use the side port.

https://gpelectric.com/solar-side/
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Old 02-25-2021, 11:15 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by aboyz View Post
Can you walk me through your setup. do you just plug everything in in and it should work? or do you need to connect this to the renogy solar controller and open it up and connect the wire? or do you connect it straight to your battery?
It's all plug and play. The extension can't be plugged incorrectly due to the connectors on it. The only thing to actually want to test is the polarity of the trailer solar port. Find out which is positive and negative and match it to the solar kit. Worst case if you don't have a volt meter, any auto shop can do that in less than 5 minutes.

The adapter is for in-between the extension wires and the solar port on the trailer.

You can probably understand how it all works together by youtube searching the solar kit.
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Old 02-25-2021, 11:20 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by BackcountryCamp View Post
My wife and I are often going to be boondocking. We have two marine 12v batteries (weíll upgrade those eventually) and 100w solar. I know thereís a side port to easy add more solar, but Iíve read that the clips donít fit most standard solar packs.

Has anyone added solar via the side port? Any recommendations for 150-200w solar packs? What about the top and adding a permanent panel? Any recommendations would be much appreciated!

Here is what Iíve been looking at for plugging into the side:
[url]
url]
You can get adaptors on amazon to fit any of the popular side receptacles.
The two common side connectors found on RVs are Furrion (SP?) and Zamp. If concerned about polarity test both connections-the trailer and the panel connector with a multimeter.

Any of the mono solar panels will work. The price should be around 1 dollar per watt. I bought 2-200 watt Bougev panels for around 300 dollars (I need to verify that cost. It has been a while) . Look for sales.

Regarding where to mount the panels. If you boondock in areas with open, big sky, the roof is great. If you camp in more wooded areas, portable panels that are moveable are best. You will also need 30-50 feet of wire for portable panels so you can move them out from under trees. Even a little bit of shading will greatly reduce the power you get from your panels. If you buy another controller, get a MPPT controller that is very efficient.

The thing people (me) neglect when they first get into solar is the need to have good storage capacity. In my experience, the Marine batteries that dealers give you with a new RV are basically bottom of the line cheap batteries and will only frustrate new solar users. I estimated that the storage capacity of most marine batteries is about 80 amps of which you can only safetly use 50 percent of before you start to damage them.
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Old 02-25-2021, 04:05 PM   #14
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I vote for roof mount.
This kit: https://smile.amazon.com/Renogy-Sola...xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==
Lithium batteries if you have the cash, or 2 x 6 volt golf cart batteries in series to make 115 USABLE amp hours (vs about 70 usable out of your 2 x 12 volt group 24 marine batteries. https://www.batteriesplus.com/productdetails/sligc115 (These were the sweet spot on price and performance from Duracell.)

Install it and basically forget it. My panels are in parallel to deal with shade. The rig was pre-wired with #10 AWG which can handle 30 amps (max output from this array as wired.)

Fixed-mounted on the roof means NOT dealing with setting up panels, moving them about to chase the sun, worrying about theft or winds blowing them away, tripping over the wire from the panels to the tongue, AND they are ALWAYS on...from the first glimmer of light in the morning to sundown, they make at least some power.

400 watts overcomes any disadvantage of not the perfect angle or a bit of shade. I run the furnace, use lights without concern, run the stereo a lot, run the awning in and out several times a day (it's windy here), have an inverter to run our electric blanket for about 20 minutes to take the chill off the bed before we get in (10 AH consumption), and so on. We never give it a 2nd thought.

We have an advantage being in sunny Colorado at altitude (8300 to 10,000 feet). That's "more sun" than at sea level in areas where skies are grayer. But, even with profligate power use, our batteries are charged fully by about 1 PM...we don't come close to using 115 AH, but the 400 watt array can make that much over the course of the day. For a period of 3 hours or so around midday, the panels are pushing close to 30 amps (often around 27 peak). So that means over 80 AH charge during peak sun. The rest is EASY for the array to make during the other 9+ hours of daylight.

They work on the road, in the driveway, in a storage space, and so on...whenever the sun's up. No muss, no fuss. In the winter, the dark surface draws the sun and melts them off pretty quickly, but if you get a Nor-easter, you'll want a plastic roof rake to get most of the snow off...assuming you leave the batteries on the rig as I do all winter.


I was 71 when I installed these. It's not hard.

There are even better systems out there. Perhaps others will chime in. But this system is a no-brainer.
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Old 02-25-2021, 09:05 PM   #15
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So I’m pretty sure I’m going to go with this:
DOKIO 150 watts Solar Panel Kit Portable Folding Monocrystalline Include Solar Charge Controller and PV Cable for 12v Battery Charging Camper RV Van https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07Y8CT1W9...ing=UTF8&psc=1

The problem is that it looks like it’s designed to plug into a battery using the alligator clips. So I need some type of adapter from alligator clips to SAE. But I’m having no such luck finding it. Any ideas?
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Old 02-25-2021, 09:10 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by BackcountryCamp View Post
My wife and I are often going to be boondocking. We have two marine 12v batteries (weíll upgrade those eventually) and 100w solar. I know thereís a side port to easy add more solar, but Iíve read that the clips donít fit most standard solar packs.

Has anyone added solar via the side port? Any recommendations for 150-200w solar packs? What about the top and adding a permanent panel? Any recommendations would be much appreciated!

Here is what Iíve been looking at for plugging into the side:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0748FYFSK...RTC2MM8DHBXH8Y
Compatibility costs $7.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B083XMKJ8K
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Old 02-25-2021, 09:35 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by BackcountryCamp View Post
... The problem is that it looks like itís designed to plug into a battery using the alligator clips. So I need some type of adapter from alligator clips to SAE. But Iím having no such luck finding it. Any ideas?
Ignore the alligator clips. Cut them off and replace them with SAE connectors that mate with the solar connector on the trailer.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07VP3V226

Make an extension cord with something like 10 AWG speaker wire, using the same SAE connectors to mate with the solar charger and the wall port. Be sure about the polarity.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0149VC6KC

Others may have suggestions to improve on the details.

Edit: the SAE connectors linked above are 14 AWG. Use something with 10 AWG to mitigate voltage loss between the panels and the battery, e.g.:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07Y9G7N85
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Old 02-26-2021, 07:13 AM   #18
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I have a 100 watt panel on the roof, and a portable 100 watt panel that fits nicely behind the couch when traveling. We use sleeping bags at night, and only run the heater when we are awake. It wakes me up at night. We have two 6v deep cycle golf cart batteries wired in parallel, which are a real upgrade from the marine batteries it came with. At Costco or Sam's, they are only about $90 each. Even with 3 days of rainy, cloudy weather in Montana, our batteries stayed above 50%. Here in the southwest, they rarely go below 80%. You need to have a charge controller between the battery and the solar panels. There must be one already if your rig came with solar. You'll want to confirm that it will handle the extra amperage. Your dealer should be able to tell you. The controller makes sure you don't overcharge your batteries and boil out the water. If you don't have a Volt Ohm meter, buy one and keep it in your rig. They are cheap. X2 on cutting the alligator clips and soldering the adapter. Use shrink tubing to cover the solder. If you don't want to do all that you can get by with wire nuts and electrical tape. We can boondock indefintely without a generator, and when I store the trailer, the roof panel keeps the batteries charged.
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Old 02-26-2021, 09:11 AM   #19
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... We have two 6v deep cycle golf cart batteries wired in parallel, which are a real upgrade from the marine batteries it came with. ...
For the benefit of new owners unfamiliar with batteries, that would be 2 6V batteries wired in series.

Series = add volts
Parallel = add current
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Old 02-26-2021, 09:53 AM   #20
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I vote for roof mount.............
We have an advantage being in sunny Colorado at altitude (8300 to 10,000 feet). That's "more sun" than at sea level in areas where skies are grayer.
Good post, unfortunately, some of us don't have that advantage and have to live and camp in the Northeast Forest where we don't get a lot of sun plus we have an abundance of trees-and then there are the clouds in this not so arid climate.
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