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Old 04-19-2022, 08:43 PM   #1
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Plug and Play Solar Kit

Hi, we have a 2018 Rockwood Prem 2317 G and Iím told itís prewired for solar. Any advice on a plug and play kit to get started? Never boondocked so may try to start small. Havenít found much info anywhere on a plug and play kit.

Any suggestions?

Thanks!
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Old 04-19-2022, 09:46 PM   #2
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We started with a Renogy 200 watt suitcase kit, purchased it last summer for a trip to the Tetons and Yellowstone. Mostly keep up with are daily usage even with a residential fridge. But we also had a two 6 volt GC batteries and kept the fridge packed with couple gallon jugs of frozen water. Also kept our drinks in a cooler that we refilled with ice as needed.

As for hooking it up to the solar port on the side of the camper we had to get a reverse polarity connector, cut of the battery clamps and add 10 feed of additional cable so we could move it around to catch the sun. We where camped under some dense forest. Last note, as stated above mostly kept up but would have needed to fire up the genny if we stayed 4 days or more.
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Old 04-19-2022, 10:09 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by PopUpPop View Post
Hi, we have a 2018 Rockwood Prem 2317 G and Iím told itís prewired for solar. Any advice on a plug and play kit to get started? Never boondocked so may try to start small. Havenít found much info anywhere on a plug and play kit.

Any suggestions?

Thanks!
Plug-and-play typically means a port on the side of the trailer with a wire leading to the battery. It's intended for use with a portable panel which has its own solar charge controller.

You can buy a solar suitcase already assembled or, if you have a little skill (it doesn't take much) you can buy the parts and make your own. Renogy sells kits used by a lot of people. Some complain of poor customer support. GoPower is a common name in the RV industry, as is Zamp, but they're both on the higher end of the price scale without the higher quality to match.

Check out Will Prowse's YouTube channel. There's a lot more there than you need to know but you can find some videos that explain the basics without getting deep in the weeds.
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Old 04-21-2022, 06:16 PM   #4
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Below are the 3 items I used to do a Renology Solar Suitcase (plug & play) setup, on my 2018 HW27KS that was advertised as 'solar ready'
It's enough to keep our 1 group 24 battery topped up, during a 5 day stay. We use it to power the winch up/down, run LED nights, water pump and about 15 mins of furnace each morning. I run my fridge on propane and charge our phones/speaker from a separate small solar panel. It works well for us, but we are 2 people.
I think like someone mentioned above, Zamp is the company who would supply the solar set-up that the port is installed for. But if you use the items I have listed and plug & play solar set up should work.



https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...s%2C170&sr=8-5https://www.amazon.com/Kohree-Adapte...s%2C170&sr=8-5
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Old 04-23-2022, 02:51 PM   #5
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I highly recommend buying a battery monitor with a shunt if you are going to boondock. Rinning your battery down below 50% shortens its life. A monitor will tell you the state of your battery. Also, buy a volt ohm meter so you can check polarity on the 12v system.

My hundred watt panel was much cheaper than the suitcase style. It fits behind my couch or on a bed, so it doesn't need to fold.

Two 6 volt golg cart batteries (wired in series) are the least expensive way to get good battery power.

Easy to make an extension cord out of an old 120v cord.

I also have a flexible 100 watt panel glued to the roof, and with that and the portable, we keep our batteries in great shape. We are careful with out electric use, and don't run the noisy furnace all night, but if we want to watch a movie, we can.
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Old 04-23-2022, 03:38 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by PopUpPop View Post
Hi, we have a 2018 Rockwood Prem 2317 G and I’m told it’s prewired for solar. Any advice on a plug and play kit to get started? Never boondocked so may try to start small. Haven’t found much info anywhere on a plug and play kit.

Any suggestions?

Thanks!
Look up 'Solar Suitcase" for plug and play kits. They come in a myriad of sizes but most all come with an attached controller and "legs" that hold the panels up and aimed to the Sun.

When it comes to size, just remember that the more power you use from your batteries the longer it will take to replace with a small solar suitcase. A "solar charging day" usually lasts around seven hours, give or take a little and even then it depends on overcast or clouds.

Before purchasing give some serious thought to how much power you will use when off grid camping. Lighting, furnace, water pump, refrigerator (residential types use LOTS), that evening movie on TV, and even cell phone charging.

If one uses an average of 35 amp hours (my average) and is using a 100 Watt Solar Suitase for recharging their batteries while off grid, it's doubtful it will fully recharge the batteries even if Sun is full and no clouds pass by. A 100 watt solar kit will only provide 7 amps max which, unless you have Lithium batteries, won't provide a full charge. (partly because of the continual draw on a 12 volt system by thermostat, refrigerator, etc.)
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Old 04-25-2022, 09:58 AM   #7
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Plug and play

It is likely that the system that is installed is Zamp. Many people convert to other systems which requires some alterations but less expensive. We went with Zamp, installed a 2nd battery and purchased an extention cord so we can move the suitcase panels around to follow the sun. We have been very pleased and in the 7 years we've had it, have not had one problem. Solar is not the solution for AC, refrigerator or microwave.
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Old 05-21-2022, 03:12 PM   #8
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Thanks everyone for their responses! It will help in our research.
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Old 05-21-2022, 04:28 PM   #9
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Solar is not the solution for AC, refrigerator or microwave.
Agree, not the solution for AC but MAYBE for a refrigerator and "good chance" for a microwave.

I just returned from a week of boondocking running a freezer in my Outside Kitchen and using my microwave a couple times a day, all without having to use my generator to charge my batteries.

If one has enough battery storage (I have two LiFePo4 batteries) and an adequate amount of solar (Mine is a 240 w portable kit I built that delivers 15 amp in full sun) it is very possible to run those two appliances using "solar power".

My system started charging around 8:30 AM and batteries were full (100%) no later than 3 PM.

The key is both size of storage and batteries that can accept a charge more rapidly than the old school Lead Acid batteries.
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Old 05-24-2022, 11:02 PM   #10
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Just my 2 cents:

100W briefcase style solar panel. Mine is from Harbor Freight.

Victron solar charger with Bluetooth so you can monitor it from your phone, see your battery voltage, charge history, etc.

SAE extension cable.

For the polarity issue, I just have the bare wires of my SAE cable that goes into my Victron wired backwards (red is going to negative, black is going to positive). But you can also just get an SAE reverse polarity adaptor. This is all assuming you have the zamp branded solar plug.
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