Simple, portable solar setup?

lugueto

Adventurer
Hello,

I've been playing with the following idea for a while but I'm completely ignorant on solar panels and related equipment.

Is there a solar panel I can simply connect to my battery directly via clamps when not using the vehicle? Say I arrive at camp and park the vehicle, deploy the solar panel on the roof, hood, windshield or whatever, connect it directly to the battery and be done with it?

It needs to be powerful enough to charge/maintain my battery with my fridge running.

Is there such a thing? I run a single battery, not much draw on it aside from the fridge..

Thanks for your input!

Luis
 

Dirt Rider

Active member
This brings up a question I have been wondering about... If I buy a portable solar panel, can I connect it to the 110 shore power connection on my FWC camper? I know nothing about electrical. BTW.
 

ducktapeguy

Adventurer
Even if there was a panel that could do that, it's probably have to be low power so as not to overcharge your battery on sunny days. A simple charge controller is only $10, simple to wire up, and would eliminate a lot of issues, so I don't see a reason not to use one.
 

Rbertalotto

Explorer
I bought an EcoWorthy folding 120W portable solar panel system from Ebay. It works fantastic. Using it to supplement the solar on my travel trailer when I'm parked in the shade and to charge a 100Ah portable battery box I built.


A few articles about it on my web site

www.rvbprecision.com
 

john61ct

Adventurer
Get a proper solar controller

and a pair of panels that fold up like a big briefcase could prolly do yourself.

higher voltage rating (VoC) than 20V, 40Voc or more even better

50W x2 would be the smallest I'd bother with.

120-140W x 2 better, bit higher OK if you find a super deal

perfectly sized to get the most out of a Victron MPPT 75/15, maybe $130 delivered
 

lugueto

Adventurer
Even if there was a panel that could do that, it's probably have to be low power so as not to overcharge your battery on sunny days. A simple charge controller is only $10, simple to wire up, and would eliminate a lot of issues, so I don't see a reason not to use one.
charge controller is a given. But I don't want to permanently mount the panel on the roof as roof loads vary and I can't have it taking up real estate up there, specially since it would probably be damaged at some point.

and a pair of panels that fold up like a big briefcase could prolly do yourself
can you point me in the right direction? What components would you use to build such a kit?
 

DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
I used a pair of Renogy 50W panels made into a suitcase with plain old hardware store hinges. I think 2 x 50W is about the right size for suitcase because folded it'll fit in just about any vehicle. I have a Morningstar SunSaver MPPT controller with pigtails that I just set next to whatever battery I want to charge and carry a couple of extension cables to interconnect. It's not fancy. Spent maybe $120 on the two panels. The controller was more expensive, there's newer, less expensive options now that would be fine.
 
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rajacat

Active member
1579304045592.png+solar panel

I use this portable unit plus one other similar unit to power my refrigerator, lights, etc. Most of my panels are on the roof of my GFC but I reserve one to move around the campsite for the best sunlight. I simply move one battery with the panel to avoid long a long wiring run. My entire camper electrical system is totally isolated from the truck system albeit the air compressor will be connected directly to the truck battery.
 

BigSwede

The Credible Hulk
Some solar 101 questions: I am looking at foldable 100W solar, like this one https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075YRKVM...olid=2DOH8R4BJUTSZ&psc=1&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it to charge the 12V AGM battery (maybe lithium someday) in my camper. The solar panel lists 18V 5.8 amp max output. Do I need to step this down to 14V or so? I assume unless I got some sort of charging controller I run the risk of over charging?

I need the foldable form factor to fit in my very small camper when not in use.
 

dreadlocks

Well-known member
soo.. OP can have what he wants, but instead of connecting the panel to the battery directly he connects it to the solar charger mounted near the battery.. just put some nice anderson powerplugs on it and connecting/disconnecting will be as fast as any clips, and much safer.. idiot proof.

I personally wont bother with any flexible panels anymore, they are fragile and fall apart pdq unless you have a military budget.. rigid will go for decades and handle the abuse of being 'portable' 100x better at a fraction of the cost.. you really are paying more and getting less w/flexibles.
 

john61ct

Adventurer
The "solar blanket" folding type sold down under have very good longevity.

But they have relatively strong consumer protection laws.

In wild west caveat emptor markets like China and the US might get total junk.

Of course the Aussie ones don't cost just $2 a watt with delivery.
 
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