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I'm very interested in a solar power system to maintain my battery(ies) when off grid. Anyone have a system that works? Any suggestions or advice?
 

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I'm thinking that 80-100 watts is going to be enough for me. I'm looking for a folding (suitcase) panel and then a small MPPT charge controller. Using a standard SAE connector, it will plug right in to the charging port on the trailer.

A note... The charge port is installed bu Intech, but it is NOT wired to the battery. You will need to extend the leads and install a fuse inline and connect to the battery.

Something like this is pretty inexpensive and a bit lower tech, but it might just be the best way for me to get started...

https://www.amazon.com/ECO-WORTHY-P...c-Controller/dp/B00JP7IQ50/ref=cm_wl_huc_item
 

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for 80-100w, no need for a MPPT controller, PWM would be fine and usually lower $.
make sure you put the controller as close to the battery as possible to limit loss and oversize your cables.

Depending on how much you want to learn about solar, check out Handy Bob's blog. It is full of a ton of info!
 

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I was thinking that the PWM would be fine in this simple application.
 

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You mean something like this? I met this guy at Quartzsite in January. Somewhere, i have notes on what panel and controller he used. I'll share the details if/when I find them.

IMG_2445.jpg
 

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I am running a Renogy 100W panel and Renogy 40a MPPT Charge Controller on my trailer to give me room for expansion. Right now I am powering several interior/exterior LED lights and a Power Inverter for a 32" TV.

 

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I am torn by solar; on the one hand I appreciate electric lights and a fridge in the field..
On the other hand I REALLY like camping in the shade...
Unfortunately when I camp in the shade solar has almost no benefit and I end up chasing the sun, every hour or so, with the (awkward) solar panels and battery in an effort to get a recharge, or at least top it up.

In the end; the solar panels remain in storage, along with the genny & I just bring a smallish, portable, fully charged 35 AH battery for the lights and stereo and a modern high performance cooler (pelican).

Enjoy!
 

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After researching this topic extensively, I built what is called a Solar Generator. Personally, I was after power for tailgating which I do at least once a week. I found that the best information was found searching for "RV Boondocking Solar". I came across Handy Bob's Blog on the topic when I was doing my research and found it to be some of the best information out there. There are plenty of YouTube videos out there as well. You can go the route of the Goal Zero products, but I find that most of those are under capacity for what real Boondocking/Expedition use requires.

You can really get into some cool setups, but here's what I found to be important.
  • Properly size your battery capacity and solar charging to your requirements.
  • Use an appropriate battery technology and voltages.
  • Get a good charge controller, many good ones are not that expensive.
  • Use the correct solar panel configuration & type for shade conditions and ease of use.
I personally built my setup with two 6V Trojan golf cart batteries (can handle a true deep cycle) a tool case, a good charge controller, and some Renology panels. With the correct voltage, and a little cordage, you can camp in the shade and soak up the rays.

Good Luck!
 
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