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Old 04-03-2016, 07:33 AM   #1
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Rogers
Posts: 40
Backcountry SOLAR battery charger

I killed my marine battery testing my new Jayco in driveway in only 1 week. All I was running was the fridge thermostat (used propane) and I left the radio on as a test, intermittently used the overhead LEDs. I was surprised it drained out so fast, less than 7 days.

I have an extra deep cycle, but what I need is suggestions for a better solution.
Top of line solar panel/charger is what Im thinking, Im more worried about someone stealing it than the initial cost

I hate the thought hooking up my truck and letting it run just to charge, that is redundant, smelly, and expensive.


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Old 04-03-2016, 07:49 AM   #2
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Check out Renogy solar panels starter systems.

Panel installs on roof. Comes with controller and cable.

100 watt panel setup costs around $300 and can produce around a 12 amp charge for as long as you have peak sun ( 6 hours a day?)

Also check out the rving with solar group on this JOF site for posts and info on other members who have added solar


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Old 04-03-2016, 11:49 PM   #3
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Renogy Solar Panel Bundle Mono 200W with 2 100W Panels/ 30A Controller/ MC4 Branch Connector/ MC4 Ad - 16301377 - Overstock.com Shopping - The Best Prices on Alternative Energy

Found this on overstock, seems like a good deal?
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Old 04-03-2016, 11:58 PM   #4
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Solar Energy Collection, Distribution & Storage :: Aervoe Industries Inc.

I have one of these to charge my batteries during the day. The black and red leads hook directly to the battery. Pretty simple and portable. It's the 30 watt solar collector
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Old 04-04-2016, 12:09 AM   #5
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Like the portability factor and the fact it doesn't need a complicated installation but is it enough for your needs?
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Old 04-04-2016, 05:34 AM   #6
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There is a thread about this one.
I like that it's portable and powerful.

Thread here
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Old 04-04-2016, 05:53 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Pomacanthus View Post
Like the portability factor and the fact it doesn't need a complicated installation but is it enough for your needs?
I have just went thru a test with the Renogy 100 watt suitcase and its more then enough for battery maintenance. They are plug and play and work great. They are easily stolen tho. Any thing that is plug and play can grow legs!! My suggestion is What Mooney suggest and get a one or two panels mounted to your roof. Every thing is secure with the controller mounted inside. Permanent installation. If you even think that you might dry camp, mount 2 panels. Renogy makes an excellent product for a reasonable price. You may want to get an experienced installer because you are mounting it to the roof and the panel wires need to come thru the roof. All needs to be sealed well to eliminate any chance of water damage.
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Old 04-07-2016, 06:48 AM   #8
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Location: Wheatfield, New York
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I have a 130W single panel (Solar Cynergy) mounted on the roof and I brought the wire into the back of the trailer near the top rather than put another hole into the roof.

Panel, connectors, Z brackets, and PWM charge controller all came from various ebay sources.

Don't use the high priced single conductor wire they sell, use #12 low voltage landscape wire from Lowes. It looks like lamp cord; very easy to use. See if they'll sell it by the foot so you don't get sucked into buying a 100' spool.

Total price (with 100' of wire) was about $240 and it works like a charm--I just ignore it and it won't grow legs.
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Old 04-07-2016, 11:26 AM   #9
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Perhaps you might be better off just connecting your shore power cable to a 120VAC Receptacle in your Garage/house using a RV30A-15A Dogbone long adapter (WALMART).

The adapter looks similar to this google image

This is workable real quick while you are planning your SOLAR UPGRADE...

If you need an extension cord be sure it is a 10GAUGE (10-3) or a 12GAUGE (12-3). The thick HD looking ones usually YELLOW color... May not find one at WALMART...

If you use any smaller gauge cables you will run the risk of overheating the cable and do possible damage to your high wattage appliances...

You also have to be sure all three prongs are connected and working properly coming from the house side...

We do this all time here at our house for our two 30A trailers. Can run anything in the trailer but do have to watch what is ON at the same time like the Air Conditioner or the Microwave otherwise it will trip the garage 120VAC breaker...

This is great for cleaning your trailer when parked at home and testing things. Also great for keeping your trailer battery charged up. Once they get dropped below the 12.0VDC level and not recharged right away they usually don't survive or produce less performance after that...

There is alot of parasitic drains connected with the RV trailers and one week is about normal for running them down...

You may want to upgrade your 12VDC setup to at least 200Ahhs capacity if you pplan on doing any camping off the grid.

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Old 04-07-2016, 12:04 PM   #10
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I have two of the 100W Renogy panels listed in your link, for a total of 200W. The panels work good and I would buy them again. The panels alone are $135 with free shipping on Amazon as a reference.
If you are frugal with your power demands 200W should work fine for a start.

By frugal I mean,
LED lights
refrig and water heater on propane
furnace turned down to 55-60deg at night
run a small inverter to watch the TV a couple hours at night.

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