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Old 03-19-2016, 11:09 AM   #1
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Renogy suitcase solar kit

For those of you that may be interested in solar. After a trip into the West for the winter of 2015, it became apparent that we needed to make a move toward some sort of solar. With the many restrictions and variations on generator run times in different national and state parks, some sort of additional power was needed. I tend to go for shade when it's available so roof mounted panels didn't make much sense for us. I bought a 100 watt Renogy after I got home and hooked it up to determine that it worked but stored it until the last couple of days. Because I intend on setting in the shade, I assumed that longer leads would be necessary for a mobile panel to be very versatile. I bought 2 coils of 8 ga. wire in different colors to make my leads. I made 2 sets of 25 ft. in length. That would give me up to 60 ft. of lead cable. i have 430 ah of battery power and a 1600 watt inverter. with the batteries fully charged, I put a crock pot on the inverter for 13 hrs. and also ran a full pot of water thru the coffee pot. The combined usage was around 130 amp hrs. used. Voltage on the batteries after a rest indicated that I had 70% of my batteries left. Yesterday morning, I hooked up the panel with 1 of the 25 ft. coils (35 ft.)total and wanted to see just how much of that could be recovered in a single day. Yesterday was mostly sunny and I changed the angle on the panel as needed. In 9 hrs. of sunlight that panel brought back that battery pack to 90%!! I was extremely gratified with the results. i had at first thought this was mostly a man toy but have quickly changed my mind. This unit properly handled is a major help on reducing or eliminating generator run time. Just thought I'd pass it on!!!
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Old 03-19-2016, 11:22 AM   #2
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GREAT NEWS!!!

Love to hear member testimonials regarding SOLAR usage. If you get a chance, Please copy your post to the "RVing with SOLAR" social group. So are you going to add an extra 100 watts of SOLAR now.?

You do realize now that the SOLAR bug has bitten you, there is no turning back

Don
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Old 03-19-2016, 11:35 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Mustang65 View Post
GREAT NEWS!!!

Love to hear member testimonials regarding SOLAR usage. If you get a chance, Please copy your post to the "RVing with SOLAR" social group. So are you going to add an extra 100 watts of SOLAR now.?

You do realize now that the SOLAR bug has bitten you, there is no turning back

Don
I honestly don't know if I will add another unit or not, Don. I'm going to do some more testing before we head out west next winter. I was really surprised and happy with the single suitcase results. My biggest concern is always about weight. I keep looking at all the items that I deem as required and the rig keeps getting heavier. If weight and space weren't a concern it would be a no brainer!!!
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Old 03-19-2016, 12:39 PM   #4
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Maybe this doesn't fit your budget, but why not put one panel on your roof, hooked to a controller. Then when you aren't shaded you will always be charging and will only have to bring out your portable panel when needed or you want to charge faster.
You'll have the best of both worlds.
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Old 03-19-2016, 12:44 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by klassic View Post
Maybe this doesn't fit your budget, but why not put one panel on your roof, hooked to a controller. Then when you aren't shaded you will always be charging and will only have to bring out your portable panel when needed or you want to charge faster.
You'll have the best of both worlds.
2x
If you mount one on the TT and keep it running all the time, it will keep your battery topped off when you are not using it. Even in the shade you will be charging, although at a somewhat reduced rate. You can always add the second one when you get to your camp site.

Don
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2013 Jayco Eagle 284BHS
250Watt Grape Solar Panel, MorningStar MPPT 60 Charge Controller
1500 Watt Ramsond PSI, 2 Trojan T145 Batteries (260Ah)
2 - AirSight Wireless IP Cameras (used as rear view cameras)
EnGenius WI-FI extender, D-Link wireless (n) modem
MagicJack Internet Phone
2012 Ford F150XLT, EcoBoost w/3.73
157" Wheel base, HD Towing Package

Our Solar Album https://www.jaycoowners.com/album.php?albumid=329
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Old 03-19-2016, 02:22 PM   #6
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Something well worth considering!!! Thank You both!!!
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Old 03-19-2016, 02:27 PM   #7
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As far as a controller goes for a single panel, what would you suggest??
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Old 03-19-2016, 02:30 PM   #8
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I'm just the idea guy... Mustang is in technical services.
But I have a feeling he's going to say a Morningstar MPPT.
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Old 03-19-2016, 02:31 PM   #9
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Smile

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Originally Posted by klassic View Post
I'm just the idea guy... Mustang is in technical services.
But I have a feeling he's going to say a Morningstar MPPT.
That's awesome!!
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Old 03-19-2016, 03:01 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Ela1948 View Post
As far as a controller goes for a single panel, what would you suggest??
It pretty much depends on your plans and budget. Renogy has a few SOLAR Charge controllers (PWM and MPPT) that will fit your bill at a good price. I believe you would do fine with one of their PWM controllers, preferably the 30 Amp model ((about $125) and you will be able to add more panels on to it in the future with no problems (more is better). If you go with the 20 Amp one you would be limited to 2 panels. If you want to extract a few more amps out of your panels, you may want to look at their MPPT controller (about $209). When you have a few minutes take a look at the posts in the RVing with SOLAR social group that goes into the difference between PWM and MPPT controllers.

One additional point, mount your systems SOLAR Charge controller as close to the batteries as possible, that way you will get the most out of your panels with minimal loss.

Wait, I believe I am supposed to say MorningStar MPPT here... only if your budget allows...
Don
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2013 Jayco Eagle 284BHS
250Watt Grape Solar Panel, MorningStar MPPT 60 Charge Controller
1500 Watt Ramsond PSI, 2 Trojan T145 Batteries (260Ah)
2 - AirSight Wireless IP Cameras (used as rear view cameras)
EnGenius WI-FI extender, D-Link wireless (n) modem
MagicJack Internet Phone
2012 Ford F150XLT, EcoBoost w/3.73
157" Wheel base, HD Towing Package

Our Solar Album https://www.jaycoowners.com/album.php?albumid=329
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