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Old 07-23-2023, 12:50 PM   #21
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What are you running that your batteries donít stay charged with the 100w set up? We have a 100w Renogy portable solar panel that keeps our two 6v golf cart batteries perfectly topped off and I run a 12v fan all night. We donít have a tv. Just curious, thanks.
We were running a Hengs bathroom fan and charging 3 phones. Occasional lights/water pump usage. my puzzlement. It's not much of a load. Refrigerator runs off propane. No other draw that I'm aware of.

I am trying to charge 2 Battle Born LiPo 100AH batteries set up in parallel. Boondocking in Zion, so lots of sun and no generator allowed. Noted daily drop in battery capacity despite no usage during the day. 100% to 96%, then to 92%, etc. TBF, we were there a week and the ending charge was around 80% so I was still satisfied, but thinking that more solar capacity was needed to keep the batteries topped up.

Also thinking that since the panels are flat and not angled that impacted efficiency as well.

I have a Victron MPPT 100/20 controller and was monitoring using BMV712.
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Old 07-23-2023, 02:38 PM   #22
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At this time of year the sun is nearly overhead so the 2- 100 watt panels will deliver about 10 amps total during mid day. Thats about 5 amps to each battery. 5 amps on an automotive battery charger is considered just a trickle charge. In an earlier post you said you need to add more solar, I agree. If you can add 2 more 100 watt panels you should be in good shape. On the backside of most solar panels are the power output ratings. After adding 2 more panels you'll be at the maximum amperage of your victron charge controller. That is if your panels are connected in parallel. I saw that your victron is limited to 20 amps but wasn't the voltage limit 100? That voltage adds up if you have them connected in series. I don't know the voltage output of your panels but if they're around 20 volts each and you have 4 panels, your charge controller should handle that, too. Either way, your charge controller is the limiting factor. If after you get that 400 total watts installed and you want to add more, you'll have to upgrade to a higher capacity charge controller. Hopefully your charge controller is working properly. Most victrons are Bluetooth capable so look to see the output to your batteries on your cellphone in the morning when the batteries are depleted. Look for at least 8 amps by 11am on a sunny day. If your victron doesn't have that Bluetooth capability, use a clamp on amp meter set to DC amps. Amazon has them for under $40.
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Old 07-23-2023, 03:00 PM   #23
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I’m sure you checked this, but did you pick the correct battery setting for your batteries on your mppt controller?
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Old 07-23-2023, 03:06 PM   #24
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I added 200 watts of Renogy 100 watt panels. I looked at the best way to wire it was to shorten the run to the MPPT and battery as much as possible. As a result I positioned my panels near the front and ran the wire through a gland I positioned over the front passenger side corner as near the front as possible. I ran the cables through a hole drilled 45 degrees into the closet over the bed. Then out the bottom of the closet corner and down a channel into the bedside ledge and right into the top of the Renogy MPPT I positioned inside the hatch. I pulled the battery wires from the factory converter off the tongue and into the under bed area and attached them to the battery and MPPT all very close together. '
I read on the Renogy website that if panels are in series and one is in the shade that it will limit total output. Supposedly, parallel will provide more amps if one is in shade.
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Old 07-23-2023, 05:39 PM   #25
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Right on Roger! Yes, solar panels have blocking diodes to protect them for those reasons you said. Because I sometimes camp in shady areas, I connected my solar panels in parallel but because each panel adds amperage when in parallel, I had to use heavier gauge wire from the panels to the charge controller. In this case there are 5-200 watt panels connected to the combiner on the roof and 8awg wire from the combiner down to the charge controller then 6awg to the batteries. It was a struggle getting the 8awg wire to fit into the mc4 connectors. So far the highest charge I've seen is 52 amps around noon on a sunny day in late May when the batteries were in a low state of charge. Fyi, those batteries charged up quickly!
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Old 08-01-2023, 11:05 PM   #26
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Right on Roger! Yes, solar panels have blocking diodes to protect them for those reasons you said. Because I sometimes camp in shady areas, I connected my solar panels in parallel but because each panel adds amperage when in parallel, I had to use heavier gauge wire from the panels to the charge controller. In this case there are 5-200 watt panels connected to the combiner on the roof and 8awg wire from the combiner down to the charge controller then 6awg to the batteries. It was a struggle getting the 8awg wire to fit into the mc4 connectors. So far the highest charge I've seen is 52 amps around noon on a sunny day in late May when the batteries were in a low state of charge. Fyi, those batteries charged up quickly!
8 gauge for 52 amps...that did o.k.??
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Old 08-02-2023, 08:49 AM   #27
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8 gauge for 52 amps...that did o.k.??
Attachment 89476

Bob, it was difficult to read that wire gauge/amperage chart on my cellphone but I was able to see that 8awg is under size for that many amps. But its very rare the amps ever go that high. Although I was able to use 6awg from the charge controller to the batteries, I still need to figure out a way to upsize that 8awg to 6awg. Is there a thin wall 6awg available that will fit into the mc4 connectors?
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Old 08-02-2023, 09:27 AM   #28
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Bob, it was difficult to read that wire gauge/amperage chart on my cellphone but I was able to see that 8awg is under size for that many amps. But its very rare the amps ever go that high. Although I was able to use 6awg from the charge controller to the batteries, I still need to figure out a way to upsize that 8awg to 6awg. Is there a thin wall 6awg available that will fit into the mc4 connectors?
I'm not sure. I'm just getting start on the solar side of my rig. I think I want to do a series connection so that I'll have higher voltage and minimum amps so that I can run smaller wire. Still determining if there are any disadvantages to serial that I can't live with.
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Old 08-02-2023, 01:02 PM   #29
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Bob, it was difficult to read that wire gauge/amperage chart on my cellphone but I was able to see that 8awg is under size for that many amps. But its very rare the amps ever go that high. Although I was able to use 6awg from the charge controller to the batteries, I still need to figure out a way to upsize that 8awg to 6awg. Is there a thin wall 6awg available that will fit into the mc4 connectors?

The MC4 connectors might be a concern in parallel? I did a series panel connection with 2 residential panels, no worries about existing wire and connector amperage until after controller.

"Multi-Contact MC4 Connector
Solar Panel Connector Specifications: Rated Current: 30 Amps. Rated Voltage: 1000/1500V (TUV) and 600V (UL)"
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Old 08-04-2023, 09:09 PM   #30
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I'm not sure. I'm just getting start on the solar side of my rig. I think I want to do a series connection so that I'll have higher voltage and minimum amps so that I can run smaller wire. Still determining if there are any disadvantages to serial that I can't live with.
Bob, the limitation of serial is the voltage your solar controller can handle. You add the unloaded ("open") voltage spec for each panel to get a total. For example, my 200w panels each have 24v open voltage. I have 3 panels. 24v x 3 = 84v, which will work fine with my 100/50 Victron controller ($307 for that beast!). Add a fourth panel, and now I'm over my 100v limit that the Victron can handle if I wire all four in series.

There is a calculator on Victron's website that you can enter your panel specs to see which controller works for you. In my example above, it says I needed the 150/75 controller ($600 at Amazon!) if I go that route.

I'll wire 2 sets of 2 in parallel to work with my controller to save money.
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Old 08-04-2023, 09:22 PM   #31
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Bob, the limitation of serial is the voltage your solar controller can handle. You add the unloaded ("open") voltage spec for each panel to get a total. For example, my 200w panels each have 24v open voltage. I have 3 panels. 24v x 3 = 84v, which will work fine with my 100/50 Victron controller ($307 for that beast!). Add a fourth panel, and now I'm over my 100v limit that the Victron can handle if I wire all four in series.

There is a calculator on Victron's website that you can enter your panel specs to see which controller works for you. In my example above, it says I needed the 150/75 controller ($600 at Amazon!) if I go that route.

I'll wire 2 sets of 2 in parallel to work with my controller to save money.
24*4=96 So... one more panel sounds to be fine.
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Old 08-04-2023, 10:17 PM   #32
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Bob, the limitation of serial is the voltage your solar controller can handle. You add the unloaded ("open") voltage spec for each panel to get a total. For example, my 200w panels each have 24v open voltage. I have 3 panels. 24v x 3 = 84v, which will work fine with my 100/50 Victron controller ($307 for that beast!). Add a fourth panel, and now I'm over my 100v limit that the Victron can handle if I wire all four in series.

There is a calculator on Victron's website that you can enter your panel specs to see which controller works for you. In my example above, it says I needed the 150/75 controller ($600 at Amazon!) if I go that route.

I'll wire 2 sets of 2 in parallel to work with my controller to save money.
I was thinking along the lines of shading concerns as mentioned earlier in this thread. Still learning about that.
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Old 08-05-2023, 12:17 AM   #33
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24*4=96 So... one more panel sounds to be fine.

https://www.victronenergy.com/mppt-calculator

Here's the site! It says that 24.5 x 4 = 110v, which is over the 100v maximum.

Note this is peak efficiency and most likely at "true" 98v it can be done, but if there is a fluke and it really does exceed the 100v maximum it will fry my $300 controller.

Fun stuff hah.
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Old 08-05-2023, 11:58 AM   #34
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Bob, it was difficult to read that wire gauge/amperage chart on my cellphone but I was able to see that 8awg is under size for that many amps. But its very rare the amps ever go that high. Although I was able to use 6awg from the charge controller to the batteries, I still need to figure out a way to upsize that 8awg to 6awg. Is there a thin wall 6awg available that will fit into the mc4 connectors?
Yes, look for Teflon jacketed wire. The jacket is much thinner and usually has higher dielectric, heat and durability specs than PVC. It's also resistant to oil. We use it exclusively in my industry. Of course, it costs more but you don't need a lot so it would be good choice.

It also has the advantage of being quite slick so it is easier to pull through a bundle or cable track. You may find it sold as PTFE.
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Old 08-08-2023, 01:54 PM   #35
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Bob, the limitation of serial is the voltage your solar controller can handle. You add the unloaded ("open") voltage spec for each panel to get a total. For example, my 200w panels each have 24v open voltage. I have 3 panels. 24v x 3 = 84v, which will work fine with my 100/50 Victron controller ($307 for that beast!). Add a fourth panel, and now I'm over my 100v limit that the Victron can handle if I wire all four in series.

There is a calculator on Victron's website that you can enter your panel specs to see which controller works for you. In my example above, it says I needed the 150/75 controller ($600 at Amazon!) if I go that route.

I'll wire 2 sets of 2 in parallel to work with my controller to save money.
Did you also install one of those big, bulky DC shutoff switches solely for the solar? Trying to decide if this is a "good idea" or a "safety must". We deal with open DC voltages elsewhere in the system, so...

https://www.amazon.com/Low-voltage-M.../dp/B0746DLP7S
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Old 08-08-2023, 02:51 PM   #36
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https://www.victronenergy.com/mppt-calculator

Here's the site! It says that 24.5 x 4 = 110v, which is over the 100v maximum.

Note this is peak efficiency and most likely at "true" 98v it can be done, but if there is a fluke and it really does exceed the 100v maximum it will fry my $300 controller.

Fun stuff hah.
24.5 x 4 = 110v?
I ran out of fingers and toes but I still don't come up with that answer. Run it through your calculator again.
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Old 08-08-2023, 07:02 PM   #37
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Did you also install one of those big, bulky DC shutoff switches solely for the solar? Trying to decide if this is a "good idea" or a "safety must". We deal with open DC voltages elsewhere in the system, so...

https://www.amazon.com/Low-voltage-M.../dp/B0746DLP7S
I used this one:

Blue Sea Systems 7144 187-Series Circuit Breaker, Surface Mount, 100A https://a.co/d/5UUbZfh

200A one for the battery bank. Both on (+) side. Shunt for BMV712 goes on (-) side of battery bank.

#FISTEP I don't know the math behind that calculator but I do have the 100/50 MPPT controller so either way I am covered. It's a huge beast! Worst case scenario for me is I have two sets of serial panels.

EDIT: Annnddd... it posted my pic upside down. ��
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Old 08-08-2023, 10:58 PM   #38
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I used this one:

Blue Sea Systems 7144 187-Series Circuit Breaker, Surface Mount, 100A https://a.co/d/5UUbZfh

200A one for the battery bank. Both on (+) side. Shunt for BMV712 goes on (-) side of battery bank.

#FISTEP I don't know the math behind that calculator but I do have the 100/50 MPPT controller so either way I am covered. It's a huge beast! Worst case scenario for me is I have two sets of serial panels.

EDIT: Annnddd... it posted my pic upside down. ��
www.explorist.life says both the + and - lines for solar need to be on a breaker. Thus the need for a 2-pole breaker. I'd have to watch the video or read the blog again to see why.

Edit: Here's the video. Ugh. It's going to be a steep learning curve for me to figure out what I can do versus what I must do.
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Old 08-08-2023, 11:22 PM   #39
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www.explorist.life says both the + and - lines for solar need to be on a breaker. Thus the need for a 2-pole breaker. I'd have to watch the video or read the blog again to see why.

Edit: Here's the video. Ugh. It's going to be a steep learning curve for me to figure out what I can do versus what I must do.
I'm no expert but I can tell you I ran mine in my Jayco with NO breaker at all for the solar. No ill effects. I only added the Blue Sea when I was contemplating adding my two new 200w panels to the mix, but instead chose to trade my trailer.

My new TT came "stock" from the manufacturer with a 200w solar panel and Victron 75/15 charge controller in the "Solarflex 200" package. There are no breakers anywhere to be seen in the setup:

https://www.keystonerv.com/solarflex-200-overview

Granted, we are talking about RV manufacturing here where they love to cut costs and gerrymander everything, but I would have expected SOMETHING if it was a huge concern IMO. I currently don't have a breaker installed but will probably go back with Blue Sea once I add my other two 200w panels to the mix.

Again, YMMV but I have never seen anything like that panel being hawked in the YT video you showed.

DISCLAIMER: I am not an expert, I don't play one on TV, and I haven't stayed at a Holiday Inn Express lately.
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Old 08-08-2023, 11:41 PM   #40
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www.explorist.life says both the + and - lines for solar need to be on a breaker. Thus the need for a 2-pole breaker. I'd have to watch the video or read the blog again to see why.
I haven't watched it, so I don't know either, but it appears to be residential and not RV. In my trailer, the negative for everything is run to the frame. Both input and output of the controller, and both are bonded inside the controller. I have a heavy switch on the + input of my controller, and no plans to change it.
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