Originally Posted by Johnynorthland
Hello, this is my 3rd coach but I am new to JayCo and I just purchased a 2019 red Hawk 25r. I am interested in just hooking solar up to trickle charge the house batteries while in storage. I know you get what you pay for, but I’m not looking to spend a lot of money. Is it advisable if I buy an inexpensive solar panel And just connected it to the batteries? Or is a controller and must?
Thanks could use any advice anyone can give me.
Yes a SOLAR charge controller is a must. Without one, the odds are pretty good that you could overcharge your batteries. The other side of that coin (night time) without a SOLAR charge controller, if it the panel(s) do not have a blocking diode installed in them, the panels become a load at night which will put a drain on your batteries.
Is your RV going to be stored in Sunlight or shade? Any shade, those inexpensive SOLAR systems are useless. I do not recommend any system less than a 50watt system for keeping the batteries topped off, and that is when there is plenty of direct sun shine hitting the panel. A 50 watt will give you about 4Amps, for only a few hours a day in the Fall, Winter and Spring months. Throw in some clouds or rainy days and all bets are off, with the cheap inexpensive models that only produce about 1 amp. That 1 Amp is on a BRIGHT SUNNY day, between the hours of 12 and 2PM, if the panels are pointed directly at the sun.
I have an inexpensive small panel rated at 1.1Amps, that is a backup for my Home's Energy Management monitoring equipment, and I have yet to see the output hit 1 amp yet, even when I put a load on the system, and that is in the BRIGHT Florida Sun. Battery is only 12Ah so it keeps it topped off.
If you have any plans to do dry camping, now is the time to think about a system you can expand from just keeping the batteries topped off to one that can be expanded for future camping. Renogy has some good starter kits. Check out Amazon for search Renogy Solar kits.
So, yes you get what you pay for. You can pay a few bucks for the inexpensive SOLAR and then there is the chance you will need to invest more money to replace the batteries that went bad.
RVing with SOLAR
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