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Portable Solar Panel Connection to Camper

Solar Panel Renogy Charge Controller

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#1 Oly Bill

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Posted 03 July 2016 - 04:24 PM

How do you hook-up a “Renogy 100W, 12V, Monocrystalline Solar Panel ($140)” to my 2004 Grandby 4WC? I want to use this Solar Panel as a portable unit on the "ground" to charge my one auxiliary 12V battery, Laptop and 2 portable fans. Is connecting to my 2004 Grandby 4WC simply a matter of using an extension cord from the Solar Panel to the Shore Power electrical male wall outlet on the exterior wall of the camper??? Or does the connection have to be manually wired into the electrical junction box inside the camper??? Does my camper already have a "Battery Charger - Charge Controller"??? If it needs to be wired into the panel - where can I have this work done if I live in Olympia, WA. Maybe, Stan of 4WC fame is reading this inquiry and can respond? Thanks from > Oly Bill

 

 


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#2 Wandering Sagebrush

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Posted 03 July 2016 - 05:26 PM

Bill,

 

No, you can't just plug the panel into the shore power connection.  Somewhere in the mix, you need to have a solar controller, either on the panel, or in the camper.   If it is on the panel, you can connect directly to the battery via alligator clips, or something like a SAE connector that is skin mounted (usually on the back wall) of your camper.

 

As you do not have solar on your camper already, with a high degree of probability, you do not have a controller.   Call FWC service and ask if the 2004 models were prewired for solar, and if so, where is it located below the roof skin/back wall.   You, or an installer can then put a connector in to connect to the panel.   If it is prewired, you will have wires that go to the to be installed controller, terminated in the camper.   Those will hook up to the controller, or if your portable has a controller, to the battery.   If hooking directly to the battery, you should have appropriately sized fuses to protect the camper, and I would vote for a switch to keep the connector off when the panel is not hooked up.

 

After talking to FWC about wiring, talk to local RV and solar places to price the install if you don't want to do it yourself.   Get several estimates, as the prices will vary.  It would also help to ask them how they would go about the install.


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#3 Casa Escarlata Robles Too

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Posted 03 July 2016 - 05:59 PM

Good info from Sagebrush. One other thing to keep in mind,Make sure ,if you do this yourself that you need a  "NEGATIVE" ground controller. There are positive ground ones out there in the market ,even sold by the same supplier. Renolgy carries some good products at a great price.

Solar is a great addition to our campers.

Good luck.

Frank


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#4 Smokecreek1

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Posted 03 July 2016 - 06:01 PM

Steve has that right-look, I have an 05 Granby and I recently added one then later another 100W solar panel to my rig. Talk to Renolgy, but here is what I did-based on what they told me and with a little help from a friend. #1 you need one of those 30 amp comptrollers and  the cables/connections  that you can get from Renolgy. The system will not work unless you have a comptroller between the panels and the batteries.  I put my cables down from the roof thru the shore connection  compartment (did not want to cut a hole in the roof), cut a hole from it to the inside of the pop-up, then under/along side  the inside paneling to a comptroller (low on the inside wall), then around the inside of the front seat panel into the side  battery compartment.

 

Maybe at this point you might want to add a second house battery!  I had some help here in setting up (arranging the two batteries) the batteries to maximize the electrical power! Even though I am a novice when working with the electrical systems, it was actually a pretty easy job, and with a liberal use of duck and electrical tape and some staples it turned out okay.If you want more than 200 watts of solar power you need to upgrade you system with other goodies, but with 200watts that was all I needed to do :D !  I should also add here that I got rid of my 3 in 1 gas frig  and  upgraded to a compression frig-but that is another story and Steve was there when my frig died and lawnmower man helped(actually did it) with the fix to the system.

 

Smoke


Edited by Smokecreek1, 03 July 2016 - 06:25 PM.

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Smokecreek1:99F1504x4with05Granby

#5 PaulT

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Posted 03 July 2016 - 06:12 PM

Oly Bill,

Good advice from the Wandering Sage.

Be careful at the Artesian crossings. They may not have been seen recently but they could still be out there. ;)

Paul
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#6 Oly Bill

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Posted 03 July 2016 - 09:20 PM

To Paul T: We have a "free" Artesian Water Well in Olympia, WA that is frequented by some mental health Dudes if that is what you mean by, "Be careful at the Artesiam Crossings"? 

 

To other specific replies to my inquiry regarding connecting a portable solar panel -- I know enough now to put that project in Limbo before I get into real trouble with my hammer & saw! 


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#7 PaulT

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Posted 04 July 2016 - 12:36 AM

I was referring to the old Oly beer commercials. Couldn't find the one filmed in the brewery with the "Artesian Crossing" signs.

With all the great microbrews of today, it's hard to believe that we used to argue about which bulk beer was best.

https://m.youtube.co...h?v=lgn0NXckqQs

https://m.youtube.co...h?v=o2VcqffbbH8

https://m.youtube.co...h?v=WzYqh_Q4EdA

Paul
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#8 Casa Escarlata Robles Too

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Posted 04 July 2016 - 04:57 PM

What a blast from the past.

Thanks

Frank


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#9 Stalking Light

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Posted 04 July 2016 - 07:29 PM

I used to like these commercials when I was in the Seattle area.


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#10 PaulT

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Posted 04 July 2016 - 08:29 PM

I always liked that Rainier motorcycle commercial.

 

Thanks, Charlie :D

 

Paul


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