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Another solar newbie


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#1 GlennG



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Posted 28 November 2020 - 11:50 PM

Yet another Solar newbie


Let me start with an introduction


I live in Vancouver BC and do most of my outing North of home. I have a 2020 Hawk with an 3 way fridge which I use propane when dry camping which is all I do at the moment. I did manage to get a couple trips in late May and early June and found that factory supplied 12 volts did not keep up. Especially on a longer 20 day trip. My main use of power is the furnace, fanastic fan ,water pump, led lights and charging various electronic devises.


Would like to be able to run furnace 2 or 3 hours a day and same for the fan as for led lights around the same maybe 4 hours a day. Charge Iphone. Ipad, Walkie talkies minimally water pump and Lap top. Most trips would be 2 to 3 weeks in length and usually do not move much so no truck charging batteries unless I have to. Would like to avoid running the Honda 2200.


I have tried to read all threads on solar on this site and various other sites. So a big thanks to all who have come before me.

So what I have planned and have started is the following


2- 160 Watt Renogy flexible panels in series mounted to Thule roof racks using what I seen Charlie used. I plan on adding a 20 amp Renogy inline fuse attached to the positive side on the roof. Is this good idea ?

Possibly add a 3 rd panel when in low light conditions to the rear plug. This would also be a 160 watt panel as it seems  the controller likes to see similar charge coming in. Is this right? I will be checking polarity of factory wiring.


1- Victron 100/30 Smart Solar Charger MPPT which would be mounted next to batteries c/w 30 amp inline fuse on the positive side and a big red disconnect which I’m unsure if this should be on positive and negative or just positive. Want switch when removing batteries in the winter as I plan to store camper in garage .


1- Victron BMV 712 Battery monitor planning on installing shunt in battery compartment and then fish wire to the cabinetry where my units has a square black panel I’m assuming the factory would have installed a factory controller


2- Blue top Optima batteries 34 M 55Ah in series 

these are 2 years old and as I know now have be abused and drawn  to dead many times. I will look at replacing these next year with Battle Born lithium.


Any recommendation and feed back would be appreciated .


Many thanks








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#2 Vic Harder

Vic Harder

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Posted 29 November 2020 - 07:40 AM

Welcome to the cult Glenn!


Looks like you have done some research already, and made some good choices, gear wise.  Let's see if I can start answering your questions.  In order:


1) I plan on adding a 20 amp Renogy inline fuse attached to the positive side on the roof. Is this good idea ?

-- Not necessary.  Where is the fuse going to be?  Outside on the roof?  Not a good idea if you need to maintain it.  Close to the MPPT?  Well, the point of the fuse is to protect the wire or gear.  Most of the wire will be on the "wrong" side of the fuse, so... it doesn't do much good.  Skip it


2) Re: rear panel - "it seems  the controller likes to see similar charge coming in. Is this right?"

-- Yes, except that by having the two roof panels in series (good idea), the third panel will not match the two combined roof panels, UNLESS you re-wire the plug circuit wiring to put the third panel so that the three panels are ALL in series.  It can be done, but you would need to have a "dongle" plugged into the outside outlet to complete the circuit when not using the third panel.    OR, you can run all the panels in parallel.  Much easier wiring wise, not as efficient for the MPPT since it likes the series style connection more.


3) "30 amp inline fuse on the positive side and a big red disconnect" by the MPPT.  Fuse is only on the positive lead.  Use a breaker instead of a fuse and you can skip the disconnect.  Just flip the breaker.


4) Blue top batteries are dual purpose... slow draw and quick draw (starting).  Not ideal.  Get some nice Rolls/Surette AGM batteries designed for solar.   https://www.rollsbattery.com/

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#3 Jack


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Posted 29 November 2020 - 09:53 PM

We have also spent a lot of time traveling the far north roads and have power needs similar to what you mention. We found that 160 W was adequate - except for the electronics. Two cell phones and two laptops. Figure 3 Ah/day for each cell phone and probably 5 Ah to 10 Ah for the two laptops.


On my new battery, I installed Anderson connectors. Pulling the battery out is so much easier and safer.



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2015 Fleet on 2019 Ranger

#4 GlennG



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Posted 02 December 2020 - 02:52 AM

Thanks for your reply Vic

Renogy make a waterproof Mc4 waterproof inline fuse holder w/fuse 10A/15A/20A/30A

I was planing on putting a 20 A on the roof. But if it not worth it I can skip it

I had not thought about the rear plug and have not really toned out the wires yet but I think you are right about it will not work well in my case

I looked at the Rolls batteries and was lntetested i2 of the Rm 110 AGM

I like the idea of a breaker much cleaner and less parts I found this Buss MRCB 30 amp breaker


Thanks Jack for your reply

My biggest draw is running the furnace which why I went with the 3-way fridge which I get about 2 weeks on my 2- 10 lb bottles so I plan to get a another couple more for my extended fly fishing trips or figure out away to attach a 20 lb bottle. Which FWC should be using in my opinion. The Anderson connectors are good idea.

Edited by GlennG, 02 December 2020 - 04:57 AM.

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#5 camelracer


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Posted 02 December 2020 - 09:02 PM

I put a solar fuse on the roof because I've had a problem with broken wiring behind the lift panel. I'm not sure if a short circuit there would be dangerous but fusing the circuit isn't a problem.

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