Jeff, Craig is right, you need to spend some time diving into the electrical threads (here or elsewhere, there are many good forums on the Internet), form a solid, basic plan, based on your anticipated needs, and then buy the component parts and start piecing it together, hopefully, using quality components. You could also consult with a 12v marine or RV tech for a couple of hours, to help you create a working plan, schematic, and parts list to get you started with your own installation. A good start for basic components would be a dedicated, 100AH Lithium battery for the camper; the 160W Overland panel that you mentioned; a Victron 100/30 MPPT solar controller; a Victron BMV712 smart meter and shunt package; some Ancor marine-grade wire (e.g. 10 AWG, 8 AWG, and some 6 AWG); and assorted terminals/connectors and wire cutters, strippers, crimpers, to connect everything; You'll want a couple appropriately-sized Blue Seas thermal circuit breakers or fuses if you prefer, for your solar panel as well. I like the circuit breakers because they double as on/off switches, which is convenient for troubleshooting, etc. It's not difficult to learn the basics and DIY. You'll have a few simple connections to make and pretty good instructions for installation provided with most of the equipment that you buy. You're stated energy requirements aren't significant. But they may grow and if they do, you could always add to this basic system when you require more energy, which is why you need to think about trying to future proof the equipment you buy next. For example, a Victron 100/30 MPPT controller will give you the option to add another panel or two later, without having to upgrade your solar controller. And, talking about solar controllers, not sure why you were told you don't need a controller for the Overland 160 panel you mentioned. You do need one. You can not simply connect that panel to your battery directly. The voltage is too high and needs to be stepped down to be compatible with your battery. You'll want that controller and a couple of thermal circuit breakers or thermal fuses both before AND after the controller to protect the wiring from the panel to the controller and also, from the battery to the controller. Also, the MPPT controller will convert your energy more efficiently and optimize your output. The Goal Zero is not a substitute for a good, permanent (even if very basic) electrical installation in your camper, or for that matter on your boat, although it may be useful as a portable emergency backup for your home, on your boa,t as well as on your camper - in the same way, say, a Honda 1000i generator/converter can be a useful backup in an emergency. Of course, when offgrid, the Honda will need a supply of gasoline to keep it running, whereas the GZ can recharge on solar if the sun's out. If you do end up using a portable GZ, then perhaps your idea of a portable folding solar array with a 75 ft + extension cord makes sense. But I think the Overland 160W semiflexibles are worth your while and will cover your solar needs very well. I have two of them and have absolutely no complaints. They may not be the best price point for your buck, if you're trying to cheap out, nonetheles, they are very efficient, lightweight, and well constructed with a solid lamination that will last, and they work in lower light conditions over a longer period of time throughout the course of the day than most other panels. I''ve had plenty of other panels over the years, from cheap to expensive semflexibles, to aluminum-frame and glass-covered with a wide range of specs and construction quality, and in my opinion they are simply not all created equally.The Overland 160 is an excellent panel. And there are plenty of knowlegable people on this forum, and others, that also have them and would agree.
Good luck with the project, read up, and go for the DIY,
Edited by ri-f, 22 June 2021 - 05:11 PM.