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  1. #1
    Site Sponsor Steven@147's Avatar
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    Solar for Dummies - Guidance, Help

    Dummies like me! In keeping with my ideas of "keep it simple", "keep it economical". I have been looking at suitcase style 100 W @ 7 amp solar panels and figuring out what would be needed to hook up minimum solar power to our 100 ah Lithium battery. This would be just in case, bare minimum battery maintaining/recharging, in case of a power outage and didn't want to, or couldn't run our generator.

    Now i am a complete novice at solar but I've been reading and researching, (dangerous I know)I put together two scenarios of the components I think would be needed. I saw a Youtube comparison of the HF and Renogy 100w panels and it looked like the HF solar panel did a little better than the Renogy. I would like you more experienced solar guys to comment.


    First Scenario, mix and match
    $149.99 - Harbor Freight Thunderbolt 100W Monocrystalline Solar Briefcase, 14-22 VDC 100W 7 amp, 16 awg wire SAE connectors
    $13.99 - Thunderbolt Solar Cable Kit W multiple style SAE connectors, 16 awg wire
    $18.99 Renogy Wander Charge Controller, 10A 12 awg wire, 130W/12V, 260W/24V (HF Charge Controller isn't very good) I like this Renogy controller because it provides much more versatile connections, like for cell phones.
    https://www.harborfreight.com/100-wa...ase-57991.html
    https://www.harborfreight.com/solar-...kit-59171.html
    https://www.amazon.com/Renogy-Wander..._source=1&th=1


    Scenario Two complete all in one
    $199.99 Renogy 100W Suitcase Style Monocrystalline Solar Panel, includes 20A Voyager Charge Controller and 14 awg wiring harness with MC4 weatherproof connectors. It doesn't look like the wiring harness is very long.
    https://www.renogy.com/100-watt-12-v...5&gad_source=1

    Quick and easy set up for both scenarios on campsite. HF panel folds up nice with a canvas case. Both kinds would fold up and store nice in pass-through cargo hold. Renogy does not provide a lot of detailed info on their product. HF is everywhere is case of failure for swap out. I could get a MC4 kit and change out the HF SAE connectors. Looks like either can provide @ 7amps. What do you more experienced guys think?
    Last edited by Steven@147; 06-17-2024 at 10:55 AM. Reason: correction, additional
    Steve & Tami Cass - Fulltimers since July 2020, Escapee's, FMCA Members
    2019 Solitude 3350RL S-Class, 2018 Ram 3500 DRW, Laramie Longhorn, B&W Companion, Texas Class A Non-CDL Drivers License
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  2. #2
    Site Team Soundsailor's Avatar
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    For a couple of reasons, I would go with the Renogy. 1st: The Renogy kit has better cables and could more easily support extensions. 2nd: The Renogy kit is made to work together. I've had a few Renogy products over the years, which have worked well.
    Stephen and Judy
    2022 Reflection 150 Series 260RD (Stella)
    2017 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD (Blue)
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  3. #3
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    I also have several Renogy products and they have worked very well and seemed to be well built. I also agree with Soundsailor about the fact the Renogy products are designed to work together.
    2020 303RLS
    2018 Dodge 2500 Cummins
    BW Companion
    Retired and loving it.

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    Big Traveler dryfly's Avatar
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    https://www.renogy.com/100-watt-12-v...5&gad_source=1

    Is the charge controller that comes with this kit waterproof?
    2020 Reflection 273MK

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    Site Team Soundsailor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dryfly View Post
    https://www.renogy.com/100-watt-12-v...5&gad_source=1

    Is the charge controller that comes with this kit waterproof?
    From the Renogy website:
    【IP67 Rated Waterproof】 With an IP67-rated waterproof design, the Voyager controller is suitable for outdoor use and will remain fully operational when exposed to water spray, rain, or condensation.
    Stephen and Judy
    2022 Reflection 150 Series 260RD (Stella)
    2017 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD (Blue)
    Traded - 2018 Forest River Rockwood Minilite 2104S

  6. #6
    Site Sponsor Steven@147's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soundsailor View Post
    From the Renogy website:
    I would mount the controller inside the front cargo hold next to the battery. I think I would take out the Lippert solar plug on the front panel next to the front cargo hold and run the solar wiring through there. I haven't done anything about purchasing a solar suitcase panel but I appreciate y'alls input. I would purchase the Renogy product through.
    Steve & Tami Cass - Fulltimers since July 2020, Escapee's, FMCA Members
    2019 Solitude 3350RL S-Class, 2018 Ram 3500 DRW, Laramie Longhorn, B&W Companion, Texas Class A Non-CDL Drivers License
    Sharing the Fulltime Lifestyle - www.youtube.com/@tsrvadventures3219/videos, Nonprofit Channel

  7. #7
    Big Traveler dryfly's Avatar
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    @Steven@147

    I'm interested in doing the same thing you are considering. Is the cable between the panel and controller long enough to allow mounting the controller in the trailer? Renogy has several kits and it looks like some come with weatherproof controllers and others do not.

    I was first looking at buying individual components, but I'm not sure about compatibility or sizing the panels/controller. The kit looks like a cheaper option and guarantees compatibility.
    2020 Reflection 273MK

  8. #8
    Site Team Soundsailor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dryfly View Post
    I'm interested in doing the same thing you are considering. Is the cable between the panel and controller long enough to allow mounting the controller in the trailer? Renogy has several kits and it looks like some come with weatherproof controllers and others do not.
    I have the 200-watt solar suitcase from Renogy (very well-made). The controller is mounted to the back of the solar panels but could easily be removed and mounted near your batteries (or anywhere inside the trailer).
    Stephen and Judy
    2022 Reflection 150 Series 260RD (Stella)
    2017 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD (Blue)
    Traded - 2018 Forest River Rockwood Minilite 2104S

  9. #9
    Site Sponsor Steven@147's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dryfly View Post
    @Steven@147

    I'm interested in doing the same thing you are considering. Is the cable between the panel and controller long enough to allow mounting the controller in the trailer? Renogy has several kits and it looks like some come with weatherproof controllers and others do not.

    I was first looking at buying individual components, but I'm not sure about compatibility or sizing the panels/controller. The kit looks like a cheaper option and guarantees compatibility.
    Well the 100W I was looking at did say it was waterproof and it uses the MC4 waterproof connectors. I was looking at the suitcase kind so it could fold up and stow in the cargo hold pretty easy. It is kind of heavy though. I don't know how long the wires are to be able to move the controller in the cargo hold, they don't say. The controller is listed as 20 amp and the one suitcase panel is only @ 7 amps so the controller this product comes with might handle two suitcase solar panels and still stay under the 20amp rating of the controller.

    One thing I don't like about the Renogy, there is very little detailed information about their product. The cable kit it comes with says it's @ 7.5 feet. I would ditch the alligator clips and use ring terminals to connect to the battery posts.
    They do list on their site extension cables with MC4 connectors 10 and 12 gage wire, but they are out of stock and kind of expensive.

    I suppose one could get this MC4 connector kit with the wrenches and make up your own extension cables. For $29 it would be worth it, just buy some hunks of 12/14 gage wire and make up your own.
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078B7N3WD...hnny5dahlbe-20
    Last edited by Steven@147; 06-19-2024 at 07:01 AM.
    Steve & Tami Cass - Fulltimers since July 2020, Escapee's, FMCA Members
    2019 Solitude 3350RL S-Class, 2018 Ram 3500 DRW, Laramie Longhorn, B&W Companion, Texas Class A Non-CDL Drivers License
    Sharing the Fulltime Lifestyle - www.youtube.com/@tsrvadventures3219/videos, Nonprofit Channel

  10. #10
    Left The Driveway
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    On a similar note, I have a 2018 21 XLS BH that has a Furrion "Solar Ready" port on the side that will accept an 95W/10 amp solar panel. Has anyone plugged a system into this port, and if so, what did you use?
    Thanks!

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