Adding a 200W portable (suitcase) solar system to existing 100W panel

Forum for both AC and DC electrical components. From engine alternator to dashboard, inverter to batteries, and everything electrical in-between.
Post Reply
chuckster
Posts: 109
Joined: Thu Aug 27, 2020 4:53 pm
Location: Meridian, ID

Adding a 200W portable (suitcase) solar system to existing 100W panel

Post by chuckster »

Hello All,

I have an '01 Zanzy with the original 100W solar panel on the roof. I am thinking about augmenting that with a Renogy 200W solar system to plug into the bay panel that houses the pull-out battery rack. I figure that the existing panel on the roof has its own charge controller (where?) that will monitor the voltage input from the roof panel and that the Renogy system will do the same for its solar system. Am I right to assume that this shouldn't be an issue? I plan to use 10AWG wiring through and through and move the 20A Renogy charge controller from the panels to next to the batteries. I also plan to use a 10AWG 25' cable extender from the panels. Hoping that moving the charge controller close(r) to the batteries will help things a bit.

Where in the heck is the original charge controller for the roof panel? If I were to graduate later on to a roof system, I'd like to know where that do-hicky is. Anyone know what AWG wiring they used up on the roof? 16AWG?

Is using 10AWG overkill for this 200W application?

Regards,
Chuck in Meridian, ID
'01 Safari Zanzibar 3646 (side entry)
Cat 3126B / Allison MD3060
Magnum M-Series "Blue Max" chassis
Owner since 8/2020

ProCycle
Posts: 32
Joined: Sat Oct 03, 2020 1:28 pm

Re: Adding a 200W portable (suitcase) solar system to existing 100W panel

Post by ProCycle »

10ga is not overkill especially if you need to have 25 feet between the panels and the batteries.
On my 97 Ivory the original solar panel went to a very rudimentary controller in the electrical bay at the far front on the driver's side. Then back to the batteries on the right behind the rear axle. I'd guess that's about 80+ feet of 16ga wire. With the low efficiency of the original solar panel the whole setup is nearly worthless.

I installed 840 watts of rooftop solar last fall. I'm super happy with the results.
Jeff
1997 Serengeti Ivory 3740 Cat 3126 Allison

chuckster
Posts: 109
Joined: Thu Aug 27, 2020 4:53 pm
Location: Meridian, ID

Re: Adding a 200W portable (suitcase) solar system to existing 100W panel

Post by chuckster »

ProCycle wrote:
Thu Apr 15, 2021 4:57 pm
10ga is not overkill especially if you need to have 25 feet between the panels and the batteries.
On my 97 Ivory the original solar panel went to a very rudimentary controller in the electrical bay at the far front on the driver's side. Then back to the batteries on the right behind the rear axle. I'd guess that's about 80+ feet of 16ga wire. With the low efficiency of the original solar panel the whole setup is nearly worthless.

I installed 840 watts of rooftop solar last fall. I'm super happy with the results.
Hi Jeff!

Wow, 840 watts eh? People plug into Jeff instead of the shore power! LOL

I would imagine that the original 20 year old solar panel are nearly worthless by today’s efficiency standards but something is better than nothing I suppose. We dry camped last weekend and honestly the inverter did a good job overall and I was able to make toast in a toaster, run microwave a bit and use a K-cup coffeemaker without running the generator much to top back off. This little Renogy 200w “suitcase” setup is just under $350 and will just augment what I have until I spring for the rooftop solution. Plus it will get repurposed once I do. I just wanted some affirmation that the original solar panel and the new “suitcase” should live in harmony.

Another thing...last weekend I brought along a Yamaha 1600 W portable generator and attempted to plug my shore power cable into the generator 110 V outlet which I believe is 20 amps and it would not run without popping its little circuit breaker although I had all of the components in the motorhome that run on 110 turned off and had forced my refrigerator to propane mode so I’m not sure if trying to charge up the semi depleted batteries was too much for the little 1600 W generator but back in the 90s when I had another motorhome and used to run my motorhome off of a small Honda generator without a problem so I’m wondering if anybody knows white might be the source of the 1600 W generator not being able to top off my batteries for me.

Happy trails,
Chuck in Meridian, ID
'01 Safari Zanzibar 3646 (side entry)
Cat 3126B / Allison MD3060
Magnum M-Series "Blue Max" chassis
Owner since 8/2020

ProCycle
Posts: 32
Joined: Sat Oct 03, 2020 1:28 pm

Re: Adding a 200W portable (suitcase) solar system to existing 100W panel

Post by ProCycle »

The battery charging side of the inverter should have some way to limit charging current draw for those times when shore power is plugged into a 20A circuit. On my 97 Ivory I access this function on the touchscreen over the fridge, select AC Power and can adjust the max charge current up or down in 5A increments. 1600 watts at 110v is only 15 amps so you would need to set your charging draw for less than that and not use any other power while charging up.


Yes, 840W sounds like overkill but at home in Oregon on a cloudy winter day with the sun low in the sky I only get 100 watts.
Jeff
1997 Serengeti Ivory 3740 Cat 3126 Allison

chvet73
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Oct 28, 2019 11:56 am

Re: Adding a 200W portable (suitcase) solar system to existing 100W panel

Post by chvet73 »

I had a controller in the fuse box which did not work. But a replacement had been installed behind the cover which is behind the refrigerator on the right side of my coach

Mark
1999 Sahara

stuplich@ymail.com
Posts: 1029
Joined: Mon Oct 28, 2019 8:51 am

Re: Adding a 200W portable (suitcase) solar system to existing 100W panel

Post by stuplich@ymail.com »

chuckster wrote:
Thu Apr 15, 2021 1:07 pm
Hello All,

I have an '01 Zanzy with the original 100W solar panel on the roof. I am thinking about augmenting that with a Renogy 200W solar system to plug into the bay panel that houses the pull-out battery rack. I figure that the existing panel on the roof has its own charge controller (where?) that will monitor the voltage input from the roof panel and that the Renogy system will do the same for its solar system. Am I right to assume that this shouldn't be an issue? I plan to use 10AWG wiring through and through and move the 20A Renogy charge controller from the panels to next to the batteries. I also plan to use a 10AWG 25' cable extender from the panels. Hoping that moving the charge controller close(r) to the batteries will help things a bit.

Where in the heck is the original charge controller for the roof panel? If I were to graduate later on to a roof system, I'd like to know where that do-hicky is. Anyone know what AWG wiring they used up on the roof? 16AWG?

Is using 10AWG overkill for this 200W application?

Regards,
chuckster
The original solar charge controller on my '96 Sahara looks like this:
Image
Mel
'96 Sahara 3530, mine since '01
250 hp 3126 Cat, MD3060 Allison

chuckster
Posts: 109
Joined: Thu Aug 27, 2020 4:53 pm
Location: Meridian, ID

Re: Adding a 200W portable (suitcase) solar system to existing 100W panel

Post by chuckster »

See post here for additional info on this subject

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=40017
Chuck in Meridian, ID
'01 Safari Zanzibar 3646 (side entry)
Cat 3126B / Allison MD3060
Magnum M-Series "Blue Max" chassis
Owner since 8/2020

Post Reply