The Solar Panel

Amazon sells solar panels, installation kits and accessories.

There are several choices.  Click on this link to begin shopping Amazon for everything you need to set up your solar:

Instapark® NEW All Black 100W Mono-crystalline Solar Panel, 100 Watt

 

These are my solar panel’s specs:

Model SV-T-200-HV
Power (W) 200 Watts
Open Circuit Voltage (V) 33.20 Voc
Short Circuit Current (A) 8.25 Isc
Maximum Power Voltage (V) 27.50 Vmp
Maximum Power Current (A) 7.28 Imp
Quality Grade Cosmetic
Voltage Type High Voltage
Cell Type Poly-Crystalline
Frame Type: Silver
Junction Box: Yes
Length 61.85″ ( 1,570.99 ) mm
Width 37.44″ ( 950.98 ) mm
Depth 1.61″ ( 41.00 ) mm
Weight 43.00 lb ( 19.50 ) Kg
Certifications CE, CETLUS, UL
Warranty 30 Years

33 Responses to The Solar Panel

  1. rvsueandcrew says:

    (The following comment was moved here from the comments section under a blog entry.)

    Mick replies to CinandJules’ question about . . .

    “95watt solar panel with dual 6 volt battery”

    Dual 6 volt batteries= 90 ah-110 ah (20 hours)
    25% discharge rate a day is no less than 877-1072 watts
    95 watt solar panel recharge: 50 watts x 8 hours =400 watt hours/day

    Is this a doable formula for a part time boondocker? LED lights/fan/occasional waterpump/laptop.

    two 6 volt batteries @ 100 ah is 1200 watt-hours.
    25% discharge would be 300 watt-hours (usage per day)
    The panel would provide 400 watt-hours per day recharge.
    This is a reasonable balance.
    The question is can you live with 300 t0 400 watt-hours per day.
    Lights > 20 watts x 4 hours = 80 watt-hours.
    Fan > 30 watts? x 2 hours = 60 wh.
    Laptop > 80 w? x 4hr = 320 wh
    Water pump > 100 w x 1/2 hr = 50 wh

    So 510 watt-hours and we busted the budget.

  2. phoneguy1212 says:

    I understand the solar panel is mounted on the van and the batteries are in the van. My question is that cable that you connect to that Consita ran for you. Does it just go to the on-board battery or is it connected to the fuse panel via the extra cable added?? My plan is to add solar to my Hi-Lo but there is no space in the trailer for the batteries and was going to put them in the back of my pick-up with a topper. Just not sure how to connect to the trailer. Thanks for sharing your adventures with us. I get all your updates in my email. my days are brighter when I receive them. Thanks.

    Jerry

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re welcome, Jerry. I’m happy to hear you get my email notices. I’m going to email Mick, the guy who knows everything about my solar, and ask him to answer your question for me.

    • Mick'nTN says:

      Hello Jerry, I did the design for Sue but not the installation so I don’t know how the power from the van batteries is connected. That being said you just need to connect all the 12 volt DC batteries together; positive to positive, negative to negative. You should add a fuse in the positive wire. I would use automobile grade 10 gauge wire and a 30 amp fuse between the truck and trailer. Anderson “PowerPole” connectors are top quality. You could have a problem if all your batteries are not of the same type or if you have an old battery with new batteries. What happens is the higher voltage battery will over charge the lower voltage battery. If they are lead-acid batteries the weak one could be boiled dry. You can also hook your truck battery to the system with a relay that prevents the truck from being over discharged. You don’t need to hook the truck battery in and I feel it is better to leave it separate.

      Another concern would be if you didn’t use the trailer for a long time and connected it to fully charged batteries in the truck. This is why you need a fuse between the trailer and truck. Sue has her batteries connected together almost all the time and has had no problems. She changed her Castia battery to a AGM and should do the same with the van battery next time.

      I suggest you do some google searching of this topic for more information. There are probably some good “do it Yourself” articles out there.

  3. phoneguy1212 says:

    Thanks Sue and Mick for the quick responses. It all makes sense once you mentioned the Casista battery was also changed to the new style agm battery. So one new battery for trailer and two batteries for the truck and my solar and everything should be hunky dory. Thanks again.

    • c collins says:

      Which AGM battery fit the Casita battery compartment ?

      • c collins says:

        I missed asking what converter on the Casita does RVSue have. Was the original switched out to allow an AGM battery ?

      • rvsueandcrew says:

        The same kind as I have in the PTV. Both the blue-top and the yellow-top Optima will fit in a Casita battery compartment.

  4. Bolergirl says:

    Hi Sue, I just found your blog and I love it! My plans for the near future are to renovate (clean and paint mostly) my 13 ft Boler and hit the road full timing. I love your posts and photos. Just wondering, what are your sources for such beautiful free campsites? I will need free, safe campsites to keep expenses manageable.

  5. Mike F says:

    I believe your solar panels are only putting out about half their rated power. I am assuming your two 12V batteries are wired in parallel. Your solar panel is intended for 24 volt batteries or 12V batteries wired in series. The panel will put out 200 watts only when delivering 27.50 volts (Vmp) at 7.28A (Imp.) If you hook it to a 12 volt battery, its voltage will drop to perhaps 14V at around 8 A. This will yield only 112 watts. If there is a way to reconfigure the solar cells to 13.75 volts (Vmp) at 14.56A (Imp), you will yield almost double the power and they will run slightly cooler.

    • Mick'nTN says:

      Hi Mike, Please read about the Morningstar controller, it is smart.

      http://www.morningstarcorp.com/products/sunsaver-mppt/

      • Mike F says:

        Hi Mick:
        I missed the significant detail that Sue is using a MPPT-style controller that will load-match higher voltage arrays. Another source of my confusion is your page showing a Kyocera KD250GX-LFB rated at 29.8 Vmp used with a simple Morningstar TS-45 PWM controller. Isn’t this an unhappy combination? It will only deliver about 110 watts to a 12 volt battery.

        • Mick'nTN says:

          Mike, I think most of the PWM controllers can be set to operate with a solar panel / battery voltage offset, not just the MPPT type. The PWM controllers use a buck (step down) regulation where the MPPT use a buck – boost system to raise the charging voltage when the solar panel is producing less voltage than necessary to charge the battery; like in the early morning, evening or cloudy days.

          The advantage to using high voltage panels is less cable loss due to I²R. Note the square function.

          ©Mick&RvSue §§§

  6. Mick'nTN says:

    Yes, that is a mistake. Good catch Mike. It should be the TS-MPPT-30 which is a new version of the higher power TS-MPPT series. I will get that link corrected. Thanks.

  7. c collins says:

    The following are two comments that I moved here so they would not be “buried” under an old post. — Sue

    I couldn’t locate your email so I’ve had to post here….where could I locate a semblance of your electrical schematic…that would show how you isolate and connect the various multiple batteries and use them with the inverter, solar panel, charge controller, and make connections of the tow vehicle electrical with the Casita converter and the Casita brakes and rear running lights/brake lights.

    I appreciate your willingness to assist me in understanding. I have read all the Solar notes and have pictures of your components . I understand solar recharging of the “original” battery installed on a Casita, but your setup appears to be more complex. I have a 07 Freedom Deluxe Casita, a 500 and a 3000 watt inverter (but their usage is on hold). and two 100 watt Renogy solar “suitcases” (with a 20 amp charge controller). I manually setup the solar charging as needed. I have a 2000 Honda generator that will power the air conditioner, the microwave, etc. I converted the generator to run on propane. My next consideration is extra batteries .

    To provide info to you:
    I cannot determine why you have “dual purpose” batteries versus deep cycle. Are they used in starting the TV ?
    This question would be answered, as well as others I haven’t formulated, if I could study the electrical schematic.
    I appreciate any info you can provide.
    C Collins

    • Mick'nTN says:

      Hello C Collins, I did the original design of RvSue’s solar system and a schematic . The schematic is lost … computer crash, but this is irrelevant anyway as several other people were involved in the actual installation and I had no control or knowledge of what they did.

      That being said …

      You should isolate the tow vehicle battery from the other batteries so you don’t get stranded. The solar system batteries are just hooked in parallel.

      I found this manual while helping another RVer and it is very complete with schematics, a great guide:

      http://www.midnitesolar.com/pdfs/kidManual.pdf

      If I can be of further assistance: mkent at blomand dot net

    • Mick'nTN says:

      Optima has two types of batteries, deep discharge/dual purpose and starting. The difference is shown by the lower case color, light gray = deep discharge, dark gray = starting. The top color indicates the connection style, post or side terminal. The starting type might give you some advantage in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, Canada.

  8. phoneguy1212 says:

    I believe the reason for the type of battery that is being used is two fold. They have a great track record and can be found just about anywhere. And for the most important, they are agm’s. Which because the solar and batteries reside inside the van is why they’re agm’s. Maybe you missed the reasons that the on board 3000 watt inverter is no longer in use. It kept draining the batteries even when not in use. The batteries in the van are connected to the house battery via a large gauge cable with Anderson connecters to the house battery and a small inverter inside the BLT is used for any electrical(laptop, tv, booster for wifi) devises so as to not run the two agm’s down past a 50%. I hope this helps.

  9. Sidewinder Pen says:

    Hi Sue or Mick,

    I saw a little mystery in these solar pages that had me scurrying to the manuals to make sure I wasn’t mistaken. I think there is something you might like to change here. I’ll explain:

    Sue has a “24 volt” panel and 12 volt batteries. And the controller that is shown and linked to (that she supposedly has) is the Morningstar Tristar 45 PWM. This had me questioning my own knowledge as a PWM controller can’t “down-convert” voltage, and so this would be wasting like half the available solar. Sue’s not the wasteful type!

    I went to read the Tristar 45 PWM manual in case it had some magic I didn’t understand, but no, it’s as I thought. Then re-checked her panel specs… still a high voltage panel. THEN I read through these comments and see that Sue actually has the Morningstar Tristar 30 MPPT. Whole different kettle of fish, as MPPT DOES down convert from 24 to 12 volts, and a higher voltage panel is thus a winner.

    I was thinking maybe you’d like to change the link to the Morningstar Tristar MPPT 30 (or the 45 if the 30 is not still available). This is a totally different controller than the Morningstar Tristar 45 PWM that is linked to (although they might have made the names a bit more easy to distinguish!). Should be a win/win as one, no-one will set up an inefficient system by copying “yours” (but with the PWM controller that is linked to that won’t do the job with a high voltage panel), and two, if they buy the “correct” MPPT controller it costs more and so better for your commission as well.

    Feel free to delete this after you have the information within.

    Pen

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Pen . . . I have a vague memory that a reader told us (me and Mick) that we had the wrong controller on that page and I went ahead and changed it. I’ll wait until Mick weighs in on this, although I do see what you’re saying and know you know what you’re talking about. Mick is my official technical advisor and worked on the page for me, so I defer to him. Let’s see what he has to say.

      As always, thanks for helping me with my blog.

  10. Jackie says:

    Welcome, Jackie!

    I moved your comment to the home page under the current post (2015 in review: Part 10) because that is the main discussion place. This page isn’t regularly seen by most readers. Open comments under that post to see my reply.

    Sue

  11. John L. says:

    Pleasant greetings to you Sue, and the crew as well! I have a question: You have been out for a few years now, how are your Optima batteries holding up for you? I am getting ready to get one 12V yellow top to use as a dedicated power supply for a new Dometic portable fridge, with power coming to the battery from 1 100w solar panel….will appreciate your input! Thank You in advance!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re welcome, John L,

      You made my morning by appearing here again! You disappear and then you come back. 🙂 You’ve read my blog for a long time and I appreciate that.

      I wholeheartedly recommend Optima batteries! As you know I have two of them connected to the solar panel and stored inside the PTV. When replacing the battery in the BLT, I didn’t consider purchasing any other kind than Optima. All have served us well and continue to do so. The two in the PTV are into their 5th year. So yes, go for the yellow top for your customized cargo trailer camper!

  12. I’ve got a question that I’ll also be searching the forums for, just wondering if Mick or anyone else watching this has experience with this idea.
    I like Sue’s solar setup, and have thought of doing the same thing with our Casita (when we get it) and my TV, an FJ Cruiser. But I think I misunderstood–I thought at first reading that Sue’s set up treated the PTV like shore power, in that she plugs her shore power 120VAC cord into a socket on the PTV (connected to an inverter, supplying 120VAC from the PTV batteries). But on second and third reading it sounds like the cord she plugs in is “just” tying the 2 PTV batteries to the house battery in the BLT, ie that cable (added) is bringing 12VDC to the BLT. Do I read that right?

    Is there an advantage? I was under the impression that there was less voltage drop with higher voltage, so I was thinking it would be best to do the inversion on the TV side, but I guess then you’d have additional losses when the converter in the trailer drops the 120VAC to 12VDC.

    • Jerry says:

      You are correct that there is a drop with lower voltage that travel any distance when the voltage is DC. When the voltage is AC there isn’t hardly any drop for distance if not more than say 100 feet. She has that large inverter that she used at first but soon found out that just having it on with a couple days of clouds and it would drain her batteries. 3 amps doesn’t sound like alot of draw but when you’re not putting anything back in it doesn’t take long before that dreaded 50% of battery usage is so close. She always has it there if she ever really needed to have 110 going to the trailer to run the microwave or something but everything else in the trailer runs on DC. So she has a small 400 watt inverter that plugs into a 12 volt plug on the inside of the trailer for her laptop, tv, and cell booster. Very little loss is being created with this set up. And it’s been working just fine for her for what five years now. When she first got set up my concern was that she didn’t have higher amp hour batteries and she would always reach that 50% draw to quickly but as she has proven it is perfect for her and she has learned the best speed limit she must travel with her batteries to keep them safe. And she does it without one of those fancy battery monitors that cost $150. She only has a volt meter hooked to the batteries in the van and has this down to an art now.

  13. Great site. I’m just getting on after asking a lady here at Cedar Pocket, AZ about her antenna hookup with a Verizon Jetpack. She pointed me to your site to get info. I will be a steady visitor.
    Thanks

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Great to have you with us, ronald! I’m going to repost your comment under the most current post (11/9/16), so you will be introduced to your fellow blogorinos.

  14. Harrison Phillips says:

    Do you find that you now leave your solar panel flat more often than raising it to the propped position?

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      That’s right, Harrison. Since I don’t turn on my television set for television much anymore, I’m not requiring a lot of power. Once in a while I’ll turn on the PTV’s engine to add to what the panel provides, usually in the evening on a heavy-use day.

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