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Chancebud78
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2015 8:52 am    Post subject: Renogy Solar Reply with quote

Morning Everyone

I am looking at ordering a solar panel for the van. I like how these look to fit in the luggage rack and are much cheaper than the GoWesty kit. Has anyone ever used these? Is this all I would need?

http://www.renogy-store.com/Renogy-100W-12V-Mono-Portable-Solar-Suitcase-p/kit-stcs100d.htm

I am new to solar power so any information would be greatly appreciated.


THANKS
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rilcombs
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2015 9:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This flexible panel is an interesting option as well:

http://www.amazon.com/Renogy%C2%AE-Monocrystalline...+panel+kit
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ng
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2015 9:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just ordered the Renogy 100W suitcase model this morning. I had been planning on that one for a while.

If you read through some of the solar threads you will learn that Samba member Howesight has this Renogy set-up, and gives positive feedback in a few different places.

I also agree it is better than the GoWesty offering.
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kamzcab86
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2015 12:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ng wrote:
If you read through some of the solar threads you will learn that Samba member Howesight has this Renogy set-up, and gives positive feedback in a few different places.


I have it as well:
http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2...;start=240
http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=609971

Additional solar topics are listed here: http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?p=6253316#6253316 .
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TequilaSunSet
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2015 1:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Funny... I just bookmarked the 200W bundle on Ebay... close to pulling the trigger
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ThankYouJerry
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2015 1:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Renogy seems like "the" company to go with. For the longest time I had intended on going with their 100W suitcase w/controller (PWM) but now I'm leaning toward two of their 100W flexible panels mounted on my Thule box. I'm a little confused on which of their controllers (PWM, MPPT, how many amps) will be best for my set-up so I'm gonna give them a call soon and talk it over with one of their techs.
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newfisher
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2015 2:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I run their hard mount 100w panels and have a 65w folding panel to chase the sun without moving the van when set up.

Wouldn't hesitate to do this again.
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Vinzanto
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2015 3:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not familiar with this brand but I have been extremely happy with my Windy Nations solar setup:

http://www.windynation.com/Monocrystalline-Solar-K...p=YzE9MzA=
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2015 1:48 pm    Post subject: consider ... Reply with quote

Things to consider !

1. if you park in the shade and do not move for days being able to move your panel into the sun is important. In my case i drive daily and I drive during the day.

2. How much juice do you really need, getting DC chargers and avoid using a DC to AC inverter will save you 15 to 25% The DC chargers are inexpensive.

For me having a suitcase panel was one more thing to move around if I had one I would not mount it on my car, if i ever need to I will get a second panel and that panel will be a suit case or moveable panel. I am so unlikely to climb to unhook the panel and put it back ... I am to lazy for all of that. I have yet to run out of juice.

If i had to do it all over I should install the second battery and go camping to see if I ever ran out of battery. There are also some really cool portable power supplies out that are about the cost of a solar set up. they could charge while you driving and give you an Aux battery setup. Solar looks cool but in my case I am always moving during the day time, my alternator charges the battery long before the solar. I park in the shade... I really do not know how much use I get from having solar except when parked in my driveway.
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Dave Wood
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2015 4:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have the standard renogy 100 watt panel mounted on my roof. Its removable but I don't think I'll ever have to remove it to locate the sun. I only run DC connections and so far have been pretty happy with the setup. I did not want the hassle of having to setup a solar panel when I got to camp.
I don't use too many devices, maybe a couple led lights, low power fan, cell phone, and a tablet. But the tablet is usually charged when we leave and when camping would only really need to be charged once again. I run the fridge off propane.

For me renogy with a single mounted panel is a perfect solution
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Howesight
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2015 4:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wrote a long and detailed response yesterday, only to have it disappear when my internet connection burped.

So here is the short version:
1. The GoWesty 80Watt kit ($449) is actually the same kit Zamp Solar sells, with a minor change or two. Considering Zamp Solar's retail price ($538, see: http://www.amazon.com/Zamp-solar-ZS-80P-ZAMP-SOLAR/dp/B00K1LBVKG ), the GoWesty price is not marked up.

2. There are only three other folding panels 80 watts and over that will fit in the Westfalia luggage rack:
a. Renogy 100W: $279 on amazon;
b. GoPower 80W: $387 on amazon;
c. GoPower 120W: $549 on Amazon;

I have looked at all the above and, even if price were not a factor, and they were all in the $450 to $550 range (they aren't), the vastly superior charge controller supplied with the Renogy unit would seal the deal for me.

While not knocking GoWesty, they supply convenience at a higher price. I particularly like their nut-and-bolt and complete lighting sets that save me time (and money too!). For the budget-conscious or those willing to figure things out and solder, glue, weld, etc, better deals are often available. I will often pay more for convenience. I will not pay more, however, for less performance. But that's just me.
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kbeefy
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 20, 2015 6:59 pm    Post subject: Re: consider ... Reply with quote

david2676 wrote:
Things to consider !

1. if you park in the shade and do not move for days being able to move your panel into the sun is important. In my case i drive daily and I drive during the day.

2. How much juice do you really need, getting DC chargers and avoid using a DC to AC inverter will save you 15 to 25% The DC chargers are inexpensive.

For me having a suitcase panel was one more thing to move around if I had one I would not mount it on my car, if i ever need to I will get a second panel and that panel will be a suit case or moveable panel. I am so unlikely to climb to unhook the panel and put it back ... I am to lazy for all of that. I have yet to run out of juice.

If i had to do it all over I should install the second battery and go camping to see if I ever ran out of battery. There are also some really cool portable power supplies out that are about the cost of a solar set up. they could charge while you driving and give you an Aux battery setup. Solar looks cool but in my case I am always moving during the day time, my alternator charges the battery long before the solar. I park in the shade... I really do not know how much use I get from having solar except when parked in my driveway.


This was pretty much the same as my logic. I went with a 105aH house battery and can run my fridge/lights for about 4 days. I very rarely stay anywhere 4 days, so decided solar would be a waste.
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 20, 2015 8:05 pm    Post subject: Re: consider ... Reply with quote

kbeefy wrote:
I went with a 105aH house battery and can run my fridge/lights for about 4 days. I very rarely stay anywhere 4 days, so decided solar would be a waste.


Huh?!?! I have two DieHard Platinum AGMs in tandem for aux only (plus a separate independant AGM starter bat), and a Blue Seas 7610 ACR running an ARB50 fridge (and Propex when cold) and I need to charge (drive with 14A alt, or shore power 120V) every 24-48 hours. I just figured this is "normal" and I need to add solar. Just had the two aux bats checked and they are in great shape. What gives? Confused I'll start a new thread as this may derail this one. Just shocked you're getting 4 days running a fridge off 105aH aux bat and no solar!
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2015 8:40 am    Post subject: Re: consider ... Reply with quote

ThankYouJerry wrote:
kbeefy wrote:
I went with a 105aH house battery and can run my fridge/lights for about 4 days. I very rarely stay anywhere 4 days, so decided solar would be a waste.


Huh?!?! I have two DieHard Platinum AGMs in tandem for aux only (plus a separate independant AGM starter bat), and a Blue Seas 7610 ACR running an ARB50 fridge (and Propex when cold) and I need to charge (drive with 14A alt, or shore power 120V) every 24-48 hours. I just figured this is "normal" and I need to add solar. Just had the two aux bats checked and they are in great shape. What gives? Confused I'll start a new thread as this may derail this one. Just shocked you're getting 4 days running a fridge off 105aH aux bat and no solar!


TKY, what is your combined ah with those two aux batteries? I have an AGM 105 ah myself and do not last 4 days without charge either.
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thatvwbusguy
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2015 9:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ambient temps, frequency of opening the fridge and even the color of the van can all prove to be major factors in battery life when running a DC fridge.

Most DC refrigerators have a low voltage cutout around 10.0-10.3V. If a battery is considered to be working fine until it hits this voltage, it will could give you an extra day of camping when compared to a more reasonable approach that monitors and limits the depth of discharge before recharging to about 50% or less.

Allowing any battery to reach a deeply discharged state on a regular basis has a negative impact on battery lifespan. This is the reason that some people have to replace auxiliary batteries every 1-2 years vs. others who get 5-6 years or more between replacement intervals.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2015 12:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a norcold which draws 3.1amps when running. I have a 55AH deep cycle AGM battery. I get about 20 hrs. The fridge runs a lot down here in south west florida. I keep it packed with frozen water bottles in all the unused space to help out. I also have the renogy 100w panel. I plan on adding another 100AH AGM. I would like to run the fridge for the whole weekend. The amount of time that you can run the fridge also depends on how cold you set the temp.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2015 4:59 pm    Post subject: Re: consider ... Reply with quote

ThankYouJerry wrote:

Huh?!?! I have two DieHard Platinum AGMs in tandem for aux only (plus a separate independant AGM starter bat), and a Blue Seas 7610 ACR running an ARB50 fridge (and Propex when cold)


That was summer camping in AK, no heater and cool nights. Fairly low consumption.
If it's below freezing and running my heater at night 36 hrs is about all I get. The fridge obviously runs less.

If your ARB was running max (2.3a per arb) continously for 24 hours thats 50 aH. How much storage capacity do those Diehards have? What is your resting voltage when you start camping? I'm at about 12.6 and don't let it drop below 12v resting.

I keep my fridge pretty full and try to be efficient about opening and closing it as infrequently as possible.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2015 6:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My 100w renogy and 140ah Interstate under the rear seat.have been keeping my Edgestar.running for months.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2015 10:31 pm    Post subject: Re: consider ... Reply with quote

madspaniard wrote:
TKY, what is your combined ah with those two aux batteries? I have an AGM 105 ah myself and do not last 4 days without charge either.


I haven't been able to find specific ah info but the two DieHard Platinums I'm using are model #51065 (group 65) (145 RC) (950 CCA).

thatvwbusguy wrote:
Ambient temps, frequency of opening the fridge and even the color of the van can all prove to be major factors in battery life when running a DC fridge.

Most DC refrigerators have a low voltage cutout around 10.0-10.3V. If a battery is considered to be working fine until it hits this voltage, it will could give you an extra day of camping when compared to a more reasonable approach that monitors and limits the depth of discharge before recharging to about 50% or less.

Allowing any battery to reach a deeply discharged state on a regular basis has a negative impact on battery lifespan. This is the reason that some people have to replace auxiliary batteries every 1-2 years vs. others who get 5-6 years or more between replacement intervals.


1. I mostly camp in 80-95 (Daytime) to 50-70 (nighttime) weather. Moderation practiced with the fridge door Wink . White van with all windows tinted (15%) behind the driver/passenger. COLD A/C on while driving in hot weather. Fridge set temp = 34-36 degrees.

2. ARB claims that "average DC power consumption of the ARB50 is 0.7 to 2.3 amp hr." and it has three switchable settings for low voltage cut out: HI (11.8V) MED (11.4V) and LOW (10.1V). ARB recommends the LOW setting when running off independent aux battery(ies) or the HIGH setting when running off of a starter battery.

My aux batteries typically start out at a resting voltage of 12.7V. I've been in the habit of not allowing them to run below 12.05V before recharging. In 60min-95max weather that means I'm seeing 24-36 hours of fridge use before needing to charge again (even less with my Propex running at night of course). Is it ok to take my aux batteries all the way down to the ARB cut out setting of 11.8V (or 11.4V or 10.1V Shocked before recharging)? I suppose the "good news" is that the DieHard Platinum AGM batteries do have a 4 year warrantee Embarassed .

FWIW... Here's a link to the ARB User Manual: http://www.carid.com/images/arb/car-organizers/pdf/fridge-freezer-users-guide.pdf

3. Any advice on what size solar panel would work well for me and my dual aux bats? At most I'll be trying to keep my ARB50 and Propex HS2211 going. I've been thinking of mounting a flexible Renogy 100W panel on my Thule box with a PWM controller. Thanks for the help.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2015 9:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

https://www.amazon.com/Renogy-100W-Mono-Starter-Kit/dp/B00BFCNFRM

I purchased the above kit, and the width is just right for my top, right behind the luggage carrier. I initially pulled the wires under the top, but caused a water leak due to the rubber seal being lifted and water coming in when raining. I decided to do "the right thing" for sealing them, and used the gland-based connectors. They were perfect, other than being a bit short to my taste (barely a few threads holding them on).

I used either of these (not sure which):
http://www.mcmelectronics.com/product/21-14350
or
http://www.mcmelectronics.com/product/21-14353

I DID have to scrap the flocking off so I could get them started, and had to make 110% sure they were not cross-threaded, as the clearance was minimal (and I was doing it solo).

I wired them with 10g 2-wire connectors like these:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0057ZQJ12

with the holes positioned near the front edge of the poptop over the driver-side. I made sure to have enough clearance to clear everything underneath while the top was down, of course, but had to lift it a bit so I didn't poke my canvas.

As to performance, I later decided I didn't like the controller it came with (only one battery bank) and purchased the following controller to power both battery banks:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00IMIBN62
and the controller for watching how much juice I bring in:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00SW1N844

So far, my batteries have not dropped below 12.4v for the house and 10.2 for the starter (expected due to the starting load, but still not bad for an old POS I have not swapped out yet).

YMMV, but I would stand solidly behind the Renogy panel (over 1 year in use) and the 2-bank controller (6 months in use). If I could find different glands that had a bit more thread through-length, I would use them, but for $0.29 each, I made them work. The biggest "complaint" with the panel is it gets dirty. Easy fix: when at the gas station, people look at me funny when I am squeegeeing what looks like my roof!

(Sorry if I hijacked, 1st post and all).
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