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MUCH cheaper GoWesty solar option project
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Fogerty1970
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PostPosted: Sun May 28, 2017 2:43 pm    Post subject: MUCH cheaper GoWesty solar option project Reply with quote

I finally got some solar into my van, and as much as I liked GoWesty's folding 110W panel, I could not in good conscience pay almost $600 for their kit, so I made my own.

I did purchase their solar hookup box, doing away with the city water outlet which I never used. This enables me to connect the panel wires without having to crack a window.

An SAE (the GW connection style) to MC4 adapter is necessary to do this project.

The panel I got was a 100W Suaoki semi-flexible. Almost 6 amps in good sun, very sturdy unit. Cost me $180 on amazon.
Charge controller: 10 amp, $15 on amazon.
Wires: 15 feet of extension, so I can park in shade, panel in sun: $25 on amazon.
Adapter: $20 on eBay.

I have amazon prime, so free shipping. All told, about $240.
Pics below. The unit stows nicely under the rear bed cushion, with the wires neatly tucked beneath the rear cabinet.

I have the TF49 out for some maintenance, so the wiring was easy to do. The whole shebang takes one minute to set up.

Just an idea for those looking to add solar. Cheers all!
Chris



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dhaavers
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PostPosted: Sun May 28, 2017 3:24 pm    Post subject: Re: MUCH cheaper GoWesty solar option project Reply with quote

Slick! I always appreciate a nice, simple, affordable (cheap) DIY option!
I may be going this way in the next year or so - thanks for posting! Cool

- Dave

PS: Bonus points for putting the "under-rear-corner-cabinet" space to good use! Wink
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Halifaxwesty
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PostPosted: Sun May 28, 2017 4:18 pm    Post subject: Re: MUCH cheaper GoWesty solar option project Reply with quote

I tried a 10a controller for my 160w panel....

Lasted a day or two...my mistake....Im not sure if it is robust enough for a 100w panel...there is some maths I believe... Smile
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owokie
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PostPosted: Sun May 28, 2017 6:35 pm    Post subject: Re: MUCH cheaper GoWesty solar option project Reply with quote

Halifaxwesty wrote:
I tried a 10a controller for my 160w panel....

Lasted a day or two...my mistake....Im not sure if it is robust enough for a 100w panel...there is some maths I believe... Smile


He's using a 100w panel, at ~6 amps max, he's all good with a 10a controller. I have the same setup (it's great). A 160w panel is a different beast entirely. Pushing 10a in full sun it isn't surprising that you smoked a 10a controller.
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pablum
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PostPosted: Sun May 28, 2017 7:53 pm    Post subject: Re: MUCH cheaper GoWesty solar option project Reply with quote

owokie wrote:
Halifaxwesty wrote:
I tried a 10a controller for my 160w panel....

Lasted a day or two...my mistake....Im not sure if it is robust enough for a 100w panel...there is some maths I believe... Smile


He's using a 100w panel, at ~6 amps max, he's all good with a 10a controller. I have the same setup (it's great). A 160w panel is a different beast entirely. Pushing 10a in full sun it isn't surprising that you smoked a 10a controller.


Each panels spec sheet will have a rated closed circuit current (Ioc)that is the maximum current you can expect from it (barring acts of Zeus) and it will surely be less than that based on what your controller decides the voltage should be.
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Abscate Premium Member
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PostPosted: Mon May 29, 2017 2:41 am    Post subject: Re: MUCH cheaper GoWesty solar option project Reply with quote

Nice strain relief and chafe protection.

There is a lot of cheap junk on the solar controller dump-place, did you find a well rated one?
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AZ Landshaper Premium Member
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PostPosted: Mon May 29, 2017 11:04 am    Post subject: Re: MUCH cheaper GoWesty solar option project Reply with quote

I know nothing about electricity. Well probably enough to be dangerous. What does this setup allow you to do that you could not w/o it?
I see a few for sale around my parts and have wondered what use they might provide. Could u run a small appliance in some manner with this or is this purely for recharging the stock battery under my ass?
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E1
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PostPosted: Mon May 29, 2017 11:58 am    Post subject: Re: MUCH cheaper GoWesty solar option project Reply with quote

Looks great, well done!

My only advice would be to add a 25' separate extension cord. Almost as often as not, you'll want that flexibility -- especially on a hot summer day when camping in the woods.
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climberjohn
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PostPosted: Mon May 29, 2017 2:26 pm    Post subject: Re: MUCH cheaper GoWesty solar option project Reply with quote

This looks like a very nice set up, thanks for posting! I bought a large folding suitcase style 100 amp set up a few years ago, but I really like how much more compact yours is.

-CJ
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TommyBoyGomes
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PostPosted: Mon May 29, 2017 5:48 pm    Post subject: Re: MUCH cheaper GoWesty solar option project Reply with quote

You may have already looked into this, but if not, I recommend looking into what voltage your charge controller can output and whether it matches the recommended charge voltage rating from the battery manufacturer.

Inexpensive charge controllers don't typically give you the ability to adjust the voltage output to the battery (since they don't want you to crank it up and toast the batteries if you don't know what you're doing), so they typically provide a fixed non-adjustable output voltage that's errs on the low side. This voltage is typically lower than most batteries need for an average daylight charge time. This often under-charges the battery and results in a quick death.

I recommend reading handy bob's solar website thoroughly and eventually getting a charge controller that has a programmable output voltage in your next system. Good luck!
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bokonon42
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PostPosted: Mon May 29, 2017 5:48 pm    Post subject: Re: MUCH cheaper GoWesty solar option project Reply with quote

i added a 100w solar to mine and am able to keep my fridge going without killing the battery. that was my main use for it. an iphone/ipad charger is like 2 amps if that helps imagine things...


AZ Landshaper wrote:
I know nothing about electricity. Well probably enough to be dangerous. What does this setup allow you to do that you could not w/o it?
I see a few for sale around my parts and have wondered what use they might provide. Could u run a small appliance in some manner with this or is this purely for recharging the stock battery under my ass?

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