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 > Charging Battery with Solar Panel

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Texas Nomad

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Posted: 12/06/21 04:06pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I recently purchased a used 2019 Coachmen Freedom Express 192RBS. It came without a general owner's manual. There is an input on the side that I was told would allow a solar panel to charge the battery while at a campsite. Couple of questions: (1) Is this a dedicated input that ONLY charges the battery? (2) What panel watt output is generally recommended? (3) What type of cord/cable is necessary for the connection? Thanks

Lwiddis

Quartzsite, AZ

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Posted: 12/06/21 04:14pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Regarding question two, one solar watt per battery amp hour is the norm. On three, wire size is determined by length of the run and watts. I used 10 gauge from each 100 watt panel to the combiner box. Eight from the box to the controller. Six from the controller to the batteries.

Here’s a wire chart by WindyNation… https://www.windynation.com/jzv/inf/choosing-right-wire-size


Winnebago 2101DS TT & 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 LTZ Z71, WindyNation 300 watt solar-Lossigy 200 AMP Lithium battery. Prefer boondocking, USFS, COE, BLM, NPS, TVA, state camps. Bicyclist 14 yr. Army -11B40 then 11A - (MOS 1542 & 1560) IOBC & IOAC grad


Fisherman

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Posted: 12/06/21 05:12pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

1. On my Coleman it's only connected to the battery, 2 extra wires that come out where all the other wires are at the battery. 2. Depending on your battery(ies), 100 watt would be fine. Don't forget to add the charge controller in before the battery connection. 3. Whatever size cable that comes with the solar panel will work. Check on the video to see if this is the same input receptacle. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxYGaQX5GSQ
If it's the same receptacle you need this plug, check prices on line. https://www.zampsolar.com/products/portable-panel-furrion-cable-adapter

KD4UPL

Swoope, VA

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Posted: 12/06/21 05:21pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You can use as big a panel as you like. You will need to match the panel's output to a suitable charge controller which will really be the determining factor on size. 100 - 150 watt panels are often used on RVs. It's a much better deal on a watts-per-dollar basis to buy a larger 60 cell panel like is normally installed on a house. These are often half the cost (watts-per-dollar) than "RV panels".
With a larger home panel you will need an MPPT charge controller rated for it's voltage and current.
For the wire I would use tray cable, PV wire, or rubber cord, in that order of preference.

CA Traveler

The Western States

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Posted: 12/06/21 07:14pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Good input from KD4UPL. Solar, batteries and all house loads are connected in parallel. This means that solar ouput powers house loads then any excess charges the battery. So lights, refer etc reduce the battery charging if any from solar.

"if any?" Yes if the house loads are more than the solar output then the extra power comes from the batteries and they discharge.

Generally 100W of solar is used to keep a battery charged in storage with everything turned off. And generally more solar watts are needed when camping.


2009 Holiday Rambler 42' Scepter with ISL 400 Cummins
750 Watts Solar Morningstar MPPT 60 Controller
2014 Grand Cherokee Overland

Bob


pianotuna

Regina, SK, Canada

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Posted: 12/06/21 09:23pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Texas Nomad,

Perhaps this series of articles may help:

https://freecampsites.net/adding-solar/


Regards, Don
My ride is a 28 foot Class C, 256 watts solar, soon to have SiO2 batteries, 3000 watt Magnum hybrid inverter, Sola Basic Autoformer, Microair Easy Start.

RollandB

Albany, Or

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Posted: 12/07/21 07:48am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Texas Nomad. You might check out the Forest River Forums, https://www.forestriverforums.com/forums/. They have an active section of electrical/solar that gets many posts. Quite a few trailers on the forum the same model as yours.

Also here is a link to the Coachmen online owners manual, https://forestriverinc.help/#/coachmenrv/guide/2021/1355-spirit/browse. This may be for our model (Coachment Spirit) but you might be able to find your specific model as well. We got a binder from the dealer with ours so I haven’t used the online manual much.

Good luck!


2013 Yukon

2021 Coachmen Spirit 1943RB

Texas Nomad

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Posted: 12/07/21 05:37pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks for the links to information.

ajriding

st clair

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Posted: 12/09/21 08:46am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Did you ask this on another forum? Seems like I read the same thing already...

If your connection is on the side then it seems like is meant for a portable panel system to be connected, one that already has a charge controller.. I bet all the manufacturer did was run battery wires to that side access door. That is not a solar system, it is just a way to connect something to the 12 volt system. Very unlikely your camper has any solar-ready anything in it, no charge controller is there waiting for a solar panel.

If you want to go solar then just do it right and put it on the roof. Your side solar access is useless for this, you will need to go through the roof with a "blister" which you can find easy on eBay or somewhere.
On rubber roofs you will have to screw a mount to hold the panel. on aluminum or fiberglass roof you can use VHB tape to secure the mount to. It will hold.
Add at least 200 watts and up to 400 if you plan to camp off-grid a lot. Do this to begin with as adding more panels later is not the way to go.

IF all you want is to plug in some folding ready-to-go solar system then the side port will work, but the system should already have the charge controller.

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