I have 3 100 watt rigid solar panels (in series) charging my ac200 in my campervan. I have no other electrical system components. My question is I would like to also buy a 200 watt folding portable solar panel that I would like to add to the system when I’m boondocking in my camper and then unplug when I’m driving. How can I accomplish that?
Welcome to the forum @heeranyi !!
So quick questions so I can get a better feel for your setup to help possibly assist you better…
Are these 3x100w panels “permanently” fixed & tied into your campers setup already? Like are they already ran to a preexisting solar charge controller then to the campers battery system?
I’ve got a 13’ Scamp camper and have a single 180w up top for my “house battery” thru a Victron solar charge controller. I also have 4 of the bluetti sp120 panels for ground use, that I can wire into my fixed panel to get some added “juice” when docked.
I’ve installed a quick connect between my campers victron charge controller and panels, so that when I want to use my AC200, I simply unplug the panels going into the quick connect, and plug into my bluetti. This is done because the AC200 has a built in mppt solar charge controller, and doesn’t need the victron.
The most important thing you’ll need to take into account, is that the AC200 needs the solar input to be between 35v-150v and under 12amps. If you ran your panels in series, and all the “VOC” numbers (which should be found on the specs of the panels) when added up stay within this range, you will be good to go!
This guy gives a great detailed look at wiring up solar panels that I would suggest taking a look at! Lots of valuable info that has helped me out tremendously in the foreign world of solar! Haha
Hope this helps and let us know if you’ve got any other questions!
Outstanding reply Mike.
Hello, I have no other previous solar or electrical components. Just the 3 rigid 100w panels on the roof and the ac200. Is there a way to connect a portable folding 200 watt panel into the existing solar charging socket or is there a adapter I can buy to plug the portable panel into where the ac charger usually goes?
@heeranyi the AC200 will accept solar charging from the DC charging port on the side of the unit. It should have came with all the cables necessary to get you all hooked up. Here’s a couple pics of how to get it set up…
The other input plug on the ac200 is a 7909 input for wall charging. You do not want to plug any solar into that plug.
In your application, you can use that picture shown above as reference for your rigid panels, and simply add your portable panel to them. You might need to pick up a mc4 extension cable to get the length needed to reach your portable panel on the ground, but it’ll connect to the other panels the same way.
As I stated before, the AC200 has an awesome built in mppt solar charge controller that can handle any array with a working voltage of DC 35V-150V & up to 12A. This should easily handle all your panels connected in series with no problem and even might leave you room to add another panel or 2!
And if ever in doubt, take a multimeter to the positive and negative leads before plugging into that mc4 to xt90 plug (#8 from the picture above)
Thank you for the detailed explaination. So based on your comment of “AC200 has an awesome built in mppt solar charge controller that can handle any array with a working voltage of DC 35V-150V & up to 12A” does this mean the following would be safe and would work connected all in series?
Three Renogy 12 volt 100 Watt Rigid panels permanently on roof of my camper at Open-Circuit Voltage (Voc): 22.3V
One DOKIO 12 volt 220 Watts Foldable Solar Panel Open-Circuit Voltage (Voc)22.5V
That would be a total of 520 total watts at a total open-circuit voltage of 89.4V
@heeranyi yep! That’s exactly right!
Like I said too, I definitely would recommend always taking a multimeter to them before plugging in but looks like you’re gonna be set up quite nicely! That leaves you plenty of room to add additional panels in the future as well.
Thanks a bunch, I’ll buy the multimeter and set the array up as we have been discussing. Have a great day.
Sounds good. You as well!!
The one thing to keep in mind when connecting solar panels of different capacities / makes / models is that the amount of amperage of the lowest rated panel will determine the output of each of the panels. For example. if you had four panels with the following ratings… (5 amp) + (7 amp) + (7 amp) + (11 amp) each panel would be operating at the lowest rated panel which is (5) So you would have four panels producing 5 amps which would derate any of the higher capacity of the panels to the lower 5 amp rating. Any easy way to think of this is that the chain of panels will only operate as strong as the weakest link.
I’ve been wondering how to work a similar setup.
As it is just an additional bonus panel, could you wire that in parallel with the full time panels?
I.e. 300w wired in parallel with the 200w ?
Avoiding the issue with the different sized panels in series as @Scott-Benson says.
Hi, just trying to figure out if I can use two 100 watt fixed panels permanently mounted on my topper for a bluetti EB 70. Hobo tech indicated the bluetti had to have at least 16 volts on order for the panels to charge it. If I wired in series would these 12 volt panels work?
@Doogie The EB70 has a solar input range of 12v-28v with 8a max so your solar panels need to fall within these figures… that being said, what is the VOC number displayed for your panels? We have found that with the solar input range of the eb70, your best bet is to either get a single 200w panel (strongly recommend the bluetti sp200 which is actually on sale right now on their website), or you could parallel a set of panels but the internal mppt will limit the current to 8a.
Thanks so much. Just ordered the sp200. Was wanting to permanent mount panel(s) on my topper so any suggestions for hard frame panels for this purpose would be greatly appreciated.
@Doogie I’ve got a couple BougeRV 180w panels that I scored for like $130 a piece with the code “HOBOTECH99” or “HOBOTECH10” back in the day. Not sure what the codes are valid for anymore but I was able to pull 162w out of a single panel 2 weeks ago. And I’m located in Michigan and it was like 10am so I probably could’ve pulled a few more with better conditions! Those panels are pretty badass and pretty cheap! Def recommend for a rigid setup.
Here’s a link to the panels on their website…
That looks like a good combination to achieve the “good as its gonna get” solar charging.