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Old 11-24-2019, 01:23 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Saskatchewan
Posts: 345
Solar suitcase (build)

Has anyone built themselves a 200W solar suitcase? What type controller did you use, MPPT, PWM, and amp? Did you add MC4 fuses and where? Did you add a fuse between the battery and controller and what size? I know these have pros and cons, especially if it's not anchored against a whirl wind. But what I was trying to achieve is a charge that'll keep the battery full with the fridge and a little extra juice like the radio playing. When It comes to evening TV or a larger power demand or needing the air conditioner we have the generator. It's to basic recharge the battery if it gets drawn the night before and maintain the fridge the next day while gone fishing type thing.
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Old 12-01-2019, 06:59 PM   #2
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Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: IN
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Hi, I have a more permanent setup with two identical 100W solar panels on the roof of the trailer. Max theoretical amp output at 12v would be 16.67 amps. I will never see this due to a variety of factors. I also have two 100 amp lithium 12v batteries. The solar panel output is very sensitive to angle of the sunlight on the panels, cleanliness of the panels and heat (I have a air gap between the roof and bottom of the panels to dissipate any heat build-up. I use the Bioenno Power SC-1220JU 12V, 20A Solar Charge Controller. This is a multi-stage MPPT solar charge controller which has some proprietary CC/CV (Constant Current/Constant Voltage) technology designed specifically for LiFePO4 (lithium iron phosphate) batteries. I only hook the batteries up to this.

There is nothing on the “Load” output. I only pull power from the batteries and let the charger keep the batteries up.

So far this setup has worked to keep the batteries charged and run the refrigerator and LED cabin lights without any issues. Only maintenance has been cleaning the panels periodically.

I considered using the fuses you mentioned but for me with the controller between the solar panels and the batteries was enough I decided against using them. If I was going to add them, it would be between the solar panels (one on each panel) and the charger.

The refrigerator in gas mode draws maybe 3 amps.

Good luck with you project. You won’t regret having that charging capability.

My only regret is my setup is too small. I will at some point add at least 2 (maybe 4) more 100W panels. But at that point I will need a bigger charger, 60 amp, also. But problem for me is the variability of the amperage coming off the panels at any given time. In theory if the panels would put out a sustainable amperage consistently I would use the Load output but I haven’t seen that yet.
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Old 12-01-2019, 08:29 PM   #3
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Location: Saskatchewan
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I just ordered my system AGAIN, actually last night I ordered a Renogy 200W with the Rover 20A MPPT controller. Then after thinking another day, tonight decided to cancel that order and order two 100W Mono panels and the Renogy 40A MPPT Rover controller, so I can easily upgrade to more panels, more batteries, inverter, and so on at a later date if need be' The suitcase was a good ideal, but living up in Saskatchewan you just never know when a storm is going to send everything flying down the road to the next province so I decided to mount to the roof. So with todays order I ordered 2-100W panels and wire, connectors etc to build up to 600W. When I place my first 2 panels, I'll be designing for 6, and Personally I believe 200W will service our needs, but building for extra expansion down the road might be a good ideal for down the road.
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Old 12-01-2019, 11:36 PM   #4
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Join Date: Sep 2019
Location: SK
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Sorry I missed reading your earlier post. I just saw a deal from Canadian energy. 1500.00 for 620w of panels and a 60amp MPPT charger. The panels they use are about the highest efficiency I have ever seen.
Being in SK the sun doesn't stay high for long. So check the rating on the panels.

I think they have a store in Saskatoon. But speaking to shops in Moose Jaw and Regina. They referred me to Medicine Hat for the best knowledge base and if You want it installed. They have 20+ year guy in Medicine Hat. That does nothing but RV inverter battery/ Solar installs.
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