Solar and additional batteries

  • Hi Guest, you may choose a LIGHT or DARK theme that works best for you with the "Style Chooser" button at the bottom left on this page!

Docrandy

Rank III
Staff member

Advocate II

511
Florida, USA
First Name
randy
Last Name
g
I have a Ram 2500 Cummins that I want to add a solar setup to with a couple of batteries mounted in the bed to power everything when the truck isn't running. I have no idea where to start on this I would love something that I can use the truck's alternator to charge the batteries as I am driving as well. I want to permanently mount the solar panels to the roof of the cab its a crew cab so have plenty of space up there. Any brands to look for or stay away from? how many watts should I look for I see kits on amazon from 100 up to 4 or 600 seem like they just add more panels to the same kits so I am guessing I could add more over time. I have never messed with a system like this so I am completely clueless on all of it. as for what I am wanting it to do I want to be able to run the offroad light bars that are on the truck power a 55+ QT fridge, some fans and maybe a couple of plug in lights at the camp plus charge cell phones and tablets/GPS ect

thanks for any help
Doc
 

RoarinRow

Rank V
Member

Pathfinder I

1,798
Elk Grove, CA, USA
First Name
Rolando
Last Name
Nispiros
Member #

17011

You'd probably have to give more detailed information on what you think you are going to power with your solar setup to get more definite answers. In general, I have a 100w Renogy Solar Panel Kit on my roof that is powering a 100amp Renogy Battery in the bed of my truck providing power to a 1000w Pure Sine wave inverter, all covered by my camper shell.

I got the inspiration of putting it together by watching this guy, Will Prowse.

 

HohoDad

Rank I
Member

Contributor I

233
Woodinville, WA
First Name
Ted
Last Name
H
Member #

19433

Just a thought.. If you permanently mount the panels you will need to park in the sun all the time..... A few years ago when I mounted solar on a motorhome I used mounts that could be tilted or removed with the pull of a few pins.... I then made up a cable with quick connectors so I could set up camp in the shade and put the panels in the sun.....
 

systemdelete

Rank V
Member

Pathfinder I

Oh ok thank you! Watching the video as I type this
Simply, more panels= charges faster(or capable of charging with less than optimum sun)

More batteries= more reserve (you want enough reserve you aren’t over drawing from your batteries if the sun doesn’t come out for a day or two.

Between the two put a quality mppt charger to regulate the current and get the most power from your panels. I use a victron for that.
 

Grendel

Rank I
Member

Contributor I

233
San diego
Member #

10959

I have a Ram 2500 Cummins that I want to add a solar setup to with a couple of batteries mounted in the bed to power everything when the truck isn't running. I have no idea where to start on this I would love something that I can use the truck's alternator to charge the batteries as I am driving as well. I want to permanently mount the solar panels to the roof of the cab its a crew cab so have plenty of space up there. Any brands to look for or stay away from? how many watts should I look for I see kits on amazon from 100 up to 4 or 600 seem like they just add more panels to the same kits so I am guessing I could add more over time. I have never messed with a system like this so I am completely clueless on all of it. as for what I am wanting it to do I want to be able to run the offroad light bars that are on the truck power a 55+ QT fridge, some fans and maybe a couple of plug in lights at the camp plus charge cell phones and tablets/GPS ect

thanks for any help
Doc
I’m working on doing the same thing. I just built a small solar charger with a panel and small battery to power fridge. I want to move to panels on roof with ability to charge from truck battery. Anyway check out Renogy.com. Under the learning section. They have a complete break down of how to run panels either parallel or in series. Whether you should get a PWM or MPPT controller. And the right size inverter.
 
  • Like
Reactions: RoarinRow

systemdelete

Rank V
Member

Pathfinder I

I’m working on doing the same thing. I just built a small solar charger with a panel and small battery to power fridge. I want to move to panels on roof with ability to charge from truck battery. Anyway check out Renogy.com. Under the learning section. They have a complete break down of how to run panels either parallel or in series. Whether you should get a PWM or MPPT controller. And the right size inverter.
I don’t run inverters at all. It’s just too inefficient. I try and keep all my DC in its native form.
 

BJ_OTR

Rank I
Member

Member I

233
Fountain Valley, Ca
First Name
Bert
Last Name
Mekpongsatorn
Member #

19736

I have 2016 ram 2500 as well and have recently installed the setup you’re talking about. I’m running 2 100w panels taped to my roof with “RV tape”. Ran the lines down my 3rd brake lights and into the back seat. There I have a Renogy 40 a mppt. They also make one with a dc to dc charger (which I should’ve got) the dc to dc charges your batteries through your alternator while driving. Then I’m running the lines into the bed of my truck to 2 vmax 125 batteries. What you see in the pic are 2 optima blue tops. I bought those originally but realized later that they were only 55 amp hours each. With the new vmax I get 250 amp hours now. I haven’t run the system with the new batteries yet but with the optimas I was able to run my dometic CFX 95 and lights for 2 days without any problems. With the renogy app you are able to see the amount of energy coming in and going out. I noticed that the energy coming in was only greater by a small margin over the 2 days I used them. That’s why I upgraded my batteries. I may be getting a separate dc to dc charger now as well although I don’t think I’ll be needed it.
I hope this helps!
 

Attachments

Last edited:

RoarinRow

Rank V
Member

Pathfinder I

1,798
Elk Grove, CA, USA
First Name
Rolando
Last Name
Nispiros
Member #

17011

I have 2016 ram 2500 as well and have recently installed the setup you’re talking about. I’m running 2 100w panels taped to my roof with “RV tape”. Ran the lines down my 3rd brake lights and into the back seat. There I have a Renogy 40 a mppt. They also make one with a dc to dc charger (which I should’ve got) the dc to dc charges your batteries through your alternator while driving. Then I’m running the lines into the bed of my truck to 2 vmax 125 batteries. What you see in the pic are 2 optima blue tops. I bought those originally but realized later that they were only 55 amp hours each. With the new vmax I get 250 amp hours now. I haven’t run the system with the new batteries yet but with the optimas I was able to run my dometic CFX 95 and lights for 2 days without any problems. With the renogy app you are able to see the amount of energy coming in and going out. I noticed that the energy coming in was only greater by a small margin over the 2 days I used them. That’s why I upgraded my batteries. I may be getting a separate dc to dc charger now as well although I don’t think I’ll be needed it.
I hope this helps!
Very cool! I like how that RV tape is holding the flex panels. Do you have a cover for your bed?