Solar Panels For A Popup | OVERLAND BOUND COMMUNITY

Solar Panels For A Popup

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Peregrine

Rank 0

Traveler I

98
Idaho, USA
First Name
Darby
Last Name
Peregrine
Have an opportunity to pick up a nearly new Rockwood ESP 232 on the cheap. Would need to add solar to the setup. Understand the pros/cons of permanently attached verses the flexibility of portables. Anyone have any experience and/or recommendations for adding? Initially looking at one, maybe 2, 100w panels. If going 2, considering one mounted and one portable.

Thanks and happy trails.:sunglasses:
 

Road

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Member

Advocate III

3,379
On the road in North America
First Name
Road
Last Name
Dude
Member #

6589

.
I've been using solar panels for over 4yrs and am planning more.

I currently have a super-efficient 120w folding panel hooked up to my trailer's power center, and recently bought another, identical 120w folder (used at considerable savings) for setting up the same system in my van.

Here's what I've learned about permanent or movable, and mixing types or not.

solararray_090706_7948-900.jpeg

I much prefer movable, as it greatly expands my potential for gathering energy from the sun.

This lets me park my rig in the shade or under tree canopies or in places that may be shady much of the day, and still allow me to generate max energy for storing in my deep cycle batts.

I can now mount both folding panels to the top of my RTT and/or my van (or one 120w folder each), drive down the highways and trails and be generating/storing power while underway, then take them down and move them as far away as my cables will allow. I can also keep one in camp, one with me in the van if away for the day, or both at camp or on the van as needed.

cable-camp-workshop_9871-900.jpeg

I make my own solar cable extensions from suitable, flexible, highly stranded and tinned 10AWG. I usually make them while in camp with the supplies seen above.

solarcable_0373-900.jpg

I have several extensions of various lengths and can now go over 135' from my charge controller and deep cycles. Two fifty footers above. I'll be making more to keep in the van at all times for its solar system.

To be able to move your panels a good distance can be HUGE when camping, in terms of comfort for truck and/or traile, amount of power generated, and overall convenience.

Personally, I would not mix a permanent mount with a movable. I do a lot of multi-month adventures and extended stay base camping, with a variety of power needs from ebike and camera battery charging, to powering or charging multiple devices, and like the redundancy of products and parts, and knowing I can swap pieces from one rig to the other, or use one as replacement should something go wrong with the other. It's the 'two is one, one is none' logic of adventuring.

Having BOTH sets be movable can literally double the power gained in many situations. I'd don't like having to move either my trailer or my van just to be in the sun for solar. It's not usually the best spot for setting up, and certainly not convenient to have to move van or trailer throughout the day.

Might be a lot easier if not staying out long and knowing you're headed home in a few days, though when out for a long time, you take advantage of storing as much power as you can, when you can.

I leave my panels on the trailer and hooked up right through the winter and when the trailer is not being used. That keeps the deep cycles topped off and in good shape, even to the point I can hook up my van through the 7way and keep the van's twin diesel starting batts topped off when it's not being used for long periods.

As I have time, I'll be adding the recently purchased folding panel to the van for quick on/off.

solarsnow-210213_4986-900.jpeg

I've created a quick mount/dismount system for both panels (120w folding for trailer, same exact panel for van) so they can be interchanged without fuss or hassle.

.
 
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Kozysnack

Rank V
Member
Adventure

Educator I

2,623
Austin, Travis County, Texas, United States
First Name
Vance
Last Name
Ely
Member #

28800

Ham Callsign
WRNX949 is my GMRS, haven't taken my test yet but working on the HAM
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USAF BRAT
Nomad 100s.jpgWe have two Nomad 100s and that works for us. I can clip them to the top of our Superlite GFC or like in this case, lay them on the ground and park the truck in the shade. We pushed 135 watts at 4 in the afternoon on a partly cloudy day.
 
Last edited:

Peregrine

Rank 0

Traveler I

98
Idaho, USA
First Name
Darby
Last Name
Peregrine
.
I've been using solar panels for over 4yrs and am planning more.

I currently have a super-efficient 120w folding panel hooked up to my trailer's power center, and recently bought another, identical 120w folder (used at considerable savings) for setting up the same system in my van.

Here's what I've learned about permanent or movable, and mixing types or not.

View attachment 210339

I much prefer movable, as it greatly expands my potential for gathering energy from the sun.

This lets me park my rig in the shade or under tree canopies or in places that may be shady much of the day, and still allow me to generate max energy for storing in my deep cycle batts.

I can now mount both folding panels to the top of my RTT and/or my van (or one 120w folder each), drive down the highways and trails and be generating/storing power while underway, then take them down and move them as far away as my cables will allow. I can also keep one in camp, one with me in the van if away for the day, or both at camp or on the van as needed.

View attachment 210338

I make my own solar cable extensions from suitable, flexible, highly stranded and tinned 10AWG. I usually make them while in camp with the supplies seen above.

View attachment 210340

I have several extensions of various lengths and can now go over 135' from my charge controller and deep cycles. Two fifty footers above. I'll be making more to keep in the van at all times for its solar system.

To be able to move your panels a good distance can be HUGE when camping, in terms of comfort for truck and/or traile, amount of power generated, and overall convenience.

Personally, I would not mix a permanent mount with a movable. I do a lot of multi-month adventures and extended stay base camping, with a variety of power needs from ebike and camera battery charging, to powering or charging multiple devices, and like the redundancy of products and parts, and knowing I can swap pieces from one rig to the other, or use one as replacement should something go wrong with the other. It's the 'two is one, one is none' logic of adventuring.

Having BOTH sets be movable can literally double the power gained in many situations. I'd don't like having to move either my trailer or my van just to be in the sun for solar. It's not usually the best spot for setting up, and certainly not convenient to have to move van or trailer throughout the day.

Might be a lot easier if not staying out long and knowing you're headed home in a few days, though when out for a long time, you take advantage of storing as much power as you can, when you can.

I leave my panels on the trailer and hooked up right through the winter and when the trailer is not being used. That keeps the deep cycles topped off and in good shape, even to the point I can hook up my van through the 7way and keep the van's twin diesel starting batts topped off when it's not being used for long periods.

As I have time, I'll be adding the recently purchased folding panel to the van for quick on/off.

View attachment 210337

I've created a quick mount/dismount system for both panels (120w folding for trailer, same exact panel for van) so they can be interchanged without fuss or hassle.

.
Fantastic. Thanks for the insights. Didn't think of mounting a portable as an option.
 
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Road

Not into ranks, titles or points.
Member

Advocate III

3,379
On the road in North America
First Name
Road
Last Name
Dude
Member #

6589

@Road what brand is that smaller folding pnl? It looks like it can take a beating......
.
Yeah, they're rugged and very efficient, made from Sunpower Maxeon cells (most efficient cells on the market these days), though marketed by overland solar, which no longer carries them in this style. I have two sets of them; one for the trailer and now one for the van, each 120w.

I MUCH prefer a rigid folding panel over flat flexible, because I can fold them up to store, or prop them up at angles easier for maximum gain, mount them to my rooftops, or move them about at great length to where the sun is while I'm in the shade.
.
 
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Peregrine

Rank 0

Traveler I

98
Idaho, USA
First Name
Darby
Last Name
Peregrine
Have an opportunity to pick up a nearly new Rockwood ESP 232 on the cheap. Would need to add solar to the setup. Understand the pros/cons of permanently attached verses the flexibility of portables. Anyone have any experience and/or recommendations for adding? Initially looking at one, maybe 2, 100w panels. If going 2, considering one mounted and one portable.

Thanks and happy trails.:sunglasses:
After pondering for a while, opted for a portable setup. This way I can use them without the trailer. 200w 30amp Renogy with all the electronics. Found a number of threads on other groups that indicated I should also plan to replace the factory "18g Solar Ready" wire in the trailer. Another project for the list.
 
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scotticus

Rank I
Member
Adventure

Member I

263
Fair Oaks Ranch, TX, USA
First Name
Scott
Last Name
Simpson
Member #

29528

Ham Callsign
KE5EO
I'm using a 120watt foldable panel i got off amazon, it puts out 18.5v and 6.3A (according to my Manager30) in full sun, pretty good. It is also daisy chain-able.

Looks very similar to my Eco=Worthy 120W kit. I report similar results. Great looking camper!
I’m sure they are basically all the same thing: