Trailer Solar Options





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  1. #1
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    Default Trailer Solar Options

    Hi All,

    I need some assistance as i'm a complete novice when it comes to things solar.
    I have a 2005 Echo4 and would like to add solar to it. It has the attached power panel:
    I would like to run my fridge 65l SM (maybe 2 on certain trips) and a few LED lights at night, so nothing too serious.

    I was quoted 8k the other day just for the solar charger, which i think was excessive and the guy was taking a chance.

    Any ideas and a fairly inexpensive (i know it's solar) option for my above needs?
    I would also need some advise on how to install

    Thanks!
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Trailer Solar Options

    Quote Originally Posted by scabs View Post
    Hi All,

    I need some assistance as i'm a complete novice when it comes to things solar.
    I have a 2005 Echo4 and would like to add solar to it. It has the attached power panel:
    I would like to run my fridge 65l SM (maybe 2 on certain trips) and a few LED lights at night, so nothing too serious.

    I was quoted 8k the other day just for the solar charger, which i think was excessive and the guy was taking a chance.

    Any ideas and a fairly inexpensive (i know it's solar) option for my above needs?
    I would also need some advise on how to install

    Thanks!
    Contact Bushpower and talk to Jacque (072 421 1279)

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Trailer Solar Options

    Quote Originally Posted by JB10 View Post
    Contact Bushpower and talk to Jacque (072 421 1279)
    Agree on this statement. Bought a lot of solar kit from Bushpower over the years. I would also bypass the power panel completely and connect the MPPT solar regulator directly to the battery.
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Trailer Solar Options

    For that use I think around 200W solar will be enough. I would also recommend a solar MPPT controller of at least 20-25A. There are couple on the market, like WRND, National Luna, Victron etc. If you only need a solar controller and not a DC-DC charger also, I would go for the 30A Victron MPPT controller. R3780 by 4x4 direct. This will work a charm for you.

    Solar panels you can check with bushpower as mentioned. You can also buy two 100W panels and make your own solar panel case (2 x 100W panels with hinges) for not a lot of money. You can expect to pay R10/W for panels. So for the two panels, controller and 10m wire you look at R 2000 + R3780 + R 360 (for silicon wire) = R 6240. Another maybe R600 for a padded bag if you please.

    You would then connect the solar panels directly to the controller and the controller to the battery. You will bypass your panel already in the trailer.

    Regards

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Trailer Solar Options

    Quote Originally Posted by Bassfisher View Post
    For that use I think around 200W solar will be enough. I would also recommend a solar MPPT controller of at least 20-25A. There are couple on the market, like WRND, National Luna, Victron etc. If you only need a solar controller and not a DC-DC charger also, I would go for the 30A Victron MPPT controller. R3780 by 4x4 direct. This will work a charm for you.

    Solar panels you can check with bushpower as mentioned. You can also buy two 100W panels and make your own solar panel case (2 x 100W panels with hinges) for not a lot of money. You can expect to pay R10/W for panels. So for the two panels, controller and 10m wire you look at R 2000 + R3780 + R 360 (for silicon wire) = R 6240. Another maybe R600 for a padded bag if you please.

    You would then connect the solar panels directly to the controller and the controller to the battery. You will bypass your panel already in the trailer.

    Regards
    If 200W solar panels are recommended then a 20-25A MPPT controller is overkill as the A output will be no more than 10A at full tilt. Contact Jacque or Google Sinetech for advice, I don't have a Durban contact for you. sinetech.co.za

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Trailer Solar Options

    Quote Originally Posted by TRON View Post
    If 200W solar panels are recommended then a 20-25A MPPT controller is overkill as the A output will be no more than 10A at full tilt. Contact Jacque or Google Sinetech for advice, I don't have a Durban contact for you. sinetech.co.za
    I agree that 20-25A might be an overkill, but why buy a 10A one for only a couple of mandelas less than a 25A one. So if you expand later on you already have the correct size MPPT controller. I bought 320W panels now and I installed a 40A MPPT so that when I go to 600W in the future I already have the correct controller.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Trailer Solar Options

    200w is very close to 10a. Will push 10a unit to max

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Trailer Solar Options

    What battery/s do you currently have in your trailer?
    I agree with contacting Bushpower for pricing and advice, but also shop around at places like 4x4 Direct and Current Automation.

    Will you permanently mount the panels or want them to be loose?
    I would go for a MPPT solar controller rather than PWM, the places I mentioned sells Victron which is very good quality, so the Victron Smartsolar 75/15 or 100/20. You get Victron Bluesolar and Smartsolar controllers, difference being that the Smartsolar have built in bluetooth for monitoring from your phone which is a great feature to have.

    I'd also say around 200W is a good starting point.
    The 75/15 controller can utilize max 200w in panels and if you think you might want to upgrade in future, the 100/20 can utilize up to 300W in panels.
    If you plan to permanently mount the panels then you might as well get a single 200W or so panel if it will fit the space you have, otherwise go for 100W panels which is easier to handle.

    You will then connect the solar controller directly to the battery with short cables and permanently mount it close to the battery. From the controller you can then run cables directly to the panels if mounting permanently, or place a connector somewhere on the outside of your trailer for plugging in the panels.

    R2000 for the controller, R2000 for 200W panels, R1000 for cable, connectors and other accessories. That guy who tried to sell you a controller for R8k was smoking his socks, or tried to sell you a huge controller which would be totally unnecessary for your application.
    Last edited by bigboy529; 2020/07/30 at 11:42 AM.
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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Trailer Solar Options

    Quote Originally Posted by scabs View Post
    Hi All,

    I need some assistance as i'm a complete novice when it comes to things solar.


    I see the power box do have a 100 watt solar charger. I would first try that and see how its coping. Thus buy a say 90 watt panel, use it and if its not doing it, buy another panel and a 15 or 20 amp charger.
    Last edited by JLK; 2020/07/30 at 11:29 AM.
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Trailer Solar Options

    Quote Originally Posted by scabs View Post
    Hi All,

    I need some assistance as i'm a complete novice when it comes to things solar.
    I have a 2005 Echo4 and would like to add solar to it. It has the attached power panel:
    I would like to run my fridge 65l SM (maybe 2 on certain trips) and a few LED lights at night, so nothing too serious.

    I was quoted 8k the other day just for the solar charger, which i think was excessive and the guy was taking a chance.

    Any ideas and a fairly inexpensive (i know it's solar) option for my above needs?
    I would also need some advise on how to install

    Thanks!
    Maybe two fridge/freezers? (to keep them going over an extended period I would guess you will need 200 to 240W solar capacity.)

    What size in Watts is the "attached solar panel" and does it have a controller? I suggest that you design for what you need now and allow for potential expansion.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Trailer Solar Options

    Quote Originally Posted by Bassfisher View Post
    I agree that 20-25A might be an overkill, but why buy a 10A one for only a couple of mandelas less than a 25A one. So if you expand later on you already have the correct size MPPT controller. I bought 320W panels now and I installed a 40A MPPT so that when I go to 600W in the future I already have the correct controller.
    There is no one size fits all in the off road solar set-up. Having all the W outputs of a 320w panel means ziltz if you don't have the storage capacity i.e. proper battery/bank.

    Scabs needs to get some expert (not the kind that wants to sell you a controller for R8k) to assist.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Trailer Solar Options

    The max I have ever seen my setup (Victron 75/15 & 2x80W panels) produce is 9.4a. I normally average between 8-9 amps throughout the peak hours of the day if I look at the history using the bluetooth app.

    I have also found that I get better performance from the panels when they are connected in series vs parallel, i.e. when they are providing the maximum amount of voltage to the MPPT.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Trailer Solar Options

    Quote Originally Posted by plakkie View Post
    The max I have ever seen my setup (Victron 75/15 & 2x80W panels) produce is 9.4a. I normally average between 8-9 amps throughout the peak hours of the day if I look at the history using the bluetooth app.

    I have also found that I get better performance from the panels when they are connected in series vs parallel, i.e. when they are providing the maximum amount of voltage to the MPPT.
    When connecting in series you have to be carefull not to exceed the controllers max input voltage. 2 panels can be up to 50 volts.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Trailer Solar Options

    Quote Originally Posted by desdrake View Post
    When connecting in series you have to be carefull not to exceed the controllers max input voltage. 2 panels can be up to 50 volts.
    The Victron 75/15 MPPT allows for a max Voc of 75v and max charge current of 15a. Two panels in series is fine.

    See page 7 on Victron's recommendation for highest controller efficiency:
    https://www.victronenergy.com/upload...R-DE-ES-SE.pdf

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Trailer Solar Options

    Quote Originally Posted by desdrake View Post
    When connecting in series you have to be carefull not to exceed the controllers max input voltage. 2 panels can be up to 50 volts.
    25V safety margin from 50 to 75V for 2 panels seems very good with the controller mentioned.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Trailer Solar Options

    Wow, loads of responses to go through, thanks for replies!

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