A second solar panel

Submitted: Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 11:03
ThreadID: 97823 Views:1633 Replies:1 FollowUps:3
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We currently have a van with an 80W fold out solar panel which charges the 2 van batteries via the Anderson plug and lead, ( the same one you connect the car to for driving charge ). We need to increase the amount of solar and intend buying an additional 120W fold out panel. Our question is, do we just plug in both panels via an Anderson double adapter type thing or is it more complicated than that??
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Reply By: Lucko - Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 12:21

Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 12:21
Yep, just connect them in parallel (+ve to +ve, neg to neg). What you do need to be mindful of is that you will need a solar controller capable of handling the charge current. I would suggest that in your case a 20 or 30Amp controller (allows for possible future expansion) would do the trick. This would be positioned inside the van, close to the batteries, I'm assuming that the batteries are already fused. Hope this helps.

AnswerID: 494228

Follow Up By: Charlie B2 - Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 12:43

Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 12:43
Hi folks,

But if you do what Lucko suggests, wouldn't you need to by-pass or remove the solar regulator that comes on most portable panels?

My understanding is that these would cause grief with a new 20-30 amp regulator nearer the battery bank.



FollowupID: 769856

Follow Up By: Ross M - Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 14:36

Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 14:36
If the folding panels have a regulator then just plug it's output into the a 12v outlet on the van. Both regulators will then operate their respective charge controllers and deliver to the batteries.

If you want all the paralleled outputs from the panels to go to one charger controller, then it will have to be large enough to handle the current of all panels connected to it.

The folding panel if paralleled with the other/s would need its regulator bypassed with a link wire across the negative, in and out, on that panel.
FollowupID: 769867

Follow Up By: Lucko - Wednesday, Sep 05, 2012 at 13:24

Wednesday, Sep 05, 2012 at 13:24
With due respect to Ross, using 2 regulators (one on each of the panels) is a practice to be avoided, you end up with dualling regulators.
What I have is 2 sets of leads coming from the panels. One set of leads bypasses the on-board regulator, giving raw panel output, that I connect into the van's solar system ie. it's fed into the van's solar regulator which looks after the van's roof panels as well. The other set of leads comes from the panel's on-board regulator, fitted with alligator clips, insulated from one another. I use these if I want to charge an external battery - top up the car battery if required. Best of both worlds that way.
Using a suitably sized solar regulator in the van allows you to expand in the future to roof mounted panels as well. That's what happened to us.

FollowupID: 769952

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