Adding a second solar panel

NovaTabNovaTab Member Posts: 88
the 320 S has one 100watt panel, has anyone just added another by simply splicing it into to existing wire on the roof?

Or any other ideas welcome I have two 6v batteries.

I don't have the unit yet till next week so don't know how the wires enter the roof, any have a pic?


2021 TaB 320 Boondock, Gran Cherokee TrailHawk
365 Watts of Solar

Comments

  • Denny16Denny16 Member Posts: 4,276
    edited January 2021
    Adding a second 100-watt panel, would also require the rep,a cement of,the Victron 75-10 solar controller with a 75-15 to handle the additional wattage.  

    Another option is to just get a 100-watt portable solar panel (suitcase type setup) that will allow you to add additional solar without camper modification to roof, and then you can place the second solar panel in the sun, even if the camper is in the shade.  I believe current production includes a SAE type external,so,air connector, which you plug the portable panel into (which requires its own solar controller).  
    Cheers
    2018 TaB400 Custom Boondock,  Jeep Gladiator truck, Northern California Coast.
  • VernaVerna Member Posts: 6,885


    @[email protected] - This is a 210 watt Sunflare solar panel that has its own Victron 75/15 solar controller, and the front 105 watt Sunflare solar panel has its own Victron 75/10 solar controller. I also have the Victron smart shunt so I can see all three Victron components on the Victron Connect app. This is on a 2021 [email protected] 320S Boondock model.  
    Verna, Columbus, IN
    2021 [email protected] 320S  Boondock “The [email protected]
    Towed by a white 2019 Ford F-150 4x4 Supercab, 3.5L V6 Ecoboost “The Truck”
  • NovaTabNovaTab Member Posts: 88
    Nice install how did you run the wires to the controller

    can you please explain "Victron smart shunt"  or a pic?

    that's perfect for what I was thinking
    2021 TaB 320 Boondock, Gran Cherokee TrailHawk
    365 Watts of Solar
  • VernaVerna Member Posts: 6,885
    edited January 2021
    @NovaTab, if you search for smart shunt on the forum you’ll get a better explanation than I can give, or just go the Amazon and they have a good explanation.

    And I do admit I had an expert do the work for me. I asked and it was done as I asked. I do also have two 6 Volt AGM batteries in the front tub with 225aH of storage. 
    Verna, Columbus, IN
    2021 [email protected] 320S  Boondock “The [email protected]
    Towed by a white 2019 Ford F-150 4x4 Supercab, 3.5L V6 Ecoboost “The Truck”
  • CharlieRNCharlieRN Member Posts: 329
    edited January 2021
    NovaTab said:
    the 320 S has one 100watt panel, has anyone just added another by simply splicing it into to existing wire on the roof?

    Or any other ideas welcome I have two 6v batteries.

    I don't have the unit yet till next week so don't know how the wires enter the roof, any have a pic?


    My situation is very similar (320 BD w/solar, dual 6v batteries), though my camper won't be delivered for another 6 weeks. I had the same question about additional solar panels, and was considering asking to upgrade the controller to the 75-15 so I'd be ready for an additional 100w panel. I eventually came to the conclusion that I'd be better off experimenting to see how things worked with the stock panel and controller first.
    If it turns out that more charging is needed, I'll make the decision about what setup to use at that point. I'm inclined to go with a suitcase panel with it's own controller because it's an easy and relatively inexpensive solution. Another, perhaps bigger plus, is that portable panels can be placed in the best orientation for charging. If what Denny16 says about the 320 now coming with an SAE plug in place, a suitcase solar panel/controller is literally plug n' play. On the minus side is the pain of setup/teardown and of finding a suitable place to carry and story the gear.
    I also plan to add a battery monitor, though again after taking delivery of the and getting a feel for the [email protected] The Smart Shunt is nice - it's a wireless and communicates the information to your mobile via BT - but is fairly pricey. In the early stages, I will simply keep tabs on the state of the batteries with a handheld multi-meter and take my time sorting through the pros and cons of the various monitors.
    2021 [email protected] 320 S Boondock / 2022 Telluride - Phillies/Eagles/Flyers Country
  • NovaTabNovaTab Member Posts: 88
    I did a bit more research and received a roof frame plan from the factory showing the frame supports.

    I plan on putting on 250 watt hard panel just behind the roof vent on hinge.
    then do a tilt up bracket to get a  better angle.

    Then add a 20amp controller for that panel to add to system if I want to get fancy looking into motorized linear lift or gas struts???


    2021 TaB 320 Boondock, Gran Cherokee TrailHawk
    365 Watts of Solar
  • MarcelineMarceline Member Posts: 1,225
    CharlieRN said:
    I also plan to add a battery monitor, though again after taking delivery of the and getting a feel for the [email protected] The Smart Shunt is nice - it's a wireless and communicates the information to your mobile via BT - but is fairly pricey. In the early stages, I will simply keep tabs on the state of the batteries with a handheld multi-meter and take my time sorting through the pros and cons of the various monitors.
    This is a cheap alternative to the SmartShunt. It provides the same information as a multimeter, but you permanently connect to your battery so that you can get readings at any time using your phone. You can also set it up to send an alert if voltage drops below a certain level.
    San Francisco Bay Area
    2013 CS-S [email protected]
    Battered but trusty 3.5l V6 Hyundai Santa Fe
  • druthazerdruthazer Member Posts: 34
    @NovaTab. We put 2 100w Renogy panels in parallel and usually there is a weatherproof plug in connector from panel to the wiring.  There are simple inexpensive splitter connections that I got from Renogy that allows a direct connection of a 2nd panel without any special or additional wiring... 

    We put one panel in front of vent across with connectors toward the right side and second panel fore & aft to right of vent.  Wires were close enough to direct connect without any wire on top of panel.  

    See photos on our solar on thread 2017 Tab 320 s from 2020.   Works great ... cost cheap.  Bob & Dianne
  • NovaTabNovaTab Member Posts: 88
    sure but if the panels larger the controller can't handle the load.
    I'm adding a 265 watt panel with second 20amp controller
    2021 TaB 320 Boondock, Gran Cherokee TrailHawk
    365 Watts of Solar
  • WayfaringStrangersWayfaringStrangers Member Posts: 17
    We just picked up our new 320 on Friday and plan to use a suitcase panel in addition to the roof panel, but the solar port in the front box is not Zamp. Someone told me they are wired opposite of others. Will my Zamp work in the new 320? 
    Yes, I need to update our picture. 
  • Sharon_is_SAMSharon_is_SAM Administrator Posts: 8,418
    edited January 2021
    Just think of your solar port as an SAE plug - forget about the Zamp.  If it worked with your previous TaB, it will work with your new TaB.  If it doesn’t, then you need to check how the port is wired at the battery.  

    The Zamp panel controller wire ends in a plug that is wired so the positive lead is covered and the negative lead is the metal exposed part.  If you can use a multimeter, it is easy to confirm the port battery wiring.  If not, look at your battery and follow the port wires to the battery to determine how your port is wired.  

    Sharon / 2017 [email protected] CSS / 2015 Toyota Sienna Minivan / Westlake, Ohio
  • txbrowntxbrown Member Posts: 7
    My new CS-S boondock is due to deliver end of July. Upgrading from a custom woody, as DW wants a bathroom. Is there an issue with adding a second panel, same size or larger regarding the controller and battery(ies)? I am entirely new to solar. I understand the basics but I want to maximize my investment and boondock time. Is there a good place to learn more about solar and the CS-S. Thanks in advance
    2021 320 CS-S Boondock  I   2019 Ford Ranger XLT Sport 4x4
  • Sharon_is_SAMSharon_is_SAM Administrator Posts: 8,418
    @txbrown - check out the discussion above regarding adding a second panel.  If you search “adding solar” you should come up with additional threads.  
    Sharon / 2017 [email protected] CSS / 2015 Toyota Sienna Minivan / Westlake, Ohio
  • txbrowntxbrown Member Posts: 7
    @Sharon_is_SAM - thank you.
    2021 320 CS-S Boondock  I   2019 Ford Ranger XLT Sport 4x4
  • johnfconwayjohnfconway Member Posts: 203
    edited June 2021
    An argument for combining your rooftop panel with portable panel(s) is in this thread from yesterday. Data in chart is from two days ago. https://tab-rv.vanillacommunity.com/discussion/13775/norcold-n3104-replaced-with-isotherm-freeline-115-in-t-b-400#latest
    Look at 4:30. Temperature differential between "outdoor shade" and full sun cabin is 10 degrees. Note that a day later the 2-way refrigerator could no longer hold <40 degrees when cabin temperature hit 104 degrees. That demonstrates and supports other sources that max differential for 2-way is about 60 degrees. Already know the max differential on 3-way was 35 - 40 degrees... a health hazard in hot weather.
    Parking in the shade and putting portable panels in sun buys you at least 10 degrees and may be just enough to keep fridge temps below critical upper limit of 41 degrees. Shade in this case was placement well below porch roof. Tree shade has extra benefit of transpiration. I think it was @Dutch061 who said it's all about the delta (differential) in a thread about limitations of AC.
    Also, a blast of 95 degree cabin air into a tiny refrigerator is to be avoided if possible. Takes a long time for compressor to catch back up.
    Our Renogy portable panels arrived yesterday. Unfortunately the associated connecting work under the bed can't be done until storage bin is freed up.


    2020 [email protected] 400 BDL towed with 2019 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X  Silver City, NM
  • daizie24daizie24 Member Posts: 2
    Hello.
    What size of wire ( AWG) did you use from SAE port to Victron Smart Controller 75/10 amp  & size of wire (AWG) & maximum length from Victron Smart Controller 75/10 amp  to the portable solar panel.

    Our T320/B/2022 already came with a SAE port outside the utility box.

    Thank you.
  • HoriganHorigan Member Posts: 342
    10 AWG is typically used.
    Rich
    2019 [email protected] 400
    2013 Toyota Highlander
    Bellingham WA
  • Sharon_is_SAMSharon_is_SAM Administrator Posts: 8,418
    We use 10 AWG marine cable for all the wiring from the battery to controller, controller to panels.  We have 30 feet of extensions with limited voltage drop.  We don’t use the solar port.
    Sharon / 2017 [email protected] CSS / 2015 Toyota Sienna Minivan / Westlake, Ohio
  • CharlieRNCharlieRN Member Posts: 329
    edited May 13
    daizie24 said:
    Hello.
    What size of wire ( AWG) did you use from SAE port to Victron Smart Controller 75/10 amp  & size of wire (AWG) & maximum length from Victron Smart Controller 75/10 amp  to the portable solar panel.

    Our T320/B/2022 already came with a SAE port outside the utility box.

    Thank you.
    The size of the wiring you need depends on the length of your run and the amount of current the wiring will handle. The suggestions for 10 AWG that you've gotten from the folks here are good ones for 30 amp runs in the 30 - 35 foot range. You can find ampacity calculators and charts on-line if your application is outside of those parameters.
    You don't mention how much additional solar capacity you're planning to add. The 10 amp Victron 75/10 controller is fine for the factory-supplied panel, which I believe is 100 watts. It's not sufficient however if you plan to add an additional 100 watt panel for example and you will need a higher-capacity controller.
    The alternative to upgrading the Victron is to add a second controller to the auxiliary solar panel setup. You can then simply plug the output from the auxiliary system directly into the SAE port, which is connected directly to your house (trailer) battery. This is what I do with 320S BD and my Renogy dual-panel (200 watt) auxiliary solar system; it comes complete with its own 20 amp controller. I replaced the supplied cabling that is only 10' long with 30' feet of 10 AWG. That added length is almost always needed to place and move the suitcase panels during the course of the day so that they're in the sun.

    2021 [email protected] 320 S Boondock / 2022 Telluride - Phillies/Eagles/Flyers Country
Sign In or Register to comment.