Solar

I just bought a new Tab s and noticed that there was not a connector for solar input. Is this something new on   2018 MODEL ? How elce can I connect solar and what seems the best unit is best for a Tab?  Thank you.

Comments

  • pthomas745pthomas745 Posts: 457Member
    Can't answer the "connector" question, but there have been many discussions of solar panels, suitcases, different installations, etc.  You can find a whole pile of links to threads on solar here:

    https://www.google.com/search?ei=rQxTWr3kF6HqjwSj0rW4Cg&q=solar+site:http://tab-rv.vanillaforums.com/&oq=solar+site:http://tab-rv.vanillaforums.com/&gs_l=psy-ab.3...3143.6051.0.7283.15.11.0.0.0.0.167.1094.5j5.10.0....0...1c.1.64.psy-ab..8.0.0....0.dzkLuHc-_sM



  • SAMSAM Posts: 2,147Member
    As I recall, nüCamp is no longer putting a Zamp SAE plug on their [email protected]  You need to purchase a mating end for your cord to your solar panels and connect it to the battery.  Take your solar cord around the edge of your tub and plug it into the plug you connected to your battery so you don’t have to drill any holes.

    If you purchased the built-in, factory installed solar panels, they should already be wired.
    Sharon and John - Cleveland Heights, Ohio. Blue and Silver 2017 CSS towed by a 2015 Salsa Red Toyota Sienna
  • SAMSAM Posts: 2,147Member
    @brookings- you need to determine how many amps you use with your style of camping to help determine your wattage needs.  If you have a 320, your battery size is an important part of the equation as you do not want to deplete your battery excessively - a higher amperage battery allows a larger amp use and a reserve in case of inclimate weather.  Zamp (expensive) and Renogy (deal) are popular brands and both have a 100 watt solar suitcase which seems to be a good start depending on your charging needs.  In the end, you will need battery cables that you can temporarily connect, or you can create a permanent extension that remains attached to your battery with adapters that make it plug and play.  
    Sharon and John - Cleveland Heights, Ohio. Blue and Silver 2017 CSS towed by a 2015 Salsa Red Toyota Sienna
  • ScottGScottG Posts: 1,989Moderator
    Renogy (and possibly other) solar suitcase kits come with jumper-cable style clamps you can attach directly to your battery.

    That's a bit too much futzing for me, however. If I didn't have a built-in connection I would fashion something like SAM suggested.
  • pthomas745pthomas745 Posts: 457Member
    Sam, what connector do you use for the extension from your battery?  I'm getting tired of having to deal with the solar controller wiring.

  • SAMSAM Posts: 2,147Member
    @pthomas745 - (this may be more than what you are looking for)
     we actually have the same set up as Scott (I copy catted his version). 

    It depends if your controller is attached to your panels or if it is located at your battery.  I will assume you have your controller at the battery since you addressed dealing with the solar controller wiring which is a non-issue with the attached controller.

    Our Renogy solar suitcase did not include an attached charge controller, so we wanted to have a system that allowed us to easily plug in both the battery leads and the panel leads and did this:

    Using 10 gauge wire throughout:

    1.  Removed the Zamp solar battery wiring from the battery terminals and attached MC4 adapters on each lead.  As the Zamp plug is traditionally wired opposite of convention, we labeled the lead coming off the positive terminal as negative and the lead coming off the negative terminal as positive.  This will allow you to use a standard SAE adapter when you plug in a Renogy panel to the port on the tub.  These wires will now connect via MC4s to the controller panel wires ending in  MC4s below.  (Removed the Zamp label.)

    2.  Created two 1 foot long battery cables labeled + and - with ring terminals on one end and MC4 connectors on the other end.  Attach these leads to the battery.

    3.  Created four 1 foot long pigtails with bare wires on one end for the controller fitting and MC4 connectors on the opposite end.  2 will be used for the battery ports of the controller (label + and -) and 2 will be used for the panel ports of the controller (label + and -).  Plug the wires into the controller and your controller is now ready for plug and play.

    4.  The last thing is that if you add an extension to the panels (using MC4s you can use an adapter that connects both panel extensions ending in MC4s to an adapter ending in an SAE that plugs into the side of the tub.  

    Thank Scott for this!  It works well, but the 10 gauge wire is stiff and our Renogy controller does not hold the bare wire very well, so I see another controller in our future.

    Sharon
    Sharon and John - Cleveland Heights, Ohio. Blue and Silver 2017 CSS towed by a 2015 Salsa Red Toyota Sienna
  • ericnlizericnliz Posts: 4,096Member
    @SAM, I have basically the same set-up as do you & @ScottG. The 10 gauge wire is , in fact, vary stiff. I un-screwed the screws at the controller as far as they would go out, wound the wires as tightly as I could & screwed the screws in as tightly as I could get them. I, at first, had the same issue as you describe. Give it a try, & make the wires so they butt up inside the controller as far as you can without leaving any bare wire exposed outside the connection at the controller. Might take a time, or two to get the right length!  :)
    2016 [email protected] MAX S-aka: [email protected]
    TV: 2006 Chevy Avalanche LT Z71 aka: WhiteWolf, or 1972 Chevy Custom10 P/U aka: SnarlingWolf
    Spokane, Wa.
    Eric aka: Lone Wolf  with,
    Ruger aka: Adventure Companion

  • SAMSAM Posts: 2,147Member
    @ericnliz - hubby says he did just that and so far so good.  I think what we really need is a way to limit the movement of the wires coming out of the controller.  Something like a....lunchbox
    Sharon and John - Cleveland Heights, Ohio. Blue and Silver 2017 CSS towed by a 2015 Salsa Red Toyota Sienna
  • ericnlizericnliz Posts: 4,096Member
    @SAM, Good one! :rofl:
    2016 [email protected] MAX S-aka: [email protected]
    TV: 2006 Chevy Avalanche LT Z71 aka: WhiteWolf, or 1972 Chevy Custom10 P/U aka: SnarlingWolf
    Spokane, Wa.
    Eric aka: Lone Wolf  with,
    Ruger aka: Adventure Companion

  • RatkityRatkity Posts: 3,398Member
    SAM said:
    @ericnliz - hubby says he did just that and so far so good.  I think what we really need is a way to limit the movement of the wires coming out of the controller.  Something like a....lunchbox
    Like THIS?


    2017 820R Retro Toy Hauler from 2015 Tabitha [email protected] from 2009 Reverse LG Teardrop (but a [email protected] at heart)
  • RatkityRatkity Posts: 3,398Member
    edited January 9
    Inside the "lunchbox"



    The rear of the "Lunchbox" is the waterproof heatsink of the MPPT Victron controller. It's so cool to see real time charging of the battery and what my solar panels are doing! I use my 100W suitcase for battery maintenance. I'm all set up for larger system though!


    2017 820R Retro Toy Hauler from 2015 Tabitha [email protected] from 2009 Reverse LG Teardrop (but a [email protected] at heart)
  • pthomas745pthomas745 Posts: 457Member
    @SAM thank you very much for the rundown.  Yes, my controller is separate.  I can see using the MC4 connectors from the panel cables in the way you describe. 

    My problem with those connectors is I can never get them separated.  I've bought two of the little plastic "tools" that every review says "works perfectly" but they do little more than mock me.  They don't move the little piece of plastic holding the MC4's together.  I've tried every pair of pliers in my tool box, a big crimping tool, everything.  I can't get them apart.  The original cables from my first panel are still attached after five years, never successfully separated.  So, a suggestion on what tool you use to separate MC4's would be nice.

  • SAMSAM Posts: 2,147Member
    @pthomas745 - sorry to hear the MC4s are sticking.  We have and use the tool.  Have you called Renogy and asked for pointers?  I wonder if there are other connectors that you can use for your system.  Have you inquired?

    @Ratkity - your lunchbox is a work of art!  How do you like the Victron product?  I am shopping for a new charge controller and will probably stick with a PWM device.  
    Sharon and John - Cleveland Heights, Ohio. Blue and Silver 2017 CSS towed by a 2015 Salsa Red Toyota Sienna
  • ScottGScottG Posts: 1,989Moderator
    The stiffness of a wire/cable depends on how it is constructed. Standed wire is more flexible than solid, and the stiffness of the wire/cable casing can also make a big difference. I used SJOOW cable--this is a highly durable, highly flexible cable used for power cords in industrial applications. After a season of use, I couldn't be happier with it.  

    It's not cheap, and if you are looking for 10-2 or 8-2 you will probably have to order it online as it's unlikely your local Orange Box will have it. 

    I used a length of 12-3 for mine. The gauge is a little light, and the extra wire (unused) adds some bulk, but I already had it on hand so I I used it and it works fine. 
  • IslandJoIslandJo Posts: 48Member
    After reading all this I'm glad I'm going to the dealer this week to have my system installed.
    2018 [email protected] CS-S on an Outback axle 
    2017 Toyota Tacoma with tow package
    Pacific Northwest 
  • tabiphiletabiphile Posts: 39Member
    ericnliz said:
    I un-screwed the screws at the controller as far as they would go out, wound the wires as tightly as I could & screwed the screws in as tightly as I could get them.
    You can improve the termination of the 10 gauge (or any gauge) stranded by soldering it after you strip and tightly wind it. Use a tin lead (63/37) solder or first tin the end of the wire with Sn60 . One soldered fit the wire and file off or nip off anything that keeps it from fitting the terminal.
    10 gauge is sort of at the limits of what you might solder but it is not that hard to do...
    If the wire is going to be flexed then don't do this since the wire becomes a bit more rigid when you solder it.
  • ScottGScottG Posts: 1,989Moderator
    IslandJo said:
    After reading all this I'm glad I'm going to the dealer this week to have my system installed.
    For some of us, figuring this stuff out and making it happen (not to mention talking about over and over again on the forum) is half the fun. I learn something, save a little coin in the process, and know it's done exactly the way I want.

    However, RV dealers gotta' eat too, so there's nothing wrong with pumping a little dough into the economy.

    You say potayto, I say potahto!  ;-) 
  • pthomas745pthomas745 Posts: 457Member
    I scratched my head for a month or so over connecting my panels when I bought my trailer. (I'd had the panels to play with for a few years.)  It took some thinking and lots of help from these forums, but when the light (pun!) came on for me I realized the trailer connections and the Zamp Mystery were really very basic issues and easy to work with or around.

    But, its what you learn after you know it all that counts!  I've learned a few new things reading through this thread and trying to help others as I was helped.

  • danp212danp212 Posts: 32Member
    edited January 9
    @Ratkity Great setup with the Solar lunchbox! I'm currently designed a near identical setup myself to mount the controller in an external enclosure (safe from the elements). Have 2 quick questions regarding your setup: 

    -Where does this lunchbox sit when in use? 

    -Do your "cables to battery" connect directly to the battery (meaning the controller is always connected and powered on) or are you connecting them to something like the zamp SAE port (this was my plan) only when in use? 

  • RatkityRatkity Posts: 3,398Member
    @danp212, my lunchbox sits on a piece of wood that's been sprayed black and it's held on by a small ratchet strap. There's barely any room and it's butted up against the battery. I have this on my toy hauler, btw. No room at all for a tub or nuffin' on the tongue!! 

    I have marine connectors to my battery if I want to take the lunchbox off. They can hang out in the rain and nothing will happen to them. Of course, the MC4 connectors are waterproof.

    @SAM, yup! Love the lunchbox! The mppt controller I have has a heat sink, so I had to leave it outside the box. It all worked out.

    BTW, landscaping wire is uv protected and is 10g. 
    2017 820R Retro Toy Hauler from 2015 Tabitha [email protected] from 2009 Reverse LG Teardrop (but a [email protected] at heart)
  • ScottGScottG Posts: 1,989Moderator
    @danp212, my lunchbox sits in the tub on top of the battery box. I attach it with MC4 connectors when I set up, and it remains in place until I break camp.

    There's more info here if you are interested: 
    http://tab-rv.vanillaforums.com/discussion/4608/voltage-drop-and-other-solar-musings-solar-lunchbox/p2



    I think @Ratkity has hers permanently mounted, but I'll let her fill in those details.
  • phulishcatphulishcat Posts: 89Member
    edited January 10
    if you are in phoenix AZ and need a nice install for permanently mounted 200 watt solar install. hit me up ill show you how we did ours.  we might even do it for you for a fee. It takes about 12 man hours and no cables showing. I had a post about the install on the forum . 

    ****edited for inappropriate language—Admin*****
  • RatkityRatkity Posts: 3,398Member
    @ScottG, you didn't show us the cool lid of your lunchbox! I think you showed it a long time ago. The memory is the second thing to go....

    Mine isn't permanently mounted. I can unhook from the battery and the lunchbox is just wedged between the frame and the battery box and attached to the frame thru the lunchbox handle with a small ratchet strap. There's a piece of wood under the lunchbox next to the battery box. The cool thing about the MPPT 100/30 controller with the bluetooth dongle is that I don't have to open the lunchbox. I just check my phone and check it with the app.


    I suppose I need check inside the lunchbox. It's exposed to the elements. Last check after last season was that it was pristine. The lunchbox will rust.

    I wouldn't recommend using a plastic lunchbox as the mppt controller can put out a bit of heat. I don't ever recall my PWM controller getting warm and it was tucked beside the battery in my reverse TD (that was a permanent 85W solar panel mount). In the [email protected], my solar controller was a permanent mount in a steel diamond tub I added. 
    2017 820R Retro Toy Hauler from 2015 Tabitha [email protected] from 2009 Reverse LG Teardrop (but a [email protected] at heart)
  • ScottGScottG Posts: 1,989Moderator
    edited January 10
    @Ratkity, mine isn't nearly as cool (or appropriate) as yours, though it is authentic 1970's vintage! My Peanuts lunchbox was rusted out, and the Six-Million-Dollar-Man one went on the lam decades ago, so the NFL it was!


  • RatkityRatkity Posts: 3,398Member
    Hehehe. I admit. Mine isn't the sturdy lunchboxes of old. It's a tin replica! I wish I could have some of the old great lunchboxes (6 million dollar man!!! OMG!) hehe. 

    NFL is cool too. No one would ever think there was a solar controller in there. lol.
    2017 820R Retro Toy Hauler from 2015 Tabitha [email protected] from 2009 Reverse LG Teardrop (but a [email protected] at heart)
  • ericnlizericnliz Posts: 4,096Member
    @ScottG, & @Ratkity, Or, a football players lunch for that matter! :rofl:
    2016 [email protected] MAX S-aka: [email protected]
    TV: 2006 Chevy Avalanche LT Z71 aka: WhiteWolf, or 1972 Chevy Custom10 P/U aka: SnarlingWolf
    Spokane, Wa.
    Eric aka: Lone Wolf  with,
    Ruger aka: Adventure Companion

  • RatkityRatkity Posts: 3,398Member
    A football player's snack wouldn't even fit in that lunchbox!!
    2017 820R Retro Toy Hauler from 2015 Tabitha [email protected] from 2009 Reverse LG Teardrop (but a [email protected] at heart)
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