Hi all -
I spent hours reading EVERY solar post on this forum, and @jkjenn
‘s blog, and Handy Bob’s page, and have come up with a good portable system that let us boondock as long as we want. If helpful for anyone else, I will show in detail what I did here. I am not so handy with the electricity or the tools
so if I can do it, anyone can!
We did the 2 Golf Cart Battery setup that I mentioned another thread. We bought the Renogy 100W solar suitcase
as the power for our system, and the Victron Smart Solar MPPT 75/15
The Victron needs to be mounted vertically, and I could not find room in my tub to do so. So I decided to use a modification on the “lunch box” idea that others have used, and make it easy to connect and disconnect for travel.
Step 1 - battery connection to Charge Controller: I bought this tray cable
pair to connect to the batteries. Using a cable crimper/cutter, I lopped about a foot off the end of each cable, so I had about 7’ of 10AWG cable with ring terminals on one end, and about 1’ that was just cut on each end. I bought an Anderson SB50
quick disconnect, and soldered one pair of the cables to the end of the long cables, and one to one end of the short cables (you can also crimp rather than solder). I used red and white colored electrical cable to mark each end for positive and negative. I attached the ring terminal of the positive end to the battery first, then the ring terminal of the negative end. You can see it in the pic below - my cables are the ones with the white and red tape coming off the battery terminals, and the Anderson connector is looped near the propane tank.
Step 2 - create a waterproof connection box for the charge controller: I found the perfect watertight box
in the camping/canoeing section at Menards. I drilled 4 holes in the “bottom” of the box to run cables through. I ran the free end of the short cables with the SB50 connector through one pair of holes and into the battery terminals on the Victron. I ran the free ends of this connection kit
with MC4 connectors on one end to connect the panels to the charge controller. Double check your polarity with these. Finally, I used some leftover 1” nylon webbing and a buckle to make a strap to connect the box.
Now, the Renogy suitcase and the “lunchbox” travel in the [email protected]
under the bed/between the benches. When we get to camp, first I buckle the box to the trailer tongue, then connect it to the SB50 connector to the battery.
Finally, we’ve kept a 30’ 10AWG extension cables
connected to the solar suitcase, so we just unfold the panels in the sun, plug in the cables to the MC4 connectors on the box, and voila, 90W of power in sunny spots here in MN.
It takes all of 90 seconds to get the whole system set up and about the same to break down for travel. We are not skimping on amenities, and with our usage including using the 2-way fridge in the CS-S on DC the whole time, we managed 4 days (including one rainy day) with the battery voltage consistently above 12.5V. Very pleased.
Hope this might help others looking to do something similar.
2018 [email protected]
CS-S Towed by 2015 Subaru Outback 2.5i in the wilds of Minnesota