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Trying out a new Xantrex portable solar panel


Cameron
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I got a portable solar panel (aka blanket/suitcase) to hook up to the external Zamp port. The price was good, so I thought I'd try it.

https://www.amazon.com/Xantrex-783-0100-01-Portable-Charging-Kit-100W/dp/B07QYCHG6V/ref=sr_1_3?crid=2Y0HK1F42H1U1&keywords=xantrex+solar+flex+portable+kit&qid=1661499580&sprefix=xantrex+solar+flex+portable+kit%2Caps%2C168&sr=8-3

Hooked it up today, seemed to work fine. The top connection in the port is the positive, so I made sure to connect the SAE connector correctly. This panel comes wired correctly, so I didn't need an adapter to reverse polarity.

I turned off the rooftop panels then checked the Lithionics app, which didn't show the batteries getting any juice from the portable panel. Don't know why. The controller showed 5.0A, not very much. It's really light and easy to hook up but I'm not sure if it will give me enough juice to make it worthwhile. In truth, I haven't had a problem with AC/DC while boondocking. I might run it down to 60% at night, but the next day it'll charge back up to 85% or 80%. 

 

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2021 Elite II #841, 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4, 3.0 diesel

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Thanks for posting! That looks like a great panel, I would have bought it over my big heavy Renogy one if it had been available, most flexible panels have been very costly in the past. Prop it up at an angle directly facing the sun and you will get a little more power. I believe these panels are more delicate so use care when cleaning and handling them. You can easily mod the wires so you can put the panel further away and still get full amperage at the batteries. This is my 100 watt panel 40 feet away tilted in full sun:

5CC4CB95-7506-4D3A-9B2C-BAC167764063.thumb.jpeg.e80254e9d97806b44b92b2db786984d5.jpeg

https://olivertraveltrailers.com/forums/topic/5478-how-to-remote-mount-the-controller-of-a-suitcase-solar-panel-not-inside-the-trailer/

Changing the controller to a high quality more efficient MPPT one will help also, but it isn’t really cost effective if you can just physically shift the panel around to follow the sun. (Tho the price of no-name ones is getting down to around $20😳) Please post some follow up reports.

John Davies

Spokane WA

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"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags, Safari snorkel.

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Does the charge controller have a lithium setting (Amazon listing doesn't have much info on the controller)?

Check the voltage to make sure it's high enough for your battery.

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2019 Legacy Elite II #488 - Delivery July 24, 2019
2018 F150 Platinum SC SB EB - Leer canopy

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The flexible panels all have grommets. One of my friends uses a flexible 100 watt. She built a little pvc pipe frame, with cords,  and uses that to strengthen the panel. General thought is it's more efficient,  with some airflow beliw.

Broken down, the flexible panel is stored under the mattress for travel. 

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2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12

 

 

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Posted (edited)

This is pretty similar to what my friend made. Weave some lacing, and good to go. That frame could allow you to use some landscape timber spikes,  if you drilled some holes, or wrapped it with webbing straps and tent stakes, to anchor it in the wind. Still adjustable to the sun.

The grommets are for securing the panels. Most people leave an airspace beneath the panels so they can dissipate some heat. But, some boat owners "stitch" the panels to a canvas Bimini, with a washer type plastic beneath.

Solar panels don't work as well, overheated, and flex panels don't last as long either, without some air space. We used flex panels on our boat, hard Bimini. They're already showing some wear, 5 years in. But, they work. And keep the battery banks charged. We could not use rigid panels in that application, practically. 

https://gnomadhome.com/pvc-solar-mount/

Edited by SeaDawg
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2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12

 

 

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I got Cigs panels. I think it works very well and is the most cost-effective solar panel I've ever bought. Unlike silicon-based solar cells, the CIGS thin-film solar cells are more flexible, stable, durable, light-sensitive, and last much longer.
And thanks to the tape on the back, it can be easily and safely installed where you need it without drilling holes or brackets.

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On 8/31/2022 at 10:23 AM, Vicky said:

 I got CIGS Solar panels.  I think it works very well and is the most cost-effective solar panel I've ever bought. Unlike silicon-based solar cells, the CIGS thin-film solar cells are more flexible, stable, durable, light-sensitive, and last much longer.
And thanks to the tape on the back, it can be easily and safely installed where you need it without drilling holes or brackets.

I consider Vicky's one and only post as spam due to the link she included. I did not hide or delete it because it has been responded to and some may find value in it.

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Steve, Tali and the dogs: Reacher and Rocky plus our beloved Storm, Maggie and Lucy (all waiting at the Rainbow Bridge)

2008 Legacy Elite I - Outlaw Oliver, Hull #026 | 2014 Legacy Elite II - Outlaw Oliver, Hull #050 | 2022 Silverado High Country 3500HD SRW Diesel 4x4 

 

             801469912_StatesVisitedTaliandSteve08-23-2021-I.jpg.26814499292ab76ee55b889b69ad3ef0.jpg1226003278_StatesVisitedTaliandSteve08-23-2021-H.jpg.dc46129cb4967a7fd2531b16699e9e45.jpg

 

 

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3 hours ago, ScubaRx said:

I consider Vicky's one and only post as spam due to the link she included. I did not hide or delete it because it has been responded to and some may find value in it.

I removed the links. Owners can look up cgis solar, if they care to.

The link was to a Chinese rv equipment  manufacturer.  Not malicious,  as far as I know. But, better safe than sorry.

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2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12

 

 

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Here's an update.

 

It's mid-day, no clouds. (Hot!) With the panel connected, directly facing the sun, my Lithionics app shows power generation at 53.1W, and 4A. When I disconnect the portable solar panel, it shows 26.3W and 2A. So, my highly scientific assessment shows that it works. I'm surprised that it seems to double the charge going into the batteries when the rooftop solar is 400w and the little portable panel is just 100w.

The provided charge controller is very basic and does not have settings for different types of batteries. So maybe a 300w portable panel would be better? Or maybe a different charge controller would be better? For the moment, it was an inexpensive panel that was already set up for plug and play.

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2021 Elite II #841, 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4, 3.0 diesel

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