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Question about adding external solar to new Lithium Platinum package using the Victron SmartSolar 100/50


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In my Hiker squaredrop trailer, I used a Bluetti EB70S Portable Power Station to power the trailer and a Bluetti EV200 panel to keep it charged. I have a second EB70S in my Land Cruiser to power the 12V fridge/freezer. While the EB70S is way more than needed for the trailer's LED lighting and Fantastic Fan, it was handy to have two of the same unit in case the one in my tow vehicle gets low, then I simply swapped them out.

Now, with the Oliver's 630 Ah of battery, the weak link is the 400W solar panels. As an experiment, I ran the Truma AC from the inverter for two hours, which reduced the battery SOC 21%. It took about 48 hours in my driveway for the panels to recover to the previous SOC. It would be nice to supplement the solar with the 200W portable panel, especially if camped in the shade.

The Oliver has the Zamp solar port on these, which is connected directly to the batteries. But my panels do not have an inbuilt MPPT charger. That's internal to the EB70. I have a generic MPPT controller that I could connect directly to the batteries and plug the EV200 panels in there, but then the rest of the system doesn't know what rate of charge is being used.

Ideally, I'd like to add a pigtail with an Anderson plug to the Victron SmartSolar 100/50 MPPT controller, and feed all of the solar input though this much more sophisticated device.

Oliver's panels are 400W and the EV200 is 200W, for a total of 600W. The Victron 100/50 has a nominal input of 700W at 12V, so I'm good there. 600W divided by 12V equals 50A, and the Victron 100/50 is rated at 50, with a maximum short circuit current of 60A, so I think I'm marginal there.

I know that panels put out over 12V, but I'm not familiar enough with the technology to know if I'm safe combining the these panels with the Victron 100/50 installed by Oliver. Is anyone familiar enough with solar charging to help me understand if this will work?

Thank you for any input!

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Steve - Northern Ohio, USA
Wandering around on occasion, always lost.
2021 Toyota Land Cruiser - 2023 Oliver Elite II Twin Hull #1360 “Curiosity”
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3 minutes ago, rich.dev said:

If you have a 2023 LEII don't you have 400W of solar panels on the roof?

The panels have evolved over the years as technology moves.  My two factory panels give me 320W.  Then they moved progressively higher up to todays 400W.  Mike

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52 minutes ago, rich.dev said:

If you have a 2023 LEII don't you have 400W of solar panels on the roof?

Huh! Right you are! My order sheet and the option sheet for 2023 shows 340W, but my bill of sale shows 400W. That puts me at 50A under ideal conditions, which might be marginal.

That also explains why I saw a peak of 329W the other day. I thought that was way too efficient. Thanks! Original post edited.

So, that's 600W and 50A under perfect conditions. Does my idea of adding the exterior panel still seem feasible?

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Steve - Northern Ohio, USA
Wandering around on occasion, always lost.
2021 Toyota Land Cruiser - 2023 Oliver Elite II Twin Hull #1360 “Curiosity”
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18 minutes ago, Steve Morris said:

So, that's 600W and 50A under perfect conditions. Does my idea of adding the exterior panel still seem feasible?

Check out (if you haven't already) this charge controller calculator by Nate from Explorist life. 

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4 hours ago, rich.dev said:

Check out (if you haven't already) this charge controller calculator by Nate from Explorist life. 

Very good advice! 
Victron also has a charge controller calculator on their site and Nate is a Victron Ambassador so I’m sure they are similar or the same.

Mossey

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Mike and Krunch   Lutz, FL  
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What solar equipment did Oliver install in your trailer?   What inverter/charger do you have?

Mossey

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Mike and Krunch   Lutz, FL  
2017 LEII #193 “the dog house”

 

 

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Steve,  

I have an Oliver in which we updated to the two large Lithionics (630AH).
In our hull 505 we have the older on board Zamp Controller.  Since it too is not connected to the external ramp plug, I simply plug my extra panels into that Zamp plug for the extra solar boost.

The battery itself has smart charge sensors built so it accepts the charge from those two solar sources running in parallel.

Maybe you can simply just find your additional panels and external outdoor controller and you'll be set.

Here's the article from our blog on my build out of the external solar setup:

https://4-ever-hitched.com/ggs-blog/f/here-comes-the-sun

image.thumb.png.bcafe774c007b9799b6941ae3e22583e.png

Craig 
Hull 505

 

 

 

 

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The biggest problem with carrying a really big portable panel is lack of cargo space in your LC200. I carry a 100 watt amp folding one, I do not want to lose even more space with more solar. I suggest that you add a DC to DC charger, mine gives 11 amps whenever the engine is running. Around 90 AH over an 8 hour tow. That doesn't help when you are camped for three days under trees. That is when the generator comes out. You can go with a higher amp unit but that gets expensive and complicated since you need to rewire the truck.

https://olivertraveltrailers.com/forums/topic/5270-how-to-redarc-dc-to-dc-11-amp-output-trailer-charger-installation/

You can move your portable solar panel MUCH further away if you position a controller at the trailer, not on the unit itself.

image.thumb.png.772dd7a6584a8700631452142f793777.png

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

I understand your desire to run the air conditioning from the batteries, but like the microwave AKA Battery Killer, that totally wrecks your available power reserve. You have WAY too much amp hours drain for the available solar. The equation is imbalanced. If you run the AC from a generator, your problems are solved. Alternatively, if you don't carry more than two people, remove ALL the unused *HEAVY* seats and install an Overland Style cargo platform. That way you can carry tons of bulky gear and it helps your marginal payload too.

But a generator is mandatory for the days the sun doesn't show up.... just use it.

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/

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13 hours ago, mossemi said:

What solar equipment did Oliver install in your trailer?   What inverter/charger do you have?

Mossey

I have the Lithium Platinum package, which includes two 315 Ah Lithionics batteries, 400W of whatever brand the current solar panels are, and the Victron SmartSolar 100/50 MPPT charger. The inverter is the Xantrex 300W version (oh how I wish they'd used the Victron Multiplus II instead!)

And I have two Bluetti EB70S portable power stations and the Bluetti EV200 200W solar panel.

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Steve - Northern Ohio, USA
Wandering around on occasion, always lost.
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Because parking in the shade shades the solar panels, we occasionally use portables - 2 100w GoalZero Boulder panels that lack built-in controllers.  So, I changed out the original PWM controller with a Victron MMPT controller.  Then I reversed the wiring in the external solar connector to comply with the Boulder wiring and used the original PWM controller for the portables.  That works, but I wish Oliver had wired the solar so it all could be shunted easily.

Charlie.

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@John E Davies Thanks for the input. My driver's side 60% second row seat is out, and that's where the National Luna 90 Twin lives. I keep the 40% side in for the somewhat occasional third person. And my Heritage is the version without the third row seats.

I already have the 200W panel, and it fold into a roughly 2' square a couple inches thick, so not too big. It, my camp table, and my Snow Peak Iron Grill Table live wedged between the fridge and folder 40% seat. So not having the panel would not really change my available space. Plus, it is used to charge the Bluetti EB70S (the power source for the fridge) when I'm somewhere without the trailer and any power of several days.

I do have a generator at home, but have no plans to take it while travelling.

I only mentioned the AC use as a reference to how much of the available battery it used, which was roughy 10% SOC per hour. I'm used to tent camping and the Hiker squaredrop without AC, so my usage will be minimal. I never intended to run it hours at a time; just evenings before bed to cool things off, or the random highway lunch stop.

A Redarc DC-to-DC charger is always an option down the road if necessary. So's a supplement fuel tank. 😉

Mostly, my question was: I already have this solar panel, and there's already a really good MPPT charge controller in the trailer. Why not see if I can use them together!

@Galway Girl's use of a controller directly on the battery for the remote panel is certainly an option as I mentioned above since I already have a cheap MPPT controller sitting unused, and I think that's how John has his set up. I don't know if the battery is smart enough to work with two different charge controllers at the same time, and I don't know if the Victron "sees" the additional charge coming in. I figured if the Victron has the capacity, why not combine the two rooftop panels with the remote panel. Mostly I'm trying to learn what's possible with what I already have.

 

I haven't looked at the calculators that @rich.devand @mossemirecommended, but I definitely will, and thank you for the suggestion.

Are the Oliver panels wired series or parallel?

Thanks to everyone for the input!

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Steve - Northern Ohio, USA
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2021 Toyota Land Cruiser - 2023 Oliver Elite II Twin Hull #1360 “Curiosity”
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2 hours ago, John E Davies said:

You can move your portable solar panel MUCH further away if you position a controller at the trailer, not on the unit itself.

Does doing this reduce the DC line-loss?

Art, Diane, & Magnus (Aaarrf!)

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34 minutes ago, MAX Burner said:

Does doing this reduce the DC line-loss?

Yes size of wire and distance away from batteries matter, this link explains it pretty well.

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3 hours ago, MAX Burner said:

Does doing this reduce the DC line-loss?

Yes.

John Davies

Spokane WA

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

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5 hours ago, Steve Morris said:

400W of whatever brand the current solar panels are, and the Victron SmartSolar 100/50 MPPT charger.

The first thing that I would do is to get my ladder out and take a picture of the information sticker on the roof top panels and your portable panel.  Then you can check an online charge controller calculator and determine if the 100/50 will do the job.  I do believe Victron SC’s have the ability to throttle down the in coming power to protect itself.  And Craig’s advise is the current voice of experience as he is using similar equipment to yours.

Mossey

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Mike and Krunch   Lutz, FL  
2017 LEII #193 “the dog house”

 

 

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6 hours ago, Steve Morris said:

I have the Lithium Platinum package, which includes two 315 Ah Lithionics batteries, 400W of whatever brand the current solar panels are, and the Victron SmartSolar 100/50 MPPT charger. The inverter is the Xantrex 300W version (oh how I wish they'd used the Victron Multiplus II instead!)

@Steve Morris Steve,  The brand of solar panels is Newpowa, I "think" they are in parallel.  As for the Victron Multiplus II, I was told they looked into is and it is too large to fit in the space where the Xantrex inverter/charger is and there was no better place to put it.

 

Brian

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Brian and Brandelyne

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2 hours ago, mossemi said:

take a picture of the information sticker on the roof top panels and your portable panel.

The information on this sticker is needed to fill in the online SCC calculator.

Mossey

2D510ADE-373D-4A7C-8C27-F3B15D792BD5.thumb.jpeg.aa7c701e5c1b3dbf3a7de9254946738f.jpeg

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Mike and Krunch   Lutz, FL  
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1 hour ago, Brian and Brandelyne said:

I "think" they are in parallel.

My trick for remembering parallel vs serial is this, parallel = pair and serial = sum.  So a pair / parallel of 12v batteries is just a pair of 12’s and the sum / serial of two 12v batteries is 12 + 12 = 24. 

Mossey

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Mike and Krunch   Lutz, FL  
2017 LEII #193 “the dog house”

 

 

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21 minutes ago, mossemi said:

My trick for remembering parallel vs serial is this

I am very familiar with the "trick", when I said I think they are in parallel, I meant I don't know if these are 24 v or 12v panels. I am assuming they are 12v.  The Victron MPPT controller can take either 12 or 24 volt panels so it would make sense if you put them in parallel to keep the voltage at 12v but sum the current.

I am not the most fluent when it comes to solar panel install and I have not had much time to explore the package on my own trailer.

Thanks for the post --

Brian

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Brian and Brandelyne

Paris, TN

Tug: 2020 Ford F-250 Super Duty 7.3L V-8 (Gas), 10 Speed, FX4, Max Tow Package, 3.55 Rear Axle, Firestone Airbags, Warn 12k Winch

Tail # TN 23-1351, 2023 Oliver Elite II, Twin Bed, Delivery Date 3/08/2023

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Hey Brian, based on the equipment manual on Oliver University, the 2023 has 200 watt 24v Newpowa Solar panels included. I'm looking into buying 2 more of the same exact panel and installing them on the camper shell Yakima rails and doubling my solar capacity in the combined rig. I'll have to figure out the charging system and connections once I move forward with the project. I like what you are trying to do with the supplemental solar panels and the Ollie. 

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12 hours ago, mossemi said:

The information on this sticker is needed to fill in the online SCC calculator.

Mossey

2D510ADE-373D-4A7C-8C27-F3B15D792BD5.thumb.jpeg.aa7c701e5c1b3dbf3a7de9254946738f.jpeg

Interesting...  Made in the USofA, but specifications (dimensions/STC/temp) are metric???  Testing conditions Zamp Solar uses are probably stated in metric.

Art, Diane, & Magnus (Aaarrf!)

  • 2022 TUNDRA/2017 LE II; Hull #226 "Casablanca", Twins; 3x Battle Borns; HAM call-sign:  W0ABX
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10 hours ago, Brian and Brandelyne said:

I meant I don't know if these are 24 v or 12v panels. I am assuming they are 12v.

Another way I've looked at the system's performance capacity is with the equation, Max Power (Volts) x Max. Power Current (Amps) = Peak Power (Watts).  From Mossey's pic, that would be:  18.5 Volts x 8.7 Amps = 160.1 Watts Peak Power per panel 

So for Ollies with these Zamps, theoretically, the solar system performance under ideal conditions is 320.2 Watts going into the solar charge controller (minus any nominal DC line loss between the panels and the controller)...

My question is, does anyone know if OTT has looked at using panels with micro-inverters integrated at the panel?  

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Art, Diane, & Magnus (Aaarrf!)

  • 2022 TUNDRA/2017 LE II; Hull #226 "Casablanca", Twins; 3x Battle Borns; HAM call-sign:  W0ABX
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11 hours ago, Ollie-Haus said:

installing them on the camper shell Yakima racks and doubling my solar capacity in the combined rig

Chris,

That sounds like an interesting approach. I was actually thinking of installing a flex panel with about 100w onto the top of my camper shell (no rack up there yet).  I think overall, you will be impressed by how quickly these panels put power back into these batteries.

We still need to generate some use cases after we really get into the camping season.  Until then, I am just guessing.

Brian

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Brian and Brandelyne

Paris, TN

Tug: 2020 Ford F-250 Super Duty 7.3L V-8 (Gas), 10 Speed, FX4, Max Tow Package, 3.55 Rear Axle, Firestone Airbags, Warn 12k Winch

Tail # TN 23-1351, 2023 Oliver Elite II, Twin Bed, Delivery Date 3/08/2023

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1 hour ago, Brian and Brandelyne said:

Chris,

That sounds like an interesting approach. I was actually thinking of installing a flex panel with about 100w onto the top of my camper shell (no rack up there yet).  I think overall, you will be impressed by how quickly these panels put power back into these batteries.

We still need to generate some use cases after we really get into the camping season.  Until then, I am just guessing.

Brian

Agreed, I don't even know if they will be needed for the camper, but what started my thinking was the need for a solar/lithium system on my truck for the portable cooler that will live in the truck. That's the primary reason for the added solar, but while I'm at it, it would prudent to make it compatible with the Ollie's charging system to boost the charging rate under certain situations. Like you say, we'll have to define the needs based on usage.  

What's today?............. the most frequently asked question as a retiree 🙄

Chris and Stacie Neuhaus Greenfield, Indiana

2021 Ford F350 7.3L Tremor (Redzilla)

LE2 #1373 - Ordered 10/21/22 - Delivered 05/10/23

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