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Old 10-20-2017, 06:56 PM   #1
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Portable Solar for Challenger

Hi all. Iíve tried searching the forum, havenít found the specific info Iím looking for.

I want to add some solar charging to my 2017 Challenger 37LX. Something portable that I can plug in and point towards the sun when I need it. Maybe 200, maybe up to 400 watts.

Has anyone done this? Is the Challenger pre-wired with a connector to the batteries? Again, Iím not looking for roof mounted.

Any practical experience would be much appreciated. We are going to be boondocking at NASCAR in a couple weeks, and Iíd love to have something before then.
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Old 10-20-2017, 09:41 PM   #2
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Portable Solar

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Originally Posted by Mike in AZ View Post
Hi all. I’ve tried searching the forum, haven’t found the specific info I’m looking for.

I want to add some solar charging to my 2017 Challenger 37LX. Something portable that I can plug in and point towards the sun when I need it. Maybe 200, maybe up to 400 watts.

Has anyone done this? Is the Challenger pre-wired with a connector to the batteries? Again, I’m not looking for roof mounted.

Any practical experience would be much appreciated. We are going to be boondocking at NASCAR in a couple weeks, and I’d love to have something before then.

I have the Renogy 100 watt solar suitcase. Outstanding performance and very easy to use. I added a plug to the outside of my Axis 25.2. If you purchase a portable solar unit make sure that you purchase the extension cables. Longer cables allow you more flexibility as the sun moves.
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Old 10-20-2017, 11:06 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by B7smith View Post
I have the Renogy 100 watt solar suitcase. Outstanding performance and very easy to use. I added a plug to the outside of my Axis 25.2. If you purchase a portable solar unit make sure that you purchase the extension cables. Longer cables allow you more flexibility as the sun moves.
Thanks! I was thinking 30í cables, but also read longer cables can mean lesser charge getting to the batteries so I guess having a couple different lengths might be useful.

How did you add the plug? Did you connect directly to your battery, or was there something already there from Thor?
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Old 10-20-2017, 11:13 PM   #4
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Very interested in the Suitcase approach. Can this be connected to the house batteries to act as a trickle charge? We ofter will dry camp for upwards to 2 months each winter. Would really like to use this during the day to top up our house batteries. Thanks
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Old 10-20-2017, 11:32 PM   #5
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Suitcase Solar

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Originally Posted by bigben View Post
Very interested in the Suitcase approach. Can this be connected to the house batteries to act as a trickle charge? We ofter will dry camp for upwards to 2 months each winter. Would really like to use this during the day to top up our house batteries. Thanks
Exactly how I use mine. The solar controller in the suitcase will mointor your battery level during the charging period. I have used mine on two travel trailers and now on my new Thor Axis 25.2
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Old 10-20-2017, 11:45 PM   #6
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Solar Suitcase

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Originally Posted by Mike in AZ View Post
Thanks! I was thinking 30í cables, but also read longer cables can mean lesser charge getting to the batteries so I guess having a couple different lengths might be useful.

How did you add the plug? Did you connect directly to your battery, or was there something already there from Thor?
The solar suitcase comes with large alligator clips that you can go directly to the battery. I removed the clips and added a 12 volt male and female setup wired directly into the battery with a 10 amp fuse. This is the same setup used on most Forest River Travel Trailers that are pre wired for Zamp Solar. I can usually top off both batteries within two hours on a sunny day. On a semi cloudy day as expected it takes longer. All the parts are available on Amazon along with the solar suitcase.
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Old 10-20-2017, 11:58 PM   #7
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Connection for Solar

B7smith - thanks for the quick answer. Want to make sure I understand. I have 4 - 6 volt batteries, that are connected together in a bank to produce 12 volts. My thought is to connect this to the + and - sides of the bank to help top up the house batteries. Are you connecting it similar to the pic below?
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Old 10-21-2017, 12:00 AM   #8
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I posted before you answered. Looks exactly like I want to do. Thank you much.
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Old 10-21-2017, 12:07 AM   #9
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Your welcome.
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Old 10-21-2017, 05:13 AM   #10
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Thanks again, this is pretty much what I was hoping to do. So glad to see itís relatively easy to set up!

Go Power has a system that Iíve been looking at (online), that comes with several connectors and a decent length cable. Iím going to the storage lot tomorrow to validate exactly what I have in my coach.

Do you hav3 any opinions on this system?

Portable Solar Kits (80 or 120 watts) | Go Power!
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Old 10-21-2017, 12:16 PM   #11
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Hi Mike!
I looked at the Go Power and Zamp portable systems along with the Renogy. Go Power and Zamp both receive very positive reviews on Amazon. Being so new to solar I choose Renogy strictly on price. I figured if I cooked the controller or it didn't function as advertised it would be easier to take the cheapest hit of the three. Now that I have used portable solar for a couple of years I wouldn't hesitate to purchase any of the three products. To date, I am very happy with the performance and reliability of the Renogy system. Just a side note on performance... my Dad and I usually boondock together and his rig has roof mounted solar system. My portable system always outperforms his system due to my system having the ability to be moved with the path of the sun. Good luck - Happy Trails!
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Old 10-21-2017, 01:06 PM   #12
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I will take a look at all three products then, thanks! Iím not surprised that a movable set of panels would out perform a fixed one. I can see the benefits of roof mounts - no hassle or effort to set up or break down. I donít know how much boondocking we will be doing, but I think weíre mostly going to be in CGís.

This has been very helpful, and I really appreciate your taking time to share your experience.
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Old 10-21-2017, 01:22 PM   #13
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We have the 120 watt Go Power portable solar panels and are very happy with their performance, also purchased the optional extension cable to provide flexibility in panel placement.
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Old 10-21-2017, 10:18 PM   #14
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We have the 120 watt Go Power portable solar panels and are very happy with their performance, also purchased the optional extension cable to provide flexibility in panel placement.
Thanks!
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Old 10-25-2017, 09:44 PM   #15
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Here is a link to what I did."The Nest" and it's solar
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Old 10-26-2017, 12:25 AM   #16
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Looks good.

I ordered a solar system today on Amazon... a Renogy 200 Watt Eclipse Monocrystalline Solar Suitcase. Controller is included.

Iím also upgrading my house batteries from the two 12 volt that Thor supplied, to four 6 volt Crown CR 235 batteries.

I expect to have everything by Monday, and installed on Tuesday.
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Old 10-26-2017, 01:30 AM   #17
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...snip... All the parts are available on Amazon along with the solar suitcase.
The link for the 12v 2 pin covered socket, at Amazon is https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...A33FSTHZ6STYHL
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Old 10-26-2017, 08:25 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Mike in AZ View Post
We are going to be boondocking at NASCAR in a couple weeks, and Iíd love to have something before then.


Hey Mike! We just boondocked at Talladega. We had 2 6-volt house batteries and added 2 more before the trip. We only ran our generator for a few hours in the morning and a few at night, and our house batteries kept the fridge cold and lights on when needed with no problems. I'm just wondering why you would need the solar charger?
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Old 10-26-2017, 09:50 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by BradnKaren View Post
Hey Mike! We just boondocked at Talladega. We had 2 6-volt house batteries and added 2 more before the trip. We only ran our generator for a few hours in the morning and a few at night, and our house batteries kept the fridge cold and lights on when needed with no problems. I'm just wondering why you would need the solar charger?
Thatís great, thanks for sharing!

My rationale is, I want to avoid running the gennie as much as possible to save gas and not add to the noise. Iím also very interested in doing more boondocking, this 200 watt system along with four 6v batteries should help us with that.

We are going to experiment at PIR, see what we can do and what we canít. Iíd love to run the residential fridge the entire week, but without the solar I didnít think that was possible.
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Old 10-31-2017, 10:25 PM   #20
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Update

Update: We got all the new gear setup today. I was embarrassed to discover after all this time that my Challenger came with two 6-volt batteries, not 12volt as Iíd believed. Theyíre no names, and have now been replaced with four 6-volt Crown CR235 golf cart batteries.

https://www.thesolarbiz.com/media/ca...Data-Sheet.pdf

We wired them up for the Renogy 200 watt Solar Suitcase. It has the Renogy Adventurer Controller pre-mounted to the panels. We tested everything and all appears to be in proper working order.

We will get to test it all out next week at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) where weíll be dry camping for 5 or 6 days and nights. Iím even going to try runnng the residential refrigerator! But taking a Grizzly 70 quart cooler and some ice as a backup.
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