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Old 09-14-2021, 01:22 PM   #1
Winnebago Owner
Trout One's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2020
Posts: 76
Solar Panel Types and Charge Controller Options?

Hi folks,

Currently assessing solar solutions for a travel/home use system. While price has some influence, I'm more concerned with long-term quality and value. I was about to pull the trigger on a new 100 watt Zamp Obsidian suitcase kit with controller with an eye to adding a second 100 suitcase without controller later but they jacked the price of the suitcase with controller to $650 after Dometic bought them out.

I need to be able to charge both the trailer battery (or batteries - in the future) and my Goal Zero 400 power station which has it's own built-in controller/inverter. So I know I'll need an adapt-a-mess kit to get from the charge controller to both the side port on my 1706FB and the Goal Zero (not at the same time...). But here's what I'm thinking as my options:

Goal Zero Boulder 100 suitcase w/o controller - $300
Renogy 100 watt suitcase w/o controller - $220
Renogy 175 watt flexible panel w/o controller - ($320)

Victron 20 amp SmartSolar MPPT controller - $158
Renogy Rover Elite 20 amp MPPT Controller - $100

FWIW, the flexible panel has the best watt-per-dollar ratio of $1.83 per watt, followed by the Renogy suitcase at $2.20 per watt, and the Goal Zero at $3 per watt.

My questions involve your experience with these specific products. So...

In your minds, is there enough difference in quality or electrical efficiency to justify the price difference between the 100 watt Goal Zero and Renogy suitcases?

Has anyone tried using the Renogy flexible panel like a suitcase? By that I mean transporting it but not mounting it permanently on your RV? What issues might I face using it in this manner? And your solutions (if any) to those issues?

Finally, I know a lot of you have and like the Victron inverters and MPPT controllers. Is there anyone here with experience with the Renogy MPPT controller and if so, what are your thoughts?

The reason for these questions is that while I'm obviously going to use whatever system I purchase for help with boondocking (and will add to it when I go to either 2 12V AGMs or Lithiums), I also need to be able to charge my Goal Zero power station in an emergency. It's my battery backup for my CPAP both at home and when traveling. Given the increasing possibility of tornadoes where we live in addition to the number of thunderstorms we experience, I want to be able to charge the Goal Zero whether on the road or at home.

As a final point of information - a Honda 2200 generator will be in our future at some point. I like keeping all my bases covered, shall we say.

Thanks in advance,

2019 1706FB Micro Minnie/2011 Z71 Chevy Suburban
"What the long road steals in minutes, it returns in serenity."
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Old 09-14-2021, 05:23 PM   #2
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Join Date: Oct 2020
Location: Asheville, NC
Posts: 1,244
I installed Victron 75/15 mppt for use with 120w foldable solar panel by Lensunsolar. It works well, and the price was pretty low for the two components. Honda makes the best small inverter generator. But, I bought a Champion 2500w dual fuel for half the price, and no propane conversion was required. I run it exclusively on propane. With Easy Start installed, it also runs my roof air conditioner. We boondock often more than not. The Champion recharges our LiFePo4 battery from 30% to 100% in less than two hours.
Jim. 2021b Micro Minnie 2108DS, 75/15 and 100/30 mppt
2021 GMC Canyon Denali 3.6L Gas 4x4, Husky C-Line
170AH LiFePo4, Xantrex XC2000, Champion 2500w df
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panel, solar, solar panel

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