how to charge rv battery with solar panel
How to charge rv battery with solar panel ? The sun is a free and abundant source of energy. It can power your home, office …… and even your RV! This handy source of energy allows you to charge RV batteries and power electrical equipment without a generator. Installing solar panels on a recreational vehicle is easier than you might think.
This step-by-step guide will show you exactly how to connect solar panels to RV batteries and charge them wherever your next adventure takes you!
Table of contents
WRhat Size Solar Panel to Charge RV battery ?
How Many Watt Solar Panel to Charge RV Battery?
How to Connect Solar Panel to RV Battery?
what size solar panel to charge rV battery ?
Before we start talking about how to connect solar panels to your RV battery, let’s first do a quick calculation on the size of the solar panel you will need to charge the battery and power the accessories and appliances in your RV.
How many watt solar panel to charge rV battery?
In most cases, a 200 to 400 watt solar panel unit will be sufficient to charge the caravan battery as long as there is direct sunlight.
At the lowest end of the range, a 200 watt system should be sufficient for basic power needs – lights, fans, propane electrical electronics, mobile phone chargers, etc. At the same time, if you want to meet the needs of higher wattage appliances, such as TVs, microwaves, etc., you may need closer to 400 watts (or more) of solar panel power.
There are many solar calculators available online to help you work out your solar wattage requirements, but with so many variables they can only provide a few guesses. The most definitive way to tell is to conduct a field test to determine how many watts of solar panel power your system will require. If you have established a proper solar base (which we will show you step by step below), you can quickly add additional solar panels to expand your system.
How to connect solar panel to rV battery?
Connecting solar panels to your caravan batteries is a simple process. In short, your solar panel sits on the outside of your caravan, absorbing solar energy, and wires transfer the energy to a charge controller in the caravan. Finally, the wires connect the charge controller to the caravan batteries to charge them.
It’s as simple as that. However, to install solar panels we first need a few supplies.
- 12v battery
- Solar panel – at least 200 watts (you can connect multiple 100 watt solar panels in parallel)
- Solar charge controller
- 10AWG solar panel connector adapter kit
- 10AWG pallet cable
- Optional: mounting bracket
- Optional: Inverter (DC to AC power inverter to power 120v AC appliances)
- Connect the battery to the charge controller, using the tray cable. The red wire goes into the positive port and the green wire into the negative port. Fasten the screw connections. Then connect the other end of the tray cable to the battery (red to the positive terminal, green to the negative terminal). Important: Always perform this step first to avoid irreversible damage to the solar system components!
- Insert the solar panel MC4 female connector into the MC4 male connector of the adapter assembly. Then, plug the solar panel MC4 male connector into the MC4 female connector of the adapter assembly.
- Plug the negative solar panel cable into the negative solar port of the charge controller. Then, plug the positive solar panel wire into the positive solar port of the charge controller. You may need to strip the end of the wire 3/8″ to connect it to the charge controller. Tighten the screws on the charge controller to ensure a secure connection.
- Optional: Once everything is properly connected, we can now connect the inverter by first connecting the negative port to the negative terminal of the power inverter. Then, connect the positive port to the positive terminal of the power inverter.
A final consideration is your plan to put solar panels on your RV. You have a few different options:
- Manual setup: Alternatively, you can manually set up and plug in your solar panels outside whenever you want to use them. Then pack them up and store them when not in use. If you go this route, remember your charge controller needs to be mounted inside your RV, out of the weather. One option is to mount the charge controller in an easily accessible storage bay close to your RV batteries, if possible.
- RV Roof-mounted: Using the optional mounting kit, you can attach your solar panels to the roof of your RV, travel trailer, or camper van and use a cable entry plate to run the wires down into the rig.
To find out how powerful a solar panel is needed to charge an RV battery, a solar panel system of 200 to 400 watts is generally sufficient to charge an RV battery, as long as there is direct sunlight.
Next, you will need solar panels, batteries, solar charge controller, 10AWG solar panel connector kit, 10AWG tray cable etc. Finally, complete the solar panel installation by connecting the tray cable to the battery and the solar charge controller, and then connect the solar panel to the solar charge controller. Alternatively, you can choose to mount the solar panel on your RV or set it up manually, choosing the right installation method for your needs.