Upgrading the Solar Panels on Our Expedition Vehicle
We recently upgraded the solar panels on our expedition vehicle from 610 watts to 4 x 225 watt panels totaling 900 watts. This process also meant we upgraded the SmartSolar MPPT to a twin system with a Victron MPPT 100/30 and MPPT 100/50.
Here is a step-by-step guide to how we did it:
- Remove the old solar panels. We carefully disconnected the old solar panels from the electrical system and removed them from the roof of the vehicle.
- Prepare the roof for the new solar panels. We cleaned the roof of the vehicle and made sure that it was free of any dirt or debris. We also marked the locations of the new solar panels on the roof. This step took the most time as it also gave us a chance to inspect, clean and thoughtfully prepare the surface.
- Install the new solar panels. We carefully installed the new solar panels on the roof of the vehicle using mounting brackets and special sealant. We made sure that the solar panels were level and securely fastened to the roof.
- Wire the new solar panels to the electrical system. We connected the new solar panels to the electrical system using MC4 connectors. We also connected the new solar panels to the twin Victron MPPT charge controllers. By wiring the panels in Series / Parallel we did not need to upgrade the existing wiring in the roof.
- Test the new solar system. We tested the new solar system to make sure that it was working properly. We used a multimeter to check the voltage and amperage output of the solar panels. We also checked the battery voltage to make sure that the solar panels were charging the battery correctly.
Once the new solar system was installed and tested, we were ready to hit the road!
Benefits of Upgrading to 900 Watts of Solar
Upgrading to 900 watts of solar has a number of benefits, including:
- More power to run our appliances and devices. With 900 watts of solar, we can now run our refrigerator, freezer, water pump, and other appliances without having to worry about running out of power.
- Faster battery charging. With more solar power, our batteries can now charge faster, which means that we can spend less time plugged into shore power.
- More energy independence. With more solar power, we are now more energy independent and can rely less on fossil fuels.
Upgrading to a Twin Victron MPPT Charge Controller
We also upgraded to a twin Victron MPPT charge controller. This allows us to connect two solar panels to each charge controller, which gives us more flexibility in how we design our solar system. For example, we can now connect two solar panels to each charge controller and place them on different parts of the roof of the vehicle. This helps to maximize the amount of solar energy that we can collect.
Overall, we are very happy with the upgrade to 900 watts of solar and a twin Victron MPPT charge controller. It has given us more power, faster battery charging, and more energy independence.