Good Sam Club Open Roads Forum: Adding more Solar and DC-DC charger
Open Roads Forum Already a member? Login here.   If not, Register Today!  |  Help

Newest  |  Active  |  Popular  |  RVing FAQ Forum Rules  |  Forum Posting Help and Support  |  Contact  

Search:   Advanced Search

Search only in Truck Campers

Open Roads Forum  >  Truck Campers

 > Adding more Solar and DC-DC charger

Reply to Topic  |  Subscribe  |  Print Topic  |  Post New Topic  | 
Page of 2  


Full Member

Joined: 12/14/2020

View Profile

Posted: 10/02/21 04:38pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hope all is well guys and girls

About 6 months ago i came here with a plan to leave my high priced NYC apt and move into my truck camper full time , well , its been one hell of a ride so far !

Over the last few months ive payed close attention to my energy needs , i have 400w of solar which pulls about 15amps MAX on the best conditions

I have a 280ah lithium battery pack

and a propane generator that i use for emergencies (to charge the battery if its been cloudy) or on hot days if i want to turn on my ac

I am never hooked up to power at a campground , everything is done off the grid

So ive gotten a bit tired of having to position myself in the sun, my life revolves around this battery and its getting old , so heres my plan

add 2 additional 200w panels , upgrade the existing SCC to a victron 100/50

add a 200amp high output alternator and a renogy 60 amp dc to dc charger

My current setup is a 2006 Ford f350 paired with a 2019 Eagle Cap 811

The purpose of this post is to say hello again , and also get any tips or suggestions on the best way to proceed

I am in the process now of doing the resarch to configure the system correctly , so not only will i be reworking the solary array and SCC but also trying to size the correct wiring and get a good plan for the DC-DC charger as well

thanks again


PNW and Beyond

Senior Member

Joined: 01/25/2013

View Profile

Good Sam RV Club Member

Posted: 10/02/21 05:15pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Solar = aka The 'Black Arts'... heheh

Went through and still going through it..

Lesson's learned from my experience,

- Put as many panels as you can handle and the new 200w would be my choice
- Whatever wiring one suggests, plan for the highest and then go one grade higher (lower number)
- Look at the 3000 w invertor/controller..
- Do what you can with the batteries..

All that so you don't have to 'Rewire/re-configure' the system if you need more add-ons etc... If you don't want to go the full panels, make sure the wiring would handle the max so later on, you might want to ADD another one

Frank Poole
Roam'n ROG (Full Timer since Oct '15)
2016 RAM 5500, C/c, 6.7 Diesel, AISIN HD 6-spd, 19.5 DRW, 72 Gal fuel, 4x4, 10’ Alum FB, 440 Amps, 4.10 Axle
2016 AF 990 640-Solar/10-6v Batts
GlowStep Stow N’ Go, E-Bike
RS1 Buggy

Pooles website


Near DVNP, California

Senior Member

Joined: 08/12/2016

View Profile

Good Sam RV Club Member

Posted: 10/02/21 05:21pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hello again! Does your energy use survey indicate that 600 watts will do the refill most days? If so a new alternator (expensive) may not be needed. And it can be added later. Lastly, 15 amps from 400 solar watts with batteries in bulk and good sun doesn’t seem right IMO.

Winnebago 2101DS TT & 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 LTZ Z71, 300 watt solar-Lossigy 200 AMP Lithium battery. TALL flag pole. Prefer boondocking, USFS, COE, BLM, NPS, TVA, state camps. Bicyclist 14 yr. Army -11B40 then 11A - (MOS 1542 & 1560) IOBC & IOAC grad


Regina, SK, Canada

Senior Member

Joined: 12/18/2004

View Profile

Posted: 10/02/21 08:27pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

By the time you replace the alternator, add the charge controller, and get the dc to DC charger, you could buy a heck of a lot of propane.

You don't say what sort of converter you have. It may be an idea to replace it should you choose the generator route.

Did you originally do an energy audit? If not, do so before you proceed.

Is the existing charge controller maxed out? If not, then add more panels.

I'm surprized at the lack of charging from the 400 watts of existing panels. I get 17 amps, when the batteries are hungry, from 256 watts of panels. And my panels are from 2005.

The one mistake I made was maxing out the existing charge controller.

Folks might be able to help you out more easily if you would list all the equipment you have now.

Regards, Don
My ride is a 28 foot Class C, 256 watts solar, soon to have SiO2 batteries, 3000 watt Magnum hybrid inverter, Sola Basic Autoformer, Microair Easy Start.



Senior Member

Joined: 05/12/2010

View Profile

Good Sam RV Club Member

Posted: 10/03/21 05:38am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Assuming you are still in the NYC area, 400 watts of solar should indeed give you a max of about 15 amps and a total of about 125 AH/day in full bright sun with no obstructions blocking your panels at any time.

A couple of months from now those outputs are going to drop in half and you will be lucky it hit a max of about 60 AH/day. If your current output is insufficient, you are not going to be able to add enough solar capacity to handle short, cloudy winter days.

I do not have the solution or even full understanding for your situation but I do have a couple of suggestions. First look at an energy audit and look at steps to conserve power. Reduce use of electrical appliances, convert to the most efficient LED lighting, avoid using an inverter and any 120 v devices. Saving on consumption is likely to work better than trying to add panels.

Next I would look at the fastest way of charging. I don't know anything about Li batteries so I cannot offer specific help.

Lastly look at the wire gauges especially for the solar to battery circuits. Typically there is a lot of waste due to use of marginal wiring.



Senior Member

Joined: 09/07/2010

View Profile

Posted: 10/03/21 11:30am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

moonlitsouls wrote:

add a 200amp high output alternator and a renogy 60 amp dc to dc charger

Don't waste your money on the high output alternator.
The Remote DC-DC charger is a good idea, but idling your vehicle to recharge your batteries is not the most energy efficient method.



Senior Member

Joined: 09/07/2010

View Profile

Posted: 10/03/21 11:36am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

JimK-NY wrote:

Next I would look at the fastest way of charging. I don't know anything about Li batteries so I cannot offer specific help.

The fastest way to recharge any battery is a 75A+ power supply. This would need about 1500W of AC input power.

Look up MexicoWander's post on his Frankenstein system. Fully MANUAL (timer)? It gets most of the charge fast and then you can hook up and automatic charger to finish it off.

Will Prowse like his 75A AIMS CON120AC1224DC converter/charger.

* This post was edited 10/03/21 11:48am by theoldwizard1 *

Mike Tassinari

Peabody Mass..

Senior Member

Joined: 02/27/2003

View Profile

Good Sam RV Club Member

Posted: 10/04/21 06:04am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hello Moonlitsouls.

Lets face it, going off grid is all about battery storage capability - solar panels and how to charge ones battery bank.
This is my set up,,,
Ford Truck - 2002 Ford F350 7.3 diesel
Truck was ordered with the single alternator.
Second independent Alternator - 200 amps
Twin Deka group 31 flooded deep cycle battery's hanging from the trucks frame rails. All wiring is of 1/0 gauge welding wire. (fine strand)
Lance R/V - Twin Deka group 31 flooded deep cycle battery's
Total of 4 solar panels for a whopping 470 watts of charging. The solar panels are fixed and do not move.
Also for ease of wiring, the 2 factory solar panels have one thirty amp charge controller and the 2 Kyocera panels that I added also have their own 30 amp controller
Also the Lance R/V has been totally re wired with 1/0 welding cable.
For connectors between the Truck & RV I used 175 amp Anderson Connectors
All Battery's are wired in parallel configuration with the positive wire of the R/V on battery #1 positive post and the R/V negative with on battery #4 of the negative post. This way all battery are equally in play and draw down together and charge up together.
Besides the usual R/V electrical usage, I keep an ARB compressor freezer in the back of my truck that also draws off my Battery Bank. It stays on all the time and have had this ARB in the truck for over 2 years now.
Lastly I have a 2000 watt pure sine invertor located in the R/V and is wired with 3 - double pole, double throw relays so I can take 3 120V circuits off the Lance 120 volt system and with a flick of a switch swap these circuits to the Inverter.
I can go up to 3 cloudy days with no sun and my battery bank will be in the 11.8 to 12.0 range.
My latest test was my R/V was parked in from of my house for 3 weeks with no shore power and admit to have no more than 2 cloudy/rainy days at any given time and my battery bank never ever dropped below 12.2 amps.
The best charging feature for me is that independent 200 amp alternator and its exciter circuit. I have seen over 50 amps of power going into my battery bank when driving down the road.
Yes the solar is great but with 3 stage controller limiting me to 70 percent bulk charge then 20% absorption charge then the final 10% float charge, when your battery bank is down 50 percent or so, you need something faster to charge those 4 battery's
Lithium battery's do not work for me as I do too much winter camping and if you are the owner of Lithium battery's you know what the cold does to them.
Bottom line:
Four - 115 amp Deka flooded battery's
Four - Solar panels with a total of 470 watts

Zero electrical issues.
Mike Tassinari

2002 Ford-4x4-Extended Cab-Dually-Lariet-Powerstroke Diesel--4.10 gears--Ranchero Adjustable Shocks-55 Gallon Extended Fuel Tank--4 Extra Main Leaf Springs-1 Extra Helper Spring..Independant Second Altinator(100AMP)to Charge MY Twin 275 AH. Deep Cycle Battery Bank tucked under the truck bed....

2001 Lance-11&1/2 Ft.-Model 1121/slide/out with all the Toys&2000 Watt Inverter


Spokane, WA

Senior Member

Joined: 09/08/2003

View Profile

Posted: 10/04/21 06:32am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

theoldwizard1 wrote:

idling your vehicle to recharge your batteries is not the most energy efficient method.

YEP. Idling won't produce much usable charge rate because the alternator is not spinning as fast as it would while driving.
It's also a huge waste of vehicle fuel just for the purpose of trickle charging your battery.

I'd also highly recommend a Victron BMV-712 battery monitor

I have an upgraded charging system on my truck. It does very well when I'm traveling (driving)

Cable upgrade / dual alternator in my truck

DC to DC Charger in the camper

2009 Silverado 3500HD Dually, D/A, CCLB 4x4 (bought new 8/30/09)
2018 Arctic Fox 992 with an Onan 2500i "quiet" model generator


Kamloops, BC, Canada

Senior Member

Joined: 07/16/2003

View Profile

Posted: 10/04/21 06:36am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I like your plan. if you have the room increasing your solar to 800 watts will definatly get you better charging even in low light and on a normal day you will be charged alot faster. One thing to concider is the type of panels your using, if you can upgrade to 24V split cell panels would highly sugest that. to give you an example of the difference in my 5th wheel I have 480 watts of 12V panels with a PWM controler and ya in the summer I never have to worry about power, but once furnace season starts I have to be very carfull and some times plug in. in the fall before say 9am it puts out nothing. In my truck camper I have a single 325 watt 24V splitt cell panel and it puts out more amps than my 5th wheel, and starts producing power when it is barley sun up. last week at 7:30am it was already putting out 0.5 amp, not a lot but it was pretty much still dark and thats is an extra 1-2 AH back in the battery before the 5th wheel even starts putting out a charge. Myself I am putting another panel on the camper to take it to 650 and a larger battery and Ill be good to go. I am also looking at the DC to DC charger for while I drive or an emergency.

I do like the idea of the DC to DC charger, some one mentioned you could buy a lot of propane, but the ultimate goal for me would be not to have to have a generator and the DC to DC would only be a emergency charging source.

with a 280 AH LFP, I am assuming your built your own? if so the only other thing I would add to this plan is another one for more capacity. not right now but later down the road if you need it.


2014 F350 6.7 Platinum
2016 Cougar 330RBK

Reply to Topic  |  Subscribe  |  Print Topic  |  Post New Topic  | 
Page of 2  

Open Roads Forum  >  Truck Campers

 > Adding more Solar and DC-DC charger
Search:   Advanced Search

Search only in Truck Campers

New posts No new posts
Closed, new posts Closed, no new posts
Moved, new posts Moved, no new posts

Adjust text size:

© 2021 CWI, Inc. © 2021 Good Sam Enterprises, LLC. All Rights Reserved.