Updating Tundra Solar System

FJR Colorado

Explorer
Some may recall this build I did 5 years ago...
(where does the time go?)

I decided to perform some upgrades to the solar system.

I like to build my own systems and not do a Goal Zero or similar. Rather than build a "box" I went with the concept of a "service panel." After mulling several approaches, I built this frame out of aluminum as a base...



A test fitting in the bed proved well, so it was on to populating the "service panel"...



I went with a new Renogy MPPT controller. It will be fed by my existing Renogy 100W panel (which 5+ years later cranks out juice just fine).

To the panel I also added: breakers for the solar panel and battery (love these units), the Renogy Bluetooth module, an ARB fridge outlet with Glow fuse and dedicated volt-meter (these will wire direct to the existing Optima Yellowtop deep cycle battery). Space is left for an inverter should I need/want one in the future...



Next, came installing into the truck bed...



Easy access is made through the windoor...



The system is performing like a champ...



I happened to have a Samsung G7 Sport laying around so I loaded the Renogy BT app on it and will keep it dedicated to the truck. It also has maps and trails s/w so that can come in handy as well as serving as a back-up web browser and e-mail device.

I have a bunch of cig plugs and USB outlets mounted off to the side (fed by the "load" off of the controller). The goal is to migrate all devices to Anderson powerpole connectors.

Also, my Optima Yellowtop battery is 5+ years old and destined to be replaced/upgraded at some point. I'm likely going to swap in the Renogy 100Ah Gel battery:
https://www.amazon.com/Renogy-100Ah-Rechargeable-Cycle-Battery/dp/B01KN6QUW2/ref=sr_1_11?crid=2JC57WRSJFOF4&keywords=deep+cycle+battery+12v&qid=1565121212&s=gateway&sprefix=deep+cyc,aps,173&sr=8-11&th=1

I recently put one in my off-the-grid cabin as the primary house unit and it seems to be superb. Anyone have extended experience with one? Or comments about vehicular use? I already bought the big huge battery box for it. Just waiting for Amazon to mark it down for a few days :)
 
Last edited:

Borrego60

Rendezvous Conspiracy
Why such a large foot print in the back of the truck. Looks nice and neat. Here is what I did and 100watt panel Suits my solar needs and charges my starting battery via Blue seas ACR automatic charge relay.
 

Attachments

FJR Colorado

Explorer
Why such a large foot print in the back of the truck. Looks nice and neat. Here is what I did and 100watt panel Suits my solar needs and charges my starting battery via Blue seas ACR automatic charge relay.
The actual footprint of the service panel on the floor of the bed is 1.5" x 20". It uses space in the front of the bed on the passenger side behind the fridge.

Yes, the panel is fairly large at 12" x 18", but it is space that doesn't have much use otherwise. The windoors on my topper provide easy access. I left space for future additions such as an inverter. The Rover MPPT is a BIG controller. Very rugged and professional though. Love the cooling fins on the back side.

I did install the 100Ah Renogy Gel battery yesterday:



What a beast. Almost double the capacity of the Optima yellow.

Your set-up looks good and compact. You might consider a battery box though? If a piece of metal somehow shorts across those poles it will look like that scene from the first episode of Breaking Bad :cautious: (when Walt shorts out the BMW). In the unlikely event that your battery develops a leak, it can be contained in plastic as opposed to running all over the bed.

Years ago, I had a sealed battery in a jumper pack develop a leak and it wreaked havoc...
 

FJR Colorado

Explorer
Was thinking about the battery box thing, wonder if I can get the ARTEC holder to mount inside.?
That is a really nice battery hold-down and likely would fit inside a battery box. The issue would be that you really don't want to drill through the battery box. You'd prefer it to hold liquid in the unlikely event of battery casing failure.
 
Top