Using Third-Party Renogy Panels With Jackery Portable Power Stations 160/240/500/1000/1500/2000
Solar panels are amazing if you’re away from electrical outlets and need to use electronics. Today I am going to tell you how you can use third-party solar panels from companies like Renogy and HQST with the Jackery power stations.
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I live in my travel trailer and travel full time, and my solar panels let me live life just like I would be connected to outlets. I charge my laptop all day and watch TV all night, which wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for my solar panels. So I understand why you would like to connect solar panels to your Jackery Power Station.
So How Do You Connect Solar Panels To A Jackery Power Station?
Jackery sells its own solar panels like the SolarSaga 100, which comes with the 8mm connector that plugs straight into the power station. You can purchase other solar panels from companies like Renogy, Richsolar, HQST, and Newpowa that will also connect to the Jackery box. All you’ll need is an adapter.
The adapter you’re going to need is the SolarEnz MC4 to 8mm adapter cable. This is compatible with the Renogy, Richsolar, HQST, and Newpowa panels.
NOTE if you have an Explorer 1500 or 2000: The latest Explorer 1500 and 2000 use proprietary 8mm connectors. You have to use the parallel 8mm adapter included by Jackery to use the adapter below with third party panels. You can also use a third-party adapter made by Solarenz, click here to view it on Amazon
All Jackery power stations use 8mm inputs, but the Explorer 1000 also have an Anderson Powerpole input. You can only use one of the inputs on the Explorer 1000 at a time, but on the newer 1500 and 2000 you can use both 8mm inputs. This makes it possible to charge the battery with solar panels while also charging it with the wall or car charger.
What Type And How Many Panels Can You Connect?
The most important thing when choosing panels for a power station like the Jackery is that the panel can’t have a built-in solar charge controller, since the Explorers already have built-in controllers.
The Jackery Explorer power stations can handle panels rated between 12-30V. What this means is that the VOC rating needs to be within that range. You can usually find the VOC rating in the specifications of a panel.
Since the 500 and smaller can’t handle even close to 100W input, I wouldn’t connect more than a single 100W panel unless you live in an area that is often cloudy or where the sun is weak.
To stay below 30V when connecting panels, you need to use 12V solar panels and if you want to connect more than one you have to use an MC4 Y branch which creates a parallel connection.
A parallel connection is done with an MC4 Y branch. This combines the amperages, but keeps the voltage the same. So if you have a 100W 12V panel rated at 18V @ 6A (like the Renogy 100W), combing two in parallel will output 18V @ 12A.
It’s not safe to connect two panels in series to any of the Explorers (except the first gen 1500 and 2000, not the newer ones) and smaller since that will double the voltage and most likely exceed the 30V maximum. If you connect several panels you also need to make sure that the wire is thick enough to handle the amperage.
For the new Explorer 1500 and 2000, I recommend two 12V 100W panels wired in parallel with the MC4 Y branch linked to above.
If you have four panels, you can do two pairs and use both 8mm inputs. Then you would also need two MC4 to 8mm adapters (click to view on Amazon).
When you have connected your panels, you can use MC4 extension cables between the panel(s) and the MC4 to 8mm adapter.
I recommend the Windynation MC4 extension cables. Depending on how many panels you connect, you need to make sure that the wire is thick enough to handle the total amperage.
How Long Will It Take To Charge The Jackery Power Stations With A 100 Watt Solar Panel?
A 100 watt solar panel doesn’t generate exactly 100 watts as soon as there is sun on it, but usually between 40 and 80 depending on the time of the year, what solar charge controller it’s plugged into, and other factors. The latest Explorer power stations have an MPPT charge controller, but the maximum of the Explorer 500 is still around 65W input.
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The Explorer 160 will charge in about four hours, the 240 in about five hours, the 300 in about six hours, and the 500 in about 8 hours. The Explorer 100 takes about 8 hours since it can only handle 126W of solar input when using 12V panels.
The latest Explorer 1500 can handle up to 600W, so you could technically recharge it in 3-4 hours.
Let me know if you have any questions by leaving a comment down below.