How To Use Renogy Panels With Jackery Power Stations

Using Third-Party Renogy Panels With Jackery Portable Power Stations 160/240/500/1000/1500/2000

If you own or plan on purchasing a Jackery 160, 240, 300, 500, 1000, 1500 or 2000 a great way to charge it is with solar panels. 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.

Related Post: Best solar panels compatible with Jackery Power Stations

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: There have been reports (thanks Shane) that the 8mm inputs on the new 1500 and 2000 are not the same as on the older Explorer models, and the MC4 to 8mm adapter doesn’t work. I haven’t gotten my hands on one of the newer Explorers so I can’t confirm it, but please be aware that these adapters might not work with the Explorer 1500 and 2000.

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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 1000 and smaller (160, 240, 300, 500) can handle panels rated between 12-30V. What this means is that the VOC rating needs to be within that range. The latest Explorer 1500 and 2000 can handle up to 50V. 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 to the 1000 and smaller, 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.

To stay below 50V with the 1500 and 2000, you can use either 12V or 24V panels, but if you’re connecting more than one panel and do it in series, it needs to be 12V panels. You could still use two 24V panels, but you would have to do 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.

A series connection doesn’t require any adapters or connectors. You simply take the positive MC4 male connector from the first panel, and connect it to the negative MC4 female connector on the second panel. So you end up with a cable from each panel. Two of the panels in the example above wired in series would then output 36V @ 6A. This would be OK with the 1500 and 2000, but not the 1000 and smaller.

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.

40 thoughts on “How To Use Renogy Panels With Jackery Power Stations”

  1. I have the Renogy 100w suitcase that has the solar charge controller built in. Will it damage the controller if I charge the generator or do I need to by pass the controller in order to use the Renogy suitcase?

    Reply
    • The Boulder 50 and 100 use the 8mm connector, so they should work with the Explorer 500. They’re certainly within the limits of what the Jackery can handle.

      Jesse

      Reply
  2. Is there anything to know about plugging in the adapter correctly? I will be using the Jackery 500 with the Renogy 100W solar panel and the adapter.

    Reply
  3. Hi I am looking to get 2 200w renogy panels and was wondering what your personal opinion on what power station can handle 200w. Looking between Jackery 500 & 1000.
    Thanks,
    Andrew

    Reply
  4. so hi I am a newbie but have 2 100watt HQST panels and wonder what jackery size I should get and do I need an adaptor as well?? thanks

    Reply
  5. Hi, I have two Renogy 160 watt panels. The OVC for each of them is 22.9 volts. Would it be ok running just one directly to my Jackery 500? I know the panels max output is 160 watts but it OVC is under 30 volts. I believe my Jackery is the latest version as well, which means as I understand, that it uses a MPPT controller.

    Reply
    • Hey Joshua,

      Yes, you could use one of them with your Explorer 500. You’re not going to see more than 60-70W of input at most since the charge controller is still pretty weak, but connecting a big panel like that will at least maximize the input most sunny hours of the day.

      Reply
  6. Hello,

    I’ve been talking to Renogy and Jackery customer service and am still having a hard time determining if the Renogy 100w Eclipse will work with my Jackery 240. I’m trying to determine the “max solar input” as it does not say in the manual, etc.

    Do you know if the Renogy 100w Eclipse will work fine with my Jackery 240? What are the specs I need to look for when determining this? Especially when it states a max input wattage of 42.

    Thank you for any help!!!!!

    TjR

    Reply
    • Hey TjR,

      Which Eclipse panel are you looking at? Take a look at the rigid Eclipse 100W, and scroll down to the specifications. What usually matters is the “Optimum Operating Voltage”, which is 17.7V. Jackery has told me to look at the “Open Circuit Voltage” when picking panels for their power stations though, which is 21.2V.

      The Jackery Explorer 240 can handle up to 30V, according to the specifications on the listing. So the panel above is safe to use with the Explorer 240, you’ll just need the MC4 to 8mm adapter.

      The 42W max, in this case, is how much electricity the charge controller can move to the battery, but this doesn’t mean you can’t use anything larger than a 42W solar panel. I use 200W of solar with my Explorer 500, even though its “max” is 65W. The charge controller regulates the wattage, but it won’t regulate voltage if you go over the 30V limit.

      Also, make sure you get a panel without a built-in charge controller since the Jackery already has one.

      Let me know if you have any questions.

      Jesse

      Reply
      • Dear Jesse,

        Good morning to you. I hope all is will. I have read many post and i am trying to get a power station and some solar panels. I prefer to get 200w suit case Renogy with a Jackery 500 all brand new stuff. One post you say you cant and than i read here you can? Can you please help me understand how to do this? below is what you said. Thanks

        The 42W max, in this case, is how much electricity the charge controller can move to the battery, but this doesn’t mean you can’t use anything larger than a 42W solar panel. I use 200W of solar with my Explorer 500, even though its “max” is 65W. The charge controller regulates the wattage, but it won’t regulate voltage if you go over the 30V limit.

        Reply
        • Renogy 200 Watt 12 Volt Eclipse Monocrystalline Off Grid Portable Foldable Solar Panel Suitcase Built-in Kickstand, black

          This is the solar panel i want to get … considering everything you have taught me so far i dont need a controller. would the 500 jackery work with this set up since these are 12v input?

          Please help … and i love your post… so helpful

          Reply
          • Hi,

            According to Renogy’s website, that 200W panel without the charge controller is compatible with the Explorer 500 since the VOC rating is below 30V.

            All you would need is an MC4 to 8mm adapter (click to view on Amazon).

            To answer your first comment, the Explorer 500 can handle more than 42W, I was talking about the smaller Explorer in that sentence.

            Let me know if you have any questions.

  7. I am looking at obtaining a Renology 100 Watt solar panel. What brands of power stations would you recommend for durability, reliability, safety and overall ease of use that would be compatible with the Renology panel?
    Thanks for your help!

    Reply
    • Hmm, it’s hard for me to recommend any power station brands because I have read warranty-stories about them all. I can tell you though that I have good experiences with Goal Zero, Jackery, Ecoflow, and Bluetti.

      My favorite right now is the Ecoflow River which can be bought with an extra battery for more capacity. It includes an MC4 to XT60 adapter so it’s compatible with the Renogy 100W panel right out of the box.

      I would say that the most important thing is to buy it from a reputable seller that will honor the warranty.

      Reply
  8. Hi Jesse,

    With your experience in traveling in a trailer, do you have some recommended websites to find out about low power electrical devices for car camping that a 500 Watt or 1,000 Watt power station could adequately handle, especially for cooking as well as cooling?

    Reply
  9. Hi Jesse,

    Is is possible to charge the Jackery power station using both a car dc power source AND a solar panel at the same time?

    Reply
    • Unfortunately not with the current models. It might be possible if you had an 8mm branch that allows more than one connector, but even the Explorer 1000 with two inputs can only handle one input at a time.

      Jesse

      Reply
  10. Hey, Jesse.

    I’m purely in the exploratory phase of getting into solar. I’m prepping for retirement where I plan to spend much of my time on the road. Although I don’t own any solar equipment yet coming across your site has helped me quite a bit. I’m interested in the Jackery 500 and I want panels that can be left outdoors to charge it. I think I’ve found my solution just from this page.

    Thank you for your work on this topic and generously sharing your advice and expertise.

    John

    Reply
  11. I’m at a loss for what to do with my Jackery 1000. I hooked it up to a 160 watt flexible Renogy, put the panels in direct sunlight, and plugged the MC4 to 8mm adapter linked here, but I’m getting zero watts. The Renogy wires are hot, and I can charge the Jackery off of 12 volts from the car, but for some reason it won’t charge off the panel.

    Reply
    • And the Jackery isn’t already at 100% charge? If you have a multimeter I suggest testing each connection since there is most likely a faulty MC4 connector somewhere. Based on my experience, it’s probably the MC4 to 8mm adapter and not the solar panel that is the problem, but I’d want to make sure with a multimeter so you don’t return the panel for no reason. Let me know if you have any questions.

      Reply
      • The Jackery was at 98 or 99 %. Does it need to be lower before it accepts a charge? It will still show input wattage even at 100% when I plug it into the 12v outlet in the truck.

        We tested the solar panel with a multimeter all the way to the point where we plugged it into the MC4 to 8mm adapter. I also tried a different MC4 to Andersen connector, and that didn’t work either. Zero watts input.

        I just can’t think of a reason that it would charge fine off of 12v but receive nothing from solar, provided the panel is working, which it is. Faulty charge controller?

        Reply
        • It should work but I’d drain the battery to 90% and try again. That is really strange. The first reason I can think of is that the voltage put out by the panel is too high, but if it’s the 160W 12V panel it should be way below 30V under load.

          The only other reason I can think of is that the polarity is wrong. You can check the polarity of the solar panel with a multimeter to make sure it’s not wired wrong. You want the MC4 male connector to be positive and the MC4 female connector to be negative. The easier way to try would be to use the MC4 to Anderson connector but put the black into red, and red into black (when plugging it into the Jackery). That’s probably not recommended to do by Jackery but I have done it with my Explorer 1000 when the polarity was wrong.

          Reply
  12. I did a van build out but had someone install solar panels for me. I hadn’t planned on using them right away but just figured it would be best to have them installed before I did the van build out. Anyway, I have 2 Renogy 100 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar panels (slim) installed. I was planning to get a Jackery station and already got the Anderson to 8mm adapter but then read about the input max of 30V. I’m completely clueless about electric but from what I can tell, the input of the 2 Solar panels would be too much for the Jackery products.

    What do you recommend I do in this situation? Is there any way to use my solar panels with the Jackery items or should I just go with a larger Goal Zero product? I was reading what you wrote about bypassing the max input of the Jackery.. Thanks in advance.

    Reply
    • You can definitely use both of those panels with a Jackery Explorer 1000 or larger. What matters is how the two panels are connected to each other. If they’re connected in parallel with an MC4 Y branch, they’re set up in parallel and can be used with a Jackery. A parallel connection doubles the amperage but keeps the voltage the same. If you look at the wiring you should be able to tell if there is an MC4 y branch or not.

      If they’re not connected in parallel but in series, you’ll see that one of the wires (a MC4 male connector) is connected directly to the second panel (a MC4 female connector), and what’s left is one MC4 connector from the first panel and one from the second panel. A series connection doubles the voltage, but keeps the amperage the same.

      If you plan on getting the Explorer 1000, you would have to keep them connected in parallel to not exceed 30V, but if you get one of the newer models, like the Explorer 1500, you can connect panels in series as long as they don’t exceed 50V. A series connection is actually preferable with the newer 1500 and 2000.

      Let me know if you have any questions.

      Reply
  13. I just wanted to thank you so much for all this GREAT info! I have been digging around the internet to figure out how to hook up my Jackery 1000 to Renogy solar panel (that I want to silicone to my van roof). And all my questions are answered here. THANKS!

    Reply
  14. Do you know how many Renogy 100watt solar panels in total that I could connect to the Jackery 1500? I want to charge it as fast as possible with only using solar

    Reply
    • I haven’t gotten my hands on the 1500 yet so I haven’t been able to test it, and it’s a bit unclear in the manual.

      Technically you should be able to connect three 100W panels to each port, for a total of 600W, but it depends on how many amps the charge controller allow.

      I have also been told that the popular MC4 to 8mm adapters do not work with the Explorer 1500 and 2000, although I am not sure whether that’s the case with all of the adapters.

      I would make two pairs of Rich Solar 150W wired in series, and then use two MC4 to 8mm adapters to connect the two pairs to the Explorer 1500. But as I said, I am not sure which (if any) MC4 to 8mm adapters work with the inputs.

      Reply

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