Download the Free high-resolution wiring diagram here.
This free 600 Watt solar system plan is for campervans, off-grid cabins, or anyone just wishing to lower their energy bills. This design uses three 200 Watt solar panels wired in series. A 600 Watt solar array is about the maximum amount of wattage you can fit on a normal camper while still having enough roof space left over to easily mount a Maxxair fan.
This design has an optional DC-DC charger built in. A DC-DC charger will charge your batteries while on the road. If you do a lot of driving you can install a much larger battery bank and stay longer off-grid. A DC-DC Charger also helps make it through low sunlight conditions, like winter or prolonged storms. Of course, if you’re installing this system in a cabin or home you won’t use a DC-DC charger.
If you plan to do a lot of Boondocking, which is remote camping without shore power, then I recommend building this system. If you plan to do a lot of driving, or you spend most of the time plugged in on campgrounds, then you might be better off building a smaller system. In that case, check out our 200 Watt System or 400 Watt System.
What you’ll need for this project
- 60A MPPT Solar Charge Controller
- 2000W Inverter/Charger
- 2000W Inverter Charger – Use this if you plan to install a shore power hookup for campgrounds
- 30A DC-DC Charger
- DC Fuse Panel – Wire your DC circuits under 30A through this Fuse Panel
- 200 Watt Solar Panel
- 10 AWG Solar Cable – 20′ of Solar Cable with MC4 connectors on one end
- Solar Disconnect – Main Switch to disconnect the Solar Array
- Solar Cable Entry Gland – Entry gland with MC4 connectors and wire already attached
- Solar Panel Glue on Mounts
- 200A LiFePo4 Battery – (Recommended Option)
- 200A LiFePo4 Battery – (Budget Option)
- 200A AGM Battery – (Budget Budget Option) Important– If using AGM batteries you’ll need twice the capacity since these batteries should not be discharged below 50% capacity.
- Main On/Off Switch
- Battery Monitor and Shunt
For everything else needed to complete your project, please visit our Installation Components Page. There you’ll find all of the fuses, breakers, busbars, wires and tools you’ll need for this project.
For detailed instructions on how to build and install this system, please read our Solar System Installation Guide.
This design uses a 2000 Watt power inverter, feel free to use a smaller inverter or skip the inverter altogether if you don’t need to power A/C devices. If you wish to install a larger inverter, you’ll need to recalculate your cable and fuse sizes. Read our Guide to Wire Selection or Guide to Fuse Selection.
If you wish to plug in at a campground, we recommend installing an Inverter/Charger. These inverters have a built-in battery charger and transfer switch, which allows you to plug into campground poles or normal household outlets.
A DC-DC charger is not necessary, if is nice to have and sometimes it’ll save the day when there’s not enough sunlight. A DC-DC Charger let’s you generate power on demand, whenever you’re engine is running. If you’re planning to do winter vanlife, or you want a backup charging method, do yourself a favor and install a DC-DC Charger.
Solar Charge Controller
We recommend installing the Victron 100|50 MPPT Solar Charge Controller for this solar system. You can however, choose any charge controller you want as long as it’s specifications meet or exceed the Victron 100|50.
This design uses three 200 Watt solar panels. These are “12 Volt” solar panels, which have a Voc of around 20 Volt, plus or minus a few volts. Check the back of your panels for a Voc rating, make sure it falls between 18 to 24 volt. Anything higher is not compatible with this design.
The solar panels are to be wired in series for this design. If you wish to wire them in parallel you’ll need to fuse each panel accordingly and recalculate solar cable sizes. Read more about When to Wire Solar Panels in Series or Parallel here.
If you need a powerful yet compact solar system to go completely Off-Grid for long periods of time, a 600 Watt system is a solid choice to build. A system this size is ideal for people who:
- Live and work full-time from their vehicles (Digital Nomads)
- Prefer not to worry if they have enough power
- Don’t spend much (or any) time plugged in at campgrounds
Download the free wiring diagram above to view the system layout with wire sizes included.
Use this list which includes everything you’ll need to build this solar system.
Other Useful Resources
Browse our other 12-Volt Systems
Leave a Reply