Solar Information and Wiring Diagrams
Pair the Power System 360x with our line of solar products to charge on the go. We are your one stop shop for all vanlife electrical needs. You can also pair panels from other manufactures with our system.
This page has detailed instructions on how to connect any panel to the Power Station 360X. You can attach up to 360W of solar for a standard 12V system. If you need more than 360W of solar, you must configure the solar array for 24V. If you're not sure, contact us and we'll help you out.
Not sure how much solar you need?
Already know solar panel basics?
An Overview of Solar Basics
Series vs. Parallel Wiring
There are three ways to wire your solar panels: series, parallel, or a combination of both. The method that you use will determine your output voltage.
Simply put, series wiring will add the voltage of your panels together and parallel wiring will keep them the same. A couple of examples… Two 12V panels wired in series will produce 24V at the output. Whereas four 12V panels wired in parallel will produce 12V at the output.
You can also use a combination of both series and parallel wiring. For example, if you have four 12V panels you can wire them in pairs with the parallel method and then wire the pairs together with the series method. This will produce an output of 24V.
The output voltage of your panels is important because it must match your battery system voltage. This means that if you have a 12V battery, your panels must be wired in a 12V configuration. It is important to note that a nominal “12V” solar array actually produces around 18V and a nominal “24V” solar array actually produces around 34V under full sun. This is to be expected, it is only important to pay attention to the “nominal” ratings of your batteries and panels to ensure they match.
Determining Wire Gauge
Wire gauge, or the diameter of the conductor in the wire, is an important factor when designing your solar system. If your wire gauge is too small you will have voltage drop and heat loss in your wire. This may cause improper charging and other safety issues.
The "MC4 Extension" (reference wiring diagram) is the only length of wire that you need to ensure is the correct wire gauge. Length of the wire and system voltage both play a role when determining your required wire gauge.
MC4 Connectors Explained
MC4 Connectors are used to connect wires together in solar systems. Their rugged design is waterproof and UV resistant, making them perfect for outdoor use. MC4 connections are highly recommended for any outdoor solar connection. Other types of connections such as Anderson Powerpoles are acceptable for indoor or invehicle use only.
There are two MC4 Connector types, “positive” and “negative” and they are shown below.
These connectors mount together to connect two or more wires. Typically, the “positive” type is use for the upstream connection and the “negative” type is used for the downstream connection. i.e. electricity should flow from the positive connector to the negative connector.
Photovoltaic (PV) Cable – Why it’s Important
PV Cable is specifically designed for use with solar panels. It’s insulation is more rugged than other types of cable and it should be used for any cable that is permanently installed outdoors. It’s UV and weather resistant and can handle a large temperature range. Other types of cable such as “AWG” should be used indoors or invehicle only.
Wiring Diagram Quick Links
12 VOLT SYSTEM
24 VOLT SYSTEM