Connecting two or multiple portable solar panels can be so much confusing, I remember when I was searching for this information online and I did spend many hours searching for this information online but unfortunately no one literally no one was talking about connecting portable solar panels with batteries or solar power generators.
yes, there were a few videos and articles but the information wasn’t clear so I had many doubts in my head that’s why I contacted some experts and got the information,
so in this blog, I will try to teach you every single detail in a very simple and easy way so you can understand it clearly with the help of some videos.
Difference Between Series and Parallel Connection
There are two ways to connect multiple solar panels into one giant energy hub. Series & Parallel connection.
It is just an overview of the different connections, which one is better for you or for which one you should go for according to your need I will discuss that part after this section.
in series, the negative connects with the positive and the positive connects with the negative, e.g You’ll connect the positive wire (Which is normally a red one) of the 1st panel with the negative wire (Which is the other colored wire except red) of the 2nd portable solar panel and vise versa
and then you connect the combined positive wire with positive and negative with the negative side of the solar generator or battery input.
the series connection doesn’t add up the Amps, e.g the two 20Amps solar panels will give you the output of 20Amps but the voltage will be added to these two solar panels.
In parallel, the negative connects with the negative, and the positive connects with the positive of both panels e.g You’ll connect the positive wire (Which is normally a red one) of the 1st panel with the positive wire (Which is the other colored wire except red) of the 2nd portable solar panel and vise versa.
the parallel connection doesn’t increase the voltage of your solar panels. e.g if you’re connecting two 10V portable solar panels in parallel the voltage output will be the 10V it will not add up the voltage but does add up the Amps. two 10amps solar will give you the output of 20apms in parallel series.
Which one should I use series or parallel?
Choosing a series or parallel connection can have its own benefits. well there are two rules for connecting different solar panels with each other
parallel Connection = Same Voltage
if you plan to connect solar panels in parallel they need to be in the same Voltage because if you connected one solar panel with 10V and the other one is only 5V then the total output of your Voltage will be 5V. it will drop your voltage to the lowest one which is a huge loss.
which will in the end cause you to lower the total Watts of your solar panels, The simple formula is to calculate
Watts = (Voltage x Amps)
Series Connection = Same Amps
if you plan to connect solar panels in parallel they should be in the same Amps because if you connected one solar panel with 10Amps and the other one with 5Amps the total output will be only 5Amps which will decrease the overall output power of your solar panels.
“and yes you can connect the different Amps solar panel with the same Voltage in parallel connection and different Voltage solar panels with same Amps in series connection”
so which one is good for you? here’s a video that will describe the performances of solar panels in different series and their benefit because in other words it will be difficult to explain and will be confusing for you as well.
after this video, I will add some other things to keep in mind, especially for portable solar panels
Mostly we use portable solar panels to charge our solar power generators and Car batteries, if you’re thinking about charging a solar power generator with portable solar panels
make sure to check the input Voltage and Amps capacity of the solar generator, e.g if your solar generator has an input capacity of let’s say 30V and you’re combining two 25V solar panels in this case the series connection will be the best idea for you.
Always check and try to match the input and out of the portable solar panels together with the battery or solar power generators.
How to Bypass the controller in portable solar panels?
if you have a portable solar panel with a built-in charge controller and the solar power generator which you are trying to charge is also have a built-in controller so in this case, we use a bypass method, which is basically to bypass the current from the solar panel’s controller to the solar generator.
Here’s a video about Bypass a portable solar panel solar panel
How to connect portable solar panels in parallel?
As you already know in parallel solar connection the negative connects with the negative and the positive connects with the positive with each other two solar panels
so to connect them with each other you have to have some extensions, here’s a list of different extensions according to your solar panel type.
MC4 connector for parallel
if your solar panels have MC4 connection types like Renogy portable solar panels so you’ll need this extension which will allow you to connect the negative of both solar panels into one extension and the positive of both solar panels into another extension.
and if you wanna connect three different portable solar panels to each other in parallel Check out this extension on Amazon
here are some other extensions according to your need
Adaptor Wire Extension
Then you’ll need these cable extensions to connect those MC4 cables into the controller, inverter, or if you wanna charge a portable solar power generator like jaggery explorer 1000.
connect the last wire end of these extensions with the charging extension of the battery or the solar power generator.
MC4 to 8mm for portable solar generator
This extension will help you to charge your portable solar power generator, MC4 ports will connect to the MC4 side and you can plug the 8mm side into your Jackery or any other portable solar power generator.
MC4 to Charge a Battery
use this extension cable to charge your vehicle batteries with portable solar panels with MC4 adaptor plugs
- Length: 7.5ft
- With a 10A fuse holder and blade fuse
- Manufacturer, Renogy
- Item Weight, 8 Ounces
MC4 to Anderson for portable solar generator
Some portable solar power generators support only an Anderson adaptor to charge them
this extension will help you to convert the MC4 port into Anderson so you can charge your Jackery or any other portable solar power generator.
How to connect portable solar panels in series?
Connecting two or multiple portable solar panels with each other for RV or batteries is not that much difficult, just keep in mind some basics of connecting solar panels to each other.
the series connection will add up the Voltage, not the Amps, on the other hand, the parallel connection will add the Amps and the voltage will remain the same.
by keeping this in mind you can choose the connection type for which one you wanna go for by calculating the output of amps and voltage according to your use.