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renogy 400 watt solar kit review

Renogy 400 Watt Solar RV Kit Review

Summary

We welcome you to an in-depth Renogy 400 Watt Solar Kit review!

It's time to say goodbye to the noisy gas-powered generator and get a more efficient and technologically advanced solution.

Renogy solar kits are lightweight, durable, and energy-efficient, making them an ideal choice for your RV, motorhome, or van.

This specific Renogy solar kit comes with four 100W solar panels that can produce up to 400 watts of power with a voltage of 12 V.

The panels have a durable construction with a corrosion-resistant aluminum frame, which can endure harsh environmental conditions. The monocrystalline cells offer an energy efficiency of 21%.

It is accompanied by a 30A PWM charge controller that is 97% energy efficient. It is negatively grounded to prevent short-circuit and overload.

The junction box is rated IP65, ensuring outstanding protection from higher temperatures, snow, and harsh weather conditions.

The kit comes with a complete installation package, including bolts, solar panels, charge controller. With sleek and lightweight panels, the Renogy kit weighs around 88 pounds. 

The off-grid installation is quick and easy, making this solar kit suitable for RVs, campers, and vans.

There is also an adapter kit, solar cables, tray cables, and Z-shaped mounting brackets with other hardware components. Renogy solar panels have variable efficacy depending on the type of cell in the solar panel.

The solar energy efficiency of the Eclipse 100W monocrystalline panel is 22%. Meanwhile, it is 21% and 18.7% for the regular 100W monocrystalline and 2100W polycrystalline solar panels, respectively.

Renogy is a trusted brand, and there is a 25-year power output warranty on this solar kit. Overall, the Renogy 400 watt solar RV kit offers durability and efficiency to bring value to your bucks. 

So, why not give it a look?


Pros and Cons

Pros

  • High-quality monocrystalline build
  • Durable and highly efficient
  • The peak conversion efficiency of 98%
  • IP65 rated to withstand harsh environmental conditions
  • The aluminum frame is corrosion resistant
  • Easy and safe installation
  • Versatile product for RV, boat, Caravan, and greenhouse
  • Lightweight and highly portable
  • Fast battery charging

Cons

  • The charge controllers may not withstand extreme conditions
  • Some crucial components like batteries need to be purchased separately
  • Cables length may not be enough for large RVs

Best Features

renogy 400 watt solar kit review

Renogy is a well-known brand for manufacturing premium solar kits with advanced features.

The Renogy 400-watt solar kit is packed with high-end features that ensure robust performance. Let's discuss them one by one in this Renogy 400 Watt Solar Kit review.                        

Designed specifically for RVs

The Renogy 400 watt solar kit is ideally designed to serve off-grid applications for RVs. It ensures quiet power production while ensuring grid independence.

Designed with the latest technology, this solar kit is a safe and eco-friendly energy source for your RV. It is built to work best in any weather and light condition. 

400W of power

This solar kit can generate 400 watts of power on the whole with a voltage of 12 V. This makes it an excellent choice for campers, RVs, boats, and a greenhouse.

It silently recharges the batteries so you can enjoy your outdoor adventure without any unwanted noise.

Depending on the battery type, it takes a couple of hours to up to several hours to charge a battery by a 400watt solar panel.

A Lithium battery gets charged in 4-6 hours, while it can take up to 12 hours to charge lead-acid batteries. 

Solar panels

The kit includes four 100-watt solar panels that are sleek and lightweight. Each panel includes a monocrystalline solar cell, which is highly energy-efficient. These cells provide excellent performance by nearing 21% solar energy efficiency. 

The monocrystalline panels are built with extra thick anti-reflective and low-iron tempered glass. These feature high transparency and durability.

The aluminum frame is tough and corrosion-resistant, making it perfect for outdoor purposes. Each panel is 15-20% shorter and lighter than the standard panels available. 

Combiner cord

The package includes a 2ft 8AWG fuse cable, 8ft 8AWG tray cable, and three pairs of branch connectors to allow easy installation. There is also an in-line fuse and ANL fuse to offer more protection to your charge controller and battery.

Inverter

You need to purchase an inverter separately. It is an essential component of the Renogy solar system.

Depending on the number of appliances you need to run, you can calculate the size of the inverter to integrate with the solar kit. As a rule of thumb, the size of the inverter should be close to the actual power rating of the solar system.

To determine the size of the inverter, you need to sum up the wattage of all appliances you need to run and then pick an inverter having more wattage than this. 

Charge controller

The Renogy solar kit uses a 30A PWM charge controller, which can charge even the latest Lithium batteries available on the market.

The Adventure Li- charge controller is negatively grounded for battery compatibility and prevents short circuits, overload, and reverse polarity.

It also doubles as a flush mount controller. It is specially designed to serve RV applications by allowing clean flush mounting. The controller ensures an aesthetically neat and integrated look on the RV walls.  

With highly efficient PWM charging, the controller regulates the charge flow from solar panels to the battery bank.

The 4-stage charging process prevents the batteries from overcharging as well as over-discharging. This plays a significant role in increasing the battery's longevity to a great extent.

Wiring

The solar kit uses 12V connections for the battery, charge controller, and solar panels. An adapter kit is included in the package that allows you to extend these connections.

Installation hardware

Several hardware components are included in the package, such as solar cables, four washers, and four spring washers. Four Z-shaped solar panel brackets allow easy mounting.

The kit also has eight long cap bolts and four short bolts to make a secure installation. There is an added manual guide to help you set up the kit. 


Issues & Concerns

renogy 400 watt solar kit review

We can’t provide you with an accurate Renogy 400 Watt Solar Kit review without going over certain concerns.

While this solar kit is a perfect choice for first-timers, no product is entirely flawless. Here are some issues reported by customers listed below.

Batteries not included

Renogy solar kit excludes crucial components in the package that you need to purchase separately. The batteries are not included, so it costs extra to buy them separately.

The average solar battery is 10kWh in size. You can use a 400-watt solar system to charge a 200Ah battery, 2 x 100Ah batteries, or 4 x 50Ah batteries.

High-maintenance charge controllers

The charge controller for this solar kit is not waterproof. This means you need to be careful while using them, and it's suggested to keep them in a well-ventilated dry space only.

There's more. These controllers can operate within a limited temperature range, i.e., from -35°C to 55°C (-31°F to 131°F). They may not perform in extreme conditions. 


How Does the Renogy 400W RV Solar Kit Differ From The Competition?

Both Renogy and ECO-WORTHY are two renowned names of the industry. They provide exceptional products to improve the lifestyle of their customers.

Their 400watt RV solar kits feature corrosion-resistant aluminum frames for durability and are suitable for off-grid applications.

Renogy panels ensure a durable construction with waterproof and corrosion-resistant aluminum frames.

The panels have either monocrystalline or polycrystalline cells with excellent energy efficiency. Renogy also offers a 25-year warranty on its solar panels, making them a reliable choice. 

Both panels come with four monocrystalline solar panels having an exceptional 21% energy efficiency. While the Renogy solar kit comes with a maximum voltage of 12V, the kit from ECO-WORTHY has a maximum voltage of 24 volts.

Another difference between these solar kits is the amperage capacity of the charge controller. The Renogy solar kit includes a 30A PWM charge controller, while the ECO-WORTHY solar kit has a 60A charge controller to prevent overcharging and discharging of the current. 


Installation

renogy 400 watt solar kit review

Renogy 400W RV solar kit comes with a manual to help you install it. It is essential to carefully read it to prevent personal injury or damage. This section will give you instructions on assembling and installing the Renogy solar kit's components.

  1. Firstly, you need to install the charge controller. Ensure the solar panels and batteries are disconnected from the charge controller prior to mounting. 

  2. Find the right mounting location for the charge controller. It should be near the battery and have unrestricted airflow. The place should be protected from direct sunlight and water and has enough room to run wires.

  3. Place the controller and mark four holes on the mounting surface. Then drill holes in the marked locations and align them with the mounting holes. Now, secure the charge controllers using the mounting screws. 

  4. The next step is connecting the battery to the charge controller. Connect the negative and positive cables to the respective battery posts using a ring terminal. You can use a fuse holder to make a safe in-line fuse. Now, connect the bare stranded part of the cable to the positive battery terminal on the charge controller. 

  5. Once the fuse is in place, make sure there are no loose connections. Now insert the fuse into the fuse holder to power on the charge controller. 

  6. Usually, Z-brackets are used to mount the panels on RVs' roofs. Locate the mounting holes on the Renogy solar panels and attach the frame to the Z-brackets using bracket bolts included in the package. 

  7. Firstly, to attach the panel to the roof's surface, mark the holes for the well-nut insertion. Now, carefully drill holes at the marked locations and check if the well-nuts fit correctly.

  8. Align the Z-brackets with the well-nut holes and secure them in place using screws. Make sure not to over-tighten the screw. You can also use a sealant with the well-nut for a watertight bond. 

  9. Once all screws are properly tightened, it is recommended to check that all panels are secured before driving the RV. Cover the Z-brackets and head screws with the sealant for extra assurance.


Care and Maintenance

Routine maintenance is necessary to keep the Renogy solar kit in good condition for a long time. You also need to take precautionary measures while working with the panels and batteries.

  • Inspect the solar panels regularly and keep the surface free from dust and debris. You can use a wet cloth or a glass cleaner to clean the entire surface when required.
  • Properly check the electrical connections and mechanical fasteners. Make sure all structural components are clean and corrosion-free.
  • Check the battery electrolyte levels at regular intervals. Try to maintain them according to the manufacturer's recommendations.
  • Replace the faulty and damaged components.
    Make sure to use appropriately insulated tools while making the battery connections.
  • Take necessary precautions to prevent any damage as the batteries have diluted sulfuric acid as an electrolyte. 

Warranty

Renogy offers a 25-year warranty on the power output, making this kit a reliable purchase for customers. There is also a five-year warranty on the material and workmanship. The accessories also hold a 1-year material warranty. 

The warranty allows the customers to claim compensation if the kit suddenly stops working or there is an issue with the material during that period.


Specifications

Brand:

Renogy

Model:

 KIT-RV400D

Weight:

 88 pounds

Dimensions:

42.2 x 19.6 x 1.38 inches

Color:

Black

Solar Panel Type:

Monocrystalline

Solar panel quantity:

4 (every 100 watts)

Maximum power capacity:

100 W

Maximum system voltage: 

600V DC

Open circuit voltage:

22.3V

Short circuit current:

5.86A

Optimum operating voltage:

18.6V

Optimum operating current: 

5.38A

IP rating: 

IP65

Number of diodes: 

1

Output cables: 

12 AWG

Operating module temperature:

-40ºC to +80ºC

Nominal Operating Cell temperature: 

47±2ºC


Where to Buy 

We hope our Renogy 400 Watt Solar Kit Review for RV owners helped you out.

Renogy is one of the trusted brands in the industry. It manufactures quality products with advanced features to serve buyers efficiently. Plus, the company ensures a reliable warranty with excellent customer support. 

If you are interested in buying this solar panel for your RV, you can get a great deal from Amazon.

And you can learn more about the Renogy 400 Watt Solar RV Kit by visiting the product page.

About the Author David Roberts

I'm a Mechanical Engineer who's obsessed with solar energy and sustainable living.

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