Charge Your Jackery Explorer Power Station With Solar Panels
Jackery is an American company that makes power stations and solar panels.
They have power stations, also known as solar generators, in a lot of different sizes, that let you stay powered while away from home.
They’re great for camping, RV living, emergencies, and power outages.
Related Product: Make your Jackery Power Station even more portable and protect it with a Jackery Carry Case (click to view on Amazon)
There are three ways to charge a Jackery Explorer power station. With the included wall or car charger, and with solar panels.
Today I am going to help you connect third party panels from companies like Renogy, HQST, Newpowa, and Eco-Worthy to your Jackery Explorer.
These third-party panels come with MC4 connectors, while the Jackery Explorer power stations have 8mm and Anderson Power Pole inputs.
Let’s talk about how you connect panels, then we’ll take a look at how many watts each of the Jackery Explorers can handle and how long it will take to charge the batteries.
Related Post: Best Portable Power Stations For Camping
The reason I know how to do this is that I have done it myself, I connect a Renogy 100W Suitcase solar panel (click to view on Amazon) to my Jackery Explorer 500 (click to view on Amazon).
NOTE if you have an Explorer 1500 or 2000: The input is slightly different (DC8020 and not DC7909). Therefore, you’re also going to need an adapter like this by SolarEnz (click to view on Amazon). Again, only if you have the Explorer 1500 or 2000.
How To Connect Third-Party Panels To Jackery Explorer Power Stations/Solar Generators
Most large rigid solar panels have MC4 connectors. There are two parts to an MC4 connector, a male and a female part.
Solar panels from companies like Renogy and HQST have a positive MC4 male connector and a negative MC4 female connector.
To connect a Renogy panel, we need this adapter (click to view on Amazon).
As we can see in the image above, the MC4 female connector is positive, while the MC4 male connector is negative.
This makes it directly compatible with the Renogy solar panels.
Note that while the Explorer 1000 has two inputs, only one can be used at once.
If you have the Explorer 1500 or 2000, both 8mm inputs can be used at the same time, but it doesn’t have an Anderson port so you need to use the 8mm connectors.
What To Think About When Connecting Solar Panels To A Jackery Explorer
The main thing you need to know is that the Jackery Explorers have built-in solar charge controllers. So you shouldn’t connect a panel with a charge controller.
Not every Jackery Explorer can handle the same amount of input watts with solar panels, so let’s take a look at what each one is capable of.
Last update on 2023-02-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Notes: I have tested the Jackery Explorer 500 and 1000 and have seen different max input watts compared to what Jackery advertises.
If you have tested either of them and have a different experience, please let me know by leaving a comment so I can update the table to be as accurate as possible.
One important thing to know is that while the Jackery Explorer 1000 has two inputs, only one can be used to charge the battery at a time.
The newer Jackery Explorer 1500 and 2000 have two 8mm inputs, and both can be used at the same time.
This means that you can use solar panels to charge the battery while it’s also being charged with the included wall- or car-charger.
What Panels Do You Recommend For A Jackery?
Thanks to the voltage limit on these power stations, there are a lot of solar panels out there that are compatible.
To give you an easy overview of panels that are compatible and whether they need the adapter (click to view on Amazon) I mention at the beginning of this post, let’s put a couple of panels on the table.
Last update on 2023-01-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
There are more panels on the market that are compatible with the Jackery power stations straight out of the box, but I can’t fit them all on the table.
Which panel will be the best for you depends on your situation.
If you’re going to mount the solar panel on top of an RV, van, or car, I recommend a rigid 50W or 100W panel.
The flexible panels are easier to mount since you can tape them down without screwing into the roof.
I have mounted two Renogy 100W panel on top of my roof that I can angle towards then sun.
Then I have two Renogy 100W suitcase panels that I move during the day to generate as much power as possible.
Can You Just Tell Me What Panel Works With What Adapter?
Adapter: MC4 to 8mm with positive female
Additional adapter required if you have the Explorer 1500 or 2000: SolarEnz DC7909 to DC8020
Can You Combine Two Or More Panels?
You can combine two or more panels, but it’s very important that you know how many amps are going to sent through the wires and the connectors to make sure that the wire is thick enough to handle it safely.
If you want to combine two panels with MC4 connectors, you can do so using an MC4 Y Branch (click to view on Amazon).
This will connect two panels in parallel by connecting the two positive wires together, and the two negative wires together.
The positive wires will be separate from the negative. You’ll still need the MC4 to 8mm adapter with a positive MC4 female connector.
If you want to connect two SolarSaga panels together, you need an 8mm parallel adapter like this one by SolarEnz (click to view on Amazon).
Since the Explorer 160 and 240 can only handle 42W input.
I wouldn’t connect more than a total of 100W of solar panels to it. To max out the 42W input, you could connect two 50W panels though.
For the Explorer 500, I recommend a single 100W panel as well, or two 100W panels to be able to generate more electricity during cloudy days.
It’s not safe to connect two panels in series to any of the Explorers (except the first gen 1500 and 2000, not the newer ones) and smaller since that will double the voltage and most likely exceed the 30V maximum.
If you connect several panels you also need to make sure that the wire is thick enough to handle the amperage.
For the new Explorer 1500 and 2000, I recommend two 12V 100W panels wired in parallel with the MC4 Y branch linked to above.
If you have four panels, you can do two pairs and use both 8mm inputs. Then you would also need two MC4 to 8mm adapters (click to view on Amazon).
Feel free to leave a comment if you’re still not sure about a specific panel or setup and I’ll do my best to help you.
You can use either MC4 extension cables or an 8mm.
For MC4, I recommend the WindyNation 12AWG extension cables.
For 8mm, I recommend the iGreely 10ft 8mm extension cable. Don’t use this cable if you have more than a total of 200W of solar panels.
You need to make sure that the cable is thick enough to handle the total amperage.
Please leave a comment down below if you have any questions or anything to add.