How To Connect Third-Party Solar Panels To Jackery Explorer

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.

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.

Related Post: Best Portable Power Stations For Camping

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.

The reason I know how to do this is that I have done it myself, I connect a Renogy 100W Suitcase solar panel to my Jackery Explorer 500.

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).

GRAYBULL Solar Panel Kits to 8mm Adapter Cable Compatible with MC4, DC 8mm Converter Connect for Jackery and GZ yeti Portable Backup Power Station Solar Generator 14AWG Heavy Duty Wire

Check Price at 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.

If you have the new Jackery Explorer 1000 which has an Anderson Power Pole input as well, you can use this adapter (click to view on Amazon).

Note that while the Explorer 1000 has two inputs, only one can be used at once.

iGreely Connector Solar Panel Cable Kits Compatible with Powerpole for Goal Zero Yeti, Suaoki, Renogy Portable Solar Generator Power Station 10AWG 60cm/2ft

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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.

Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 160, 167Wh Lithium Battery Solar Generator (Solar Panel Optional) Backup Power Supply with 110V/100W(Peak 150W) AC Outlet for Outdoors Camping Fishing Emergency
Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 240, 240Wh Backup Lithium Battery, 110V/200W Pure Sine Wave AC Outlet, Solar Generator (Solar Panel Optional) for Outdoors Camping Travel Hunting Emergency
Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 500, 518Wh Outdoor Solar Generator Mobile Lithium Battery Pack with 110V/500W AC Outlet (Solar Panel Optional) for Road Trip Camping, Outdoor Adventure
Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 1000, 1002Wh Solar Generator (Solar Panel Optional) with 3x110V/1000W AC Outlets, Solar Mobile Lithium Battery Pack for Outdoor RV/Van Camping, Emergency
Watt-hours
167Wh
240Wh
518Wh
1002Wh
Inverter Rating
100W/150W peak
200W/400W peak
500W/1000W peak
1000W/2000W peak
Input Port
8mm
8mm
8mm
8mm, Anderson Power Pole
Max Solar Input
42W
42W
65W (Jackery advertises 100W)
175W (Jackery advertises 100W)
Input Voltage Limits
12V~30V
12V~30V
12V~30V
12V~30V
Solar Charge Controller Type
PWM
PWM
PWM
MPPT
Charging Time At Max Solar Input
4 hours
6 hours
8 hours
6 hours
Weight
4 lbs
6.6 lbs
13.3 lbs
22 lbs
Size
7.4 x 4.6 x 6.7 in
5.2 x 9.1 x 7.7 in
11.8 x 7.6 x 9.2 in
13.1 x 9.2 x 11.1 in

Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 160, 167Wh Lithium Battery Solar Generator (Solar Panel Optional) Backup Power Supply with 110V/100W(Peak 150W) AC Outlet for Outdoors Camping Fishing Emergency
Watt-hours
167Wh
Inverter Rating
100W/150W peak
Input Port
8mm
Max Solar Input
42W
Input Voltage Limits
12V~30V
Solar Charge Controller Type
PWM
Charging Time At Max Solar Input
4 hours
Weight
4 lbs
Size
7.4 x 4.6 x 6.7 in
Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 240, 240Wh Backup Lithium Battery, 110V/200W Pure Sine Wave AC Outlet, Solar Generator (Solar Panel Optional) for Outdoors Camping Travel Hunting Emergency
Watt-hours
240Wh
Inverter Rating
200W/400W peak
Input Port
8mm
Max Solar Input
42W
Input Voltage Limits
12V~30V
Solar Charge Controller Type
PWM
Charging Time At Max Solar Input
6 hours
Weight
6.6 lbs
Size
5.2 x 9.1 x 7.7 in
Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 500, 518Wh Outdoor Solar Generator Mobile Lithium Battery Pack with 110V/500W AC Outlet (Solar Panel Optional) for Road Trip Camping, Outdoor Adventure
Watt-hours
518Wh
Inverter Rating
500W/1000W peak
Input Port
8mm
Max Solar Input
65W (Jackery advertises 100W)
Input Voltage Limits
12V~30V
Solar Charge Controller Type
PWM
Charging Time At Max Solar Input
8 hours
Weight
13.3 lbs
Size
11.8 x 7.6 x 9.2 in
Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 1000, 1002Wh Solar Generator (Solar Panel Optional) with 3x110V/1000W AC Outlets, Solar Mobile Lithium Battery Pack for Outdoor RV/Van Camping, Emergency
Watt-hours
1002Wh
Inverter Rating
1000W/2000W peak
Input Port
8mm, Anderson Power Pole
Max Solar Input
175W (Jackery advertises 100W)
Input Voltage Limits
12V~30V
Solar Charge Controller Type
MPPT
Charging Time At Max Solar Input
6 hours
Weight
22 lbs
Size
13.1 x 9.2 x 11.1 in

Note: Scroll left/right on small screens to view all products in the table.

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.

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.

PAXCESS Foldable 50W Solar Panel Charger for Suaoki Portable Generator/8mm Goal Zero Yeti 100/150/400 Power Station Battery Pack/USB Devices, with 3 USB Ports
Renogy 50W 12V Eclipse Monocrystalline Portable Solar Panel Built-in Kickstand
ROCKPALS 80W Portable Solar Panel Charger, Parallel Foldable Solar Panel for ROCKPALS 250W/300W Portable Power Station, 8mm for Goal Zero Yeti Power Station/Jackery Explorer 160/240
Renogy 100 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar Panel (New Edition), Design
Renogy 100 Watt 12 Volt Extremely Flexible Monocrystalline Solar Panel
Renogy 100W 12V Monocrystalline Off Grid Portable Foldable 2pcs 50W Solar Panel Suitcase Built-In Kickstand
Watts
50W
50W
80W
100W
100W
100W
Open Circuit Voltage
16-18V
22.4V
18V
21.5V
22.5V
21.6V
Connectors
DC, USB
MC4
DC, USB
MC4
MC4
MC4
Requires Additional Adapter
Foldable
Built-in Stand
Weight
4.9 lbs
3.6 lbs
5.3 lbs
14.3 lbs
4.2 lbs
12.8 lbs
Size
6 x 13.8 x 1.8 in (folded)
24 x 22 x 2 in
16.9 x 2.8 x 11.8 in
41.6 x 20.7 x 1.4 in
47.9 x 21 x 0.1 in
69.1 x 6.1 x 50.5 in

PAXCESS Foldable 50W Solar Panel Charger for Suaoki Portable Generator/8mm Goal Zero Yeti 100/150/400 Power Station Battery Pack/USB Devices, with 3 USB Ports
Watts
50W
Open Circuit Voltage
16-18V
Connectors
DC, USB
Requires Additional Adapter
Foldable
Built-in Stand
Weight
4.9 lbs
Size
6 x 13.8 x 1.8 in (folded)
Renogy 50W 12V Eclipse Monocrystalline Portable Solar Panel Built-in Kickstand
Watts
50W
Open Circuit Voltage
22.4V
Connectors
MC4
Requires Additional Adapter
Foldable
Built-in Stand
Weight
3.6 lbs
Size
24 x 22 x 2 in
ROCKPALS 80W Portable Solar Panel Charger, Parallel Foldable Solar Panel for ROCKPALS 250W/300W Portable Power Station, 8mm for Goal Zero Yeti Power Station/Jackery Explorer 160/240
Watts
80W
Open Circuit Voltage
18V
Connectors
DC, USB
Requires Additional Adapter
Foldable
Built-in Stand
Weight
5.3 lbs
Size
16.9 x 2.8 x 11.8 in
Renogy 100 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar Panel (New Edition), Design
Watts
100W
Open Circuit Voltage
21.5V
Connectors
MC4
Requires Additional Adapter
Foldable
Built-in Stand
Weight
14.3 lbs
Size
41.6 x 20.7 x 1.4 in
Renogy 100 Watt 12 Volt Extremely Flexible Monocrystalline Solar Panel
Watts
100W
Open Circuit Voltage
22.5V
Connectors
MC4
Requires Additional Adapter
Foldable
Built-in Stand
Weight
4.2 lbs
Size
47.9 x 21 x 0.1 in
Renogy 100W 12V Monocrystalline Off Grid Portable Foldable 2pcs 50W Solar Panel Suitcase Built-In Kickstand
Watts
100W
Open Circuit Voltage
21.6V
Connectors
MC4
Requires Additional Adapter
Foldable
Built-in Stand
Weight
12.8 lbs
Size
69.1 x 6.1 x 50.5 in

Note: Scroll left/right on small screens to view all products in the table.

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, and 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?

Solar panel: Renogy 50W / Renogy 100W / HQST 100W / Newpowa 100W / Eco-Worthy 100W / Allpowers 100W Flexible

Adapter: MC4 to 8mm with positive female

Solar panels that don’t require the adapter: Paxcess 50W / Jackery SolarSaga 60 / Rockpals 60WRockpals 80W / Jackery SolarSaga 100 / Rockpals 100W

Can You Combine Two Or More Panels?

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.

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.

For the new Explorer 1000, I recommend at least two 100W panels wired in parallel. You could even connect three 100W panels to max out the 175W input. To do this, you’ll need an MC4 1 to 3 Y branch.

You might have heard about wiring solar panels in series as well, which means that you don’t use an MC4 Y Branch and connect the positive wire on the first panel to the negative wire on the second panel.

This isn’t recommended to do with the Jackery Explorer since they all have a 30V max voltage input. Two 12V 100W solar panels output about 36V, which exceeds the limit.

Extension Cables

You can use either MC4 extension cables or an 8mm.

For MC4, I recommend the WindyNation 12AWG extension cables.

For 8mm, I recommend the Graybull 20ft 8mm extension cable.

Please leave a comment down below if you have any questions or anything to add.

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