Charge Your 12V RV/Van & Car Battery With A Jackery SolarSaga 100W Solar Panel
The Jackery SolarSaga 100W/100X (click to view on Amazon) is a very popular portable solar panel.
It’s a panel that is very easy to travel with, making it a great option for RV, van, and car-travelers that need to be able to charge up their devices on the move.
I have had a SolarSaga 100W for a couple of years now, and it’s still doing a great job keeping my Jackery Explorer 500 (click to view on Amazon) charged.
Related Product: How charged is your RVs 12V battery? Get a precise voltage and percentage with the Renogy 500A Battery Monitor (click to view on Amazon)
Recently a friend of mine asked if he could connect his SolarSaga solar panel to the 12V lithium battery in his van, and that gave me the idea to write this article.
The answer is, yes you can connect a Jackery solar panel to a regular 12V battery. Be it your RV, van, car, four-wheeler, or side-by-side battery.
However, as you might have figured out, it’s not as simple as “plug and play”. Not only is the connector used by Jackery not able to connect directly to a 12V battery with two terminals, we also need to connect a solar charge controller between the panel and the battery.
The solar charge controller has one job, to regulate the electricity produced by the panel so the battery can be safely charged. Without a solar charge controller, a solar panel can overcharge a battery and cause permanent damage.
Now, how do we go about connecting the Jackery panel to a 12V battery with a solar charge controller in-between? Let’s get to it.
Please leave a comment if you need help, and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
What We Need
As often is the case, there are more than one way to do something like this.
The best solution for you will depend on what type of setup you have, but hopefully you can gain some inspiration from my solution.
The solution I came up with for my friend ended up requiring three products.
- SolarEnz DC8mm Female to SAE Connector (click to view on Amazon) – Connects between the solar panel and the charge controller.
- Allto Solar Intelligent 10A MPPT Solar Charge Controller (click to view on Amazon) – Connects to the adapter above, and the adapter below.
- Yetor 10 AWG Battery Alligator Clips – Connects to the charge controller and your 12V battery.
Step By Step
An 8mm female to SAE adapter
The Jackery solar panel has an 8mm male connector. I couldn’t find any solar charge controllers that accept an 8mm connector, so I decided to use SAE connectors instead.
SAE connectors are easy to understand and use, and make it possible to connect and disconnect the wires in a matter of seconds.
SolarEnz includes a reverse polarity adapter. This only needs to be used if the polarity is wrong in the end, meaning that the positive wire ends up with a negative instead of a positive.
When you connect the wires together, you need to make sure that you can follow the positive (red) wire from beginning to end. If it’s wrong, you can use the reverse polarity adapter.
A Solar Charge Controller with SAE connectors
After connecting the adapter above to the Jackery solar panel, you have changed the 8mm male connector into an SAE connector.
Now we’re ready to connect it to a solar charge controller. We could connect an extension cable between the panel and the charge controller, but I’ll get into that later.
The Allto solar charge controller is compatible with the most common battery types like AGM, gel, deep cycle sealed, gel, flooded and LiFePO4 lithium batteries.
With SAE connectors on both sides, it’s easy to connect the first adapter.
Connect the Jackery solar panel to the side that says “INPUT”. If you plug the solar charge controller in while the solar panel is in sun, the screen will turn on. This is a great sign that it’s working as intended.
The manual tells you which side of the SAE connector is positive and negative, and you need to make sure it’s connected correctly.
It’s a 10A charge controller, which means that it can output up to 120W. A 100W panel will produce around 5 to 6 amps.
While you technically could connect two 100W panels via this charge controller and exceed the 10A, you would be wasting a lot of electricity due to the limitations of the charge controller.
If you plan on using two panels, I suggest buying a 20A charge controller.
Now that the solar panel is connected to a charge controller, let’s move on to how you connect the charge controller to a 12V battery.
An SAE to Alligator Clips adapter
A 12V battery has two terminals, one positive and one negative. Red is usually used for positive wires, and black for negative.
This does not mean that you should only look at the color when connecting the wires, since it can be the opposite depending on which adapters you connect together.
So we need an adapter that turn the SAE connectors coming out of the “OUTPUT” side of the charge controller, into either battery O ring terminals or alligator clips.
The reason I went with alligator clips is that my friend wanted a portable solution that he can connect and disconnect as needed. Alligator clips are easier to quickly connect than ring terminals.
If you’d rather have ring terminals, I recommend this SAE to O ring terminal adapter by iGreely (click to view on Amazon).
Since we know which side of the SAE connector on the charge controller is positive (you checked the manual, right?), we can go ahead and connect the Yetor adapter to the charge controller.
This specific adapter includes a 15A fuse, which is there to protect both your battery and the charge controller. If something goes wrong, this fuse will blow and prevent further damage.
Before connecting it all together, make sure you can follow the positive wire and that it’s connected to the positive terminal on the battery. Then do the same with the negative. Double check!
Start by connecting the positive alligator clip to the 12V battery, then the negative. When it’s time to remove the clips, remove the negative first, then the positive.
Optional: Extension Cables
There are SAE extension cables and 8mm extension cables.
The problem with 8mm extension cables is that it’s hard to find one that fits as snug as I would like, since they’re not all made the same.
I recommend the Billion Wealth 10 AWG 20 Feet SAE extension cable (click to view on Amazon). It includes a reverse polarity adapter that can be useful.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I combine two SolarSaga panels?
Yes, with a combiner/splitter like this iGreely 10 Gauge SAE adapter (click to view on Amazon) you can connect two panels together before connecting it to the solar charge controller.
The charge controller I suggest above can use up to 10A of the electricity produced, so I recommend finding a 20A charge controller if you have two 100W or one 200W panels.
Make sure that all wiring used can handle the total amperage of your panels.
Can I charge a Jackery power station and a 12V battery at the same time?
Yes, with the same type of splitter I link to above, the iGreely 10 Gauge SAE adapter (click to view on Amazon).
The difference is that you would connect the side with one SAE connector to the solar panel side, then connect one of the two SAE connectors to the charge controller, and the second connector to a SolarEnz SAE to 8mm DC adapter (click to view on Amazon).
Can I connect a Jackery SolarSaga to a different power station/solar generator?
With the correct adapter, yes.
If your other power station included an MC4 to DC connector, you can get a SolarEnz 8mm female to MC4 adapter (click to view on Amazon).
The adapter makes a Jackery panel compatible with power stations made by companies like EcoFlow, Bluetti, and Golabs.
Please leave a comment down below if you have any questions.