That's an awesome set up Happy Camper! I love seeing all the innovation in van builds!
I'm still planning my build and at the moment and I don't think I'll have solar on the outside of my van. I have a Renogy folding panel (with a 30a charge controller) like WanderingRose and plan on getting more panels and hooking them up to the same cc.
When I posted the question yesterday, I was thinking about having the panels prewired together and prewired into the charge controller. That way when I get somewhere I don't have to mess with wires, I can just take however many panels out I'd like to use and place them on the ground. The charge controller is set up with alligator clamps so it's real easy to connect to the battery. However, now when I think about it, I'm not sure having them all prewired together would be the easiest way to go about it.
It seems like the easiest way would be to have some sort of adapter that is wired into the charge controller, the adapter would allow me to easily plug in all or some of the 5 panels into the 1 charge controller. That way I can only have the panels I'm using at the time plugged in. Are there any adapters that would work like that?
If I do have all the panels prewired together and prewired into the charge controller (like I was thinking about doing last night when I posted this question), my concern is, I've heard on a few videos and blogs that if you have a situation where a solar panel is partially shaded, it makes the other cells in panel or array work harder and not only does it produce less power but it's also not good for the cells. They made it seem like when a tree branch blocks half the sun on a panel, its worse than if a cloud blocks the sun for the whole panel. I don't know if that's actually a thing or not but I through I remember hearing about it a few times so maybe it's something I should consider before buying a bunch of panels. I was wondering if I have all the solar panels wired together but only take out a few at a time and leave the rest in the van, could it cause problems and be bad for the cells like the blogs and videos suggest happens in partial shade? Thanks for the help!