How To Hook Any Solar Panel To Jackery Portable Power Station

This is another one of those instances where I didn’t discover it, didn’t design it, didn’t find the solution but am simply providing simple, easy to follow directions so that anyone can EASILY figure out how to do this.  For some reason there is a bit of discussion on how to do this with almost no documentation or photographs on how to do it.

I’ve seen lots of videos, read lots of reviews and basically they say “make sure the polarity is correct”.  On cables and adapters on Amazon if you read the reviews FOR THE SAME PRODUCT some reviews will say “Works Great, 5 Stars” and the next review will say “The polarity is reversed, they never fixed the polarity wiring”.  But nobody has ever shown simple directions that show what to order, and how to hook it up with crystal clear instructions and pictures.

So as Popeye always says “I’ve had all I can take, I can’t takes no more”.

Jackery sells their own line of solar panel chargers for their power stations but I don’t believe any of them can be exposed to water or rain and they are fairly expensive.   A decent 100 watt solar panel will set you back less than $100 and can be exposed to the pouring rain so I can totally understand why people would want to go that route.  But you should watch some of the videos where people buy panels and then splice wires together to make it work.  Some of those people are DANGEROUS.

So lets do this as intelligently as possible with good solid connections and no splicing.

What you need:

Connecting the MC4 connections together from the panel to the adapter cable is EASY.  Now lets look at why there is confusion about these adapter cables.

It’s simple.  The Cable connectors on the back of the Renogy are marked with + and – to depict positive and negative, respectfully.   The cable connectors on the adapter cable are marked EXACTLY BACKWARDS HOWEVER THE WIRE COLOR AND POLARITY IS CORRECT.  IGNORE THE PLUS AND MINUS ON THE ADAPTER CABLE.  ONLY WORRY ABOUT THE CABLE COLOR.

MC4 to 8mm Solar Panel to Jackery Polarity (click to enlarge pics)

I’m not sure why the company that supplies these can’t get the correctly marked cable ends but just make sure the connector marking on the solar panel matches THE COLOR CODING OF THE ADAPTER CABLE.  If it is backwards you’re going to have to call the company.

Here’s a video that explains things as well.

Anyway it works.  On the Jackery 160 I’m showing about 33-35 watts of input charging.  The max input wattage on the Jackery 160 is 42 watts so that’s not too bad.

As I stated in the video the main advantage to doing this is COST and EXPOSURE TO THE WEATHER.  The Jackery Panels are way more expensive and they state they should not get wet.

I’m in no way knocking the Jackery panels and in fact I just bought the SolarSaga 100 for $300.  It’s AWESOME.

But let’s be realistic too.  When I go camping I want to go hiking.  If I walk away from charging operations I have no clue if it is going to rain, snow, or sleet while I’m gone.  This allows me to not worry about the weather and if I’m going to ruin my equipment.

However, the Jackery SolarSaga 100 panel is lightweight, way easier to move around, has charging ports for USB and USB-C and is pretty AWESOME.  The dumbest man on the planet could figure out how to hook this up to a Jackery power station as well.  If you’re in the bush or the backyard and you KNOW it’s going to be a sunny day……….this is your Huckleberry (if you can afford it).

Jackery SolarSaga 100 charging Honda by Jackery 290 Portable Power Station

But in the end you can pick up a super cheap 50 watt or 100 watt panel somewhere and an adapter cable and save money and throw your concerns about the weather to the proverbial wind.

17 thoughts on “How To Hook Any Solar Panel To Jackery Portable Power Station

  1. Antwan

    Jesus man, this is helpful!

    I had been wanting to figure out this exact problem since i have an the Jackery Honda 290.

    Thank you so much for sharing what you learned for the rest of us.

    Reply
  2. Susan Flynn

    Thank You for sharing so clearly more of what is mostly magic and mystery; Electrisicallicity ! and all about the positive, the negative, and ignoring if you must any traditional color standards… made such sense and score another tidbit of real info not in any manuals ! Blessings 2 U !

    Reply
    1. Susan S Flynn

      Q: I heard tell that: if 1 of the solar panel’s 32 rectangles is not completely exposed to sunlight, or if 1 block is shaded, the congruent connection is out of commission and the other 31 are not able to function either properly or at all, not sure about these details here but t’was something like this.
      And, can you cover Jackery Solar Panels with clear plastic??? Glass encased??? See thru Umbrella???
      Thank you for what you do, it helps we the curious bunches!
      PS…I’d really like to approach Jackery’s design of the rear access door (to ports) and the complete lack of consideration for the care and well being of the expensive devices making use of the charging station. Where would you have me put these goodies, where teeny tiny critters are found roaming around. Could tin whiskers inside my device be caused by their investigations??? Especially Ants, with their ever ready supply of formic acid??? What do experts say about this??? Many thanks from so many !

      Reply
      1. watatic

        I asked Jackery about covering their 60W Solar Saga with clear plastic in case of rain. They said it will reduce power, but didn’t say how much. And they reiterated that it can’t get wet.

        Reply
  3. Tamica Celada

    i am a total newbie,so please don’t judge my lack of knowledge…do i need to connect the solar panels to the generator while the panels are charging? i charged two 100w panels for 3 days in the Texas sun,then took them inside and tried to charge my phone off of the ports on the actual panels…nothing =/ so I’m guessing i can’t sit the panels out alone,and expect them to hold the power…am i correct in thinking i need to connect both panels to the jackery 1000,and let all three sit outside to charge them together?thankd for the help.

    Reply
    1. Mel

      The solar panels take the sun’s energy and convert them to power. The Jackery has the battery to store the power. They need to be connected to charge the Jackery.

      Reply
  4. Felix

    Great information! I was caught the Texas freeze a few weeks ago and while I had a generator powered by propane, that froze as well. So I am moving to solar, this is a great information. I would like to add a comment on your Popeye quote. I am probably one a few readers that actually remembers watching the Popeye cartoon , I believe the quote is “That’s all I can STANDS and I can’s STANDS no more”. Just a bit of trivia. Thanks for an informative blog.

    Reply
  5. Patrick Dundon

    Hi John,
    I tried this with a Zamp portable panel (with built-in controller) and a Jackery 160 with a SAE to 8mm adapter. No go here. Nothing, nada showing. Can you diagnose it from where you sit?
    Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Mike

      It is my understanding that the solar panel’s built in charge controller is unnecessary and may be contributing to the issue. The Jackery already has an internal charge controller. I hope this helps.

      Reply
  6. Julie Delaney

    I also have a Zamp suitcase solar panel (180 W model USP1003). I am looking to purchase the Jackery Explorer 240 Solar Generator (https://www.amazon.com/Jackery-Explorer-Generator-Outdoors-Emergency/dp/B08LDBSGM5). I am not experience with this but it sounds like with the proper directions, a handy person could make this work. Because the Jackery has a built in controller, I understand that I will need to bypass the Zamp controller which requires the additional parts needed to do this. My concerns are related to the Zamp reverse polarity mentioned above and the maximum solar input of the Jackery 240. If at all possible can you provide step by step instructions?

    Reply

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