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Open Roads Forum  >  Tech Issues

 > my solar install

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Fisherguy

Vancouver BC

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Posted: 08/21/15 11:37pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks to a LOT of people's help on this forum my panels are up and working.
I got my 120 watt panels, MC4 cables, Tristar 45 PWM contoller and TS-RM-2 display from Solar Blvd who matched the prices of the controller, display, temp probe etc I got from Ecodirect, I thought that was pretty good.

Instead of a 'combiner box' I used Blue Sea feed through posts in the fridge vent, they're not exposed to much UV at all under the fridge vent so I'm pretty confident that won't be a problem.

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I ran 4ga down the fridge vent, through the floor into conduit underneath the trailer coming back up in the front cupboard then over to the are under the front sofa where my PD-9280 and 600 watt inverter are located. I ran the output of the controller to the 4 ga cables going from the batteries (through a fuse) to the inverter.

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Used a 50 amp breaker on the 4 ga from the panels to the controller.

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Don't like the idea of the 'Z brackets' most places sell so I made my own out of aluminium angle and stainless hardware.

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Other than the length going to the first panel all the cable is held in place to the bottom of the panels. I made the brackets for the front panel slightly different so it's tilted a bit otherwise it wouldn't have had any tilt at all for water to run off, might help tot avoid lift too maybe..?

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The most I've seen them put out so far is 16.5 amps, I think I woulda got a little more as the sun got higher but right then it dropped down to 'absorption' mode. By adding a Y-connector to the cable feeding the lst panel I'll be able to add another panel in the future, something tells me that will be in the spring! [emoticon]

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Thanks to everyone who helped me out, and sorry for all the stupid questions the last little while.
Will


Feb 2017, edit

August 2016 I picked up another 120 watt panel from Solar Blvd, they must have a new supplier, this one seemed to be maybe a little better made with a slightly beefier frame, the finish on the top of the panel is slightly different as well.
I added it on the left side of the trailer 'wyeing' into the cable that was coming from the panel in front of it, so now we have 480 watts on the roof.
Also a pic of the bracket I made up and the stainless screws I used, think they were 12 x 1.75" long.

So far no complaints, even added a pigtail off my trailer batteries I use for charging my boat battery, of course doing that screws up the readings on my Trimeteric until I reset it once the boat battery is removed.

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* This post was last edited 10/30/17 05:55pm by Fisherguy *   View edit history


06 Dodge Ram 3500 Cummins 6 spd std with a few goodies.

2007 Komfort 274TS, SteadyFast stabilizers, Trimetric 2025RV, PD9280, Honda EU2000i, Xantrex SW600, shocks and EZ-Flex suspension, Reese Strait-Line
480 watts of solar


MrWizard

Traveling

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Posted: 08/22/15 12:43am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Nice Job Good Work


Radiate The Happy
....

Connected using Verizon and AT&T
1997 F53 Bounder 36s


gbopp

The Keystone State

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Posted: 08/22/15 05:48am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Looks great. Thanks for sharing.

RoyB

King George, VA

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Posted: 08/22/15 09:32am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I like your BLUE SEA feed-through idea

I've been contemplating using PVC Electrical BOXES mounted on the side of the trailer up at the roof line for mine but the UV's may be too much for that over time...

I already use the PVC Electrical Boxes (LOWES) idea for gaining access to the roof area with RG cables and I guess they are surviving ok being in the sun... Having weathertight removable lids sure makes it great for keeping track of the cables... I do the same thing for my 4AWG battery cables at the floor level coming and going to the battery banks...

My goal is to install whatever I come up with to give me around 20AMPs DC Current when in the high sun.

I have already decided to always make my initial DC Charging using the 2KW Honda Generator running my shore power cable to get past the high current phase of 50-60AMPS DC current demand by the batteries for the first charging hour then if I have high sun will allow the panels to finish my charge state until the high sun goes away each... I will always start my run off the batteries with them at their 90% charge state otherwise it will get dark on me around 10PM at night and I have to shut down everthing when I see 12.0VDC on my meter panel. Presently this is occurring at 8AM each morning when I am usually allowed to run my 2KW generator with all of the generator run restriction I usually run into here on the East Side of the USA.

The joys of living out West with all of the vast primitive camping areas available to you sure has its merits... Even our Natl Forrest areas have generator run time restrictions here...

After doing this I may change my mind using this method but for me this is the best for sure method of always starting my day/night run off the batteries with at least the 90% charge state. I will be drawing in the mid 20's amps from 6PM to 11PM with my planned power draw.

Keep us informed on how thing go with your initial solar runs...

Roy Ken

bigfootford

Fair Oaks, California

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Posted: 08/22/15 10:03am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Yea, way to go..... Great install...

Jim


2000 2500 9.6 Bigfoot,94 F250, Vision 19.5, Mich 245/70XDS2's, Bilstein shocks, air bags/pump, EU2000, PD 9260,Lifeline 100ah, 200W. solar, Morningstar Sunsaver 15A/ display panel, Trimetric, Delorme/laptop, Holux gps rec,led lights, Wave-3 heat.

Ed_Gee

Central Oregon coast

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Posted: 08/22/15 11:09am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Nice job. Only thing I would comment on is that I would have been more generous with the sealer on the solar panel mounts to the roof.


Ed - on the Central Oregon coast
2018 Winnebago Fuse 23A
Scion xA toad

Dirtpig

Qualicum Beach, BC

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Posted: 08/22/15 01:29pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Ed_Gee wrote:

Nice job. Only thing I would comment on is that I would have been more generous with the sealer on the solar panel mounts to the roof.


X2 I would completely cover those brackets so absolutely no chance of water penetration down the road. For the near future your seal job is adequate. Nice job on the install.

bka0721

Republic of Colorado

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Posted: 08/22/15 02:05pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Dirtpig wrote:

Ed_Gee wrote:

Nice job. Only thing I would comment on is that I would have been more generous with the sealer on the solar panel mounts to the roof.


X2 I would completely cover those brackets so absolutely no chance of water penetration down the road. For the near future your seal job is adequate. Nice job on the install.
Funny thing I was thinking the same thing and mentioned the same on Buzzcut1 solar install. He shared that he would be going back and updating the Goop too. Haven't seen any updates, but it is better to have it.

It never hurts to use a good amount and not just cover the item. But to pool around the bracket. This material will shrink with age and begin to "Pock" with UV exposure. If done generously, you will only get the surface Pocking, leaving the material beneath to do the work intended.

Great job, otherwise!

b

Golden_HVAC

Fairview OR, USA

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Posted: 08/22/15 09:28pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Once you get 'hooked' on solar panels, it is difficult to listen to your generator without thinking '1 more panel, and I would not be starting this noisy generator'.

That was my feeling. My first system was a pair of 45 watt panels, that along with wire, mounts, PWM 15 amp controller, and instructions cost $750 back in 1994. Back then you could rent a 4 BR house for $750, now that would cost well over $1800 rent!

My next panel was in 95, a 75 W that sort of maxed out the controller, on sale for 'only' $375. By 1999, I was ready to step up to MPPT controller (that had just come out and was very expensive I think my SP50 amp controller was around $375. A pair of $429 120 watt panels where also greatly discounted at the time.

Now you can buy a 140 watt panel for $229 at SunElec.com My whole system can be replaced for about $1,000.

I have saved well over $3,000 by saving $10 a night and dry camping over 300 times from 1994 - 2005, when I started full timing, and camped well over 600 times since that time!

Fred.

Fisherguy

Vancouver BC

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Posted: 08/23/15 11:37am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

RoyB wrote:

...

...

...I will be drawing in the mid 20's amps from 6PM to 11PM with my planned power draw.

Keep us informed on how thing go with your initial solar runs...

Roy Ken


Roy, what are you running at night to draw 20 amps? That seems like a lot. I can get up there if I use my inveter to power my AC lights but all my 12V lights have been converted to LED's so I'd never use the AC ones.



As for the other guys comments, I'll go up and put another layer of Dicor on my brackets, didn't think I needed to cover the whole thing..?

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