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Open Roads Forum  >  Do It Yourself Modifications and Upgrades (DIY)

 > Drilling holes in trailer roof to install solar: worth it?

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goducks10

There

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Posted: 02/14/21 10:05am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I installed four 100W panels on my roof using DIY aluminum clips. 2 hex head lag bolts in each clip. I put butyl tape down 1st, then a thick layer of Dicor over the entire base of the clip. Don't know if I have any leaks but I don't worry about it either. Panels are rock solid.

dtappy3353

Oregon

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Posted: 02/14/21 10:11am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Could you please provide us with your plans and supplies used for the awning solar panels? How did you connect the panels to a battery system?

Thank you very much.

Crabbypatty

Long Island, New York

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Posted: 02/15/21 04:26am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I made angle brackets for my 6 panels. Each panel has 4 brackets for 24 holes and 2 brackets for my circuit box. Drill the hole, fill it with dicor lap sealant, add a generous amount of sealant to the bracket and screw it down. Then add sealant on top of the screw and around the bracket. The sealant self levels for a clean finish. Some rvers drill a large hole for the wires to go into the rv. Same deal, generous amount of sealant around that elec box. I ran my wire down the awning arm then drilled into the bay where the controller and on off switch is.


John, Lisa & Tara">">">
2015 F250 4x4 6.2L 6 spd 3.73s, CC Short Bed, Pullrite Slide 2700, 648 Wts Solar, 4 T-125s, 2000 Watt Xantrax Inverter, Trimetric 2030 Meter, LED Lights, Hawkings Smart Repeater, Wilson Extreme Cellular Repeater, Beer, Ribs, Smoker

StirCrazy

Kamloops, BC, Canada

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Posted: 02/15/21 09:56am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Tom_M wrote:

Here's my solution. The panels can tilted up in place or removed and set out in the sun using extension cables:

[image]


do you get any charging driving to the next campground that way?

Steve


2014 F350 6.7 Platinum
2016 Cougar 330RBK

goducks10

There

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Posted: 02/15/21 10:02am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

dtappy3353 wrote:

Could you please provide us with your plans and supplies used for the awning solar panels? How did you connect the panels to a battery system?

Thank you very much.


In basic terms.
Panels mount to the roof. Panel wires run to a combiner box on the roof.
From the combiner box run wires to a Solar Controller.
From the Controller run wires to the batteries.

If you have just one panel you can as some do route the wire down the fridge vent or use a vent pipe. Which ever is closer or easier.

My TT came pre wired with a 530W combiner box on the roof so thats the route I went.

The best thing to do is google RV solar panels and start reading or watching Youtube videos. You can spend money like no tomorrow or go the cheaper route. Depends on what you need.

Tom_M

New Hope, MN

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Posted: 02/18/21 05:20pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

StirCrazy wrote:

do you get any charging driving to the next campground that way?

Steve
All sources combine. Alternator, converter, and charge controller for panels. While driving a charge would be coming from the alternator and the solar panels. While parked and plugged into shore power or running the generator the solar panels would add additional charge.


Tom
2005 Born Free 24RB
170ah Renogy LiFePo4 drop-in battery 400 watts solar
Towing 1978 VW Bug convertible
Minneapolis, MN


dieseltruckdriver

Black Hills of SD

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Posted: 02/18/21 06:04pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I made aluminum angle brackets for my panels. First, put down a strip of Eternabond under the bracket. Next glop some Dicor down, then screw the bracket to the roof, and put a little more Dicor over the screws. It can't leak doing that.
I would also never trust taping a panel to a rubber roof. I also enjoy not having to mess around with anything, and the batteries just get charged.


2000 F-250 7.3 Powerstroke
2018 Arctic Fox 27-5L


StirCrazy

Kamloops, BC, Canada

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Posted: 02/19/21 09:24am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Tom_M wrote:

StirCrazy wrote:

do you get any charging driving to the next campground that way?

Steve
All sources combine. Alternator, converter, and charge controller for panels. While driving a charge would be coming from the alternator and the solar panels. While parked and plugged into shore power or running the generator the solar panels would add additional charge.


you got to have more pannels on the roof then tht we cant see and thoes folded down ones are just extras..


Steve

Tom_M

New Hope, MN

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Posted: 02/19/21 01:54pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

StirCrazy wrote:

you got to have more pannels on the roof then tht we cant see and thoes folded down ones are just extras..


Steve
I have one 125 watt panel on the roof. Any time sun is hitting a panel it will add to the charge, even the ones on the side.

Vintage465

Prunedale CA.

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Posted: 02/20/21 07:57am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

IMHO, drilling holes in the roof is a moot point now. We have so many good products from sealing to gathering and penetration design that there is little to worry about from a product or leak perspective. I think the issue is more with your situation is your self proclaimed lack of Handy-ability. I've been on my roof regularly with my weight varying from 215 to 260 pounds and have done no damage. Actually I repaired a broken(cut actually) truss, so my roof is better off with me tramping about on it. It could be possible to minimize the amount of time you're on the roof by using a ladder. Or possibly if you have a buddy that is handy, you could assist him with the work while he spear-heads it.


V-465
2013 GMC 2500HD Duramax Denali. 2015 CreekSide 20fq w/450 watts solar and 465 amp/hour of batteries. Retiring in 2021, then look-out road, here we come!

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