RV.Net Open Roads Forum: Truck Campers: Solar install question

RV Blog

  |  

RV Sales

  |  

Campgrounds

  |  

RV Parks

  |  

RV Club

  |  

RV Buyers Guide

  |  

Roadside Assistance

  |  

Extended Service Plan

  |  

RV Travel Assistance

  |  

RV Credit Card

  |  

RV Loans

Open Roads Forum Already a member? Login here.   If not, Register Today!  |  Help

Newest  |  Active  |  Popular  |  RVing FAQ Forum Rules  |  Forum Posting Help and Support  |  Contact  

Search:   Advanced Search

Search only in Truck Campers

Open Roads Forum  >  Truck Campers

 > Solar install question

Reply to Topic  |  Subscribe  |  Print Topic  |  Post New Topic  | 
Page of 2  
Next
Sponsored By:
daily double

ketchum ok.

Senior Member

Joined: 08/25/2008

View Profile



Good Sam RV Club Member

Offline
Posted: 09/17/21 11:53am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Has anybody had a solar installation on their rig recently? I'm camper shopping and wonder about the cost of aftermarket solar add-on

fpoole

PNW and Beyond

Senior Member

Joined: 01/25/2013

View Profile



Good Sam RV Club Member

Offline
Posted: 09/17/21 12:07pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Heheh, not real recently but I call 'Solar' the 'Black Arts' as you'll get so many different opinons on it, hard to tell if right.

What I learned after 3 different installs, rewiring etc.

1. Put on or leave room for as many panels as much as you can.
2. Increase the wiring to accommodate the Max and then go to the next level/grade.
3. Invertors, get more than you think you need.
4. They'll all ask you "How much do you need?" which is fine, but go to the max on that.
5. It's expensive but once in, well worth it.
6. Always have a back up generator, I use Honda 2200i which works fine.

Solar is great in sunny weather. Cloudy/rainy days, not so great, thus the generator.
It all depends on your camping style/needs and what you might want in the future.

Some get by on the little portable ones (but they can 'Walk off') as the needs aren't that great, which is great. But if you're trying to run an AC and microwave then you'll need a lot more.

Anyway, as I said, you'll get many different opinions, I've listed my "Lessons Learned' on my trials and tribulations... heheh.

Solar is really good, believe the 200w panels are the latest decent sized ones.

Hope this helps,
Good luck

Oh, also, make sure the installers KNOW what they are doing, get local recommendations. Dealer aren't necessarily the experts on the "Black Arts". heheheh


Frank Poole
Roam'n ROG (Full Timer since Oct '15)
2016 RAM 5500, C/c, 6.7 Diesel, AISIN HD 6-spd, 19.5 DRW, 72 Gal fuel, 4x4, 10’ Alum FB, 440 Amps, 4.10 Axle
2016 AF 990 640-Solar/10-6v Batts
GlowStep Stow N’ Go, E-Bike
RS1 Buggy
frank

Pooles website


pianotuna

Regina, SK, Canada

Senior Member

Joined: 12/18/2004

View Profile


Offline
Posted: 09/17/21 12:37pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Solar is the closest thing to a free lunch you are likely to find. I suggest 400 to 600 watts unless you wish to do an energy audit.


Regards, Don
My ride is a 28 foot Class C, 256 watts solar, soon to have SiO2 batteries, 3000 watt Magnum hybrid inverter, Sola Basic Autoformer, Microair Easy Start.

HMS Beagle

Napa, California

Senior Member

Joined: 08/22/2003

View Profile



Posted: 09/17/21 06:33pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If the camper is pre-wired for solar the hard work is done. The arrays themselves are at most $2/watt, good mounts are $20-40 for each panel. I've found 200 watts to be more than enough for continuous living, in the sunny west. Not sunny or a lot of time in the shade, then more.

The controller is anywhere from $50 for a cheap one - not really the place you want to save money - to $200 for one of the best. Most anyone can accomplish the install, but if you hire it out it the cost. will depend on the honesty and diligence of the installer.


Bigfoot 10.4E, 2015 F350 6.7L DRW 2WD, Autoflex Ultra Air Ride rear suspension, Hellwig Bigwig sway bars front and rear

naturist

Lynchburg, VA

Senior Member

Joined: 04/24/2008

View Profile



Good Sam RV Club Member

Offline
Posted: 09/17/21 06:39pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Solar is great for everything except running the AC as long as it is sunny. The panels are the least expensive part of the system. I built a 400 watt system last year, $320 for panels, similar for 2000 watt PS inverter, ditto for an MPPT charge controller and another $550 for two 125 AH AGM batteries. You can do the math, but remember wires, fuses, screws, lag bolts, etc. aren’t free.

Yeah, I coulda bought a generator that would even run the AC for that. But solar will run silently for at least the next decade for no additional cost, no fuel, no maintenance, no spark plugs, and did I mention it’s SILENT.

Hope that helps.





mbloof

Beaverton, OR

Senior Member

Joined: 11/27/2014

View Profile


Offline
Posted: 09/17/21 08:33pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Easy as pie. Especially if your camper is "prewired" for solar.

Even a mere 100W in good sun can extend your camping trip.

Amazon is your friend. Checkout the pricing on 100w panels and then 10A MPPT charge controllers. Fairly inexpensive stuff.

Need/want more power? Have less sun? Add panels and higher amp charge controller and/or add more battery capacity.

Some folks add as many panels as they have room on the roof and others are happy with 2 or even 1 panel.


- Mark0.

adamis

Northern California

Senior Member

Joined: 06/09/2016

View Profile


Offline
Posted: 09/18/21 12:00am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Many people with more experience then myself for solar but I will throw in my two cents. Having a fiberglass camper, I was hesitant to add any more holes to the roof. I went with these thin film panels by Renogy on Amazon:

https://amz.run/4u4o

I ended up getting some double sided eternabond tape along with the regular onesided eternbond tape and taping the panels to the roof with the double sided tape in the center of the panel (to prevent negative pressure from pulling it off the roof) with regular tape around the edges. About thee years later and thousands of miles and they haven't budged an inch.

Some people on these forums might raise the issue of efficiency loss due to heat because of lack of air-flow and other reasons to go with the rigid and framed panels. While rigid panels generally are more efficient, drilling holes in your roof and adding a complicated mounting bracket system isn't my cup of tea. I will gladly accept losing a few watts to have a cleaner install. They also make these panels in 200W versions so if you have the space on the rough, you just tape the two down for 400w then run your wires. Nothing complicated and no holes to worry about.


1999 F350 Dually with 7.3 Diesel
2000 Bigfoot 10.6 Camper


mbloof

Beaverton, OR

Senior Member

Joined: 11/27/2014

View Profile


Offline
Posted: 09/18/21 06:57am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

adamis wrote:

Many people with more experience then myself for solar but I will throw in my two cents. Having a fiberglass camper, I was hesitant to add any more holes to the roof. I went with these thin film panels by Renogy on Amazon:

https://amz.run/4u4o

I ended up getting some double sided eternabond tape along with the regular onesided eternbond tape and taping the panels to the roof with the double sided tape in the center of the panel (to prevent negative pressure from pulling it off the roof) with regular tape around the edges. About thee years later and thousands of miles and they haven't budged an inch.

Some people on these forums might raise the issue of efficiency loss due to heat because of lack of air-flow and other reasons to go with the rigid and framed panels. While rigid panels generally are more efficient, drilling holes in your roof and adding a complicated mounting bracket system isn't my cup of tea. I will gladly accept losing a few watts to have a cleaner install. They also make these panels in 200W versions so if you have the space on the rough, you just tape the two down for 400w then run your wires. Nothing complicated and no holes to worry about.


Personally, I went with the stick on panels. Sure they are only 68W each, not made anymore and will likely never come off but they work for me. Installed in 2014:

[image]

Where I live most unimproved campsites and boondocking spots are closed off for the winter months leaving only private and state campgrounds as the only options. Both of these usually have at least power or full hookups.

I have a pet that I leave at home so that limits my trips to only a few nights at a time. This makes carrying enough AH storage and recharge ability for my meager power needs rather simple and easy.

YMMV.


- Mark0.

JKJavelin

Milwaukee, WI

Senior Member

Joined: 12/31/2016

View Profile



Good Sam RV Club Member

Offline
Posted: 09/18/21 08:16am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

It looks like many replies are DIYs, and it sounds like you are interested in having it done for you.
I had a complete turn-key system installed 18 months ago at a solar dealer in Quartzsite, AZ. It's 570 watts (tiltable) with 4 AGM 6-volt batteries, MPPT controller, and 2000 watt inverter.
$6400. Done in 8 hours.
JK


2018 Ram 3500 Laramie Cummins 6.7
2016 Open Range RF316RLS
Titan Disc Brakes
Trailair pinbox
Morryde SRE-4000 w/ wetbolt kit
Demco Hijacker Autoslide 18k
570 watts of Solar

2017- 21 Nights
2018- 75 Nights
2019- 138 Nights
2020- 72 Nights
2021- 122 Nights

Buzzcut1

Norcal

Senior Member

Joined: 10/04/2010

View Profile


Offline
Posted: 09/18/21 10:14am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I did the DIY/ Camper was pre wired

Parts for 2 100 watt panels mounts wiring and controller was under $400. Time to install and have it up and running was under 3 hours with a buddy helping me get the panels up onto the roof.


2011 F350 6.7L Diesel 4x4 CrewCab longbed Dually, 08 Lance 1055, Torqlift Talons, Fast Guns, upper and lower Stable Loads, Super Hitch, 48" Super Truss, Airlift loadlifter 5000 extreme airbags


Reply to Topic  |  Subscribe  |  Print Topic  |  Post New Topic  | 
Page of 2  
Next

Open Roads Forum  >  Truck Campers

 > Solar install question
Search:   Advanced Search

Search only in Truck Campers


New posts No new posts
Closed, new posts Closed, no new posts
Moved, new posts Moved, no new posts

Adjust text size:




© 2021 CWI, Inc. © 2021 Good Sam Enterprises, LLC. All Rights Reserved.