Going Solar - Have Questions - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-18-2011, 02:42 PM   #15
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I use VHB (Very High Bond) tape often. For example, my rear view camera is attached to the rear window with VHB tape for a few years, no issue. 48 in^2 bond area per panel at 75 lb/in^2 shear or tensile strength will require 3,600 lb. to shear or pull the panel off the trailer roof; unlikely. Even at 10 lb/in^2 of shear or tensile strength it would take 750lb to remove a panel.

I connected the charge controller output directly to the batteries and donít have a disconnect switch in line. If the converter is powered and the battery voltage is at 13.6V than solar charge controller stops current flow from the solar cells to the battery.

George.
George,
I'm convinced. What specific VHB product number did you use? I went out to the 3M VHB design page and it looks like 4950 or 4951 would work. Fewer holes in the roof is a good thing. Thanks for the info.
Ron
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Old 05-18-2011, 03:10 PM   #16
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You don't need a $200.00 charge controller, that 60 watt system you see at Harbor Freight or at the Tractor Supply stores comes with a 7 amp charge controller. That controller comes separate for a lot less than $200.00, I'm thinking less than $20.00.
I am thinking about getting 2 panels though and would be relying heavily upon solar. I am not sure which way to go.
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Old 05-18-2011, 04:43 PM   #17
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Look around on E bay, you'll find something that will work for you. I used the 60 watt with the 7amp charge controller on my big 5th wheel with 2 115 amp hr batteries when we first moved to the desert, but you have to realize the sun shines very bright here almost everyday.
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Old 05-18-2011, 05:04 PM   #18
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I am just worried that if I end up with 2 60 watt panels and relying heavily on them if I will regret not getting the newer technology with the newer controller.
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Old 05-18-2011, 05:26 PM   #19
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I am just worried that if I end up with 2 60 watt panels and relying heavily on them if I will regret not getting the newer technology with the newer controller.
Josh,
I'm not an expert on these things as you may have already noticed.

I think that the advantage to the newer technology controllers comes with the charging levels that they provide. I chose the Morningstar because it has a float level of charging that is supposed to prevent overcharging your battery. And, as George mentioned, the MPPT allows you to connect your panels in series and use lighter gauge wire. The lower tech controllers will still charge your battery, but you'll have to watch things a bit closer. I'm not sure what the savings is for the wiring, but you can always just disconnect the battery from the solar system when you aren't using the trailer as a camper. Of course you'll still have to check the battery from time to time to be sure that it remains charged.

Ron
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Old 05-18-2011, 06:40 PM   #20
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George,
I'm convinced. What specific VHB product number did you use? I went out to the 3M VHB design page and it looks like 4950 or 4951 would work. Fewer holes in the roof is a good thing. Thanks for the info.
Ron
I used 3/4" wide 4941F conformable tape. I bought on e-bay.
George.
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Old 05-19-2011, 12:28 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by jeckel30 View Post
I am thinking about getting 2 panels though and would be relying heavily upon solar. I am not sure which way to go.
Use numbers in your decision, opinions are often good but they are just opinions.
George.
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Old 05-19-2011, 01:11 AM   #22
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I have been reading every thread on this board regarding solar this past week. I have some questions that I have yet to find some current answers to. I see a lot of threads from 2-3 years ago but I know the technology and prices have changed a lot.

I see in most threads from earlier this year and last that it is popular to buy the 60w panels. As I look around Ebay I see that 75w ones are only about $25 more. I am looking in the 60-80w range and wondering what currently is the best panel to buy? Are there brands to look for and ones to avoid?

Also when it comes to a solar controller it seems like Morningstar and Sunsei are the brands to go with. My question is which one is a good one to go with? I see they range anywhere from $35 on up to $200+. I am hoping a sub $100 will do the trick but if it is really worth stepping up to the $200+ ones I will do it. Is there a good middle of the road controller?

This is all going on my 13ft Scamp I picked up a few months ago and now am getting ready for fulltiming next year with my wife.
You don't need a large controller. I'm using the $35 dollar variety. It's a 6 amp controller and I have 65 Watt Panel with a maximum output of 4 amps. Don't bother to connect the "load" connection of the controller. Since all I'm doing is charging the battery I all I need is the solar panel connection and battery connection. I used this for about 3 years now. Last winter out of 3 months+ I was only connected to power about 1 week.
Good luck.
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Old 05-20-2011, 05:57 AM   #23
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Check out Handy Bob's blog you can google it , the rv battery charging puzzle was an interesting read , cheers mike
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Old 05-20-2011, 09:08 AM   #24
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YouTube - ‪Solar panel mounting system on top of a 1976 Boler trailer.‬‏


I have several videos showing the solar install on my 13 ft. Boler. Should be able to find them all on my YouTube channel. I have 160 watts and find this more than adequate for my needs
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Old 05-20-2011, 12:45 PM   #25
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YouTube - ‪Solar panel mounting system on top of a 1976 Boler trailer.‬‏


I have several videos showing the solar install on my 13 ft. Boler. Should be able to find them all on my YouTube channel. I have 160 watts and find this more than adequate for my needs
Which controller are you using?
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Old 05-20-2011, 02:48 PM   #26
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I won't always be parked in complete sunlight and the fixed install doesn't allow me to aim the panels for the best power generation.

The panels are multi-crystal, which is middle of the road in terms of efficiency. Mono-crystal panels are more efficient, but cost more. Amorphous panels are the least efficient and cost less. The higher efficiency lets you put more wattage per square foot. It' really a trade off in my mind.
Ron
One thing to keep in mind when discussing solar panel efficiency is that the rated output is under optimum conditions and those optimum conditions do not exist very often in the real world. By optimum conditions I mean there is full midday sun, no clouds or fog, the panel is kept cool, there are no shadows from tree branches or light poles and the panel is aimed perfectly at the sun.

Under those conditions the multi and mono panels will produce more power per square foot than the amorphous panels. The peak power produced is a misleading specification to use when making a decision on what type of panel to buy. What really matters is the total amount of power that the panel puts into the battery each day. High power output for a short time may not charge the battery as much as lower power output for a longer time.

Under many less than optimum conditions the amorphous type has an advantage over the other types. They will produce power earlier and later in the day. They will produce power in shade or part shade when the other types will not. They are better at producing power when it is cloudy or overcast. They work better at less than optimum angles like they would be if mounted fixed on the roof. The power does not drop significantly in high temperatures like the other types do. They also cost less. Depending on the real world conditions they may not even need to be larger if comparing total power in a day and not just peak output.

The poly and mono panel output can drop low enough to not provide any charge to the battery if there is something as small as a tree branch shadow across just a portion of the panel.

I would love to see a comparison of the total power produced in a day from all 3 types of panels under real world conditions but all I ever seem to find is peak power output.
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Old 05-20-2011, 03:25 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by jeckel30

Which controller are you using?
It should be in one of the videos. You will have to look around.Morningstar Sunsaver MPPT I think
Should be videos in there to answer most of your questions
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Old 05-20-2011, 07:19 PM   #28
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We have about as simple a system as you can have. A 42 watt amorphous panel that produces 2 - 2 1/2 amps tops with a home brew controller. With such a low current, a controller really is optional as long as I keep an eye on things. The battery is a Lifeline group 24 Agm. In the trailer we have LED lights, the occasional water pump use and a modified O2COOL fan. There is also the occasional camera or ipad charging. The goal was to use less that 5 AH per day which the panel can easily handle. We have camped for weeks, no problems so far. Raz
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