My solar Install - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-05-2011, 01:40 PM   #1
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Name: Rodger
Trailer: Bigfoot 17.5G
Alberta
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My solar Install

So after learning so much from this forum I'm giving back with my own solar install.


I wanted to have a solar system that could tilt in any direction and after much internet research and finding nothing I decided to go out and make my own.

I started with angle bracket you can find at home depot, the 5' lengths are about $25
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I cut them into about 12'' lenghts making sure each cut was lined up with the same holes so all 8 brackets are identical. I cut out the middle so I would be able to bend it to 90*
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I also cut 1'' square aluminum into lenghts for a spacer, to raise the panel off the roof
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with this spacer, which by the way was an after though you are able to get your hand in to place the 1'' bolts to secure panels in the down position.
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I attached 4 of the 90* brackets to the panel with the 1'' spacer and with the help of VHB tape the other 4 brackets to the roof of the bigfoot. The cheapest place I could find the tape was at
Digi-Key - 3M9848-ND (Manufacturer - 1-5-4991)
I live in Edmonton, ordered it on Monday around 11 am and it was at the house at 10am the next day. This is the same tape I have found other egg owners have used with success. It is the 3m VHB 4991

Now with everything mounted and some extra lengths of bracketting you can adjust the panels in all 4 directions. Here you can see it tilted on the short axis
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If it has to be tilted the other direction and its shaded by the A/C unit I have extra 10'' lengths of bracketing to use as feet to extend the panel away from the trailer.

If the flat panel was to be tilted it would be shaded from the Max Fan cover. Bolt on the feet and its all sun no shade.
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Here are 2 shots of the bracket. One on the Panel the other on the roof. The one roof you can see where I used a grinder to open up bolt holes into one long hole. This makes it easier to feed the bolt through for flat mounting. I did this on both sides of the roof mount bracket.
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Old 09-05-2011, 01:54 PM   #2
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The wire used from the panels, down the fridge vent behind the fridge is 10 gauge UV protective wire. Here I changed wire to 4 gauge to string to the charge controller, which is under the front seat, drivers side.
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I also ran wire to the wall of the fridge to the shunt for the Trimetric 2025 to see battery level and amp usage.
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The shunt and the fuse for the panels is located on the tongue of the trailer. One on each side. The wire from the charge controller is also 4 gauge wire that was run down in the same area as the OEM wires that go to the batteries. I did have to drill 3 new holes for this.
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Because this tailer did not have the factory ladder and I did not want to pay for the addition of one I decided on this
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It is a 16' ladder that when closed is only about 2' long and is stored in the back of the truck.
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Old 09-05-2011, 11:11 PM   #3
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Washington
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Rodger, I'll bet that handy little ladder could do double duty if you could add some legs and an adjustable table top to it. rb
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Old 09-07-2011, 09:57 AM   #4
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Nice install Roger, gives me some inspiration. Can you give an estimate of total cost?
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Old 09-07-2011, 11:07 AM   #5
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Nice job. Where did you find that ladder and what size/cap. are the panels ? I plan on putting a small panel on my 13' at some point.
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Old 09-07-2011, 11:24 AM   #6
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Florida
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Thin, flexible, solar panel

I've been considering adding a flexible solar panel to our rig and came across this on Amazon. It's different in that it's very light, thin and some what flexible.

Amazon.com: HQRP 30W Mono-crystalline Flexible Solar Panel 30 Watt 12V / 12 Volt w/ 4 Stainless Grommets for Car Caravan Bus Trailer Bike plus HQRP UV Chain / UV Radiation Health Tester: Automotive
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Old 09-08-2011, 04:10 PM   #7
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The total cost of the solar panels, trimetric 2025, charge controller various parts and wire shipped to the us border was just under 1500.

The 5' L brackets are $25 ish at home depot. 8-12" brackets are needed for each mount. $50
Various nuts and bolts $20
VHB tape $48 with shipping
4-4' L brackets for tilt rods and foot extenders $20 each. $80
1-3' aluminum square tube $18

Plus what I needed for the work shop to make this happen.

1 drill press and angle grinder, don't need the drill press but it made it easier.


So let's say it should be around $250 ish give or take shop supplies
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Old 09-08-2011, 04:16 PM   #8
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AEE SOLAR 100W, 12V Module



In answer to our customers requests to have a low price option for 12V battery charging and small off-grid systems we worked with a manufacturer to private label modules for us. Polycrystalline. Comes with a 20 year performance warranty. *Junction box with screw down terminals. Ships from our warehouse in Portland, OR. Made in China to our specifications. Works with all of our mounting options.

Junction box only: use O-SOLARCBLE

Voc: 21.5V

Vmpp: 16.8V

Impp: 6.07A

Isc: 7.21A

Cell Type: Polycrystalline (156mm)

Size: 58.07” x 25.98” x 1.37”

Weight: 30 lbs

Frame: Aluminum SILVER

UL Listed: NO

Item Code Description Buy Now
S-SOLAR100 100W, 12V Module
$250.00
*
The ladder I ended up getting from home depot. It was listed there at $339 ish and at Rona for $299 so in the end with home depots price match total cost with tax was around $275 Though there web site shows it at $253 right now.
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Old 09-08-2011, 06:06 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by honda03842 View Post
I've been considering adding a flexible solar panel to our rig and came across this on Amazon. It's different in that it's very light, thin and some what flexible.

Amazon.com: HQRP 30W Mono-crystalline Flexible Solar Panel 30 Watt 12V / 12 Volt w/ 4 Stainless Grommets for Car Caravan Bus Trailer Bike plus HQRP UV Chain / UV Radiation Health Tester: Automotive
Can someone convert those specs- 850x400 mm to inches, Thanks
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Old 09-08-2011, 07:11 PM   #10
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Jim,

800x450mm is equivalent to 33 1/2 x 15 3/4 inches. If I recall correctly it is less than a 1/4 inch thick.

Next year we're going to need some form of 'boondocking electricity'. We're trying to decide if we should bring our 1000 watt generator or add solar panels.

There are flexible panels with adhesive backing but I'm a little leary about adhesive bonding them to the roof.
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Old 09-08-2011, 07:29 PM   #11
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you could use suction cups and use them only while camping vs permanent install- that is what I'm thinking of doing.
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Old 09-08-2011, 08:02 PM   #12
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The catch to the flexible panels is they are amorphous cells and are roughly twice as large for the same power output. They are better in partial shade though. Just looking at a couple, the 68 watt flexible ($220) is roughly 11 sq feet. The rigid polycrystalline ($225) is 10 sq. feet, but puts out 120 watts.

Steve
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Old 09-09-2011, 06:48 AM   #13
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Flexible Solar Panels come in at least two varieties, amorphous and crystalline. The former are more flexible but less efficient.

The flexible panels seem to have the advantage of lower profile, lighter weight and simpler mounting.

Decisions, decisions.....
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Old 09-22-2011, 10:43 PM   #14
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Our first time out with the solar. It was over cast for 2 days and we had the battery down 45 ish amp hrs, day number 3 rolled around and it's glorious sunshine and by noon we were back at %100. The solar peaked at 13.5 amps around 1130 am then started to decline because the battery was getting full. I was hoping it would not be full yet so I could see how many Amps would be going in between noon and one. Guess we'll have to go camping again to find out
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