New solar install.... - Page 11 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-31-2012, 12:55 PM   #141
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Hi Denece

I read my post today, and the size dimension is incorrect, it is 2' x 4'. I put it on the roof of my 13 foot " 93" Big foot; just to see how it fit, and it looked very good. I was reading a sales pitch on the Amorphous solar panel, and they compared it to the mini and mono-chrystiline panels. the ad suggested that, the Amorphous was more suited to being a flat panel on the roof of the trailer, than the other type. It has an aluminum frame that holds the panel up about an inch and a half + or - . the edge at the front is up about an inch in the center and close to 2 inches at the corners. The rear edge is on a flatter plane. I thought I would scribe something to match the curves, or just use spacers where the attachment points are. Do installers use bolts and nuts thru the roof, it weighs 30 lbs? Do installers run the wiring thrugh the roof with a connector, or just run the wiring in a clean conduit down the skin? Is there tape that can keep the panel in place without it becoming a Frisbee? Denece ,,, I would be asking these install questions to owners who have done the real attachment; its just not me yet.

Later Kenny
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Old 01-31-2012, 03:49 PM   #142
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Solar panel mounts

It looks like everyone is using some kind of tape.
On the sailboat we used those plastic pipe clamps to a bimini frame. It must've worked OK because we were in a couple small hurricanes and they stayed put. That would be equivalent to cruising down the interstate, I would think. Unfortunately, no bimini frame on the egg so we'll be reading thru here for info same as Ya'll!
Hate to go pokin' holes if we don't need to, that's for sure!
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Old 01-31-2012, 04:01 PM   #143
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Flexible Monocrystaline Panels

We've now driven about 4000 miles with our 2-40 watt Solar Panels over 5 months. They ar 1/10th of an inch thick and weigh 2 lbs each. They flex to fit the curve of the roof of the Scamp and are held down with Exterior High Bond Tape from Scotch.

The tape was my primary concer, never having used it before. The result is that the panels have not moved at all and the panels keep the battery charged, powering our LED lights.

For reference the panels are about $200 apiece.
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Old 01-31-2012, 04:05 PM   #144
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Wire fittting

For the wires I used a hull boat fitting. It has not leaked, is white and is non obtrusive.

There are pictures in this thread. If you'd lik I can send you a picture. PM me with your personal email if you can't find it and I'll send you a pic.
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Old 01-31-2012, 04:33 PM   #145
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Thanks Norm

I went back and read posts starting in Oct of last year to today, saw where you showed pictures of the fitting and the adhesive that you used.looked great. I will follow suit.

later Kenny
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Old 01-31-2012, 04:36 PM   #146
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Kenny....you might consider these adjustable feet from AM Solar. They are made for curved RV roofs. They also have the tape needed to hold down panels, etc.

35mm Rocker Foot Mount Set | for Solar Panels
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Old 01-31-2012, 05:02 PM   #147
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Originally Posted by Don Dunsmore View Post
Kenny....you might consider these adjustable feet from AM Solar. They are made for curved RV roofs. They also have the tape needed to hold down panels, etc.

35mm Rocker Foot Mount Set | for Solar Panels
I have not seen this mount from AM solar so thank you for sharing. I called them and find out that they use this mount for about 10 years so there is a lot experience with VHB tape based mounts. They had some problems with adhesion but only when mounts were not properly attached to the roof due to improper cleaning. They use 99% isopropyl alcohol to clean the roof. The 4 l-brackets total footprint is 4 times 1x2.5. On my installation I used 4 x 3x4 pads so the success of AM solar gives me confidence that my panels will not frisbee away. I think their product is well design for panel removal or tilting.
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Old 01-31-2012, 05:47 PM   #148
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Tape Area

I hadn't thought about the amount of tape holding our panels down before the previous post.

Each panel has about 96 square inches. The tape is one inch wide and I ran it on four sides all the way around on the back of the panels. I them lined it up to a blue tape straight edge and gentlely flipped it down, Rubbing the edges all around.

A roll is 450" long and cost about $18.

Amazon.com: Scotch Permanent Outdoor Mounting Tape, 1 Inch x 450 Inches (4011-LONG): Office Products
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Old 02-01-2012, 12:57 AM   #149
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Originally Posted by honda03842 View Post
I hadn't thought about the amount of tape holding our panels down before the previous post.

Each panel has about 96 square inches. The tape is one inch wide and I ran it on four sides all the way around on the back of the panels. I them lined it up to a blue tape straight edge and gentlely flipped it down, Rubbing the edges all around.

A roll is 450" long and cost about $18.

Amazon.com: Scotch Permanent Outdoor Mounting Tape, 1 Inch x 450 Inches (4011-LONG): Office Products
Your panels are anchored well. Flexible panels following roof contour eliminate any airflow under panels so it is an ideal mounting technique. Rigid panels will have airflow between a panel and a roof causing pressure differential above and below a panel possibly resulting with a lifting force just like in an airwing.
George.
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Old 02-01-2012, 06:48 PM   #150
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Originally Posted by honda03842 View Post
Some more info about our solar panels. I have not run our Converter since I installed the solar panels. So far the panels have been able to keep the batteries fully charged.

The other night as a test we left all the trailers lights on for 8 hours. This amounted to a load of 8 LEDs and one incandescent bulbs, a total of 3.6 amps, equivalent to 28 ampere hours on our Group 24 battery. This reduced the battery voltage to about 12.4 volts indicating that the battery had 70% of it's charge remaining.

Of the 3.6 amp test current, the incandescent bulb represented more than half the current. We do intend to replace the incandescent with an appropriate LED when we get the chance.
Norm, sorry if you already discussed this and I missed it, but can you tell me how the converter is wired into your system now? You say you "haven't run the converter since..." so I assume you have a switch to isolate it from the circuit. I guess the comment got me to wondering if there is a problem with the battery being charged simultaneously via the trailer's converter (from either shore power or tow vehicle) and the solar panels?
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Old 02-01-2012, 07:04 PM   #151
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Converter and Solar Panel

The output of the solar panel's controller is wired directly to the output of the Converter at the converter, plus to plus and minus to minus.

I have had the converter on with the solar panels operating on occassion without any problems. When I shut the converter off I simply unplug it's AC cord leaving it's output wiring intact. I never disconnect the output of the solar panel's controller or the output of the converter.

Of course the output of the converter goes to the battery.

I hope that's clear..... If you'd like a schematic send me your personal email address via a PM
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Old 02-01-2012, 10:02 PM   #152
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Oh, it makes sense to me, no need for a schematic. That sounds pretty simple to set up.

One more thing comes to mind though. I've read some comments that the tow vehicle's battery can be drained (along with the trailer battery) if the wiring harness is left hooked up and a lot of stuff is running for a long enough time. If this is true, will the solar panels also charge the car or truck battery thru the harness?
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Old 02-01-2012, 10:18 PM   #153
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Yes solar will charge your TV battery but because of the length of wire it is not an efficient way to do it.
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Old 02-02-2012, 05:47 AM   #154
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Magee View Post
If this is true, will the solar panels also charge the car or truck battery thru the harness?
Yes, that's true, and Larry's correct the wiring run to your TV battery makes it inefficient. Also, chances are that you might leave the TV hooked up over night (no sun) while on the road, but once at a campsite, you'd unhook anyway.

Wiring is critical with solar. I believe that Norm has an MPPT solar controller, which will allow connecting panels in series.

In parallel connections the output voltage remains constant and current output adds. When connected in series the voltage output from the panels is added and the current remains constant (higher voltage, lower current). With the lower current produced when connecting panels in series, you can run smaller wiring from the panels to the controller (probably 12 - 14 awg is sufficient).

However, the wiring from the controller to the battery (or in Norm's case to the output from the converter), you will need larger wire and as short a run as possible. Most good solar chargers have staged charging voltages. Because the output from the solar controller is the charging voltage for the battery and initial charge current can be significant. Increased current through too small wiring means a larger voltage drop.

I prefer running the output from the solar controller directly to the battery so that the solar controller has a more accurate reading of the battery voltage. A tenth of a volt difference can affect how your controller changes the charging rate.

Check out the chart that shows battery status here ( The 12volt Side of Life (Part 1) ). At 12.6v your battery is fully charged. At 12.06v it is 50% discharged.

Another good place for solar info is: Solar Electric Power Discussion Forum by Northern Arizona Wind & Sun .

Ron
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