Solar Panel Install - 1st Half - Fiberglass RV

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Old 07-28-2014, 09:18 AM   #1
Senior Member
Name: Huck
Trailer: ParkLiner
Posts: 508
Solar Panel Install - 1st Half

I finished installing my solar system on my ParkLiner from the solar panel to the charge controller. I'm expecting a few more parts in the next couple of days which will let me finish up the install to the battery and 1 other "special" project.

The solar panel is a Renogy bendable solar panel, 100 watt.

I put 3M VHB (4950) tape down each of the 4 sides and ran 2 more vertical pieces about 1/3 in on each side. Then used 3M Adhesive Remover to prepare roof surface for tape. I just sprayed some on a cloth and wiped the area and waited a few minutes for it to dry before installing the panel.

As long as you don't press the taped panel down, it appears you can lift it up after you have made contact with the surface. The panel was a little crooked and I was able to lift up an edge and reposition it. After you get the panel in place, press down firmly on all the taped areas. (The dark area on left is just a shadow)

At bottom left, you see the cable pass through and the cables with connectors. The cables on the panel weren't long enough to extend all the way to the closet plus you can't snake the cables through the pass through with the connectors on, so unfortunately I had to have these connectors outside. They are supposed to be waterproof, but I plan on covering them with something. I used 3M Marine Adhesive Sealant to attach and seal the pass through to the roof.

This picture just shows the cables going through the pass through. I made it as tight a fit as I could. It rained yesterday and even without the pass through being sealed, no leak. (I sealed it this morning)

I bought a package of 10 connectors so I could make cables the exact length I needed. There are videos on youtube that show you how to put the connectors on. From experience, I can tell you those guys likely messed up several times before they got the crimping down. The pins have 2 fingers that look like strain reliefs, but they are not. They crimp directly on to the bare wire. If using pliers or a regular wire crimper, you want to bend 1 finger 1st, to make a half circle. Then insert the wire into the half circle, and crimp the other finger over the half circle making a whole circle. Then keep crimping and recrimping until the pin is tightly attached. If you mess up, take a small screw driver and pry the fingers open and start over.

I used Deryk's strategy and ran the wires through the bathroom. My 1st hole had to be patched. You have to start far enough from the wall (nearest the closet) to make sure you drill through the flat part of the roof. I tried drilling my hole close to the wall and was on the high part of the roof. You can see what I mean in the picture. Also, where the cable goes through to the closet, mine came out in the piece of wood at the top of the closet. Do not drill the hole too close to the corner - closer to curtain rod.

In this picture, you can see where the cables enter the closet and why you have to be careful where you drill the hole in the bathroom.

Even though I had added an extra 3 or 4 inches to my length estimate, the cables were just barely long enough. I had a heck of a time putting the connectors on the short stubs coming into the closet. Plugged into the 2 cables are 2 y cables. For now, pretend they are just straight through cables. They connect to 2 short cables that have a MC4 connector on 1 end and bare wire on other end that connects to charge controller.

The next picture is where I attached my voltmeter to the ends of these 2 cables. This gives me a test from the solar panel through all the cables and connectors.

And the result is?

I wanted to mount the charge controller in the closet, but I wanted to also be able to easily detach it. First, I cut a piece of plywood the size of the controller. I used 2 pieces of wood to create a 1" offset from the plywood to mount the controller to. This leaves an inch for air flow behind the controller. Then I cut the wall covering off an area the size of the controller. I fastened velcro strips to the wall and to the back of the plywood. From reading reviews, many people said the weak spot is the adhesive, not the velcro, so I used VHB tape to connect the velcro to the wall and to the plywood.

And finally, I tied down the cables and connectors on roof with surface mounts and cable ties. I used vhb tape to attach the surface mounts.

If you are new at this type of stuff, don't let that stop you. I'm new at it too. I asked a lot of questions, read a lot, and watched a lot of videos. Take your time and remember holes can be patched. Just make the smallest hole you can until you are sure it is in the right place!

Huck is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-28-2014, 09:39 AM   #2
Senior Member
Name: Carl
Trailer: 1994 Scamp 16
Posts: 240
Thank you for the pictures on installing a Solar panel! When I install my solar panel I will remember and review your installation on your camper to make sure that mine is done correctly!
You did a great job!

If you don't know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else! Yogi Berra
Nut501 is offline   Reply With Quote

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