Playing with Solar - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-03-2014, 11:00 AM   #15
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Name: Francois
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"cobbled" ?????

man! that's a beautiful case....nice and compact/handy too

here's a couple more pics....suction tools painted white and bolted to the panel frame... finished product "installed" on the roof....and a picture of the controller

as a side note my fridge only uses 12V to run the control panel....after the original circuit board "died" I found a used 2-way Dometic circuit board and control panel / face plate that fit right in (that's what I have now)....the 12V wires to the heat element are now coiled up and abandoned (maybe for the moment, maybe forever)

cheers, F
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Old 11-03-2014, 11:25 AM   #16
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Ah... I see, so you ran the solar cable from the controller behind the fridge up and out its vent. Good move. Gives me a plan should I ever decide to install a Wilson antenna (etc) on the roof. I'm very fearful of drilling any holes up there.

I'm really a wood butcher. Made case corner joints with box (finger) joints and scrap wood, but had so much chip-out, etc I had to patch and deep stain to hide the repairs. Regardless, it's a very strong box.
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Old 11-03-2014, 01:14 PM   #17
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Solar yield report

Last week we camped at the San Elijo State Beach in a non hook up site. The first night we ran the Fantastic fan, led lighting, and CPAP with humidifier. The CPAP was plugged directly into the 12v receptacle. We have a Costco RV group 27 battery rated I think around 100 AH. Only the lighting was turned off over night. In the morning the battery was at 75% according to the Trimetric monitor (about half of usable capacity). Typically after one night we see the battery at 89% with no Fantastic Fan use, and the CPAP with no humidifier use.
In the morning at 10:30 am I set out one 100w panel. It was bright and sunny. By 3:30 pm the battery was 100%.
I would guess the charging would have been completed by 1:30 pm had I elected to use both panels. The second panel would have sped up the bulk charging stage by doubling the current output. Once the controller switched to the absorption stage I doubt the benefit of the second panel would have been important.
One drawback to the solar panels is the time lost while explaining the system to all the inquisitive passers by! People dig it.
Russ
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Old 11-03-2014, 03:16 PM   #18
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I just feel bad, I am still gathering bits and planning and y'all are out there "doing it". I am getting there quick though. I discovered a suitable piece of aluminum in my junk pile that will do to make the brackets to mount the panels on the roof. All I need now are the stainless bolts to tie the brackets to the trailer and the panels to the brackets. I will do some measuring and run by Fastenal, maybe next week when I am off for Veteran's Day. I hope to have it all together and mostly installed over the Thanksgiving Holidays. I have a 9 or 10 day trip planned around the first of the year and would like to have the system running by then.

Time is sure short, and there are many competing projects/activities. I am taking a Blacksmithing course next Saturday and a Marmalade making class with my daughter the Saturday after that. I am claiming to be taking the Marmalade class to have an activity with my daughter, but to be honest I truly love Marmalade. Even if I have to take a class to have some to take home!
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Old 11-03-2014, 07:54 PM   #19
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Tim,
The planning stage is "doing it" too, and part of the fun. I usually feel a little let down upon finishing a project, and need to start another. The fun is in the journey.
Blacksmithing, cool! I envy you.
Russ
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Old 11-03-2014, 09:23 PM   #20
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My first installation was on a 13' Scamp and I bolted the brackets to the hull.
My second was on a 16' Scamp and I used 3M VHB tape.
I gave the trailer to my son 4 years ago and the panels are still solidly mounted.
I've done 3 installations since then and have used the VHB tape.
John
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Old 11-04-2014, 07:28 AM   #21
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My first installation was on a 13' Scamp and I bolted the brackets to the hull. My second was on a 16' Scamp and I used 3M VHB tape. I gave the trailer to my son 4 years ago and the panels are still solidly mounted. I've done 3 installations since then and have used the VHB tape.
John

I know the tape is great stuff, but I would always be wondering if my panels were going to blow off. It does not have to make sense, it is just the way I would worry. I did think about bolting the front and sticking the back with tape, I would be comfortable with that. Where do you buy the tape in smallish quantities?
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Old 11-04-2014, 09:07 AM   #22
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Escape was using VHB tape to attach the aluminum supports for their panel, however they had one blow off & switched to epoxy. Mine is taped, and is still on the roof after 56,000 miles...
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Old 11-04-2014, 11:00 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timber Wolf View Post
I know the tape is great stuff, but I would always be wondering if my panels were going to blow off. It does not have to make sense, it is just the way I would worry. I did think about bolting the front and sticking the back with tape, I would be comfortable with that. Where do you buy the tape in smallish quantities?
eBay!!
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Old 11-05-2014, 09:47 PM   #24
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Don't try this with roof panels.
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Old 11-05-2014, 10:14 PM   #25
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The wire runs down the vent to the contoller I have mounted inside the fridges "workings" compartment....and connected the controller output wires to the block (+/-) that feeds the fridge (using the fridges 12 volt supply wires in reverse kinda to reach the batteries)...
If there's a problem it lies here. The wires that supply 12 VDC to your fridge should be at least 10 gauge. However, they may be smaller, maybe 12 gauge. IF they are smaller (12 gauge) you will not be able to get enough volts from the panels to charge the batteries properly. Even 10 gauge is marginal. If possible, run the largest gauge wire you can afford from the controller to the batteries, the shorter distance the better, 6 gauge is not too big. Optimally the controller should be as close to the batteries as possible without being physically in the same compartment.
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Old 11-05-2014, 11:00 PM   #26
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I hear ya Steve.....

the wires that go to that fridge compartment looked pretty "big" to me....but I kinda know that if they are not I'm not going to get the full benefit of that panel....the run is pretty short at eight feet.....so at this stage, and without accurate tools to measure...I hooked them up and decided to monitor performance, with my limited tool (panel meter) while the trailer is sitting in my backyard....unfrotunately it's been just awful weather around here lately...and the sun is real low in the sky at this time of year....so I'm not getting real good information......

I'm just mulling over the purchase of a meter....a Turnigy....it looks like it would do everything except make me coffee in the morning...and for what appears to be a resonable price....might just have to get it...cheers, F
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Old 11-07-2014, 02:00 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timber Wolf View Post
I know the tape is great stuff, but I would always be wondering if my panels were going to blow off. It does not have to make sense, it is just the way I would worry. I did think about bolting the front and sticking the back with tape, I would be comfortable with that. Where do you buy the tape in smallish quantities?
This is a picture of my last project on a 13" Scamp.
The brackets are 2 X 3/16 aluminum you buy in 4" sections at the local hardware store for about $7.00.
I had the rain diverter laying around so I put it on as an air diverter.
I haven't done that on any of my other installations.

Hope this helps.
John
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Old 11-07-2014, 02:57 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Perry J View Post
This is a picture of my last project on a 13" Scamp.
The brackets are 2 X 3/16 aluminum you buy in 4" sections at the local hardware store for about $7.00.
I had the rain diverter laying around so I put it on as an air diverter.
I haven't done that on any of my other installations. Hope this helps.
John
Thanks John,
We have a local Metals Store here that beats the pants off Lowe's & HD on this kind of stuff. I spoke to them the other day for some aluminum tread plate for another project and was pleasantly surprised at the price. Not only that but when I asked did I need to plan my project around “stock” (12” increments) sizes to keep from paying a penalty they said no. He went on to say they sell so much of the tread plate that he probably had a “drop” out back they could cut whatever I wanted out of therefore they did not charge a premium for odd sizes. When I get caught up on some other projects I am thinking about getting some of the tread plate and bending up an air-diverter for the front. Now I am off to fleabay to order some VHB tape I scoped out the other day. Although I do have plenty of rebar and could attach it like Myron posted above.
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