Another BigFoot Solar Thread - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-08-2020, 08:12 AM   #1
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Another BigFoot Solar Thread

All of my parts have arrived and I have started installing a few things. I decided to put the Victron 712 and Samlex remote in the radio panel which is above the dinette on the left. It is a little lopsided but there is room for a future monitor of some kind.
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Old 05-08-2020, 08:20 AM   #2
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Battery location

I am going to use the space under the right side dinette seat for most of my components. I will put a divider in to separate that compartment into 2 parts. Here are the batteries in their approximate location.
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Old 05-10-2020, 03:19 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by ThomasC View Post
I am going to use the space under the right side dinette seat for most of my components. I will put a divider in to separate that compartment into 2 parts. Here are the batteries in their approximate location.
Those look like Battleborn lithium. What size - lithium 100 watts or smaller?

Also, what model BigFoot do you own?
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Old 05-10-2020, 06:13 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Jane P. View Post
Those look like Battleborn lithium. What size - lithium 100 watts or smaller?

Also, what model BigFoot do you own?
Well maybe I should list the pieces I have gathered. My BigFoot is a 25B25RT.

3 Battle Born 100 amp/hr GC2 batteries
4 Lensun 110 watt semi-flexible solar panels
Renogy DCC50S 12V 50A DC-DC On-Board Battery Charger with MPPT
Samlex EVO-2212 inverter, charger, and transfer switch
Victron 712 battery monitor

The solar panels will go on last after I get the AC installed. I should be getting all of my wire from batterycablesusa in the next couple of days.
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Old 05-12-2020, 09:08 AM   #5
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Be careful how you install the panels. I installed 2 Lensun 100W panels on my trailer 2 1/2 years ago and noticed they weren't producing like they should this winter. I went up and tested them a few days ago and they are both are dead. I used VHB tape and will now attempt to remove them. You may want to look at this video https://youtu.be/hROYaqY83v4 for an idea for mounting with this update https://youtu.be/enEHXnfUyhI
Even though many people have had good luck with these panels, I have decided to replace them with a ridged panel that I can tilt.

Ben
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Old 05-12-2020, 10:29 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by btroxell View Post
Be careful how you install the panels. I installed 2 Lensun 100W panels on my trailer 2 1/2 years ago and noticed they weren't producing like they should this winter. I went up and tested them a few days ago and they are both are dead. I used VHB tape and will now attempt to remove them. You may want to look at this video https://youtu.be/hROYaqY83v4 for an idea for mounting with this update https://youtu.be/enEHXnfUyhI
Even though many people have had good luck with these panels, I have decided to replace them with a ridged panel that I can tilt. Ben
The panels are going to go in last. I have seen that video and he did a follow up one trying to remove them. I just made the decision that I wasn't going to drill any holes in my new fiberglass trailer. I may feel different in a few years.

Thanks for the link and good wishes....TomC
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Old 05-26-2020, 03:36 PM   #7
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Next Step

I divided the storage space under the right side dinette seat with a piece of 3/4 inch plywood. The batteries are in their final resting place but the left one will be moved in and out while I am running the new cables.
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Old 06-02-2020, 07:04 PM   #8
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BigFoot Prewire

While I was on the roof installing my AC I pulled the refrigerator cover off to get a look at the other end of the solar prewire.

Now that I have the staging setup next to the camper I should probably put the solar panels on next. It is a lot better using the staging to get on the roof than that cramped ladder especially with my size 16 feet.

Why do you think I bought a bigfoot.
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Old 06-03-2020, 03:07 PM   #9
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I don't have the technical expertise to comment on your solar install, but I certainly like what you are doing. I am having a solar install done by the Lebanon RV Center in Lebanon, TN. I just visited their website as I write this and I did not realize they are also have RV rentals: I thought they were only a service shop. Since they have had my BF25 for about 7 months, basically just sitting and waiting, I hope they are not renting out my unit without my knowledge.

When I get my TT back I will compare to what you have done and may be able to at least share some experiences.

For some reason the shop owner does not like Victron and apparently has decided to install Renogy controllers and related equipment, including Renogy solar panels.
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Old 06-03-2020, 06:04 PM   #10
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Arizona

I am planning on going to Quartzite next year so the solar will come in handy there.
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Old 06-05-2020, 10:05 AM   #11
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Thanks for sharing your process! For us, solar has been (both on our Bigfoot and on our previous trailer) one of the best investments we've made on these trailers. Completely silent, renewable energy. I appreciate it every time we're able to sit outside at a campsite and enjoy the mountain breezes/sounds of the birds without even thinking about starting up a generator... :-)
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Old 07-15-2020, 04:42 AM   #12
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Plastic cardboard

It seems it is taking me forever to get anything done but I have been busy cleaning out a 30 X 80 foot shed prior to tearing it down.

Anyway I watched a bunch of videos on mounting flexible panels and decided to use a combination of VHB and Eturnabond tape. I am goind to use a layer of plastic cardboard to insulate the panel. Here are photos of the cardboard and the four pieces I have cut out.
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Old 07-15-2020, 04:45 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by btroxell View Post
Be careful how you install the panels. I installed 2 Lensun 100W panels on my trailer 2 1/2 years ago and noticed they weren't producing like they should this winter. I went up and tested them a few days ago and they are both are dead. I used VHB tape and will now attempt to remove them. You may want to look at this video https://youtu.be/hROYaqY83v4 for an idea for mounting with this update https://youtu.be/enEHXnfUyhI
Even though many people have had good luck with these panels, I have decided to replace them with a ridged panel that I can tilt.

Ben
How much of that VHB tape did you use?
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Old 07-15-2020, 09:48 AM   #14
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I used a roll of 1" x 15' split between the two panels. After I cleaned off the tape residue, a looked closely at what adhered and what failed. There were a few small sections which had lifted from the fiberglass. I originally thought it could have been caused by moisture (I have read that the tape should be kept dry) but I now believe it was due to improper surface prep.
As another point of reference, my current panel's brackets are held on by 1"x2.5" tape on each corner bracket. I have also covered the bracket's foot it with Eternabond tape for waterproofing and extra holding strength.

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Old 07-15-2020, 10:23 AM   #15
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Prep is key. Either you prepare the surfaces correctly, or it will fail. It's not a difficult process, just a process which must be done.

My rigid panel, mounted a couple inches above the roof surface, is attached with VHB, a little sikaflex, and eternabond (not ideal. eternabond doesn't stick to sikaflex. it does stick to dicor). The VHB is only big enough for the feet of the panel mounts; 4 maybe 4" strips. There has been no movement, no separation. It's solid. This isn't to say my installation is ideal, just to say that if 4 small strips of VHB are holding my rigid panel with plenty of air space underneath for "lift", then a flat mounted panel with no air gap underneath for wind to grab is going to be fine.

The newest generation of flexible panels seem to function well and last with high temperatures, but I would think that anything you can do to help cool the panel is a great idea.
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Old 07-15-2020, 06:19 PM   #16
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I am using that corrugated plastic to act as a spacer and get the panel off of the roof. I have watched several videos on this. Here is a five minute one.



I was going to use VHB tape on both sides of the plastic spacer in the middle and then use Eturnabond on the leading and trailing edges. The idea was to leave the sides open so more air could circulate. I did this on the first panel and then decided to stop using the VHB and switch to squares of Eturnabond on the sides. I can have up to 5 squares on each long side of the panel. This will be easier and still give some air circulation.

I will try to sort out the roof wiring tomorrow.
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Old 07-16-2020, 11:15 AM   #17
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I'm sure you've done your research and that it will work. I'm not sure whether eternabond is meant to simply be a sealant, or also a tape-like adhesive. That would be my only concern, if you had only eternabond adhering the panels to your roof.

It's definitely sticky stuff. I've used it for a dual purpose: to serve as a sealant instead of dicor, and as reinforcement for the VHB tape. I hadn't considered using it alone as an adhesive.
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