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Old 02-23-2024, 03:29 PM   #1
Forward Look's Avatar
Name: Dave
Trailer: 1986 Scamp 16
Posts: 64
Controller mounting and wiring questions

Hi, All. We have plans to add 100-200 watts of solar to the roof of our 1986 Scamp 16'. We currently have a never-installed 100w ETFE flexible panel, though we have also been considering a 200w CIGS or other panel. Leaning towards mounting it with adhesive tape, eternabond and/or industrial velcro, and running the power leads through the roof into the street side cabinet through a cable gland. We have an unused Go-Power flush-mount PWM controller we were originally planning to use with it, but now leaning towards a Victron Energy MPPT 75/15 bluetooth controller or similar instead. We don't have huge power needs -- we are all LED and mainly just use some small fans. Our only larger draw is a 12v Danfoss compressor fridge. We had a couple questions we hope some of y'all might be able to answer.

1) We had planned to mount the controller on the inside wall of the street side, upper middle cabinet. The Victron does not have an LCD so there would not be much need to see it in there. If there are no heat issues, are there any cons to this location?

2) The factory 12v wiring that goes up to the lighting on the sides of this cabinet... we were thinking to feed the output of this controller into that wiring. It appears to be maybe a 10 or 12 ga wire. I know it's about 15' back from the battery, but the 45amp converter at the bottom of the lower cabinet runs to the battery through the same wiring without any known issues. Is it ok to output the controller (fused) directly into the existing wiring?

Thanks for any help, advice, or suggestions!
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Old 03-02-2024, 12:16 PM   #2
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Name: Charlie
Trailer: '83 Burro
Posts: 405
Glad to see someone else with an older FGRV (mine is an Eighties Burro) is adding solar. I’m taking a different approach with my install. The Burro stays most of the time at its “home away from home” at the N-SSA grounds about 3 hours from my house. I’m considering a deep cycle battery that I will bring home after each visit to “top up” its charge. I’ll set it onto the camper’s tongue while in use and connect it to the camper almost like shore power. I’m trying to decide how to arrange my solar panel to keep the battery charged over 3-5 days of usage. There are branches over much of my camper’s roof, especially toward the rear, in its assigned space, so I’ve been thinking of mounting the solar panel on the stone guard of the front window so I can angle it up toward the sun while in use.
My biggest question though is how many watts of power I’ll need to keep my battery charged. I’ll be using power for lights (mostly LED), a fan or two, and to keep my electronics charged. I’d like to add a small 12 V fridge at some time in the near future. You mention a 100 W solar panel then a 200 W panel. It sounds like you will be using slightly more power than I will so I’m wondering whether I can get by on one hundred watts or whether I need two hundred as well.
Thanks for starting this thread and I’ll be watching closely for the responses you get.
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Old 03-02-2024, 01:55 PM   #3
Trailer: 1980 Trillium 4500
Posts: 92
Always go bigger because you can't count on the sun doing what you tell it to. Extra capacity is not wasted than and also when you have it available you will always find yourself adding more thing to add for convenience. It will save you from having to reposition/relocate anything you do in the future. We have a 305 watt commercial solar farm panel mount on the roof of our 4500 Trillium and never worry about having enough juice to run lights, fans, usb charges, heating pad, or laptops even on days with minimal bright sun. YMMV
1980 Trillium 4500 with front 1/2 bath, toilet, lavatory, 305watts solar, TriStar 45 MPPT controller, 2002 Chevy S-10 Crew Cab, 4.3, 4WD, Leer Shell
1977 Trillium 1300, front bunk beds. sold
2004 Damon Challenger 335F, fiberglass Class A, currently in retirement traveling
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Old 03-02-2024, 04:33 PM   #4
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Name: Dave
Trailer: 1986 Scamp 16
Posts: 64
I settled on a Renogy 150w CIGS solar panel for a few reasons:

1) The size (65"x25") fits well on the top of our Scamp.
2) It is amazingly flexible, light, and resistant to damage, with a 25 year warranty.
3) The CIGS type of solar panel does not need an air gap, so it can be adhered directly to the roof. It comes with pre-installed adhesive strips (no drilling or Eternabond!)
4) It is crazy thin, should lay very flat on the curved roof, and will be nearly invisible from the ground.
5) It performs very well in low-light and partial shade situations.
6) While not as efficient or cost-effective as a rigid or even a semi-flexible panel, the other reasons listed above made me feel it was the best choice.
7) They had an 'early bird discount' and a coupon which saved almost $100.

The panel should be here sometime this week. We're planning on making an unboxing video and an installation video, so stay tuned.

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Old 03-02-2024, 05:42 PM   #5
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Name: Mike
Trailer: 1977 Scamp 13'
Posts: 37
In My '77 Scamp 13', I have a 100 watt panel mounted on the roof using 3M VHB tape. I used four pieces of aluminum angle, each about 6" long with a notch to accommodate a bolt through the frame of the solar panel. Using a notch means if I want to remove the panel, I just loosen the bolts on each corner of the panel and lift it straight up. It's been there since 2015 and has held fast with no sign of weakening. I highly recommend that approach. I ran the two wires from the solar panel through the roof using thru-hulls designed for ocean racing boats. They are low profile and completely waterproof. I also have an Anderson plug on the rear of the trailer for connecting a second 100-watt suitcase-style solar panel. This panel means I can double the solar input, or if I'm parked in the trees, I have 30' of cable to set a panel somewhere out in the sun.

I originally mounted the controller in the door side tall cabinet, but it bugged me that it took up too much space in the cabinet. Ultimately, I cut a hole in the cabinet wall near the floor even with the wheel well. This is essentially unused space. I built a door for the opening, built a metal bracket to hold the controller and a solar panel breaker, and screwed the bracket to the floor of the trailer. It's solid and has about 1-1/2" of space all around for airflow/heat dissipation. Wires from the roof run down the back side of the cabinet, and wires from the rear connector run inside the trailer along the wall into the cabinet.

This setup works really well, and I'm very happy with it.
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