Solar Boler 2020 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-06-2020, 11:11 PM   #1
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Solar Boler 2020

Alright fellow FGRVs

It's been awhile and also a ton of modifications to the ol' Boler, some here and there. Some more significant than others. Many camping trips and days on the road, roughing up the ol' beast.. doesn't matter. This mod needs a thread on its own.

Solar Boler 2020. Canadian edition


Materials list:

---Panels, Mounting + Adjustable angle bars---
2x RENOGY 100w mono crystalline solar panels (ca.renogy.com)
2x 36" Slotted angled galvanized angle (Local hardware store)
2x 1/8"x1"x8' Aluminium flat bar (Princess auto)
12x 1/4x1"Carriage Bolts
12x 1/4 Lock washers
12x 1/4 Thumb Knobs (RONA)
12x 1/4 Nuts
16x 1/4x1/2" Hex Bolts
16x 1/4 Locknuts
16x 1/4 Washers
1x Red Loctite

---Mounting surface + fasteners to surface---
Fiberglass Resin w/ liquid hardener (Princess auto)
Fiberglass Mat (princess Auto)
Bondo body filler w/ cream hardener (Princess auto)
Spruce 2"x4"x10' Cut into 26" lengths
4x #10x3/4" wood screws
4x #10x1.5" wood screws
8x #10 washers
Many x Paper bowls for mixing chemicals
Acetone for cleanup and preparation
Many x 80 grit sandpaper
Many x 120 grit sandpaper
Lots of paintbrushes and stirring sticks

---Wiring and such---
1x RENOGY Rover 30amp MPPT Charge Controller (ca.renogy.com)
1x RENOGY 30amp ANL Fuse (ca.renogy.com)
Bouge RV 10ft 10AWG solar cables with connectors (amazon)
Some length of standard 10AWG primary wire (Princess auto)
8AWG Wire (Princess auto)
Bouge RV Solar crimping toolkit with 6 pairs of MC4 connectors (again, AMAZON)
Bouge RV Solar entry gland... mmm, entry glands... (amazon)
Rivets for fastening entry gland onto roof
Butyl tape (Amazon or Rv stores)
3M VHB Tape 4950... it's great stuff... (amazon)
Any other fasteners you need to mount your charge controller etc.

You'll also need all the right ring connectors to wire straight to the battery or your bus bars..Be sure to crimp properly and heat shrink


Guys, this is just a somewhat compiled but broad list of things needed.. It's a big project and I haven't even mentioned tools. I'm sharing this information for anyone attempting to do something similar to give some rough guidance of what to expect.

This took a lot of time, especially during the hot Okanagan summer days. Please practice wearing the proper protective gear when working with fiberglass, It's not good for you and you won't sleep well when it gets on your skin because you weren't wearing a shirt because it was a hot day and you're rolling around in bed later that night feeling the fiberglass dust on your skin.. it sucks. Be mindful. Mask, eye protection, gloves, longsleeves, ears too... sanders can be loud.
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Old 08-06-2020, 11:22 PM   #2
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Ridged panels for the win.

Why not flexible panels?
There is much discussion about the ease of flexible panels over ridged panels and through my research I understand that flexible panels maybe more convenient, easier to mount and contours to the curved surface of your roof.
On the other hand, flexible panels do not distribute heat quite as easily as ridged glass panels even with 'airflow systems' built underneath. From what I've learned as a non-professional they don't have quite the lifespan as a ridged panel and are still quite costly.

Will be posting more soon..
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Old 08-07-2020, 08:51 AM   #3
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First thing I did was take the galvanized angles and cut them to length on the long edge of the panels with a grinder, 4 in total
I also cut out 8x angle brackets to fasten the panels to the roof of the boler. 2 of those brackets that you can see are slightly wider so you can lock them down when the panels are flat.
While the grinder was out, I cut the tops off of the carriage bolts so I could screw them all the way into the thumb knobs using red loctite to create a bond.

I also JB welded some nuts to washers as I did plan on tacking these on to the rails for more of a 1-handed operation when adjusting the panels.. Things changed and it seems to be faster and easier to just use wingnuts on the inside of the angle rails.
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Old 08-07-2020, 09:03 AM   #4
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Next up was to create some wooden pieces that act as footings for the solar panels.
This minimizes holes through the roof and also spreads the weight out of the panels a lot nicer.
I know you're thinking that the boler roof is thin and will collapse under the weight of the panels.
I put the wooden pieces just on the inside of the top arch of the trailer to utilize the natural extra support of the arch and did some weight tests to see if the roof gets manipulated under pressure and all seems good.

The pieces of wood were held up above the trailer and scribed out so we could cut to the contour of the boler and create level pads for the solar panels.

Lots of measuring, sanding, and masking taping to ensure a decent job.

Once the wood is cut, and has been sanded down to have rounded edges, I PL'ed them to their homes. Once the glue set in, they were fiberglassed in and then roughly body filled.

When it comes around time to paint these new pieces on the roof, i'll be doing a more thorough body fill job for extra smoothness.
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Old 08-07-2020, 09:11 AM   #5
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Now it was time to fasten down the panels and do some wiring.
I mounted the brackets I made on the inside of the panel rails and set them in with wood screws and VHB tape for added piece of mind.
The cables entered through an entry gland which were butyl taped all around the inner lip and then riveted through the roof with washers on the inside.
The wires were ran through to the closet, over the entrance door, down the side next to the dinette and into the hole where the charge controller sits.
MC4 connectors were challenging at first but after some trial and error you get the gist of it.
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Old 08-07-2020, 09:21 AM   #6
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The panels are wired in series vs parallel, I was contemplating which option to choose but this article helped me decide

https://www.explorist.life/solar-pan...s-vs-parallel/


The set up of these panels were also motivated by this video


I cut to length some aluminum bars to act as an adjustable support for when you wish to tilt the solar panels. Using an online calculator I determined where to drill the holes in the aluminum bars to give me 45degree and 35degree angles.
45 from what i know is a good generic angle for absorbing sunlight
35 is an average of a formula where you take your latitude, subtract by 15 in the summer months and get an angle where it is said to be more efficient in getting that sun.
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Old 08-07-2020, 08:14 PM   #7
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Nice work! Looks like a handy setup.
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