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Old 10-18-2013, 11:23 PM   #29
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Do you have any pics of the additional solar panel layout on the roof?
If you're asking me, I posted pictures on the "Parked Battery Life" thread way down below. Let me know if you don't find it and I'll repost it here.
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Old 10-18-2013, 11:51 PM   #30
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Do you have any pics of the additional solar panel layout on the roof?
I've attached a photo of finished install with a few shots of the Rhino-Racks I installed to mount the panels. I wanted to get both panels between the MaxxAir vent and the AC unit so I had to reverse the MaxxAir fan. I don't recommend this if you ever plan to use the MaxxAir while driving. I used a low profile Rhino-Rack Track Mount Legs (2 inches tall) to just clear the bath vent when extended. The clips I made to attached the panels to the roof rack are hinged so they can be lifted for servicing and cleaning. I don't think I'll ever get up there to tilt the panels although I could if needed. Also replaced the original tall black water tank vent cap with a low profile standard 360 Siphon vent cap.
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Old 10-19-2013, 12:56 AM   #31
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Boxter, Very nice! Much nicer than a "professional" install! And with this install, you may be able to fit one more panel in front of the fan if needed. My hat is off to you, sir.
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Old 10-19-2013, 06:50 AM   #32
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That really depends on the 'professional' that you are talking about. Very nice DIY install, but I would have done some things differently.
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Old 10-19-2013, 07:49 AM   #33
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That really depends on the 'professional' that you are talking about. Very nice DIY install, but I would have done some things differently.
Fully agree! "Professional" doesn't guarantee quality. Just like "DIY" doesn't guarantee shoddy.
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Old 10-19-2013, 09:42 AM   #34
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I've attached a photo of finished install with a few shots of the Rhino-Racks I installed to mount the panels. I wanted to get both panels between the MaxxAir vent and the AC unit so I had to reverse the MaxxAir fan. I don't recommend this if you ever plan to use the MaxxAir while driving. I used a low profile Rhino-Rack Track Mount Legs (2 inches tall) to just clear the bath vent when extended. The clips I made to attached the panels to the roof rack are hinged so they can be lifted for servicing and cleaning. I don't think I'll ever get up there to tilt the panels although I could if needed. Also replaced the original tall black water tank vent cap with a low profile standard 360 Siphon vent cap.
Awesome work!!

Regarding the maxxfan. Replacing it with a fantastic one may solve the roof vent issue.
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Old 10-19-2013, 11:53 AM   #35
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That really depends on the 'professional' that you are talking about. Very nice DIY install, but I would have done some things differently.
Sorry Lewster, didn't mean any disrespect. Present company excepted, of course
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Old 10-19-2013, 01:10 PM   #36
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No worries David! No offense taken. I know that there a lot if so-called 'professionals' in the RV business that should be collecting garbage instead of doing garbage work ( no offense to the professional 'sanitation engineers') :-)
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Old 10-19-2013, 07:38 PM   #37
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Can't say this is better than a professional installation. It's a DYI project by a licensed Professional Engineer who just retired and now has time to exercise his creative side again after years in management.

Actually I owe many thanks to Lewster for his advice on this forum. I bought the entire solar system from AM Solar and the Rhino-Racks from e-trailer.com.

Cheers,
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Old 10-19-2013, 09:43 PM   #38
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Any time! :-)
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Old 10-20-2013, 12:20 PM   #39
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That really depends on the 'professional' that you are talking about. Very nice DIY install, but I would have done some things differently.
Lewster, your experience is very much appreciated and I really would like to hear what you would have done different as I also consider a up crate like Mike.
Mike I love what you did and it looks professional and I hope my project will end up as close as yours.
Thanks for all you inputs which helps a lot.
Peter
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Old 10-20-2013, 12:32 PM   #40
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Lewster: Does it take special equipment to test the coach batteries?
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Old 10-21-2013, 08:37 PM   #41
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Lewster, your experience is very much appreciated and I really would like to hear what you would have done different as I also consider a up crate like Mike.
Mike I love what you did and it looks professional and I hope my project will end up as close as yours.
Thanks for all you inputs which helps a lot.
Peter
Just a few of things that stuck out to my eye from the photos:

• maintain the integrity if the 6/2 duplex wire that comes in the solar controller kit (don't separate it) and use the opening in the bottom of the combiner box as a pathway for the charging wire to go into the coach thru the roof. This wire IS NOT UV resistant like the 10/2AWG shipboard cable used to connect the individual panels to the combiner box. The way it is installed with the exposed 6/2, I would wrap the 2 leads with corrugated split wire loom for extra UV protection ASAP.

• I never use the immediate proximity of an existing sewer or tank vent as a pathway for charging cables. The wires should have run thru the bottom of the combiner box, which could have been positioned near the existing vent to utilize that hollow wall space as a wire conduit. This way, you have one dedicated sealing job to do for both the charge line and combiner box

• when you purchase the iPN remote control panel in the signature controller core systems, there is no need to also mount the actual charge controller (silver Blue Sky panel next to the converter) on an exposed surface. They come with a very nice custom built stainless mounting box so you can position the controller as close to the batteries as physically possible to minimize any potential voltage drop. It also makes for an easier installation of the controller.

• Not sure from your pics, but I always install a 275 amp switch in the positive charge line (previously listed as optional) leading to the solar controller. This helps to disconnect the controller from the array with just a twist of the wrist for any maintenance, system re-sets and other processes. BTW, that 275 amp switch is now a standard feature in the controller packages available from AM Solar as of 10/15/13

That's all the I could see from the photos presented. I could not see the actual wire runs, wire positioning or whether all wires are wrapped in wire loom (something I do on all installations) and secured at least every 16".

Still, a very nice DIY job!
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Old 10-21-2013, 08:59 PM   #42
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Lewster: Does it take special equipment to test the coach batteries?
Not really. I use the load test method, since the majority of batteries that I see are either sealed or AGM where there is no access to the chambers to actually test the specific gravity of the acid in these batteries(when accessible, I use a temperature compensated refractometer for this purpose, NOT those bulb things with the little balls inside!)

I usually fully charge a battery (or battery bank) overnight, preferably as close to 25C (77F) as possible to be certain that they are full. Full here is generally 12.8-13.2VDC, depending on the type of battery. After resting for 15 minutes with no load on them (disconnect the negative terminal) I take the first voltage reading (this eliminates reading a surface charge).

Re-attach the negative terminal and place the battery bank under load for 10 minutes (run the furnace or other significant load) and then rest the batteries for another 10 minutes (this allows the batteries to recover after a significant draw-down).

Finally, remove the negative again and take another voltage reading. This should be at or near the original reading (within 0.10 VDC). If not, the batteries have lost their charge retention capacity and should be replaced.

There are other, more accurate methods involving placing the fully charged batteries (at the 25C test temp.) under a 25 amp load until the batteries reach 10.5VDC and measuring the time it took to reach that level. You then compare the discharge time with published tables from that battery manufacturer and determine what percentage of the listed rating the batteries show. IMHO, anything under 80% is replacement time.

Others probably have their own methods of testing, but this works well for me, especially for sealed or AGM batteries. And as always..YMMV!

Hope this helps.
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