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Old 02-19-2012, 11:45 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Beecavetx View Post
barts I like what you say about solar but I can not find your thread about installation . Can you hep me? Thanks Bob
I think UAPachyderm was being generous; I've not posted on the install and the blog entry I'm working on is far from ready. There are some great step by step descriptions of solar installs; a bit of time w/ the search engine should produce nice results.

I used the adhesive method suggested by AM Solar - this worked very well. The only tricky bit is getting the cables down off the roof, and to the batteries; the difficulties there depend on your trailer configuration. I brought mine down the standard way - through the refrigerator vent - and I was lucky enough to have cabinets and a raceway right to the battery & power panel I'd built earlier.

One piece of gear I recommend is the Trimetric battery monitor - it displays lots of data, but also time-integrates the current flowing into and out of the battery so you have a real state-of-charge indicator that is not affected by temperature. Nice piece of gear, and works very well - also recommended for those w/o solar systems.

- Bart
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Old 02-19-2012, 12:27 PM   #16
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Eheffa did a thread on his solar installation a couple of years ago. Try searching for it using advanced search.

Our panels are attached by tape too. It is hard for me to believe two sided tape will hold the panels on, but it does. It is not cheap, but lewster installed it and he has a big roll and you only need short pieces. If it comes off, I'll track him down. The tape is far better than drilling into the roof to screw it down and then worrying about leaks.

I believe the pre-installeds wiring for solar is 10 AWG; for anything over 100 watts, upgrade the wiring if you can.

Gene
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Old 02-19-2012, 03:51 PM   #17
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Yes, my bad, it was Ehffa's thread "Solar Panel Installation Report" as Gene pointed out. I was confused ... I just remember Bart posting lots of helpful comments as well (in that thread).
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Old 02-21-2012, 11:08 PM   #18
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Here's an interesting site to check out. www.mysolarbackup.com
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Old 02-22-2012, 06:18 AM   #19
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Thumbs down www.mysolarbackup.com

Don't expect too much

IISTGTBT....it probably is.

Bob
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Old 02-22-2012, 06:38 AM   #20
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Portable Solar Panels : RV Solar Battery Charger : RV Solar Power : RV Solar Panel Kits : RVSolarNow.com
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Old 02-22-2012, 11:34 PM   #21
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That mysolarbackup is an 1800W inverter (probably a crappy cheap one), a 90W solar panel, and an unspecified battery. The advertisement is very deceptive, although I don't believe there's anything factually incorrect. "Amazing power" is very relative...
If you want such a system, probably better to assemble it from quality components you can actually rely on in an emergency...
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Old 02-23-2012, 02:42 AM   #22
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Let's not lose sight of what is to be accomplished. Firstly, over time the technology gets better. Thus the 75-watt panels that were installed on my rig in 2003 are now surpassed by panels that have much more output. (When I walked through Costco in Vegas last month, they were selling 200 watt panels for about $600.) Similarly, the inverters are getting better and more powerful. With this improvement in technology, there is always going to be a vendor of questionable scruples who will offer a system that uses cheap components with a questionable installation.

As well, once you have a solar charging system installed, are you going to get caught up in the race for more wattage? Or for a bigger inverter? What the previous owner of my rig installed in 2003 was pretty much the top of the line then - he paid then about $4,000 (panels, controller, inverter & AGM batteries).

The system I have does what I need it to - I don't watch TV for hours at night - my requirements are simple: enough power to run my CPAP machine all night, provide lights (all are LED), power my fresh water pump and power my computer connectivity (laptop, router, aircard & Wilson cellular amplifier) during daytime hours when I'm boondocking.

Granted I've seen mindboggling solar arrays on big 5th wheels and motorhomes out in Quartzsite, but they have lots of real estate on their roofs AND flat roofs so that they can install huge tilting solar arrays. These guys also have lots of slideouts and more "toys" in their rigs - all these differences lead up to bizarre maintenance issues. I had a '94 LY diesel pusher with a large flat roof (which was a source of multiple leaks) and I experienced the high costs of repairs and maintenance. I had suffered as well form that insidious disease known as "two-footitis" - (lets get a slightly larger rig). This past summer I came to the realization that the KISS principle was the sane approach - keep it simple stupid - no slides and avoid the unnecessary.

In summary, make sure what you get is good quality, competently installed and meets your requirements -- then lean back and enjoy.
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Old 02-23-2012, 05:57 AM   #23
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Just for informational purposes, you really can't compare panels by wattage alone.The open circuit voltage is extremely important, and one that many seeking 'bargain panels' or 'lowest cost per watt' often neglect.

Look for panels that have high open circuit voltage and similar voltages at the maximum power point. As an example, AM Solar has their panels built for higher outputs or 'hotter' voltages. Their Voc (open circuit voltages) range from 17.7-21.2VDC and their Vmpp (maximum power point voltages) range from 18.5-22.2VDC.

When connected to a quality solar charge controller with maximum power point tracking, these hotter panels turn this excess voltage into more charging amps seen at the batteries. This effect is called 'boost', and a properly designed and installed system can see up to 30% boost at the batteries over what is seen at the panel output before the controller.

ALL PANELS ARE NOT CREATED EQUAL!!!
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Old 02-23-2012, 06:06 AM   #24
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Thumbs up

blackmajik,

..well said, spend your $ on what you want.

My rationalization, when I get the Solar Urge.... I go outside, sit down in the SHADE, start the generator and grab a brew 'til it passes.

Bob
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Old 02-23-2012, 12:12 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robert cross
blackmajik,

..well said, spend your $ on what you want.

My rationalization, when i get the solar urge.... I go outside, sit down in the shade, start the generator and grab a brew 'til it passes.

bob
pbr?
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Old 02-23-2012, 12:43 PM   #26
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Wink

pbr.....nope



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Old 02-23-2012, 12:47 PM   #27
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Bob: You are a lucky man if it only takes one brew to do the job.
Usually the more I drink, the easier I see the project, and the braver man I am.
(and thats with Canadian content)
Dave



Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS View Post
blackmajik,

..well said, spend your $ on what you want.

My rationalization, when I get the Solar Urge.... I go outside, sit down in the SHADE, start the generator and grab a brew 'til it passes.

Bob
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Old 02-23-2012, 12:59 PM   #28
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Bob: You are a lucky man if it only takes one brew to do the job.
Usually the more I drink, the easier I see the project, and the braver man I am.
(and thats with Canadian content)

Dave
Actually Dave it took a sex pac and seven hrs to do both battery door frames.

Bob
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