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Old 08-16-2011, 04:52 PM   #29
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I finally found the kind of solar panel that seems made for an AS. It's a flexible, self-adhesive 68 watt unit the is 15" wide and 112" long and only 2/10" thick. Peel and stick right onto the roof. deep blue color with a black border. I wired it in using the old power antenna wires and put the charge controller on the inside wall where the old antenna control was mounted. The wires were too small, but there were six of them so I ganged them into two units of three. Twenty year warranty. I have never been reconciled to framed units standing proud of the surface. It's less than $200 from: There is also a 134 watt unit that is about twice as long, but will just fit the longer 'streams.

Uni-Solar Solar Laminate PVL-Series 68 Watt
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Old 08-16-2011, 05:22 PM   #30
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Wow Those panels look cool but long. The 144W ones are 18' long but only 16" wide, and half the weight of usual 135W panels.

Looking at my roof, I think I could fit two 68W.. Am hoping to get as close to 300W as possible.

How is the adhesive? Do you think there would be a way to mechanically attach every few feet?
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Old 08-16-2011, 05:28 PM   #31
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Yes, they do have potential-12V! The adhesive is very strong. Better get right the first time! Don't see why you couldn't leave gaps if they weren't too long and didn't allow the panel to flex much.
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Old 08-23-2011, 12:08 PM   #32
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I am new to my airstream but have many years experience with solar on my boat. I have (2) 50 watt panels and a simple 10 amp controller. I haven't plugged my 31' boat to shore power in over two years, I run my large chest frig 24/7 and any lighting, stereo, fans I need. This is FL sunshine with no shading issues and a couple days of rain/heavy clouds will start to drain my 180 AH battery bank. Cost was c. $500 for parts and shipping for quality Kyocera panels. On the Airstream I am thinking of a 50 watt panel mounted in place of the rock guard w/ a protective cover over, I'm thinking I could make it look almost original and given sunny weather it should keep up with lighting, stereo and fans.
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Old 08-23-2011, 12:44 PM   #33
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Quality often is cheaper in the long run, but I can't always afford it. Our experience is that we wanted solar when we bought our Safari and the dealer installed an after market 96 w. system for around $1,000. It lasted little more than 3 years and wasn't installed properly either. The company went out of business and we were told their technology was way out of date when the dealer installed it.

Now we have a 200 AM Solar system. Is it cost effective? Maybe not. Does AM Solar have a good reputation? Yes. Does it give us lots of flexibility to use the trailer? Yes. Will there be a cheaper, better system down the road? Probably, almost certainly.

To get the most out of a solar system, you need AGM batteries and a better converter than the OEM one. That costs a lot too.

The idea of Airstreams has always been to provide a comfortable camping experience in all sorts of environments. Solar helps that goal be realized. It is not necessary just like a trailer isn't necessary. I'm still waiting for my flying car, but in the meantime I buy land-based vehicles to get around.

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Old 08-30-2011, 02:47 PM   #34
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Thats a nice alternative but the Watt/sq ft is less than rigid panels. I managed to get 260 W on top of my trailer with rigid panels.
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Old 09-01-2011, 02:21 PM   #35
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How long can one expect your Lifeline batteries to last?
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Old 09-01-2011, 03:07 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4evrhers
How long can one expect your Lifeline batteries to last?
I was told 7-8 years.
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Old 09-01-2011, 09:04 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrawfordGene View Post
To get the most out of a solar system, you need AGM batteries and a better converter than the OEM one. That costs a lot too.
Gene
Not so sure that I agree that you need AGM batteries to get the "most" out of a solar system. AGM are nice, but I've had my deep cycle batteries for two years and I'm doing just fine. I think the difference is marginal - IMHO...
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Old 09-01-2011, 09:16 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert Diva

Not so sure that I agree that you need AGM batteries to get the "most" out of a solar system. AGM are nice, but I've had my deep cycle batteries for two years and I'm doing just fine. I think the difference is marginal - IMHO...
Glad you are satisfied with your deep cycles but, I assure you, the difference isn't marginal.
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Old 09-01-2011, 09:34 PM   #39
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solar

portable (or roof mounted) contact Zamp Solar out of Bend, Oregon. Steve at Zamp is SO helpful and they are have some really cool products including a new 120 watt portable panel.

NFI on my part...it is just a cool company with great panels and a wealth of solar info. Simple to use, too.
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Old 09-25-2011, 10:37 PM   #40
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If anyone is still following this thread I have 520 watts of panels up top, and paid nowhere near the crazy prices people here are talking about. Have a look a sunelec.com great supplier great prices. They supplied both my off grid home and the trailer.
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Old 09-26-2011, 03:09 PM   #41
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hi Troy, just saw your post and wondered how long is your trailer and how many batteries do you need for 540 watts?? We have been lurking on this thread and have a little 18 foot Caravel and can't get much on top and am worried about portable units. Bob Morgan
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Old 09-27-2011, 08:40 AM   #42
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I have found our 85 watt Kyocera panel with a Blue Sky MPPT controller/monitor sufficient for continuous (water and sewerage are our limiting factors) off-grid camping in almost any situation. We've seen many freezing nights and overcast rainy days in the six months, 8100 miles and 74 nights that we've used our 2011 FC23FB. We use the furnace, stereo/DVD player, laptop and water pump as desired. LED lighting helps a great deal. I'll add another 85 watt panel (in place of the unused TV antenna) if/when our consumption exceeds the solar capabilities. We have the original Interstate flooded gp 24 batteries which I'll change to AGM's when these expire, simply for the low maintenance. AGM's certainly have advantages - I have a large bank of Lifeline AGMs on my sailboat, but are actually not as efficient as well-maintained flooded batteries. You can do just fine with flooded batteries on solar.

Go solar, and enjoy the freedom and silence of boondocking.
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