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Old 07-28-2014, 02:05 PM   #57
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I just ordered the 80W portable solar Go Power unit from Amazon which comes with everything and is water resistant. After talking with several service techs. from AS and a couple folks who own these also, seems it will do the job...was leaning toward the 120W unit, but seems the 80W will charge the batteries in few hours and I can use existing wiring with 1000W inverter that came with our unit. Other advantage is ability to move these panels to sunlight while camping...will let you know if this is enough battery...I don't need air conditioning in MT, so just using for TV, coffee pot, and cell phone charging. Had a much larger "permanent" panel on my last AS...when I sold the AS, solar went also...thus the thought on portable.
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Old 07-28-2014, 02:20 PM   #58
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Zamp has a nice foldable unit. Let me know if you like as we have a spare... got the solar option on the new EB.
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Old 07-28-2014, 02:25 PM   #59
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Another thought I had after talking with both Ralph Hiesey ( Bogart Engineering) and Robert Shearer ( Handy Bob's Solar Blog) was to try a combination of permanent and portable by installing both the battery monitor and solar charger in their proper places and having a quick disconnect ( polarized connectors for safety) at the battery box for the solar panel/panels which could theoretically be on a stand or on the canopy of my truck which could then be positioned in the sun, and I don't have the routing problem with the FB.
Also If we ever get one- foot- itus again we could take all the equipment with us.


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Old 07-29-2014, 06:33 AM   #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FCloud9 View Post
Great information and have already viewed the installation video to assess what's involved. Was your decision to go with Flexible Solar panels primarily to avoid adding "potential leak points" to the roof?
The install ( labor costs) exclusive of all other materials?


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The choice of flexible panels was in part about drilling holes in the roof, but also weight, aerodynamics and aesthetics. It's less proven. I knew that going in. But it's not first generation and GoPower has been providing standard panels for RVs for a while, so I'm taking the chance.

The labor costs are excluding other materials. The branch connectors and one set of extension cables added less than $100. Plus the tape and Sikaflex. Not much altogether.

In nearly full sun I was pulling between 8 and 9 amps, with 160 watts of panels.


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Old 07-29-2014, 07:52 AM   #61
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Zamp...

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Originally Posted by mefly2 View Post
Zamp has a nice foldable unit. Let me know if you like as we have a spare... got the solar option on the new EB.
Will do. Heading for Glacier in a couple weeks...will try the unit out and report.
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Old 08-19-2014, 05:16 PM   #62
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Ok,so now I have my Trimetric TM2030 hooked up,SC2030 in place and ready,and it's time to get off the pot and get the panels.Have definitely decided on flexible panels,so here's the question.
AM is now touting it's flex panels(Grape) because they are 5mm thick and not 3. at $349. Go Power has theirs at about $549 (ouch) and Renogy has the same thing at about $199. They are all so close in specs that it doesn't really matter.Anyone out there with experience with Renogy? They seem reputable as far as I can gather from the net.Are they all from China? Does it really matter?
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Old 08-19-2014, 05:41 PM   #63
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Renogy sells Bosch hard panels. Didn't know they sold flexible.
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Old 08-19-2014, 06:06 PM   #64
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Yup, 100w mono panels according to their site.


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Old 08-19-2014, 07:13 PM   #65
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Ok,so now I have my Trimetric TM2030 hooked up,SC2030 in place and ready,and it's time to get off the pot and get the panels.Have definitely decided on flexible panels,so here's the question.
AM is now touting it's flex panels(Grape) because they are 5mm thick and not 3. at $349. Go Power has theirs at about $549 (ouch) and Renogy has the same thing at about $199. They are all so close in specs that it doesn't really matter.Anyone out there with experience with Renogy? They seem reputable as far as I can gather from the net.Are they all from China? Does it really matter?
George
I'm about to begin a beta test of the new Photo Flex panels from AM Solar and a pair of 100 amp/hour lithium batteries (LiFePO-4). The 5 GS-100 panels that I just removed from my Sprinter roof weighed around 20 lbs. each with mounting hardware and the Lifeline GPL-6CT batteries (6VDC @300 amp/hours) were close to 200 lbs. And if anyone thinks that the VHB tape method that we use for mounting the panel feet to a smooth, hard roof doesn't work, it took half a day to get the tape residue off the roof after cutting the mounting feet off at the tape line. They would not budge otherwise.

The new arrangement will have about 20 lbs/ total on the roof and 65 lbs for the batteries. These new formulation lithiums are can be drawn to 80% depth of discharge providing a total of 160 amp/hours of usable capacity. The Lifelines could be drawn to 50% yielding 150 amp/hours.

The lithiums MUST NOT be discharged below 80% as damage will occur. They also require very specific constant voltage /constant current charging to very precise voltage points, which look to be 14.3 VDC for charging and 13.7 for maintenance. We are still playing with the lower number.

The new flex panels look promising as they will not cup due to their heavier backing, but there are still considerations. They are still covered in plastic which will scratch (that's one thing that Go Power neglected to mention in their video showing the couple dancing on their panels If they had actually PAID almost $600 per panel, I can assure you that they would NOT be dancing on them!!) and they appear to have less sensitivity to solar radiance at low light situations like early morning, late afternoon and overcast skies.

I'll be looking at the charge that I get from the new panels and will be comparing it to the results that I have had over the last 3 years with the hard panels. They have exactly the same cell structure and voltage specifications at STC as the GS series has. We'll see how much they loose to low light situations and heat inefficiencies.

More to come.............
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Old 08-19-2014, 07:22 PM   #66
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Sounds great!

I'll be looking forward to what you find out.
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Old 08-20-2014, 10:51 AM   #67
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Update -80W portable GoPower use...pump/light issues

[QUOTE=gypsydad;1488875]Will do. Heading for Glacier in a couple weeks...will try the unit out and report./

We spent 5 days in Glacier. Found the water pump on DC would not work unless 10+ registered on factory information display in kitchen. Also, bathroom and under cabinet lights barely lit....hooked up Go Power portable to batteries and with in 30 min, had 10.2 V and everything was fine...ran radio, lights, pump as needed and disconnected panels after dark and put away. Morning, had same issues. Connected panel and immediate 11 V reading and everything worked again...not sure what is happening; any one else notice water pump and dim lights under cabinets when below 10v reading? Also, why would the solar jump from 9V to 10 so quick after connecting the solar? I have the deep cycle Interstate batteries which came with my 2014 25' FC...when charging on shore power, I get up to 13V reading...any help is appreciated....
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Old 08-20-2014, 11:25 AM   #68
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Sounds like a severe case if voltage drop. Your solar panels in bright sun should be putting out 14.2 +/- VDC to your batteries on bulk/absorption charge.

You should check the voltage readings with a multi-meter at the array input and then the controller output. This might give you an indication of whether you have a problem with the panels, the charge controller or both.

In addition, most items that use 12 VDC on the trailer will not work properly below 10.5 VDC.


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Old 08-25-2014, 06:46 AM   #69
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I know that GoPower's warranty is 10 years for defects in materials and workmanship....and that they are readily available to honor it. Be sure to compare that to all other brands you are considering.
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Old 08-25-2014, 10:02 AM   #70
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Here are some installation photos from yesterday, when I placed the 5 100 watt Photo-Flex panels from AM Solar on my Sprinter roof. And if anyone doubts the tenacious holding capabilities of VHB tape.......it took me 3 hours to remove the mounting feet from my old hard panels. That's 20 1" X 2" sections (from 5 panels with 4 feet each). They were bonded to the roof and did not want to come off....which is a very good thing!

Anyway, the first shot is the first, forward panel, these are laying on the raised ribs of the roof and are bonded with SikaFlex 221 only. It will be interesting to see how mounting these on the raised rails of the roof with the accompanying air flow under them will impact the overheating possibilities of these panels when they are mounted flat to the roof. The full 5 are shown in the next shot. Final wiring and connections to the combiner box, solar charge controller (Blue Sky 3024iX) and finally to the new lithium batteries will be later in the week.

These panels weigh around 2-3 lbs. (didn't have a scale) and are slightly domed on the roof, following the slight arch of the Sprinter's roof line. Now that the SikaFlex has cured, they have become a semi-permanent part of the roof. Also note that these panels are covered by a 10 year warranty as opposed to the 25 year warranty for hard panels (for those of you that have any doubts) and are backed by AM Solar, who have been in the RV solar business for 27 years. Not only have they been in business for a long while, they are honest, caring folks!

Stay tuned................
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