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Old 12-02-2012, 08:00 PM   #57
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AM Solar provides various kits and you can see them on their web site, including prices. The biggest advantage of solar for me is the benefit of being able to leave the Airstream at the storage facility and have no concern about the state of charge of the batteries when it's time to hook up and go. I also leave the battery switch in the use mode so I don't have to reset anything when it's time to go. The controller provides a float charge as well. It just doesn't get less complicated then that. Winter or summer.
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Old 12-03-2012, 10:31 AM   #58
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Originally Posted by mrharrison View Post
Hi web spinner,
I am planning to add solar panels and was hoping you might describe the install with tape. Are the panels (which brand ?) you used flexible and are they therefore attached with the tape for their full length and width? Is this a double sided tape? The tape sure seems like the way to go, but I' m having trouble visualizing it. I have installed rigid panels on a boathouse, with bolts, through brackets with a mere 2 inch by 2 inch footprint.
Thanks for any light you can shed.
Mike
My husband ("barts" on the forum) did the installation, so I'll have him chime in on the details I don't believe the panels are flexible. I'll see if I can dig up some pictures.
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Old 12-03-2012, 06:42 PM   #59
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Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS View Post
"we go camping to relax, to escape the noise and complexity of daily life, to live quietly and enjoy nature. We should treasure and protect that opportunity."

Our generator is as quiet as any unsupervised child, dog or stereo.


I'm just glad all this generator loud talk is taking place here where it can't be heard rather than at the campground where it would drown out everything.

Bob
Agree, and we try to avoid those other sources as well
There's no end to generator discussions, but of course one can simply stop reading.
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Old 12-03-2012, 08:16 PM   #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by webspinner View Post
My husband ("barts" on the forum) did the installation, so I'll have him chime in on the details I don't believe the panels are flexible. I'll see if I can dig up some pictures.
And the question was:

Quote:
I am planning to add solar panels and was hoping you might describe the install with tape. Are the panels (which brand ?) you used flexible and are they therefore attached with the tape for their full length and width? Is this a double sided tape? The tape sure seems like the way to go, but I' m having trouble visualizing it. I have installed rigid panels on a boathouse, with bolts, through brackets with a mere 2 inch by 2 inch footprint.
Thanks for any light you can shed.
We used the AM kit. In particular:

2 x 100 watt panels w/ mounts, harnesses & acc.
MPPT controller
wiring harness
roof top combiner box
shipping, etc.

I have enough head room on the control and space on the trailer
to add more panels, but this doesn't seem necessary w/ our
LED conversion.

I installed it myself; I'd rate the work level as moderate because of the
work in running wires. The kit is excellent and well worth the money,
as you get all the right stuff w/o looking for it all over.

Prices have dropped since I bought my kit 18 months ago; I spent 1.3K then and it looks like it would be about 1K now in parts.

I definitely think these guys do a good job of engineering their kits;
I think anyone reasonable handy on RVs can install them.

These panels are slightly different, but these are the same mounts:

GO100 Solar Panel Kit | Solar Panel Kits

The panels mount w/ just the foot print of the bracket holding the
panels on, which is about 1" x 2" or so. I used the VHB tape supplied -
has worked perfectly.


- Bart
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Old 12-03-2012, 08:33 PM   #61
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Do it. When the zombies come and you aren't close to power you will be one of many prepared. I also had a portable powerpack that runs my camp shower and can push 55 Amp hours or more so if there is a blackout in the city you can run a fridge for a little bit. If you boondock and have cranking deep cycle they can start your car in case that battery goes dead. Its worth it IMHO
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Old 12-05-2012, 05:40 AM   #62
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Thanks all for the VHB tape info and demos ...the stuff looks awesome...gets a clever (devious?) mind to thinking....(tape up the outhouse door?)
Seriously, I hope there is a way to remove the tape if that becomes necessary (ie broken solar panel, etc) ....will research that.
Mike
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Old 12-05-2012, 05:58 AM   #63
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Another handy product for the AS tool kit.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrharrison View Post
Thanks all for the VHB tape info and demos ...the stuff looks awesome...gets a clever (devious?) mind to thinking....(tape up the outhouse door?)
Seriously, I hope there is a way to remove the tape if that becomes necessary (ie broken solar panel, etc) ....will research that.
Mike
Here's another GREAT 3M product....

Same technology but one sided....3M Extreme Sealing Tape. Not cheep, but worth it.

I've used it on the skylight and both FF vents. Just make sure the surface is clean.

I used a heat gun and acetone for "'opps" clean-up on my first use attempt.

Bob
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Old 12-05-2012, 06:57 AM   #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrharrison View Post
Seriously, I hope there is a way to remove the tape if that becomes necessary (ie broken solar panel, etc) ....will research that.
Mike
The panels are attatched to the brackets using conventional fastners not tape
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Old 12-05-2012, 08:00 AM   #65
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A question for BARTS or those that have installed a solar system.
What components did you actually install?
Could you make a simple linear schematic of what and the order in which it was installed for other DIY'rs?
For example Solar panel_____??ga wire______component______?? ga wire____ etc......
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Old 12-05-2012, 08:21 AM   #66
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Originally Posted by crispyboy View Post
A question for BARTS or those that have installed a solar system.
What components did you actually install?
Could you make a simple linear schematic of what and the order in which it was installed for other DIY'rs?
For example Solar panel_____??ga wire______component______?? ga wire____ etc......
The am solar website has some tutorials that spell it out pretty good
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Old 12-05-2012, 11:22 AM   #67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crispyboy View Post
A question for BARTS or those that have installed a solar system.
What components did you actually install?
Could you make a simple linear schematic of what and the order in which it was installed for other DIY'rs?
For example Solar panel_____??ga wire______component______?? ga wire____ etc......
This link has been posted elsewhere, but in case you haven't seen it this was written by a guy who lives full time off the grid. He has very strong opinions about what is needed vs what others may try to sell you.

The RV Battery Charging Puzzle HandyBob's Blog

It's a lot to read, but the high points:
Use big wire.
Unless you have a big system you don't need MPPT.
Get a controller whose output voltage you can control.
Put the controller as close to the batteries as you can.


I'd give it a read, agree or disagree I think you'll come away with something.
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Old 12-05-2012, 04:36 PM   #68
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I just installed a 200 watt setup from AM Solar are am loving it. Their kit provided everything I needed to install myself, and I was able to do it in two afternoons while on the road. Price was $1400 for a beefy 200 watt system with monitor. Another $900 if you want it installed. The VHB tape had me a little nervous, but appears solid and made the install so much easier.

Boondocked for the last two weeks and had to pull out the generator twice. Though that is because we are full-timing and are heavy computer users. The laptops pull down ~4-5 amps while charging. Charge two laptops twice a day and that is ~60-80 amp hours. We are stationary in Desert Hot Springs for the next week or more, and AM Solar has a sale with free shipping, so I will order another 100 watt panel possibly two.

Attached is the diagram AM Solar sent me, showing how the system should be wired.
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Old 12-06-2012, 04:24 AM   #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crispyboy View Post
A question for BARTS or those that have installed a solar system.
What components did you actually install?
Could you make a simple linear schematic of what and the order in which it was installed for other DIY'rs?
For example Solar panel_____??ga wire______component______?? ga wire____ etc......
I installed the kit as provided by AM Solar. This involved as best I can remember:
  1. connecting and properly sealing the 10 Ga wires to the panels
  2. choosing the panel location on the trailer
  3. mounting the connector box underneath one of the panels.
  4. running 8 GA wire from the connector box down the refrigerator vent.
  5. cleaning the mount locations for the panels, and applying the VHB brackets.
  6. mounting the controller inside the trailer
  7. running the 8GA wire from the refrigerator vent to the controller
  8. running 8GA wire (and sensing wire IIRC) to the battery box.
  9. connecting and mounting the panels.
Not particularly difficult - you just need to follow directions and do neat works. I switched from crimp on to bolt on lugs at the battery box connection, but that's just me doing overkill. Components from AM Solar were top rate.

- Bart
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Old 12-06-2012, 06:18 AM   #70
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Thanks guys, this clears it up quite a bit for me.
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