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Old 08-20-2013, 04:36 PM   #15
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My Panels

I installed four panels this summer. Work great and don't advertise their presence on the roof. By the way the fourth is hidden by the air conditioner.
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Old 08-28-2013, 09:59 PM   #16
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BigAl,
What is the brand of the solar panels. I like the low profile.
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Old 08-28-2013, 11:05 PM   #17
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53 watt soalr panels factory-installed by Airstream!

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Originally Posted by pinkflamingoes View Post
I really want to install solar panels on the roof of our 67 TW trailer, but I like the original lines.. I would love some pictures of rooftop installations just to help decide. Solar is important to us, We want to be able to boondock and/or bug out when the California coast drowns in sea water. Some pictures of rooftop solar installs look pretty nice and flat, to me. Will you share your pictures?

We're also planning some kind of inside AC system, but that's another topic.

Any threads to point me to on rooftop installs would be great.

Thanks!
Two 53-watt Solar Panels installed by Airstream during the build of our trailer continue to provide all of the power that we need for at least 5 days of non-hook-up camping in California's deserts, mountains, and beaches!

More details, information on solar power, and photos are seen in the AirForums' thread, "Factory Installed Solar Charging System"
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Old 08-28-2013, 11:51 PM   #18
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More solar panel photos

Here is a photo of the two new 100 watt panels (Grape Solar, from Costco.com, $160 each delivered) that I put on my new 20 FC. I used a Blue sky MPPT charge controller. So far it has worked very well, keeping my batteries up to 80 to 90% charged according to my Tri-Metric battery monitor. Fall weather and less sun, plus more furnace use will tell a better story, and I still do need to change the batteries to Golf Cart types with more capacity.
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Old 08-29-2013, 11:49 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by BigAl View Post
I installed four panels this summer. Work great and don't advertise their presence on the roof. By the way the fourth is hidden by the air conditioner.
Hi Big Al,

I have a few questions.

Are These Unisolar panels?
How many volts (12 or24)?
How many watts total?
What did you use for and where is the combiner block?
WHat size wire from the roof to the controller?
What model and where is the controller located?
What type batteries do you have?
Any performance comments?

Thanks,

Brad
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Old 08-31-2013, 02:03 PM   #20
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Hey Brad,
Thanks for the interest. So many questions!
These are 68 watt Unisolar panels. They are hooked up in series which gives about 60 to 64 volt output. total output is theoretically 272 watts and about 4 amps(at 60volts)
I am using an Intronics mppt controller(made in USA)
I used 10 or 12 gauge wire(same as the leads on the panels). Since the voltage is high you can use thinner gauge wire.
From the controller to the batteries I used 6 gauge(the same as airstream used).
The controller is located under the gaucho in the front of the trailer.
I brought the wiring into the trailer through a strain relief fitting in the side of the fridge chimney. Then I fished it through all the factory installed wire chases that already were there. Installed a trimetric meter for monitoring.
System recharges my two 100 amphour batteries in three to four hours in moderate sun.
Nice thing with these panels is that they are quite shade tolerant.
there is no combiner block or box since I wired the panels in series.
Al
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Old 09-28-2013, 11:19 PM   #21
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Will It Fit?

I'd like to install solar panel(s) on my newly acquired '90 25' Excella. Many here have mentioned the 100 watt Grape Solar panel available at Costco for $140 and most mount two them. The only regret I ever see about solar is that they wish they had installed more watts - 300 seems like a good number.

Home Depot offers a 280 watt Grape Solar panel for $400 which is about the same per watt price but I would think installation would be simpler - if it fits. I've seen three of the 100 watt panels mounted and that seems to work. The one large panel is 39" x 77". Will that fit?

Thanks,
Poppy
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Old 09-29-2013, 12:19 AM   #22
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Poppy,
Cut out a sheet of paper the size you intend to use. Lay out on roof for placement....hope that helps... Mounts will vary but you will want to tie into rib locations for proper long term satisfaction...
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Old 09-29-2013, 12:19 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Birdmaestro View Post

Home Depot offers a 280 watt Grape Solar panel for $400 which is about the same per watt price but I would think installation would be simpler - if it fits. I've seen three of the 100 watt panels mounted and that seems to work. The one large panel is 39" x 77". Will that fit?

Thanks,
Poppy
I doubt that you can find the real estate for one big panel, but all you need to do is to cut a piece of cardboard to those dimensions and get your ladder out and see if you have any such space available. No one can tell you what your trailer roof will hold as there are too many variations in roof penetrations like A/C units, fans, vents and the like.
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Old 09-29-2013, 12:25 AM   #24
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Thanks for the input. I didn't realize there was so much variation.

Poppy
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Old 09-29-2013, 08:02 AM   #25
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Also keep in mind those larger panels most likely have a higher voltage. In this case the Grape Solar 280 is a 36 volt panel and you'd need a charge controller than can handle the high voltage.

I'm glad I found this thread. I was leaning toward the AM Solar GO100 for $199 when it appears the Grape Solar 100 is the EXACT same panel for $149. Output amps are the same, the dimensions are the same and it would accept AM Solars nice rocker feet.
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Old 09-29-2013, 10:08 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TinLoaf View Post
Also keep in mind those larger panels most likely have a higher voltage. In this case the Grape Solar 280 is a 36 volt panel and you'd need a charge controller than can handle the high voltage.

I'm glad I found this thread. I was leaning toward the AM Solar GO100 for $199 when it appears the Grape Solar 100 is the EXACT same panel for $149. Output amps are the same, the dimensions are the same and it would accept AM Solars nice rocker feet.
Although more expensive, you will find AM Solar's GS-100 panel more suited to the narrow spaces available on an Airstream's roof. I have installed this panel exclusively on the 10 Airsteam installations I have completed this summer.
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Old 09-29-2013, 11:06 AM   #27
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It also appears that Grape Solar's GS-100-S-TS is EXACTLY the same as AM Solar's GS-100. Same dimensions, same voltage, same efficiency. Here all this time I thought AM Solar was something special.
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Old 09-29-2013, 11:56 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by TinLoaf View Post
It also appears that Grape Solar's GS-100-S-TS is EXACTLY the same as AM Solar's GS-100. Same dimensions, same voltage, same efficiency. Here all this time I thought AM Solar was something special.
AM Solar is special. They have deep experience with Airstream installations and provide complete kits and great support from what I've read here. Solar panels themselves can't communicate all the little details that go along with an AS solar install or answer the phone when you have a question.

I haven't decided what solar system I'm going to install yet but I'm all for keeping local (local in the geographical and web community sense both) knowledgeable businesses in business. Never underestimate or undervalue product experience and customer support.

Getting off soapbox now.

Brad
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