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Old 05-30-2013, 11:50 PM   #1
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Post rooftop solar pictures?

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!
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Old 05-31-2013, 12:15 AM   #2
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Here's my solar install Solar Airstream | Traveling with the Silver Bullet
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Old 05-31-2013, 12:17 AM   #3
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And ours..

Going Solar | WatsonsWander - Exploring and working fulltime from our Airstream
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Old 05-31-2013, 01:20 AM   #4
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Argosy solar rooftop

Here is a photo of the panels on my Argosy 20' rooftop. The curved ones on the left are old Solerex panels on flexible aluminum backing. Have not been made in many years. The rectangular one on the right side was one that was given to me, maybe 40 watts. They were just ones I had laying around from old solar projects from the 90's so I put them to use. They work very well for 20 year old panels.
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Old 05-31-2013, 01:47 AM   #5
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Post rooftop solar pictures?

I don't have any rooftop photos, but I do have a few that illustrate what you can see of the three solar panels on my 1964 Overlander Land Yacht International when viewed from the ground. The photo below illustrates the two panels that are installed along the streetside roof panel:



The photo below illustrates the appearance of the single panel mounted on the curbside roof panel:



The photos are of the same Overlander . . . the top photo was taken after its trip to P and S Trailer Service for exterior restoration . . . and the lower photo was taken just before its trip to P and S . . . I was and still am very pleased with the results as it looks just like it did when I first saw it in 1964.

The photo below is of one of the three Concorde Sun X-Tender AGM batteries that the three solar panels support:



These batteries have had a remarkable life and seem to be ready for another season. I would have to check my records, but I believe that A J Solar installed my system . . . they were one of the regular vendors at the WBCCI International Rally for a number of years. The system also includes a digital controller as well as a heavy duty Inverter/charger to provide 120-Volt AC when off-grid (usually minimal use other than for laptop/camera battery chargers and my television).

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Old 05-31-2013, 04:32 PM   #6
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solar installs

Thank you. I dont think those "mess up" the roof lines, at least not enough to make it not worth it to do. I especially like the curved ones, of course, and they all look good. I love going green and especially the quiet.

So am I to understand that there is a monitor of some kind that is installed inside the trailer, and is located in between the panels and the battery? Is the solar battery one that is separate from the regular ones everyone puts in?

Im sorry if this has been asked and answered...Ive searched the forums and can't find a simple answer, they are of course, specific answers to specific questions.

We are a looong way away from doing this, getting our shell back on will take plenty of time. I just need a very general idea. Keep those pictures coming.
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Old 05-31-2013, 04:43 PM   #7
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Same batteries as you have now.

A solar controller goes between the panels and batteries. This works like your converter. Converting the volts/amps from the panel to match what your batteries need to charge.

A solar controller may have a monitor attached to it, or like our it is separate. This just tells you what is going on with the system. Different controllers and price levels will tell you record different readings. Our basically tells battery voltage, battery %, incoming amps, +/- amps (How many amps are currently being stored into our pulled out from batteries). Battery amps requires a shunt across the negative side.

Here is a good diagram AM Solar sent me.

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Old 05-31-2013, 04:56 PM   #8
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Post rooftop solar pictures?

Greetings pinkflamingoes!

Quote:
Originally Posted by pinkflamingoes View Post
So am I to understand that there is a monitor of some kind that is installed inside the trailer, and is located in between the panels and the battery? Is the solar battery one that is separate from the regular ones everyone puts in?
Yes, there is a "Charge Controller" (keeps the batteries from being overcharged) as well as a "Monitor Panel" (usually gives charge rate as well as percentage of charge). The type and complexity of both the charge controller and monitor panel vary by the individual installation.

The battery or batteries in a solar installation replace and/or add to the existing batteries. The type of battery doesn't have to be different from those utilized in the standard Airstream system, but most do upgrade to higher capacity batteries that often have a greater life-span such as AGM or similar technologies. The one issue to keep in mind is that if your current power converter isn't of the modern three-stage variety, the power converter can still boil the electrolyte and cause problems when connected to shore power (one of the reasons that I upgraded to the Inverter/Charger when I added the solar system was that I didn't trust the old Univolt).

Good luck with your investigation!

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Old 05-31-2013, 08:08 PM   #9
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Thank you! I'm not going to be installing but I love knowing the basics. They are usually much more simple than I anticipate. Taking a look at the drawing now.

Wondering...how big of a pain is it to drag out stand-alone panels if we go that route? I already know I would be the one doing it....
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Old 06-01-2013, 10:52 AM   #10
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The stand alone panels I think is the way that I will go. I have a van so I think storing them in the back will work out ok.

1. Really don't like parking in the sun. That is why God made trees, for me to park under.
2. Panels will be multi-purpose, which will work out for me.
3. As for someone stealing them, I take reasonable precautions, am not beyond violence, and will not live in fear.
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Old 06-01-2013, 04:51 PM   #11
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Oh, parking in the sun. I forgot about that. Good point.
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Old 08-20-2013, 02:04 PM   #12
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when you get out west your trailer is taller than most trees.. so parking in the sun is not a problem.

most solar panels are some 30ish pounds it seems.. that a bunch to be hauling out of van to set up.. not that is not a good idea especially when you can park in shade and have panels in sun.. have you checked out rvsueandcrew.net..?? she has a panel and batteries in the van and uses a bit of cord to connect to trailer. seem to work for her so far.


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Oh, parking in the sun. I forgot about that. Good point.
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Old 08-20-2013, 02:11 PM   #13
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If you're going to use free-standing panels, you might make frames for them (one per panel), and mount some small trolley wheels to the bottom edges of the frames, so you can roll them around like luggage. So much easier than carrying them.

Should be able to make lightweight frames out of conduit. The axle for the trolley wheels can go through the conduit at the bottom.

And even better, frames made of conduit give you convenient handles for lifting them in and out of your vehicle without ever having to touch the glass.
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Old 08-20-2013, 02:15 PM   #14
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These came installed with our trailer when we purchased it. Still trying to figure out what's the wattage, but they do deliver a healthy charge.
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