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Old 09-04-2004, 10:46 AM   #1
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Solar

In researching solar, I stumbled upon some information that I would like to confirm.

(1) are one manufacturer's panels able to collect oblique light better another manufacturer? One RV Solar company that's been in the business for 25 years said that for a stationary panel on top of an Airstream trailer, Kyocera panels are better than Siemens because Kyocera can better collect sunlight when the sun is 30-40 degrees off true vertical. I don't believe he is trying to sell Kyocera panels because he sells both Kyocera and Siemens.

(2) are there specific distances that panels should be mounted? Like 2 inches off the roof surface (for good cooling), 1.5 feet from an air conditioner, and 4 feet from a TV antenna?

Thanks for your help,
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Old 09-05-2004, 08:59 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neil.ervin
In researching solar, I stumbled upon some information that I would like to confirm.

(1) are one manufacturer's panels able to collect oblique light better another manufacturer? One RV Solar company that's been in the business for 25 years said that for a stationary panel on top of an Airstream trailer, Kyocera panels are better than Siemens because Kyocera can better collect sunlight when the sun is 30-40 degrees off true vertical. I don't believe he is trying to sell Kyocera panels because he sells both Kyocera and Siemens.

(2) are there specific distances that panels should be mounted? Like 2 inches off the roof surface (for good cooling), 1.5 feet from an air conditioner, and 4 feet from a TV antenna?

Thanks for your help,


After a day or so, I see no responses to your post so here goes... Call this a "courtesy post" since it does not specifically address the technical aspects you mention.

I installed solar on our 22' CCD earlier this summer. We are using a 75W Shell panel. Frankly, I can't address the technical aspects of your post except to say that it is a very neat setup. It produces current on cloudy gray days. Our battery is seemingly always charged now... The regulator tells me the exact state of my battery on a digital readout.

Our solar is installed a few inches from our TV antenna base and I have noticed no change when the antenna is up or down. I imagine an antenna shadow would affect how well the panel does but I can't discern any difference when it is either up or down. I doubt television is a big deal to many boondockers, as it is not to us - so the antenna issue may not be a big concern.

Yes, the panels do lose efficiency when heated so cooling is a concern - there has been mention of flexible "stick-on" panels and the point has been discussed on this forum. Our setup has good ventilation underneath. But, if you are running your AC (assuming you mention it because of AC heat output affecting the panel) you are probably on a genset or shoreline so solar is a moot point. If you mention it because of an AC shadow, I suppose, again, that there is some affect but it is of little concern to us - I had not thought of it until now. I use our solar system as a boondocking tool where concern over electrical consumption (among everything else) is important or simply as a battery charger (when the coach is not in use) where total solar output is not a big deal.

I have been able to run at least one of my Fantastic Fans (have not run both), the stereo, and intermittent water pump and the solar "keeps up" mid-day. Frankly, I am thrilled with the setup so far.

One other point regarding our installation; with a 22' CCD, the luxury of "roof space" does not exist. I put my panel where it would fit. There were no choices. Shadow or not, that is where it had to go.

I must admit, too, that there is a place for a good genset setup for many folks. Many simply cannot live on solar alone given the strict usage concerns. We are not among that group but I see the merits in having a generator for times when it is rainy or one is active into the wee hours of the night. Once I solve the generator and gasoline storage issue, I will probably get one.

If you are interested, here's the link to my original solar install post on the forum >> Click here

I hope I helped you out.
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Old 09-05-2004, 09:59 AM   #3
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XRay,

Thanks. I enjoyed reading about your install. You might want to research using silicone as a sealant on an airstream. I've read that it is not the recommended sealant.

I seem to keep getting a 50/50 split on solar (recommend/do not recommend). Yesterday I talked to an RV dealer that sells a lot of solar, tho he says that will have many component problems in the future, tho not the main panel.

Thanks again.
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Old 09-05-2004, 11:03 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by neil.ervin
XRay,

Thanks. I enjoyed reading about your install. You might want to research using silicone as a sealant on an airstream. I've read that it is not the recommended sealant.

I seem to keep getting a 50/50 split on solar (recommend/do not recommend). Yesterday I talked to an RV dealer that sells a lot of solar, tho he says that will have many component problems in the future, tho not the main panel.

Thanks again.
Neil,

Yep, correction noted on the silicone. Depends on the formulation, I've surmised. My todo list includes redoing the seal, however, and I have the formulation.

Good luck on your quest.

BR,
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Old 09-05-2004, 11:33 AM   #5
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What is the proper silicone product to use?

I read Xray's solar installation. Looks like what I need. I have a 64 Safari, one stock battery, I want to keep it charged in forest while boondocking. Will this unit charge single battery or are multiple storage batteries required.

I have no preexisting wiring. Any ideas how to run required wiring to roof?

Walter
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Old 09-05-2004, 01:26 PM   #6
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What is the proper silicone product to use?

I read Xray's solar installation. Looks like what I need. I have a 64 Safari, one stock battery, I want to keep it charged in forest while boondocking. Will this unit charge single battery or are multiple storage batteries required.

I have no preexisting wiring. Any ideas how to run required wiring to roof?

Walter
I've seen many posts strongly recommending against using silicone on airstreams. Use Vulkem and Parbond. I think Parbond is for small seals and Vulkem for large. And more recently there have been posts about Airstream having switched to a different sealer, replacing Vulkem I think.
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Old 09-05-2004, 01:27 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by walter1
What is the proper silicone product to use?

I read Xray's solar installation. Looks like what I need. I have a 64 Safari, one stock battery, I want to keep it charged in forest while boondocking. Will this unit charge single battery or are multiple storage batteries required.

I have no preexisting wiring. Any ideas how to run required wiring to roof?

Walter
Walter,

The recommended sealer is Vulkem or Parr's Parbond. They can be ordered from Airstream Dreams. Silicone is not recommended in most instances (formulations vary) due to possible reactions with aluminum...

My coach has a single battery and the system works perfectly.

Insofar as running wires is concerned, there are several ways as described on the installation instructions that came with my solar system including running the cable down along the inside of the refrigerator vent. That seems the most logical to me. My coach was pre-wired so I did not have that consideration. The solar package includes everything you need except an inline 10A fuse.

Good luck!

Best regards,
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