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Old 12-04-2010, 07:09 PM   #15
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That is almost exactly what I would have done in your situation. I think the only thing I might have done differently was to have the feet attach to the AS roof bent in under the panel instead of facing out - not because it looks tidier but because it puts the tape mounts in a UV-protected location that is a little more thermally stable over time.

Excellent job. I am jealous!
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Old 12-04-2010, 09:13 PM   #16
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Additional pics of the final installation. The last pic shows the amperage generated by the two panels on a very hazy day (not too shabby).
MM,

If you have used VHB tape, you should also seal all around the edge of the foot of the L-bracket with either Dicor or Sika-Flex to prevent any water from getting blasted under the foot and lifting the tape. The sealant application will prevent this from happening and allow the VHB to do it's job.
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Old 12-04-2010, 09:33 PM   #17
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Thanks Lew!!! That's REALLY good to know. The guys on the phone didn't say anything about using dicor or silkaflex.
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Old 12-05-2010, 12:34 AM   #18
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MMT controller

Hey Mike-
If you do the both the controller and remote readout, I think it was $500, but may have been $350. Check it out at bluesky.com Their tech support is really good. If you do it, it's really important that you follow instructions to ground everything in the coach to their very simple shunt. Our Airstream tech resisted doing this until other techs persuaded him to try it. Once he did, worked like a charm. Follow directions! The manual that comes with the device is very detailed, but the only thing you need to program is the size of your battery bank, and everything else follows.

It provides three levels of charging, depending upon battery charge--the third level us a trickle charge, do it also protects the battery. It was recommended to me by the battery manufacturer, Lifetime.

Readout gives you voltage from panels as well as at battery. The MMT boosts voltage from panels to battery. You also get amp hours to empty and percentage. The system "learns" and becomes more accurate as it"watches" your use patterns over time.
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Old 12-05-2010, 09:22 AM   #19
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Thanks Lew!!! That's REALLY good to know. The guys on the phone didn't say anything about using dicor or silkaflex.
YOU JUST CAN'T REVEAL ALL OF YOUR TRADE SECRETS NOW.........CAN YOU??????????
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Old 12-05-2010, 02:43 PM   #20
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How strong is the bond with VHB double sided tape?

Dennis
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Old 12-05-2010, 03:12 PM   #21
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Great work Mike.. really looks professional!

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Old 12-05-2010, 03:46 PM   #22
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How strong is the bond with VHB double sided tape?

Dennis
Hi Dennis,
My experience with this special tape is limited but it was VERY strong after I applied it. I tried pulling on each bracket an hour after installing the panels and they wouldn't budge. Lewister can give you a professional opinion on the VHB tape since he installs solar systems for a living and works directly with AM Solar where I bought the tape and wiring.

Lew?
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Old 12-05-2010, 03:55 PM   #23
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How strong is the bond with VHB double sided tape?

Dennis
The maximum strength of VHB tape is in the shear direction......which is the horizontal when installing solar panels with it. It is very difficult (but they will come off) to lift at 90* to the installation (pulling up on the bracket) but it is next to impossible to move in the horizontal plane (trying to move the panel back or forward once attached. The 4 panels on the roof of my service van have been there for 4 years and almost 90,000 miles and I've never touched them after initial installation.

It is critical that you do the proper preparation before attaching anything with VHB tape, for even the slightest bit if grease, oil or impurity on the roof can eventually break the bond with the surface.

Clean, clean and clean again! I use several products including surface degreasers and a specialty window cleaner before I thoroughly clean the surface with rubbing alcohol 3 times before I apply the mounting feet. YMMV!
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Old 12-06-2010, 12:25 PM   #24
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I avoided recharging my batteries for a while, so that when I wired up my solar panels late Saturday afternoon, the batteries were down to 12.0 volts after running the fans all day.

When I entered the Sovereign at 9:45am Sunday morning the batteries were already charged up to 13.0 volts, and this on a partly cloudy day!!!!! Whoa!!! I didn't expect to see that, at least not that quick. Now that reflected a surface charge on the batteries to some degree, of course, but I have to say I'm very impressed with the setup so far.
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Old 12-06-2010, 12:30 PM   #25
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Mike It sounds fantastic. I'm quite interested in a set up lke that. I have looked at AM solar's website. One quick question. Mucho Dineros?
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Old 12-06-2010, 12:45 PM   #26
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Mike It sounds fantastic. I'm quite interested in a set up lke that. I have looked at AM solar's website. One quick question. Mucho Dineros?
$600 for everything, including shipping. I bought the solar panels and solar regulator from SolarBlvd.com and the wiring, brackets, and combiner box from AM Solar. It really pays to shop around for the best deals. You can really save if you do this and install the system yourself.
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Old 12-06-2010, 01:08 PM   #27
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Thanks Mike I will have to remember solarblvd.com. Iwas browsing AMsolar and it looked like $1800 for a whole package. That's a big difference.
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Old 12-06-2010, 02:40 PM   #28
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I'd be curious about the price too....
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