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Old 04-08-2011, 03:51 PM   #99
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I just got off the phone with Roger Carrol from AMsolar. He assured me he knew very little about airstreams. He advised that i should call my airstream dealer or camping world. I do not know how much you spent on this install but I found AM to be a waste of time.
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Old 04-08-2011, 04:05 PM   #100
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Hello LRPorter.

What were you asking of AM Solar? Maybe I can help(?)

Roger at AM Solar was quite helpful in answering my questions and he told me they have installed systems on many Airstreams. Lewster was also very helpful in answering specific questions I had.

Many of the issues around an install of this sort are not specific to Airstreams anyway.

-evan
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Old 04-08-2011, 05:37 PM   #101
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Originally Posted by LRPorter View Post
I just got off the phone with Roger Carrol from AMsolar. He assured me he knew very little about airstreams. He advised that i should call my airstream dealer or camping world. I do not know how much you spent on this install but I found AM to be a waste of time.
I repeat the reply that I posted in another thread.............................

Exactly what type of information are you seeking, that you felt that AM Solar was a 'waste of time'. The folks at AM Solar are among the friendliest, most knowledgeable in the RV solar industry! I have done more that a few installations of AM Solar equipment on Airstreams and find that their systems are the best for RV use.

If you are looking for very specific, highly detailed instructions for installation, you will not find this from ANYONE.........including most if not all Airstream dealers. You need to find an installer who has the experience that you seek. If you are a DIY type of guy, you should be very adept at pulling wire and very comfortable with DC circuits.
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Old 04-10-2011, 12:57 PM   #102
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I will second what Lew says in his last paragraph.

Most additions or restorations require either that you find out what you can, plan carefully and then work it out as you get into the project as you come to things you didn't anticipate. No instructions are complete enough (though Evan certainly did as good or better a job as anyone in explaining what he did) and you just have to figure out things. If you have no experience in this type of thing, you either dive in and learn or hire someone.

DIY means mistakes and covering them up so no one knows you blew it and then learning from mistakes. Planning is essential. Asking questions is very important.

Gene
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Old 04-11-2011, 10:49 AM   #103
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Apparently your experience ws different from mine. I have a trailer and wanted to purchase a system. I seem to have tramped on some toes. Bill Gates was very polite when he started. If comercial members want to run ads they should run ads and not have a shill for them. Just pay your dues.
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Old 04-11-2011, 10:51 AM   #104
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If you want to continue to lobby for your buddies then pay for an ad!
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Old 04-11-2011, 11:41 AM   #105
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Apparently your experience ws different from mine. I have a trailer and wanted to purchase a system. I seem to have tramped on some toes. Bill Gates was very polite when he started. If comercial members want to run ads they should run ads and not have a shill for them. Just pay your dues.
Excuse me, but I am not aware of anyone working for AM Solar, either overtly or covertly. I am not their apologist nor, do I suspect, any of their other customers posting here to be.

You didn't actually tell us what your questions or issues were that AM Solar failed to address...

I'm sorry that your telephone experience with AM Solar was negative. I found them to be very helpful in explaining what kits they offered. They did not however offer to hold my hand while I worked out the actual installation details. They were very efficient in getting the appropriate & excellent quality materials into my hands. Their prices and the quality of what products they offered were significantly better than what I could procure from my local RV dealers.

Your negative experience is regrettable, but I do not think it is fair to accuse other happy customers of being their 'shills'.

You could drive your unit to Oregon to have it installed if you lack the confidence to tackle the job yourself or have them ship the materials to a local installer of your choice. On the other hand, it sounds like you might be better off finding another vendor.

-evan
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Old 04-11-2011, 11:56 AM   #106
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This is NOT a question of 'lobbying for our buddies'. Rather, it involves true experiences that many here have had with AM Solar and Roger Carroll in particular.

AM Solar (as ANY professional in the solar field would) asks a lot of questions so they can design a system specifically for your requirements and the type and duration of use that a client will be giving the system. I have a list of 20-30 questions that I NEED answered before I can provide intelligent advice on the size and number of panels that are needed, a survey of the amount of amp/watt draw that you will be using from the batteries, size and type of the battery bank and other very specific questions, not to mention the layout of your roof and how much available real estate is available for the solar array.

THERE IS NO 'ONE SIZE FITS ALL' SOLUTION TO WHAT YOU SEEK, NOR ARE THERE ANY GENERAL APPLICATION KITS AVAILABLE FROM AM SOLAR!

Further, AM Solar does NOT keep specific floor plans or roof layouts for the many configurations of Airstreams available and needs this information to conduct an intelligent conversation with a prospective client.

If you are (were) not willing to provide this detailed information to AM Solar (as you obviously were not), then perhaps you SHOULD just go out and buy that generator that you mentioned to Roger during your phone call!

NOTE* this post is being provided to the general AIRFORUMS membership as a counterpoint to a member's perceived 'waste of time' during his discussions with AM Solar and contains factual information from AM Solar pertaining to those discussions.
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Old 04-11-2011, 02:23 PM   #107
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Wow - lots of details in the sauce

A hearty second to Lew's comments. The issues with roof mounting are multifaceted:
- how many batteries (and what type) are you expecting to use?
- what type of batteries do you want, and what is the proper match of panel voltage and current to their charge curves?
- where will you mount those batteries, and depending upon type, what access will you want/need to them to check water level, etc.?
- how much do you care about temperature compensation and the potential lack thereof on your battery life?
- what sort of amp-hour budget do you have?
- how sunny are the climates in which you expect to camp?
- do you want tilting panels or is "flat-mount" good enough for your purposes?
- given your amp-hour budgeting, how large sized panels do you need / want?
- what is your roof configuration, for purposes of panel mounting, shadows from roof vents, air conditioner, antenna(s), wire run length, wire penetration points, etc.?
- where will you want to locate your charge controller, control panel, etc?
- how much voltage drop are you willing to tolerate, and are you willing to pay for better infrastructure such as larger wire gauge?

All of these, plus a lot of other factors need to be taken into account before you can spec. a complete system.

I have an AM Solar system in my trailer and am very happy with it ... but before I called anyone, I developed basic answers to these and some of the other questions. AM Solar, as I understand it, is not a developer of specific systems for specific trailers. They sell components that one can use to develop one's own system, or which you can have spec'd and installed by a competent RV tech. In my case, Lew did my install, but only after we worked out all of the myriad little details ... and then he had to use his own judgment and experience to make some modifications to what I wanted, on the fly.

It's a complicated business, seldom is "one size fits all," and is one in which the parts supplier is usually not in the business of designing packages specific to a particular RV, but which (at least in the case of AM Solar), has a lot of experience is getting components that work well together.

Sorry if you didn't get what you think you deserved from AM Solar, but in my experience, their stuff does a great job. I have NO affiliation with them except for being a totally happy customer! Good luck with your system,
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Old 04-12-2011, 09:55 AM   #108
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I called AM Solar yesterday and they could not have been more helpful. Deborah, the lady I spoke to, even volunteered to have a tech come in from the shop and talk to me about specific questions I had about installing my system ON AN AIRSTREAM (I declined at this time). Deborah said that they do a lot of Airstreams and was familiar with some of their quirks. She could not in any way have been more helpful. We got into a detailed discussion about exactly what I expected out of my system, under what conditions I would be using it etc. and then recommended the equipment and put together a package for me. I also thought it was great that she didn't try to "upsell" me into more system than I need.

No they don't have step by step plans for particular trailers (there are basically several threads with those on here) but they seem to be a fountain of knowledge about installing solar systems. There are too may variances between trailers, even within brands, years etc. (whether SOBs or Airstreams for that matter) for them to develop instructions for each one. Understanding how the systems work, what size system you need and what equipment you need is what they can help you with. The rest is up to you, and most of that can be learned right here on the forums. Lots of folks are more than willing to help.

She even sent me pdf files of the manuals for the equipment that I am thinking about using, in order that I may familiarize myself with it.
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Old 05-02-2011, 11:28 PM   #109
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Just an update to my previous post. Today I ordered a setup from AM Solar. I have called them several times over the past weeks and they have been more than helpful and patient with my questions.

When I ordered today, I spoke to Dave, who could not have been more helpful. I went with the Morningstar Sunsaver 15 MPPT over the HPV 22B so that I could use the remote control head. It has a lower capacity than the HPV, but Dave assured me that it will be fine with my setup (1 - 100W and 1 -50 for now), he feels that I could add another 100W later if need be, although this initial setup will likely serve my needs (no TV, no heavy duty inverter, some furnace use, mostly: pump, lights, radio and parasitic lights).

I will mount the controller under the front couch by the IOTA and feed the wire up to the overhead cabinet. The cabinet has "blanks" on each end, I removed one and could see that there will be plenty of room to mount the remote head unit. I am also thinking about installing a Trimetric or Xantrex Link battery monitor up there too. I had a Trimetric in my SOB and found it to be very handy / informative and I think it would complement the SunSaver Plus I may upgrade the Audiovox stereo to an Alpine or such, with upgraded speakers, while things are apart.

I know some folks hook into the buss, but Dave discouraged this and recommended running the wires out to the batteries (two 6V Trojans). I will also install the temp sensor.

I plan on running the wire down the fridge vent as that location will work for me. I think drill the rivets out and reinstalling will likely be one of the biggest pains of this job. Hopefully not too bad. The other will be feeding the wires out to the batteries.

I look forward to not running the generator as I quite often feel that it bugs other folks (is a quiet Yamaha). We camp in the woods with tent campers next to us a good bit. With the panels, we should run it at most only for a few minutes when we need the microwave, and we don't really need that. But I plan on taking it for backup on cloudy days, and times with high tree cover.

The equipment will arrive next Monday and i look forward to getting started on it. Don't know if I will have enough weeknight time next week to finish before we leave for Rocky Gap SP on the 13th. Hopefully I will have it all ready by our Memorial Day trip to Cunningham Falls. Both trips (as are most of ours) will be without hookups. Thanks for all of the great info in this thread!
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Old 05-03-2011, 04:57 AM   #110
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The equipment will arrive next Monday and i look forward to getting started on it.
Thanks for the excellent write-up. We'd love to see some photos of the package from AM Solar and more photos of your installation. A solar setup is on my list for 2012.
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Old 05-03-2011, 08:05 AM   #111
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Tin:

I hope to do just that, once I get it installed. Might be a few weeks before I can get it all wrapped up (depending on the weather, all it seems to do around here these days is rain!).
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Honda EU2000i, Equalizer Hitch
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TAC MD-6
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Old 05-03-2011, 10:15 AM   #112
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Evan,

Thanks great thread! It has given me ideas for a future solar installation
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