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Old 04-10-2007, 09:57 PM   #1
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Solar panel position - pictures?

Anyone with a 25-27' standard body Airstream have pictures of their solar panel mounting positions. I had plans for two 100 watt BP panels or four 65 watt BP panels to be mounted on either side of the front and/or rear Fantastic Vent fans and stretching toward the center of the trailer. The company I am talking to initially apparently is not keen on mounting that far from centerline of the trailer due to the skin radius. That does not leave me much in the way of wattage with only a 36" long panel mounted centerline between AC and front Fantastic Vent fan. I may only have space for a 32" long panel from rear Fantastic Vent fan and the batwing antenna support which would also require me to raise my antenna up to utilize the panel.

Surely a 21" wide panel should be able to be mounted on this radius whether the panel is 48-56" long or not. I'd love a few pictures. I want BP panels due to their high voltage output and am not considering other brands.
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Old 04-10-2007, 10:09 PM   #2
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I have always used Big Foot brackets from RV Solar Electric, and have always mounted the panels on the centerline, sizing the panels to fill the available space.

Brett

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'89 29' Classic before
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Old 04-10-2007, 11:15 PM   #3
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I had AM Solar use their narrower, 100w panels on our 34'. We have four on now and there's room for two more. I know you want the BP's, but with the AM Solar panels, I'll bet there would be room for four on your 25'.

If you click on my shinytrailer.com link, you can click on the 34' installation thumbnail on the GALLERY page and check it out.

Craig
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Old 04-11-2007, 02:37 AM   #4
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Here are pictures of two 130 watt Kyocera panels and the charge controller near the sofa that I installed on our 2005 25' CCD. It was tight but it fit. One of the issues I had to deal with was adjusting the support brackets for the curve of the roof and spacing the outside edge of the panels up so that the junction boxes underneath didn't contact the roof. Let me know, I might have a brief article and supporting pictures on the solar installtion that I could upload.
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Old 04-11-2007, 07:55 AM   #5
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Don, I'd like to add two panels to my 25'Classic. The articles and pictures would be a great help.Please download.
Thanks
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Old 04-11-2007, 10:33 AM   #6
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Hi Motoman,

I'd be very interested in seeing the details of your installation if you don't mind! I'm ready for solar and it would help eliminate some trial and error.

Thanks,

Erik
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Old 04-11-2007, 11:20 AM   #7
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How much?

Quote:
Originally Posted by audiobox
I had AM Solar use their narrower, 100w panels on our 34'. We have four on now and there's room for two more. I know you want the BP's, but with the AM Solar panels, I'll bet there would be room for four on your 25'.

If you click on my shinytrailer.com link, you can click on the 34' installation thumbnail on the GALLERY page and check it out.

Craig
Craig...what is the expected cost of such an installation? I could probably run the wiring and complete the mounting on roof but was curious about how much the panels, control center, batteries, etc cost.

Mitch
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Old 04-11-2007, 06:01 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audiobox
I had AM Solar use their narrower, 100w panels on our 34'. We have four on now and there's room for two more. I know you want the BP's, but with the AM Solar panels, I'll bet there would be room for four on your 25'.

If you click on my shinytrailer.com link, you can click on the 34' installation thumbnail on the GALLERY page and check it out.

Craig
Craig,
Actually, the AM100 panels are made by BP Solar for AMSolar. I do not want to eliminate my batwing antenna behind the AC otherwize this would be the perfect place to mount two AM100 panels right next to each other. Since the antenna support is only 6" wide (3" each side of centerline of the trailer), I don't see what the problem would be to mount each AM100 panel on either side of the antenna support. I had also planned on using tilt bars on the outside edge foots to raise the panel to level or higher if I needed to.

Mitch, go to Welcome to AM Solar - Your RV Solar Specialists since 1987 and click on products. Click on the Sunrunner 100 system and you will see that a one panel AM100 system with all wiring, mounts, control charger and combiner box runs $939. Tilt bars are extra as are the 3M mounting tapes. It is a great system but it seems that I must be having a communication problem regarding my question to AMSolar about where to mount the panels.
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Old 04-11-2007, 06:19 PM   #9
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picture of a Kyocera 120 watt panel

Here is a picture of a Kyocera 120 watt panel on a 25' Excella.


Quote:
Originally Posted by davidz71
Anyone with a 25-27' standard body Airstream have pictures of their solar panel mounting positions.
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Old 04-11-2007, 10:16 PM   #10
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I appreciate those pictures. Since the AM100 panels are only 21" wide then I don't see why I can't mount them where I had planned to put them. It may be that I will not be able to use tilt bars but if I initially mount 2 panels behind the A/C with 6" space between them and then add additional panels next year to the front area. I really need to change over to a 2 battery system at the same time because I need the ability to run the 2 Fantastic fans much of the day and sometimes one during the night.
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Old 04-11-2007, 11:09 PM   #11
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Motoman - Great shots!

Thanks I am trying to find space on my 19' Bambi to put in a 65 watt Kyocera panel.

Did you do anything special to attached the mounts to the roof panels? Or did you just screw them to the roof?

Thanks in advance.

JDL


Quote:
Originally Posted by Motoman
Here are pictures of two 130 watt Kyocera panels and the charge controller near the sofa that I installed on our 2005 25' CCD. It was tight but it fit. One of the issues I had to deal with was adjusting the support brackets for the curve of the roof and spacing the outside edge of the panels up so that the junction boxes underneath didn't contact the roof. Let me know, I might have a brief article and supporting pictures on the solar installtion that I could upload.
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Old 04-13-2007, 01:22 AM   #12
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Here are two links to articles on installing two 130 watt Kyocera panels on our 2005 25' CCD; http://sierranevadaairstreams.org/sn...snu-nwsltr.pdf and http://sierranevadaairstreams.org/ow...uvt/index.html . The first is to my article in the April 2007 Sierra Nevada Unit newsletter, found on page 6 with pictures on page 7. The second link is to a "DRAFT" unabridged version that is not complete. The DRAFT includes detailed comments about our installtion with the pictures so be sure to click the link for the step by step photo gallery.

One unique feature of our installation is the use of a maximum power point tracking (MPPT) charge controller with the solar or photo-voltaic (PV) panels wired in series, i.e. 24 volts. The MPPT technology can efficiently transform a higher voltage DC supply from the photo-voltaic panels to a lower voltage battery bank with very little loss of efficiency. The two key features of the MPPT controller are 1) the controllers ability to maintain the primary voltage from the PV panels at a level that maximizes total power output and 2) the use of a high speed switching network with a large inductor to transform the higher voltage down to that of the battery bank while power output is maintained.

While it is becoming more common to use a MPPT charge controller with photo-voltaic panels wired in series for home and commercial installtions I had not heard of anyone doing it with an RV or travel trailer. The advantage is that a smaller wire can be used on the primary side, often a long distance from the battery bank or inverters for residential and commercial installtions, with out excessive voltage drop in the wire. In these installations primary wiring can cost several thousand dollars.

A similar advantage exists for higher wattage solar installations in Airstream trailers. The 10 gauge wire pre-wired in the chassis by Airstream is adequate for 100 watts at 12 volts but undersized when power output is increased, in our case up to a maximum of 260 watts. I chose to use the MPPT controller to my advantage and not replace the wires installed by Airstream.

Read the articles and give me your comments and constructive criticism. I'll try to use it to improve the final article.
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Old 04-13-2007, 01:29 AM   #13
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JDL, the solar system kit came with all mounts and hardware to install the panels on the roof; expanding anchor bolts and stainless steel "Z" brackets. I did drill two new holes in each solar panel frame so that the mounts and anchor bolts were located at a point where the anchor bolt went through the outside skin and a rib. I did use the white leveling compound to further seal each hole and mount since we did experience a leak from panel mounting bolts on the first Airstream we owned, in that case our dealer did the installation prior to delivery.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JDL
Motoman - Great shots!

Thanks I am trying to find space on my 19' Bambi to put in a 65 watt Kyocera panel.

Did you do anything special to attached the mounts to the roof panels? Or did you just screw them to the roof?

Thanks in advance.

JDL
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Old 04-13-2007, 09:55 AM   #14
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Craig...what is the expected cost of such an installation? I could probably run the wiring and complete the mounting on roof but was curious about how much the panels, control center, batteries, etc cost.

Mitch
Sorry I'm late getting back to this thread, I think the reply auto-notify email must have hiccupped with the URL name change. Mitch, Davidz71 has pointed you to the pricing. The 3M mounting tape is great because you don't have to pierce your shell, which has an innate desire to spring a leak anyway. The slimmer, high output panels really help with the AS narrow roof and integrating the panels with one of Am Solar's MPPT solar charge controllers and the serious wiring they include makes for a great system. Like Davidz71, I want to routinely run Fantastic Fans all night (and day) off-grid, which is why I also opted for a companion multi-AGM battery system. When AMS installed the system, they used a simple shop vice to match the angle on the stainless steel foot mounts to the curve of the AS roof. It's easy (says the guy videotaping the guy actually doing it) and it will ensure a tight bond with the 3M tape (surface prep is key here).

Davidz71 states, "Since the antenna support is only 6" wide (3" each side of centerline of the trailer), I don't see what the problem would be to mount each AM100 panel on either side of the antenna support."

I would be concerned about the shadow from the antenna, which could put a major dent in the output of whichever front panel it's falling on. My wife and I don't care about having TV reception, so that was a painless decision for us.

"It is a great system but it seems that I must be having a communication problem regarding my question to AMSolar about where to mount the panels."

AM Solar is a small shop that does great work and when it gets into "the season," Dave, the head installer, has RV's parked up and down the street and sometimes Greg and Deb, the owners, are off conducting a seminar somewhere. These guys have been there, done that and literally, "written the book" on RV solar installation and are sometimes deep into multitask mode. I had to be persistent too, but it all worked out. Give 'em a call and see if you can talk to Greg or Dave. Dave did the both installations for us and would have the hands-on perspective about an AS set up.

Craig
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