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Old 08-23-2014, 09:44 AM   #43
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2011 23' Flying Cloud
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Solar on a FC 23FB - a progressive approach.
I recently added a third 85 w panel to our 2011 FC23FB. I began at purchase of our new unit with a dealer installation of separately purchased 85 w Kyocera panel and Blue Sky MPPT controller. I paid the dealer to install simply for expediency, and sized wiring and controller for expansion. I added a second 85 w panel a year later, removing the unused TV antenna for the space. I also switched to AGM batteries. AGM's are not absolutely necessary, but from years of experience on my sailboat, I find the benefits worth the cost. That setup served us well, but this current trip challenged the recharge capability with several nights of freezing temps and heavy furnace use in a shaded site at Newberry Natl Volcanic Monument. With Olympic NP and more shaded sites ahead, I ordered a third panel (Solartech - same specs as the Kyrocera) and did a driveway install at my son's house. The install took less than an hour, using MC4 branch connectors and VHB tape. The hardest part is setting up ladders to safely access the roof. The third panel went in front of the forward skylight vent. The three are all on centerline and as widely spaced as possible to alleviate the effects of partial shading. I considered, but did not opt for a portable panel as I don't want more portable gear to fuss with, and the fixed panels are working while we tow.

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Jamu Joe




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Old 08-23-2014, 10:37 AM   #44
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I'm following this pretty carefully. I am seriously thinking of adding one of the Zamp portable 200 watt packages to our 27FB. My thinking so far is that I don't want to mount panels to the roof because that kind of defines what kind of framework is going to be there and I think that there are going to be some major breakthroughs in solar PV technology within a relatively short time. I don't want to be stuck with rigid glass panels on my roof.

My questions about the Zamp setup is that I know from setting up 700 watts of solar on our catamaran that it's good to have the controllers close to the batteries, not close to the panels. Zamp hangs it on the panels. That makes it convenient, but then there's a long skinny wire run from the controller to the battery clips.

As for the security aspect of it, I was thinking of getting one of those motion sensor bike alarms and installing it on the solar panels. Touch them and the alarm goes off.
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Old 08-23-2014, 12:04 PM   #45
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Here is an example of 2-GS-100s and a GS-135 panel mounted on a 2012 23. Photo courtesy of AM Solar.
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Old 08-23-2014, 12:34 PM   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gringo View Post
I'm following this pretty carefully. I am seriously thinking of adding one of the Zamp portable 200 watt packages to our 27FB. My thinking so far is that I don't want to mount panels to the roof because that kind of defines what kind of framework is going to be there and I think that there are going to be some major breakthroughs in solar PV technology within a relatively short time. I don't want to be stuck with rigid glass panels on my roof.

My questions about the Zamp setup is that I know from setting up 700 watts of solar on our catamaran that it's good to have the controllers close to the batteries, not close to the panels. Zamp hangs it on the panels. That makes it convenient, but then there's a long skinny wire run from the controller to the battery clips.

As for the security aspect of it, I was thinking of getting one of those motion sensor bike alarms and installing it on the solar panels. Touch them and the alarm goes off.

Gringo, I too share your concern. I just bought a 160watt Zamp, but haven't done any testing yet. I do not like the 16 foot cord that comes with the units. There is a calculated 5% drop in current over that short 16' run.

Here are the mods I started with, may be more to come after I gather some numbers. I needed more than 16' to work with, as we camp in forests most of the time. So I purchased 50' of 6 awg marine duplex wire. At 50' with 6 awg I should be in the 3% - 5% drop range (depending which solar wire calculator you use). I made a fused pigtail out of 6AWG at the controller and used Anderson connectors for my extension, as well as on the original pigtail, as I may use it for other portable uses with the battery clips. On the AS, I also made a 6AWG pigtail with an Anderson connector in the streetside battery compartment.

I'll try this setup with the 50' cord and see how efficiency is affected. I think, if it becomes apparent that the controller needs to be in the AS, I will leave the ZAMP PWM controller on the panel and install an MPPT unit in the AS and have some sort of switching methodology at the panel to bypass the Zamp controller. I want to keep the controller on the panel for flexibility to use the panels for other portable applications.
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Old 09-18-2014, 09:29 PM   #47
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We stopped by AM Solar in Springfield Oregon after Alumafandango last week.

They installed two GS-100 panels on the road side and one GS-135 on the curb side. A replacement low profile bath vent needed to be installed to accommodate the GS-100 on the left rear.

They replaced the two OEM Interstate Marine/RV 12 volt batteries with two true deep cycle Lifeline GPL-4CT-2V 220ah AGM batteries. The battery box height needed to be extended 2 inches.

A fourth panel could be installed if the TV bat wing were replaced by a smaller antenna. I'm not sure that we would do that without first installing two additional AGMs. I'm a little concerned about adding another 157 pounds of batteries and panel near the front of the trailer. We're pretty close on tongue weight. So we'll see how it goes with 325 watts and two 220ah AGMs.

AM Solar and their installer Marvin of Precision RV Service installed the system in one day. We met Marvin and the AM crew the day before for a pre walk thru preparation. They did a great job. Marvin is very thorough and excellent at explaining all aspect of the system.

He recommended that we replace the OEM Charger/Converter with a 4-Stage Inteli-Power 4600 unit (AM was out of stock). The multi-stage vs. OEM single stage unit would be much kinder to the very expensive AGM batteries.
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