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Old 07-26-2019, 08:09 PM   #1
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How many 90w factory panels fit on a Classic 30?

My Classic 30 is at JC for warranty work and for the addition of 2 more 90 watt solar panels. I just got the bill today and they only put one solar panel on? It says only one would fit! I am a bit upset as they said two would fit when I brought it in. What gives?

Can two more panels fit???? Does anyone have a picture of the roof with the three panels?

$1000 for one panel is not very efficient when they quoted me $1200-1400 for two.
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Old 07-26-2019, 08:44 PM   #2
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Dude you got screwed! 1K for 1 90 watt panel? You should be easily able to fix 8 panels on the roof of a 30’ trailer. High quality panels cost around $120-$200 each.
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Old 07-26-2019, 08:52 PM   #3
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Dude you got screwed! 1K for 1 90 watt panel? You should be easily able to fix 8 panels on the roof of a 30’ trailer. High quality panels cost around $120-$200 each.
That is for sure. I only wanted 2 - 90 watt panels added for a total of 450 Watts of power. With my experience so far with the trailer, I knew that would work for me. So they give me 1 panel.

Why didn't they call? I am upset.

What I do want to know is if two 90 Watt panels will fit? I cannot visit my trailer right now, so I need someone's help. It the problem that there is no physical space, or is it that maybe one panel has to be moved to get another on?
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Old 07-26-2019, 08:55 PM   #4
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I contacted Lew a couple of weeks ago and he said he would call. Sadly, he never did. My first thought was to take the trailer to Florida and to have his spec a system and install. He just did not get back to me and since my trailer was going to JC, I ask them to add the panels. They even gave me a price.

Now they say only one would fit and that's all I get?
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Old 07-26-2019, 10:53 PM   #5
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How many 90w factory panels fit on a Classic 30?

Lew did my 30’ international. 8 100w high efficiency / low footprint panels from am solar. No drilling - 3M tape + silkaflex is the way to go.
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Old 07-27-2019, 11:16 AM   #6
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We currently have nine 100 watt panels on the roof of our 2014 model 31 Classic with room for one more. We are currently limited by the existing solar charge controller to the nine panels. One can see two spaces yet on the roof of the trailer above just like ours as we used the AM Solar panels.
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Old 07-27-2019, 11:25 AM   #7
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I have a 2017 Classic and fit 7 AM solar 100W panels on the roof. An eighth might fit centered behind the Omni TV antenna but it would be tight. The bath/shower vents locations make one more problematic
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Old 07-27-2019, 12:02 PM   #8
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Lew did my 30’ international. 8 100w high efficiency / low footprint panels from am solar. No drilling - 3M tape + silkaflex is the way to go.
That's a pretty sweet setup there. I like that. My 30' does have 3 panels on it, but I don't have access to it to take a picture right now. I'm going to put more panels on, but I do see some problems. With the rear bed of the 2019 classic, there are vent pipes on both sides (shower & toilet at the rear, one each side) and an extra vent pipe for the kitchen sink in the front. This makes a clean setup like yours problematic. Especially if you are leaving "step space" between panels to service the A/C, vents, and skylights.

I haven't spent much time thinking about it yet though as I still have many other projects to get to before I start that one. Next up on the list for me is conversion to SmartPlug and the installation of a power protection device followed by easystart boxes for the A/C.
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Old 07-27-2019, 12:18 PM   #9
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Solar panels on 30'

We have a 2016 Int Serenity, 30' trailer. We had AM Solar (Eugene, OR) install 7 - SP100 panels and 2 -50 watt panels for a total of 800 watts. At the same time they installed a Victron battery monitor, display, AGM batteries, inverter and associated wiring, disconnect, etc. The SP100 panels are about 45" x 20". FYI
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Old 07-27-2019, 12:30 PM   #10
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Hi

After a long conversation with the service guys at JC, the most they would put on my 30' was a total of 4 panels. ( = they added two to the two that came with it). The issue wasn't so much what would fit on the roof. It's what they were comfortable with in terms of the wiring. I have a Victron MPPT controller so no problem handling 50A of solar. The whole idea of putting things in series (and the wiring involved) didn't click with them. There may have been other issues. If so they didn't point them out.

Right now they aren't doing any good at all. We're out in the middle of an open field with no shade. It's 2:30 in the afternoon. Zip coming out of the solar panels .... hmmm ..... wonder if the thunderstorm has anything to do with it

Bob
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Old 07-27-2019, 12:51 PM   #11
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Hi

After a long conversation with the service guys at JC, the most they would put on my 30' was a total of 4 panels. ( = they added two to the two that came with it). The issue wasn't so much what would fit on the roof. It's what they were comfortable with in terms of the wiring. I have a Victron MPPT controller so no problem handling 50A of solar. The whole idea of putting things in series (and the wiring involved) didn't click with them. There may have been other issues. If so they didn't point them out.

Right now they aren't doing any good at all. We're out in the middle of an open field with no shade. It's 2:30 in the afternoon. Zip coming out of the solar panels .... hmmm ..... wonder if the thunderstorm has anything to do with it

Bob

Can 5 panels fit? My wiring is a heavier gauge than yours.
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Old 07-27-2019, 01:12 PM   #12
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Well, couple of Classic guys have already chimed in with proof that you can get 8 or more up there!

I just fit 4x100 on my 23D. I can easily fit one more, left side of AC shroud on attached pic, and if I relocated the batwing tv antenna (right front in pic) and replaced with a flying saucer, I could have a total of 6. On a 23' trailer.

As for vents...One of mine is over the bathroom fan vent (left rear in pic)...I just mounted it high enough that it clears the vent even if it's pushed up/open. The black tank vent would have fit under a panel as well if necessary.

As for cost...I have less than $1,000 in my system, including charge controller, switch, fuse, etc...and wire. You have all that already, just needed a bit of wire on the roof. Obviously a self-install is way cheaper, and the number of hours needed for a NEW install of a full system can really add up the labor hours. But the labor hours to just ADD one additional panel should be minimal. 2 hours if they took their time? Even if they billed $300 in parts and mounts for a panel (which would be a nice profit), $700 in labor, is like 5-6 hours at JC's rate? That's usurious.
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Old 07-27-2019, 01:25 PM   #13
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Can 5 panels fit? My wiring is a heavier gauge than yours.
Hi

I believe a total of six will fit. As I said, they may have other issues. One apparent gotcha was the number of connectors that would go into the Zamp (or whom ever) box on the roof. It comes with three sockets. They figured out how to drill a hole for a fourth. It all may be as simple as not having a proper way to hook up more than four.

Still not doing me any good. The thunderstorm has been over for at least three minutes. I suspect the clouds have to roll over as well

Bob
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Old 07-27-2019, 02:56 PM   #14
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I want matched 90 amp Zamp panels. Not 100 watt panels. 2 panels. I am going to call Zamp on Monday.
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Old 07-27-2019, 03:05 PM   #15
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I want matched 90 amp Zamp panels. Not 100 watt panels. 2 panels. I am going to call Zamp on Monday.
Hi

I don't know that the box on the roof and the panels are directly related. Even if the panels are same / same outfit, buying some now vs a year or two ago may get you somewhat different panels. Technology does march every forward

Bob
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Old 07-27-2019, 08:44 PM   #16
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Turk, I believe the issue here is they are using your factory combiner box which has 4 ports (if they modify it with a new hole from the three that are OEM, to fit 4 wires). With parallel configuration, they likely aren't comfortable with more than 4 panels, regardless of the combiner box limitation. When they quoted you, perhaps they were thinking you only had two panels?

Installations like Switz's done by AM Solar, involved bypassing the factory wire and installing heavier wire with a custom combiner box(es), in full parallel configuration. The other way to do it using the existing Zamp box and factory prewire is to go to a series/Parallel configuration, which would allow more wattage via the factory prewire. Airstream is likely reluctant to do it, or even really understand it, as Uncle Bob alluded to earlier. Lots of informed debate between Airmiles and Pteck over on the Solar Show and Tell thread regarding parallel vs. series/parallel.

Despite the convenience of having it in for work at the factory and getting this done now, maybe this is a good time to take a step back and rethink your install, to either go Series/Parallel with a total of six panels via factory wire using a different installer; or stay parallel but install your two new panels AND a bigger wire from the roof that will support those five parallel panels but also make expansion as simple as just adding panels. $1,000 is a lot to add just one panel, and then you're dead in the water to expand further without re-wiring or reconfiguring later. Configure it now and you can add your two panels, and then up to three more later, pretty easily. Just food for thought.
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Old 07-27-2019, 08:52 PM   #17
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How many 90w factory panels fit on a Classic 30?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ephraim
With the rear bed of the 2019 classic, there are vent pipes on both sides (shower & toilet at the rear, one each side) and an extra vent pipe for the kitchen sink in the front. This makes a clean setup like yours problematic. Especially if you are leaving "step space" between panels to service the A/C, vents, and skylights.


I have a 30’ rear bed as well with essentially the same floor plan. My vents are covered by the panels. I can still open bath and shower vents. You just need taller feet for the panels and tilt accordingly.
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Old 07-28-2019, 08:35 AM   #18
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We put five AM Solar 100 watt solar panels on the roof of our 2015 23D International Serenity feeding a 300 amp hour lithium battery. The fifth panel is where the crankup television antenna was located above the entrance door.
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Old 07-28-2019, 09:00 AM   #19
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I think pcskier is correct that the factory will limit the panels due to their criteria to use the zamp box already installed. I know others who modified the zamp to add a fourth connector and others who have done series/parallel to get more panels on the factory wire. Either way you probably need to do an aftermarket solution rather than through Airstream - and it will be much cheaper. With my attempt to max out on panels I mounted (VHB + sikaflex) an AM solar combiner box, drilled a hole in the side of the refrigerator vent, and installed 4 gauge wire .
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Old 07-28-2019, 09:43 AM   #20
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We put five AM Solar 100 watt solar panels on the roof of our 2015 23D International Serenity feeding a 300 amp hour lithium battery. The fifth panel is where the crankup television antenna was located above the entrance door.
Switz, did you just delete the Antenna or did you use a Kingjack or similar, relocated elsewhere...might be able to see one in your pic forward of the curbside front panel? Just put 4x100 on my 23d and have room for one if I get rid of the antenna, was thinking if I ever did that if I'd just forget about the antenna (I never use OTA tv, or haven't yet anyway) or add a compact one elsewhere. The way I positioned mine (see pic a few posts back) I could actually get two more on for a total of six, on a 23d (if I used the existing antenna space.)
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