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Old 01-25-2020, 05:24 PM   #1
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Dripping Springs , Texas
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Solar install on 2019 FC28

I was inspired by the post by pcskier!
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f448...-a-197517.html

Here's my manifest for a 600W install on a 2019 FC28

6x Renogy Compact 100W panels
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Victron 712 with temp sensor
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Zip ties
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Victron Smartsolar 100/50
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

2x Sikaflex 221
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Bluesea Switch
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

3M VHB tape
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Tocas 60A breaker
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

6x Renogy curved mount
(A fraction of the cost vs AM solar for the same functionality)
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

50 FT 10AWG Solar cable, black
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

50 ft 10AW Solar cable, red
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

MC4 crimp tool
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

3x MC4 to SAE connector
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

2x of these MC4 connectors
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1


All in: About $1500


Planning on this:
- Use factory wiring, use series-parallel connection between panels (don't worry, my setup will work great...)
- Install 712 Shunt & monitor near battery box (send the hate....)

Batteries are 2x Trojan T105. Should be a great combination! I already measured with a cardboard template, 6 panels will fit without interference from roof vents. There will be some shading from my 2x AC units but I'm building a 600W system so I should be covered.

Thanks to all who have replied to my noob threads.
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Old 01-25-2020, 05:54 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalashnikov View Post
I was inspired by the post by pcskier!
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f448...-a-197517.html

Here's my manifest for a 600W install on a 2019 FC28

6x Renogy Compact 100W panels
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Victron 712 with temp sensor
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Zip ties
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Victron Smartsolar 100/50
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

2x Sikaflex 221
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Bluesea Switch
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

3M VHB tape
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Tocas 60A breaker
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

6x Renogy curved mount
(A fraction of the cost vs AM solar for the same functionality)
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

50 FT 10AWG Solar cable, black
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

50 ft 10AW Solar cable, red
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

MC4 crimp tool
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

3x MC4 to SAE connector
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

2x of these MC4 connectors
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1


All in: About $1500


Planning on this:
- Use factory wiring, use series-parallel connection between panels (don't worry, my setup will work great...)
- Install 712 Shunt & monitor near battery box (send the hate....)

Batteries are 2x Trojan T105. Should be a great combination! I already measured with a cardboard template, 6 panels will fit without interference from roof vents. There will be some shading from my 2x AC units but I'm building a 600W system so I should be covered.

Thanks to all who have replied to my noob threads.
Your parts list looks great!!! The minor change I would recommend is one additional tube of SikaFlex. I recommend using one-half tube on each panel. Put the SikaFlex on very thickly.

I had the opportunity to remove four panels from my 25' after two seasons. What I found was that the panel mounts where the SikaFlex was thinner came off fairly easily. The ones where the SikaFlex was thicker were difficult to remove. The thinner ones had cracks in the SikaFlex at the edges of the mounts. I could basically grab and twist to remove the the thin ones. On the thick ones, I had to cut the SikaFlex with a razor knife to remove them. On my 600W install, I used three tubes. One tube for every two panels.
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Sold: 2017 FC25FB, 316 nights 40,150 miles, 400W Solar - Produced 200 kWh in 216 days
2013 Casita SD17 89 nights 16,200 miles
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Old 01-25-2020, 06:38 PM   #3
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Looks great. System should serve you well
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Old 01-25-2020, 07:21 PM   #4
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Thanks for putting the list and links all together. This is a similar set up as I wanted. All the other ancillary components is what I really appreciate having here. I have a 25 ft with two AC's, so I think I'm limited to getting 400 watts on the roof. I think it will be plenty for my camping style.
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Old 01-25-2020, 07:35 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AirMiles View Post
Your parts list looks great!!! The minor change I would recommend is one additional tube of SikaFlex. I recommend using one-half tube on each panel. Put the SikaFlex on very thickly.
<snip>

Done. I appreciate all your solar threads
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Old 02-09-2020, 07:22 AM   #6
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Step 0: Install Trojan T105 batteries, Blue Sea Switch
https://www.airforums.com/forums/f44...ch-204440.html

Step 1: Installed my Victron 712 outside the AS
https://www.airforums.com/forums/f44...ml#post2330575


Used this waterproof project box from Amazon and some supplies from HD:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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Old 03-01-2020, 08:34 PM   #7
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Step 2: Mount solar controller



Got my couch moved, it was a PITA:
https://www.airforums.com/forums/f44...ar-205944.html


Turns out AS provided 8AWG solar prewire, that's nice. It was also long enough to reach all the way to the area surrounding the water heater. Connected directly to my solar controller!






Mounted my controller, switch and breaker to a little board






Bus bar connections within the 12v panel. It's the fat black wire on the bottom left and the fat red wire on the top right.







Snug as a bug in a rug! Mounted the board next to the sub and water heater. I moved the sub to make room for the solar stuff. The location allows access via the little hatch next to the water heater in case I need to switch off the solar or reset the breaker.






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Old 03-01-2020, 10:13 PM   #8
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Very nice!
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Old 03-02-2020, 07:07 AM   #9
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Nice installation. I too mounted my solar controller, breaker, and switch to a board, then connected all the wires while sitting comfortably upright, and then installed the board into the crawl space while standing on my head. OK, maybe I wasn't quite standing on my head, but premounting everything on a board was a lot easier than mounting all the parts and connecting all the wires inside a small compartment.

I mounted my solar controller so the cooling fins were vertical. I see yours are horizontal. I see some AmSolar installations with the cooling fins not mounted vertically so you are probably OK. https://amsolar.com/solar-panels-for...ng-cloud-fb-25 But I would prefer the cooling fins mounted vertically if possible. This AmSolar blog link shows pictures of the AmSolar installations that I have studied: https://amsolar.com/solar-panels-for-rv
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Sold: 2017 FC25FB, 316 nights 40,150 miles, 400W Solar - Produced 200 kWh in 216 days
2013 Casita SD17 89 nights 16,200 miles
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Old 03-02-2020, 07:20 AM   #10
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Looks great! Good luck with the install. We love our 900w / 600Ah system - knowing you always have power is a real treat. We went with 9 panels - our 30' Classic's roof permitted it - as I wanted more panel wattage than amp hour storage given the inefficiencies of the panels' collection ability given weather and sun angle (season of year, time of day).
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Old 03-02-2020, 07:31 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by dhroberts View Post
Looks great! Good luck with the install. We love our 900w / 600Ah system - knowing you always have power is a real treat. We went with 9 panels - our 30' Classic's roof permitted it - as I wanted more panel wattage than amp hour storage given the inefficiencies of the panels' collection ability given weather and sun angle (season of year, time of day).
Wow - I'll just plug into your outside receptacle when I'm parked net to you! Seriously though, I agree you can never have too many solar panels or too large of battery bank on an Airstream. Put as much as will "reasonably" fit and you'll likely be satisfied with the result.
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Sold: 2017 FC25FB, 316 nights 40,150 miles, 400W Solar - Produced 200 kWh in 216 days
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Old 03-02-2020, 09:37 AM   #12
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New parts for the controller install:

4ga lugs
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Pair of 4ga wires for breaker and switch (very pliable, recommend)
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Pair of 4ga 4ft wires to connect controller to 12v panel
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

As noted before, 4ga will work but 6ga is better for connecting to the Victron.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AirMiles View Post
Nice installation. I too mounted my solar controller, breaker, and switch to a board, then connected all the wires while sitting comfortably upright, and then installed the board into the crawl space while standing on my head. OK, maybe I wasn't quite standing on my head, but premounting everything on a board was a lot easier than mounting all the parts and connecting all the wires inside a small compartment.

I mounted my solar controller so the cooling fins were vertical. I see yours are horizontal. I see some AmSolar installations with the cooling fins not mounted vertically so you are probably OK. https://amsolar.com/solar-panels-for...ng-cloud-fb-25 But I would prefer the cooling fins mounted vertically if possible. This AmSolar blog link shows pictures of the AmSolar installations that I have studied: https://amsolar.com/solar-panels-for-rv
Didn't even think of the orientation of the cooling fins. I guess if I were to do it again I would push to keep the unit 'upright.' For me the priority was to make sure that the switch and breaker were at the top. My short wires were fabbed so I didn't have a ton of length to work with. Oh well, it's likely going to be ok, there's much of a breeze under the couch anyway
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Old 03-09-2020, 09:46 AM   #13
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Step 3: Install the Panels



I had purchased Renogy 'curved' mounts. I didn't like how the bottom was full of holes and also rather narrow, only 1" wide. I decided to mount them to pieces of 2" wide aluminum.



But then... it became clear that this would be a nightmare for sealing! I'd need to seal the screws and the perimiter of the renogy mount. What a PITA. So I decided to not go in that direction. A couple hours of work lost, these are going in the trash.



Ended up buying some 2x2" aluminum from HD and cut it into 4" long segments. After drilling a couple holes these replace the lower portion of the renogy mount.



Renogy mount



My brackets installed



Cleaned the roof of the AS with soap & water, then with Acetone. Also cleaned the feet with Acetone.



The 3M tape is very easy to apply to the feet


The renogy feet do allow matching the curvature of the AS roof. Ended up having them all at the same height however, didn't try to make the panels flat.



Buried in Sikaflex! The 221 is rather easy to work with


Panel mounted


Marshmallow stick? No - it's a special tool I created in order to install the bolts on the far side of the panels. I didn't want to climb on the roof, this allowed me to poke the bolts through the brackets easily. (Yes it's ghetto but it worked)


Final Result
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Old 03-09-2020, 09:52 AM   #14
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what about getting the victron 3kw converter /inverter
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Old 03-09-2020, 09:54 AM   #15
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what about getting the victron 3kw converter /inverter
So what about it? Looks like it's another $1k. The AS already comes with a 1kW inverter, is that not good enough? (We don't really use AC power)
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Old 03-09-2020, 09:58 AM   #16
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Very nice! I'd bury those mounting locations with more SikaFlex. I used 1/2 tube of SikaFlex per panel, but I think my feet were only 1" wide. I put the SikaFlex on about 1/4" deep across the whole mounting area.

What I found when I removed a two season old solar installation was that the SikaFlex is what really holds the panels on the roof. The brackets with a thin layer of SikaFlex were easy to grab, twist, and remove. The brackets with a 1/4" thick layer of SikaFlex required me to cut the SikaFlex, then grab, twist, and remove. On my second installation, I made sure all brackets had a 1/4" deep layer of SikaFlex over the entire mounting area. I don't want my panels coming loose if I drive down the Interstate into gale force winds.
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Sold: 2017 FC25FB, 316 nights 40,150 miles, 400W Solar - Produced 200 kWh in 216 days
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Old 03-09-2020, 10:08 AM   #17
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So what about it? Looks like it's another $1k. The AS already comes with a 1kW inverter, is that not good enough? (We don't really use AC power)
I just use the 1kW inverter and use my generator for the microwave and A/C. Without Lithium batteries, a 3kW inverter would not be useful. With my pair of 6V golf cart batteries, I could probably only run that 3Kw inverter for 10 minutes with my microwave anyway. Installing that big inverter is going down a rat hole. Then you need bigger 12V cables, bigger fuses, a large Lithium battery bank, a sub-panel and labor to connect to 120V . . . I'd say that will easily cost over $5k just to run the microwave? Not for me. And I'd still need to carry a generator for A/C use.
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Sold: 2017 FC25FB, 316 nights 40,150 miles, 400W Solar - Produced 200 kWh in 216 days
2013 Casita SD17 89 nights 16,200 miles
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Old 03-09-2020, 11:03 AM   #18
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Very nice! I'd bury those mounting locations with more SikaFlex. I used 1/2 tube of SikaFlex per panel, but I think my feet were only 1" wide. I put the SikaFlex on about 1/4" deep across the whole mounting area.

What I found when I removed a two season old solar installation was that the SikaFlex is what really holds the panels on the roof. The brackets with a thin layer of SikaFlex were easy to grab, twist, and remove. The brackets with a 1/4" thick layer of SikaFlex required me to cut the SikaFlex, then grab, twist, and remove. On my second installation, I made sure all brackets had a 1/4" deep layer of SikaFlex over the entire mounting area. I don't want my panels coming loose if I drive down the Interstate into gale force winds.
Really? Ugh, I get what you're saying but there's no way I'm pulling those panels at this point. (They are removable only in a theoretical sense. Kind of like your teeth - you could pull them, but don't want to )

Maybe I'll smear more SF on the feet I can easily get to and leave the back set alone. I thought the 3M tape did most of the heavy lifting in terms of adhesion. I have 8 square inches of tape on each foot, compared to 4 square inches on the renogy stock mounts. That's 32 square inches per panel, they certainly felt rock solid.
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Old 03-09-2020, 12:38 PM   #19
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Quote:
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Really? Ugh, I get what you're saying but there's no way I'm pulling those panels at this point. (They are removable only in a theoretical sense. Kind of like your teeth - you could pull them, but don't want to )

Maybe I'll smear more SF on the feet I can easily get to and leave the back set alone. I thought the 3M tape did most of the heavy lifting in terms of adhesion. I have 8 square inches of tape on each foot, compared to 4 square inches on the renogy stock mounts. That's 32 square inches per panel, they certainly felt rock solid.
I’d pull-um and add the Sika. You really need the extra bond to insure no problems.
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Old 03-09-2020, 02:49 PM   #20
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I’d pull-um and add the Sika. You really need the extra bond to insure no problems.
I'll think about it. Really not excited about removing panels

Anyone happen to have pics of their panel brackets Sikaflex coverage?
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