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Old 11-01-2014, 08:52 PM   #1
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Solar Panel Mounting Considerations - 2014 Sport 16

Would appreciate your opinion regarding installation of a solar panel. Not a lot of available space so probably am looking at a 50 watt panel. Given the estimated cost from the factory of $1000 plus, would this be a wise investment?

Thanks,

Marty
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Old 11-01-2014, 09:15 PM   #2
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I wouldn't go with factory system, due to the charge controller is not very good it's not a mppt charge controller and doesn't have a battery equalizing function, and the solar panel from airstream is too expensive , yes your right you can put a panel aprox 50-60 watts just to the left side of the a.c( street side) a very good charge controller is sold by midnite solar called the kid, and for solar panels check out northern Arizona solar web site.

Don ( freely Ontario Canada)
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Old 12-27-2014, 06:18 PM   #3
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Hey Marty, I have a sport 16 too. I have been doing some research and am leaning toward the Go power solar flex 100w. (About $600)The panel is flexible and measures 21" by 41". I have not put a ladder up yet but I'm thinking it should fit on our tiny roof. I'd be interested to hear if anyone has had success with theses panels. Looks like you can use adhesive to install (no screws!) and our sport 16 is pre wired so the install may not be too bad.Solar Flex Kits and Modules (Flat, bendable solar) | GPElectric
A Do-it-Yourself Airstream Solar Installation with Go Power! Solar Flex Panels | The Snowmads
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Old 01-13-2015, 01:29 AM   #4
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I've been looking at www.amsolar.com out here in Oregon. They seem to be very knowledgable about RV solar and installations.
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Old 01-13-2015, 01:46 AM   #5
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Have a look at Renogy. Also have a read of " handy Bob's solar blog. AM solar is fine, but there are a lot more options and opinions out there.


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Old 01-27-2015, 11:24 PM   #6
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How do u know if the trailer is pre wired? Can u use any set up?
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Old 02-02-2015, 08:58 AM   #7
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If you have a 2014 sport 16, you are pre wired. It just takes care of the tricky part of how to run wires from the roof to the battery. If you look under the dinette seat (where the fresh water tank, pump, etc are) you will see a loose green wire and a yellow wire. I believe they are labeled too. The manual says the other end is near the vent fan. You would have to pull the fan trim to get to it. I decided on portable instead of roof mount though for my first solar attempt.
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Old 02-02-2015, 10:09 AM   #8
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Please some one tell me why anyone would put a panels on the roof.
(1) They leak up there.
(2) They limit where you can park because they need to be in the sun
(3) They are less efficient because they are flat.
(4) The Airstreams I have seen from the factory with panels installed the wire size is to small,ECT. ECT.
(5) The panels are to small.To me you need 180 watts min.
(6) You need them where you can move them around and change the angle so you can get best use of the sun.
(7) Here are photos of the 4 of use here in Quartzsite AZ this AM.Note Pauls camper they are mounted on roof so he has to park this way to do the best he can.That is facing SE.We all have 180 to 200 watt of panels.
(8) There are some portable fold up panels now in the 100 watt range that have controler built on them that you hook right to you batteries.They store EZ so two would work well.
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Old 02-04-2015, 08:05 PM   #9
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Harder to steal when you're not looking?

My brother mounted his solar panels on a rack over the bed of his pickup truck and parks the truck in the sun while his trailer relaxes in the shade. Maybe we should mount panels on our truck cap, as we don't put anything else up there and we have a nice cap with mounting rails on top.
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Old 02-04-2015, 09:43 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Silvery Moon View Post
Harder to steal when you're not looking?

My brother mounted his solar panels on a rack over the bed of his pickup truck and parks the truck in the sun while his trailer relaxes in the shade. Maybe we should mount panels on our truck cap, as we don't put anything else up there and we have a nice cap with mounting rails on top.
That's what I did. Works great!


George
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Old 02-06-2015, 05:05 PM   #11
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Hey George, forgot to say thanks for the Renogy tip. I ordered their 100w portable suitcase. It's nice and compact and I'm really impressed with the sturdy construction. It was less expensive than other foldable brands. It was even Less expensive than two 45w panels from HF. Bought those first. They were HUGE especially for the low output. Gonna test out the Renogy this weekend. Thanks again.
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Old 02-06-2015, 07:23 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by armstrs View Post
Hey George, forgot to say thanks for the Renogy tip. I ordered their 100w portable suitcase. It's nice and compact and I'm really impressed with the sturdy construction. It was less expensive than other foldable brands. It was even Less expensive than two 45w panels from HF. Bought those first. They were HUGE especially for the low output. Gonna test out the Renogy this weekend. Thanks again.
Let me know how they work for you. My 3 100w panels are performing as per specs. Thinking of adding one more if I can design a different mounting system for my truck cap.


George
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Old 02-06-2015, 08:17 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by armstrs View Post
Hey George, forgot to say thanks for the Renogy tip. I ordered their 100w portable suitcase. It's nice and compact and I'm really impressed with the sturdy construction. It was less expensive than other foldable brands. It was even Less expensive than two 45w panels from HF. Bought those first. They were HUGE especially for the low output. Gonna test out the Renogy this weekend. Thanks again.
Two thumbs up for the Renogy solar suitcase. Very well made and works great. Easy to deploy and track the sun even when trailer is in shade.
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Old 02-06-2015, 08:44 PM   #14
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I just finished installing 6 100W panels on my new Classic. Granted, more real estate up there, but on a cost basis you cannot justify the factory install price. Call AM Solar, they are awesome to deal with (this was my second installation of an AM package). Cost of my panels, controller and all connect-up pieces was right at $2K.
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Old 02-06-2015, 09:47 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by jimmini View Post
Please some one tell me why anyone would put a panels on the roof.
Because that's how the trailer was factory built and they work like a charm. Never even think about them. We come up short on battery storage more often than solar supply so that's where, if when our next solar money will be spent.
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Old 02-08-2015, 09:55 PM   #16
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I just had colonial Airstream put a 80 watt zamp flat panel on my 2010 16 sport. I have a lifeline 27 battery. I will report back this summer when on my trip out west as to how it worked out. It was 1200 installed.
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Old 02-08-2015, 11:33 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Born2kayak View Post
Would appreciate your opinion regarding installation of a solar panel. Not a lot of available space so probably am looking at a 50 watt panel. Given the estimated cost from the factory of $1000 plus, would this be a wise investment?

Thanks,

Marty
Quote:
Originally Posted by BAB View Post
I just finished installing 6 100W panels on my new Classic. Granted, more real estate up there, but on a cost basis you cannot justify the factory install price. Call AM Solar, they are awesome to deal with (this was my second installation of an AM package). Cost of my panels, controller and all connect-up pieces was right at $2K.
Don't forget the cost of additional battery storage capacity to match up with the solar delivery capability ... AGMs at $400+ each ...

We are very happy with the factory solar install ...which includes two upgraded batts to AGMs ... If you are buying / camping on a budget that may be a consideration if you are not doing your own install ... and looking at $90+ / hr for a technician to install. There are also warranty considerations from both AS and the solar equipment manufacturer involved with a self-install.
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Old 02-10-2015, 06:53 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by jimmini View Post
Please some one tell me why anyone would put a panels on the roof.
1. They're out of the way, all the time.
2. Less risk of breakage due to handling them.
3. They work even when we're on the road.
4. As mentioned, they're secure - I doubt anyone is going to climb up and steal them.
5. No wires running around the campsite to trip over.
6. One less thing to set up and take down.
7. No worrying about connections that wear out after repeated use.
8. They shade the roof of the camper.

To each their own, and there are drawbacks and benefits to each approach.
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