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Old 05-03-2020, 06:32 PM   #1
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Your Thoughts on Solar Panel Placement

I am playing around with putting a single 100w solar panel on the roof of my 19' Flying Cloud. (I already have a 100w Portable Suitcase). Although I have plenty of clearance to place it at the front of the Airstream, my preference is to place it over the rear. The attached photos shows my test placement. However my concern is that the rocker feet will sit over the sealant. (I plan to use AM Solar's 3M VHB tape along with Sikaflex). Will that be an issue? If I place it over the front of the trailer, then the rocker feet sit entirely on the roof. It is the AC that is causing me to place the solar panel closer to the edge. Speaking of the AC. Will having the panel so close to the AC be an issue? I live in the Pacific NW and we hardly use the AC. I think I used it once the whole time I've owned the trailer. Nonetheless - there are always those times when I might use it and if so, will the panel being so close to the AC cause issues?
Thanks for any thoughts from experienced users.
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Old 05-03-2020, 07:15 PM   #2
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Easy fix. Move the mounting feet inbound from the edge. They do not have to be mounted all the way out on the edge of the panel. You may need to drill a new hole to catch the edge of the panel but that should solve your problem.

And yes I would not mount them over the sealant that is already there. The VHB tape needs to stick to the aluminum.
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Old 05-03-2020, 09:02 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GMFL View Post
Easy fix. Move the mounting feet inbound from the edge. They do not have to be mounted all the way out on the edge of the panel. You may need to drill a new hole to catch the edge of the panel but that should solve your problem.

And yes I would not mount them over the sealant that is already there. The VHB tape needs to stick to the aluminum.


Thanks ... that’s a great help.
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Old 05-04-2020, 12:04 AM   #4
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Unless you never camp off grid, I’d advise another couple of panels while you’re up there. Shading is always an issue, especially from the AC unit or, obviously, trees. If you could get four panels, or even two, on the roof on opposite sides you are more likely to have good luck.
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Old 05-04-2020, 05:37 AM   #5
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I'd advise 2 Zamp 180w suitcase panels...'cuz that's what I use. 😂

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Old 05-04-2020, 09:55 AM   #6
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Ac...

Even though you don't often use the AC, I hope it's in your maintenance sched to run/exercise it periodically to be sure it functions properly. 😏
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Old 05-04-2020, 10:45 AM   #7
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Shading is a concern, I wouldn’t want the A/C impacting the panel performance if possible. Here is my install of a 170w panel on the front of my 22’ Sport. Click image for larger version

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Old 05-04-2020, 11:19 AM   #8
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GMFL is correct - move the feet inbound ... Question: why not the front??? looks like there wound be less shade from the AC??

You can also still use the "Suit Case Unit" at the same time. We rig up ours with an adapter directly to connect to the hitch plug. This provides that extra movability to follow the sun (200w on the roof + 180w suitcase) work great.
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Old 05-04-2020, 11:29 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS View Post
I'd advise 2 Zamp 180w suitcase panels...'cuz that's what I use. 😂

Bob
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Bob, do you use the suitcase panels in conjunction with factory panels on the AS?

Jim
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Old 05-04-2020, 11:33 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drbrick View Post
GMFL is correct - move the feet inbound ... Question: why not the front??? looks like there wound be less shade from the AC??

You can also still use the "Suit Case Unit" at the same time. We rig up ours with an adapter directly to connect to the hitch plug. This provides that extra movability to follow the sun (200w on the roof + 180w suitcase) work great.
Are your rooftop panels factory? Do you use a separate charge controller for the suitcase panels?

The reason I ask is I have 180W of factory solar on the Airstream and am interested in complementing them with portable panels. My understanding is I’d need compatible controllers if I want to parallel the outputs.
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Old 05-04-2020, 07:23 PM   #11
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Exactly

That’s my recommendation. Good solution

Quote:
Originally Posted by GMFL View Post
Easy fix. Move the mounting feet inbound from the edge. They do not have to be mounted all the way out on the edge of the panel. You may need to drill a new hole to catch the edge of the panel but that should solve your problem.

And yes I would not mount them over the sealant that is already there. The VHB tape needs to stick to the aluminum.
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Old 05-06-2020, 10:55 PM   #12
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I'm thinking you might not be using solar when your running your A/C. Would likely be on shore power or a good size generator.
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Old 05-07-2020, 05:17 AM   #13
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Bob, do you use the suitcase panels in conjunction with factory panels on the AS?

Jim
Nope...two connected, charging through the 7pin umbilical.

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Old 05-10-2020, 02:48 PM   #14
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If you build the kind you set out on the ground with legs, you have several advantages..

-you can move them with the sun during the day
-no fancy wiring n drilling n fuses n caulk n mounts
-you can sell it, and someone will walk away with it
-if its perm mount, and you pick a spot under a tree?
-perm mount will never point properly at sun
-you will need maybe 300 watts i will guess? more if not being pointed?
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Old 05-11-2020, 09:46 AM   #15
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Not on the roof

We chose to not put our 150w panel on the roof for a. Few reasons ..

First.. we did a renogy waterproof charge controlller and 150w panel. When traveling we Cary the panel on the bed and connects to the controller via quick connects. The controller connects directly to the battery and even had a higher voltage lithium ion setting (we replaced our 24 series lead with 2x27 li).

This allows us to:
1. Not put extra stuff on the roof. The roof is your first line of defense for water intrusion
2. We can set the panel out in the sun while the trailer is in the shade. McDLT
3. We can reposition the panel at the sun thruought the day .. it makes a huge 2-4x difference when you watch the charge controller
4. It only takes 3 minutes to setup or take down
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Old 05-13-2020, 09:45 AM   #16
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Interesting

Is the controller inside the trailer it on the portable panel?

My bed is covered but I assume the portable can be attached to a rack system

QUOTE=cedonly;2358972]We chose to not put our 150w panel on the roof for a. Few reasons ..

First.. we did a renogy waterproof charge controlller and 150w panel. When traveling we Cary the panel on the bed and connects to the controller via quick connects. The controller connects directly to the battery and even had a higher voltage lithium ion setting (we replaced our 24 series lead with 2x27 li).

This allows us to:
1. Not put extra stuff on the roof. The roof is your first line of defense for water intrusion
2. We can set the panel out in the sun while the trailer is in the shade. McDLT
3. We can reposition the panel at the sun thruought the day .. it makes a huge 2-4x difference when you watch the charge controller
4. It only takes 3 minutes to setup or take down[/QUOTE]
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Old 05-14-2020, 11:47 AM   #17
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The controller is external and very small 4”x2”... it runs between the wires (quick connect) to the solar panel and the wires we hook up to the battery..

Unlock the battery box, Loosen a few bolts , connect the controller and then connect the pane
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