New Solar Panels Installed On The Camper

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  • New Solar Panels Installed On The Camper

    I installed two 100 watt moncrystalline solar panels on the roof yesterday. The installation went rather smoothly. Click image for larger version

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    Cabled them up to a new MPPT 20amp charge controller and interfaced it to the battery bank today.


    Full sunlight right now and the panels are pushing out 20.8vdc at ~12 amps.

    No more long runs of the genset during extended off-grid stays to charge the batteries. Yay

    See! I'm green.

  • #2
    What do you save on your monthly elec bill.

    Comment: (For off-topic replies)


    • #3
      Originally posted by TrikeBiker View Post
      What do you save on your monthly elec bill.
      A little. We were keeping the RV plugged into a 110vac outlet at home to keep the batteries charged.
      The savings for us in this application is not running the generator as frequently or at all when we're away from the power grid

      Comment: (For off-topic replies)


      • #4
        Apparently solar panels have improved significantly in recent years. Smaller panels produce more current than earlier equipment that covered residential roofs.

        I installed a Mighty Mule electric gate operator on the front gate that we use daily for vehicle traffic about three years ago. I mounted a lawn tractor battery to power it and a 5 watt solar panel to keep the battery charged. Regardless how many times we cycle the gate, even during cloudy days, the battery is always hot and the gate always swings open.
        Harvey Barlow
        Crosby County, TX
        2010 Goldwing Level II Pearl Yellow (sold at 93,000 miles)
        2014 Goldwing Level II Pearl Blue (sold at 27,000 miles to forum member)

        Comment: (For off-topic replies)


        • #5
          Two weeks ago my neighbor did the Z-Man Solar Panel install to do basically the same thing. Told him it would be great once we get out of the Texas rainy season, kinda joking with him. He said its going out next to my Carport today..... well last night was not good.... he said there's not much left!! He was in the direct path of a Baseball size hail storm that cleaned the roof of his Toy Hauler , all Vents are gone, Plastic AC Shroud is 90% gone, the Wingard Satellite is just beat to crap, the Solar panels are still in their frames but destroyed, water poured thru all the vent openings and 6 of the windows are broken out..... sounds like insurance time...... and its still pouring and not suppost to quit today. Have even lost my Forum Satellite connection... and it doesn't look like the sun is going to shine today! Every lake and empty stock tank is now full or close to it and many overflowing!! Guess we're no longer in a drought..... He's a little afraid to get on the trailer roof...... Luckily before we went to bed I got everything undercover and we have a Steel Panel roof on the house so it sometimes get noisey but that roof sure makes a lot of crushed ice!!! Hail just blows up on impact.....
          Retired, Lifetime NRA, IBA #5831, AMA Lifer, HOG Lifer, Gypsy Tour Rider

          "There comes a time in your life, when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it. You surround yourself with people who make you laugh. Forget the bad, and focus on the good. Love the people who treat you right, pray for the ones who don't. Life is too short to be anything but happy. Falling down is a part of life, getting back up is living."

          Comment: (For off-topic replies)


          • #6
            Holy cow! I'm sorry to hear about your neighbors RV.

            I hate hail. In 1998 I had just purchased a new car and decided to park it outside in the open parking lot at work. I usually parked in the covered parking garage. It was right next to the building entryway and I am generally lazy, . 2 hours later we got pummeled by hail.

            My white car now looked like a big golf ball. It even had huge dents on the sides because some of the hail ricocheted off the cars next to me. 2 days old and a total insurance company loss.

            Comment: (For off-topic replies)


            • #7
              Originally posted by HBarlow View Post
              Apparently solar panels have improved significantly in recent years. Smaller panels produce more current than earlier equipment that covered residential roofs.

              I installed a Mighty Mule electric gate operator on the front gate that we use daily for vehicle traffic about three years ago. I mounted a lawn tractor battery to power it and a 5 watt solar panel to keep the battery charged. Regardless how many times we cycle the gate, even during cloudy days, the battery is always hot and the gate always swings open.
              The new mono panels are light years ahead of the older poly ones. At first light this morning mine were putting out 14v ! Amazing.

              2 years ago I purchased a smaller 50 watt mono panel that I would tug along when we camped--manually set it up and run cable. I was so impressed with its output I upgraded to larger panels.

              Comment: (For off-topic replies)


              • #8
                Looks good.
                You might want to fab up a protective cover and keep it close by. Family history has shown, moderate Hail can destroy solar panels.
                Just food for thought

                Rick
                2010 GL1800ADA (CDN eh!)
                DS 1126
                95 FLSTC Sold to a nice family.

                Comment: (For off-topic replies)


                • #9
                  Great looking installation and they should make it easier to RV without hookups.
                  Harvey
                  Ride Safe and Ride Often

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by RaConnol View Post
                    Looks good.
                    You might want to fab up a protective cover and keep it close by. Family history has shown, moderate Hail can destroy solar panels.
                    Just food for thought

                    Rick
                    I'm thinking about some sort of waterproof padded cover.

                    Comment: (For off-topic replies)


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by harvey View Post
                      Great looking installation and they should make it easier to RV without hookups.
                      Thanks.

                      We're going for an extended dry camp outing in 2 weeks. Looking forward to not hearing the generator running.

                      Comment: (For off-topic replies)


                      • jmohme
                        jmohme commented
                        Editing a comment
                        I am looking forward to hearing how they work out on your two week trip.
                        I have a toy hauler that I use for my photography business. I use it about 20 weeks a year.
                        Almost all of the facilities where I set up have adequate RV hookups, but on out of state runs, I have layovers where there may be nothing.

                      • Z-Man
                        Z-Man commented
                        Editing a comment
                        I will report back in a couple of weeks. So far they are maintaing the battery bank charge at 100 percent. We'll see when we start putting some loads on them. Fridge controller, hot water heater, lights, and a couple of other parasitic drains.

                        We do not run a dc/ac inverter.

                    • #12
                      Well he got panels off the roof of the RV this afternoon while the sun was out.... what a mess.... he also had a photo of what did all this,,,, Panel looks pretty good compared to his Dodge Dually.. think his insurance guy only spent 30 minutes over there and I think all but the RV Toy Hauler were totalled out.... just 30 minutes from me.... Lucky and knocking on all wood I can find!!!
                      Retired, Lifetime NRA, IBA #5831, AMA Lifer, HOG Lifer, Gypsy Tour Rider

                      "There comes a time in your life, when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it. You surround yourself with people who make you laugh. Forget the bad, and focus on the good. Love the people who treat you right, pray for the ones who don't. Life is too short to be anything but happy. Falling down is a part of life, getting back up is living."

                      Comment: (For off-topic replies)


                      • #13
                        Originally posted by Z-Man View Post
                        I installed two 100 watt moncrystalline solar panels on the roof yesterday. The installation went rather smoothly. [ATTACH=CONFIG]n52777[/ATTACH]




                        Cabled them up to a new MPPT 20amp charge controller and interfaced it to the battery bank today.


                        Full sunlight right now and the panels are pushing out 20.8vdc at ~12 amps.

                        No more long runs of the genset during extended off-grid stays to charge the batteries. Yay

                        See! I'm green.
                        I have been looking into doing this same thing for my motorhome. I don't want to light up Las Vegas but want to keep batteries up without the generator. I can not run the wires down the refrigerator vent since mine is in a slide so I have to figure out another way to get them down inside. Not sure about drilling holes but the Dicor seems pretty good at sealing.
                        Dave - High up in Arizona - 2012/GL1800

                        Comment: (For off-topic replies)


                        • #14
                          Originally posted by 530ktm View Post
                          I have been looking into doing this same thing for my motorhome. I don't want to light up Las Vegas but want to keep batteries up without the generator. I can not run the wires down the refrigerator vent since mine is in a slide so I have to figure out another way to get them down inside. Not sure about drilling holes but the Dicor seems pretty good at sealing.
                          We were lucky and the fridge vent was accessible. I used a few eternabond 4inch tape strips to hold the cables to the roof.

                          Some people will run the cables down the gray water vent tube. Drilling a hole in the top of the tube right under the cap and drilling a hole inside the coach somewhere above the tank water level and pulling the cables out there. Dicor or ProFlex the bejeesus out of the holes and you should be good to go.

                          I would recommend an a true MPPT 4 stage type charge controller versus a PWM type(older tech). They are much more efficient in converting the panel amperage to battery charge amperage. 97 percent conversion efficiency. Good luck if you decide to go solar.

                          Comment: (For off-topic replies)


                          • #15
                            Originally posted by Solidbob View Post
                            Well he got panels off the roof of the RV this afternoon while the sun was out.... what a mess.... he also had a photo of what did all this,,,, Panel looks pretty good compared to his Dodge Dually.. think his insurance guy only spent 30 minutes over there and I think all but the RV Toy Hauler were totalled out.... just 30 minutes from me.... Lucky and knocking on all wood I can find!!!
                            Crikey!! That is a lot of damage. I can't believe the hail put holes right through them.

                            Comment: (For off-topic replies)


                            • #16
                              Originally posted by Z-Man View Post

                              We were lucky and the fridge vent was accessible. I used a few eternabond 4inch tape strips to hold the cables to the roof.

                              Some people will run the cables down the gray water vent tube. Drilling a hole in the top of the tube right under the cap and drilling a hole inside the coach somewhere above the tank water level and pulling the cables out there. Dicor or ProFlex the bejeesus out of the holes and you should be good to go.

                              I would recommend an a true MPPT 4 stage type charge controller versus a PWM type(older tech). They are much more efficient in converting the panel amperage to battery charge amperage. 97 percent conversion efficiency. Good luck if you decide to go solar.
                              I looked and the gray water vent comes right down the center where the control panel is located. I think this is going to work out perfectly, thanks for the tip.
                              Dave - High up in Arizona - 2012/GL1800

                              Comment: (For off-topic replies)


                              • Z-Man
                                Z-Man commented
                                Editing a comment
                                You're welcome. I ran a remote control panel for the controller the other day. Whoever designed our RV was an idiot. LOL

                                Anyway, we're off on a four state adventure in a couple of hours. Sisters OR to visit a good friends ranch, Grand Teton, WY, Sand Point, ID and then spending a week in Kettle Falls, WA at a National Recreation Area. All dry camping.
                                Talk with y'all later!
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