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Post Info TOPIC: Just finished our solar installation


RV-Dreams Family Member

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Just finished our solar installation


solaruppart232.jpg



We just finished installing four 100 watt solar panels, controller, gauge and fuse box on our motorhome.  I did detailed step by step photos on my blog in two posts:


solar installation part two


Also, if you go to the links on the right side of my blog, there are other modifcations we have done, many go back to Nov 09 for an alphabetical list.

here are our top five:
1. remove, rebuild the rotor and reinstall our generator
2. coat the roof with elastomeric paint
3. replace a rotting bathroom floor
4. installing a Wave 8 Olympian Catalytic heater
5. putting a spare tire rack on the front of the motorhome (not finished yet)





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KarenInTheWoods and Steveio
-- Safari Serengeti 38ft DP with
---Geo Tracker toad behind
-- Northwoods of Wisconsin
-- (Blog) http://kareninthewoods-kareninthewoods.blogspot.com/
-- (Camping/Family Photos) http://picasaweb.google.com/pfundt/


sigpicnew.jpg



RV-Dreams Family Member

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Wow!  What a nice installation!

I'm in a similar situation... having a solar panel, but wanting to upgrade.  I have a couple of questions that maybe you could answer?

First, how can you tell the size of the current panel?  I bought my MH used and don't know the current size.

Second, how did you know what size of controller to purchase?  Did you buy them as a set or did the manufacturer assist with the sizing?

Thanks!

Ron


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Ron Clanton

Fuquay Varina, NC

2009 Monaco Cayman PKQ 38'



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Good questions Ron! 

We knew our original panel size wattage because we had the original book from it (it was factory installed) from Safari when the coach was built    ..but also on the back of most solar panels is a label that states the size.

It is important that you do not mix sizes, as any larger panels connected will be drawn down to the lowest panel amp size.   (just like when adding batteries)  So no sense adding 100 watt panels to an existing 65 or 75 watt panel.

As for the solar controller, we got one larger than needed for our array, in case we wanted to add more panels.  The one we chose will do up to 50 amps, and our four panels add up to about 26 amps (6.3 amps per panel)

This controller also had other features we wanted such as:
-MPPT (power tracking for more controlled use of power)
-multi 3 stage charging,
-ability to equalize the batteries
-and a temp sensor that shuts down the whole shebang if the batteries get too hot.

Hope that helped?




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KarenInTheWoods and Steveio
-- Safari Serengeti 38ft DP with
---Geo Tracker toad behind
-- Northwoods of Wisconsin
-- (Blog) http://kareninthewoods-kareninthewoods.blogspot.com/
-- (Camping/Family Photos) http://picasaweb.google.com/pfundt/


sigpicnew.jpg



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KarenInTheWoods wrote:
It is important that you do not mix sizes, as any larger panels connected will be drawn down to the lowest panel amp size.   (just like when adding batteries)  So no sense adding 100 watt panels to an existing 65 or 75 watt panel.




You can mix wattage of panels!  People do it all the time, what you can't do is mix panels with much difference in voltage.  The rule of thumb is to get panels within 1/2 volt open circuit voltage of each other, which is on the label.  There are working solar systems out there using a mix of 50 to 200 watt panels.



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Bill Joyce,
40' 2004 Dutch Star DP towing a 2012 AWD Chevy Equinox
Journal at http://www.sacnoth.com
Full-timing since July 2003



RV-Dreams Family Member

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Oh I didn't know that Bill.  Everything we read and researched said to not mix the sizes.   Guess we learn something new every day.  Thanks!

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KarenInTheWoods and Steveio
-- Safari Serengeti 38ft DP with
---Geo Tracker toad behind
-- Northwoods of Wisconsin
-- (Blog) http://kareninthewoods-kareninthewoods.blogspot.com/
-- (Camping/Family Photos) http://picasaweb.google.com/pfundt/


sigpicnew.jpg



RV-Dreams Family Member

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THANKS FOR THIS GREAT POST, took some of the mystery out of solar, G

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GOING FOR IT


RV-Dreams Family Member

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Nice! Good ideas there for future reference.

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Dreaming and doing the homework necessary.

Looking at:
F-350/Ram 3500 type truck, possibly an Airstream or a smaller 5th Wheel.

However, there is still time to change the configuration, just a plan.



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Karen,

You married well.  Can I rent Steveio for a solar install on my MH? biggrin

Incredible job done by a real craftsman.

Best Regards!

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Paul D
2007 Winnebago Journey 39K, Cat C7
 AKA "R-SANITY III"
2003 Honda Element 4WD Toad
 AKA "JRNYZ-END"
www.rsanityrvtravels.blogspot.com


RV-Dreams Family Member

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Old Snipe wrote:

Karen,

You married well.  Can I rent Steveio for a solar install on my MH? biggrin

Incredible job done by a real craftsman.

Best Regards!




heh heh.. about a hunnerd bucks n hour do ya fine?

 

Plus it takes two of us, I am his gopher!  LOL LOL

 

ps. Stevio is a maintenance mechanic in the facilities management of a college campus and is always building, constructing, remodeling and hooking up and unhooking interesting things at work every day.  So this was like *just another day* to him... what a guy!



__________________
KarenInTheWoods and Steveio
-- Safari Serengeti 38ft DP with
---Geo Tracker toad behind
-- Northwoods of Wisconsin
-- (Blog) http://kareninthewoods-kareninthewoods.blogspot.com/
-- (Camping/Family Photos) http://picasaweb.google.com/pfundt/


sigpicnew.jpg



RV-Dreams Family Member

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Looks nice....great job!

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Mike and Gerri Jones
2003  Dutch Star
2006 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
www.freedom2roll.blogspot.com


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Great job. Very similar to our installation. Don't you just love that feeling when you flip the switch and it works the first time? :)

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RV-Dreams Family Member

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Yup.. we checked out your link too!   

Having the solar all ready to go once we full time is a real blessing.  We were planning on doing it in the next two years, so my Mr Buzy Buzy just got his butt in gear early and did a Git Er Dun job!


__________________
KarenInTheWoods and Steveio
-- Safari Serengeti 38ft DP with
---Geo Tracker toad behind
-- Northwoods of Wisconsin
-- (Blog) http://kareninthewoods-kareninthewoods.blogspot.com/
-- (Camping/Family Photos) http://picasaweb.google.com/pfundt/


sigpicnew.jpg



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I believe they are on the verge of opening a new extension on one of their production facilities which will double their production capacity. I think I read that they may also be manufacturing in the US sometime in the future, after knocking back previous offers to manufacture in China.

 

 



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RV-Dreams Family Member

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i too plan to install solar in an array about the size you have installed... i may shoot you a question or two at a later date since i still have to buy a rig first :)

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RV fulltimer class of 2011 - March!
On the Road to Retirement...zeetraveler.blogspot.com



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Oh Sure Heyduke!   Actually you can shoot them to Steveio and I can type his replies (he misspells a lot)    Am watching your blog as you progress to RV ownership....


(this post made by a solar powered computer!)



-- Edited by KarenInTheWoods on Friday 30th of April 2010 05:16:37 AM

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KarenInTheWoods and Steveio
-- Safari Serengeti 38ft DP with
---Geo Tracker toad behind
-- Northwoods of Wisconsin
-- (Blog) http://kareninthewoods-kareninthewoods.blogspot.com/
-- (Camping/Family Photos) http://picasaweb.google.com/pfundt/


sigpicnew.jpg



RV-Dreams Community Member

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Looks pretty good!I m also planning to do such a solar installation at home in near future and so I was in search of this detailed information.

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portable battery charger
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