Solar Panels Installed

Discussion in 'My Favorite Mods, Tips, Tricks (and Blunders!)' started by PopUpSteve, Oct 12, 2021.

  1. PopUpSteve

    PopUpSteve Administrator

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    I got my two flex panels on the roof last week. Still routing the wiring and have to mount the charge controller but they're working. I'll post some better photos and a more detailed account shortly.

    This first photo is pre-mounting, just marking the positions.
    Solar Panels - 01.jpg

    Post Tape-Down. These aren't going anywhere!
    Solar Panels - 02.jpg
     
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  2. Annunzi

    Annunzi Active Member

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    Looks good! what type of tape did you use, VHB? I'm curious to know how you route the wires, my concern would be they don't get pinched/caught each time the pup is raised/lowered.
     
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  3. PopUpSteve

    PopUpSteve Administrator

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    I used EternaBond RoofSeal White 3" x 50' on the outside and 3M 1/2-5-RP32 VHB Tape 0.5 in width x 5 yd length for the backing.

    I didn't want to drill through the roof or sidewall of the camper so I made a quick connect at the end of the cables from the panels and routed a cable from that point under the roof lip and over to where the wires for the ceiling lights and used that pocket in the canvas to bring the cables down. Then I bring the plug to the AC power hatch and into the camper. I'll have photos and complete parts list soon.
     
  4. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

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    Just curious why you chose that particular placement on the roof. I would have thought you would want it closer to the battery.
     
  5. PopUpSteve

    PopUpSteve Administrator

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    The charge controller had to go inside and the placement of the wires as noted above kept the look fairly clean when open.
     
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  6. Arruba

    Arruba Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Looks good. I would not have thought of VHB tape. Thanks for the tip.
     
  7. PopUpSteve

    PopUpSteve Administrator

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    I routed a cable under the roof lip and over to where the wires for the ceiling lights are located. I used that pocket in the canvas to bring the cables down.
    Solar Panels - 03.jpg

    Then I bring the plug into the camper through the AC power hatch.
    Solar Panels - 05.jpg
    The other line coming out of the hatch is the temporary line from the charge controller to the battery. That will be replaced with a permanent line along the underside of the camper and up to the batteries.

    solar.jpg
    This line gets disconnected at both ends and is tucked away with the canvas when the camper is closed. Then a shorter line is used to keep the batteries charged when the camper is in storage.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2021
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  8. SteveP

    SteveP Well-Known Member Platinum Supporting Member

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    You've probably already got this covered, but a connector at the bottom of the wiring pocket would allow you to to simply push the remaining wire back into the mouse hole instead of having to fold it into the canvas, and the wire through the mouse hole could be long enough to reach the drops from the panels, reducing the overall number of connections when down. The leads to the controller could be permanently attached for reliability.
     
  9. PopUpSteve

    PopUpSteve Administrator

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    Yup, the piece that is in the wiring pocket is only 10ft long. So it's connection to the inside wire is just inside the mouse hole (good nickname). I pull the inside connector out of the mouse hole, make the connection, and push it back in so the connector does not get wet. I wanted to leave enough of the outside wire exposed to be able to form a drip-loop. Since the skin of my camper is metal, I can use magnet hooks to position the wire for a drip-loop.
     
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  10. Susan Premo

    Susan Premo Well-Known Member

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    Do you get purple Martin's in your bird house? They're great to watch.
     
  11. PopUpSteve

    PopUpSteve Administrator

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    No tenants in the bird house, the rent is too high.
     
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  12. PopUpSteve

    PopUpSteve Administrator

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    In getting ready for the road, I found one mistake I’ve made. I went to clean off the panels and found it very difficult to reach the whole panel. I should have put them on opposing sides.
     
  13. BillyMc

    BillyMc Well-Known Member

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    I was thinking you must be really tall when I was looking at the one in the middle.
    If you are in their breeding zone you may want to put the house higher or in a more open area. They will use one as low as 10', but if there is surrounding stuff it needs to be higher.
     
  14. azwildcat

    azwildcat New Member

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    i was just thinking of adding solar to mine, and just like you i don't want to drill into my roof, i don;t know about you but my pup has to stay outside and i don't have a cover, how would it be protected from rain, hail, ect, so i've been looking at portable foldable solar panels kits on amazon, dos anybody have any experience with these, good or bad
     
  15. Anthony Hitchings

    Anthony Hitchings Well-Known Member

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    Four our vacation mode, the ability to charge from sunlight while driving on long days out here in the SW is helpful. You may not need that.
     
  16. PopUpSteve

    PopUpSteve Administrator

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    I went the portable route, even did some mods to the camper to tie-down the panel to the roof, both open and close (see: New Tie-downs for Solar Panel). I'm not the most trusting soul so I never wanted to just leave the portable panels on the ground thinking they would be stolen. They also only lasted about 2 years for me, between folding/unfolding and being left exposed to the elements.
     
  17. gladecreekwy

    gladecreekwy Well-Known Member

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    This has been working well for us. Keeps our two group 24 batteries topped off. We don't use much power. We have a pup and a TT so we can use for either
    https://www.popupportal.com/threads/simple-solar-set-up.128482/#post-1333315
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2021

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