Thought I would share my weekend's work.* I installed a new flexible solar panel to the roof of our Sabre 34TBOK and switched out our 12v battery for two 6v Trojan T105.*
We don't do a lot of boon docking but we find that when we do, on a cool night where the furnace runs a few times, our battery is dead by morning.* Add to that, we don't have shore power at the storage lot so it's rare to get a full charge before we head out. We are also hoping that we will be able to keep the fridge going between trips in the summer and cut down the loading time and fridge space required at home.*
The panel is a GoPower! Flex 100 and is 100 watts and comes with a 30amp pwm charge controller.* As with most panels, this one has the option to tie in additional panels.*
Overall the panel install was pretty straight forward.* I went with the flex as I didn't like the idea of drilling holes in the roof and the curve of our roof was likely to be an issue with a rigid panel without some serious shims. To mount the panel, I used Dicor on the bottom and around the edges. I wired the system directly to the batteries so that the panel can continue to charge the batteries even if I have the battery disconnect switch turned off.* This will hopefully keep the batteries maintained over the winter.*
The battery install was easy but required cutting a hole in the metal subfloor to put in a drop in battery box like the one the trailer comes with from factory.* Sparks and RV building materials make me nervous!
The only real problems I encountered was trying to fish the panel wires under the floor between the kitchen and the steps up to the master bunk.* I ended up having to cut another hole in the floor behind the steps in order to get my hand under there to clear away the insulation and guide the fish tape. The other issue was installing the charge controller as I ran into a wood stud that I wasn't anticipating but a few notches with the scroll saw fixed that up.
Overall, I'm happy with the way it turned out and I seen parts of our rv that one never thinks to look at. * And is there ever saw dust from the factory behind panels! *
In full sun the panel was putting out 19 volts before the controller and was cranking out 4.1 amps according to the display. If we can get a solid 4-5 hours a day at that rate for most of a week, I'll be happy with that.*
Total investment is about $1100 CDN with the panel kit costing $650, batteries at $350, plus battery cables and box with vent.*
Here are some pics of the install: