Previous (closed) thread Solar on our RV
showed our setup. Took a 2-week dry camping trip, and here are results & updates.
We tested the bendable panels before installing but 3 failed completely and the 4th had dropped to roughly half output. So on this trip we ran the generator about every 2-1/2 days but the Magnum inverter/charger has a 125 Amp charger so it didn't need to run for long. And we apologized to the neighbors...
The next trip to civilization we emailed Renogy. They replied they had a bad run of the bendable panels and promised to replace with other product or give 100% credit - that was a huge relief! The bendable panels had been secured to the roof with Velcro and the edges sealed with Eternabond. Found evidence of water under the panels so we can't recommend that method. Renogy sent 3 – 150 Watt panels, they are bolted to the roof & the brackets covered with Dicor. Renogy sent a check for the difference, too. We are very pleased with Renogy customer service!
Also added a 50 Watt Renogy PV panel and simple PWM charge controller for the toad (on a prior trip the toad had severely discharged its antiquated battery). About $100 delivered, and we also use it to charge NP-7 batteries we use for other purposes. Chose not to use the 7-pin cable to charge the toad as it came loose once before (wonder if someone stepped on it rather than walk around the car) and smeared the connector half-way across New Mexico. We also carry a $15 set of HF trailer lights with a 7-pin connector if all else fails.
We carry a short #6 AWG jumper with clips on the ends. Can bypass the fuse, switches or even the charge controller if needed. Also carry a 3KW MSW inverter with jumper cable-type clips, so another option is start the truck engine, clip that to the battery and plug in the RV power cord. The original equipment WFCO charger is still installed, so we could plug it in if needed. And speaking of options, the Battery Isolation Manager provides bidirectional charging but only for the bulk stage; on this trip we used a clip lead from the house battery to turn on that relay for additional charge while traveling.
We found the 400 Amp-hour battery capacity to be sweet. A cloudy day or so does not cause any inconvenience. Because we routed the shore power – generator relay to the Magnum input, we automatically switch to the electricity that is available, and the inverter power is distributed through all outlets.
Just in case we had not mentioned it, we are extremely pleased with Renogy customer service.
It is wonderful to press a switch and have electricity without noise or fuel consumption. We enjoy the peace & quiet in the wild places, and want to make little impact on them.