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Old 04-24-2016, 01:06 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by DanM-AZ View Post
The most I've seen out of my 200 watts of panels was 9-point-something amps. That was after the battery was down, maybe 25% from overnight use. The amps you get to your battery will depend very much on its state of discharge. If your battery is well-charged, even in full sunlight, your charge controller will trickle you down to well under 1 amp. So let's see, with a charge voltage sitting at say, 13.8V, with 1 amp of charging current, that's only 13.8 watts.

So let's look at my other example, 9.5 amps, charge voltage at 14.4V (the voltage will be raised during the "bulk" charge stage), that's 136.8 watts. Now this is with a PWM charge controller. If you have a MPPT controller, you may well see much better than that being delivered to your battery.

The bottom line is, what you get depends on how much charge your battery needs.

So that brings up some more questions from me: What kind of a charge controller are you running, and how many amp-hours of battery do you have? My opinion is that you want a battery or bank that has at least the number of amp-hours, as your panels are in watts for a good, balanced system.
OK...this makes since. I was seeing 9.8 amps at 13.5 volts, so 130 watts. I would say my batteries (2-6 volt 200 AH AGM's) where down about 10%. I am using a Viewstar PWM 20 amp controller and was measuring via the display on the controller with tells me the volts, amps, and watts going into the controller. There was no load on the battery and no load from the controller.
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Old 04-24-2016, 01:47 PM   #12
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nice install of the panels -- do you know the efficiency differences of the flex type versus the more solid panel type monocrystalline type renergy type etc - like in DanM's setup -- the flex is clearly lighter -- no frame -- how are the panel affixed?

curious -- why take the wiring through the roof panel -- does the side wall setup - takedown have potential to interfere with wiring path?-- versus -- some extension of wiring to the from storage box or from battery box-- as noted where is the charge controller and type -- battery setup

I planning for a major solar update when I buy my A-Frame next year as I head into full retirement and plan to use it a great deal each year

think of 2 or 4 6volt deep cycle batteries -- so lot of AMPhrs - thinking mounting two panels on the camper as your's and DAnM's project -- but having a portable input into the system - that could be setup and optimally pointed to feed another panel or set of panels into the system if needed or desired -- like the many example of such portable solar feed to charge batteries

I'm reading and researching oddles of upgrade projects for A-Frames and camper -- I currently targeting a A213HW type A-Frame -- and also want to do some work to allow use in colder weather times as well

again nice job
I didn't research the efficiency between the two. Here is a link to the panels I purchased.

http://www.amazon.com/HQST-Monocryst...&keywords=hqst

I used 2 inch Eternabond. I have it around the bubble windows and have had good luck with it. I was planning on adding some 3M VHB tape to the underside in a few spots but got excited when taping down the panels and completely forgot. Removing the Eternabond tape is a PITA. I am not worried about the tape failing and it is secure, however if I did it over I probably would add some VHB tape in a few spots just for good measure.

I decide to go through the roof because I thought it would look the cleanest. It is close but, no problems clearing the wall. The cable clamps on the inside wall are over sized for the cable so that it can move freely when lower the wall and they do not bind up. Kind of like how a brake line moves through the clamp on a motorcycle fork.

The controller is under the seat. I did purchase the MT-50 remote for the controller and was planning on mounting it under the radio, however it is an old style LCD and can't be viewed at an angle. I already have a volt meter mounted by the radio and can open the cargo hatch from the outside of the camper to view the controller display so I think I am going to return it. I am running 10 AWG wire from the controller, through the floor to the battery. The controller is supposed to have 6 inched of clearance above and below when mounted horizontal. I called Renogy and made sure I could mount vertically. I have more like 3 or four inches of clearance so I am going to add some vents/grills so that air can move though the storage compartment. If heat becomes a factor I will add a cpu fan and maybe a thermal switch like i have on my refrigerator vent.
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Old 04-24-2016, 02:26 PM   #13
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Solar!

Biscuit:

This is pretty timely for me too.

First: My battery duo (lead-acid marine coach batts) are about belly up in
my '13 Solera 24S (housed under the entrance steps but accessible).

Second: Am going to replace them very soon but have seen a few comments
about subbing in a few golf cart 6V batts (wired in series I assume?) as
opposed to the usual parallel 12V duo's). Should I upgrade to AGM's(Sam Club)
or stick with the same protocol? What are the advantages of four
6V batts. vs. a pair of 12's, if you know? Experienced comments
welcome, of course, from you and others...

Third: THAT being said, are your solar panels dumping into the house batteries with
a controller in between, or are you just using an auxilliary battery?

Fourth: I was thinking about getting the same flexible setup as you have on
my roof and might use your eg. as the template. VERY pro job, btw!

Fifth: Somebody has to ask this one, so then I will...how much are the
flex panels costing, including the controller? Suggestions of where
and how to buy (eBay? Nope\yes?)? The rest would be DIY by me,
I hope.

Sixth: How many MAN HOURS for the install?

SORRY for all these mundane questions but if you or others have the time to
answer, I'm sure many others besides myself will benefit. I think it's HIGH
TIME the the RV industry starts offering these kind of set-up's on a regular
basis, or at least as a company option! What think you? Hope you have a
lot of success and enjoyment off-the-grid with your addition!! Be safe as
we are all in it together! -PB
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Old 04-24-2016, 06:03 PM   #14
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Flexible Panel

I bought mine from eBay at $180 for a flexible panel. I glued it to the roof with silicone. Installation is variable, depending on how you do it. You do need a controller. If you've got a motor home, you'll want a battery isolator, so you don't run down the starting battery if you run down the house batteries. Trimetric charge contoller with monitor is the high end way to go. Morningstar makes a good controller if you want to go cheaper. Use big wires. Therse calculators will help you figure out voltage drop. You don't want more than about 3%. Charge controller needs to be close to batteries. The third link will tell you more than you want to know.

Voltage Drop Calculator
Watts to amps (A) conversion calculator
https://handybobsolar.wordpress.com/...ging-puzzle-2/
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Old 04-25-2016, 12:29 PM   #15
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An MPPT controller will allow you to get more from the panels and do a better job of charging the batteries with it. 12V solar panels have a power output curve that usually peaks somewhere around 16V. The MPPT controller measures the power output from the panels and adjusts the current draw to maximize power. Once the controller has this power available, it uses DC-DC voltage regulators to drop the voltage (which increases the amps available) to the appropriate voltage for whatever part of the charge cycle they are working in.

Another advantage of MPPT controllers is that you can wire the panels in series instead of parallel. Compared to parallel wiring, the voltage is doubled and the current is cut in half. Cutting the current in half eliminates 75% of the power losses in the wires between the panels and the controller. A third advantage of MPPT controllers with series wired panels is that the higher voltage available means that there's a little additional time each day, early morning and late afternoon, when the panels will be able to generate enough power to charge the batteries.

Phil
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Old 04-25-2016, 02:22 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by pmsherman View Post
An MPPT controller will allow you to get more from the panels and do a better job of charging the batteries with it. 12V solar panels have a power output curve that usually peaks somewhere around 16V. The MPPT controller measures the power output from the panels and adjusts the current draw to maximize power. Once the controller has this power available, it uses DC-DC voltage regulators to drop the voltage (which increases the amps available) to the appropriate voltage for whatever part of the charge cycle they are working in.

Another advantage of MPPT controllers is that you can wire the panels in series instead of parallel. Compared to parallel wiring, the voltage is doubled and the current is cut in half. Cutting the current in half eliminates 75% of the power losses in the wires between the panels and the controller. A third advantage of MPPT controllers with series wired panels is that the higher voltage available means that there's a little additional time each day, early morning and late afternoon, when the panels will be able to generate enough power to charge the batteries.

Phil
THANK YOU for this Phil...all great stuff and helpful! -PB
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Old 04-26-2016, 12:35 AM   #17
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Very educational thread!

Now would anybody know if this would negatively affect the power roof lifting system (due to its weight)?
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Old 04-26-2016, 01:07 AM   #18
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Problem I see putting these on an A-frame like you have: Panels will only put out maximum current when the sun is perpendicular to the panels. This is almost NEVER unless you have panels you can adjust to face perpendicular. For most people who put them on a flat roof, they'll get sun all day, but not perpendicular. In your case, you're going to have to make sure the roof section you've mounted them on is always facing south. If it is, you're actually going to do better, current-wise, than those with panels on a flat roof. The problem is going to be finding campsites where you can always face south. If you're facing east or west, you'll do well for a few hours in the morning (east) or evening (west). If you're facing north, you won't do well at all.
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Old 04-26-2016, 01:59 AM   #19
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Thought I would share some pics of my solar project. I installed 2 100 watt flex panels on my A122SXR. I had it out around 6 pm last night and it was producing around 150 watts. Was excited to leave it out all day today to see what it would peak out at, but the weather has changed and is cloudy and it only putting out about 20 watts facing due south.

The panels only weigh about 4 pounds each, but since the are toward the top it is harder to raise the roof. Thinking about replacing the OEM gas lift struts (2 x 30 lb) with 2 x 50 lb struts.
Very Nice clean install. Congrats. Unless you are a real power hog, 200 watts will get you a long way.

Tom
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Old 04-26-2016, 04:28 PM   #20
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Problem I see putting these on an A-frame like you have: Panels will only put out maximum current when the sun is perpendicular to the panels. This is almost NEVER unless you have panels you can adjust to face perpendicular. For most people who put them on a flat roof, they'll get sun all day, but not perpendicular. In your case, you're going to have to make sure the roof section you've mounted them on is always facing south. If it is, you're actually going to do better, current-wise, than those with panels on a flat roof. The problem is going to be finding campsites where you can always face south. If you're facing east or west, you'll do well for a few hours in the morning (east) or evening (west). If you're facing north, you won't do well at all.
Real world experience with just such a setup:
  1. The reason I mounted mine permanently on the A-Frame slope is because I am primarily a boondocker. I usually have the freedom to pick a spot that is clear of trees to the south of me, and I can park the front of the trailer facing south.
  2. Even when I cannot park optimally facing south, facing east or west, I will have optimum sun angle to the panels for many hours -- enough to give my little hard-sided tent all the power it needs. An A-Frame does not have huge power demands. 200 watts is ample, maybe even overkill, for an A-Frame's power needs.
  3. Even facing north, which I once had to do, the 200 watts was able to keep up with my power demands just from ambient, shaded light. I was surprised by that, but it is true.
I live in Arizona - the nation's bullseye for maximum solar "insolation". If you live elsewhere, you may not see quite such good results.
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