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Old 06-06-2009, 07:22 PM   #1
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Solar Panel installation

I am about to install a solar panel on the roof of my Cherokee 30F. I am concerned about finding a roof rib to insure a good tie down. Has anyone done this and how did they find the ribs?
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Old 06-07-2009, 09:26 PM   #2
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I have installed 2 130 watt panels on top of our Georgetown as well as an automatic satellite dish. It is almost impossible to find a roof rafter. If you notice how other items are attached to the roof by the factory you will notice that they use an adhesive/caulk and lots of it. The idea is to glue the item down and the screws only add slightly to the attachment. Make sure that any screws you put in are well covered in the caulk. You can get the same type of adhesive caulk from an RV supplier. If you have a rubber roof then you have to make sure that the product you use is made for that. One is called "Dicor". On the fiberglass roof we have I just used Liquid Nails synthetic silicone adhesive caulk from my local hardware store.
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Old 06-08-2009, 08:29 AM   #3
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I have seen some people use the rails of the ladder at the top of the camper as a mounting point for a small solar panel
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Old 03-16-2010, 05:50 PM   #4
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I need some help with a solar panel. I have had two 80 panels in use for a year and have had no problems.. Last week I added a 100 watt panel. The system quit working; It was obvious it had to be the new panel. When I disconnect the new panel the system works perfectly; but when I connect the new panel everything cuts out.. I checked the voltage with a voltmeter and the two old panels produce 18.5 volts in direct sunlight.. The reading at the new panel is only 10.5 volts. I opened the cover on the new panel and checked the voltage at the two diodes and still get 10.5 volts. The panel is rated at 17.5 volts..Anybody have a clue as to what is happening or how to correct this?
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Old 03-16-2010, 06:00 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crossfire View Post
I need some help with a solar panel. I have had two 80 panels in use for a year and have had no problems.. Last week I added a 100 watt panel. The system quit working; It was obvious it had to be the new panel. When I disconnect the new panel the system works perfectly; but when I connect the new panel everything cuts out.. I checked the voltage with a voltmeter and the two old panels produce 18.5 volts in direct sunlight.. The reading at the new panel is only 10.5 volts. I opened the cover on the new panel and checked the voltage at the two diodes and still get 10.5 volts. The panel is rated at 17.5 volts..Anybody have a clue as to what is happening or how to correct this?
Sorry, don't have the answer for ya. Think I would email or write one of the companies that deals in solar for RVs and ask them about it. Let us know what you find out.
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Old 03-17-2010, 01:34 PM   #6
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After an hour of research I decided to call AM Solar. I had purchased the HPV 22B controller from them and two panels but the one panel I had a problem with was from a dealer on EBay. Dale, one of the techs , helped me troubleshoot the panel. The problem was in the two diodes in the junction box of the panel. Apparently they were blocking the voltage from leaving the panel. ( I guess their purpose is to prevent battery discharge at night. However with a controller the diodes aren't needed as the controller prevents this from happening. Now the system is producing 13+ amps and my batteries are charging quickly. AM solar is one company that not only sells a product but is there for you when there's a problem.
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Old 03-18-2010, 12:51 AM   #7
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Thanks for the update. Out of curiosity what was the price on the panel you got on Ebay. Does the guy sell them all the time or was it a one off thing. After a few outings dry camping with ours I am resigned to the fact that to make up for those days when we don't get full sunlight I will have to add more panels at some time. I am thinking I may need two more.

Also have you looked at the tax credit for the alternative energy? I believe they extended it through 2010 so any solar panels bought after November of 2008 (not sure of the exact month) is eligible for up to 1/3 of the price credit. Again I might have the numbers a bit off but it's worth looking into. It certainly has me thinking of buying panels this year to take advantage of this. Someone here turned me onto it and I researched it a bit and wouldn't you know it I bought my system about 1 month before it went into effect. DANG!
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Nights camped in 2009: 53 | Nights camped in 2010: 55
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Old 03-18-2010, 02:47 PM   #8
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Solar Panels

The name of the company is UL Solar they account for about 90 percent of the panels advertised on EBay. They have multiple listings. I think the price for 100 Watt is in the $300 range. Also check out AM Solar's website. They have 100 watt panels with 44 cells instead 0f the normal 36. Their panels are made to their specs; are lighter in weight and smaller in overall size. They have all the extras for sale; including tilting brackets; combiner boxes; wiring etc. They are a top notch company. I have bought from them over the past 6 years and their products are top notch. The solar panel I bought on EBay was about 80 dollars cheaper but let's not forget the trouble I just went through.
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Old 03-18-2010, 02:48 PM   #9
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Of forget to add , Yes I did include the credit on my tax return. Good Point!!!
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Old 03-18-2010, 03:08 PM   #10
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Thanks Crossfire. I bought my setup from SPS solar. They had the best price at the time. I bought a 260W kit that was 2 panels plus tilting racks and the solar charge controller. I have since added the Trimetric 2025 battery monitor so I can keep an eye on our power usage when we are out dry camping. Also making the change over to LED lighting as I can.
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