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Old 05-07-2016, 11:31 AM   #1
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HTT with Permanent Solar

Hi all,

I know there are lots of threads regarding solar. I currently use solar for my Roo 23IKSS. Last summer we spent about 55 nights boondocking.

My current setup is a 100w Renogy, 15amp Zamp waterproof charge controller and 2 group 24 12volt deep cycle batteries.

What I am looking for is anyone who has permanently installed panels on the roof of their hybrid and where you ran the wiring.

Thanks.
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Old 05-08-2016, 03:30 PM   #2
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Jefferson... I decided to keep my 200 watts of panels portable since when boondocking it is more important to keep the camper in the shade due to no A/C. I thought back about how "we" camped over the past 15 years of pop ups and realized that we only put the camper in the sun when necessary and that we almost always preferred the shade. We also prefer our state parks and other similar places that tend to be wooded. Since even the tiniest bit of shade across one cell drops output considerably... our use case really pointed to keeping the panels mobile.

That said, before I made my final decision to keep the panels mobile, I had decided that the best route on my Roo 19 was to run the wires into the A/C unit and then pull them to follow the power wires for the A/C, through the roof and down the wall by the fridge. My panels would have had to been on the curb side of the A/C unit and the fridge and plumbing vents were all on the street side, so that would have meant extra cable to secure running across the roof. Also, there was plenty of space under the A/C cover to put a waterproof, plastic, electrical box to be a combiner box to tie all of the panels together.

One thing to consider is that, unless you have certain cites that you frequent, you never know which way the trailer will be facing. With the cramped space on the roof of a hybrid, it is VERY easy to find yourself with shadows from other roof items on the panel, even if you are not in a wooded area.

I may in the future add a single panel to the roof, that might help to prevent the need to deploy the portable ones if we are camping in open country, but I will pay attention to how often that would even be useful. I can always take the legs off of the portable panels and mount them should I decided to at a later date.

Do an internet search for "handy Bob's solar blog" for a lot of good info and ideas to consider when you are planning your system.
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Old 05-09-2016, 09:42 AM   #3
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Jefferson, we have two ~100 watt panels permanently mounted on our 233S. Previously they were installed on our Jayco hybrid. On both hybrids they were professionally installed, but I watched closely how they did it. I also removed the stuff from the Jayco.

Typically the wiring is run down the fridge vent by making a small access hole in the bug screen below the vent cover. On the 233S it was handy to install the controller in the unused plenum above the fridge, and run the two power wires to the main power control centre located below the fridge; careful about wiring with the cut-off switch.

I am not familiar enough with the IKSS to know if the fridge vent will work with the kitchen slide? Someone else with your specific model may know better.

For fastening to the roof, they just used four brackets per panel with one large screw per bracket. Dycor below the bracket and over the edges and screws to seal to the roof membrane. Some wire hold downs with small wood screws were used, but honestly I think the Dycor holds so well after it sets the brackets are probably not required. No issues after several years on the Jayco.

HTH

Stu

PS We are most often dry camping at dog shows, which usually means blistering heat in the direct sun in the middle of a fair ground or whatever. The dog show organizers tend to leave the shade for the pouches. . I considered going the portable route when we got the Roo, but we carry soo much stuff in the trailer the panels would not fit easily.
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Old 05-09-2016, 10:08 AM   #4
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Thanks Stu.

My concern is the fridge as well. The power centre is not part of the slide out kitchen, so wiring becomes an issue.

I'm thinking of wiring in a separate invertor (with fuses) just for 1 recepticle.

If you don't mind me asking, how much did the professional install cost?
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Old 05-09-2016, 10:47 AM   #5
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I think it was around $350 to $500. In both cases it was a mobile technician that our local dealer used and recommended, but the billing was direct to the mobile tech. The original tech retired, so we used a different guy the second time.

As an aside, we didn't use the dealer where we bought the trailer, rather I routinely go to a Coachmen dealer that I am more comfortable with for parts and stuff. Bought the panels from the Coachmen dealer, hence the tech recommendation. Were you planning to use your existing panels and controller?

Having been through the drill the first time I was comfortable doing the job myself on the Roo. My dear wife not so much! . I was frankly more concerned with how to attach to the roof than the wiring details, so in the end happy to have the expert do the work. I think he was happy to have me there to help pass the panels up and stuff; the job is easier with some assistance.

Stu
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Old 05-09-2016, 10:48 AM   #6
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I bought two 100 watt panels for our 23IKSS. My intent was to mount one and have one be portable. I started out playing around with just the one portable panel and found we were mostly dry camping in shaded spots. The one panel wasn't quite enough output, so I ended up going with 2 portable panels last year. Had good results, but they are heavy/bulky to carry and store. Plus a permanently mounted panel makes a perfect battery maintainer when in storage.


What I may do is buy a third panel and mount it as planned. I still have the brackets, dicor, and well nuts to mount one on the roof. Anyhow with the fridge vent being out as an option, I was going to run the cables through the grey water vent. I think the back half of the roof has the best areas for mounting the panels anyway. If you look underneath, you can see the vent line entering the top of the grey water tank. My plan was to drill a 3/8 or 1/2" hole in that line just above the tank and use a metal fish tape and feed it up to the roof. The vent cap should be easy to pop off on the roof. Then fish the wires down through the vent pipe and out the hole and seal it back up with silicone. I put the charge controller and a hard wired inverter in the front pass through so you could run the panel wires underneath the floor and up into the pass through to connect to the charge controller.
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Old 05-09-2016, 01:27 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dragon-roo View Post
Jefferson... I decided to keep my 200 watts of panels portable since when boondocking it is more important to keep the camper in the shade due to no A/C. I thought back about how "we" camped over the past 15 years of pop ups and realized that we only put the camper in the sun when necessary and that we almost always preferred the shade. We also prefer our state parks and other similar places that tend to be wooded. Since even the tiniest bit of shade across one cell drops output considerably... our use case really pointed to keeping the panels mobile......

Do an internet search for "handy Bob's solar blog" for a lot of good info and ideas to consider when you are planning your system.
What do you do for security of the panels with portable panels? And thanks for reference it looks like lots of info and further references.

Jeff
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Old 05-09-2016, 01:29 PM   #8
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I know this is a solar thread, but DO consider windmills. They are mostly quiet, and operate in the shade and at night too. Of course, they do require wind, but solar requires the sun. If you have the money, consider both!
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Old 05-09-2016, 05:38 PM   #9
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I just installed 2 go power 100 watt flex panels using 3m vhb tape on the underside and eternabon tape on the edges. Really pleased the the results. Found a spot behind tv antenna mount for the go power cable junction box. Used eternabon doublesided putty tape to embed the cable box, dicor for on the screws and more seam tape around the cable junction box.
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Old 05-09-2016, 06:11 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by jwfrede View Post
What do you do for security of the panels with portable panels? And thanks for reference it looks like lots of info and further references.

Jeff
Our Renogy panel frames have holes along the edge. I put a padlock through the hole and connect it to a 12' long 3/8" (I think) steel cable which gets locked to the nearest permanent object. It would be very easy to cut the aluminum panel frame but it is a deterrent.
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