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Old 11-16-2016, 12:56 PM   #1
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Solar system and inverter install

Getting ready to install a 200 watt Go Power solar system with a 30 amp PWM controller, Transfer switch and inverter into our 2017 Surveyor 247BHS.
At a later date I will be adding another 200 watts for a total of 400....
I will do my best to take pics during the install and if I have time maybe a short video posted to you tube.
I have a few more items to purchase and a little pre planning to see where things will be mounted and wires run prior to getting started.
Hopefully my install will be helpful to someone looking to install their own system.


Stay tuned

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Old 11-19-2016, 10:33 AM   #2
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Picked up most of the items to get started on the install.... Now hopefully the weather will cooperate for at least one of my days off in the near future..
Already itching to buy the extra 200 watts of panels.
The most interesting part on this system will be seeing how the 30A PWM controller does in comparison to the 20A MPPT that was in my previous trailer. I am not expecting much difference as the MPPT really wasn't being used to it's full potential with 12v panels, but it will be interesting to compare non the less.
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Old 11-19-2016, 07:45 PM   #3
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You will be leaving a lot of watts "on the table" with a PWM over a MPPT controller. Been there, done that. There is a reason the PWM unit is so much cheaper. You get what you pay for.
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Old 11-19-2016, 09:53 PM   #4
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You will be leaving a lot of watts "on the table" with a PWM over a MPPT controller. Been there, done that. There is a reason the PWM unit is so much cheaper. You get what you pay for.
If I had chose to go with 24v panels the MPPT would be my choice hands down. With my previous system I found that 12v panels in parallel really didn't do much in the way of taking advantage of the MPPT controller. and with the system I had, running the panels in series wasn't gaining me anything either (unless I was in full sun). Most of the places we camp have trees and in series if one panel is shaded the other gets knocked out as well, for us that meant no charging most of the time.... Running the panels parallel may have put out less power but if one panel was shaded the other would still function.
With the MPPT controller and 12v panels I might have gained a max of +-1.5A under perfect conditions but most of the time 1.0A or less. So at least in our case the extra money for MPPT seemed to be a waste.

I have been on the fence on the PWM controller but as it came with the system I thought it would at least be worth a try.
The GP-PWM-30 seems to get decent reviews. And the way I see it, if I don't like it I can always upgrade my system at a later date.

I am certainly open to suggestions on ways to improve my system, and learning what works and doesn't work by people who have real world experience with RV's and Solar Systems.
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Old 11-20-2016, 01:36 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikakuja View Post
If I had chose to go with 24v panels the MPPT would be my choice hands down. With my previous system I found that 12v panels in parallel really didn't do much in the way of taking advantage of the MPPT controller. and with the system I had, running the panels in series wasn't gaining me anything either (unless I was in full sun). Most of the places we camp have trees and in series if one panel is shaded the other gets knocked out as well, for us that meant no charging most of the time.... Running the panels parallel may have put out less power but if one panel was shaded the other would still function.
With the MPPT controller and 12v panels I might have gained a max of +-1.5A under perfect conditions but most of the time 1.0A or less. So at least in our case the extra money for MPPT seemed to be a waste.

I have been on the fence on the PWM controller but as it came with the system I thought it would at least be worth a try.
The GP-PWM-30 seems to get decent reviews. And the way I see it, if I don't like it I can always upgrade my system at a later date.

I am certainly open to suggestions on ways to improve my system, and learning what works and doesn't work by people who have real world experience with RV's and Solar Systems.
I look at it the same way. I currently have 2-100 watt Renogy on my roof with a 30 amp Renogy PWM controller and a Renogy 100 watt suitcase (portable). Because, we also camp where there are a lot of trees. As long as the batteries are fully charged at the end of the day, who cares wether it's getting a few extra amps per hour. The batteries only accept so much so fast anyway. May add another 100 watt panel to the roof, will see what Black Friday has to offer.
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Old 11-20-2016, 01:16 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikakuja View Post
If I had chose to go with 24v panels the MPPT would be my choice hands down. With my previous system I found that 12v panels in parallel really didn't do much in the way of taking advantage of the MPPT controller. and with the system I had, running the panels in series wasn't gaining me anything either (unless I was in full sun). Most of the places we camp have trees and in series if one panel is shaded the other gets knocked out as well, for us that meant no charging most of the time.... Running the panels parallel may have put out less power but if one panel was shaded the other would still function.
With the MPPT controller and 12v panels I might have gained a max of +-1.5A under perfect conditions but most of the time 1.0A or less. So at least in our case the extra money for MPPT seemed to be a waste.
Mika,
When you use an MPPT Controller, don't hook the panels in parallel. Hook them in series. Some MPPT Controllers can handle 51v input, which allows three panels in series. Otherwise, use 2 panels in series. If you have 4 panels, two two parallel systems of 2 in series, etc.

It is up to you to get the high voltage for the MPPT system.
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Old 11-20-2016, 02:07 PM   #7
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I am very interested and in seeing your install. Hopefully you can post pictures as you go. Solar Panels is going to be on my Christmas list.
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Old 11-20-2016, 02:08 PM   #8
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Series is nice, but any shading will hurt you even more. For shading, parallel is the preferred method.
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Old 11-20-2016, 02:22 PM   #9
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What I have learned is this.
Gordonsick, I agree with your statement, MPPT requires high voltage to take advantage of it's full capabilities.
In our case a small 2 panel system in series did not work for us. Too often one of the panels was shaded rendering the other useless (no charging). So we found that we would require a minimuim of 4 panels, 2ea in series then in parallel, so that if one set is in shade the other will still be able to function if it sees sun, (6 panels would be better yet).
Our downfall on the previous system was the 20A controller which limited us to 260w. We already had 2 100w mono panels which when wired in series did take advantage of the MPPT but as said above too often one was shaded rendering both panels useless...
We found that buying an extra panel wiring all 3 parallel and maxing the controller gave us the results we wanted. As long as at least one of the panels seen sun we were charging... We had more than enough power to keep our 2 6v 225AH GC batteries at full charge.
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Old 11-20-2016, 05:59 PM   #10
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Solar

I have been interested in installing solar panels on my Palomini FB180 but a little (LOT) scared of mounting on the roof without creating leaks. I would love videos and explanations of how you mounted the panels on your roof.
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Old 11-20-2016, 06:15 PM   #11
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Leaks!

Worried about leaks? Look at how many penetrations your roof already has. Decor and eternabond are your friends! Go for it!
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Old 11-20-2016, 06:23 PM   #12
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Solar systems

But how the heck do you know where the supports are and what exactly is in your roof to tie to.
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Old 11-20-2016, 06:43 PM   #13
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The roof

I found the roof bracing by tapping until I found the brace. Sounds a bit less hollow where the brace is. Also, one mounting was near a vent. I took the inside vent out, and was able to see where some of the ribs are.
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Old 11-20-2016, 09:30 PM   #14
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Get some double stick (double sided sticky) eternabond tape. Mount a strip under each mount's foot. Screw them in and them cover feet with tons of dicor.

I hit a 4 inch tree branch last month and it bent a solar panel mount but the mount was still firmly attached to the roof.

Wish I could say the branch didn't do any damage but I'm gonna need a new roof next Spring. Can hardly wait to do it myself.
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Old 11-20-2016, 09:50 PM   #15
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I found the roof bracing by tapping until I found the brace. Sounds a bit less hollow where the brace is. Also, one mounting was near a vent. I took the inside vent out, and was able to see where some of the ribs are.
I am following this with interest and if you can, where would you run the cable from the panel to the interior of the trailer (or whatever)??
Wouldn't the cable have to be ran thru the arched roof structure and on down?
Where?....a roof vent or??

Thanks
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Old 11-20-2016, 10:37 PM   #16
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I used well nuts to anchor my panel to the roof. I put a dab of Dicor in the hole before inserting the well nut, Dicor under the panel feet followed by plenty of Dicor over the bolt and feet. I ran my wires down the vent for the refrigerator. No leaks after 1 season.
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Old 11-21-2016, 06:44 AM   #17
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Hi,

My refer is in the slide, so I couldn't bring my wires down that way.

Instead I drilled a hole in the side of the gray water tank vent tube on the roof, and ran them down to a hole drilled in that tube in the basement, and over to the controller location. Dicor sealed the relatively small hole up top, with typical caulk sealing things at the bottom.

Hope this helps.

Rich Phillips
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Old 11-21-2016, 07:58 AM   #18
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M, what you are doing (other than brand).

As for others worrying about mounting / drilling the roof. I drilled 3 holes and mounted 12 brackets. I would have liked to hit a rafter but since the deck is 5/8 plywood, that isn't necessary. I hit a few, but most missed. I used butyl tape under the DIY "legs" then buried them in Dicor as I did with the holes... over filled with Dicor. Its good stuff. Of course, not everyone has plywood, so well nuts, etc. could be better on different roof construction.

Funny all the people that have turned marketing hype to personal convictions.

"Many people believe that MPPT type chargers are always better than PWM chargers: We have compared at least one commonly used MPPT charger with the SC-2030 and found that under very ordinary conditions the SC-2030 delivered more charge to the batteries. We measured this when the ambient temperature was 70 F degrees in full sun, and when the proper panels matched to the batteries were being used and when charging over 13.0 volts (the most common charging range with lead acid batteries.)

The SC-2030 is a "PWM" (Pulse width modulated) type that is simpler and less costly than a "MPPT" (Maximum Power Point Tracking) type charger. As said, the SC-2030 can give even better performance under some common situations. MPPT technology can give some advantage when temperatures are low, and it is necessary for good power transfer when panel voltage is much higher than the battery system voltage. With the SC-2030 (or other PWM charger), you may be able to get more total performance at the same cost by purchasing another properly matched solar panel instead of a more expensive MPPT solar charger.

A common mistake for evaluating MPPT performance is to compare their (lower) solar input current with (higher) output battery current, and thinking this additional current is solely due to the MPPT charger. This is incorrect, and will give an exaggerated impression of its advantage. A comparison must be done by changing to the PWM controller and then comparing battery currents."
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Old 11-21-2016, 08:51 AM   #19
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M, what you are doing (other than brand).
Hi.....not sure if your refering to me as M?..

I just want a solar system to keep up 2 AGM batts.
The trailer is not yet bought and I just want to start
doing my due diligence beforehand.

One person use.....no need for all the comforts of home.
Dry camp mostly in Nat'l forests out West.

My expected usage would only be to power an inverter to run a laptop, portable Sirius boombox radio and house LED lights.

It looks like a 160W single panel will do the trick

The trailer I am considering has a curved roof....as do most all I believe.
Should I think about getting a curved panel?...

FWIW and comments welcome.....GoPower and Zamp systems catch my attention.
This..... Overlander Solar Kit (160 watts) | Go Power!
Or this....160 Watt 30 Amp Solar Ready RV Kit (SRRV) - Zamp Solar
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Old 11-21-2016, 09:21 AM   #20
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I went with a 400 watt Renogy RV package. I needed it to charge 3 100 amp hr batteries. I need this to run my wife's home dialysis machine. This system is enough to charge the batteries to full even with clouds in the sky. So far this can run the lights at night heater and her machine.
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