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Old 09-27-2012, 08:53 AM   #21
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One question that I am hoping you can answer - is there any difference/advantage/disadvantage to have say 2 x 50 watt panels versus 1 x 100 watt panel?
If they are the same from an electrical perspective my thinking is that it would be better to go with the 2x50's. If for no other reason than if something should happen to one panel (kids throws a rock) you would at least still have the other panel.

Thoughts?

I like the neat setup Dave. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 09-27-2012, 09:43 AM   #22
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I missed this thread while I was away, Dave. What a great setup. As a fellow ham it does my heart good to see the wiring so neatly dressed and securely connected. I'm guessing you've built a rig or two in your time, no?
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Old 09-27-2012, 01:39 PM   #23
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I chuckle. Just yesterday afternoon I was looking at this thread again and then someone else resurrects it.

I am planning to do a similar mod to this in the early spring after the snow goes and will shoot for at least 100w (although I've seen good prices on 2x80w and 2x100w combos, so may just go for a little more - there's no kill like overkill afterall). It really depends on how much I can fit into the available roof space (there's an open space of about 56" x 60").

In advance of the actual solar work, though, I need to do a few things because I have cramped space on the tongue (see photos below):
  1. Move my propane tanks forward to make a little more room. This will also require replacing the gas line with a slightly longer one.
  2. Flatten and raise the area where the battery currently is to make for a larger single platform.
  3. Replace my battery with a Group31 since the battery I got stock is really craptacular. From what I can tell, I don't have enough space to put in dual 6v, but if I can make dual 6v work, I'll probably do that instead.
  4. Work up some kind of a "box" to keep the charge controller and other wiring weatherproof. If I can work out something that would be big enough to put it all in one, great, but I haven't been able to find something with the right measurements that would fit. I may just get small aluminum mountable toolbox to put everything in with wires going out to the battery in a separate box.
  5. Install a battery cut-off as part of all this as well as an external 12v socket

Being an engineer, I'm distracting myself now with all the planning/plotting, even though I won't be executing anything until probably March or even April. :P

Keeps me out of trouble in the winter.
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Old 09-27-2012, 05:44 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by thehamguy1 View Post
I missed this thread while I was away, Dave. What a great setup. As a fellow ham it does my heart good to see the wiring so neatly dressed and securely connected. I'm guessing you've built a rig or two in your time, no?
Thanks Lee. I never homebrewed, but one of my first radios was a Heathkit 2M Kit. When I went to sell it, the buyer complimented me on the soldering job. That did give me a big smile.
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Old 09-27-2012, 05:46 PM   #25
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Two 50 watts are going to take more space than a 100 watt.
That means you will require more coverage from the sun ...

As for the question about where to mount them ... hey .. it all depends on where and how you camp. I need movable panels because most of my camping is done undercover, but on waterways ...so i move the panels as needed. Im also in the northeastern part of Canada ... where i only get 4hrs of charge per day. If your down south, and camp in pure sun, you will have no issues.

Plans for me is another 80/100 watt panel .. so i can get rid of the 30 non regulated charger ... and with the 12v plug installed on the inside of the trailer ... for the xantex, i can recharge all in about a day .. at least.

this is all about use, and how much you like to camp/send for off-line.

d-mo
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Old 09-27-2012, 05:47 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by chucker25 View Post
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One question that I am hoping you can answer - is there any difference/advantage/disadvantage to have say 2 x 50 watt panels versus 1 x 100 watt panel?
If they are the same from an electrical perspective my thinking is that it would be better to go with the 2x50's. If for no other reason than if something should happen to one panel (kids throws a rock) you would at least still have the other panel.

Thoughts?

I like the neat setup Dave. Thanks for sharing.
Two 50's will be just fine. Your reasoning if one panel gets broken is valid as you can rewire temporarily to keep going while out and about.
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Old 09-27-2012, 05:57 PM   #27
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Well I have been toying the idea around to do the solar panel install. I'm debating if I should mount a panel on the roof, or have one that I can set up on the ground to angle towards the sun.

Long story short, for me to park easily where we normally camp, the truck faces north, and the solar panel would face north also on the roof. How efficient will the panel be if it is a sunny day, but it is facing away from the sun? Most of our camping trips are about three to four days, and I would think that 100 watt panel would be good. 5 amps give or take in full sun, but what about my situation?

We will be boondocking for three days towards the end of october, and we will have to use the furnace. 9000 ft elevation, and about 25 degrees at night. But we will have the radio, lights(still have to order LED lights, suggestions?) on for a longer time seeing that the sun will set alot earlier so battery usage is a concern. I would imagine that if the panel could produce 2.5 amps to compensate for the furnace, we should be ok, but unfortunately I can't find anything about solar panel output when the panel is facing away from the sun.
From experience, you will definitely get reduced output. I can check the next time out, but, probably 25 - 50%.

There is a big advantage to the portable panels with the ability to always get proper direction and inclination towards the sun. I also carry a folding panel I can use when camping in the woods.

I wanted the permanent panel because it will work for me most of the time. Also, where I park my trailer at home, the panel faces South and I no longer need to keep the trailer plugged into AC to maintain my batteries while not in use.
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Old 10-05-2012, 08:39 PM   #28
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Any reconmendations on a solar panel and controller? I would like to keep the cost around 250-300. I think 60watts would be the lowest that I would like to go. I think I would like to permanently mount it to the camper. There is just so many panels and controllers out there that I really don't know what to get. Any help would be appreciated. I would like to get a panel before we head up to the mountains at the end of the month.
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Old 10-07-2012, 02:04 PM   #29
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Hi BelgianSquiggy.
Don't know where you are from, but I got a 100w panel, controller & wiring for $325 Cdn. Haven't mounted the controller yet, still trying to figure out where/how!! Didn't get it from their web site, but from ebay.ca.

Solar Energy DC - Solar Panels
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Old 10-07-2012, 02:55 PM   #30
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I also found this place and bookmarked it to look at later. No idea of quality/service/etc, but they do have the super-thin flexible panels.

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