When a battery is on float charge, it is fully charged and maintaining its full charge from the solar panel. For efficiency, we decided to place the single panel and junction box on the driver’s side front. If you have a large budget ($3000+), you can most likely skip this step. RV SOLAR INSTALLERS. With a never-ending goal of living as simply as possible, we live in a HOA townhouse community. We’ve written it to suit any size of system… As he explained, the solar panel system would preserve more of the power it collected from the sun if the wire lengths between the panels, junction box, controller, and batteries were kept to a minimum. Tom and Pat’s sons, Donny and Michael, also volunteered to help with the installation. These results impressed us, especially considering the fact that the weather had varied during our experiment between full sun and partly cloudy. Sikaflex was then applied to the bottom edges of the junction box before the junction box was placed into position above the 8-gauge wire. I usually see this product being incorporated in a good Renogy flexible solar panel review considering its effectiveness and high satisfaction rating.This is an excellent choice, especially if you aim to choose the right RV solar panels. Above: The solar panel bracket feet being secured onto the roof. If you are trying to find an RV Solar Panel Installation Company, you can count on Bob's RV Solar Panels to match you with professionals in your area who can take care of your solar panel … It also applies to the shore power if you have them on at the moment. If you’re installing flexible solar panels, the same process applies in the section above – simply glue them to the RV roof using the adhesive recommended by the panel manufacturer. Available Wattage: 90, 140 | Weight: 39.8 lbs | Dimensions: 42 x 24.5 x 4.5 in. Securing the solar panel to the roof was next. Simply apply VHB – Very High Bond – tape, which will be almost impossible to remove when applied correctly. Panels must be mounted to avoid shading from the air conditioner, TV antenna and storage pods. All Rights Reserved. Above: Gordon and Tom checking and re-checking the wiring. The bad news is that our HOA doesn’t permit us to keep our truck camper rig in front of our house for more than a few hours. After nixing a few locations that conflicted with the above requirements, we found an inset panel area under the wardrobe closet. Once the controller detected the battery bank was at 85% charge, the controller changed to absorption charge mode. They are expert designers with a "get it done right" the first-time attitude. If what you are in search of is a highly reliable solar 12-volt battery charger, then this 100-watt mono-crystalline solar starter kit from Renogy should be one of your choices. Absorption charge mode charged the battery bank to 100%, decreasing the current as the battery reaches 100%. 180 Watt Monocrystalline Solar Panel with 12 Amp Charge Controller The first step toward installing solar power is doing a power-consumption survey of your motorhome; figuring out the cumulative amp-hours (Ah) or watts being used during a typical outing, or over an extended period of time. Giosolar 200 watt kit + 20 amp charge controller + cables . It would be like taping a picture frame to wrapping paper that has been stuck to your wall. If your RV roof is made of fiberglass, you luckily do not need to drill holes into your roof to mount your solar panels. After the experience, we recommend blocking off at least a full day for the task. Even before the project camper arrived, we acquired a 150-watt Zamp solar panel system and solar controller. Then the panel was carefully flipped over and placed into its previously determined position on the forward driver’s side. Simply search “RV solar mounting hardware” to explore your options. With Team Emerick on board, we were ready to go. Our neighbors keep an eye on the homestead, and the HOA keeps the snow, leaves, and lawn in check. The junction box was then screwed into the roof with stainless steel screws. That’s the good news. Above: Pat and Tom Emerick helping Gordon get the solar panel on the roof, Above: Attaching the feet brackets onto the panel. Since we wanted to leave room for adding more panels in the future, we placed the single panel where it would fit best and work in a two or three panel installation. We even watched a couple movies at night with the installed television and entertainment system. Simply use the adhesive recommended by the solar panel manufacturer to glue the panel to the roof. Above: Drilling the hole in the roof for the 8 gauge wire. Even on cloudy days, the system reached float charge, but did so later in the day. You can disable footer widget area in theme options - footer options, How to Mount Solar Panels on Your RV: Step by Step Installation, 2020 DIYRVLiving.com. Between the Arctic Fox and the Adventurer, Tom is always working or modifying something. Copyright © 2007-2020. Every few hours, Angela noted the battery voltage readings on the built-in LCD screen. You can also get tilting hardware, make custom brackets, or use brand-specific hardware like Renogy’s brackets. At 7:00am every morning, the battery voltage read between 12.0 and 12.2 volts. This allows us to turn off the water, drain the plumbing, adjust the thermostat, lock the doors, pack the camper, and go. We normally keep our rig in a storage lot, which costs us about $50 a month, and work on it at friends’ houses, or industry venues. Once the screws were in, Sikaflex was applied to the base of the junction box, and smoothed out for consistent coverage by hand. After asking, “Are we sure about this?” a few dozen times, we drilled the hole. If you’re looking to DIY install your RV solar system, you’ll need to know how to mount solar panels to your RV roof. Above: The Northstar 8.5 Arrow U in the Outer Banks during the solar test – click to enlarge. Next: Read about how Truck Camper Magazine and Team Emerick install the Zamp Controller, finish the install, and test the solar system. Tom recommended using this area to run the wires from the junction box on the roof to the solar controller below. The … This will eliminate any possibility of you getting an electric shock while installing the solar system. Solar power is also completely silent unlike a generator, and maintaining your RV solar panels is easy once everything is set up. Once drilled, the hole would pass the 8-gauge wire from the junction box down through the wardrobe to the solar controller. You don’t need holes for flexible solar panels! By disconnecting the battery bank cables in this order, you prevent the possibility of electric shock during the installation. Tom had us check and re-check these wire connections with a multi-meter to make sure they were done correctly. If you like the WindyNation approach of a complete kit but our top … Best Flexible Panel Solar RV Kit. How much does RV solar installation cost? For example, A True Solar Power Package Can Now Be Included With Your New Keystone RV . Above: The 30-amp 5-stage PWM (pulse width modulation) solar charge controller with LCD display – click to enlarge. To connect the wires, we used the crimp connectors included in the Zamp kit and shrink wrapped the crimped connections with a heat gun. This kit includes a 150 watt Class A mono-crystalline solar panel, a 30-amp 5-stage PWM (pulse width modulation) solar charge controller with LCD display, 25-feet of 8 gauge wire, a three-port solar panel junction box, and all required nuts, bolts, washers, fuse holders, fuses, splice connectors, and ring connectors. Precision RV is a recognized leader in RV Solar Installations nationally. Among the best solar panel kits for RVs… The following are the 2020 TCM Readers’ Choice Nominees for Best Truck Camper, Best... We have discovered the most sweltering truck camper on planet Earth. An additional panel could later be placed on the passenger’s side front leaving just enough space between the panels to walk and inspect roof seals. Truck Camper Magazine installs a 150 watt Zamp solar panel system on their project camper and takes a big step towards cutting the cord and camping off-the-grid. The guide details everything you need to install a campervan solar panel system. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. 190 Watt Solar Panel … Fortunately, our eleven-foot floor plan offered plenty of roof real estate options to place a panel of this size. |. He and his son, Michael, have also refurbished an older Adventurer truck camper. It measured 26.5” wide by 58.25” long. WindyNation 400 Watt Solar Kit. We considered several factors including (a) where we wanted the controller to be located, (b) where it would be easiest to run the required wiring, and (c) avoiding propane lines, heat ducting, and plumbing. With the hole drilled, the 8-gauge wire was fed into the camper and underlying wardrobe through the hole. This is the most common type of mounting bracket that comes in RV solar kits. With over 20 years of … Given its impressive performance on the Northstar, a Zamp solar panel system was high on the list for our new-to-us camper. This system is nearly identical to the one in the Northstar and, with the three-port solar panel junction box, would allow us to upgrade to two panels (300 watts) or even three panels (450 watts) in the future. After that, get on the roof get it exact measurements. Safety is your number one priority so remove all batteries cables before you do anything. Other than loading up and filling with water, we are not permitted to work on our rig, or park it overnight. When we told Tom about our solar panel system, he offered to help. The sheet of rubber lays over a layer of wood, so the best way to mount solar panels to this type of roof is to screw them in with lag bolts. Tom was pleased that the wire run distances between the solar panel, junction box, and solar controller would be kept as short as possible. By early to mid-afternoon, the single battery had reached its float charge of 13.1 volts. Latest: Hottest Camper on Earth and Readers Choice Nominees. RV Master Techs has installed a countless amount of solar panels on motorhomes here in Arizona to include: Glendale, Scottsdale, Peoria, Surprise, Tempe, Chandler, Gilbert, and surrounding areas. This kit includes physically flexible solar panels that can be mounted on the curved roof of any RV. Above: Gordon positioning the junction box after Sikaflex has been applied. A few months later we found a decade old camper in Oregon that fit our requirements for a camper project. The experts here at AM Solar can help you install solar panels on any RV, Trailer or other rig you bring us. Founded in 2007, TCM is the RV community's number one source for news, reviews, guides, newbie advice, destination ideas, maintenance recommendations, modifications, and more. Once everything is set, your panels will be unmovable – and the great news is you’ll have no additional holes in your roof to monitor for leaks. Then the hole would be filled with Sikaflex 715, the same roof sealant used on the rest of the camper roof, and covered with the junction box, itself sealed with Sikaflex 715. The simplest solar panel mounting hardware is known as a Z-bracket. Precision RV - Marvin Braun (206) 276-2462 When the screws were in, Sikaflex 715 was used to cover the solar panel bracket feet. Then it was time to do something we would otherwise never do; purposefully drill a hole in the camper’s roof. One thing you want to avoid when mounting solar panels to a rubber roof is you do not want to use VHB tape as recommended by some RVers. During this period of time, the solar charge controller was in bulk charge mode sending the highest voltage the installed solar panel and charge controller were rated for. Then Sikaflex 715 was applied into the hole at the point where wire emerged. Between 10:00am and 12:00 noon the battery voltage read 14.6 or 14.7 volts. Pretty simple so far, as we have basically just brought the power produced by the rooftop-mounted solar panels inside the RV. Colorado Standby now offers RV solar panel installation & kits. RV Solar Panel Installation While an RV solar system is simple to maintain once it’s installed, getting it set up isn’t as simple as slapping some panels on top of your RV and calling it a … The mounting hardware you’ll use for installing solar panels on your RV too depends on what type of panels you have (tempered glass or flexible), what type of roof you have (typically a rubber/TPO roof or fiberglass), and whether or not you need your panels to tilt. The shrink wrap was strongly recommended by Tom to protect the crimped connections from the elements. We’ve connected the solar panels to the combiner box, ran wire inside the RV to the location we are going to mount the solar charge controller, and installed a solar panel disconnect switch. Then you will map out where the bracket feet will land, clean the roof and foot with alcohol, wait for it to try, and then install the VHB tape per the instructions. https://www.renogy.com/blog/installing-solar-panels-on-your-van-or-rv This is because the top of your roof is simply a sheet that can peel off if the glue becomes detached enough. Getting to the point of having freedom from the need to be connected to shorepower, or from cranking up a generator for hours at a time when boondocking, requires taking a close look at one’s energy needs. No widgets added. Once you know the size of system required for your needs, it takes some planning to correctly mount the panels on the roof of the RV. Y… The camper should also be disconnected from 110 volt shore power. At the time, we were camping in a Northstar 8.5 Arrow U with a 150 watt Zamp solar panel and controller, one Group 27 battery, and all LED interior and exterior lighting. Above: Crimping the connections – click to enlarge, Above: Shrink wrapping the crimped connections with a heat gun. We installed a Zamp Deluxe 150 Watt RV Solar Kit (ZS-150-30A-DX). Install your Inverter (Optional) If you want to use your AC appliances like your microwave, laptop, … Built for your RV, camper, trailer or van, Colorado Standby can help with your solar needs. All rights reserved. We prepared the solar panel for installation by screwing the solar panel feet brackets to the panel. If you have a smaller budget, then this may be the overall limiting factor of your RV Solar system. How to install a 12v Solar Panel System. The simplest solar panel mounting hardware is known as a Z-bracket. It is mainly because of its abilit… The number of solar panels and watts you will need will depend on your electronics usage in your RV meaning if you have the usual coffee maker, hair blower, a microwave perhaps, and a TV the estimated wattage you will need is between 400 to 600 watts of solar panels. Home » Truck Camper Mods » Camper Projects » Installing a Solar Panel System. Then, we measured the dimensions of the Zamp 150-watt solar panel. Again, stainless steel screws were used with a dab of Sikaflex 715 to secure the panel to the camper’s roof. For the installation of the Zamp solar panel system, we visited Tom and Pat Emerick. Many new RVs on the market even come pre-wired for solar power. That said, we do not anticipate needing more than one 150 watt panel. Once the locations for the roof mounted solar panel and junction box were determined, we moved inside the camper to plan where the Zamp solar controller should be mounted. We took off the main negative cable and then the main positive cable. During our experiment, Angela monitored the Zamp ZS-30A solar charge controller. This is the most common type of mounting bracket that comes in RV solar kits. These were the lowest readings gathered during our experiment and occurred as we were running the heat to take off the morning chill. On the back wall of our wardrobe closet, we discovered a removable panel where the original manufacturer ran wires for the entertainment system. Take a look at some of the installations we have done and consider giving us a call if you would like us to set up your RV with solar … Sample RV solar kit cost as of January 2020. The camper needed routine maintenance, and lacked amenities and features we could add, study, and document for the magazine. Last Spring we attempted an impromptu experiment to see how long we could camp without 110 volt shore power. Sun city Solar is the most professional solar company in Southern California. This includes all installation components. With the panel now on the roof, we connected the 8-gauge wires to the Zamp junction box including the corresponding positive and negative wire connections. We offer complete RV solar panel system installations for travel trailers, off the grid campers, fifth wheels, toy haulers, and RV … Since this was our first time installing a solar panel system, and we regularly stop for photography and note taking, we gave ourselves a full day. Get Rv Solar Panels Installed. In addition to what’s included with the kit, you’ll need to add a battery to make this a functional system … Above: 25-feet of 8 gauge wire was included in the kit – click to enlarge, Above: A three-port solar panel junction box was also included in the kit – click to enlarge. RV Solar Components. You can also get tilting hardware, make custom brackets, or use brand-specific hardware like Renogy’s brackets. If you want to be able to run absolutely everything using only solar power, you will need a system … Next we connected the wire leads from the Zamp solar panel to the corresponding wires from the junction box. Above: Michael Emerick applying Sikaflex 715 around the 8 gauge wire, Above: Caulking the junction box tight to the roof. We prepared the solar panel for installation by screwing the solar panel feet brackets to the panel. Simply search “RV solar … A system like this will cost around $4,700–$5,700 total. 2020 Truck Camper Readers’ Choice Nominees. Then Gordon and Angela kill two batteries, and learn an expensive lesson; Installing A Solar Controller. Solar Power: Solar panels are sold in varying sizes, but a 100 watt panel is a commonly found size – particularly for RVs. This DIY Camper Solar System Guide is a multi step, complete educational series that by the end, you will know what all of the parts of a solar system do, how they work together, what you'll need for YOUR specific system… Above: Removable panel in our wardrobe closet where we ran wires from the junction box. The installers know what to do and work without any … Everything in life has compromises. Not all panels … RV Master Techs has been doing solar panel installations for almost a decade and is a leader in the RV repair and consignment industry. A third panel is not likely, but could be added on an available space towards the rear of the camper roof. To properly challenge the solar and battery system, we operated the camper as normal, charging the laptops daily, using the propane furnace in the morning, and running interior lights and fans as needed. Solar test – click to enlarge may be the overall limiting factor of your is! 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