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    So just as i was making this i figured i should have made this post BEFORE making my purchase, lol...

    Anyway, Getting my new trailer next week, its hopefully gonna be my forever trailer so i am gonna invest in solar, i have contemplated solar for years but never pulled the trigger because i knew my previous arrangements were only temporary

    So has anybody DIY's RV solar?

    I bought 4x100w(18v) panels, flexible panels because they lay flat, i have seen installs online, i intend to install it with eternabond tape, also got a 40amp controller, I haven't seen my new trailer yet but it looks like the converter has a wardrobe straight to the ceiling and it looks like there should be enough space on the roof directly above for the panels so it should be an easy install... i just am unsure about how it all works with tying in solar, the converter/battery charger... do they all have safeties so it doesn't matter? anybody done solar and have any stories/info to share?


    EDIT, also for batteries i was gonna pu in a pair of costco golf cart batts, previously i had 4 6v's but i think with this it'd be less necessary to have 4 batts and i dont need the added weight of 4 bats... 400w should prevent me from ever having battery problems.
    Last edited by Thaco; 03-15-2019 at 06:32 PM.
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    I'm looking to understand this too.... on my tent trailer I've got a 100W suitcase panel with a charger I just hook to an AGM battery. I picked up a new-to-me trailer back in Jan so i'm also looking at a putting panels (200W though) on it. I'm also looking at the Costco golf cart batts.

    Where did you buy your flex panels from?

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    Last time I looked at this I think a better genny made more sense. But solar costs have come down I think. Interested to hear more.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ExtraSlow View Post
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    Last time I looked at this I think a better genny made more sense. But solar costs have come down I think. Interested to hear more.
    I don't want the hassle and weight of a decent gen. The only thing a gen would do that this won't I would imagine would be run the AC. And this will also keep my Batts topped up when we aren't camping so there should be no risk of them going completely dead or freezing in the winter.

    I figure all in buying parts on Amazon I will probably be looking at $800-$1000 for the panels, charge controller, inverter and 2x6v Costco Batts.
    Last edited by Thaco; 03-17-2019 at 12:29 PM.
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    Depends on the trailer. I have an AC-only fridge in my outdoor kitchen. But other than that for me it's just the air. Conditioner that needs AC power.

    Solar is awesome, looking forward to hearing more.

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    Here are my thoughts based on experience with both generators and solar in my unit and others units. The short of it, if you are mobile (as in camping) then solar is 100% useless unless you are looking at keeping batteries topped up while not in use. You will never beat a generator in any comparison. A 1000w honda that weighs 15lbs for $1000 will outmatch any elaborate and expensive solar setups.

    You will need a significant amount of batteries (IMO 4x6v minimum for a 3 day weekend). Many non-fixed panels that you will be moving around all day to chase the sun. I pretty decent controller ($$$) and a bunch of wiring modifications to your RV (upgraded wiring, transfer switch, separate outlets for just 120v appliances). Even then, you are at the mercy of the weather and location.

    Head to the calculators and estimate your draw and battery bank requirements and add in a huge buffer (double it) and you'll likely find that you need a few thousand dollars worth of equipment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by spike98 View Post
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    Here are my thoughts based on experience with both generators and solar in my unit and others units. The short of it, if you are mobile (as in camping) then solar is 100% useless unless you are looking at keeping batteries topped up while not in use. You will never beat a generator in any comparison. A 1000w honda that weighs 15lbs for $1000 will outmatch any elaborate and expensive solar setups.

    You will need a significant amount of batteries (IMO 4x6v minimum for a 3 day weekend). Many non-fixed panels that you will be moving around all day to chase the sun. I pretty decent controller ($$$) and a bunch of wiring modifications to your RV (upgraded wiring, transfer switch, separate outlets for just 120v appliances). Even then, you are at the mercy of the weather and location.

    Head to the calculators and estimate your draw and battery bank requirements and add in a huge buffer (double it) and you'll likely find that you need a few thousand dollars worth of equipment.
    I didn't even have solar last year, just had 4x6v Batts and we could go a week without a charge.. unless you use a lot of power I can't see power being a problem. Also that Honda 1000 is 32 lb dry and it won't do a lot of things that a 3000w inverter would do, like run my wife's coffee machine. I have a 3000w Ryobi.. it's just a hassle to haul and bring stinky gas and carry oil all the time. we have an SUV so we can't really keep it outside.

    They each have their place, I like the convenience of a set it and forget it setup.
    Last edited by Thaco; 03-17-2019 at 01:05 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rage2 View Post
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    I did this same comparison 5 years ago when I bought a new trailer after I ran my 12 volt battery dead over night and didn’t even have the juice to fire the pilot to get the heat going while my 8 month old was screaming. Not fun.

    After going solar and noticing all the $2800 got me was no fear of any battery loss I started thinking about how to maximize the useage. I ended up swapping out every single light to single side LED, disconnected my solar and added 2 Trojan 6v batteries to see how 7 days would go. Had zero issues when it came to lights, pumps and music for 7 straight days just using better deep cycle batteries. I ended up selling my whole solar setup and turned that money into a Honda 2200 and then purchased a second 2200 so I could companion them if need be. The 2200 is so quiet that with music on no one even knows it’s going, the fire crackles even drown it out. It can run my ac, microwave and charge anything I need from my plugs. About 3 gas tanks (one gas jug worth) lasts an entire summer of camping and I have only broke out the companion once in the last 5 years (I used them to power an outdoor birthday party with 3 bouncy castles and a DJ booth). I did purchase them in the states so I wouldn’t be stuck with the plastic cam like the Canadian “cold weather” versions have. Each one weights 40lbs FYI and require no mixing being a 4 stroke, I bring everything in a rubber tote.

    Personally I would say solar is not completely useless but the main benefit you gain is a topped up battery.....which you can get from about 15 minutes of running the generator. When you have kids and it’s pouring outside and you can run your generator so the tv works while making microwave popcorn for the kids and lattes for the adults.....all while having the freedom to camp anywhere and not just powered sites is priceless.

    I suggest getting a good 2000w brand name generator like Honda or Yamaha and enjoy.
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    Just did the install of 2x255 watt panels the new 26' trailer last week. Solar Wholesaler in the NE had some pretty sweet sales ended up getting all the panels and a 40A MPPT controller for right around $450. Went out this weekend and was extremely extremely impressed with the performance. Even with sun having very little power I was charging at 15A by the time I woke up, and back full by noon. I am looking forward to seeing what they will do in the middle of the summer with more running.

    I do agree for many that the generator is the way to go (I still end up bringing my Honda) but was happy to see it was not needed even with running the furnace, inverter for the coffee machine, and stereos all day I wasn't concerned at all about the batteries being run down. Once water is being used it will be a bit more of a test, but still pretty good. IMO the cost per watt has gotten so low that I can justify it.

    Buddy with the fifth wheel is sitting closer to 1100 watts with his portable panels set up as well, again this was the first trip out for us this year so we all were figuring out what was needed. 1100 watts is a lot of power for under a grand....

    vmhCZXuh.jpg
    Last edited by blubs; 03-18-2019 at 09:57 AM.

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    My first trailer has Solar installed by a previous owner. It definitely helped out. When buying used, getting a trailer where the previous owner spent the money on the panels is awesome, since they generally don't change the USED price of the trailer much or at all.

    Money aside, I do consider it a very nice feature, particularly if you camp in the prairies and not under trees.

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    Quote Originally Posted by blubs View Post
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    Just did the install of 2x255 watt panels the new 26' trailer last week. Solar Wholesaler in the NE had some pretty sweet sales ended up getting all the panels and a 40A MPPT controller for right around $450. Went out this weekend and was extremely extremely impressed with the performance. Even with sun having very little power I was charging at 15A by the time I woke up, and back full by noon. I am looking forward to seeing what they will do in the middle of the summer with more running.

    I do agree for many that the generator is the way to go (I still end up bringing my Honda) but was happy to see it was not needed even with running the furnace, inverter for the coffee machine, and stereos all day I wasn't concerned at all about the batteries being run down. Once water is being used it will be a bit more of a test, but still pretty good. IMO the cost per watt has gotten so low that I can justify it.

    Buddy with the fifth wheel is sitting closer to 1100 watts with his portable panels set up as well, again this was the first trip out for us this year so we all were figuring out what was needed. 1100 watts is a lot of power for under a grand....

    vmhCZXuh.jpg
    had to check that place out, looked up their site, i prefer the flexible panels because they can just be taped to the roof with eternabond, dont wanna put holes in the roof that i dont have to, this way it'll just be a single conduit to run the wires to the controller, they have a kit with the same specs and with flexi panels for $1700, i paid $660 for essentially the same thing on amazon... 4x100w flex panels and a 40A controller.
    https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B07...?ie=UTF8&psc=1 ($400 for 400w at time of posting)
    https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B07...?ie=UTF8&psc=1 (40A controller for $260)

    compared to
    https://www.solarwholesaler.ca/produ...-mppt-400w12v/ $1693
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    Thats understandable. I do like the flexible ones, but being that I had to reseal the entire roof I wasn't too concerned about putting some small holes up there. Once it is a bit warmer I will just eternabond the cables to the roof and should be good for many years. As far as pricing goes, Those packages seem to be pretty steep. Not sure if it made such a difference with my company pricing or not, but that's ridiculous. They are actually very competitive on the big hard panels... Not sure what is going on with the smaller stuff. I actually used that same controller to the one you linked with their optional remote mounted MT50 kit.

    Only thing is if I were you I would run them all parallel if possible. As many people have noted above with the number of trees in most of these area's you dont want to bring down the performance of the whole array with one shaded panel. Makes running a conduit a bit tougher with 8 cables, but worth it in the end.

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    Quote Originally Posted by blubs View Post
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    Thats understandable. I do like the flexible ones, but being that I had to reseal the entire roof I wasn't too concerned about putting some small holes up there. Once it is a bit warmer I will just eternabond the cables to the roof and should be good for many years. As far as pricing goes, Those packages seem to be pretty steep. Not sure if it made such a difference with my company pricing or not, but that's ridiculous. They are actually very competitive on the big hard panels... Not sure what is going on with the smaller stuff. I actually used that same controller to the one you linked with their optional remote mounted MT50 kit.

    Only thing is if I were you I would run them all parallel if possible. As many people have noted above with the number of trees in most of these area's you dont want to bring down the performance of the whole array with one shaded panel. Makes running a conduit a bit tougher with 8 cables, but worth it in the end.
    Yeah i definitely do intend to run parallel, my plan is to run the 4 pairs in to a sealed box on the roof with busbars in it to join the 4 streams in to a single wire down in to a cabinet which is floor to ceiling right above the converter box, then install the solar controller in that cabinet and tie in to the battery cables behind that box

    this is kinda what i am following. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6XSux3Wdghg
    and the junction box idea. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aB8ic6x9DAM
    Last edited by Thaco; 03-18-2019 at 12:41 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rage2 View Post
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    Just figured i'd put an update, got all my gear, now i just need some time to install it. here's my potential layout to try to keep the cables as short as possible because i don't want to buy more overpriced connectors, i did have to lengthen 2 of the cables but luckily the box on the panel where the wires run in was easy to pop open and re-solder longer wires.

    Tape measure is approximately where the box will go to consolidate all the wires to a pair of 6AWG wires to run down in to a closet and down to the 40amp solar controller which will be mounted on the side of the closet right beside the converter/distribution box.

    2019-04-07 14.27.51.jpg
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    Looks like a nice setup you are installing. I am definitely interested to see how you wire all of this together and hook into the existing wiring in the trailer.

    I am looking to install 2 - 100 W solar panels, 20A or 30A MPPT controller and probably 2 of the 6V costco golf cart batteries into my truck camper.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mzdspd View Post
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    Looks like a nice setup you are installing. I am definitely interested to see how you wire all of this together and hook into the existing wiring in the trailer.

    I am looking to install 2 - 100 W solar panels, 20A or 30A MPPT controller and probably 2 of the 6V costco golf cart batteries into my truck camper.
    I am not messing around with the GC2 connectors, too much added cost at no benefit, i extended a couple of the wires on the panels by un soldering off the panel point in that box that's on the panel and putting on a longer wire, that way they'll all reach to my waterproof project box that i will place where the tape measure is, use waterproof glands to run them all in to the box and use bus bars to connect them all in parallel, then i am going to use a piece of pvc or abs going out the bottom of the box into the trailer, run 6awg wires down that to the controller and tap in to the battery wires behind the stock converter box, its not going to be ideal because its a long run back to the batteries, but it'll do the trick for what i need.

    mostly following this for the roof top junction box/access hole
    https://youtu.be/aB8ic6x9DAM
    Last edited by Thaco; 04-11-2019 at 09:44 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rage2 View Post
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    Got the panels mounted and roof entry installed, went pretty well
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    That's looking slick.

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    Finished install, unfortunately i used 6 gauge and the controller seems to only be able to fit 8, so i might have to fix that some time in the future. but it seems to be working well.

    2019-04-21 16.53.58.jpg

    2019-04-21 17.53.22.jpg

    2019-04-21 17.53.17.jpg
    Last edited by Thaco; 04-22-2019 at 05:11 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rage2 View Post
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    Any readings how many watts you are actually getting out of them? I was doing some reading on the flexible units and people are mentioning they are struggling to stay cool without space behind them and overheating thus dropping their current? Seems far fetched but figured I'd get your thoughts as you just installed them.

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