Author Topic: Interesting Solar Panel Idea!  (Read 423 times)

Offline ClydesdaleKevin

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Interesting Solar Panel Idea!
« on: January 21, 2019, 09:38 AM »
So I was thinking about how I want to use solar power with our new-to-us 1995 Itasca Suncruiser.  After using solar for years with our old Holiday Rambler, I have determined that I only need about 300 watts of solar if I aim them at the sun, and that much only when we are boondocking.  So I was looking into the folding suitcase style panels, but they only go up to 200 watts, and are expensive!  They are also HUGE!  So I was thinking...why not hinge 2 150 watt panels together, and make adjustable legs for it that I can aim at the sun?  I already have a Morningstar MPPT 60 charge controller and all the fuses and breakers needed.  I could buy 2 good monocrystalline panels for about a quarter of the price of already made folding panels, add a hinge and legs, make a case for it, and done!  I really don't want to roof mount them on the RV, since the roof on the Itasca, fiberglass, is virgin and pristine.


On the other side of the coin, having roof mounted panels on long trips makes it so that we don't have to run the generator when staying at Flying Js and rest areas.  What to do?


Eureka!  Why not make a rack that will carry the folding panels on the roof of the Jeep when we are on long trips, with an extension wire that goes to the charge controller?  On short trips, the folded panels could stay in one of the RV compartments, but on long trips?  Deployed flat on the top of the Jeep!  And then when we are boondocking, deploy the panels on the ground, aimed at the sun.  Genius!


Any thoughts on this, anyone?


Kev
Kev and Patti, the furry kids, our 98 Cherokee lifted beastie tow vehicle, and our 1995 Itasca Suncruiser Diesel Pusher.

Offline Rickf1985

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Re: Interesting Solar Panel Idea!
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2019, 09:41 AM »
Sounds like a really good idea, and no, I am not going to go so far as to call you a genius, I have been using a set of folding solar panels repurposed from solar stop signs for years. ;) :D

Offline ClydesdaleKevin

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Re: Interesting Solar Panel Idea!
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2019, 09:44 AM »
LOL Rick!  Its okay...my wife calls me "genius" all the time...although I think she is usually being sarcastic.   :D

Kev
Kev and Patti, the furry kids, our 98 Cherokee lifted beastie tow vehicle, and our 1995 Itasca Suncruiser Diesel Pusher.

Offline Rickf1985

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Re: Interesting Solar Panel Idea!
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2019, 01:08 PM »
Kev, Check this out, You even had input on this one it was so far back but the original idea came from Gadgetman and Dave. The second page is where I show the stuff I used. In use two of those panels kept facing the sun in the summer without a controller will fully charge my batteries during the day from what I use at night. Granted I do not use much power at all. But I still have 5 more panels if I need them. ;)


http://classicwinnebagos.com/forum/index.php/topic,11835.25.html


Here it is set up with a jumper wire to the batteries.



Offline ClydesdaleKevin

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Re: Interesting Solar Panel Idea!
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2019, 06:40 PM »
I remember that thread, Rick!  I never did get around to hinging the roof panels so I could tilt them...lol!

Kev
Kev and Patti, the furry kids, our 98 Cherokee lifted beastie tow vehicle, and our 1995 Itasca Suncruiser Diesel Pusher.

Offline tmsnyder

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Re: Interesting Solar Panel Idea!
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2019, 09:32 AM »
Upsides:   
You can put RV in shade, put panels out in sun.


Downsides: 
One more thing to set up
One more thing to store, and a big thing at that.
Possibility of them 'walking' off might limit your ability to venture off on day trips.
In order to make up for their smaller size, you'll have to stick around to point them at the sun as the day goes by. One more thing to deal with.  Unless you get big ones, then they will be big and heavy.


I could see using a smaller version of those to top off a cell phone or keep a trickle charge on the coach battery.


Since we never end up in the shade we would never see the upside.  Plus I always want to get started relaxing as soon as it's in 'Park'  🍺    So we went a different direction with 2 - 100W panels on the roof mounted to 80/20.  What we lose in efficiency by not tracking the sun across the sky, we pick up with bigger panels.  Side benefit, a partly shaded roof that should stay cooler in the heat. This is to run our lights, water pump, kids electronics, and 120V only refrigerator.


Offline ClydesdaleKevin

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Re: Interesting Solar Panel Idea!
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2019, 11:14 AM »
Good points Tmsnyder.  I just really don't want to drill any holes in the virgin roof of the Itasca though.  Plus I'm not even sure how this roof is made.  It is domed fiberglass, and I'm not sure what is behind the fiberglass.  Plywood?  (which would make z-brackets a secure option) or styrofoam thermopanels? (which would make z-brackets NOT a secure option).

Kev
Kev and Patti, the furry kids, our 98 Cherokee lifted beastie tow vehicle, and our 1995 Itasca Suncruiser Diesel Pusher.

Offline tmsnyder

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Re: Interesting Solar Panel Idea!
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2019, 11:23 AM »
I didn't want to drill holes in roof either, so attached the 80/20 with Scotch Extreme mounting tape.  Insanely strong black rubber tape.  I had one mounted directly to the aluminum roof for a year and had to remove it for changing over to 80/20 and adding a 2nd panel and it was tough to remove.   Had to cut it with putty knife while prying off.  Very strong stuff.  If I were worried about it I'd put an emergency cable on it in case it came loose, but it's not coming loose.

Offline Rickf1985

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Re: Interesting Solar Panel Idea!
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2019, 01:48 PM »
That was the option I was talking about before with gluing them down, I just did not know the stuff used.

Offline ClydesdaleKevin

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Re: Interesting Solar Panel Idea!
« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2019, 08:09 AM »
Thanks guys.  I'll do a lot more research.  If I do find an adhesive solution, this time I'll make a frame for the panels that I can tilt for maximum solar power.  A lot of our boondocking, over half of it, is during the winter months.

Kev
Kev and Patti, the furry kids, our 98 Cherokee lifted beastie tow vehicle, and our 1995 Itasca Suncruiser Diesel Pusher.

Offline tmsnyder

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Re: Interesting Solar Panel Idea!
« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2019, 11:49 PM »
Check out 80/20, you could make a very cool tilting / locking rack.   It's sort of like unistrut except aluminum.   https://www.8020.net/

Offline ClydesdaleKevin

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Re: Interesting Solar Panel Idea!
« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2019, 10:01 AM »
Check out 80/20, you could make a very cool tilting / locking rack.   It's sort of like unistrut except aluminum.   https://www.8020.net/

I'm actually going to go with roof top mounted panels after all.  I contacted Winnebago directly, and they assured me that the roof on our 1995 Itasca Suncruiser is indeed fiberglass covered plywood.  Which will make Z and L brackets an viable and strong option.

I recently purchased 4 aluminum solar panel tilt mount setups on Craigslist, and if all goes well and the sale goes through, I'll be picking up one 100W monocrystalline panel and three 90W monocrystalline panels, brand new in the boxes, from the same gentleman next week.

It is a pretty simple setup, using L brackets.











So...I know I have to use screws to mount these...and I know to use sealant on the threads and maybe even Eternabond under the brackets.  Should I also use some kind of a glue/sealant on the L brackets as well?  Is lap sealant any good, or are there better options?

Kev
Kev and Patti, the furry kids, our 98 Cherokee lifted beastie tow vehicle, and our 1995 Itasca Suncruiser Diesel Pusher.

Offline TerryH

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Re: Interesting Solar Panel Idea!
« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2019, 02:06 PM »
Kevin, below is my suggestion for combined sealant and adhesives. The Chemlink appears to have superior qualities as a sealant and adhesive  particularly resistant to both structural stress and temperature related movement, very commonly resulting in failure.

Two suppliers of polyurethane I would recommend are Sika and NP-1.

Another member here, WrigleysBraveWin, suggested the following product. I have yet to try it, but from what I have read it sounds good.
ChemLink M-1

https://www.chemlink.com/m-1
 
I found the company to be extremely helpful when dealing with enduser queries. Below is one example:

My email to Chemlink, rberthiaume :

Hello Mr. Berthiaume.
I am interested in the above as a sealant and occasionally adhesive in RV use. Substrates would generally be wood, aluminum and fibreglass or a composite of each. I realize the importance of knowing the composition of any paint/coating that has been applied to the substrate.
My queries are:
-- is a silyl terminated polyether compatible with, or will it react adversely with, or will it bond to butyl glazing tape with an internal EPDM shim such as made by Tremco?
-- Would the butyl tape serve as a bond breaker to prevent 3 sided adhesion?
-- Will M-1 bond and adhere to itself in a repair situation where a section of the cured M-1 has to be cut out and fresh reapplied?
In most cases the tape would be used to create a compression controlled void that would be filled with the M-1. Generally, particularly with RV owners, the standard is to continually apply sealants as a lap seal and hope for the best. I and others on various RV forums are trying to inform owners that caulking is a void filler, not applied with a putty knife.
Based on research to date I am impressed with M-1.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated by myself and others.
Info re Tremco Poly Shim Glazing Tape, should it help:
Thank you for any assistance you can provide.
Regards
Terence Haeber

Their reply:

On Wed, Aug 2, 2017 at 12:55 PM, <rberthiaume@chemlink.com> wrote:
Terence,
Our Plyether products are solvent free and should not have an adverse effect on the glazing tape or Tremco product. or EDPM Shim.
The glazing tape will not be the best choice as a bond breaker if dynamic joint movement is a requirement. Bond breaker tape would be better. M1 will ahere to itself when abraded and cleaned of with alcohol before the new is applied.

Hope this helps

youth ages, immaturity is outgrown, ignorance can be educated, drunkenness sobered - but stupid lasts forever.
Aristophanes  c450-c385 BC

Offline ClydesdaleKevin

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Re: Interesting Solar Panel Idea!
« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2019, 04:07 PM »
Thanks Terry!  I'll look into it!

Kev
Kev and Patti, the furry kids, our 98 Cherokee lifted beastie tow vehicle, and our 1995 Itasca Suncruiser Diesel Pusher.

Offline TerryH

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Re: Interesting Solar Panel Idea!
« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2019, 04:34 PM »
Thanks Kevin. Should you decide to use the ChemLink I would be interested in your opinion of it. WrigleysBrave Win is quite experienced with different caulking products and application. While I give his recommendation a lot of credence, another's opinion is always appreciated.
Particularly where a roof is involved.
youth ages, immaturity is outgrown, ignorance can be educated, drunkenness sobered - but stupid lasts forever.
Aristophanes  c450-c385 BC

Offline tmsnyder

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Re: Interesting Solar Panel Idea!
« Reply #15 on: February 26, 2019, 09:37 PM »
You could mount that tilt mount on 80/20 and use adhesive to attach the 80/20 to the roof.   That way, no holes.

Offline Rickf1985

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Re: Interesting Solar Panel Idea!
« Reply #16 on: February 27, 2019, 11:02 AM »
Thanks Kevin. Should you decide to use the ChemLink I would be interested in your opinion of it. WrigleysBrave Win is quite experienced with different caulking products and application. While I give his recommendation a lot of credence, another's opinion is always appreciated.
Particularly where a roof is involved.


I wanted to try the Chemlink but it was something like 25.00 for the tube of product and 33.00 for shipping!!!!! Holy crap!!!?? I don't think so!

Offline TerryH

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Re: Interesting Solar Panel Idea!
« Reply #17 on: February 27, 2019, 07:27 PM »
Rick, this outfit in Illinois has it for $6.99 a tube. Don't know what the shipping to New Joisey  :)rotflmao is.

https://www.bigrocksupply.com/Adhesives.html
youth ages, immaturity is outgrown, ignorance can be educated, drunkenness sobered - but stupid lasts forever.
Aristophanes  c450-c385 BC

Offline ClydesdaleKevin

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Re: Interesting Solar Panel Idea!
« Reply #18 on: March 04, 2019, 01:47 PM »
Rick, this outfit in Illinois has it for $6.99 a tube. Don't know what the shipping to New Joisey  :)rotflmao is.

https://www.bigrocksupply.com/Adhesives.html

I'm going to have to order me a couple of tubes of this stuff!  It looks like just what I need!

Kev
Kev and Patti, the furry kids, our 98 Cherokee lifted beastie tow vehicle, and our 1995 Itasca Suncruiser Diesel Pusher.

Offline ClydesdaleKevin

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Re: Interesting Solar Panel Idea!
« Reply #19 on: March 06, 2019, 09:33 AM »
I ordered two caulk tubes of the Chemlink M1 adhesive, so I'll let you all know how well it works once I set up and attach the panels next week.

Kev
Kev and Patti, the furry kids, our 98 Cherokee lifted beastie tow vehicle, and our 1995 Itasca Suncruiser Diesel Pusher.

Online Froggy1936

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Re: Interesting Solar Panel Idea!
« Reply #20 on: March 06, 2019, 02:03 PM »
Have you heard anything from the purchaser of your old unit ?  Did you tell them about this site ??  Frank
The Journey is the REWARD !

Offline ClydesdaleKevin

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Re: Interesting Solar Panel Idea!
« Reply #21 on: March 06, 2019, 09:38 PM »
Have you heard anything from the purchaser of your old unit ?  Did you tell them about this site ??  Frank

I told them about this forum.  They called a couple of times a while ago to ask some questions on how to use certain things, but they seem to be very happy with the old Holiday Rambler.

Kev
Kev and Patti, the furry kids, our 98 Cherokee lifted beastie tow vehicle, and our 1995 Itasca Suncruiser Diesel Pusher.

 

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