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Hallvalla
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2010 11:18 am    Post subject: Solar panel advice needed Reply with quote

I'm thinking about buying a 135w Kyocera panel - would there be any benefit of buying one with a junction box versus one without (MC4 connection)?

http://store.solar-electric.com/kykc130wasop.html

I don't have racks so I'm thinking I want to mount the panel directly on the roof (like ohlott and alaric) and possibly add another smaller panel (modular) that I can use if I need to park in the shade. Would I need two controllers in that setup?

Is a MPPT controller overkill for a setup like this, or is a PWM sufficient?

TIA Smile
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Last edited by Hallvalla on Mon Apr 26, 2010 11:21 am; edited 1 time in total
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Hallvalla
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2010 11:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Forgot to mention I have an 105a AGM house battery in my setup.
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ohlott
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2010 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Contact the people at wind and sun. Tell them what you are doing. They were very helpful with information. You should only need one controller and just hook the other panel up when you need it.
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PDXWesty
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2010 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like having the pre-wired connection. Also, I don't see the need to perminantly mount the panel on the van. Do you really need to charge all the time? The batteries get regular charging from the alternator. I have a 125 watt panel I keep in the upper bunk when the top is down. Then I can place it anywhere in the sun when I camp. Having it perminantly mounted limits your parking direction with the top poped if you want optimum performance from your panel. I do place it on the roof when convenient, but I can also move it around as the sun shifts during the day, or place it a distance from the van if I park in the shade.

Amazon has some good deals on an 85 watt panel right now. Check them out. Also check asun power for good pricing. Monocrystalline panels are the higher efficiency than poly panels. You can also connect multiple panels to the same controller as long as you don't exceed the amp limit on the controller. I use a sunforce digital controller with amp and voltage readout.

http://www.amazon.com/HQRP-Monocrystalline-Control...amp;sr=8-2

http://www.amazon.com/Sunforce-60032-Digital-Charg...mp;sr=8-11
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Hallvalla
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2010 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ohlott wrote:
Contact the people at wind and sun. Tell them what you are doing. They were very helpful with information. You should only need one controller and just hook the other panel up when you need it.


ohlott, how did you mount your panel? Did you drill holes for the wires? Thanks, I've always been interested in your setup.
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Hallvalla
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2010 1:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PDXWesty wrote:
I like having the pre-wired connection. Also, I don't see the need to perminantly mount the panel on the van. Do you really need to charge all the time?


I'll definitely consider to not permanently attach the panel. I'd like to keep something up top to keep the batteries topped off because I only drive the van for camping. I park on the street in front of my house at times, so I am really trying to not have wires viewable for theft reasons. Maybe a better solution is to mount a smaller panel up to (60w or so) and stow away the 135w like you do so I can place it wherever.

What do you use as an extension cable, how many feet can you move it from the van?
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PDXWesty
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2010 1:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The 20 watt panel is enough to keep the batteries topped off. It fits in the luggage rack too.
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whynotvw
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2010 3:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i use 80 watt solar with 65ah odyssey aux. battery. i have the engel mt45 fridge that runs 24/7. 80 watt with 50-60 deep cycle ah gives plenty of juice whether i drive the van or not. i run the wires through the back but not through the pop top canvas and then through the hatch area. this was the cleanest look imo.

i also have it mounted on the sliding tracks for my yakima so no holes on the roof was needed.

personally i didn't want to move around the solar panel, that would be a big inconvenience to me. on the last picture, once the pop top is down the two wires right above the W on the westfalia are barely noticeable. and where the two holes are drilled will not affect anything.

if you need further help or questions you can pm me. i'll give you my number.
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Alaric.H
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2010 3:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There should be all kinds of set ups at SDM you should check them out.
I should be there as well.
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Hallvalla
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2010 3:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alaric.H wrote:
There should be all kinds of set ups at SDM you should check them out.
I should be there as well.


Alaric, what is SDM? - thanks
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Hallvalla
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2010 3:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

n/m - Syncro De Mayo - unfortunately, won't be making that event. Although a Mulege trip is in the cards soon.
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tencentlife
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2010 7:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The MC connectors are handy and weatherproof, but I'm not sure they're intended for frwquent disconnection. That said, they would probably hold up as well as any other connector.

At 135w I think a charge controller is warranted, but an MPPT wouldn't be cost-effective at such small wattage. A quality small PWM controller would be your best value.

I'm all for being able to camp in the shade and put my panel in the sun.
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johnt55
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2011 5:58 pm    Post subject: Solar setup - 81 Westy Reply with quote

Here are some photos of a solar installation I did on my 81 Westy.

60 watt home-made PV panel fits snugly inside fiberglass luggage area above front seats.
Heavy, eight gauge wires from panel to regulator.
Large, deep cycle battery installed under passenger side of fold down
seats.
Cheap, Harbor Freight solar regulator.
Cheap, 750 watt HF inverter.
Separate 110 volt AC outlet.
Two connections direct to 12 volt power taps with inline fuses for small
devices.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Puts out about 60 watts, can't be seen from the street.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Solar and shore power are separated.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Clamps to hold down the solar panel use existing Westy holes.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Wires from panel can be seen sneaking in at top left just above the Harbor Freight regulator. 750 watt inverter is on the right.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


The one spot at the rear where I couldn't figure out how to hide the wires from the solar panel.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Wires leading from battery (for direct 12 volt DC with inline auto fuses) and from the DC to AC to AC outlet.
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Alaric.H
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2011 6:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really like that set up good use for that space.
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morymob
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 4:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For wires, couldn't the heavy copper'stranded type used in stereo systems be used, would handle the amps and low resistance.
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 11:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

morymob wrote:
For wires, couldn't the heavy copper'stranded type used in stereo systems be used, would handle the amps and low resistance.


Sure, if that wire is at least 10 gauge. 8 gauge is even better.

You can buy a special DC/AC inverter which is actually attached to the back of the solar panel itself. Then, because the panel is already delivering AC, wire thickness and distance are not nearly as important. Unfortunately, these neat little devices are still rather pricey - more than the cost of the panel itself in some cases.

The price of silicon cell panels has recently dropped tremendously! Half of what they cost just a few years ago. The pure silicon they use to make the cells cost almost $1,000.00/pound back then. Now it's below $100.00/pound. This is part of the reason why Solyndra bit the dust.

Here's what a 6 x 3" poly-crystalline cell looks like up close.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


The blue side is actually negative. The thin lines gather electrons from the surface. The thicker leads are used to connect from one cell to another.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


This is the negative side of the cell. The cells are very thin and fragile, like big potato chips.
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r39o
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 9:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My quick placement before the rains started. I need to make a frame work to hold these panels in.

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ohlott
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 10:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So what did you end up doing for your set up?
Hallvalla wrote:
PDXWesty wrote:
I like having the pre-wired connection. Also, I don't see the need to perminantly mount the panel on the van. Do you really need to charge all the time?


I'll definitely consider to not permanently attach the panel. I'd like to keep something up top to keep the batteries topped off because I only drive the van for camping. I park on the street in front of my house at times, so I am really trying to not have wires viewable for theft reasons. Maybe a better solution is to mount a smaller panel up to (60w or so) and stow away the 135w like you do so I can place it wherever.

What do you use as an extension cable, how many feet can you move it from the van?

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 10:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

r39o wrote:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Looks like a nice fit. What panels are these? Also, when done, please post details about how you routed the wiring. Thanks.
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Flat in the back
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hi, i've been day dreaming about installing a second battery that only wires to a solar panel. (maybe with an option of linking to the main battery to be charge when needed..) and have been eyeing on the harbor freight 45 watt solar panel kit for $149.99 with coupon. does anyone have any experience on that set up?
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