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Ultimate Solar - 200 Watts in the Luggage Rack!
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thebusandus
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2016 8:23 am    Post subject: Ultimate Solar - 200 Watts in the Luggage Rack! Reply with quote

We worked with Renogy solar https://www.renogy.com/?rfsn=266236.04e7f to come up with the perfect 200 Watt solar solution for Westfalias. We have two 100 watt panels, both store inside of our luggage rack. One is on a hinge so you can lift it to get a better angle on late day sun. The other sits under the hinged panel and is on a 30 Ft extension so you can place it in the sun when you are parked in the shade.

https://c3.staticflickr.com/9/8647/29600655890_5a5aa36855_b.jpg
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.




What you need from Renogy if you would like to have the same kit as ours, with the same mounting locations in your bus.

2 X 100 W Eclipse Panels

1X Mounting kit (but 2X hardware if possible)

One Charge Controller

2 X Wiring "adapter" kits - 1x 9 FT, 1x 30 FT with MC4 connectors on Both ends

1 X Tray wiring kit, 16 FT

1x MC4 Branch Connector

*Note* If installing in a Vanagon or if you are using a different battery / charge controller mounting location you may need to modify your wire length, in particular you may only want the 8FT tray wiring kit, and you may want a 20ft or 40 FT extension for your moveable panel*

The mounting hardware I ordered from Amazon.

3x 4" Door Hinges, You can buy them HERE on Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/Stanley-Hardware-V8028-Hing...e57c6246d4

2x Lid supports. Here's a two pack on Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/Stanley-Hardware-Folding-Su...1a41fe568e

https://c3.staticflickr.com/9/8262/29600695490_d9ce66d847_b.jpg
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

We routed the wires through the center of the luggage rack.

https://c8.staticflickr.com/9/8382/29811326631_421d925985_b.jpg
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

The wires are pulled from behind the headliner, secured near the driver's seat belt, then routed behind the bulkhead. I drilled a two holes in the bulkhead, one for the panel wires to the controller and one for the tray wires, from the controller to the battery in the engine bay.

We had an older solar system already installed so our wiring was already in place. We drilled a hole in the top center of the luggage rack, and our roof. We then put some paint for protection around the hole in our roof. We funneled the panel wires through the hole, and towards the driver's side seat belt. We mounted the charge controller behind the drivers seat on the bulkhead. Everyone's set up is different, ours works for us and is well hidden once fully installed.

The tray wires are routed through a hole in the lower bulkhead and join some other wires for our main cabinet. From there they follow the other wires to the house battery in the engine bay. We used the 16FT tray cables and cut them down to 12ft or so. Make sure you fully lay out the cable before cutting. Also, make sure you follow the included renogy directions. Wire your battery before anything else ( especially connecting panels! )

https://c7.staticflickr.com/9/8548/29600689390_82a276b288_b.jpg
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

You can see here how one panel fits perfectly inside of the luggage rack. 100 Watts, getting power all the time!

https://c3.staticflickr.com/9/8201/29600683410_70c325b8ae_b.jpg
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

You can't even tell there is a 100 watt panel inside of the luggage rack because it is so thin.

This first panel is going to be the panel which is connected to the 30 ft extension. You aren't actually going to mount this panel at all, it will sit securely under the second panel which will be mounted on the hinge mechanism. You will use the included foam in the solar panel shipping box to create a soft, non damaging barrier between the two panels.

https://c5.staticflickr.com/6/5590/29859850356_caa0b45249_b.jpg
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Test fitting the hinges and the panel mounting brackets.

https://c7.staticflickr.com/8/7509/29267477414_29c13d74bb_b.jpg
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

You will need to drill new holes in the brackets to get two securing bolts through the mount and the hinge.

https://c3.staticflickr.com/9/8555/29267473554_7b399c9e51_b.jpg
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Once you have the holes drilled mount the hardware to join the two. I spray painted everything black for a cleaner look that matches the black edges of the solar panels. The mounting brackets come in a silver finish, and the hinges come in an assortment of finishes.

https://c7.staticflickr.com/9/8100/29859835406_1790c354d6_b.jpg
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Now, you want to mount the second panel. Use the included hardware to mount the mounting brackets to the panel. I kept the mounts a little loose as the brackets will have to sit at different lengths from the panel because of the curvature of the luggage rack.

https://c8.staticflickr.com/9/8802/29894607975_3167dcf78e_b.jpg
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

I put one of the bronze (included in the kit) self tapping bolts in each of the hinge brackets and drilled it directly into the luggage rack. The hinges will not all sit completely flush, and you can sort of use the luggage rack tie downs to help support the hinges as well.

https://c3.staticflickr.com/8/7520/29859825506_2dc0317bd9_b.jpg
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Once you have one of self tapping bolts in each hinge you can start tapping more in. With four bolts in each of the hinges the mounting / hinge mechanism will be very secure. Once it is you can hold it up and mount the lid supports.

https://c2.staticflickr.com/9/8197/29268285513_e0c299a228_b.jpg
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

I drilled two holes in the side of the panel once test fitting the lid support and the angel it would create. I mounted it, and then bent the lid support outward so it sits securely in one of the luggage rack tie downs. With this mounting system the panel is still secure when hinged upward.

https://c7.staticflickr.com/9/8437/29600653270_a6acf31d2e_b.jpg
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

With the top panel hinged up you can easily remove the bottom panel which has the 30 FT wire extension spooled underneath.

https://c5.staticflickr.com/9/8025/29600662380_972887149e_b.jpg
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

In its sitting position it sits two inches up out of the luggage rack on the sides but flush in the middle, partially visible.

https://c7.staticflickr.com/6/5076/29783337662_c42620b911_b.jpg
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

I also added these door pins to the rear to secure the rear when driving. They work very well, I just bought them from home depot.

https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8231/29783341272_cab01493cc_b.jpg
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

I have a few thousand miles on them and it works well to secure the panels down.

https://c3.staticflickr.com/9/8647/29600655890_5a5aa36855_b.jpg
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.



Back in party mode! Never be without power Smile

If you want to order please do so through this link, https://www.renogy.com/?rfsn=266236.04e7f you may want to call and talk to Renogy about your specific needs, they can customize packages for you. If you mention The Bus and Us they will have a better idea of what you are looking for Smile.
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pioneer1
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2016 9:43 am    Post subject: Re: Ultimate Solar - 200 Watts in the Luggage Rack! Reply with quote

how many watts do you need to supply the battery for 6 lights inside and a small tv?
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2016 9:43 am    Post subject: Re: Ultimate Solar - 200 Watts in the Luggage Rack! Reply with quote

Neat set up.
Some pix where too big. Took to long to load. I resized and added pics and tightened it up a little.

Good job
Tcash

In the future can you please load pix to TheSamba gallery. That way, if in the future they are not hosted, they are not lost.

Thank you
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thebusandus
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2016 10:06 am    Post subject: Re: Ultimate Solar - 200 Watts in the Luggage Rack! Reply with quote

Thanks Tcash, will do in the future!
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2016 10:11 am    Post subject: Re: Ultimate Solar - 200 Watts in the Luggage Rack! Reply with quote

DiVo,

These are the same panels that Sven installed on Big Emma aren't they?

That was entirely his project, so I don't know much about the specifics, but they do have 2 - 100 W panels. As far as I know, they are working very well for them.

You can see their panels on their thread (sort of). Sven and I fabricated a luggage rack to mount them on out of pvc pipe and mounted that to the Riviera top. The only problem is that the top is now too heavy to be self supporting without an added lift-assist.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2016 10:19 am    Post subject: Re: Ultimate Solar - 200 Watts in the Luggage Rack! Reply with quote

andrewtf wrote:
The only problem is that the top is now too heavy to be self supporting without an added lift-assist.


Are you saying it's too heavy for a person to lift now, so you had to install a mechanical device to raise the top?

How much do they way? I have a solar panel that looks similar in size, and it's not very heavy. I don't think I would have any trouble lifting 2 of them on top of my pop top.

We are still considering adding solar too, but my plan was to have it (them?) mounted to the pop top in a fixed position, but make it so I can pull the panel off easily and use an extension to set it in the sun. My logic being, the ideal position for a solar panel and for camping do not share the same criteria, ie I like to park in the shade, so having a panel on the Bus was not ideal. When underway, having the panel(s) "stored" on the roof also allows for a little bonus energy collection.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2016 10:29 am    Post subject: Re: Ultimate Solar - 200 Watts in the Luggage Rack! Reply with quote

Could fit a bigger one in an early bay luggage rack. This is pretty cool.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2016 10:32 am    Post subject: Re: Ultimate Solar - 200 Watts in the Luggage Rack! Reply with quote

Its not to heavy to lift. Lil' bitty Emma can still raise the top. The springs just don't have enough ummph to keep the top up once it is raised. They have a Riviera, so it might be fine on a Westfalia.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2016 11:34 am    Post subject: Re: Ultimate Solar - 200 Watts in the Luggage Rack! Reply with quote

andrewtf wrote:
Its not to heavy to lift. Lil' bitty Emma can still raise the top. The springs just don't have enough ummph to keep the top up once it is raised. They have a Riviera, so it might be fine on a Westfalia.


ahhhh that makes sense

When I raise my top, it rests on the metal legs. No springs involved. I forgot about the scissor style that would use springs.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2016 12:10 pm    Post subject: Re: Ultimate Solar - 200 Watts in the Luggage Rack! Reply with quote

Renogy makes a number of different panels, I would guess Sven would go the cheaper route without space constraints. I actually rigged a little PVC spacer for his rack in my driveway in Alaska Smile I think he did go with the older model of solar panel, its bigger but much cheaper. These are more expensive, and efficient for the size obviously but the big reason they are awesome is they fit in the luggage rack!
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2016 2:06 pm    Post subject: Re: Ultimate Solar - 200 Watts in the Luggage Rack! Reply with quote

Nice. Thanks for the post. Gives me plenty to think about Smile
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2016 7:08 am    Post subject: Re: Ultimate Solar - 200 Watts in the Luggage Rack! Reply with quote

Nice setup! I have 1 Renogy Eclipse 100W panel in my luggage rack already and it seems to meet all my charging needs to run our Engel SR48F fridge. I could see using power for some interior fans, though, in warmer weather so I get the desire to generate more. You going with multiple house batteries, too?

- Doug Smile
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2016 8:48 am    Post subject: Re: Ultimate Solar - 200 Watts in the Luggage Rack! Reply with quote

I love the idea of Solar but there are enough posts about people's solar rigs catching fire burning their buses to the ground to give me pause. Unless there are many 100's of setups that have no issues and we just don't hear about those. A vanagon just sitting in the garage is the latest one I'm thinking of and didn't Hasta's solar catch fire?
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2016 9:15 am    Post subject: Re: Ultimate Solar - 200 Watts in the Luggage Rack! Reply with quote

Did Renogy change the dimensions of the panels? I was originally going to put my panel in the luggage rack like yours, but I would have had to trim the corners in order for it to fit flush.

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


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


I ended up doing this.. I would love to add one to the luggage rack for some additional charging..

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


Sometimes, I'll drive around with a kegerator and serve nitro coffee on tap, this drains my batteries in about a day with no sun.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2016 9:31 am    Post subject: Re: Ultimate Solar - 200 Watts in the Luggage Rack! Reply with quote

Yes this is a new panel design that just recently came out, they have three 100 watt panels this is the high end one!

As far as fire.. I'm not sure what happened to Hasta's but improper connections of any sort are likely to cause issues. Hasta had a weird battery set up and it caught fire because of an issue with the person storing it.. It's not a usual scenario. I just had mine in storage for three months without issues but it is very very simple to unplug the solar panels from the controller and cover them up when in storage. Other than Hasta I don't know of anyone having and issue.. (I think his second battery was a homemade lithium set up made of old laptop batteries)

I'm running one battery, the biggest deep cycle you can get at Costco. The reason for two panels is fans, computers, lights, stereo, fridge, inverter all sucking juice out when I camp out for a few days. With 200watts I'm fully
charged by noon!
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2016 9:40 am    Post subject: Re: Ultimate Solar - 200 Watts in the Luggage Rack! Reply with quote

ac78 wrote:
I love the idea of Solar but there are enough posts about people's solar rigs catching fire burning their buses to the ground to give me pause. Unless there are many 100's of setups that have no issues and we just don't hear about those. A vanagon just sitting in the garage is the latest one I'm thinking of and didn't Hasta's solar catch fire?


This is the first I've ever heard of this. The fire hazard usually associated with Buses is the barb coming out of the carburetor.

Got any links?

This shouldn't stop you anyway. Just like the carburetor issue. Now that you know, take measures to prevent it from happening to you. Smile

Maybe my skills with electrical/electronics makes me confident I can install a reliable and safe system.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2016 9:51 am    Post subject: Re: Ultimate Solar - 200 Watts in the Luggage Rack! Reply with quote

pioneer1 wrote:
how many watts do you need to supply the battery for 6 lights inside and a small tv?

No seriously...I am installing solar in my travel trailer. What amps/watts panel do I need for say 6 or 8 inside lights,a small tv,etc?
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2016 9:53 am    Post subject: Re: Ultimate Solar - 200 Watts in the Luggage Rack! Reply with quote

Hikelite wrote:
ac78 wrote:
I love the idea of Solar but there are enough posts about people's solar rigs catching fire burning their buses to the ground to give me pause. Unless there are many 100's of setups that have no issues and we just don't hear about those. A vanagon just sitting in the garage is the latest one I'm thinking of and didn't Hasta's solar catch fire?


This is the first I've ever heard of this. The fire hazard usually associated with Buses is the barb coming out of the carburetor.

Got any links?

This shouldn't stop you anyway. Just like the carburetor issue. Now that you know, take measures to prevent it from happening to you. Smile

Maybe my skills with electrical/electronics makes me confident I can install a reliable and safe system.
The only fire I have heard of was Ben's (Hasta Alaska) and it had to do with a home made lithium ion battery setup. Even the major manufacturers have had problems with lithium ion arrays catching fire. I would think a properly vented sealed lead acid system would be pretty safe.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2016 10:45 am    Post subject: Re: Ultimate Solar - 200 Watts in the Luggage Rack! Reply with quote

This is the latest one I recall. I do think Hasta was related to solar.
http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=660443&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0

I'm not trying to be a downer on the subject because I think it's awesome tech but maybe there's extra safety circuit info that could be learned from other failures.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2016 10:52 am    Post subject: Re: Ultimate Solar - 200 Watts in the Luggage Rack! Reply with quote

pioneer1 wrote:
pioneer1 wrote:
how many watts do you need to supply the battery for 6 lights inside and a small tv?

No seriously...I am installing solar in my travel trailer. What amps/watts panel do I need for say 6 or 8 inside lights,a small tv,etc?


You need to add up all the Wattage specifications from all the lights and TV.
If you cannot find the specs on the component, look online.

Good luck
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