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Old 10-17-2016, 09:48 PM   #1
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Solar install - round two

As most of you know, my first SMB was stolen the weekend after I finished installing the two flexible solar panels. So, I'm now in the process of installing solar on our new van.

I started by ordering a Renogy 100w RV kit with the Adventurer PWM controller w/LCD display, with a second 100w panel to arrive later. I hooked everything up for a dry run and everything looked good...



Then I consulted rallypanam because I wanted to set up the mounting system the same way he did, using aluminum unistrut and aluminum cross members, like this...



I went down to a local supply house and bought two 10’ lengths of aluminum Unistrut for $100. Then I sanded, primed and painted them and mounted them along the edges of the PH top...



Then it was off to Lowes for three 6’ pieces of 1.25” aluminum angle iron for the cross members for $60. And, of course, more sanding, priming and painting.

Then I received the second 100w panel in the mail...

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Old 10-17-2016, 10:12 PM   #2
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Of course I sanded, primed, and painted the panels as well. Don’t laugh…I was at work and printer paper was all I had…







Then I disassembled as little of the interior as I could to run the cables. Got away with just removing the vertical trim piece in the rear corner, the panel above the rear couch where the charge controller will go, and the framing around the window. Only 13 screws...

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Old 10-17-2016, 11:23 PM   #3
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Got the charge controller mounted…with a little damage to the vinyl. Oh well.





Then Curtis helped me mount the panels to the aluminum angle iron…





Then Curtis got tired and stopped helping. Kids

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Old 10-18-2016, 12:07 AM   #4
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Then I got started on running the tray cables…





Routing them through the wall took a while. I was happy to find there’s lots of insulation in there though. And, yes, that coat hanger is stuck in there now. Great.



So, that’s where it stands now. Next up is drilling holes in the PH top and van roof
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Old 10-18-2016, 07:40 AM   #5
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Looks awesome Greg. Just FYI, if you do much more metal fab find yourself a metal supply house. Buying material from Lowe's is a total rip off. I got a 25' section of aluminum angle for Twogone's solar for $20 at a local metal supply.

Nice work though, congrats on getting back to where you were!

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Old 10-18-2016, 09:39 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 86Scotty View Post
Just FYI, if you do much more metal fab find yourself a metal supply house. Buying material from Lowe's is a total rip off. I got a 25' section of aluminum angle for Twogone's solar for $20 at a local metal supply.

Nice work though, congrats on getting back to where you were!

I tried to tell him! I just haven't found a good aluminum supplier, so I didn't have a name. But the Unistrut was from a supply house I've used.
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Old 10-18-2016, 10:36 AM   #7
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I don't have one that keeps it in stock, but they will order it for me. They had to cancel the order of 3 25' pieces. I might go back for the other two.


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Old 10-18-2016, 10:47 AM   #8
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I do like the low profile unistrut a lot.
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Old 10-18-2016, 11:03 AM   #9
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Looks awesome Greg. Just FYI, if you do much more metal fab find yourself a metal supply house. Buying material from Lowe's is a total rip off. I got a 25' section of aluminum angle for Twogone's solar for $20 at a local metal supply.

Nice work though, congrats on getting back to where you were!

Yeah, it was pretty pricey. Even had to go to multiple Lowes just to find 1/8" stock. Unfortunately the supply house where I got the unistrut didn't have any angle iron in stock. Could have picked some up cheaper in the east bay, but I didn't feel like crossing a bridge to go get it.
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Old 10-18-2016, 01:35 PM   #10
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Hey nice work so far!!!
Thanks for taking the time to post this install thread. Really looking forward to seeing how it completes.



*** Jumping ahead of things a little bit here.....I have a question revolving around the installation of solar panels in general: Are there precautions that must be taken to prevent the panels from generating any current until the entire system is installed and wired fully?

Curious if people cover the panels with masking tape (or something else, maybe cardboard or some blankets?) to "keep them from going hot" while you're still wiring up the system. It seems that most people would likely be installing this rooftop solar in an outdoors setting....and during the day....when sunshine would be falling on the panels, and causing the panels to make wattage/current......all while you're attempting to swing them into place, bolt them down and hook up wires......

Anyone see where I'm going with this?

Or am I overthinking this. (That's what I usually do.)
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