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Old 08-01-2008, 09:04 PM   #1
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installing a solar panel

Um...can I do it myself? I have a drill, epoxy, a tap measure and a 6 pack of beer....

Seriously though, mounting it would be easy, providing it comes this a kit of some sort - if it is raised, does it catch the wind when you drive? How are your panels mounted?

Wiring - I plan to put it on the front part of the penthouse, windsurf boards to the rear. from that location, I figure I can drop it in one of the corners - how do you prevent future leaks??

OK - now the wire is inside - could put the controller deal behind the drivers seat, all well and good.

But, how, pray tell - do I get this now live wire down, under my van to the house battery??

many thanks.

Mike
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Old 08-02-2008, 10:25 AM   #2
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Re: installing a solar panel

Quote:
Originally Posted by Windzup
Um...can I do it myself? I have a drill, epoxy, a tap measure and a 6 pack of beer....

Seriously though, mounting it would be easy, providing it comes this a kit of some sort - if it is raised, does it catch the wind when you drive? How are your panels mounted?

Wiring - I plan to put it on the front part of the penthouse, windsurf boards to the rear. from that location, I figure I can drop it in one of the corners - how do you prevent future leaks??

OK - now the wire is inside - could put the controller deal behind the drivers seat, all well and good.

But, how, pray tell - do I get this now live wire down, under my van to the house battery??

many thanks.

Mike
I put up my solar panel. The controller was installed by SMB as the 'Solar Prep' option.

To mount the panel, I used existing holes through the roof and mounted 1x1 square aluminum tubing with longer bolts (use stainless steel to prevent catalytic corrosion of the aluminum). The solar panel was then mounted to the 1x1 aluminum.

The hardest parts might have been running the wiring.

From the solar panel I went beyond the flexible wall and then went through the roof panel with a water tight fitting. Then I had to loosen the interior of the roof and snake the wiring through (easy to say and hard to do) above the flexible wall and into the interior walls and to the solar controller. Then, if the wiring ever leaked, it was outside the flexible wall and no real way for water to get inside.

You should run 10 or 12 gauge wiring for the controller when you mount it.

Good luck,

Mike
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Old 08-05-2008, 12:35 AM   #3
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Geez - good luck indeed.

What about getting rail mounted racks, and putting it over the cab, infront of the pop up. I think I can mount a 50 watt up there. Wondering if it sits a few inches above the van if I will get some weird wind sounds when driving.

Flexible wall.... oh boy, guess I'm a newbie here - what flexible wall?

Sigh.. any of you guys live in the bay area? Love to see an install first hand.

Thanks Mike for the feedback.

Mike
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Old 08-05-2008, 10:04 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Windzup
Geez - good luck indeed.

What about getting rail mounted racks, and putting it over the cab, infront of the pop up. I think I can mount a 50 watt up there. Wondering if it sits a few inches above the van if I will get some weird wind sounds when driving.

That is probably a good place for a small panel. If it gets noisy, you can probably put an angled plate in front of the panel.

Flexible wall.... oh boy, guess I'm a newbie here - what flexible wall?

The folding wall on the penthouse top. If you look under the top when it is up, you will see the flexible wall ends about 6" from the edge of the top.

Sigh.. any of you guys live in the bay area? Love to see an install first hand.

Click on Profile at the bottom of the post and you will get to see the profile. I live in Santa Clara.

Thanks Mike for the feedback.

Mike
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Old 08-05-2008, 12:10 PM   #5
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You could modify a yakima rack to support your solar panel.
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Old 08-05-2008, 01:50 PM   #6
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Mike,

I have two solar panels mounted by SMB West. They sit 2-3 inches above the penthouse top and I have not noticed any unusual wind noise. The mount for our panels is very simple there are 4 large L brackets that are bolted to the penthouse and also the aluminum frame of the solar panels.

John
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Old 08-05-2008, 03:45 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jage
You could modify a yakima rack to support your solar panel.
Exactly what I was thinking, then, as one of you said, put a little ram/dam deal in front of it.

Make a nice place for spiders to nest, if nothing else.

OK - next questions - best place to purchase a solar panel? On line, Costco, walmart? Any 'watchouts' in selection of said panel?

I'll open the top in the next day or two and look for that folding wall thing, thanks Mike for explaining what it was.

Middle of windsurfing season, kind of hard to take the van out of service to work on it.
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Old 08-05-2008, 06:41 PM   #8
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I've been looking into solar for a while now. I still haven't pulled the trigger, but it is just a matter of time...and more importantly money. I'm lucky in that our van is already prewired for solar. However, http://www.solar-electric.com/ (Northern Arizona Sun & Wind) has a great selection and prices. Furthermore, they have a lot of information and have been recommended through other sites.

Regardless, good luck and let us know how it goes.
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Old 08-06-2008, 09:45 PM   #9
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We had mounts made for our two solar panels so that they would mount directly to Yakima TRACKS. THis gives a little flexibility to move them forward and aft, and it also keeps them lower to the PHT.

We have not noticed any air noise (except for the one time a bolt came loose on the old-style Yakima farring we mounted on the light bar).

We are looking for two large-size old-style Yakima farrings, one to mount on the light par, and the other to mount on the front edge of the solar panels when we slide them forward to or past the forward edge of the PHT.
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Old 08-06-2008, 10:18 PM   #10
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Windzup,

Are you still interested in looking at rigs or solar installations?

We are in the South Bay, but available for tours by appointment or by chance.

Mike
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