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Old 11-12-2023, 10:18 AM   #1
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adding solar panels

hi all, I'm looking to add solar panels to my 2006, E350 pop-up penthouse sportsmobile, for all the usual reasons. But i'm wondering about the consequences of adding weight to the top? I use a ratcheting cargo bar to raise the penthouse, but could also use a scissor jack (both terrific ideas from other forums here!) (I'm also going to ask the trailer place to look at the spring system, as suggested previously too). Anyone have any concerns to bring to my attention? I'm thinking 200W right now, and the Renogy system says the panels are 14.1 lbs / 6.4 kg each, plus the frame of course. I also wonder about the flexible panels - although they don't look very good for permanent attaching. (I also have portable solar panels and a Jackery that i use, but you can't just plug that in and go for a hike....) Thanks!

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Old 11-12-2023, 03:59 PM   #2
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As mentioned on the forum previously - flex panels seem to present mounting problems re glue, mounting tape, etc. Suit case panels offer better placement options for "following the sun", etc., so long as you have appropriate place to store them. Safe weight ranges for PH top seem to be in the 200 - 250 lb area and may require spring adjustments.
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Old 11-12-2023, 04:34 PM   #3
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Russ, I'm pretty confident you meant 100-150lbs.
Pop-top weight limit(s) has come up several times over the years, and while some people haven't had issues with 175 to 200lbs, the recommended limit from Sportsmobile is 150lbs on the Electric Tops (A while back I uncovered a Sportsmobile directive stating as much)...not sure how that would translate to the manual version).
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Old 11-12-2023, 04:44 PM   #4
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Oops - yup you're right Felix ! MY BAD --
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Old 11-13-2023, 07:00 AM   #5
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thank you both! the weight limit comments are really helpful -- i was wondering that too. so a couple of solar panels should be fine - and i wasn't planning on adding much else up there (hard to reach )
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Old 11-21-2023, 12:40 PM   #6
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We have been using a 180 watt panel for 8 years. Got it professionally installed in Fresno at Sportsmobile now Field Vans. Can be off grid until the water tank runs out. Electric lift. 2006
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Old 11-27-2023, 08:31 AM   #7
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My solar is not mounted. I have 2 Dokio folding suitcase style 300w panels that connect to my MPPT controller via a custom Y to Anderson 50 amp cable.

Dokio 300w portable panels.

I massively oversized my system unless I want to get stupid and try to run my Starcool off of it... I have the Dokio Kickstands for the panels as well,

Dokio Kickstands / brackets.

Using 25ft cables I can set up the camper in the shade, and insure my solar panels are in full sun without worrying about what it will do to the penthouse roof...
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