This method works whether you have tilting or non tilting mounting hardware. Next we connected the wire leads from the Zamp solar panel to the corresponding wires from the junction box. Founded in 2007, TCM is the RV community's number one source for news, reviews, guides, newbie advice, destination ideas, maintenance recommendations, modifications, and more. RV Master Techs has installed a countless amount of solar panels on motorhomes here in Arizona to include: Glendale, Scottsdale, Peoria, Surprise, Tempe, Chandler, Gilbert, and surrounding areas. Gorilla tape was used to hold the panel wiring to the inside upper panel. One thing you want to avoid when mounting solar panels to a rubber roof is you do not want to use VHB tape as recommended by some RVers. Farewell furnace! Simply use the adhesive recommended by the solar panel manufacturer to glue the panel to the roof. Colorado Standby now offers RV solar panel installation & kits. Once they are screwed in, you’ll want to cover each hole with Dicor or another RV-safe self leveling lap-sealant. Solar power is also completely silent unlike a generator, and maintaining your RV solar panels is easy once everything is set up. We prepared the solar panel for installation by screwing the solar panel feet brackets to the panel. Simply search “RV solar … The … The installers know what to do and work without any … Since this was our first time installing a solar panel system, and we regularly stop for photography and note taking, we gave ourselves a full day. This system is nearly identical to the one in the Northstar and, with the three-port solar panel junction box, would allow us to upgrade to two panels (300 watts) or even three panels (450 watts) in the future. Once drilled, the hole would pass the 8-gauge wire from the junction box down through the wardrobe to the solar controller. How to install a 12v Solar Panel System. During our experiment, Angela monitored the Zamp ZS-30A solar charge controller. Above: The 30-amp 5-stage PWM (pulse width modulation) solar charge controller with LCD display – click to enlarge. Again, we only anticipate needing one 150-watt panel given our positive experience with the 150-watt installation on the Northstar, and similar experiences with other solar-equipped truck campers. Then it was time to do something we would otherwise never do; purposefully drill a hole in the camper’s roof. An additional panel could later be placed on the passenger’s side front leaving just enough space between the panels to walk and inspect roof seals. 180 Watt Monocrystalline Solar Panel with 12 Amp Charge Controller nuCamp RV has produced a video showcasing the 2021 Cirrus 620. We considered several factors including (a) where we wanted the controller to be located, (b) where it would be easiest to run the required wiring, and (c) avoiding propane lines, heat ducting, and plumbing. If you have a large budget ($3000+), you can most likely skip this step. It would be like taping a picture frame to wrapping paper that has been stuck to your wall. Install your Inverter (Optional) If you want to use your AC appliances like your microwave, laptop, … Above: The wiring inside the Zamp junction box. You’ll still want to install the appropriate mounting bracket to your solar panel. Once you know the size of system required for your needs, it takes some planning to correctly mount the panels on the roof of the RV. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Securing the solar panel to the roof was next. If you’re looking to DIY install your RV solar system, you’ll need to know how to mount solar panels to your RV roof. Best Flexible Panel Solar RV Kit. Once the locations for the roof mounted solar panel and junction box were determined, we moved inside the camper to plan where the Zamp solar controller should be mounted. For what we were looking for, it was perfect. For a complete step by step guide check out our detailed guide on how to install solar panels on RVs, campervan and motorhomes. How much does RV solar installation cost? Tom is a retired Plant Facility Manager from Allen Organ, and happens to own an Arctic Fox 990. Run It All. A third panel is not likely, but could be added on an available space towards the rear of the camper roof. Tom was pleased that the wire run distances between the solar panel, junction box, and solar controller would be kept as short as possible. Above: Michael Emerick applying Sikaflex 715 around the 8 gauge wire, Above: Caulking the junction box tight to the roof. First, we went to the battery compartment and disconnected our camper battery bank. Then the hole would be filled with Sikaflex 715, the same roof sealant used on the rest of the camper roof, and covered with the junction box, itself sealed with Sikaflex 715. Fortunately, our eleven-foot floor plan offered plenty of roof real estate options to place a panel of this size. The experts here at AM Solar can help you install solar panels on any RV, Trailer or other rig you bring us. Above: The diagram in the Zamp instructions for the install – click to enlarge. You don’t need holes for flexible solar panels! Had we not found this removable panel, we would have carefully tacked the wires from the junction box to the side cabinet wall with plastic cable tacks. It was a non-slide hard side floor plan – our personal preference. Absorption charge mode charged the battery bank to 100%, decreasing the current as the battery reaches 100%. Truck Camper Magazine installs a 150 watt Zamp solar panel system on their project camper and takes a big step towards cutting the cord and camping off-the-grid. The camper needed routine maintenance, and lacked amenities and features we could add, study, and document for the magazine. Above: The wiring inside the Zamp junction box. If the wrapping paper can fly off, the photo will, too. Get Rv Solar Panels Installed. Take a look at some of the installations we have done and consider giving us a call if you would like us to set up your RV with solar … Panels must be mounted to avoid shading from the air conditioner, TV antenna and storage pods. Other than loading up and filling with water, we are not permitted to work on our rig, or park it overnight. Last Spring we attempted an impromptu experiment to see how long we could camp without 110 volt shore power. When we told Tom about our solar panel system, he offered to help. For the installation of the Zamp solar panel system, we visited Tom and Pat Emerick. This allows us to turn off the water, drain the plumbing, adjust the thermostat, lock the doors, pack the camper, and go. To properly challenge the solar and battery system, we operated the camper as normal, charging the laptops daily, using the propane furnace in the morning, and running interior lights and fans as needed. Even on cloudy days, the system reached float charge, but did so later in the day. Available Wattage: 90, 140 | Weight: 39.8 lbs | Dimensions: 42 x 24.5 x 4.5 in. Most single or double panel solar panel systems are installed by professionals who regularly install solar panels in a few hours. This is because the top of your roof is simply a sheet that can peel off if the glue becomes detached enough. Above: The solar panel bracket feet being secured onto the roof. Then Sikaflex 715 was applied into the hole at the point where wire emerged. Even before the project camper arrived, we acquired a 150-watt Zamp solar panel system and solar controller. Precision RV - Marvin Braun (206) 276-2462 RV Solar Components. Y… Not all panels … By disconnecting the battery bank cables in this order, you prevent the possibility of electric shock during the installation. The most common RV roof type is rubber, made out of a material known as EPDM or TPO. Solar + Battery Powered RV Air Conditioning: Off Grid AC?. If you have a smaller budget, then this may be the overall limiting factor of your RV Solar system. A system like this will cost around $4,700–$5,700 total. We offer complete RV solar panel system installations for travel trailers, off the grid campers, fifth wheels, toy haulers, and RV … Next: Read about how Truck Camper Magazine and Team Emerick install the Zamp Controller, finish the install, and test the solar system. The simplest solar panel mounting hardware is known as a Z-bracket. https://www.renogy.com/blog/installing-solar-panels-on-your-van-or-rv Above: 25-feet of 8 gauge wire was included in the kit – click to enlarge, Above: A three-port solar panel junction box was also included in the kit – click to enlarge. During this period of time, the solar charge controller was in bulk charge mode sending the highest voltage the installed solar panel and charge controller were rated for. |. It is mainly because of its abilit… Above: Crimping the connections – click to enlarge, Above: Shrink wrapping the crimped connections with a heat gun. It measured 26.5” wide by 58.25” long. Again, stainless steel screws were used with a dab of Sikaflex 715 to secure the panel to the camper’s roof. RV SOLAR INSTALLERS. Then, we measured the dimensions of the Zamp 150-watt solar panel. Safety is your number one priority so remove all batteries cables before you do anything. The guide details everything you need to install a campervan solar panel system. This kit includes a 150 watt Class A mono-crystalline solar panel, a 30-amp 5-stage PWM (pulse width modulation) solar charge controller with LCD display, 25-feet of 8 gauge wire, a three-port solar panel junction box, and all required nuts, bolts, washers, fuse holders, fuses, splice connectors, and ring connectors. These results impressed us, especially considering the fact that the weather had varied during our experiment between full sun and partly cloudy. Above: Removable panel in our wardrobe closet where we ran wires from the junction box. The simplest solar panel mounting hardware is known as a Z-bracket. The bad news is that our HOA doesn’t permit us to keep our truck camper rig in front of our house for more than a few hours. Everything in life has compromises. RV Solar Panel Installation While an RV solar system is simple to maintain once it’s installed, getting it set up isn’t as simple as slapping some panels on top of your RV and calling it a … The mounting hardware you’ll use for installing solar panels on your RV too depends on what type of panels you have (tempered glass or flexible), what type of roof you have (typically a rubber/TPO roof or fiberglass), and whether or not you need your panels to tilt. I usually see this product being incorporated in a good Renogy flexible solar panel review considering its effectiveness and high satisfaction rating.This is an excellent choice, especially if you aim to choose the right RV solar panels. He and his son, Michael, have also refurbished an older Adventurer truck camper. 2020 Truck Camper Readers’ Choice Nominees. A few months later we found a decade old camper in Oregon that fit our requirements for a camper project. With the hole drilled, the 8-gauge wire was fed into the camper and underlying wardrobe through the hole. It also applies to the shore power if you have them on at the moment. The MSRP for the Zamp Deluxe 150 Watt RV Solar Kit is $899. Sun city Solar is the most professional solar company in Southern California. This DIY Camper Solar System Guide is a multi step, complete educational series that by the end, you will know what all of the parts of a solar system do, how they work together, what you'll need for YOUR specific system… They are expert designers with a "get it done right" the first-time attitude. The shrink wrap was strongly recommended by Tom to protect the crimped connections from the elements. You can disable footer widget area in theme options - footer options, How to Mount Solar Panels on Your RV: Step by Step Installation, 2020 DIYRVLiving.com. All Rights Reserved. Tom and Pat’s sons, Donny and Michael, also volunteered to help with the installation. This is the most common type of mounting bracket that comes in RV solar kits. With the panel now on the roof, we connected the 8-gauge wires to the Zamp junction box including the corresponding positive and negative wire connections. The camper should also be disconnected from 110 volt shore power. After the experience, we recommend blocking off at least a full day for the task. Then the panel was carefully flipped over and placed into its previously determined position on the forward driver’s side. With over 20 years of … For example, A True Solar Power Package Can Now Be Included With Your New Keystone RV . This kit includes physically flexible solar panels that can be mounted on the curved roof of any RV. Copyright © 2007-2020. Between 10:00am and 12:00 noon the battery voltage read 14.6 or 14.7 volts. When the screws were in, Sikaflex 715 was used to cover the solar panel bracket feet. Between the Arctic Fox and the Adventurer, Tom is always working or modifying something. When a battery is on float charge, it is fully charged and maintaining its full charge from the solar panel. Then you will map out where the bracket feet will land, clean the roof and foot with alcohol, wait for it to try, and then install the VHB tape per the instructions. After nixing a few locations that conflicted with the above requirements, we found an inset panel area under the wardrobe closet. Every few hours, Angela noted the battery voltage readings on the built-in LCD screen. At the time, we were camping in a Northstar 8.5 Arrow U with a 150 watt Zamp solar panel and controller, one Group 27 battery, and all LED interior and exterior lighting. No widgets added. 190 Watt Solar Panel … This is the most common type of mounting bracket that comes in RV solar kits. Once the controller detected the battery bank was at 85% charge, the controller changed to absorption charge mode. The number of solar panels and watts you will need will depend on your electronics usage in your RV meaning if you have the usual coffee maker, hair blower, a microwave perhaps, and a TV the estimated wattage you will need is between 400 to 600 watts of solar panels. After asking, “Are we sure about this?” a few dozen times, we drilled the hole. Since we wanted to leave room for adding more panels in the future, we placed the single panel where it would fit best and work in a two or three panel installation. Above: The Northstar 8.5 Arrow U in the Outer Banks during the solar test – click to enlarge. By early to mid-afternoon, the single battery had reached its float charge of 13.1 volts. This will eliminate any possibility of you getting an electric shock while installing the solar system. Simply search “RV solar mounting hardware” to explore your options. You can also get tilting hardware, make custom brackets, or use brand-specific hardware like Renogy’s brackets. Tom recommended using this area to run the wires from the junction box on the roof to the solar controller below. These were the lowest readings gathered during our experiment and occurred as we were running the heat to take off the morning chill. Solar Power: Solar panels are sold in varying sizes, but a 100 watt panel is a commonly found size – particularly for RVs. All rights reserved. That panel is rated at 100 watts at peak efficiency – meaning on a 78 degree cloudless day at solar … The following are the 2020 TCM Readers’ Choice Nominees for Best Truck Camper, Best... We have discovered the most sweltering truck camper on planet Earth. After that, get on the roof get it exact measurements. Getting to the point of having freedom from the need to be connected to shorepower, or from cranking up a generator for hours at a time when boondocking, requires taking a close look at one’s energy needs. You can also get tilting hardware, make custom brackets, or use brand-specific hardware like Renogy’s brackets. Full-time RV'er Marvin Braun can help you with your RV Solar needs today! With the panel now on the roof, we connected the 8-gauge wires to the Zamp … Home » Truck Camper Mods » Camper Projects » Installing a Solar Panel System. The first step toward installing solar power is doing a power-consumption survey of your motorhome; figuring out the cumulative amp-hours (Ah) or watts being used during a typical outing, or over an extended period of time. Above: Gordon and Tom checking and re-checking the wiring. At 7:00am every morning, the battery voltage read between 12.0 and 12.2 volts. Above: The connectors and resettable circuit breaker was included in the kit. With a never-ending goal of living as simply as possible, we live in a HOA townhouse community. If you want to be able to run absolutely everything using only solar power, you will need a system … In addition to what’s included with the kit, you’ll need to add a battery to make this a functional system … As he explained, the solar panel system would preserve more of the power it collected from the sun if the wire lengths between the panels, junction box, controller, and batteries were kept to a minimum. We even watched a couple movies at night with the installed television and entertainment system. We prepared the solar panel for installation by screwing the solar panel feet brackets to the panel. Sikaflex was then applied to the bottom edges of the junction box before the junction box was placed into position above the 8-gauge wire. Precision RV is a recognized leader in RV Solar Installations nationally. You’ll need mounting brackets to attach to the glass solar panels, and then you will screw them directly into your roof, being careful to place them in a way that avoids shadows and doesn’t interfere with the use of your other roof accessories. We’ve connected the solar panels to the combiner box, ran wire inside the RV to the location we are going to mount the solar charge controller, and installed a solar panel disconnect switch. We installed a Zamp Deluxe 150 Watt RV Solar Kit (ZS-150-30A-DX). With Team Emerick on board, we were ready to go. Giosolar 200 watt kit + 20 amp charge controller + cables . Then Gordon and Angela kill two batteries, and learn an expensive lesson; Installing A Solar Controller. Once the screws were in, Sikaflex was applied to the base of the junction box, and smoothed out for consistent coverage by hand. RV Master Techs has been doing solar panel installations for almost a decade and is a leader in the RV repair and consignment industry. 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