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Old 07-21-2011, 02:11 AM   #1
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Default Solar panel on roof

I just bought a small 5 watt solar panel to install on the (fiberglass) roof of my 94 Ford Coachmen. Primary use to keep the battery charged while RV is not in use. If I like it, I can add more panels. Trying to decide between glue or screws to hold the unit down. Screws could damage roof and cause leaks; glue I suppose could fail causing panel to fly off. I have a product called Goop, Marine version, which looks pretty strong.

Also can't see any way through the roof or down the vent, so looks like the wire will have to go down to windshield, around molding and under the hood where the hinges/vent are located. I think I can make it look pretty clean. I can ground the panel on the aluminum strip which joins the roof to the top of the van and run a single white (matching color) #16 wire to fused + on battery.

Anyone have any thoughts, let me know skc@cox.net
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Old 07-21-2011, 06:17 AM   #2
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Default Re: Solar panel on roof

I have one one that is about 5W I just lay it on the dash. I wouldn't even think of mounting something that small. It just isn't worth it
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Old 07-21-2011, 04:39 PM   #3
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Default Re: Solar panel on roof

Does that dash unit charge both batteries or just the vehicle battery?

I've seen the ones that plug into the lighter socket for charging vehicles, and if I had one of those I would just keep it on the dash.
If I had anything bigger for the top, I'd probably bracket it to the luggage rack somehow and run stick on cable organizers down the side right to the exterior house battery compartment.
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Old 07-21-2011, 05:06 PM   #4
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Default Re: Solar panel on roof

Quote:
Originally Posted by g1g
I have one one that is about 5W I just lay it on the dash. I wouldn't even think of mounting something that small. It just isn't worth it
X2
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Old 07-21-2011, 08:29 PM   #5
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Default Re: Solar panel on roof

I read somewhere that one of the solar installation places was using a heavy duty two way tape to hold the panels down on the RT's. I wouldn't screw anything down to the roof....it is just a leak hole looking for a happening. Safe travels.
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Old 07-21-2011, 09:54 PM   #6
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Default Re: Solar panel on roof

Re: tape not a good idea

I remember reading that jatorresrv on the RT Yahoo group installed his panel with VHB (very high bond) tape and was very happy with it. But later it failed:

http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/roa ... sage/17388

Quote:
VHB tape MISHAP!!!
Just returned from a trip to Colorado (2000miles driven). On the last
300miles short of Houston, Tx the SOLAR PANEL (that I bragged so much
about being secured with VHB tape) flew off the top while passing an 18-
wheeler at 70mph. Opps!!! Some colateral damage but no one was hurt.
The tape remained attached to the solar panel "footings" so I think the
FAILURE was that the metal "footings" where attached to a PAINTED
surface versus fiberglass.

So the moral of this story is "I WILL secure the panel with the screws
provided and not use the VHB tape next". Hope the advise came soon
enough.

Jose 2006 190V 4x4
Copied from the Yahoo Group.
Easy to miss the followup post. It was 4 years ago. I just happened to remember it.

I put some info here:
http://www.classbforum.com/phpBB2/vi...2&t=712&p=2606

Custom brackets, L brackets, or Z brackets are typically used. Well Nuts work good for fastening them to the roof. The link has photos of well nuts and my brackets. Use corrosion resistant hardware.

A 5 watt panel might give you .35 amp hour output. That is point three five. A single RV type incandescent bulb can draw 1.5 amp hrs. So the .35 output might disappoint you.
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Old 07-22-2011, 06:38 AM   #7
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Default Re: Solar panel on roof

My little one that I put on the dash is the kind you plug into the cigarlett lighter. I actually have it in my other vehicle but if I put it in the B I can always plug it into the back receptical that charges the house battery. I probably will never do that (maybe except emergency with dead battery) because it just doesn't have enough power to charge a battery that you would only draw from. Keep in mind 5W is at 12V If I use an inverter that same 5W/12V is equal to only one half watt at 120V
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Old 07-23-2011, 12:46 AM   #8
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Default Re: Solar panel on roof

Preciate all the input. I don't think the cigarette lighter charges or draws from the RV battery. Would have to disconnect the car battery to see if there's still 12v at the lighter. However will give the "lay it on the dash" approach some thought. I realize 5 watt is small, but it's an experimental starter unit. If I like it, can add more. The unit came with a charge controller as well. However upon reading directions, it's not to be used with other than a "sealed" battery. My batteries are not sealed. I'm awaiting a reply from Everbright Solar whether that matters or not. (what, hydrogen gas explosion?) Don't laugh, a car battery blew up in my face back in 62 after being on a charger + spark. I wouldn't have considered tape, but am still considering the Goop.
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Old 07-23-2011, 04:51 AM   #9
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Default Re: Solar panel on roof

On my RV I have cigarette lighter recptical in the back of the RV that is powered by the house battery. That is why I stated my BACK RECPTICLE if I were to try and charge my house battery. The one on the dash is powered by the vehicle battery
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Old 07-28-2011, 03:41 AM   #10
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Default Re: Solar panel on roof

Quote:
I have cigarette lighter recptical in the back of the RV that is powered by the house battery.
Did you wire that up yourself? From the house batt fusebox?

Thanks,
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2009 RT Adventurous
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Old 07-28-2011, 06:14 AM   #11
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Nope it came that way
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Old 07-29-2011, 04:26 AM   #12
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Default Re: Solar panel on roof

Quote:
Originally Posted by arrveedogz
Quote:
I have cigarette lighter recptical in the back of the RV that is powered by the house battery.
Did you wire that up yourself? From the house batt fusebox?

Thanks,
Dan F.
2009 RT Adventurous
Mine also came that way, with 2 females on a 2 plug wall switch plate.
I believe they were supposed to power the OEM TV and VCR/DVD combo.
I use them for everything 12V and invert one to run some stuff as well.
Not terribly efficient electrically, but it works for me.
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Old 07-31-2011, 12:27 AM   #13
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Default Re: Solar panel on roof

Installed the solar panel. It went well. Used Marine Goop to glue it down + bicycle brake cable doubling as ground and fail safe tether. Appears bullet proof. Be very easy to add more panels now that the wiring is done.
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