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Old 10-15-2007, 09:32 AM   #15
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some solar panels are sandwiched w/glass on the top; most of the larger expensive ones are. I take a sopping wet rag up on the roof every so periodically and swab mine off. If the OEM seal tween the glass & the wafer/wiring elements inside stays good, they should last 20+ years or until either damaged by tree branches or sumbuddy stepping on them or else a hole is punched into the panel when a meteroite targets your coach.

The cheepo's have some kind of plastic-du-jour covering the silicon wafers, usually a resin type process. Those will scratch if washed brusquely and may burn up in the sun over time. Also the seal formed by the sandwich process is more prone to break and the interior get oxidized.
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Old 10-15-2007, 12:09 PM   #16
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Thanks Mike,
The company (JRV)that sold to WRV offer me a 20w panel in a frame,glass enclosed, for $136. which I think I will order.
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Old 10-15-2007, 04:32 PM   #17
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2Sailors:

20 watts is awfully small! That would be good only to keep a float charge on the engine batteries. If you want to charge your house batteries, you need to have 100 watts (or 50 watts x 2 panels).

Dry campers usually want 200 watts (100 x 2) but mostly parked and traveling RV's only require 50-100 watts. Since Alpines have large battery configurations 100 watts is the standard when ordered from WRV.
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Old 10-15-2007, 09:46 PM   #18
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The panel I removed was a 10w. I figured double would help a little. Should I get serious about long term boon docking I'll dig a little deeper in the pocket.
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Old 10-15-2007, 11:23 PM   #19
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2Sailors,

Looks like you were originally set up just to keep the chassis batteries charged. 20 watts will do just fine.

However, having the house batteries charged will really lengthen the life of your house batteries, too. I have spared myself so much frustration with the 100 watts constantly guarding against parasitic drain, etc. Yes it does cost a bit more. You'd need an echo-charger or other "brain" (but they are cheap). I found the longer battery life and always having power worth every penny. One of the best mods I ever made.

Now boondockers need to shell out a bit more and have 200 watts minimum. With economy of power, that keeps them going in perpetuity. Many find 300 watts allows a little extra waste.
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Old 10-16-2007, 05:29 AM   #20
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We too have a 2005 Alpine, ours is a 40MDTS. Suggest that you be certain the solar panels are connected to the battery charge controller. On ours the factory didn't complete the wiring, and I only discovered the problem a year later. Ours has an ASC charge controller mounted on the electrical panel under the bathroom sink...if that LED isn't glowing on a sunny day...there's a problem with the wiring.
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Old 10-16-2007, 02:52 PM   #21
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Who is a good source for solor power stuff?
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Old 10-16-2007, 04:25 PM   #22
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M & C,

You are right about the controller setup, but I think 2Sailors may have it set up for chassis batteries only and not the full blown install.


2Sailors,

I had Camping World do it on my first coach, but as Mike & Char mention, the best way to set it up is as per the OEM (WRV) with the same (or similar) controller that will interface with your coach better. There are numerous places that can do it for you (maybe even CW). I've noticed AMSolar advertising for RVs and several others mentioned on ACA's website, MotorHome magazine and RVersonline. Several companies will also be at Quartzite.

You will be VERY happy you installed it.
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Old 10-16-2007, 09:05 PM   #23
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I was told by WRV that the solar panel went directly to the batteries.

We never get away from Portland before the end of January and by the time we are anywhere near Quartsite, not much left.

Thanks for the info.
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Old 10-16-2007, 10:41 PM   #24
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Yes, your setup does go directly to the batteries, since it only charges the chassis. It uses a simple controller that only prevents overcharging.

The expanded version charges the house batteries first and then switches over to the chassis batteries. It uses a controller to charge the batteries in three phases: Bulk, Absorption and Float. It is programmed for the type of battery you own: Flooded, Gel or AGM (each needs a different method of charging).

This controller system is normally installed (as per M & C's previous post) in the cabinet under the bathroom sink. It has an electrical bus with an LED light indicating charge. It is connected to a controller that controls the charge sent to the batteries.
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Old 10-17-2007, 06:58 AM   #25
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by two sailors:
Who is a good source for solor power stuff? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>I used RV Solar Electric, in Scottsdale, AZ. Just give them a call and they'll help you pick out the parts you'll need. Another major supplier is Northern Arizona Wind & Sun in Flagstaff, AZ.
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Old 10-17-2007, 11:41 AM   #26
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To get serious about solar. For boondocking you will need one watt of solar for each amp hour of batteries.

So, if you have 4 x 6vdc golf carts that is about 440 amp hours. Thus you need about 440 watts of solar.

RV Solar Elec will match anyones price, however his posted prices are not the lowest. Search the web. Decide what you want to buy and call Doug and work a deal with him. He will even throw in free freight if you demand it.

http://www.rvsolarelectric.com/
http://www.amsolar.com/index.html
http://www.blueskyenergyinc.com/
http://www.wholesalesolar.com/solar-panels.html
http://www.solar-electric.com/charge_controls/mppt.htm
http://www.outbackpower.com/
http://www.wind-sun.com/ForumVB/index.php
http://www.bogartengineering.com/
http://www.solarseller.com/
http://jmayer6.tripod.com/

This should get you started.

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Old 10-17-2007, 06:57 PM   #27
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by jlb77399:
... RV Solar Elec will match anyones price, however his posted prices are not the lowest. Search the web. Decide what you want to buy and call Doug and work a deal with him. He will even throw in free freight if you demand it.

(see list in original post above)

This should get you started.

Jim
</div></BLOCKQUOTE>EXCELLENT list!! It should not only get somebody started on their solar, but should allow them to finish the project.

Definately hunt for the best prices of the components you choose. Comparison shopping with your mouse will definately save you some $$.
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Old 01-30-2008, 11:03 PM   #28
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Does anyone know who the original manufacturer is?
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