Go Back   iRV2 Forums > RV SYSTEMS AND TECHNOLOGIES FORUMS > RV Systems & Appliances
Click Here to Login
Join iRV2 Today

Mission Statement: Supporting thoughtful exchange of knowledge, values and experience among RV enthusiasts.
Reply
  This discussion is proudly sponsored by:
Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about their products on iRV2
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 03-02-2014, 11:26 PM   #1
Senior Member
 
SyrenSkywolf's Avatar
 
Vintage RV Owners Club
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Pacific City, OR
Posts: 270
Easiest way to test output of solar panel that came with our used TT?

We didn't know it when we purchased it, but our TT has a solar panel on top. I discovered it about a month after we got it by virtue of going up to replace the vent in the bathroom. After sifting through all the documents that came with the TT (what is our luck that both our previous '78 Tioga AND this 92' Dutchmen would come with documentation?!?!?), I came across the basic installation instructions and warranty card and such.


It was installed when the TT was new, so it is ~22 years old. The previous owner had the TT parked under a "carport" for several years though, which actually is the future garage space for his cabin, so it hasn't seen direct light in that time, and I have no clue about the owners before him.

I have no idea if it even works anymore, or is still hooked up, etc...We have a basic gauge inside the RV to show us (didn't realize that it was for the solar panel originally), but with it being winter in Montana, that isn't going to show us anything right now.

What is the general life of a solar panel, and is there a way I can directly check the output during the summer, without relying on the readout inside the TT?
__________________

__________________
1992 Dutchmen 30FK
2 adults who don't know they are adults, 3 furry feline children
SyrenSkywolf is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 RV Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

iRV2.com RV Community - Are you about to start a new improvement on your RV or need some help with some maintenance? Do you need advice on what products to buy? Or maybe you can give others some advice? No matter where you fit in you'll find that iRV2 is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with other RV owners, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create an RV blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 03-02-2014, 11:48 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
gruelens's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 1,371
If you can access the back of the panel, there should be junction box there. Open the cover and check for DC voltage across the positive and negative leads/terminals with sun shining on panel front. If no back of panel access then you must find where the wires go and do the same. Many RVs have a small factory panel that is only designed to trickle/maintain charge. They are usually about 12" square or equivalent dimension.

The panel should still work at 22 years old. Of course you don't know exactly what happened during those years.
__________________

__________________
George R. - Fulltiming since January '03
2007 Newmar Mountain Aire 3991
2012 Chevy Malibu LT1
gruelens is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-03-2014, 10:40 AM   #3
Senior Member
 
PyrateSilly's Avatar
 
Monaco Owners Club
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 2,200
Our coach is 20 yrs old and still has the original 100 watt solar panel that came with it. It does still work so yours at 22 yrs should still work IF it is still hooked up correctly. You may need a new charge controller as that may not work anymore. That's all we had to do for ours so far.
__________________
Thom and Christine having fun in a 1993 Monaco Crown Royale Signature Series 40ft 300hp RV. Towing a Fiat 500 Abarth and a Harley.
Our blogged repairs and travels
PyrateSilly is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-03-2014, 10:57 AM   #4
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Auburn, CA, Havasu, AZ & Mulege, BCS
Posts: 5,271
Solar panels are an "array" of photo-voltaic cells. Some rigs come w/a flexible mat type solar panel, as plastic sandwich w/PV cells under a flexible coating & on top of a flexible substrate, with lousy UV resistance, which mats generally burn up in the sun over 10 or so years. Larger panels usually sandwich glass/PV-cells/substrate that remains intact for many years, maybe 30 or more. The real issues are whether the sandwich is sufficiently intact to maintain stability of the PV cells, and whether the electrical connections are intact to pass amperage (volts OK, but amps are the objective since you can have high volts but zero amp capacity once you hook up a load). Stuff degrades in the sun if it isn't up to the task, your only way of testing this is to hook up a load. I have a couple of 12V fans I'd use to see if the panel by itself would power something. You can probably hook up a good VOM inline using the A scale (good VOMs will handle up to ~5 or 6A, usually fused at 10A protection, which should be sufficient for a small load test) to read actual load.

As mentioned earlier, most PV arrays come w/pre-made wiring pigtails which you can unplug. If not, or if yours were bastardized when installed, you'll have to figure out how to get access to the output wires.

The largest panels are not capable of more than maybe 180 watts real time (that's a high end panel), which would be ~13.5-14A at nominal 12V production, so running a small fan or other 12V appliance should be well under that. If it would produce 3A, I'd say the panel is operating. As to the charge controller, do a search here on iRV2 on "solar controller" and you'll find a good basis for research & understanding of what that does & how you might consider proceeding to get properly hooked up & making use of the panel.
__________________
Baja-tested '08 2-slide 36'
Alpine: The Ultimate DIY'er Project
EngineerMike is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2014, 10:13 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
SyrenSkywolf's Avatar
 
Vintage RV Owners Club
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Pacific City, OR
Posts: 270
Thank you very much for the tips and knowledge
__________________
1992 Dutchmen 30FK
2 adults who don't know they are adults, 3 furry feline children
SyrenSkywolf is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
panel, solar



Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Is my solar panel working? Statgeek Fleetwood Products Owner's Forum 19 08-04-2016 10:48 AM
Adding additional solar panel to Lance 1161 BobGuy Truck Camper Discussion 6 03-27-2014 11:01 PM
Solar Panel Gmann Newmar Owner's Forum 2 02-03-2014 07:21 AM
Solar panel battery charging kchadw1944 iRV2.com General Discussion 3 01-26-2014 07:02 AM
Itasca solar panel denis4x4 Vintage RV's 1 06-29-2013 05:39 PM

» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 12:57 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.