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Old 08-25-2013, 05:57 PM   #1
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what is the difference between RV and Residential solar panels

What is the difference between and RV solar panel and an RV one. If I get a home use panel lets say 180 watts and a charge controller can that be use for an RV??
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Old 08-25-2013, 06:32 PM   #2
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DC is DC and a charge controller into deep cycle batteries is the same even if the batteries do move around. The only "big" difference is that stationary batteries can be bigger -size-wise- and there are usually more of them that is commonly found in a MH.
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Old 08-25-2013, 06:32 PM   #3
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There is no difference. Solar panels are of different types by size, construction and output. It is up to you and/or your vendor to determine if a particular panel is suited to your application. As long as the solar charge controller can handle the output of a particular panel or panel array it doesn't matter if the panels are marketed for RV or home use.
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Old 08-25-2013, 06:47 PM   #4
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There is no difference. Solar panels are of different types by size, construction and output. It is up to you and/or your vendor to determine if a particular panel is suited to your application. As long as the solar charge controller can handle the output of a particular panel or panel array it doesn't matter if the panels are marketed for RV or home use.

I here that the residential units put on 30-70 volt vrs rv maybe 18 volts. I guess the issue is if the charge controller can handle the 30-70 volts. the home unit may work. I am new to this and just kinda lost till i get some basics.
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Old 08-25-2013, 08:44 PM   #5
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Jack Mayer's Electrical and Solar webpages contain a wealth of information for both subjects.
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Old 08-25-2013, 09:32 PM   #6
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Often multiple physically smaller and therefore lower wattage panels are selected for RV usage. This allows for shading mitigation and placement flexibility on the limited space of an RV roof around obstructions such as air conditioning units, plumbing vents, fans, etc.
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Old 08-25-2013, 09:49 PM   #7
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Jack Mayer's Electrical and Solar webpages contain a wealth of information for both subjects.

Thanks for the sight I feel I am getting a little more comfortable with this, a lot more reading and I can't get going. I started stranger project from scratch with help from knowing people.
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Old 08-25-2013, 10:21 PM   #8
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From what I could tell, there wasn't a difference beyond them wanting to limit the warranty on panels that were going to be used in mobile applications. You had 5 years on those flexible panels and 20 or something on their home versions. I thought of getting a couple of their 24 foot long 18 inch wide roof panels for an RV, they look the same except for size and power output, sticky backing and all.
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Old 08-26-2013, 04:22 AM   #9
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If you use an MPPT controller with an output rating that matches the batteries, then the main consideration is that the maximum open circuit voltage of the panels must be less than the maximum input rating of the controller. Other posters have mentioned factors including shading and voltage drop that might point to few large high voltage panels vs several small panels.

Physically, panels do vary quite a lot, mainly in the strength of the frame and the 'floppiness' of the panel itself when mounted flat. On my 4WD truck subject to heavy washboarded roads, I provide extra support to the centre of the panel using foam blocks between the underside of the panel and the vehicle roof to keep the movement to a minimum.
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Old 08-26-2013, 09:21 AM   #10
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If you use an MPPT controller with an output rating that matches the batteries, then the main consideration is that the maximum open circuit voltage of the panels must be less than the maximum input rating of the controller. Other posters have mentioned factors including shading and voltage drop that might point to few large high voltage panels vs several small panels.

Physically, panels do vary quite a lot, mainly in the strength of the frame and the 'floppiness' of the panel itself when mounted flat. On my 4WD truck subject to heavy washboarded roads, I provide extra support to the centre of the panel using foam blocks between the underside of the panel and the vehicle roof to keep the movement to a minimum.
I also think from a little looking around the MPPT controller for a larger voltage range as more costly compared to those made for 12/24 volt
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Old 08-26-2013, 10:20 AM   #11
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For our application there is no advantage in going higher than 24V input simply because the slight gain you get from needing thinner cable is - as you say - more than offset by the extra cost of the controller.
Also any DC voltage above 40 volts starts to get a bit dangerous as far as isolation and arcing problems are concerned.
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