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Old 09-29-2014, 02:57 AM   #1
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Join Date: Nov 2009
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My 88' Itasca Solar Project

I started with my solar project on the MH awhile back with one Harbor Freight 45 watt solar kit that I am able to raise the panels and also turn to catch the sun. These worked good but I wanted more wattage so bought another HF kit on sale. These panels I mounted solid in a slightly raised position. This helped but still wanted more wattage.
I found many panels on E-Bay and bought a 100 w panel from Renogy. Seems to be a good company located in Calif. This panel I also mounted solid in the slightly raised position. Had to install the second HF controller to run this panel. I still wanted more wattage!
I have a complete 100w kit coming from Renogy with wiring, controller, wire, etc. This panel will be mounted so it can be raised and I will modify the other panels to do the same. I am going to run both Renogy 100w panels thru the new controller and both sets of HF panels thru one HF controller.
The reason I am doing this is we like to fish a certain lake and there are no facilities there to charge the boat batteries. I do not like running a generator unless absolutely necessary. My plan is to set up the HF panels so I can have them help charge the coach batteries most of the time and when needed I will charge the boat batteries with them. I have found just running a jumper to a boat dead battery from the charged coach batteries does not work very well.
I have 3 group 29s in the coach and 2 group 24s in the boat to keep charged.
The 100w kit from Renogy is only about $25 more than the 45w kits from Harbor Freight. Wish I had found theme before buying the HF kits.
I'll post pictures before I start and when I am done with the project.

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Old 09-30-2014, 02:08 PM   #2
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Good luck with your project. After many hours of research and ordering and waiting, etc. I was still not prepared for the actual roof install part. I'll be interested in seeing how you mounted your panels. I eventually decided to just mount my panels flat and add more if necessary. I used the Uni-strut from Lowes or Home Depot. Pretty cool stuff.

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Old 09-30-2014, 02:37 PM   #3
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You might want one or more portable panels like this one.....easier to tilt and move to get the best sun exposure. Also it might be easier to just setup the portable panel on the boat to charge its batteries.

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Old 10-01-2014, 11:07 AM   #4
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I forgot to take pictures before I started, but will take some today. The new panel came but I need to call Renogy. Somone cut the foam to place the controller and mounting kit in it and put slices in the backing of the solar panel.
Yesterday I did some testing of the original Renogy panel to see what difference angling the panel would make. There was only a .2 volt difference from slightly angled to best angle so am mounting them at a fixed slight angle.
I have decided to use both sets of Harbor Freight panels to charge the boat battery.

When securing the brackets to the MH roof I use a sharpened putty knife to scrape down to bare metal and use house gutter adhesive on the metal, then screw thru the bracket. No problems in over 2 years with this method. Renogy recommends rubber well nuts but my experience with them here in Az. is they deteriorate over time.
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Old 10-01-2014, 12:06 PM   #5
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Change of plans. Renogy was willing to replace the panel but I noticed in the controller instructions that it is a POSITIVE GROUND! I asked Renogy about this and told them of my extensive experience with positive ground vehicles and they admitted this would not work on my MH. I was a heavy equipment mechanic for many years and worked on White, Mack, MGs, etc that were all positive ground.
They offered to sell me a negative ground controller for an additional coat of around $150.
I am returning the complete kit for a refund. I also told them I was upset that they would sell this controller for an RV (listed in the ad title) knowing it would short out as soon as it was hooked up! Not someone I want to do business with.
Now to find another kit to buy.
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Old 10-01-2014, 02:23 PM   #6
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Location: N. Palm Springs CA (in winter)
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I went thru AM Solar. They offer 105 and 160 watt panels, kits, and tilt bar sets. Welcome to AM Solar_Your RV Solar Specialists since 1987

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itasca, solar

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