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Old 10-30-2010, 09:48 AM   #1
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Looking for suggestions regarding PV Panels

Hi all,

I am considering installing 2 each KD135GX panels on my RV roof. There is ample space on top no issues with shadows. Kyocera offers several versions of the 135watt panel -LPU, -LFBS, UPU, etc. I am looking for suggestions as to which version and what mounting options I have. My desire is to mount them flat to the roof in the front section of the rig without tilting legs. I will be connecting them in series to get a higher voltage at least 30Vdc (can handle up to 150Vdc) for my Morningstar MPPT 60 charge controller. Higher voltage lower current smaller wire size.
Are there other panels that might do the job better?
What about grid tie panels with higher voltages
I believe I need between 250 and 300watts of PV panels
The system includes: Morningstar (Tristar MPPT-60, RD-1, TS-RM-2)TriMetric 2025-RV, WF-8945REP, 2 Costco Golf Cart Batteries, etc.

Looking forward to some suggestions
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Old 10-30-2010, 07:34 PM   #2
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I don't think you have enough batteries for the number of panels you want and daily useage. The series connection to reduce the wire size is probably a good idea. The main difference between the panels is strength of frame and whether they use MC connections or junction box with terminal strips.
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Old 10-30-2010, 08:59 PM   #3
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PV mounts

I have one really large (210w) panel mounted on top the 5er. I used the largest brass door hinges I could find with rounded corners. One side of the hinge is screwed flat to the roof and very well sealed with Dicor sealant. The other side of the hinge is at a 90 degree angle and pinned to the panel (I also have bolts through the panel and the hinge to be safe while traveling). I am able to unpin the panel from two sides and tilt it into any one of four positions. I use two pieces of angle iron bolted to the panel and the remaining two hinges to keep the correct tilt. This system has withstood 70mph winds.
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Old 10-30-2010, 09:28 PM   #4
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Here is a supplier that states thier 100 Watt panel out-performs typical 120 - 130 Watt panels, smaller footprint.

AM Solar

Spike
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Old 10-31-2010, 01:55 PM   #5
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I suggest what ever you get, Try for the mounts that let you arc one side towards the sun, I'm told the controler makes a big difference on the effectiveness but seems everyone has a differents story about which is best and what brand to use.
I have a 25amp controller and have 3 135 watt panels and would add a couple more if I had bought a higher amp controller. I boondock a lot and frequently I'm charging 22 to 24 amps with what I have
new controller means different size cutout and mo money, mo money
I don't mind spending money on Panels but hate buying controllers

just my 2 cents

Ron K
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Old 11-01-2010, 07:10 AM   #6
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From the installation I just completed and all I've talked with....you might want to rethink the volts/amps part. We hooked our panels in parallel so if one is in the shade it does not affect the voltage output. Remember the morninstar will regulate you down to 14.8 for your batteries so you want the higher amps that parallel wiring will give you.

by the way we purchased 2 200 watt Evergreen panels for less than $1,000. Just turned the system on yesterday and the charging began instantly.
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Old 11-01-2010, 08:02 AM   #7
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Thanks everyone

Looks like the AM Solar panels might be good
I am currently pacing the floor and biting my nails WAITING to receive several packages from my good buddies at UPS and FedEx today. Kind of like early Christmas presents.

Will post some pictures of the installation as it gets going

The rig is apart and in its winter home waiting for all the new equipment
I know as with all my projects "Change" is a given just a matter of how soon I will make changes after the first round of installation.

Anyone ever hooked up a Morningstar RD-1 Relay Driver- from what I have read the alarm capabilities are pretty nice. Plan on monitoring the engine battery and using a sonalert for one

Ken
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Old 11-01-2010, 11:56 AM   #8
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I'm excited for you. I love to see these systems go together and find out what each one of us does and what works. Just read that the Department of Defense is the single largest purchaser of PV panels. They have some serious systems. Of course this helps all of us by lowering the price of panels as well as reducing the demand for oil.

Had a conversation with my brother concerning pay-back on these systems. He felt that for the additional $, we could stay at RV parks for a long time. I had to point out two things - It is a life style choise and if he added in his RV and truck he could stay at motels for a long time. All a matter of how you want to spend your dollars and live your life. Me, I want to be able to live off-grid and also move to parks if we want to live that way. We also maintain our s & b since DW must have her nest (and I need a lot of room for projects).

I'm currently rethinking the controller part of my install. I would like a 60amp mppt controller. Lots of things I'd like.
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Old 11-01-2010, 07:35 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Noble View Post
Had a conversation with my brother concerning pay-back on these systems. He felt that for the additional $, we could stay at RV parks for a long time. I had to point out two things - It is a life style choise and if he added in his RV and truck he could stay at motels for a long time.
If you dry camp and this saves you $18 a night over a full service park that makes out to be about 100 nights for us. We still work full time and still spent over 35 days in our RV last year. Doing the install yourself will save you thousands in labor costs.

Just got ours up and running (2-200 watt evergreen panels, Morningstar TS-45 and Trimetric 2020). Total out of pocket expense was less than $1600. Of course my back, legs and everything else is pretty sore.

Pretty cool to see the project work!
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Old 11-01-2010, 07:56 PM   #10
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Here is how I look at the cost -- $180 for the season at Imperial Dam (with about a week at the Q included in the $180)). So say we stay for 4 months. If we went to a local RV park at $450/month we'd spend $1,800. I have about double this in our alt. energy system. So after two years the system will about pay for itself. In addition, I've tried to build the system so that it could be grid-tied and reduce our electricity costs at home. Biggest trick seems to be to try to reduce the over-all costs of a system while still making it as functional as possible.

'course, I am having fun while I build this thing! Can't measure fun in $$$$.
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Old 11-01-2010, 10:36 PM   #11
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Thumbs up More USEFULL Battery Info!

To have the best system possible and keep all the power you make, be sure to wire/hook up your batteries in the most effiecient way, as we all know, a couple of percent here (small wire size) and there (battery set up) and you will lose a lot of hard earn power you have worked and spent $$$$ on.

Check out this site, very usefull and explains why and HOW etc, see here:
SmartGauge Electronics - Interconnecting multiple batteries to form one larger bank

Refer to # 3 battery setup, quite an eye opener as compaired to the usual way, that is used.
Don
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Old 11-02-2010, 09:09 AM   #12
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Sounds like we are all having fun doing the solar installations by ourselves
Personally I can not and do not try to justify the expenses
Just ordered a 2011 Kubota ZD326 zero turn lawn mower (if you have a large lawn check them out) again something that can not and should not be financially justified for a personal 4 acre lawn
As one of use said earlier it is a life style thing and we enjoy it

Got the WF-9845-REP installed yesterday - straight forward install, had to unsolder the 9 wires form the old fuse PCB, the new one has screw terminals. Fired it up, works like a champ. A good three stage charge. The old Parallax 7345 converter did nothing more than slowly boil the batteries at a low voltage too low to get a real charge.
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Old 11-02-2010, 04:18 PM   #13
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nvreloader - real eye opener on the battery wiring - I'll be changing over to #3 from method #2.

Thanks!
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Old 11-02-2010, 10:02 PM   #14
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Thanks Dick

Because my TH has NO outside storage areas , except 3 small areas dedicated to the furnace, Hw heater and Gen set, I will adapt this members Ideas of attaching my 4 AGM battereis and providing some toungue relief (weight wise), see his problem solving on where to put extra battery's for his solar setup, see here:

Flickr: Just Kayakmike's Photostream

On my model of TH there are acouple of open bays just behind the last axle, will make the same type of setup and install the battery's, when use Rigid R-Max insulation, then I don't have to worry about water soaking the insulation and this R-Max will provide some insulation for the battery's during their use in hunting camp during the winter time use.

Don
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