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Old 06-01-2021, 02:59 AM   #1
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Installed Solar Panels on 2002 Newmar Mountain Aire

I installed solar panels on my 2002 Newmar Mountain Aire.

I decided to go with two 100 watt Renogy Monocrystalline panels to start so
this gives me a potential of 200 watts, but I can add panels up to 8 with the
40 Amp Renogy MPPT Solar Charge Controller I went with.

I am still using two 6 volt Liquid Acid Deep Cycle batteries in series for a 12 volt system. These two solar panels do keep the batteries charged and can run ceiling fans, lights and fridge electronics and I can run my CPAP at night.

I am not running an inverter, but I have the original 6600 Watt Generac if I were ever to really drain the batteries after several cloudy days. I have been using this while boondocking across the US and it has been keeping my batteries charged.

Let me start by showing you the design drawing I made.
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I purchased tiltable solar mounts, a water proof utility box to mount on the RV roof to bring power cables from roof into the RV.
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I decided to bring the cables into the RV from the roof over the back bedroom closet.
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I would mount a fused solar panel disconnect box on the back wall of the closet
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and the Renogy Solar Charge Controller is mounted on the back wall in the bedroom outside the closet where it is easy to read the display and access controls.
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I assembled the Solar Panels and mounts on the ground, I used 3M VHB Tape on the bottom of the mounts to make it easy to fasten the panel mounts to the roof. I cleaned the roof where the tape would stick with alcohol. I still used the mounting hardware screws to attach the mounts to the roof. Renogy says these panels and mounts should be good to winds of 140 MPH.
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*** IMPORTANT TIP *****************************
Do not hook solar panels up to the MPPT Charge Controller before you have your batteries hooked to the Charge Controller or you will destroy your expensive charge controller. Any anytime you disconnect your house batteries, make sure you disconnect the solar panels from the Charge controller first.
***********************************************

I ran 8 gage wire to the batteries through the back wall of the closet, into the space behind the drivers side tail light, fished the wires to the passenger side and drilled a whole to feed wires under the RV back to the batteries where again I have a fuse at the positive terminal of the battery. I will have to take some more photos and will add these to this posting later.

The solar panels do a nice job for me and if I have the RV parked in storage, the system will maintain the house batteries nicely.

I sealed all drill wholes with Dicor sealant. So far, no leaks, the panels have held on nicely at 70 MPH and insane winds driving across Wyoming and Nebraska. The have been on the RV so far from Southern California up to Oregon, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia and across Pennsylvania. The RV has been sitting for a couple days and the house batteries are still at 100% with the RV in use mode and fridge running. I am very pleased and this project really only took a couple days once I had all the parts. Everything you need can be ordered off the internet, we used AMAZON. I did pick up a few items at Home Depot.

The Renogy 40 Amp MPPT Solar Charge Controller comes with the Bluetooth module and does not have to be ordered separately. There is a free Renogy App you can install on your smart phone or tablet and you can monitor your panel performance and battery charge and configure your system.

Just passing the info along if anyone want to do this project yourself.
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Old 06-01-2021, 08:00 AM   #2
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Looks good ����
Thanks for sharing your information.

What’s a ballpark $$$ cost for your set up?
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Old 06-01-2021, 07:03 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JNSNWT View Post
Looks good ����
Thanks for sharing your information.

What’s a ballpark $$$ cost for your set up?
This is pretty close, there is a lot of nickel/dime stuff that adds up.
This is a rough list, prices vary and you can see where you may be able get
better prices.
There are also other Solar Panels that are exactly the same as the Renogy for less. $89 for HQST. Prices here are what I looked up today on Amazon and various sites on web. You really maybe able to trim this list for you needs.

This is what I used:

Renogy 100 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar Panel....$100.00
Renogy 100 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar Panel....$100.00
BougeRV Solar Connectors Y Branch Parallel Adapter.....$ 7.99
Renogy Rover 40 Amp MPPT Solar Charge Controller.......$144.49
BougeRV 28in Adjustable Solar Panel Tilt Mount Brackets$ 39.99
BougeRV 28in Adjustable Solar Panel Tilt Mount Brackets$ 39.99
BougeRV 20Ft 10AWG Solar Cable W/Female & Male Connector$ 31.99
Water Proof Box........................................$ 20.00
Air Conditioner Power Disconnect Box @ $ 18.00
Fuses..@.......................................... .....$ 15.00
40 feet 8 AWG wire Red $0.89/Foot $ 35.60
40 feet 8 AWG wire Black $0.89/Foot $ 35.60
Nylon Liquid Tight connector x4 Approx $ 10.00
Maxi fuse 40 AMP Blade style...........................$ 5.49
8 Gage Maxi Fuse Holder................................$ 6.43
Harbor Frieght 3/8 In. X 10 Ft. Protective Wire Wrap...$ 2.99
Harbor Frieght 3/8 In. X 10 Ft. Protective Wire Wrap...$ 2.99
Harbor Frieght 3/8 In. X 10 Ft. Protective Wire Wrap...$ 2.99
Harbor Frieght 3/8 In. X 10 Ft. Protective Wire Wrap...$ 2.99
Harbor Frieght 3/8 In. X 10 Ft. Protective Wire Wrap...$ 2.99
Tube of Dicor Sealant..................................$ 10.00
3M VHB Tape Double sided..............................$ 18.25
Square D 7 Terminal Aluminum Ground Bar Kit............$ 6.43
Square D 7 Terminal Aluminum Ground Bar Kit............$ 6.43
Misc. Screw, wire ties...wire crimp splices............$ 20.00
---------------------------------------------------------------
Total............................................. .....$687.13
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Old 06-02-2021, 08:09 AM   #4
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Looks good!

I like that price a whole lot better than the quotes I've gotten from the pros for an install.

Gas or diesel Mtn. Aire?
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Old 06-02-2021, 08:57 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptainJerry View Post
Looks good!

I like that price a whole lot better than the quotes I've gotten from the pros for an install.

Gas or diesel Mtn. Aire?
Mine is a Gas 35'10" 2002 Mountain Aire, Workhorse W22 Vortec 8100.

The price isn't too bad and adding a solar panel now the way I did it would run about $89-$100 per panel and $39 for a tilt mount anad have to buy enough AWG 10 solar wire to reach the plastic box. on the roof, inside I have two Square D 7 Terminal Aluminum Ground Bar Kit, one positive wires and one negative wires and tie it in there. With the 40 Amp Charge Controller I can do 4 panels in parallel, or up to 8 if I start putting every two panels in series and then have the 4 x series panels in parallel. Probably should draw this to explain.

Here is how I would do 8 panels:
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There are pros an cons to running panels in series, you double the voltage and keep the amps down on the wire, so you don't need as heavy gage wire, but if one of the panels get shaded from the sun by a tree or some shadow, it drops the power from all panels in series. I probably would not go more than 4 panels, just finding room on the roof and still have room to walk around if needing to work on roof heat pump/AC units, or any maintenance up there. Just a personal choice.
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Old 06-02-2021, 10:21 PM   #6
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Here is how I would do 4 Panels
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Old 06-02-2021, 10:56 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptainJerry View Post
Looks good!

I like that price a whole lot better than the quotes I've gotten from the pros for an install.

Gas or diesel Mtn. Aire?
DIY you save a lot. Some of us are DIY guys, some folk aren't. No right or wrong. It's a choice.
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Old 06-03-2021, 10:22 AM   #8
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Great job!
You said you don't have an Inverter. How do you run your CPAP at night? Is it a 12 volt unit? If it is, what is the brand as I would love to have a 12v CPAP.

I put a similar system myself using two 180W panels but I have to run through an inverter to use my CPAP. I recently switched to Lithium batteries and doubled my off the grid time.
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Old 06-03-2021, 06:26 PM   #9
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Quote:
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Great job!
You said you don't have an Inverter. How do you run your CPAP at night? Is it a 12 volt unit? If it is, what is the brand as I would love to have a 12v CPAP.

I put a similar system myself using two 180W panels but I have to run through an inverter to use my CPAP. I recently switched to Lithium batteries and doubled my off the grid time.
Thanks.

I purchased a 12 VDC Power supply for the ResMed. Comes with a cigarette lighter plug and I just plug it into the courtesy outlet I have in the bedroom.

ResMed makes one runs around $50, but I got a third party one for around $24 off Amazon that had good ratings. It works great.

Just do a Google Search for 12 VDC Power adapter for ResMed CPAP(or you brand CPAP)

I keep looking at Lithium ION batteries, and sources for them at about half the price.
Maybe down the road I will upgrade,

But then I have older 2002 IOTA Converters that don't have the Lithium Ion switch, so I would need to upgrade them too. And this would be a whole new expense, and I have a perfectly functioning 6600 Watt Generator if I really need 120 Volt AC power.
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Old 06-03-2021, 06:35 PM   #10
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Clean install.
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Old 06-03-2021, 09:21 PM   #11
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Clean install.
Thanks
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Old 08-16-2021, 11:39 PM   #12
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Wanted to add one more shot of the inside of the waterproof utility box I installed on top the RV where I can bring wiring into the RV from the rood.
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