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Old 02-15-2015, 10:35 PM   #1
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Solar panel choices

Hi All, I am going to install a solar system on my class A and I am planning on using a Outback flexmax 60 charge controller. I was wondering is there a difference in the construction of solar panels ment for RV use verses panels ment for home use? Why wouldn't I want to install The higher voltage panels ment for home use?
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Old 02-15-2015, 11:00 PM   #2
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yes you can. home usage panels are mostly wider/bigger while most rvs have limited space along the outer areas unoccupied by other installations such as a/c units, satellite antenna, vents, etc. if your space is big enough, find whatever the size fit, and make sure it has a strong full metal frame. as for voltage of the panels, the higher the better to the ceiling of your mppt controller's range. have fun.
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Old 02-16-2015, 12:54 AM   #3
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Solar panels are not the same. You want a Monitor and a Controller. Also have you selected type and size of batteries? Size of Inverter/Converter?
Check out: Solar Panels for RVs
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Old 02-17-2015, 10:12 AM   #4
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Thanks for the info, that is what I thought but haven't seen anyone Wes the bigger panels. I have space for 3 of the larger panels I already own. 235w sharp panels 31vdc open circuit. I was thinking about building a aluminum frame that would alow me to add 3 additional over AC units and vents that can tilt when parked but I need to make sure I'm not too tall.
As far as batteries at this point I have 8ea 6v golf cart batteries.
I also some Somme? German batteries that are 12 AGM batteries I could use but no decision made yet. Inverter is 2500 w xter? I would check for spelling but it's about zero out side!
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Old 02-17-2015, 11:23 AM   #5
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We have a total of 5 240W Sharp 48V High Efficiency Solar Panels.


X's 1 is mounted to the roof.
X's 4 are mounted on a residential frame that we had straddle the top of the large shower skylight. This allows some light still to filter in, but reduced by about 80%. It cuts out all heat gain, and reduces the noise from large rain or hail storms. The top of the Solar Panels are still below the highest point of the AC shroud. I had them add a piece of angled metal to the front and back of the raised racks, angled as in sloped, to guide tree limbs up and over the rack.


18 months now, and all doing very well. They did use Loctite and of course locking washers too. The foots of the racks were both legged screwed into the roof, with a healthy amount of 3M 9500 adhesive to assist in securing the racks, while also waterproofing the roof penetrations.


The work was done by Temecula Valley RV, and they did a very neat and professional install. Great attention to detail.


Best of luck on your new system!
Smitty
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Old 02-18-2015, 12:11 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hondalee View Post
As far as batteries at this point I have 8ea 6v golf cart batteries.
I also some Somme? German batteries that are 12 AGM batteries I could use but no decision made yet. Inverter is 2500 w xter? I would check for spelling but it's about zero out side!
Don't mix the kind of batteries you use or you'll shorten the their lives.
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Old 02-18-2015, 10:01 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Smitty77 View Post
We have a total of 5 240W Sharp 48V High Efficiency Solar Panels.


X's 1 is mounted to the roof.
X's 4 are mounted on a residential frame that we had straddle the top of the large shower skylight. This allows some light still to filter in, but reduced by about 80%. It cuts out all heat gain, and reduces the noise from large rain or hail storms. The top of the Solar Panels are still below the highest point of the AC shroud. I had them add a piece of angled metal to the front and back of the raised racks, angled as in sloped, to guide tree limbs up and over the rack.


18 months now, and all doing very well. They did use Loctite and of course locking washers too. The foots of the racks were both legged screwed into the roof, with a healthy amount of 3M 9500 adhesive to assist in securing the racks, while also waterproofing the roof penetrations.


The work was done by Temecula Valley RV, and they did a very neat and professional install. Great attention to detail.


Best of luck on your new system!
Smitty
I would love to see some pics of your set up!
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Old 02-18-2015, 10:08 AM   #8
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Don't mix the kind of batteries you use or you'll shorten the their lives.
No I know better than that I just have not decided on the ones I want to use yet.
I am going to try to stay with the golf cart batteries and see how they do.
The AGM batteries are out of a bank of 24 batteries I have for my home,that I wount be using when I'm in the RV
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Old 02-18-2015, 01:54 PM   #9
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No I know better than that I just have not decided on the ones I want to use yet.
I am going to try to stay with the golf cart batteries and see how they do.
The AGM batteries are out of a bank of 24 batteries I have for my home,that I wount be using when I'm in the RV
24 12v agm sounds like a lot are you using solar for your entire home offgrid?
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Old 02-18-2015, 03:24 PM   #10
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That's the plan but, I'm still building the house.
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Old 02-19-2015, 08:56 AM   #11
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Choosing Large PV modules; Parallel Battery Strings

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hondalee View Post
Hi All, I am going to install a solar system on my class A and I am planning on using a Outback flexmax 60 charge controller. I was wondering is there a difference in the construction of solar panels ment for RV use verses panels ment for home use? Why wouldn't I want to install The higher voltage panels ment for home use?
Hi Hondalee,

By using higher voltage 60 cell PV solar modules, you can greatly reduce your overall cost of the PV power system. You will use less wire, much smaller wire, less mounting brackets and have less installation labor. Add all that to the lower cost per Watt and it makes great sense to use the larger modules.

Something to be aware of is that most manufacturers have warranty exclusions against using their modules in any mobile or boat application. If you are OK with no warranty, go for it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hondalee View Post
As far as batteries at this point I have 8ea 6v golf cart batteries.
A classic mistake in battery design is to build a battery a bank from multiple parallel strings. The ideal battery is made from series cells only. When charging, all current passes through each cell allowing all cells to fully charge. When you add parallel battery strings, you are providing unequal paths for current flow. By having 8 six volt batteries you have made 4 parallel strings. Since power takes the path of least resistance, and all cells are not exactly the same efficiency, some cells will charge faster than others. Soon you will have some cells with different specific gravity. With a bank like you described, you would want to keep a log book with regular SG readings to know which cells are not charging. You will also need to equalize the bank often and test thoroughly.

My recommendation is to use lower voltage or larger capacity batteries and limit parallel paths. For example, the 8 golf cart batteries you mentioned will have about 880 amp-hours (AH) of capacity (@C20). If you installed 6 Rolls 2 volt batteries, you could have one string of 1050 AH. Or, use 4 L16 6 volt batteries for about 800 AH. Two strings in parallel are far easier to manage.

Larry
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Old 02-19-2015, 09:11 AM   #12
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Save a Fortune!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hondalee View Post
....The AGM batteries are out of a bank of 24 batteries I have for my home,that I wount be using when I'm in the RV.

...That's the plan but, I'm still building the house.

...
Over the years I have seen many off grid systems that are poorly designed, doomed to fail and waste huge amounts of money. If you are using 24 12 volt batteries, that means you will have 6 parallel strings if you are operating a 48 volt battery system. Save a fortune...See my other post to you about parallel strings.

Also, how are you caring for these batteries if you don't have the power system yet? Are you maintaining a float charge on them all? Or, regularly charging them?

Larry
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Old 02-19-2015, 03:13 PM   #13
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Thanks for the info Larry, yes I do have them on a smart charger to maintain them untell I get the system installed.and you are correct about it being a 48v system.
I will look up your other post. What is your batterie expereance/expertise ?
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Old 02-19-2015, 03:26 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hondalee View Post
Thanks for the info Larry, yes I do have them on a smart charger to maintain them untell I get the system installed.and you are correct about it being a 48v system.
I will look up your other post. What is your batterie expereance/expertise ?
[moderator edit]Each year we recycle over 30,000 pounds of batteries. About 90% of them are damaged by the owner from unintentional abuse. Typically a customer is only getting 1/3 to 1/2 the life cycles that they are designed for.

To me, this is a sad waste of money and resources. I chose offer my help and started posting on IRV2 because there is a flood of misinformation coming from well meaning people. As a former full timer and now part time RV'er, I know first hand the need for good information and I'm glad to offer my help on this forum.

Larry
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