Help me sway the she-boss....solar panel - Page 2 - Ram Promaster Forum
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post #11 of 99 Old 01-03-2017, 01:41 PM
keeponvaning
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Originally Posted by GaryBIS View Post
Hi,
If by racks you mean the means of attaching the panel to the roof, you can just use 4 short lengths of right angle bracket.
This is our installation: http://www.buildagreenrv.com/our-con...anel-mounting/

Its really simple, and it keeps the PV panel low to the roof.

There are also mounting kits that just use adhesive -- I did not quite have the courage to go that way, but apparently they work.

We ended up ordering our single 315 watt panel through the local Platt Electric -- their panel price was not the lowest, but there was no shipping charge.
Our total bill for PV panel and MPPT controller was more like $600 -- KOV always finds the better deals

Gary
Opps, sorry,in checking my figures I spent more like $600 not $500.

2014, High Top/159 WB, 2500 gas Promaster fully converted for camping.
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post #12 of 99 Old 01-03-2017, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by RDinNHandAZ View Post
I also have those ^^^^^ and I am a happy and well electrified camper! 200 watts of solar, 200+AH Flooded batteries, Tracer MPPT controller, interconnect switch, meter, all wiring, solar power entry, 110V entry, RV converter w/battery charger, 1500 watt inverter, LED lights, a complete van electrical system, $841. Beat that KOV!
I can't but you have flooded batteries and 200 watts of panel. I guess you win the cheapskate of the day award tho. I'll just have to try harder next time

2014, High Top/159 WB, 2500 gas Promaster fully converted for camping.
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post #13 of 99 Old 01-03-2017, 02:23 PM
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Gloat! It isn’t just enough to be the cheapskate of the day, it also needs to be a quality product, an elegant instal, and service and trouble free. Both of ours, and many others here have all that! I was bound to beat you once, I know it won’t happen again. 200 Watts seems to be enough but I know it is less than 300 so I win on a slightly smaller scale. For the OP I continued this because he must make the same sorts of choices. His she-boss may be swayed by relative benefit-to-cost ratio and to have the van lighted and wired for what we spent should be a convincing argument. MM plans to have the install done for him so if anyone has estimates we should add that. Avoiding esoteric technologies and mounting systems will allow him to go to an RV place and find enough expertise to get it done. I’d avoid home and commercial electricians, not because I don’t support them but the RV guys do this all the time and there are plenty of pitfalls for electricians in this. Romex being one.

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post #14 of 99 Old 01-03-2017, 04:01 PM
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Since you need a decent meter anyway--otherwise it's like not having a fuel gauge--you might check out Bogart Engineering for their Trimetric meter and solar controller that work together. Essentially, the brains for the controller are in the meter. This set-up ensures that all charging sources play nicely together for a relatively low total cost.
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post #15 of 99 Old 01-03-2017, 05:49 PM Thread Starter
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I'm, uh, overwhelmed!

KOV=Keeponvaning
MM=MedicineMan
Gary=Gary ha!

So much here in this thread.
Post reading the replies I found the use of the very inexpensive L brackets=a winner.
Tax credit means how can we not!

Now to study wire routing. Ingenius Gary to go through the break lite.

Motion Windows scheduled for Jan 23 del (or shipment can't remember which). Windows
go in basically same time as roof fans---then I will measure and see which panel fits.
Of course hoping for a 300+ watt.

Would never have thought of adhesive holding down the panel(s), No way for me, if I'm putting
in giant holes for the fans I'm relaxed with some screw holes and maybe even metal plates matching
inside under the L brackets.

In my googling on this site I noticed someone had put a wind fairing in front of the panel=smart I also
noticed MsN's screen door=genius! What a side job that would be/MsN's e-bay store!

In the meantime this PITA (MM) will google routing the wire into the PM-house.

Thanks so much ladies(LadyMsN)/Gentlemen for the replies !!
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post #16 of 99 Old 01-03-2017, 06:02 PM Thread Starter
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Just now seeing there are more replies!
RDinNHandAZ are you RNA?
You (RNA) got quite the number of electrical components for the monies!

Guess what I'm going to google next-how many amps can a normal alternator put into
my single AGM house battery in 4-6 hours of driving.

Logically the solar panel kicks in when we're parked/boondocking/camping.

p.s. we have the normal alternator.

Also we do plan to get our hands dirty on the simple stuff like insulating post windows/fans and running the wires for the AC plug ins and DC connects.
I even think we can layout our electrical cabinet but will surely get the nod of approval by someone who has at least change out a wall outlet before we
go full power on.

On a side topic, googling here for Webasto gasoline installs for next fall/winter...and this is electrical related because when we are running wires everywhere
we need to get a DC connection to under the passenger seat....well googling I found our area is rich, rich I tell you will big truck repair shops. Thanks to a poster
here I went to Webasto's site and entered big truck/heating....so I might be able to get a semi-local Webasto install.

Now one last question on panels please.
We want an air gap under them for cooling correct?
But we dont want them 10 feet off the roof for wind.
Just looking at images here and Gary's build site, it looks like the L brackets place the panes 1-2 inches off the roof.
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post #17 of 99 Old 01-03-2017, 06:28 PM
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RNA? Rural North America? Yup. Actually call me RD
If you do 200-300Watts of solar you won’t need the alternator except on rainy/very cloudy days. I have my interconnect to the alternator on a secondary switch so I can prevent it from connecting and I have only let it connect a few (3-4) times in 4 months of camping in the past year and a half. The alternator might add current at the rate of 20-50 amps so a 200 AH battery set would need 3-4 hours to be recharged from 1/2 full, a good minimum level. The solar will do it in a bit more time, easily in a short day. Think of solar as the primary electrical source, interconnection to the van is secondary, charger from the 110V shore power is third option.

Give the panels 3/4 inch from the roof to allow you to hose the rodent scats way. The panels shade the roof too and keep summer heat down.

Oh on my build thread I have a spreadsheet with sources and prices.

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Last edited by RDinNHandAZ; 01-03-2017 at 08:33 PM.
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post #18 of 99 Old 01-03-2017, 06:47 PM
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And don't forget RD can squeeze 1$ till it's worth $3! I know because he even shows me up (occasionally)

RD is correct about what the charging order should be - solar first (it's always working in daylight even cloudy, rainy days), alternator second if necessary, charger from grid when camping at night with 110vac power if necessary. Usually 300w solar is all you will realistically need unless you are trying to run a water heater, AC or some other 110vac power hog of an inverter.

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post #19 of 99 Old 01-03-2017, 06:53 PM
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MM, the plot thickens. Your alternator will not properly charge your AGM batteries, which have a different charging profile than wet-cell like RD uses. Solar can and an AC charger can.

Our charging order is solar, AC charger, then alternator only if neither of the others is available.
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post #20 of 99 Old 01-03-2017, 07:13 PM
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Actually that is not so. The battery in the van is already AGM so he will be fine. Your early production van may have been FLA but they are AGM in mine and all later vans I believe. FCA’s engineering knows how to charge that starting AGM battery and it will match up with he coach battery. Since the alternator should be used only occasionally to charge the coach battery it won't matter anyway, the solar charger can be set for AGM as you say. I have never had to use the charger but have plugged in a few times and my charger can charge AGM’s too as a last resort. Unthicken the plot!

Look closely at the yellow section of the top stickers. It says Sealed AGM battery. I thought I had a picture but had to go back and search.

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Last edited by RDinNHandAZ; 01-03-2017 at 07:34 PM.
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