Not quite but here is whay we have done.
The solar system is installed and working. The inverter/charger/converter system is almost done. And the starting date for the Grand Adventure is just 7 days off. The system that we are using is from RV Solar Electric Inc in Scottsdale Arizona and is sold as “Noels Package”.
The components in the kit are as follows:
- 2 Kyocera KC 85 solar panels rated at 85 watts each.
- 1 SRG 25 amp regulator with digital voltage and current readouts.
- Bracket set.
- Wiring from solar panels to regulator to battery set.
- 1 Magnum ME 2012RV charger/inverter/converter.
- 1 Remote control for the Magnum
- 1 cable set to connect Magnum to the battery pack.
- 1 catastrophic fuse, 300 amperes.
- Very complete installation and documentation, some hand drawn by the vendor.
I have worked with kits ranging from model cars to a Cobra and very few were as complete and trouble free installations as this one. The only part left to the installer was the 120 volt installation, but that has more to do with your coach than the installation. The directions for that part showed you what you should have when finished but not how to do it.
We started the installation, and I say we because this 75 year old body does not like climbing on the roof so I hired Brian to help me. The first project was to get the ice off the roof. The coach had been outside over night and there was an 1/8th inch layer of ice, not frost, on the roof. I had worked the day before making the wiring harnesses out of the bulk wire that was supplied with the kit.
I did not use the solder less crimp connector but soldered and used heat shrink tubing over the joint. It takes a little bit longer but removes the possibility of corrosion in the connections. The panels are wired in parallel, meaning that positive is connected to positive and negative to negative, and then to the down feed wire. I installed spade connectors between each panel and the down feed wire so that the system can be disconnected incase any piece needed to be remove without cutting the wire.
Installing the panels was straight forward other than the knot that formed in the pit of my stomach when drilling the first hole though my roof. The brackets with the kit require eight holes and screws per panel. In the assembly package there was an envelope with a strip of sealant, like gum, that went under the brackets at each hole and the screw. We took a little extra time and found the cross brace for the roof in the approximate location that we picked for the panels. That meant that the front screws of each panel went through the cross brace hopefully giving a little better grip that just though the fiber glass panel and the ply wood under it. For those screw I did not use the screws that came with the kit but used self drilling sheet metal screws.
I mounted the panels in what I considered a safe place. They are sitting behind the rear air conditioner in the area surrounded by the roof rack. I figured that they are safer back there than exposed to low trees in the front or along the side. Wire clamps were used to hold the wiring down on the roof. Once the roof installation was complete we applied silicon over all of the screws and connection as more protection against leaks.
The wiring route ran down into the closet with the two control panels mounted on the outside. The wiring then went down through the floor under the vehicle and to the battery box. Although the secondary battery pack, consisting of 6 golf cart batteries, is going to be installed tomorrow we connected the system to the existing 8D 220 AH battery and fired the system up around noon today. The shore power plug was pulled and the system began to function.
With fall New Hampshire sun on the panel sitting flat on the roof, I turned on all of the 12 volt lights and accessories except the water pump to see what the system would do. The volt meter stayed at 13.1 volts indicating that the input from the solar system was supporting the load. Next weeks thrilling installment will cover the installation of the magnum and any other things that I forgot to due before leaving. Lucy is busy setting up our internet program and many thanks to Geeks On Tour clogs for some great ideas.
Brad & Lucy