Solar Power – Stop Using Generator for Under $1200?


Behind me is my father’s, 2006 Holiday Rambler vacationer diesel pusher bus last year. We actually upgraded this bus, which never had an inverter, and we installed a magnum 2000 watt inverter, which has converted the bus to an all-electric coach.

Just like our coach. Now, with the addition of an inverter, my father’s now using more power and he & # 39. S asked us about our solar solution, but he’s on a bit of a budget. So today we are going to attempt to install a pretty decent sized solar array for under 1,200 bucks.

So today’s. Video is going to be a little different than other videos. I’ve done in that beam technology that we’re, going to be implementing. I haven’t, had a lot of direct experience with most of the videos that we do.

I’ve tested them for a minimum of three to six months. I understand how they work either in our bus or in previous projects that I’ve worked on, but today we’re gonna go a little bit different and that we’re using stuff that I & # 39.

Ve purchased on Amazon. That is not necessarily name-brand, it does have high positive reviews and that’s. Why we purchased it, but this is a proof-of-concept video. Will this work? Can you install a system that’s? Three: twenty six hundred fifty watts or so six six, forty six, fifty in a plus like this four hundred twelve hundred dollars gets a lot of power for not very much money before we get started and we start talking about getting up on the roof.

We’re gonna. Do some prep work. So to start we are going to mount our solar panel roof mounting brackets. These are rhinology brackets to the panel’s, so that we’re ready. Once we get up on the roof to start securing them, we did not go with a tilting solution here on our bus.

We did go with tilting on my father’s. We did not mainly because he just doesn’t feel like he’s, going to go up there and told them on a regular basis. [, Music ] at the heart of our system. Besides the panels on the roof, these are solar charge controller and we & # 39.

Ve got an MPPT solar charge controller in this setup that’s, a made in China product that I found in Amazon that has very high reviews now buying stuff made in China. Obviously, the the good news is: the prices are lower.

The bad news is any type of tech support or warranty efforts are going to be hard. That being said, this is a 40 amp MPPT and if you don & # 39, t know what that means. Essentially, it allows me to put higher input voltage from the roof and use smaller wires into the solar controller, and it will convert that back to 12 volts that’s.

One positive of the MPPT – and the second is that it’s. A bit more efficient in terms of how it deals with the Sun moving throughout the day that’s, a vast oversimplification, but you can google that term and it & # 39.

Ll. Tell you a bit more about the solar controllers, but at the high level this is a product made by a company called EP. Ever it’s $ 199 for 40 amp MPPT charge controller with the remote monitor that goes inside your coach.

That’s, a huge amount of value. To give you a contrast, our Outback solar unit was about eight hundred dollars with the remote for the front of our coach. It does have more features. It is an amp charge controller.

It is much more robust. It does have cooling fans and a bunch of other things, but you could buy four of those for the price of one of those, so that is absolutely an excellent value. In our opinion, before I secure my panels to the roof, I like to think about a number of different things, because it’s a long way street when it comes to drilling holes in your roof.

First off we want to figure out our wiring configuration now for this particular job. We’re, going to be wiring them in series, which means our array is going to be operating at 48 volts now at higher voltage.

What’s? Nice is I don’t have to run as thick of a wire from the top of the bus to the battery area, because higher voltage means I can get away with using a smaller wire. The downside of using a series wiring like that.

Wiring configuration like that is that if one of my panels experiences amount of shade, I will lose a lot of power out of the Iraq one other thing to mention: we’re, actually spacing out our panels by approximately six inches.

Now it really depends on the configuration on whether or not you want to space your panels on a hard coach we chose not to because we wanted to get more panels up there in the future. What we found is because they’re so close together.

They’re really hard to get around. So in this particular case, we’re, making sure they’re just about far enough apart, where you can put your foot in them and that’s, going to allow us to get around those panels as necessary.

Now that we have the basic understanding of where our panels are going to go on the roof and where the wires are going to enter into the coach, we’re, going to secure our panels to the roof. Now we’re using a roofing screw it’s, a self-tapping roofing screw with a small rubber seal on it that was provided by the rhinology mounting brackets.

In addition to that, though, we’re, going to be using a die poor self, leveling, roof sealant, just specific for the RV industry. Don’t, go to Home Depot and buy some sealant make sure you get dyke or soft leveling sealant or an equivalent that an RV dealership or someone that you know and trust who understands roofs and RVs recommends.

We’re, going to be applying a bit of that sealing, underneath the bracket to create a seal in between the bracket and the panel, and then we’re, going to be screwing in above that, once we’ve secured All of the panels we’re, going to go back over each screw with additional amounts of dicor and then let it level because the refrigerators mel p it has to vent that LP somewhere and these refrigerators typically vent their exhaust out the roof.

There’s, going to be a large exhaust vent on your roof, that is, for the refrigerator, typically on the side of your refrigerator towards the edge, if you hung screw the four bolts. As you see us doing here from the top, you & # 39, ll, be able to open it up, and you’ll, see essentially right back behind the refrigerator.

Once we remove the refrigerator out, we’re, going to be able to put our wires down through that chase behind the refrigerator, as you see here and then continue down through the cargo bays exiting out the back of the cargo bay and then going Along the wire chase, which is underneath the bus typically down by the chassis, you’ll, always find a chase where all of your existing wires are, and we’re going to use that existing chase.

Because we know no other mechanics are gonna be getting in the way of the wires that are already there, because that’s, how they design the bus and then dropping into the battery box. Now, before we talk about hooking up our wiring and getting the system on line, let’s.

Talk about safety, specifically let’s. Talk about circuit, breakers and fuses in our system on the roof. We have an MC for inline fuse that will provide safety from the photo array or from the PV array.

All the way through the wiring goes to the battery bank. You want to make sure that that wire can’t for some reason, experience a cut or short, and there’s, no fuse between your roof array and your battery box down below.

We have a circuit breaker, that is in between the array and the solar controller and then a additional 50 amp fuse in between your battery, your house, battery systems and your solar charge controller.

So three different levels of safety to make sure that you keep yourself from having any issues: [, Music, ], in addition to the battery wires, that we have to run from the groove to the battery. You also have to run a cat5 wire from the solar controller, which is also mounted in the battery bank, up to the front where we want to check on how our solar array is performing on a regular basis.

So we’re using that same exact wire chase, which is going in the opposite direction of our battery wires. All the way up front, [, Music ], all right, so it’s been about six weeks. I know I own a lot of these shirts, but it really has been.

You can probably tell because the colors a little bit different and the leaves are starting to fall for fall. The unit since performing has described. We’ve, been getting an average of about 28 amps into the system, and that’s, mainly because it’s getting on in in the year, and we’re parked with a lot of shade, where we Are right now and the Sun is very low, but the system is definitely had honestly really no problems.

The only problem that we did run into is we found out that my father’s. Batteries were not really up to the task. He had battery issues long before the solar setup and he just needed more power. We were generating way more solar than we had anywhere to put the power for so we upgraded his system.

We put for a brand new 6 volt. I think they’re 265 amp hour batteries into his system, giving him quite a bit more usable storage. We configured all the systems. This charge controller does allow us to customize the voltage based on the manufactured recommended guidelines for each type of battery, which we really like and honestly for $ 1,200.

I’m very happy with this investment. Only time will tell if it’s gonna last, but so far so good thanks for watching guys, please make sure to comment subscribe and follow us on the road we love having.

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