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Old 03-16-2016, 08:55 AM   #511
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This is a question for those of you who have had failures. Can you say if the failure occurred suddenly or gradually? My current practice is to check the panel visually every time I gas up.
That is not an effective strategy if failure is sudden.
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Old 03-16-2016, 08:59 AM   #512
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On my initial trip to AM Solar I was warned to be careful about adding battery capacity. It is possible to get into a situation where you don't have enough solar panels to fully charge your batteries, so that they never become fully charged. I gathered that this might damage the batteries.
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Old 03-16-2016, 09:01 AM   #513
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I was also thinking of putting a hatch on the side and moving the batteries to the rear and adding some weight there would be beneficial to the pin weight. I also was thinking in order to add capacity to the system that additional batteries vs additional panels was more economical.
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Old 03-16-2016, 10:02 AM   #514
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yardsale View Post
This is a question for those of you who have had failures. Can you say if the failure occurred suddenly or gradually? My current practice is to check the panel visually every time I gas up.
That is not an effective strategy if failure is sudden.
Our failure occurred during a sudden severe windstorm in open country. We had done a walk around visual check on the trailer when we stopped for gas shortly before we hit the bad weather but did not do a specific check on the panel mountings.
We had not specifically checked on the panel previously - just visual walkaround at each stop. We discovered the panel was gone when we pulled into the campground shortly after the storm. It was obvious it was gone as the cord was hanging off the side of the trailer.
My understanding is that the first failure was also wind related but it was a VHB tape install. Then it was reinstalled by the owner (I think with tape again-but I could be wrong) and that second install also failed.
Note: our panel installation was an add-on by ETI when the trailer was 5 years old.
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Old 03-16-2016, 01:13 PM   #515
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Why are those that have more than 160 Watt solar adding more? I remember hotfishtacos doing so for a compressor fridge, but it seems like that is a one-off.
My thinking is to design a system that will operate in less than ideal conditions for gathering sun power i.e.
Fall/winter…. I like shaded camp sites in summer. I felt it's easier to install more panel on the roof than going with a portable panel and all that entails . . So in summer in full sun It maybe overkill.

Also if I were to want more capacity, adding another panel would be my first choice, more batteries second . You have to be careful that your batteries won't get fully charged with the amount of wattage you have on the roof .That will lead to shorter battery life . Calculating your usage/panel output/battery capacity is important to this formula. My formula is 3 watts of panel to every useable amp hr. from the batteries. I try not to use over 70 amps/day because My panels put out 14 amps/hr durring peak time ( 5 hrs a day ) in full sun. So in less than ideal conditions, 30-50 amps a day max for me.

I have 2 6volt interstates ( 110 usable amps ) with 320 watts of tilting panel.
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Old 03-16-2016, 02:06 PM   #516
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Definitely you could potentially achieve great gains you can never get from flat panels. Mine are 2 'rails' that I hope could hold a raising/rotating mount in the future.

The mounts I have can be used for other things too. Just 1x4" vinyl bonded with 5200 'fast' setting adhesive.

I'd like to see a close up picture of the raising/lowering mechanism. Can you do it with a wand or must climb up their?
Titling the panel is relatively easy (when it's not windy) loosen one side , move to other side , add extension bar, move back other side add second bar . I have to use a ladder and Bringing it is the drawback.
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Old 03-16-2016, 02:35 PM   #517
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Awesome, thanks Craig. I'm assuming you can tilt the way you show in the pic and also towards the front of the trailer??
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Old 03-16-2016, 03:02 PM   #518
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Awesome, thanks Craig. I'm assuming you can tilt the way you show in the pic and also towards the front of the trailer??
Yes, tilt to the front or back. Side to side would need some adaptation of the mounts to make that work.
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Old 03-17-2016, 01:15 AM   #519
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Originally Posted by freespirit View Post
nice to have all that free roof area for panels.. a closeup picture of the solar panel cable entry method into the roof near what appears to be the fridge roof vent would be very helpful and appreciated.
FreeSpirit....here is a photo of the cable entry into the frig vent and also one of the mounting brackets

DJI_0017-1.jpg

DJI_0020-1.jpg
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Old 03-17-2016, 09:08 AM   #520
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The multiple solar panel roof installation looks well done. Not sure that the method of adjusting the angle of the panels would suit me though. Can't really see me climbing up a step ladder and hovering over the roof several times a day to change the panel angles. I think that if I went to multiple panels on the roof, I would keep them flat lying. If I wanted panels that I could adjust relative to the sun, I would mount them so they were either portable (at ground level) or on a short pole on the front or back of the Escape similar to what another forum member had done (cannot recall who it was).
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