2nd Solar Panel - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 04-04-2013, 01:06 PM   #1
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2nd Solar Panel

Hello everyone! I thought I would share some pictures of my latest modifications to my solar charging system. I raised the height of the solar panel that came from the factory so it wouldn't be shadowed by the Maxi-Fan and added a second solar panel in the rear of the trailer to charge my 4 battery system.

3" aluminum standoffs ( I had these made) were used to elevate the panels up off the roof surface to avoid any shadows from the Maxi-Fan or air conditioner. Just a small shadow will kill the efficiency of these panels. I tested several standoff heights and determined that three inches is just right. The rear panel was set back 7 inches from the back of the air conditioner to avoid shadowing. The aluminum footings were bonded to the roof surface with 3M Marine Adhesive Sealant Fast Cure 2500. The roof surface was sanded in the bonding area and the aluminum feet were rough sanded, several holes were drilled along the length and all surfaces cleaned with alcohol prior to bonding.

It was heavily overcast today when I took these pictures. Even with the heavy overcast and the batteries almost fully charged I am getting 1.6 amps of charge from the two panels.

The Maxi-Fan is cranked up wide open for this picture....









Steve
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Old 04-04-2013, 01:13 PM   #2
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Where do you house your batteries?
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Old 04-04-2013, 01:46 PM   #3
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J Mac, they are in the front box...





Steve
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Old 04-04-2013, 03:25 PM   #4
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Have you considered the effect of raising can have on the panels being more apt to become airborne? I'm just playing devils advocate here, they work at one height, will they continue at another height. Another thought is how much gain is achieved due to the change. You can purchase a smoke lens for the MaxxAir that is less opaque to handle any shade problems. How much loss did you calculate for the shade from the fan?
One more question, what is your tongue weight? Mine is 350# with one battery, yours will probably exceed 500 lbs?
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Old 04-04-2013, 05:28 PM   #5
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Have you considered the effect of raising can have on the panels being more apt to become airborne? I'm just playing devils advocate here, they work at one height, will they continue at another height. Another thought is how much gain is achieved due to the change. You can purchase a smoke lens for the MaxxAir that is less opaque to handle any shade problems. How much loss did you calculate for the shade from the fan?
One more question, what is your tongue weight? Mine is 350# with one battery, yours will probably exceed 500 lbs?
Jim, good questions. I raised them because they do not work at the delivered height if the Maxi-Fan lid is raised much. Very little shadowing effectively kills the efficiency of the panel. You should know this because you have the same panel mounting as I did. As little as a 2" shadow on the edge of the panel will shut it down. Since I live in a warm/hot climate I want to be able to use that fan in any position with no concerns regarding solar charging efficiency.

I did some research on RV solar system mountings and found that many, many panels are incorrectly installed (bad mounting or location) and in many cases the owners don't know about it. I raised the existing panel to eliminate any possible shading problem and it is now gone. Additionally, I can park my trailer in any attitude and have full sun on both panels. Most owners can't. I will also have a great charge rate on overcast days.

As far as potential "sail" effect of the raised panels, I believe it is negligible and the mounting adhesives will rip off the gel-coat before separating from the bond but my fellow members of this forum could do 250 posts on the related science... If I ever lose it on a turn and go over the edge I will probably have a terrific glide ratio.

My tongue weight is around 500 lbs, around 13% of the total....just perfect for me.

Another project this week is to install a 6 pole manual transfer switch I just received. This will bring my 2500 watt inverter on-line from the batteries with the whole trailer while boon-docking allowing me to run the microwave and power all outlets for my blender, toaster, computers, stereo system, electric griddle, etc. What will be disconnected are the air conditioner and converter (battery charger) and possibly the hot water heater from power. I need to check the draw of a few items before I decide. I probably have enough capacity now for a portable Jacuzzi and since I already make margaritas in the desert that's next.

Steve
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Old 04-04-2013, 06:12 PM   #6
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Steve do you have spare power to share with friends?
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Old 04-04-2013, 06:15 PM   #7
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Yes, he can sell back his excess to the power company every month
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Old 04-04-2013, 06:40 PM   #8
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Yes! Come on over and plug in!

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Old 12-01-2013, 11:15 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hotfishtacos View Post
Hello everyone! I thought I would share some pictures of my latest modifications to my solar charging system. I raised the height of the solar panel that came from the factory so it wouldn't be shadowed by the Maxi-Fan and added a second solar panel in the rear of the trailer to charge my 4 battery system.

3" aluminum standoffs ( I had these made) were used to elevate the panels up off the roof surface to avoid any shadows from the Maxi-Fan or air conditioner.

Steve, you had 3" standoffs made, what is the height of the standoff that Escape uses for the factory install?
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Old 12-01-2013, 11:57 PM   #10
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There are no standoffs from Escape. The panels are mounted on 1" square brackets.
Quote:
Originally Posted by hotfishtacos View Post
Hello everyone! I thought I would share some pictures of my latest modifications to my solar charging system. I raised the height of the solar panel that came from the factory so it wouldn't be shadowed by the Maxi-Fan and added a second solar panel in the rear of the trailer to charge my 4 battery system.

3" aluminum standoffs ( I had these made) were used to elevate the panels up off the roof surface to avoid any shadows from the Maxi-Fan or air conditioner.


Steve, you had 3" standoffs made, what is the height of the standoff that Escape uses for the factory install?
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