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Author Topic: You get what you pay for.......  (Read 3101 times)

Kevin Means

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Re: You get what you pay for.......
« Reply #30 on: July 07, 2020, 03:35:11 PM »
AM solar did the original solar install, so I would think it was calibrated properly, but who knows - I didn't check it. Ignorance is bliss.  :) We designed and built a rack assembly to eliminate a pretty serious shading problem from his raised rails and AC units, then re-mounted all six panels on SVII tilt kits.

Kev
« Last Edit: July 07, 2020, 03:36:47 PM by Kevin Means »
2011 Winnebago Tour 42QD
Towing a Jeep Rubicon Unlimited LJ
RVI Brake 2, TST 507 TPMS, 960 watts of solar, SolaRVector tilt
Lakeside, California

AStravelers

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Re: You get what you pay for.......
« Reply #31 on: July 07, 2020, 07:22:10 PM »
Most interesting that the readings are showing more power coming from the panels than what they are rated for.

My understanding that all solar panel wattage ratings are taken in lab conditions with lamps simulating the sun; at the equator, at mid day, a perfectly clear sky and perfectly perpendicular to the simulated.   In other words conditions which are impossible to duplicate anywhere outside a laboratory.

I could be mistaken on how panels are rated.
Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Journey 36G
2020 Chevy Colorado 4X4 Diesel
650 watts residential solar panels--400AH Lithium batteries

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

Kathy & Bill

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Re: You get what you pay for.......
« Reply #32 on: July 09, 2020, 04:46:37 PM »
I'm starting to think I wasn't meant to have solar.  I bought two of the Amerisolar panels and picked them up today.  Everything looked good at the freight terminal, then I got home and unboxed them.  If I didn't have bad luck I would lead a boring life...  WTH..   :'(

Good news is I called where I bought them and they were more than apologetic and are shipping me two more panels.
Bill & Kathy
Western NY
2019 Coachman Apex 265RBSS
2012 Silverado 1500, 5.3L

Kevin Means

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Re: You get what you pay for.......
« Reply #33 on: July 09, 2020, 08:49:31 PM »
Wow, that is some bad luck. Sorry. I'm glad to hear that the company seems to be standing behind them. At least you didn't have to learn Mandarin and call mainland China to make a warranty claim.

Kev
2011 Winnebago Tour 42QD
Towing a Jeep Rubicon Unlimited LJ
RVI Brake 2, TST 507 TPMS, 960 watts of solar, SolaRVector tilt
Lakeside, California

Kathy & Bill

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Re: You get what you pay for.......
« Reply #34 on: July 10, 2020, 03:42:16 PM »
At least you didn't have to learn Mandarin and call mainland China to make a warranty claim.

Kev

LOL...  good point.
Bill & Kathy
Western NY
2019 Coachman Apex 265RBSS
2012 Silverado 1500, 5.3L

Kathy & Bill

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Re: You get what you pay for.......
« Reply #35 on: July 13, 2020, 07:36:23 PM »
Two more panels shipped out today, hope the freight company handles these a little kinder this time around.  I think I'll check these two out at the terminal when I pick them up.

As for mounting these on the roof, what's the recommendation on attachment points for a 77" x 39" panel.  Been looking at different types of ready made brackets and angle stock to make my own.  Prices are all over the board depending on what you want, and of course I like the pricey one.  I will mount them solid, no tilting.  Is four points of attachment sufficient or should there be more?  There are eight holes punched in the panels frame, four along each 77" side.  Eight seems like a little overkill but then again 65.. 70 mph, eight might by a good idea.

Experience, thoughts?
Bill & Kathy
Western NY
2019 Coachman Apex 265RBSS
2012 Silverado 1500, 5.3L

solarman

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Re: You get what you pay for.......
« Reply #36 on: July 13, 2020, 08:38:36 PM »
Two more panels shipped out today, hope the freight company handles these a little kinder this time around.  I think I'll check these two out at the terminal when I pick them up.

As for mounting these on the roof, what's the recommendation on attachment points for a 77" x 39" panel.  Been looking at different types of ready made brackets and angle stock to make my own.  Prices are all over the board depending on what you want, and of course I like the pricey one.  I will mount them solid, no tilting.  Is four points of attachment sufficient or should there be more?  There are eight holes punched in the panels frame, four along each 77" side.  Eight seems like a little overkill but then again 65.. 70 mph, eight might by a good idea.

Experience, thoughts?

I would suggest one in each corner and one middle, so six total.

KZ MXT20 480 W solar
ORV 24RKS 960 Watts solar
48V LFP, 2000W inverter/charger
Ram 2500 CTD

HueyPilotVN

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Re: You get what you pay for.......
« Reply #37 on: July 13, 2020, 09:33:23 PM »

As for mounting these on the roof, what's the recommendation on attachment points for a 77" x 39" panel.  Been looking at different types of ready made brackets and angle stock to make my own.  Prices are all over the board depending on what you want, and of course I like the pricey one.  I will mount them solid, no tilting.  Is four points of attachment sufficient or should there be more?  There are eight holes punched in the panels frame, four along each 77" side.  Eight seems like a little overkill but then again 65.. 70 mph, eight might by a good idea.

Experience, thoughts?

I got my mounting brackets from Discount Solar in Quartzsite.

They are fairly simple but they do have what I consider to be a great feature.  The bottom of the mount is solidly mounted to the roof.  The top part of each mount is bolted to the frame of the panel.  They are connected with a threaded rod with a knob on the end of it.  This allows you to unscrew the connector and tilt the panel, and put a support in place to tilt the panel about 45 degrees.  You can do this from either side to tilt the panels left or right.

The really nice thing about this is that you can leave them alone and never tilt them is that is what you want, However you do have the real option to tilt them if you are parked for an extended time or when it is stored at home.

This is not anywhere as nice as Kevin Mean's motorized tilts, but it is very inexpensive.

If you do not spend a small amount to put these on you may wish that you had later.

Just a suggestion.  Here are some pictures.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2020, 09:45:06 PM by HueyPilotVN »
Bill Waugh
2 Jeep Commanders
Mustang Bracket Race Car
Retired from the road to Lake Havasu after 35 years on the road
Now just another Lurker

Kevin Means

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Re: You get what you pay for.......
« Reply #38 on: July 14, 2020, 12:17:50 AM »
Hey, it's only money Bill.  ;) You might want to PM FrankB Bill. He flat-mounted some residential panels on his trailer a few years ago, and last I heard, they were holding up well and staying put.

Kev
2011 Winnebago Tour 42QD
Towing a Jeep Rubicon Unlimited LJ
RVI Brake 2, TST 507 TPMS, 960 watts of solar, SolaRVector tilt
Lakeside, California

Kathy & Bill

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Re: You get what you pay for.......
« Reply #39 on: July 14, 2020, 07:55:12 PM »
Hey, it's only money Bill.  ;)

lol... this is true Kev.  I figure I'll be around $13.45 a watt or so when I finally get this project done  :o

Seriously though, has anyone ever calculated all costs involved and divided it by their watts?  It would be interesting to see the price range compared to different types of systems.  Forgive me.. I'm a bit of a numbers guy.

Well I got the antenna moved and the wire run, wire length was a bit long, (35 feet) I used 8 awg so hoping that helps.  Waiting on the second set of panels to arrive, should be Monday.  Have to order the mounting brackets yet and that should be the last piece of the puzzle.

Heading out to Allegheny National Forest Thursday morning for a long weekend.  Will be using the Yamaha generator as the temps will be around 90 for the weekend.  With the 600 amp hrs. of LiPo, we can run the AC off the inverter at night which keeps the DW happy.

Bill & Kathy
Western NY
2019 Coachman Apex 265RBSS
2012 Silverado 1500, 5.3L

Kathy & Bill

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Re: You get what you pay for.......
« Reply #40 on: July 25, 2020, 03:05:05 PM »
Well... the two other panels came and were undamaged. :)  I ended up buying stainless brackets from TEMCo Industrial.  Got everything mounted today and at 1:00 they were cranking out around 40 amps into the batteries.  I'm happy with that!  A little bit of wire securing and this project is done.  There certainly isn't much for the screws to grab into under the rubber roof, hopefully they stay put.
Bill & Kathy
Western NY
2019 Coachman Apex 265RBSS
2012 Silverado 1500, 5.3L

Ex-Calif

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Re: You get what you pay for.......
« Reply #41 on: July 25, 2020, 04:27:27 PM »
Glad you are getting power! Well done.

How many brackets per panel did you use?

We mounted 6 each 4 X 4 X 2 blocks per panel to a fiberglass deck using only 3M 5200 and used lag bolts into the blocks. 5 years and many 50 knot thunderstorms later the 5200 never even groaned.

I too would be worried about only sheet metal screws...
"Marvin" - 1997 Georgie Boy Pursuit 3150 - P30 Chev 454
Various classic MGBs
Ex-liveaboard boater - Class A newbie in sponge mode

Heli_av8tor

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Re: You get what you pay for.......
« Reply #42 on: July 25, 2020, 10:03:31 PM »
I used 1/4-20 jack nuts when I installed The SolaRVector power tilt frames. Just couldnít trust sheet metal screws into the thin plywood under the rubber roof.
Tom & Theresa
2004 Pace Arrow 37C, Workhorse W22, 8.1 Vortec
2014 Honda CR-V Toad, Roadmaster -5 Base and tow bar
SMI Stay and Play Duo Brake system

Kathy & Bill

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Re: You get what you pay for.......
« Reply #43 on: July 26, 2020, 06:25:42 AM »
I used wood screws, they have a more aggressive thread but not much more. I was careful not to turn them to much so they wouldn't strip out.   Half or more of them grabbed enough to squeeze the butyl tape a little and I ended up putting 4 brackets a side (8 total) on each panel.  I guess if they don't hold the poor sole following me will have a little action to deal with.  I think they will be fine but I will be checking them the first few trips out.
Bill & Kathy
Western NY
2019 Coachman Apex 265RBSS
2012 Silverado 1500, 5.3L

AStravelers

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Re: You get what you pay for.......
« Reply #44 on: August 03, 2020, 03:50:26 PM »
What I used to anchor my 2 residential solar panels to the roof of my RV are:
https://www.homedepot.com/p/E-Z-Ancor-Stud-Solver-7-x-1-1-4-in-Phillips-Zinc-Plated-Alloy-Flat-Head-Anchors-with-Screws-20-Pack-25216/100185538

I drill a 3/16" pilot hole and then screw in the anchor using Dicor in the hole before inserting the anchor.  When installing the solar panels, I put down a layer of Dicor over the anchors, put the brackets on the Dicor and use the screws that came with the anchor to hold everythng down.  I also cover the screws and edges of the brackets with Dicor.

I only anchored the 4 corners.

I have had these panels on 2 different Winnebago RV's.  The Winne's roof is a thin sheet of fiberglass over lauan plywood.

These panels have traveled about 60,000 miles so far.  This includes a trip to Alaska with about 800 miles of gravel road as part of the trip.   We went about 320 (640 round trip) miles up the Dalton Hwy and about 50 miles up the Dempster in Yukon Territory. 
Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Journey 36G
2020 Chevy Colorado 4X4 Diesel
650 watts residential solar panels--400AH Lithium batteries

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

Kathy & Bill

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Re: You get what you pay for.......
« Reply #45 on: August 18, 2020, 08:58:41 PM »
I used 1/4-20 jack nuts when I installed The SolaRVector power tilt frames. Just couldnít trust sheet metal screws into the thin plywood under the rubber roof.

I kinda wish I used something like jack nuts but in the end it has seemed to work fine.

We had our first trip out with the solar panels on the roof and everything went fine.  The first evening was hot and humid.  We cooled down the camper running the AC on the generator and then used the inverter during the night.  It took the 600 amp hr. battery bank down to 50% through the night.  We had good morning sun two days and cloudy one other.  The campsite was shaded in the afternoon and evening so mornings was the only time for good solar charging.  The panels topped out one morning at 611 watts (panel total 750 watts) for a short time maxing out the charger at 50 amps.  Mostly the charger was putting out 20 to 40 amps during the morning hours.  Afternoon hours it put out around 10 amps with no direct sunlight.  After a three night stay we pulled out of the campground with the battery bank around 65% after our 3 night stay.  We only used the AC the first night, we watched TV, used the toaster, ran both Max fans, a small 110 fan and all the other usual 12 volt stuff.  All in all I am happy with the performance considering the sun conditions.  If we had a sunnier site I think we would have been closer to 100% at departure.

I thank everyone for their ideas and experience in helping me complete my project.

Bill & Kathy
Western NY
2019 Coachman Apex 265RBSS
2012 Silverado 1500, 5.3L

garyb1st

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Re: You get what you pay for.......
« Reply #46 on: August 19, 2020, 11:27:54 AM »
I would wonder if the shunt and Victron is properly calibrated.

Or, perhaps it's those new SolaRVector II lifts?

Tom

Tom, how do you calibrate a shunt? 

Kev, are you going to stand for that? 
Gary B1st

2005 Pace Arrow 35G
2016 Jeep Wrangler


Poverty exists not because we cannot feed the poor, but because we cannot satisfy the rich.

Lou Schneider

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Re: You get what you pay for.......
« Reply #47 on: August 19, 2020, 12:52:00 PM »
Tom, how do you calibrate a shunt? 

You compare it to a known good meter.  Often there are several different shunts available for a meter, if the shunt is rated at one current and the meter is set for a different value the readings will be wrong.  For example, a 500 amp shunt connected to a meter calibrated for a 100 amp shunt will read 5 times the actual current.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2020, 12:54:22 PM by Lou Schneider »

garyb1st

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Re: You get what you pay for.......
« Reply #48 on: August 19, 2020, 01:34:16 PM »
You compare it to a known good meter.

Lou, are you talking about the shunt that is included with the Victron Battery Monitor or does a solar set up have it's own shunt?  I'll take another look, but as I recall there is nothing that can be adjusted on my shunt.   
Gary B1st

2005 Pace Arrow 35G
2016 Jeep Wrangler


Poverty exists not because we cannot feed the poor, but because we cannot satisfy the rich.

Ex-Calif

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Re: You get what you pay for.......
« Reply #49 on: August 19, 2020, 01:56:00 PM »

I thank everyone for their ideas and experience in helping me complete my project.

Congratulations on a successful project - perseverance definitely paid off in the end.

Definitely a tall order to run any A/C system off batteries, even 600 ah... I didn't infer but would be interesting to calculate your total harvesting efficiency per day considering the shade and so on. You definitely would have got closer to full with less shade and more time on the ground.

Nice to know you could boondock and if needed could use the A/C to knock the edge off before sleeping if required. We did that on the boat sometimes. Even a few degrees cooler before trying to sleep helped.
"Marvin" - 1997 Georgie Boy Pursuit 3150 - P30 Chev 454
Various classic MGBs
Ex-liveaboard boater - Class A newbie in sponge mode

Kathy & Bill

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Re: You get what you pay for.......
« Reply #50 on: August 19, 2020, 04:15:05 PM »
I didn't infer but would be interesting to calculate your total harvesting efficiency per day considering the shade and so on.

This doesn't really show efficiency but here is the info out of the Victron solar charger, and what I recall.  We arrived at camp around 6:00 pm Friday, temp was 80/85 degrees and high humidity, pretty sticky night!  Ran the AC on the generator around 45 minutes, then switched to the inverter.  Running the AC through the night took the batteries down to 47%, turned AC off at 6:30 am Saturday morning.  Panels were completely shaded by 1:00 pm do to trees.

Saturday;  (Cloudy)
1.42.. kWh harvested
587.. peak wattage
40.84.. peak voltage

Sunday;  (Sunny)
2.01.. kWh
598.. W
42.95.. V

Monday;  (Sunny, on the road at 1:00 pm, clouded up mid afternoon)
2.7.. kWh
651.. W
43.57.. V

Tuesday; (sitting in the driveway, good sun all day, went into float at some point)
2.63.. kWh
611.. W
45.64.. V

Two Amerisolar 375 W panels with a Voc of 48.2, wired in parallel.
Bill & Kathy
Western NY
2019 Coachman Apex 265RBSS
2012 Silverado 1500, 5.3L

Heli_av8tor

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Re: You get what you pay for.......
« Reply #51 on: August 19, 2020, 06:33:40 PM »
Gary, the end user doesn't calibrate the shunt. You pretty much have to rely on the manufacturer for that and assume they did it right.
 I'm not a Victron owner but I suspect that it has the capability to use different shunts by setting a programming parameter. I was suggesting that this parameter be checked to be sure it is correctly set. If it's not then the readings will be off. (See Lou's post).

K&B, I was trying to figure out how you run the batteries so low so fast. Now I see that you ran the A/C on inverter. You're gonna need a lot more battery and solar to do that. It's just not practical with current technology.
Tom & Theresa
2004 Pace Arrow 37C, Workhorse W22, 8.1 Vortec
2014 Honda CR-V Toad, Roadmaster -5 Base and tow bar
SMI Stay and Play Duo Brake system

Kathy & Bill

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Re: You get what you pay for.......
« Reply #52 on: August 19, 2020, 07:42:02 PM »
K&B, I was trying to figure out how you run the batteries so low so fast. Now I see that you ran the A/C on inverter. You're gonna need a lot more battery and solar to do that. It's just not practical with current technology.

We live/mostly camp in Western NY/Northwest PA, near the shores of Lake Erie.  It's not uncommon to have 90/95% humidity with 80/90 degree temps during the summer.. Hazy, Hot and Humid.  It makes some nights pretty unpleasant for sleeping, the DW does not do well with the triple H's.  We plan on only running the AC on the worst nights, guess we're getting a little soft as we age.
Bill & Kathy
Western NY
2019 Coachman Apex 265RBSS
2012 Silverado 1500, 5.3L

garyb1st

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Re: You get what you pay for.......
« Reply #53 on: August 20, 2020, 10:48:35 AM »
Gary, the end user doesn't calibrate the shunt. You pretty much have to rely on the manufacturer for that and assume they did it right.
 I'm not a Victron owner but I suspect that it has the capability to use different shunts by setting a programming parameter. I was suggesting that this parameter be checked to be sure it is correctly set. If it's not then the readings will be off. (See Lou's post).
Thanks Tom.  I used the included shunt so I should be OK.  The Pace also has a voltage meter and the readings are very close to the Victrons.  I'll take that to mean it's working properly. 

 
Gary B1st

2005 Pace Arrow 35G
2016 Jeep Wrangler


Poverty exists not because we cannot feed the poor, but because we cannot satisfy the rich.

Heli_av8tor

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Re: You get what you pay for.......
« Reply #54 on: August 20, 2020, 08:45:38 PM »
Maybe, but reading voltage correctly doesnít mean itís reading current correctly.
Tom & Theresa
2004 Pace Arrow 37C, Workhorse W22, 8.1 Vortec
2014 Honda CR-V Toad, Roadmaster -5 Base and tow bar
SMI Stay and Play Duo Brake system

garyb1st

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Re: You get what you pay for.......
« Reply #55 on: August 21, 2020, 10:28:52 AM »
Haven't done that.  I've been relying on my limited understanding of wire size and length to hopefully minimize current drop.  I prefer not to electrocute myself trying to learn this stuff.  Keep that in mind when we get together in KOFA.  ;)  That reminds me, the camera you gave me last year (Type C HD mini endoscope) doesn't work on my Mac.  Needs a download that doesn't seem to be available.  Did you buy one for yourself and, if so, get it to work?   
Gary B1st

2005 Pace Arrow 35G
2016 Jeep Wrangler


Poverty exists not because we cannot feed the poor, but because we cannot satisfy the rich.

Boat Addict

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Re: You get what you pay for.......
« Reply #56 on: September 13, 2020, 08:55:24 PM »
Solarman I sent a PM to you but not sure if it made it to you.

solarman

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Re: You get what you pay for.......
« Reply #57 on: September 15, 2020, 12:17:02 PM »
Solarman I sent a PM to you but not sure if it made it to you.

it did..   just been real busy, sorry for the delay, I have replied..

« Last Edit: September 15, 2020, 12:49:28 PM by solarman »
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Mark_K5LXP

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Re: You get what you pay for.......
« Reply #58 on: September 15, 2020, 01:55:37 PM »
Shunts can be fine tuned.  Sometimes you'll see evidence of it in the form of a small grinding mark along one edge, a cut notch or some small holes drilled into it.  On shunts I've made out of solid wire just the act of putting dents into it with pliers will move the needle just that little bit to bring it right in.

Most shunts are made to standard output voltages.  A common one is 50mV.  If it's a 100A shunt it will be putting out 50mV at 100A.  So for a known/marked shunt like that it's trivial to see how close to the mark it is.  Just put a known current through it (as evidenced by a 2nd calibrated shunt or meter), read the voltage and do the basic math to come up with the output vs current.  The ability to measure precision voltages will dictate the granularity of measurement especially when high current shunts are used.

"Better" shunts have a small temperature coefficient, "cheap" shunts may drift considerably over temperature.  Just passing the current will cause a thermal rise in the shunt so if good accuracy is needed a "better" one is called for.

Mark B.
Albuquerque, NM