New Project, Solar for Class C

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HueyPilotVN

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Lake Havasu City, AZ
I have been doing almost nothing for the last 7 months so I am going to get off my butt and start a new project,

I am going to put as large of a solar installation as I can on the Class C Chateau.

I am limited by usable roof space but I think I can put 8 (200 watt panels), on the roof for 1,600 watts. Unfortunately I will have to install 4 of them along the length and 4 of them across the width of the roof.

I wanted to get the remote tilt panels from Kevin Means but I think that the layout kind of works against tilting.

I will use the same kind of Blue Sky charge controllers as I did before with a master controller and two networked additional linked controllers. I will also use the same type Blue Sky Monitor.

The wiring will come down thru a shirt closet to the right of the bed and the Master charge controller, battery bank monitor and Invertor control panel will mount to the cabinet wall next to the bed.

Probably the most unusual aspect of this setup is the use of three 300 Amp Hour Lithium batteries for 900 Amp Hours.

One will fit where my two AGM batteries are now under the steps.

The other two and the Xantrax Invertor will be placed in the large rear storage area.
I saw a post here in the past where a fellow had built a double shelf in his rear storage area and it inspired me to do the same.

The first step in this project was to build the shelves for the batteries and Invertor, The shelves are 25.5 inches high, I have 27 inches clearance. It is 48 inches wide and 18 inches deep. The two Lithium batteries are each 20.5 inches long. I spent the last two late nights in the garage building the shelves. I built them in two sections that stack together. This makes it easier to fit them into and thru the storage doors. they also have brackets to anchor them to the wall and rachet straps to secure the equipment.

The circuit panel and fuses are located at the foot of the bed so it will be easy to run the cables thru the wall of the storage area directly under the bed to the panel.

So far the list of components is about $8,000 and I still have installation cost..

Here are some pictures of the shelves.

I will post the pictures in three posts.
 

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HueyPilotVN

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Second set of pictures showing the storage area.
 

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HueyPilotVN

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last pictures showing all the stuff that was in there still fits and lastly my dirty garage that I will clean up tomorrow.
 

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HueyPilotVN

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Here are pictures of the master charge controller that can network and daisy chain up to six more controllers and the blue Sky battery bank monitor. I may use this mounting system if I cannot use tilt panels from Kevin.
 

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Kirk

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Full-time , Escapee
Just be careful of the weight that you add behind the rear axle as it can impact the handling of the RV on the highway.

I sure like your shop!
 

solarman

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Feb 8, 2018
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673
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Texas
I have been doing almost nothing for the last 7 months so I am going to get off my butt and start a new project,

I am going to put as large of a solar installation as I can on the Class C Chateau.

I am limited by usable roof space but I think I can put 8 (200 watt panels), on the roof for 1,600 watts. Unfortunately I will have to install 4 of them along the length and 4 of them across the width of the roof.

I wanted to get the remote tilt panels from Kevin Means but I think that the layout kind of works against tilting.
you can gain more wattage by stacking panels in a drawer style fashion on sliders like
THIS
I will use the same kind of Blue Sky charge controllers as I did before with a master controller and two networked additional linked controllers. I will also use the same type Blue Sky Monitor.
"controllers" ? 1600 W is easily done with just one controller..

The wiring will come down thru a shirt closet to the right of the bed and the Master charge controller, battery bank monitor and Invertor control panel will mount to the cabinet wall next to the bed.

Probably the most unusual aspect of this setup is the use of three 300 Amp Hour Lithium batteries for 900 Amp Hours.

One will fit where my two AGM batteries are now under the steps.

The other two and the Xantrax Invertor will be placed in the large rear storage area.
I saw a post here in the past where a fellow had built a double shelf in his rear storage area and it inspired me to do the same.

The first step in this project was to build the shelves for the batteries and Invertor, The shelves are 25.5 inches high, I have 27 inches clearance. It is 48 inches wide and 18 inches deep. The two Lithium batteries are each 20.5 inches long. I spent the last two late nights in the garage building the shelves. I built them in two sections that stack together. This makes it easier to fit them into and thru the storage doors. they also have brackets to anchor them to the wall and rachet straps to secure the equipment.

The circuit panel and fuses are located at the foot of the bed so it will be easy to run the cables thru the wall of the storage area directly under the bed to the panel.

So far the list of components is about $8,000 and I still have installation cost..
sounds high to me.. here is my estimate...
i priced 6x300 watt panels at 175ea, a single victron 150/45 at $360 a 50A buck converter for $100
and 4x200ah at 800ea. approx = $4710
this would be a 2S3P array for 1800 Watts and 9600W/hrs of battery.
and a 2000W inverter/charger/transfer unit at $1000 so approx 5710 total. excluding installation..

edit: forgot to add the solar combiner, disconnect and 3 drawer assemblies.. add another $420






Here are some pictures of the shelves.

I will post the pictures in three posts.
 
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HueyPilotVN

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Location
Lake Havasu City, AZ
Thanks for the suggestions and I welcome anymore ideas.

Kirk,

The batteries will be located about 3 feet in from the rear of the RV and fairly close to the rear axle. the weight of the two lithium batteries should be less than lead acid.

Thanks, I like my garage also especially when it is clean and cool enough to not need the rolling swamp cooler..

Solarman,

Those sliding drawers really help for having access to things but my plan is to have all the panels on the roof so that I do not have to do anything to them.

The panels that I am looking at are 8 Bouge 200 watt with a slightly smaller footprint at $259 each.

I will get a Victron comparable Blue Sky monitor.

I am using mostly the same components as I did on my Country Coach. My reason for using multiple charge controllers instead of one large controller is that I will basically have three distinct systems feeding into one large battery bank. Any problem like shading will only have an effect on that system.

The three 300 Amp Hour Lithium batteries are $1,099 each or $3,300. One of them will be located under the entry step where the two regular AGMs are now.

The 3000 watt Xantrax invertor/charger with a remote control panel is $2,285.

The above components plus cables, connectors, combiner box, fuses, and eight of the flat mount system in the picture above bring the total to $7924.90.

I above total is what it came to using Amazon.

I still would like to add Kevin Means tilting system if I can figure out a way to mount them so that they would all tilt the same way and not block some panels.

If Kevin or someone else did the installation I would be fine with ordering the components thru them.

I am not wanting to cut anyone out of the sale or save money, just looking at amazon for a single source.

I am not installing this system to save money. I could stay at $50 a night RV sites for 160 nights for the same cost.

I am doing this mostly because I like the satisfaction of doing projects and not having to compromise on the cost or complexity of the system and like having the assurance of always having electricity when boon docking or in an emergency..

Also it keeps me out of the Bars...LOL
 
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HueyPilotVN

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Lake Havasu City, AZ
I just had a long phone conversation with Lou, who has lots of experience and gave me several great suggestions.

We talked about using the Slides like Solarman mentioned to double stack the panels that run along the edge of the roof. They would extend out over the roof like a small awning using actuators.

I liked the idea but I would have to build flat box like housings, (like the shelf in the first picture above but not as high), for the panels to retract into with another set of panels above the housings. I am concerned about the weight at that high center of gravity.

I also got some good advice on installing a sub panel for the A/C circuits that will be fed by the Invertor.

Again, if anyone wants to make any suggestions, please do.
 
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solarman

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673
Location
Texas
I just had a long phone conversation with Lou, who has lots of experience and gave me several great suggestions.

We talked about using the Slides like Solarman mentioned to double stack the panels that run along the edge of the roof. They would extend out over the roof like a small awning using actuators.

I liked the idea but I would have to build flat box like housings, (like the shelf in the first picture above but not as high), for the panels to retract into with another set of panels above the housings. I am concerned about the weight at that high center of gravity.
you don't have to fully enclose them, an "L" shaped bracket at each corner of the panel will suffice, I would suggest 1/8 inch 6061 aluminum, perhaps 8 inches long, with a 3 inch flange on the rv roof and riser of 6 inches. those slides will provide ridgity in one plane, the panels screwed to the flanges will provide ridgity in the other plane. i would also suggest they are mounted on opposite sides of the rv and attatch an additional cross plate/bar to tie the two inner supports together. that should offset the additional stress when fully extended.. i'll have to draw something to demonstrate this.. automation could be with a linear actuator, you'll need a long one though..

one thing to be aware of is the panel construction, they have what I would consider "weak" corners.. they are not intended to free float on rails, the corners can be re-enforced with a smal triangular plate bolted through the bottom flange. I have done this and it makes a big difference.


I also got some good advice on installing a sub panel for the A/C circuits that will be fed by the Invertor.

Again, if anyone wants to make any suggestions, please do.
I'm not sure that would be required, why not just connect the inverter via a transfer switch to the existing panel ?
 

HueyPilotVN

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Lake Havasu City, AZ
I am not totally sure, but I think I have come to my senses and realize that this project might not be the best thing to do.

With installation this configuration will probably exceed $10,000 or more. That is a quite sum to keep the reefer running full time especially since it can also run on propane.

The other factor is that for that amount of money I could spend a couple of hundred nights with full hookups at RV parks or buy enough fuel to travel about 15,000 miles, ($10,000 divided by $5 a gallon is 2,000 gallons times 7.5 MPG equals 15,000 miles of travel.

Another factor is that I have used the RV four times in the last 18 months and not once was boon docking.
Actually Quartzsite is my primary reason for boon docking.

Renae suggested That we go on a cruise. Maybe she has a better idea.
 

UTTransplant

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Cedar Falls, IA
Generators are perfectly appropriate for occasional use when boondocking. Solar and lithium batteries only make sense if you do a LOT of boondocking and can do the installation yourself. Sounds like you made a wise choice. We won’t mind you using the gennie at Q!
 

Ex-Calif

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The other factor is that for that amount of money I could spend a couple of hundred nights with full hookups at RV parks or buy enough fuel to travel about 15,000 miles, ($10,000 divided by $5 a gallon is 2,000 gallons times 7.5 MPG equals 15,000 miles of travel.

Another factor is that I have used the RV four times in the last 18 months and not once was boon docking.
Actually Quartzsite is my primary reason for boon docking.

I accept the fact that when I am boondocking, it's like camping and we are on serious power and water restrictions. That pretty much means no AC appliances.

I reckon if I need more than 800W of solar and 400a/h of battery, I may as well stay in a hotel - LOL...

I still, personally can't get my head wrapped around the price of Lithium batteries...
 

HueyPilotVN

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Update:

I guess I am an impulse buyer. I went ahead and purchased all the Solar stuff that was in my cart from Amazon. It was just under $9,000 but it will make a fun project.

6 (200 watt panels)
600 A/H of Lithium batteries
3 networked MPPT charge controllers
battery monitor
3000 watt Xantrex Invertor

It is way to hot for at least another month to even consider installing it. The different vendors equipment will be arriving over the next 10 days..

I did climb up on the roof yesterday early in the morning because it was relatively cool and mostly since Renae was sleeping and could not tell me not to climb on the roof.

I will hire someone to at least do the panels on the roof.
 

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Old_Crow

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Tom's Place, California
Update:

I guess I am an impulse buyer. I went ahead and purchased all the Solar stuff that was in my cart from Amazon. It was just under $9,000 but it will make a fun project.

6 (200 watt panels)
600 A/H of Lithium batteries
3 networked MPPT charge controllers
battery monitor
3000 watt Xantrex Invertor

It is way to hot for at least another month to even consider installing it. The different vendors equipment will be arriving over the next 10 days..

I did climb up on the roof yesterday early in the morning because it was relatively cool and mostly since Renae was sleeping and could not tell me not to climb on the roof.

I will hire someone to at least do the panels on the roof.

Bill, at least there's a practical application to your impulse purchase...I bought a motorcycle. :cool:
 

HueyPilotVN

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If I bought a motorcycle I would probably fall off and kill myself.

At least this project will be fun if not practical.

The panels arrived today. They delivered them to the front door and never did ring the doorbell.
 

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Old_Crow

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If I bought a motorcycle I would probably fall off and kill myself.

At least this project will be fun if not practical.

The panels arrived today. They delivered them to the front door and never did ring the doorbell.

It's been 4 or 5 years since I've ridden, so I plan to start off slow for a while. A big plus is this bike is about half the weight of the last couple of bikes I owned.
Barring unforeseen circumstances, I expect to have fun with my purchase too.
I suspect I'll ride the bike more than I drive the Jeep. For most of my life the pattern has been that I ride my bikes more than I drive my cars, I figure that'll probably resume.
 

HueyPilotVN

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Some of the equipment has arrived so I thought I would start some of the prep work.

I am using a flat mounting system because the panels are to close to use a tilting system. If I could have mounted them farther apart I wanted to use Keven Means remote tilting system.

This mounting system uses corner and center mounts to lift the panels off the roof and also offers lots of contact surface with the roof.

I am using the belt and suspenders approach by using Sikaflex 252 adhesive and stainless steel screws with Dicor sealant.

I spent a few hours putting all the mounts on the panels and covering the panels to prevent them from generating power until they are connected.

I did all the work in the garage with the portable swamp cooler going to cool off.

Here are some pictures of this step.
 

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HueyPilotVN

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Today was not as hot as it has been, so I did some prep work on the Solar installation.

I removed the shelves from the rear storage area of the RV.

I then did a mock up of how the batteries, Inverter/Charger, and the 150 amp fuse fit into the shelves.

I also added some computer fans on the end to blow air across the batteries and Inverter

I made up the 12 volt cables with 2/0 welding wire/ battery cables. I need some more 2/0 lugs. Ordered them.

Lou Schneider suggested that I insert a 30 amp breaker box in the line from the transfer switch to the Inverter 120 volt pass thru input. So i ordered that along with several small items. My give away box is going to be full of extra things.

I am going to feed the entire 30 amp power center with the pass thru from the Inverter.

I should be able to use the A/C at least briefly. The new SW series from Xantrax has a new feature that will auto start the generator if the load needs to be augmented.

The Xantrax is a 3000 watt unit with 150 amps of charging for the batteries. It can be configured for Lithium batteries and I will disconnect the charger function in the factory converter.

I am going to disconnect the 2 AGM batteries from under the steps, I might add a fourth LIthium if I need it. There is room for it there. I wanted to not mix types of batteries.

I am using angle brackets to secure the batteries and prevent them from moving. The front brackets are easily removed . They have bolts coming up from the bottom and removing the nuts lets me remove the bolts and bracket. The bolts also lock the two shelves together.


Here are some pictures
 

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