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Old 07-03-2016, 06:51 PM   #1
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How did you attach your solar panels?

Getting a solar setup soon with six 4'x6' 245w solar panels. Trying to figure out how to attach them to the roof. If you have solar panels, what did you do?
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Old 07-03-2016, 10:12 PM   #2
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Wow that's a good soze solar system you're headed for.

The Renogy have brackets with self tapping bolts, so i put down rtv sealant under, over, and inbetween, and on the threads, and hlbolted 'em right to the roof.
Been through a few heavy rain storms and so far so good.

Excited to see a pic of your roof when they are on, again wow that's going to be some solar power there.



ps if you are near VA i know where to get Trojan batts for a superb price.
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Old 07-04-2016, 12:37 AM   #3
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I bolted two pieces of unistrut lengthwise on the roof attached at the roof ribs. Then bolted aluminum cross pieces onto that. Each set of three panels sits in a separate frame that lays on the cross pieces.

Bill
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Old 07-04-2016, 12:38 AM   #4
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Self tapping screws with plenty of sealant was my route. I'd do it again.
I have some pipe coming up for the wires and sealed that. Some people mount a box or go through the original bus vent in the far front.
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Old 07-04-2016, 01:41 AM   #5
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I first made a walkway from 6061 angle and 12"-wide diamond-plate between my two roof hatches that is about 5" above the roof, attached through every roof rib with 3/8" stainless bolts from underneath. To this walkway are hinged the eight panels' support fames that are made from 6063 angle, so they lay down against the roof at about 21 degrees down when stowed for travel. I can raise each panel to horizontal, 21 degrees up (for summer insolation), 33 degrees up (for spring/fall), or 45 degrees up (for winter), by means of stainless telescoping pivoting hinged struts that slide in hinged aluminum T-track. Each side of four 255W panels feeds into a combiner box with individual 12A fuses for each panel, then each side's combined parallel outputs are fed by 4ga welding cables through the roof ribs down to the breakers and Morningstar TS-MPPT-60 charge controllers. It was a lot of work to make it this way, but I wanted it to never fail or cause problems. Each panel is secured inside its support frame by four SS bolts, so a panel could be easily replaced if needed. I also put two water quick-connect outlets under the walkway so I can plug in a washdown brush to easily and safely clean the panels without needing to drag a hose or carry buckets up to the roof. There's still space for two solar water-heating panels that I'll make for the rearmost 7 feet of space, and they'll be hinged just like the PV panels. My intention is to be as self-sufficient for power and hot water as possible when boondocking, without needing to ever run the generator except in dire emergencies: with just over 2kW of PV power and 220 gallons of water I should be good for several weeks off-grid.

I have in effect two entirely separate independent PV systems running in parallel: eight panels in two rows of four, each row feeding its own CC that charges its own bank of (eventually) four golfcart or L-16 batteries, then the two battery banks' outputs run through two Schottky 250A diodes to prevent one bank from back-feeding the other before they are combined to the DC load center and inverters. This gives me complete redundancy - if something critical failed, I would still have at least 50% of my power still available, plus I can replace just one bank of batteries at a time instead of having to buy all eight together.

If you want to see what the support frames and walkway looked like before I put the panels into them, here's a short video of my bus (it's the third) at last year's Buses Gone Wild get-together for us Crownaholics: Crank up the speakers to hear my 6V92, and my friend Al's fruity-sounding 6L71 behind me - he took off his muffler just so he could enjoy its sound better! The last bus is one of two Crowns built for Hewlett-Packard, and it has a 14-liter 375HP Cummins Big Cam - it moves!

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Old 07-05-2016, 11:09 AM   #6
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Ughhh...we came so close to obtaining a Supercoach II last year, but a middle man/price gouger kept it out of our reach. I found out last month that the bus company ended up scrapping them because they couldn't get a buyer. Then not only that, the scrapper didn't end up paying, so they essentially gave them away! Two supercoaches with Cummins in them.

They have two Detroit Supercoach II's remaining, but they have waivers to run them until this time next year. I would LOVE to grab one. We ended up getting a Thomas that has somewhat of a "west coast" setup making it very similar in design to the supercoach (low sides, belly storage, quad headlights, etc), and it has a CAT. Still doesn't quite have that uber clean look of the supercoach II though, but close.

I came here for the solar though. You should really do a nice vid/diagram for the benefit of the skoolie clan here. Even some closer pics to see how you did your adjustable mounts, etc. would be cool.
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Old 07-05-2016, 03:50 PM   #7
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self-tapping screws, with hinges in the center to soak up winter sun

very happy so far

Adjustable Solar thread

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Old 07-05-2016, 08:31 PM   #8
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dred, is that you in the video? I like that setup. I was initially thinking of putting brackets on the ends that lift them up so I could tilt them either direction, but I like the simplicity of the style in the video. did you make a frame around the panels themselves, or do they come that way?

i found an excellent deal on Craigslist. A solar setup company procured a few pallets worth of used 245 watt panels and are selling them for $50 each! If anyone is near San Jose you should check it out. They'll also ship, although shipping would be more than the panels!
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Old 07-05-2016, 10:29 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by onenationundergoat View Post
dred, is that you in the video?

YES

I like that setup. I was initially thinking of putting brackets on the ends that lift them up so I could tilt them either direction, but I like the simplicity of the style in the video. did you make a frame around the panels themselves, or do they come that way?

Came that way


i found an excellent deal on Craigslist. A solar setup company procured a few pallets worth of used 245 watt panels and are selling them for $50 each! If anyone is near San Jose you should check it out. They'll also ship, although shipping would be more than the panels!
you should get those panels 20 cents/ watt is crazy
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Old 07-06-2016, 06:46 AM   #10
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i have a similar setup on my house. on my bus i plan on using hinges on both sides with removable pins so i can tilt the panels both directions. good luck with your repairs.
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Old 07-06-2016, 03:09 PM   #11
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you should get those panels 20 cents/ watt is crazy

Ain't that the TRUTH! I'd take six if they were nearby.
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Old 07-06-2016, 04:13 PM   #12
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Heck...I'll give you a hundred bucks for one and pay the shipping if they are in good shape. Any idea who made them?
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Old 07-06-2016, 04:51 PM   #13
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245W Mobil Solar Panels Only $50 Made in USA Used

Made in USA, Mobil Solar Panels

Hey if folks on here want some the company does ship. Just don't buy em all before I get mine! Haha I'm hoping to go down this or next week. They seem to have a few pallets full of them at least.
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Old 07-18-2016, 06:52 PM   #14
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ps if you are near VA i know where to get Trojan batts for a superb price.
I'd like more info about this, actually. We were planning to buy three large deep cycle batteries like the one we have for about $100-120 each.
I know Trojan is a good brand. Aren't they AGM? What are the advantages for the price difference?
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Old 07-18-2016, 06:58 PM   #15
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My friend is going down there in his truck Wednesday or Thursday to pick them up! We're going to get however many will fit on our roof, so I have to get up there and measure. It's gonna be between 6 and 8 panels.
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Old 07-20-2016, 07:50 PM   #16
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Measured and we could fit 7 but went with 6 so it was a nice even number and we'd have space to work. Got one 30A charge controller.

My mind does not compute electrical math. I know the theory (in theory) but can't ever get it straight in my head. Can y'all tell me: do I need to wire them series or parallel? I'm trying to get a 12 v system and will be adding additional batteries later. Currently have one Group 29hm deep cycle battery.
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Old 07-22-2016, 11:33 PM   #17
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Do you have your bus in the Sacramento area right now? I was driving on I-5 southbound the other day through Sacramento and thought I saw my bus driving northbound but then realized it was a lighter green on the bottom of the bus. Either way, it was a nice lookin skoolie.
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Old 07-23-2016, 01:16 AM   #18
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Probably not us, as we have been parked for over a month now at this campsite on top of a mountain, 2 hours from civilization. Haha.
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Old 07-23-2016, 02:51 AM   #19
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Probably not us, as we have been parked for over a month now at this campsite on top of a mountain, 2 hours from civilization. Haha.

I am jealous!
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Old 07-31-2016, 07:46 PM   #20
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Ok, I got the panels up the mountain without cracking them. =] Haven't got a multimeter to test them and don't know for sure how to hook them up yet, so I'm just praying that they actually work. I'm going to start a new thread asking for wiring help. I posted one over on the Arizona Wind and Solar forum as well.
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