Journey with Confidence RV GPS App RV Trip Planner RV LIFE Campground Reviews RV Maintenance Take a Speed Test Free 7 Day Trial ×


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 06-19-2024, 11:09 AM   #1
New Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2022
Location: Marietta, Georgia
Posts: 9
Year: 2008
Chassis: International 40' FE FN
Engine: dt466E
Max Solar layout

I have a feeling this is going to bring out the worst in people but shooting for the best.

i have an International 40 FN bus. i would like to but as much solar on top as possible but would also like to have a deck on roof at rear. Thinking my deck would be 10' to 12' which leaves about 28' of bus.

with solar panels, what size watts have been found that give the most watts per dimension size. Looking, i see 100watt to 540 watts. What size panel watts are people liking to maximize the space. was hoping around 2500 to 3000 watts or more if i can get.

Thanks.

Fahntastic Life is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-19-2024, 12:54 PM   #2
Bus Nut
 
fo4imtippin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2021
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Posts: 810
Year: 2003
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: TC2000 28ft
Engine: Cummins ISB 5.9 24v, MD3060
Rated Cap: 14
I just ordered panels for my bus. I have a 28ft bus and it will take me 25ft down the left and right side of the bus. I'll have 3000watts on the roof.


The most efficient use of space would be two rails about 4 feet apart on the roof from front to back. You'll have to leave a space anywhere you have a fan or air conditioner.



Then find the biggest commercial panels you can find 89"x44" usually these are around 525w or so. Don't be too picky on total wattage, but the wider you go, the more watts you will be able to fitt. Most of the panels made by a reputable manufacturer are dense enough in watts. I would stay away from RV or vanlife panels as those require a ton of hardware to put a bunch up in the same amount of space. They are also pretty expensive per watt. A few good places to browse good deals.


Santansolar.com
Signaturesolar.com
Solarsoverign.com
Watts247.com
Currentconnected.com
A1solarstore.com


For mounting racks
Rexel.com
Cedgreentech
City electric supply.
fo4imtippin is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-19-2024, 02:35 PM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2024
Posts: 43
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Ward - Volunteer
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DT466, Allison MT643
Rated Cap: 8 Window
Ultimately max is a personal choice. Running rails to permit 8' width you could put 10 REC460AA-PURE-RX giving you 4600 watts. Overkill in my book but possible. Keeping it trim at 5'8 width you can still fit 7 for 3220 watts. You have lots of roof space and if you want something and can afford it have fun. You're building for you.
Miloshk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-19-2024, 05:55 PM   #4
Almost There
 
Join Date: Jan 2024
Location: Dover, DE
Posts: 70
Chassis: CE300 Conventional (PB105)
Engine: 2009 Maxxforce DT
Rated Cap: 72 (I think), 13 Window
Im putting 4.9kw on mine. Call me insane because I am.
AllisonWanderland is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-19-2024, 06:01 PM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2024
Posts: 43
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Ward - Volunteer
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DT466, Allison MT643
Rated Cap: 8 Window
Quote:
Originally Posted by AllisonWanderland View Post
Im putting 4.9kw on mine. Call me insane because I am.
Are you going all electric. No propane or diesel appliances? Just curious
Miloshk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2024, 11:01 AM   #6
Almost There
 
Join Date: Jan 2024
Location: Dover, DE
Posts: 70
Chassis: CE300 Conventional (PB105)
Engine: 2009 Maxxforce DT
Rated Cap: 72 (I think), 13 Window
Quote:
Originally Posted by Miloshk View Post
Are you going all electric. No propane or diesel appliances? Just curious
Even crazier, I will be mining Bitcoin while nomadic.

I will have propane system for heated water and stove. All else will be electric.

here are the panels I sourced and planned configuration.

Click image for larger version

Name:	Exterior - Solar - Config #1.jpg
Views:	13
Size:	121.1 KB
ID:	77990

Exterior - Solar - Config #1.pdf

https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update...80269915521024
AllisonWanderland is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2024, 11:52 AM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2024
Posts: 43
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Ward - Volunteer
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DT466, Allison MT643
Rated Cap: 8 Window
Quote:
Originally Posted by AllisonWanderland View Post
Even crazier, I will be mining Bitcoin while nomadic.
I love the idea! Have a blast. And yeah, between server and cooling power you need a lot.
Miloshk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2024, 01:37 PM   #8
Bus Crazy
 
HamSkoolie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2021
Location: Southern Oregon
Posts: 1,624
Year: 1996
Coachwork: AmTran (Now Navistar)
Engine: DT444E (7.3L) International
Rated Cap: 31,800 pounds
Our rig is a 40' RE and we were originally planning to have a deck on the roof including a fold down (for travel) 3 1/2' tall railing all around it.
After reading about all of the insurance issues people have and talking with our insurer, the deck is gone as well as the wood stove we also wanted. Our insurer and all the ones we checked on, DO NOT LIKE DECKS or wood stoves.
So we have more solar and just a maintenance walkway down the center of the bus between the two rows of panels. As a side benefit except were the remaining (we deleted one) roof hatch is, the entire roof will be shaded by panels and walkway with an airgap thus minimizing solar heating via the roof.
Just something to consider.... can you insure it.
__________________
YouTube: HAMSkoolie WEB: HAMSkoolie.com
We've done so much, for so long, with so little, we now do the impossible, overnight, with nothing. US Marines -- 6531, 3521. . . .Ret ASE brakes & elect. Ret (auto and aviation mech). Extra Class HAM, NAUI/PADI OpenWater diver
HamSkoolie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2024, 02:22 PM   #9
Bus Nut
 
Dbacks2k4's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2021
Location: Iowa City, IA
Posts: 658
Year: 2006
Chassis: IC CE300 (PB105)
Engine: DT466e @245hp | Allison 3000PTS
Rated Cap: 66
I made an excel sheet that I would look at to evaluate solar panels. I'd input the dimensions, max watts, and cost to get a watts/sqft as well as $/watt figure that I could use to decide which ones I wanted to buy.

My goal was to go with narrower panels and not have a lot of panel overhang off the sides of the bus (I'm not doing any type of deck).
__________________
TSLABUS Build thread:
https://www.skoolie.net/forums/f11/j...ert-38328.html
TSLABUS YouTube Channel:
https://youtube.com/@thetslabus
Dbacks2k4 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2024, 04:59 PM   #10
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Orange County, CA
Posts: 1,386
Year: 1990
Coachwork: Crown, integral. (With 2kW of tiltable solar)
Chassis: Crown Supercoach II (rear engine)
Engine: Detroit 6V92TAC, DDEC 2, Jake brake, Allison HT740
Rated Cap: 37,400 lbs GVWR
Unless you live near the Equator*, it may be better to consider how much power your array can produce in winter when the sun is low and days are shorter (OK, the hours of sunlight are fewer). Merely carpeting the whole darn roof with a flat array works OK-ish in the summer, but will do tiddly-squat in the winter, especially at higher latitudes*. Think instead about how to maximize solar harvest on a typical winter day with weak sunlight for only a few hours, if you're lucky. A smaller number of panels that can be tilted to face the sun better than if they were all flat will then produce more amp-hours than a larger flat array. Also, how the heck are people going to wash down the panels when (not if) they get dirty and covered in dust/grime/leaves/birdpoop/etc? If the panels are angled, rain will nicely wash them for you without pooling dirty water on them. Or do what I did: under my roof's central walkway I have two quick-connect water outlets so I can easily get up onto the roof without dragging hoses or heavy buckets of water up there with me, then with a small washdown brush I can easily and safely wash the panels without the dirty water sluicing over me. Yeah!

More isn't always better.

Here's a short vid of several of us driving out to terrorize the locals on one of our Crown bus annual get-togethers a few years ago: my bus is the third, clearly showing the eight panels' support frames that are hinged to the central walkway, but before I had mounted the actual panels into them. This way, if a panel breaks or needs to be replaced, it's just a simple ten-minute job to replace it. Each panel sits against the roof at 21 degrees down, or can be raised to 21, 33 or 45 degrees up, not quite as good as fully tilting all the panels (impossible on a bus) but way better than flat.


John

* Flat Earthers will just have to imagine what the Equator is and why latitude relates to solar harvest...
Iceni John is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2024, 05:26 PM   #11
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2024
Posts: 43
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Ward - Volunteer
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DT466, Allison MT643
Rated Cap: 8 Window
Thanks Iceni John,
I have considered tilting. I have lived off grid for 17 years and tilt control is king. My hang up is stability and operability. Could you share some photos of the details of your tilt build?
Miloshk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2024, 06:27 PM   #12
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Orange County, CA
Posts: 1,386
Year: 1990
Coachwork: Crown, integral. (With 2kW of tiltable solar)
Chassis: Crown Supercoach II (rear engine)
Engine: Detroit 6V92TAC, DDEC 2, Jake brake, Allison HT740
Rated Cap: 37,400 lbs GVWR
Quote:
Originally Posted by Miloshk View Post
Thanks Iceni John,
I have considered tilting. I have lived off grid for 17 years and tilt control is king. My hang up is stability and operability. Could you share some photos of the details of your tilt build?
Sorry, I don't have any: I'm photographically challenged!

The central walkway runs between the two roof hatches, and is made from 6061 and 6063 aluminum through-bolted to each roof rib with 3/8" stainless socket-head bolts from underneath and NyLok nuts. I like to think I could lift the bus by the central walkway, but I haven't tried doing that, yet... Each panel is raised by hand using a very high-tech support pole thingy that engages onto the drip rail to hold it up while I extend its two telescoping stainless struts to keep it in position. Each strut slides, hinges and pivots, eliminating any and all non-compressive loads, and each panel is positively locked down against the roof for travel. There's no wind noise at all at freeway speeds, and there's plenty of airgap under the panels for good ventilation to minimize thermal derating in the summer. Each panel is secured into its support frame with four 5/16" SS bolts, and the support frames isolate any stresses from the panels' own frames to eliminate glass breakage cause by twisting or bending forces. All hardware is marine-grade stainless steel, and nothing will ever need to be painted. Beneath the walkway are alternating cross struts to eliminate any lateral or longitudinal movement whatsoever, and the diamond-plate tread surface has two hinged covers that reveal the wash-down water quick-connects; two sections of diamond-plate can be easily removed to access the panels' combiner boxes, and there are also hot and cold water lines for two eventual solar water heating panels that I'll install in the last few feet before the rear roof hatch.

Yes, it was a lot of work to do it this way, but I feel it was worthwhile. In SoCal summers I produce more power than I need without raising the panels, but in the winter I just need to park pointing due east or due west, then the opposite-side panels to the sun will be raised to catch every one of those little photons.

Because there are times when each side of panels is producing slightly different power than the other side, I've split them into two entirely separate arrays to avoid confusing the MPPT charge controllers. Each array of four panels is connected in parallel to minimize power loss if one panel is shaded, and each combined output feeds its own charge controller that in turn charges its own bank of four GC2 batteries in series and parallel. Each battery bank sends its power through a 250A Schottky diode to prevent backfeeding the other bank, then the two outputs are combined at the main DC busbar that supplies the inverters downstairs and the DC breaker panel upstairs that supplies seven DC circuits throughout the bus (the matching AC panel supplies six AC circuits). This way I have complete redundancy: if one battery bank or one charge controller or one solar array goes tits-up, I will always have at least 50% of my power still available. And for emergencies I have a 3500W generator that I converted to propane, but I hope to need it only very rarely. All switches, circuit breakers, CB panels and cables/wiring are marine-grade for long-term reliability.

A few days ago I did a load of laundry in my washer/dryer just to check that it worked OK, and the charge controllers easily powered it entirely from the solar panels without needing to take any power from the batteries that remained at 100% charge the whole time. I also have a 12K minisplit A/C that will similarly run without drawing from the batteries during the daytime. Yeah! After spending countless thousands of hours working on my conversion for the last fifteen years, it's a good feeling to see the results of my labour.

John
Iceni John is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-26-2024, 06:11 PM   #13
New Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2020
Posts: 5
I have a Thomas C2 safety liner with approx 21' of roof rack space. I'll post a pic or two so you can see the layout. Very tight and little room wasted. The two front panels are 310 watts and the rear are 200's.
Neil Skookie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-26-2024, 06:12 PM   #14
New Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2020
Posts: 5
Roof rack rendering

/Users/neillauzon/Desktop/Misc Bus Info/Roof Rack Render.jpeg
Neil Skookie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-26-2024, 06:19 PM   #15
New Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2020
Posts: 5
/Users/neillauzon/Desktop/Misc Bus Info/IMG_2234.heic
Neil Skookie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-26-2024, 09:51 PM   #16
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Jun 2021
Location: Baja often, Oregon frequently
Posts: 437
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Our hot little grubbies...
Chassis: Ford CF8000 ExpeditionVehicle
Engine: Cummins 505ci mechanical
Rated Cap: Five Heelers
Eugene, Oregon.
If you are around our neck of the woods, my neighbor just purchased MAC'S BATTERIES, and
expanded it to MAC'S BATTERIES AND SOLAR.
.
They have hundreds of photovoltaic panels, stacked to the ceiling of their warehouse.
They would quickly establish your potential and max.
https://macsbatteries.com
.
An aside:
We took our specs to them to build our bank.
In three days, they built our 24v system...
... equivalent to sixteen BattleBorn, but for just us$2,600 in a beautiful custom cabinet.
LargeMargeInBaja is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-27-2024, 09:32 AM   #17
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 258
Iíve always thought Iíd hang solar panels on the side of my vehicle. Hinged at the top so when parked I would swing them up and have an awning over my biggest window and save space on the roof.
Mekanic is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-10-2024, 11:51 AM   #18
New Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2023
Location: Michigan
Posts: 8
Year: 2002
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: A3RE
Engine: 8.3L Cummins ISC
Rated Cap: 78
Working around obstacles

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dbacks2k4 View Post
I made an excel sheet that I would look at to evaluate solar panels. I'd input the dimensions, max watts, and cost to get a watts/sqft as well as $/watt figure that I could use to decide which ones I wanted to buy.

My goal was to go with narrower panels and not have a lot of panel overhang off the sides of the bus (I'm not doing any type of deck).
(sorry, I'm a little late to posting)
I also made a spreadsheet for choosing.

Other things to consider (I was just working on this last night):
  • A PV cell is the same size(ish) and all panels are simply fun ways to combine the cell.
  • If going for the max possible, coverage is most important, since all cells are ~20% efficient.
  • Working around obstacles on the roof is the biggest challenge, as you can't subdivide whatever panel you choose.
  • High power panels (72/144) have more cells, so they are bigger, making them less flexible. Seems like 90''x45'' is a good average. NOTE: that makes them a square if 2 are placed next to each other. And almost as wide as the bus (my bus is 94-1/2''.
  • The high power ones don't have any real tricks, you lay them across the bus, and skip places where things are in the way... like hatches. There may be some wasted space.
  • Residential panels (60/120) are more like 68''x45'', which makes them slightly more flexible for working around things.

My example:
I had 375'' to work with, with a hatch at a fixed location.

Option 1:
72/144 panels straight across allowed for 6 panels, left 27'' at one end, and covered 169 sq ft.
Assuming 550W, that's nominally 3,300W installed

Option 2:
60/120 panels in combination of parallel and perpendicular to the bus allowed for 8 panels, left 3.5'' at one end, and covered 170 sq ft.
This allowed for more of the space to be shifted to a center walkway for cleaning/etc. I also already have this size panel.
If I were to upgrade to a 425W panel of the same size, that would be 3,400W installed.

Similar area coverage, similar total power. More flexible, preferred layout.

Hope you already bought and installed your panels!
fishe160 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-13-2024, 11:00 AM   #19
Mini-Skoolie
 
Gyrkin's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Northern Wyoming
Posts: 57
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Thomas
Rated Cap: 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Iceni John View Post
but in the winter I just need to park pointing due east or due west,
I made the panels on my first bus in a way that they could be tilted up. The problem is having to park orientated a certain way was a real hassle. I ended up leaving them flat most of the time because parking the right direction was not convenient in so many places. On my current bus I didn't bother making them tilt. If it works well for you that's great. It did not for me.
Gyrkin is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:18 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2024, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.