Thursday, June 12, 2014

How to install a full size 250 watt solar panel

        This is my 2nd post on this subject because to be honest my first plan was not 100% perfect. For those that follow me,  I originally installed all my panels with 3 M  -VHB tape, while this is not a bad plan if one does not want to drill holes into the roof, I got a little carried away while on the highway and accidentally exceeded the max 55 MPH limit. I wanna leave it at that, because I have heard stories where LEO will want to sent you a  $500 ticket in the mail for having been an admitted LAW BREAKER ! on FB.

        For those that love drilling holes into your roof I offer the following advice, if one drop of water gets into to your charge controller or your inverter following your wire, your equipment is smoked.

One more note on RV or trailer solar panels, most are sold for these guys at 20-100 watt panels that put out 15-18 Volts DC maybe, it becomes very hard to charge your battery when the voltage is so low. Because that what you get at high noon, not 8 am in the morning. Some of these suckers are paying $4 to $8 per watt on these mini panels. The larger panels have 30+ volts DC and I would always recommend a MPPT charge controller, panels sell now for $1 per watt but truck shipping is expensive. If you buy 1 or 20 panels Trucking costs are the same. Look for good quality solar panels vs cheapest price. If your gonna get good stuff figure on $5 per watt for everything, CC , inverter & good battery. If you buy cheap crap you will only have enough solar power to charge your iphone. If you use a generator it will cost at least $1 for every kw of power  vs .15 cents for the utility company - not including the cost of the generator. If you wanna start small buy some good L16 flooded batteries & a good charger and offer to someone a buck or two to let him charge your battery during the day off his generator to cover his gas.

After scratching my head for some time as to why my beloved solar panels decided to fly back home to China, I came up with this new rack, because basically I hate these contractor roof racks that stick up 8" above your trailer. This one is not as bad as others but still not to my liking.

I really hate these 

Here my 5 racks easily fit into my dirty PU

Below is one rack in the driveway

Rack installed on the front of the trailer

Side view

More side views

More side views

I have decided to leave the old panels in place & make some new brackets
 from .065 Diamond plate approx. 4" x 16" with a 90 deg bend and curve. 
These will then be taped with VHB to the roof and also screwed into the side channel. 
This will allow some flex while at the same time giving me 400% more secure panels - 
so those little suckers don't fly back to china anymore.

Here are the 12 new brackets, they still need a little work 
before being installed early next week when the VHB take gets here


  1. Hey bud, don't know if you ever check your blog anymore, but I finally got free from Illinois in my STEALTH cargo/camper this past August, and am now totally off grid in the deserts of SW Arizona....power is from 400 watts solar, going into a 40 amp BlueSky MPPT controller to 2 Windy Nation 12 volt/ 100 amp hr. AGM batteries, and a Power Bright 2300/4600 watt inverter....all is good!

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