Jim Gell Posted September 7, 2015 Report Share Posted September 7, 2015 I have been VERY slow finishing a solar install that I started at the January 2015 Solar Rally in Mayo, Florida. With a lot of help, I left the rally with an inverter installed so we could run our residential fridge from a pair of golf cart batteries. I recently installed a 9kwh Balqon lithium battery. Our amortized cost should beat other options and it weighs much less than lead. I removed a couple drawers and a laundry hamper and put the battery in the bedroom behind the cabinet fronts. I felt we needed storage space in the basement more than we did in the bedroom and the battery will be less prone to temperature extremes. Since the battery is located almost directly over the inverter, the cable run will not be much longer than had I put it in the basement. Battery Install Photos The roof on our 5th wheel proved to be a challenge to find unshaded space for the 1000+ watts of panels we wanted. I removed an old satellite dish, OTA TV antennae, awning wind sensor, and put the panels on the front trailer. I had just enough length from front edge of trailer to a fantastic fan cover (that I was not going to move!) to put two 64.5 inch panels end to end. But having the panels this close to the leading edge of trailer posed a risk of limbs or wires catching under the panels and ripping them off the roof. The photos show how I used aluminum diamond plate to resolve that issue. With all the hardware I designed for that, it seemed a shame not to use the same 3/16 6061 aluminum to attach the panels. My design allows the panels to tilt up to 45 degrees parallel to trailer in either direction, IF I ever want to. It will certainly make easier to get under the panels for caulking seams or any other reason. I used early morning condensation lines on the roof to locate the rafters, then confirmed with an electronic stud finder. I used 3M 5200 marine adhesive to glue the mounts to our fiberglass roof. I also bolted them to the rafters. I used a course sandpaper to prep the aluminum and fiberglass for the glue. I also scratched the aluminum with the edge of a putty knife. The I dinged it repeatedly with the corner of the blade to make what I think was better for glue adhesion. Everything was cleaned with acetone and masked before gluing and screwing. The roof under the panels has two pitch changes lengthwise and was crowned in the center. The radius at the front of the trailer also had it's own 3 dimensional effects. All this caused a lot of adjustments to get everything to line up. I ended up using a few shims and cutting the front diamond plate in half and inserting a keystone shaped plate with a little vertical crease in it to make it fit right and look finished. Solar Panel Install Photos Most of the work I have done so far has been grunt work, the critical wiring is about to begin and I am pretty nervous about having it right before energizing it. I have yet to wire up my solar controller and swap the cables from the 6 volt golf cart batteries to the lithium battery. At this point, I may just wait until we get to the HDT Rally next month and I can try ask Jack to look at my work first . Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.