1575 watts of solar too much? - Dutchmen Owners

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Old 06-26-2018, 07:57 PM   #1
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1575 watts of solar too much?

Wasn't looking for panels but just happened on some, 5 to be exact for $.21 per watt. Now have to figure out how and where to put them.

Any reason why I (or you) wouldn't install all 5 panels? I have the real estate and weight on my 3990 is no issue.

I'm a DIY kinda guy so love to tinker.

Have a single LifeBlue lithium however, it is the new one 200ah and same discharge.

Initially the plan was to build out in phases and add another same battery by years end to give me 320 max usable amp hours.

Have a full Magnum setup on order with 3k hybrid inverter, BMK, AGS, ARC 50 and expect it to be here by the weekend for installation next week or 2. No hurry, need to install everything first and theen order cabling.

We live in this thing full-time and plan on retirement at end of year and rolling out across this great country. Boss wants to operate as if connected as close to possible of course minus air conditioning.

Next decision which controller, Magnum, MidNite Solar, Victron etc?

(FYI the sat pic is of the panels installed on the Embassy Suites, these were left overs heading to trash can.)

Yeah, I got lucky for sure.




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Old 06-26-2018, 09:08 PM   #2
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Quite the deal. You and the Boss will be golden.
Rusty
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Old 06-27-2018, 10:49 AM   #3
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I have a Bogart Engineering Charge Controller and am happy with it.
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Old 06-28-2018, 04:05 AM   #4
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I have a similar setup to what you're planning. Magnum Hybrid 3K, AGS, BMK, and ARC50. I'm running 885 Watts of solar through a Morningstar TS-MPPT-60.

I primarily dry camp and in the summer there is no reason to run the generator except to run the air conditioner. The inverter is on 24 hours a day to power the DVR and we use plenty of AC for the microwave, convection oven, toaster and coffee pot. During the summer months I've finished the absorption phase by early afternoon worst-case scenario.

Winter is a bit different. I use the coach some weekends every month, but in cloudy conditions with the short days I have had to occasionally fire up the generator to bulk charge for an hour and then let the solar finish the absorb cycle. The Magnum 3K is capable of a 110 amp charge so the batteries bulk up quickly on the genset.

Winter for me provides the deepest overnight discharge. I have 440AH of AGMs installed and the lowest I've seen was down to 40% remaining. Running the heater fan, electric blanket, and more TV hours adds up. In the summer I rarely go below 75% remaining.

If I was in your situation and had the roof real estate I'd install all 1575 Watts of panels. I would have installed more on my rig if I had more space that would not have been shaded by an AC unit or vent cover. Since you have sufficient wattage I'd go with the Magnum PT-100 since it will use the same ARC-50 for a display and maintain the batteries at the same voltage whether you're using shore/generator or solar.

If you expect some panel shading (site selection or because of how they're installed) use parallel wiring back to the controller.

I took a look at the specs for the Lifeblue 200 and it looks like a single battery might be somewhat overloaded if you max out the load on the inverter. So no running the microwave while while simultaneously making toast and coffee. But after you get the second battery installed you'll be golden.

Let me know if you have other questions and I'll do my best to help out.
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Old 06-28-2018, 04:10 PM   #5
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Awesome wiresLV I will be reaching out to you for sure. I'm a newbie at this solar stuff so will take all the advice I can get. Others here have led me in this direction already.

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Old 07-04-2018, 08:50 PM   #6
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5 panels 1000 watts here. My 50 amp Princess likes her electric. Just no a/c.
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Old 07-05-2018, 01:20 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mauerrc View Post
5 panels 1000 watts here. My 50 amp Princess likes her electric. Just no a/c.
And what batteries for your system?
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Old 07-05-2018, 04:52 PM   #8
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Could only afford, x4 Lifeline, GPL-4CT, 6 volt, AHC 220, at the time.
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Old 08-21-2018, 11:08 PM   #9
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Now planning the install and need some feedback please. I can run them all down the driver's side making parking with less shadowing a non issue also leaving room for an add a pair on the passenger side if we see we need to add solar. Or, I can put them all on the back of the coach split 2X2 as in the pic with cardboard layout.

Additional question I'm pondering maybe you folks have the answer. How far from the edge can I mount these? They are 39 inches wide by 77 1/8 inches long. I show about 1 1/2" which seems about right for the custom brackets of structural aluminum angle 1 1/2" X 2". Does this look right?

FYI
The combiner box is planned to go between the antenna and the double vent caps.

Ideas? I'm all ears.Click image for larger version

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Old 08-24-2018, 03:11 PM   #10
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Mine run down both sides of the roof and are offset so there is no shading. I can also tilt n both directions. They are about one inch'ish off the edges.
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Old 09-05-2018, 02:11 AM   #11
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8 x 100w down both sides of the roof like:
XXXX
XXXX
2X Xantrex 30A Charge Controllers
Xantrex 2000W PSW Inverter
AC Subpanel
4X 12V deep cycle size 31 onboard
4 x 6v mobile w/Warn quick disconnect
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Old 09-28-2018, 10:30 AM   #12
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Now for an update. I got the inverter and a second battery all Magnum components are happy and playing nice with each other. I practiced boondocking for an overnight and a full day allowing the batteries to drop to 30% SOC and have the genny auto start per ARC-50 setting to full charge 100% SOC. It then shut down and everything is functional.

Now time to refocus on the solar install part. Getting excited and scared at the same time, I hope that's normal.

As a refresher I'm planning on installing 4 of the 5 panels for now, 2x2 series/parallel, down the starboard side front to back that way I can park with the sun advantage and minimal shading. I'm planning on phasing this as a 3 phase install as follows:

Phase 1-Order aluminum mounting angle from onlinemetals.com; order and install combiner box, bus bars, 10 AWG wire from panels to combiner, hardware and 4 AWG wiring for roof to basement

Phase 2-Cut, drill and mount new hardware to panels and mount panels on roof and connect to combiner box on roof

Phase 3-Purchase and install Magnum PT100, setup and test system

5 Questions left unanswered and need advice from the experts here:

1-what's the best (less expensive is nice) combiner box for my needs? Amsolar @ $80 seems high! DIY?

2-which bus bars for combiner box?

3-do I need fuses for each leg in combiner box?

4-which disconnect/fuse for 75VDC between CB and PT100?

5-best choice for fuse from PT100 to bus bar?

Thanks for all the help so far, almost there folks. Any advice or suggestions are much appreciated!

Chris
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Old 09-28-2018, 08:05 PM   #13
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Chris,

For mounting the panels I used Unistrut slotted rail channel (available at your local home improvement store in the electrical dept.). I cut it into 4” sections and put a ¼” Unistrut nut in the middle of each. I attached the Unistrut piece to the roof using two lag bolts. I put butyl tape under it before bolting it down, then used a liberal amount of dicor sealant all around inside it to guarantee no leaks. After that I used standard ‘Z’ clamps to attach the panel to the Unistrut with a square Unistrut nut in between the Z-clamp and strut so that it had a nice flat surface to bolt through. The nice thing about this setup is that I can remove a panel if needed by just unbolting the Z clamps from the strut nut without disturbing the sealed roof mount/penetration.

Instead of a combiner box I used a waterproof MC4 inline fuse to protect each panel. My three are in parallel so three fuses, you’d need two for your planned setup. Then I ran each panel to a standard 6x6 plastic electrical box using waterproof gland connectors for the cable, and standard “split bolt” connectors to connect all of the positives together and negatives together. Through the back of the box I made a roof penetration and ran #2 welding cable down to the controller.

Adjacent to the controller I mounted a Midnite Baby Box. I houses an 80A breaker for between the controller and battery and a 50A breaker between the controller and panels. I purchased the panel and DC breakers from AZ Wind and Sun. You have to disconnect the panels from the controller before disconnecting the batteries for storage so you’ll want to have an accessible place to do it (which is why I went with this route).

I also used #2 between the battery and controller which was overkill, but I had some left over.

All interior wiring including the drop down the wall from the panels is in split-loom to protect the cables. I picked it up from Amazon, I think it was the 1” size to contain 2-#2s.

To determine the fuse rating for your panels multiply the circuit Amp rating by 1.25 as the minimum, then round up to the next standard size. If you have two panels in series the Amp rating is the same as a single panel. If you have two panels in parallel the Amp rating is double the rating of a single panel. For in between the controller and batteries you need to multiple the output Amp rating of the controller by 1.2 as the minimum then round up to a standard size.

Have fun with your project!
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Old 09-28-2018, 09:11 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CSCLARK View Post
Now planning the install and need some feedback please. I can run them all down the driver's side making parking with less shadowing a non issue also leaving room for an add a pair on the passenger side if we see we need to add solar. Or, I can put them all on the back of the coach split 2X2 as in the pic with cardboard layout.
ner box is planned to go between the antenna and the double vent caps.

Ideas? I'm all ears.
I don't pretend to know anything about solar system technology but I suppose I would run them all on one side so I can walk on the other side to do roof maintenance stuff.
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Old 10-06-2018, 12:05 PM   #15
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Panels installed. On to Phase 2, planning and saving for the wiring now.Click image for larger version

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Old 10-06-2018, 01:44 PM   #16
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Panels installed. On to Phase 2, planning and saving for the wiring now.Attachment 5077Attachment 5078
Looks GREAT... Don't think you can use too much eternabond or dicor.
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