Here are some shots of my solar panel and controller install on my 189FBS. The panels were sent to me by the good people at HQRP.COM for testing purposes
. They sent two 85 watt panels, a 10 and a 20 amp charger controller, and all the necessary cabling to give this atry!
I installed one panel in a fixed position on the roof so that I could always have some sort of solar charging running on the trailer regardless of where it's parked. I then built a storage unit for the second panel in the pass through storage so that I can pull the second one out and use it if I wanted extra capacity or was in an area without much sunlight.
I pulled the provided weather tight power cables down from the roof via the refrigerator vent and down in the under bed storage where the water tank and water heater reside:
I made custom aluminum Z mount brackets with a 2 1/2" offset so there would be ample ventilation to keep heat down and moisture from accumulating underneath. Everything was fastened down with stainless steel hardware to avoid and metal-to-metal corrosion. Here is the final install on the roof:
Here is the is the custom panel tray I built and mounted to the ceiling of the pass through. The tray made from 1/4 MDF and aluminum angle on the side to provide the most support at the lowest profile. Anything that touches the panel uses stainless hardware to avoid corrosion:
Here are some shots with the panel installed and dropping down so that it can be slid out for usage:
This is the 20 amp solar controller. I made some custom brackets to hold the connectors for attaching the portable panel. I have an additional 12' set of power cords that plug into the panel and then connect to the connectors in the top:
I just installed everything and will give it a good test with a short stint of dry camping in a couple of weeks. I am fairy confident that this will let me go some time without needing to plug in or run a generator.
I have started collecting some data and the panels seem to be pretty solid in terms of performance. I used a variety of resistors and a LUX meter to plot the performance of the panel. It looks like the peak operating point in direct mid-day sunlight around 70 watts, 14.9 volts, and 4.7 amps on a 3.2 ohm load:
I intend on using the LUX meter to take measurements with a 3.2 ohm load in varying lighting conditions to see how bad the power fall off is in sub-optimal situations.
That is all for now!