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Old 01-21-2023, 11:53 PM   #1
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195RB - Solar Panel Install Thread

Good evening folks! This thread will be my first go at installing solar panels on my 195RB. Back in 2019, there was no option to ask Jayco for the "solar option" so I have to make my own!

Here's what I am starting with:
  • Eco Worthy 100w Solar Panel (2)
  • Eco Worthy Solar Panel No Drill Bracket (2 kits, one for each panel)
  • Solar Enz Double cable entry gland (why the hell do they call it a "gland??)
  • Victron Energy SmartSolar MPPT 100V 20 amp 48-Volt Solar Charge Controller (Bluetooth)
  • Sikaflex 252 tube
  • Eternabond tape and primer
  • Jayco framing plans for both sidewalls and roof

The controller will be easy to wire up since I have my dual Li-Po Battle Borns under the dinette near the doorway. The task will be to install the panels on the roof and run the wire down the wall and into the battery area.

My current plans:
  • Bench test panels with VMM
  • Secure panels to brackets (done)
  • Install and fish "gland" wiring into trailer, into battery compartment
  • Install Victron controller in battery compartment, wire to bus bars
  • Install "gland" wiring to Victron (no solar connected)
  • Install panels to roof using Sikaflex
  • Install "gland" to roof using Sikaflex
  • Connect panel wiring to "gland", secure with Eternabond
  • Test using Bluetooth, if successful clean up mess and have a brew.

Hopefully I will get it right, and we can use this to help others, or I will get it wrong and I can use this to help me fix it!

Attaching current LiPo setup pic.

Any tips, hints, or suggestions before I start?
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20230121_181710.jpg   20230121_172211.jpg   20230121_181754.jpg  
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FUTURE MODS: Solar - in progress!
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Old 01-22-2023, 09:22 AM   #2
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That sounds like a good start. After the installation, I must have checked the panels six or seven times during the drive, just to be sure.
I can't remember how to size the mppt, either volts, amp or watts.
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Old 01-28-2023, 11:13 PM   #3
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Panels placed, Victron controller installed and live.

Progress made!
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Old 01-29-2023, 08:09 AM   #4
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First, I am not criticizing your panel attachment method, just stating my (sometimes skewed) view here. I am assuming your panels are mounted on the roof membrane, correct? After seeing a few RV's going down the highway with poorly glued roof membrane balooning in the wind I'd be in the constant state of anxiety by using adhesive only holding down my panels. It took 6000 miles for my somewhat neurotic brain to finally relax with 28 screws, butyl tape and dicor holding both of my larger panels on!
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Old 01-29-2023, 11:07 AM   #5
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Panels placed, Victron controller installed and live.

Progress made!
I love it! Please consider putting links to the products you used so that I can get them, too.
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Old 01-29-2023, 01:45 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ARoamer View Post
First, I am not criticizing your panel attachment method, just stating my (sometimes skewed) view here. I am assuming your panels are mounted on the roof membrane, correct? After seeing a few RV's going down the highway with poorly glued roof membrane balooning in the wind I'd be in the constant state of anxiety by using adhesive only holding down my panels. It took 6000 miles for my somewhat neurotic brain to finally relax with 28 screws, butyl tape and dicor holding both of my larger panels on!
Criticize away!!! 😀

I plan to glue them down with Sika 252, (panels aren't secured yet since rain coming today) but maybe I need to consider adding screws like you said. Was hoping to not make more holes in the membrane but maybe I should rethink that.

Thanks for your thoughts, please keep them coming!
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Old 01-29-2023, 07:13 PM   #7
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I said I am not criticizing!
I really struggled with the thought of drilling holes and screwing brackets on to a perfectly good, new, under warranty roof, but I felt there was no other reliable attachment method, especially since I mounted large residential panels. If I did it again I'd try to figure out a way to tilt them, being flat mounted in the winter cuts output nearly in half.
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Old 01-30-2023, 01:52 PM   #8
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I said I am not criticizing!
I really struggled with the thought of drilling holes and screwing brackets on to a perfectly good, new, under warranty roof, but I felt there was no other reliable attachment method, especially since I mounted large residential panels. If I did it again I'd try to figure out a way to tilt them, being flat mounted in the winter cuts output nearly in half.
Oh no, please don't mistake me... I *WANT* criticism!

I'd rather be told something is a bad idea before I find out the hard way. I'm now envisioning my roof membrane laying by the side of the road somewhere, so that will change the way I go about permanently mounting my panels. Thanks for letting me know, and please keep the suggestions coming!

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Old 01-30-2023, 05:01 PM   #9
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Just remember you asked for the criticism.. :-)

Actually everything looks good and well thought out. But... I have to say I am with ARoamer on this, you can prob use your mounts still just drill holes and at least two screws per mount.

The glue to the membrane is just asking for failure and a potentially costly mistake. There is a lot of upward force on the panels as you drive down the road at highway speeds. Worst case scenarios to think about. If it fly's off and just rips your roof that is one thing. If it fly's off and rips your roof and takes out someone's car and causes an accident that is a totally different animal that no one wants to mess with.

Only using glue or VHB type tape is good for fiberglass roofs etc.. but not for the membrane type used on 98% of the trailers out there. I have seen some use glue and tape with flexible panels as they lay on the roof directly. But those panels have other issues. With solid frame panels some screws are your best and worst enemy.. Just make sure to seal before you screw and then top the screw with more sealant.
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Old 01-30-2023, 09:07 PM   #10
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One thought I had is that I would consider blocking the wind from going underneath the front of the panels while traveling. My thought is that air currents underneath the panels could cause a lifting effect which wouldn't occur (less likely) if you blocked the front leading edge and kept the air going over them instead of under them. Perhaps if they made straight sections that match the corner pieces, that may work well. ~CA
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Old 01-30-2023, 09:58 PM   #11
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I used aluminium unistrut. With an aluminium cover. Lag bolted to the ceiling joist. Jayco sent me the roof drawing to help.

I would recommend a few screws on each corner.
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Old 02-04-2023, 01:02 PM   #12
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We have a 2021, 195 rb, I have all the blueprints from Jayco if you need any of them. We use a Renogy, 100 watt, portable solar panel and it works well for our needs. I donít want to drill into our roof. Camoer is solar ready if we decide to put on roof panels, but like I said, the Renogy is working for us. We only need to keep the batteries topped off for showers and to run fans and carry a generator as a backup. Never had to use the generator yet, most we are gone at a time is a week.
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Old 02-04-2023, 03:28 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ARoamer View Post
First, I am not criticizing your panel attachment method, just stating my (sometimes skewed) view here. I am assuming your panels are mounted on the roof membrane, correct? After seeing a few RV's going down the highway with poorly glued roof membrane balooning in the wind I'd be in the constant state of anxiety by using adhesive only holding down my panels. It took 6000 miles for my somewhat neurotic brain to finally relax with 28 screws, butyl tape and dicor holding both of my larger panels on!
Fully agree. That roof material is only 20Mil thick and RV's aren't known to have the best roofs. Time for some good stainless screws.
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Old 02-06-2023, 10:59 AM   #14
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Fully agree. That roof material is only 20Mil thick and RV's aren't known to have the best roofs. Time for some good stainless screws.
Yes, use stainless steel screws,1/4"x#14. I have 2-100 watt panels and one 200 watt panel connected in parallel on my 2015 195RB. I used the Z brackets and plenty of Dicor under the brackets and on top. I routed the wires down along the side of the grey tank vent into the space where the water heater and low point drains are. Then up the wall behind the kitchen faucet and flush mounted a 30 amp Go-Power charge controller. If you run your wires down along side of the gray tank vent pipe, you could go drill through the floor then go across and up into the booth near the charge controller. I think trying to go down that wall next to the kitchen table will be extremly difficult because of the possible cross support wood. Also, the 100 watt panels will give you about 5 amps each on a sunny day in June but in December maybe 3 amps, hardly enough to recharge a couple batteries. That's why I added that 200 watt panel which can deliver 10 amps by itself. So with a 400 watt system you should get a good charge even in December when the sun is on the far horizon. Good luck!
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Old 02-06-2023, 12:53 PM   #15
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I came here to say something about the rubber roof and the lack of screws, but that's been well covered.

Did you create a wiring diagram to show how everything connects together?
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