Autosleeper Warwick Duo Solar Installation

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Autosleeper Warwick Duo Solar Installation

Post by IanH on Sun Jun 18, 2017 8:55 pm

Hi
Just fitted a 140w solar system to my Duo, the panel is 3.5mm thick and semi flexible, can be walked on, I won't be!
Parts came from, Photonic Universe, panel and all solar components, Marine Industrial sealants, Worstead, Norfolk, glues, and 12v planet, inline fuses, grommets etc

First job was to provide a level base to glue the panel to, the Duo roof is ridged, ridges and valleys. Each valley is 8.5mm deep and 66mm wide at base. I obtained 65 x 6mm plastic strip, intended as a facia for UPVC windows. The first strip was cut to 35mm wide to suit the panel width....

The glue nozzle was cut to produce a 4mm dia bead, the strips were pressed into this using a ply straightedge, in this way they were level with the tops of the ridges.................

The strips were left to set

Next was fitting the solar regulator, under the driver seat, just fwd of the LB, it is intentionally upside down to allow better wiring runs...


The wires from it to the batteries were fused, at the battery terminals with inline fuses from 12v planet.....

The microwave was removed and the wires through the roof were fed behind it, then routed through a cable duct just behind the driver seat. These are the only parts visible inside the vehicle.



The system was now tested for 2 days to be sure all was working. The glue used was a combination of BOSTIK SIMSON construction adhesive and Sikaflex 212. The Bostik is seen running across the roof, the Sikaflex is the bead around it...


The panel was next placed on the glue beads and gently pushed down, just hand pressure.......

The cables from it were routed through D section cable ducts, then into the gland unit, then through grommets in the roof holes, then down to the controller.....


All that was left was to tidy up the wiring, test, again, the system, reinstall the microwave and fit the remote display..


A view of the roof as is now....


A fiddly job, running wires through established vehicles is never easy, I'll make a plastic cover for the 3" or so that are visible.
Total cost circa £450, total weight 6.5Kg

Hope I haven't bored everyone to death!
wave
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Re: Autosleeper Warwick Duo Solar Installation

Post by -mojo- on Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:31 pm

Good work - and nice to see that you've made sure that it is well supported. I have a strong suspicion that these semi-flexible panels are less reliable in the longer term if they are not fully supported and allowed to flex in the wind.

Have you decided yet what proportions to set the two-channel controller to? I've had mine set to 90% leisure and 10% vehicle since I installed 3 years ago, but I consistently find that the vehicle battery goes down quicker than the leisure (because I use the radio/headunit a fair bit), so I'm thinking that maybe 80:20 may make more sense in my case.

I'll also be following your example in the next week or two and fitting a similar panel to the Trooper. I did consider exactly the same 2-channel controller that you have, but in the end we've decided to go with a single-channel controller and a VSR, because it makes the wiring easier (it means I don't have to run an extra cable through the bulkhead to the vehicle battery!).
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Re: Autosleeper Warwick Duo Solar Installation

Post by IanH on Mon Jun 19, 2017 8:56 am

Thanks Mojo

We have set the dual battery controller to 80/20 as you hinted, this was the setting we used on the last (identical) installation and it worked well. Modern vehicle batteries have quite a lot of standing load, alarms, immobilisers trackers etc so these need to be catered for in a solar installation. I would suggest that a VSR is not the best route as it needs the engine running, unless I'm wrong.

The main reason, for me, of a solar installations is to ensure that BOTH batteries are full at all times, especially when the vehicle is not used much, in winter. I know the solar gain is less in winter, but the last installation, using a 100w panel easily kept both batteries full at all times.

If you are worried about wire routing to the vehicle battery to suit a dual battery controller, then you probably only need the +ve (fused at the battery end btw!) as it is likely that the -ves of both batteries are connected to vehicle chassis.

As to glue strength, with either the BOSTIK or SIKAFLEX I used, and ALWAYS using their associated primers, there is no need for concern. I went to a lot of effort with my plastic strips to not only get a flat glue surface, but also a larger area. Bostik quote 2Mpa, 290psi bond strength, I think that's enough

Once again thanks for your interest

IanH
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Re: Autosleeper Warwick Duo Solar Installation

Post by jennyandpeter on Mon Jun 19, 2017 9:56 am

Thanks for the information, interesting thread . I have been looking at installing a panel on our duo but I would have to remove the tv aerial due to the sat dish. I am thinking of not fixing directly to the roof due to the heat stress on the panels and the transfer of heat into the van. So will be interested on how your system gets on, it looks very well done. Our vans are almost twins.
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Re: Autosleeper Warwick Duo Solar Installation

Post by IanH on Mon Jun 19, 2017 10:22 am

Thanks for your reply. I have shamelessly copied many of your idea on your posts and will continue to do so!!

Had exactly the same installation on our EribaCar, this time glued onto a fibreglass roof. No noticeable heat transfer, all rooves get hot anyway, in our case, the glue probably sees more of the heat than the roof. The plastic strips are basically skinned foam so are probably good insulators themselves.

The Bostik used is used extensively in the boat business here in the Broads, all Broads boats are built locally as they are not used elsewhere and at 12ft wide too wide to easily transport. Marine Industrial have always been ultra helpful as they were in this case.

The main reason for me for taking this route is weight saving, this panel (140w) weighs just 3.5Kg, allow for the plastic and glue, less than 4Kg, a considerable saving over the framed and glass topped ones.

I'm about to post another mod, you are, partially, responsible for!!

Bw
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Re: Autosleeper Warwick Duo Solar Installation

Post by jennyandpeter on Mon Jun 19, 2017 11:48 am

Hopefully it is making the van more practical, one thing I would do with your setup is remove or reposition the tv antenna  

"shading is a problem in PV modules since shading just one cell in the module can reduce the power output to zero" 


Especially as your controller does not have MPPT tracking.
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Re: Autosleeper Warwick Duo Solar Installation

Post by -mojo- on Mon Jun 19, 2017 12:20 pm

IanH wrote:I would suggest that a VSR is not the best route as it needs the engine running, unless I'm wrong.

The VSR is fine - modern ones are bidirectional and don't rely on a feed from the alternator to activate (because they are voltage sensing!) so the solar panel or EHU power supply charging the leisure battery will cause exactly the same charge transfer to the other battery as the alternator charging the vehicle battery will.
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