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Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Mounting & WiringThe Solar Panel

Above is the solar panel I decided on getting for my FWC camper and the price was right for about one dollar per watt and no shipping or sales tax.

Next I needed to find the location of the wires that FWC left in the ceiling of the camper for future solar install.  It took a bit to find the wiring box.  Then I needed to decide on the connection I would use to connect the panel.  After talking to FWC I decided on the SAE connector they use when they do the install.

After screwing the SAE connector to the roof location I used Marine adheasive as recommended toseal the mounting.

The solar panel came with MC4 connectors and because I chose to use SAE connector through the roof I needed to change the wiring on the solar panel.

Above I changed over the wiring to the SAE connection after contacting FWC about getting a right angle adapter.  They sold me the right angled connector to hook into the ceiling solar wires they installed at the factory. Note that a straight connector/cable would’ve too tall to put panel over connector. 

Having the panel over the connector protects the cable and connection.

The location I chose for the panel was over the roof connection allowing for a short wire connection.  Above you can see the connector mounted under the panel.

Next I needed to decide on the method of mounting the solar panel to the roof supports.  I found this installation guide online and decided this was the best approach.

I needed to buy the “Z” stand-off brackets.  The first brackets I bought were 2” high stand-off.  I didn’t like the height so I found ones closer to one inch high.  This sets the top of the solar panel close to the top of the roof vents, and a much cleaner roof.

Since my roof supports are only 1” tall and had two offset holes, I redrilled the new shorter brackets with a center hole for mounting one bolt in each panel to the bracket and one hole in the roof for each bracket. Note the roof supports are perpendicular to the length of the panel.

Also predrilled holes on the back of panel did not align to where I needed them so I had to drill all new holes in the panel for the “Z” brackets.

You can see I decided to put 3 brackets on each side for a secure mount.  I did find the recommendation of 6 brackets if solar panel is over 150 watts. You can also see the predrilled holes in the panel I could not use.

Lastly I needed to decide on screwing directly through roof supports and use sheet metal screws or use expansion nuts and bolts.

I decided on expansion nuts and bolts.  I marked the hole locations I neeed to drill on the grid I marked in the roof. 

I drilled a 1/8” hole and used a wire to feel if I was centered in the roof support aluminum tubing.  Then using this information I then enlarged the hole to accept the expansion nut that uses a 10-32 bolt

I chose to buy 10-32 stainless steel hex head bolts as Phillips screw heads could strip on or off if needed.

I did use Marine adheasive to seal under and around expansion nuts.

With the solar panel installed and wired to factory wiring, now I need to wire the panel to asolar charge controller and circuits.

More to come in another blog about the solar install.


1 comment:

  1. Nicely done, Brent! Your attention to detail is a pleasure to read about.