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Thursday, December 14, 2017

Solar - Maximum Wattage To Get / Picking The Location

Wattage relates to size of solar panel and size relates to placement.

At this point I have my 30 Ah LiFePo4 I used in my Prius for a house battery, and I know it will handle my Engel compressor fridge needs, so that is the information I will use for sizing the wattage.  Actually the manufacturer’s output amp rating of the solar panel needs to be 10 amps or less, as this is the max that my Bioenno LiFePo4 can take.

I know 10 amps works as I charged my battery from my Prius 12 volt circuit, through a 400 watt inverter, to a 120 volt LiFePo4 specific 10 amp charger.  I also knew my Engel only uses 12 amps a day, which means I should be good with a 150 watt solar panel.

My searching for a panel actually resulted in the purchase of a  170 watt panel that puts out just under 10 amps. I will discuss my solar panel selection in another post.

Actually, I did have another issue not covered in my prior post.  My Four Wheel Camper (FWC) is a pop up camper and I have to be mindful of increasing the weight, as the current center lifting struts need to handle the increased weight. This too will be another post on how I decided to handle the increased weight.

On to the next issue of finding a location for the solar panel on the roof.

I had seriously considered putting the solar panel on the roof rack at the back of the camper.  I called FWC and they said I could but suggested keeping it lower and that I may want to actually use the rack in the future.

Why was I apprehensive about the roof mounting.

Two reasons.  

1. I didn’t want to put extra holes in the roof that may leak in the future.

2. The roof rafters are aluminum square tubing and I didn’t want to miss drilling into the tubing vs just the thin aluminum roofing.

I overcame my reluctance by laying out where the tubing is from holes made in factory in the roof.  I drew with erasable white-board markers from point to point and using inside measurements where I knew beams were and measuring over from the holes on the roof to find the rest of the beams.

It took hours to do the roof layout, but it paid off.

I will cover my mounting of the panel and getting the wires from the panel inside the camper in my next post.

Thanks for following.


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