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  #1  
Old 12-21-2009
JerryKessler's Avatar
JerryKessler JerryKessler is offline
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Default Coach Upgrade Continues - Solar Panels

Here we are in Yuma at Starlight Solar to get a large array of panels installed on the roof of our coach. We are installing 8 of the Sanyo N 210 watt panels which fills up most of the space on the roof which is not taken by the Motosat Internet Dish.

The project has taken twists and turns in the design and placement. Surprisingly, it was decided to remove all the walkway planking on the roof. This will enable a better install of the panels as well as the holding tank vent fans that are going to be installed to help control those blasted odors from the tanks. When the panels are installed, there will be a 15 inch walkway along the right rail from front to back. I will put down a non-skid surface on the walkway as I know how incredibly slippery the roof is when it is wet.

I feel good about removing the walkway planking because I was getting more concerned about the possibility of the roof leaking as the coach gets older. That is alot of holes on the roof and the old screws were starting to show their age. Sure I could replace the screws on the walkway and try to seal but I think it is better to just get rid of it especially since I will not be able to use it anyway. We are going to silicon the old holes and install rivets to seal and maybe overkill with dycor on each rivet. The rails have been riveted in place of the screws holding them. All side screws on the rails have been replaced with new.

There was an immense amount of dirt underneath the walkway plating. Probably all the powdered horse poop that is flying in the air at Rancho Oso which is a 300 acre horse ranch at Santa Barbara. We will be scrubbing the top clean when the time is right during the installation of the solar panels. A Motosat HD satellite dish will be installed ahead of the front air conditioner. We know that these dishes cause shadows (on the solar panels) but we are wiring the panels to lose the least amount of power when that happens.

It is really strange tearing up my coach. We removed the motorized television antenna and it is laying on the ground. Will replace it with something more low profile. Anybody want it? I have very high anxiety making such drastic changes to my coach. This is my baby and I don't want to make a horrible mistake. I felt the same way when Ernie and I were tearing the coach apart to put wood floors in. After the fact, I am so happy to have put the floors in so the anxiety and effort were worth it. Let's hope this is repeated again.

We will come back in late February and install the second phase of the project which includes new inverters, batteries, and other "stuff". I can't forget the anxiety of how much this is costing me. But, this is my home and I am trying to make it as useful and functional as I can to fit our lifestyle. Solar panels, high tech equipment, and big battery banks really suit me. I like the idea of being able to park long term wherever we want without the hookups. At the same time, we want to live comfortably without having to go to extremes conserving energy, water, and such.

I thought I would share our experiences with our Bluebird friends. Here is a photo gallery which we will add to as things progress. Wish us luck!!!

http://gallery.me.com/jerrykessler#100536

Cheers!

Jerry
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  #2  
Old 12-21-2009
Stephen Stephen is offline
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If possibleI would like to obtain the antenna
Stpehen
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  #3  
Old 12-22-2009
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Shipping the antenna to Stephen
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Old 12-22-2009
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Stephan,

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Old 12-22-2009
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I am sorta suprised about all of the dirt Makes me want to pull up my diamond plate and take a look.

I have a restored 1946 John Deere tractor that had the top of the fuel tank rust out. Yeh, the top of the tank..., damp grass etc. would get blown in between the cowl and the top of the tank and hold moisture rusting out the tank from the top, Go figure??
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Last edited by Turbokitty; 12-22-2009 at 09:33 AM.
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Old 12-22-2009
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Jerry, are we still on for your entry makeover at " Q " ?
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  #7  
Old 12-22-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ernest Ekberg View Post
Jerry, are we still on for your entry makeover at " Q " ?
Absolutely, I have the wood with me. See you then
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Old 12-22-2009
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Jerry, I have experimented with factory outside corners. All I believe we will need would be the stair nose piece.
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  #9  
Old 12-23-2009
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Well, we are getting close to installing the panels on the brackets on the roof (tomorrow morning). We drilled a pretty big hole in the roof where all the wires will enter the coach. My heart skipped a beat when I saw the hole. The brackets to hold the panels is built. There is conduit in which all the wires will run along the side rail of the coach. Each panel will have it's own wire run to limit the effect of shadows on any one panel. We had "Little Stinkers" installed on each roof vent. A new Motosat HD DirectTV receiver is on its way to be installed just behind the spot light. I wanted a separate DTV dish from my Motosat. The bird on a wire works great but I wanted them separate.

To accommodate the Motosat dish they removed my CB antennas so I will have to figure out a new location for the antenna. They removed a smaller antenna which I am not sure is the radio antenna. All the screw holes for the diamond plate tread have been filled with butyl wrapped rivets and each will be dycor'd. The roof dirt is gradually getting cleaner just from the process of people walking on the roof. The solar panels should go on tomorrow morning in calm wind since most of the roof top wiring is finished (I think).

The wiring and placement of the charge controllers is coming along. We are thinking of placing the controllers in a very shallow and not very useful enclosed area beside the rear closet. We are trying to figure how much we need to modify the closet (exhaust fan or something) to handle heat buildup that may happen. Alot of thought is going into this and everyone is excited to see how it is going to come together. Probably some changes will need to be made here and there if we find something in the design that needs improving.

We are going to eventually install Outback dual inverters in February when we come back to Yuma from Quartzsite. Dual for redundancy reasons and there is a method to the madness. We are planning on installing Rolls 2volt AGM batteries which will make for an interesting system. We are putting alot of thought and effort into figuring out how to get the 2 inverters and batteries and misc. stuff in the area that the current batteries occupy. A new enlarged battery box will be installed utilizing wasted space that he previous install did not need.

When we see the Bluebird folks in Quartzsite, only the solar system components will be installed. We will have loaner batteries until we get back to Yuma in late February to complete the coach electrical system makeover. I will be happy when we get everything done and it should be quite a system.

There are more recent pictures in the photo gallery in the original post. I have to say that Larry at Starlight Solar in Yuma is an extremely capable person when it comes to designing and installing solar systems and/or electrical systems. His concern for quality and the customer being happy is overwhelming.

Jerry
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  #10  
Old 12-23-2009
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Jerry,

Sounds like a great project. Some point in the future I would like to add solar. Your progress posts are stimulating my thoughts. But then reality sets in and I realize I have too many other projects on the burner right now.

Thanks for sharing. Enjoyed the pictures too!

Glenn
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