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  #11  
Old 02-13-2017
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morganaire morganaire is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Payson
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I'm going to kidnap Mike (and Tami) some upcoming weekend, feed them lots of mexican food and booze, and have him help me install my solar. Don't tell him - I want it to be a surprise.
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Ken and Tammy Morgan
Payson, AZ
'80 FC35 SB
'76 FC35 SB (project)
'91 SP36 (sold)
2008 Dodge Dakota 4x4 toad
A whole herd of English Bull Terriers


Live long and Wander.
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  #12  
Old 02-13-2017
konehd konehd is offline
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Location: Sedona
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For me the biggest problem was getting panels that would fit on the bus.

All of them seem to have a different layout on the roof, you have to find the size that fits up there!

For example, Neal was able to fit 3 panels with over 1KW on his bus, that layout would not work for mine as I didnt want to cover the skylights I had. I ended up with only 900 W.

Best thing is to figure out how much free space you have and get the largest panels that will fit.


HTH, Joe
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Joe & Pat Garner

'93 WB40 'Alligator'
Sedona, AZ
Fun-Fun-Fun Till they take the BlueBird Away!
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  #13  
Old 02-14-2017
halkading halkading is offline
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Join Date: May 2015
Location: Las Cruces
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Mike,

As usual I was confused. Thought your guy was in Flagstaff. I should have asked "How long would it take and how much would the installation cost if done in Mesa?
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Harold Kading
Las Cruces, NM
2003 LX 40
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  #14  
Old 02-14-2017
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MRPutz MRPutz is offline
Burnin Up in Az. :-)
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Mesa
Posts: 4,116
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Quote:
Originally Posted by halkading View Post
Mike, As usual I was confused. Thought your guy was in Flagstaff. I should have asked "How long would it take and how much would the installation cost if done in Mesa?
Call or email Aaron and ask. Problem is they probably want to see the bus before they commit to an installation price.

Quote:
Originally Posted by konehd View Post
For me the biggest problem was getting panels that would fit on the bus. All of them seem to have a different layout on the roof, you have to find the size that fits up there!HTH, Joe
This is very true. What I did was to draft out my bus roof to scale then cut up scale paper solar panels. I used 3 different sizes and found the bigger ones actually worked better for me. It was mount 4x250w panels for 1000 watts or 3x300w panels for 900 watts. I really didn't want to lose the 100 watts but the 3 panels were easier to install & layout.

Quote:
Originally Posted by morganaire View Post
I'm going to kidnap Mike (and Tami) some upcoming weekend, feed them lots of Mexican food and booze, and have him help me install my solar. Don't tell him - I want it to be a surprise.
Good.. then it'll be our little secret. (speaking of secrets, you may want to appeal to their new diet! I'm already 23 pounds down in 3 weeks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rshrimp View Post
How big are the panels?
What is the voltage output of the panels and do you run them parallel or in series?
The higher the voltage you can run the better... sort of. There are optimum voltages to make the MPPT controller work best BUT keeping the panels in series and running the highest voltage the controller will allow has many benefits; small wire size, less line loss, more usable sun hours so the MPPT controller can adjust to low light levels. I say "more sun hours" only because the MPPT can harness power before and after a parallel/PWM system can (hence the 30% gain)

Think about it, at low light levels and sun low on the horizon the parallel system cannot add voltage, it adds current. So initially the voltage is too low for the controller to respond. The controller will need at least 3-4v above the charging voltage to work

Now enter the series setup. Although each panel only puts out say 10v each due to low sun angle they are in series so you add them. For 3 panels that would be 30v, plenty for the MPPT controller to work with.

BTW,
1) don't want to worry about which way to park so your solar will work?
2) don't want to climb up on your bus and tilt panels several times a day
3) don't forget to put them all down before you leave!
4) take that extra money you would have spent on tilting and buy another panel instead. If you size 30% over your actual need you won't need to tilt your panels.

Now you have the freedom to park anywhere you want and not worry about facing North or South to tilt your panels.
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Michael & Tami Putz
78FC35SB & 83FC35SB Wanderlodge - "Putz'n Around"
'90 GL1500 Goldwing | '67 VW Rail | '82 CJ5 Jeep
eMail=Mike.Putz@cox.net | Web=http://mikeputz.com/
Solar = https://www.solarpenny.com/SearchResults.asp?Cat=257

FMCA #236459, Good Sam #17270530, Vintage Birds #1509
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  #15  
Old 02-14-2017
Dennis&Ella Dennis&Ella is offline
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Location: Palm Bay
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Mike,

At the risk of hijacking this thread...what diet are you talking about
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Palm Bay, Fl
89 WB40
"Chief's Pride Too"
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  #16  
Old 02-14-2017
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MRPutz MRPutz is offline
Burnin Up in Az. :-)
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Mesa
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis&Ella View Post
Mike,

At the risk of hijacking this thread...what diet are you talking about
I started Nutrisystem. I've done several diets during my life as after my 30's weight was always an issue. The problem is not genetic, it's my poor eating choices. So no matter what diet I use until the eating habits change the weight will return.

Nutrisystem is a diet that makes sense. It's healthy (er) than most as it includes unlimited vegetables, some fruit, high protein, low sodium, and portion control. With their "smart carb" & "power fuel" system you know what to eat and when. Also since they supply most the food it's very easy to plan meals. They have both dry and frozen goods to select from. It's a very basic plan that seems to use a low calorie, caffeine, & sodium wight loss approach. Unlike other diets I can still have some caffeine; coffee, tea. And they have a special menu if you're diabetic too.

They have 3 main programs, all similar with the exception of food choices. I opted for most expensive ($330 a month) and you have the most frozen food selections with that. You also get free counseling with the program if needed, support groups, creative recipes, and the food actually tastes good.. from ravioli, pizza, burgers, to the ice cream & apple pie deserts

We're already deviating from the "planned diet" and improvising on what we've learned and still the weight continues to drop. Lately we started eating out again and the healthy choices at Chili's, the steak and vegetable dinners at Out Back are working out just fine.

To keep this thread on track.. I can also eat my meals in my 78FC35 with 900 watts of solar panels with a Midnite Classic controller, and a 2000w ProSine 2.0 pure sine wave inverter while I use my microwave to heat up our lunches.
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Michael & Tami Putz
78FC35SB & 83FC35SB Wanderlodge - "Putz'n Around"
'90 GL1500 Goldwing | '67 VW Rail | '82 CJ5 Jeep
eMail=Mike.Putz@cox.net | Web=http://mikeputz.com/
Solar = https://www.solarpenny.com/SearchResults.asp?Cat=257

FMCA #236459, Good Sam #17270530, Vintage Birds #1509
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  #17  
Old 02-14-2017
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NoGas NoGas is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: DFW & PHX
Posts: 2,015
Default Stealth Solar Installation

On solar Mike & I took almost exactly the same approach for all the same reasons. Except that when using the graph paper layout technique, I threw in an additional requirement that I wanted my solar installation to be "stealthy". The engineers at BB designed the M380 to be "slick" and lighter for lots of reasons and I wanted to keep it that way. So when people look at this coach from street level, some are surprised that it even has solar and when I tell them there are over 1.4 kw of panels on the roof they're amazed . Lots of thought went into accomplishing this "clean" minimalist magic including:
  • Choosing shorter/smaller 60 cell black framed panels to keep them from becoming obvious when looking up at the roof line from the street level side of the coach. This meant sacrificing on the total array output to the tune of about 250 watts. However, the offsetting aesthetic benefits are worth it IMHO.
  • Mounting the panels flat and as close to the roof line as possible, while still providing adequate ventilation.
  • Placement of other items on the roof (like a Winegard sat & baby disk off-the-air TV antennas) so as to minimize self-created shadows on the flat mounted panels.
  • The old KVA dome dish & clunky saucer TV antennas were removed to open up wide areas of "real estate" for larger house panels
  • Flatter Venturi tank vents (that work better anyway) were installed such that solar panels could be placed over them, while still keeping the overall profile low
  • Panels were mounted east-west rather than north-south. This allowed 5 panels to be mounted while avoiding immovable obstacles like the two roof airs & Fantastic bath fan.
  • And the "clean" design extends inside the coach also - Instead of using lots of impressive dials & separate switches, this solar system is seamlessly integrated into the previously updated Magnum pure sine wave inverter/charger so it all can be monitored & controlled via a 5 page soft keyed menu on one Magnum display panel.

When taken as a whole, this install doesn't shout "I've got solar!" but I like it that way. Plus, it gives Putz something to shoot for on his next system
.
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2004 M380 DS & 2013 Fiat 500 Pop
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  #18  
Old 02-15-2017
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MRPutz MRPutz is offline
Burnin Up in Az. :-)
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Mesa
Posts: 4,116
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Hey Van,
All good points and yes, we followed the same process but due to different environments both came up with logical solutions to the existing challenge.
  • In the older FC's you have the goat rail, roof vents, 3 AC units, storage pods, and an off set walkway to access everything. After doing my template design with the different panels it became obvious I'd have severe shading issues in the mornings/evenings, when you need the panels the most. So I went with larger 72 cell panels to limit them to only 3 and gave up 100 watts in doing so.
  • But that allowed me to not interfere with my 2 storage bays and my walkway access.
  • I also decided to raise the panels up to eliminate all shading issues and be able to park in any direction and still get max performance.
  • By placing them over the AC units they also provide shade to the AC's so they are more efficient when running on alternate power
  • By grouping the large 2 over the living room area it helps keep it cooler since I'm no longer looking for shaded parking
  • By raising them up high they get very good ventilation to keep them cooler for maximum performance
  • By utilizing the goat rails the mount for the panels are incredibly strong, eliminates the "flex" between rails (used uni-strut), and removes any stress to the solar panel frames
  • With over sizing the panels, shade elimination, high voltage, and series system I don't have to worry about panel tilting. The money I saved in the tilt system purchased the spare panel.

In the end "Great Minds Think Alike" so obviously we ended up with very similar systems functionally. Yours is more eye appealing while mine brags "look at me, let's talk solar!"
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Michael & Tami Putz
78FC35SB & 83FC35SB Wanderlodge - "Putz'n Around"
'90 GL1500 Goldwing | '67 VW Rail | '82 CJ5 Jeep
eMail=Mike.Putz@cox.net | Web=http://mikeputz.com/
Solar = https://www.solarpenny.com/SearchResults.asp?Cat=257

FMCA #236459, Good Sam #17270530, Vintage Birds #1509
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  #19  
Old 02-24-2017
John Ely John Ely is offline
Since May 2002
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Fulltimer, mail in South Dakota
Posts: 24
Default Panel install on the goat rail

I have an AM Solar system that I installed in 2004. Without recording electric meters, I have no idea how much juice I did NOT draw from the grid over those 13 years. I have 500 watts of 21v panels and the primary reason I'm chiming in here is to talk about the unique mounting opportunity provided by a Blue Bird.
Nearly all of us have a goat rail (except Bob Lawrence. Too bad, Bob) which can be employed as a natural and easy foundation for solar panels. I went to the hardware store and bought 4 8ft long sections of aluminum angle, 3/16 x 1.5" x 1.5. Laid it across the goat rail, drilled it for ubolts to hold it on the goat rail, installed same, drilled and tapped for the rocker foot mounting brackets that came with my AM Solar package, mounted same, installed panels on rocker feet. DONE! I did two panels first and two more a year later. I have no more than 3 hours invested in mounting the panels on my roof. I pushed the outer edges of the panels clear to the end of the alum. angle to retain walking space on the roof. Each two panel array is as wide as the coach and, though they look risky, I have driven that coach from the Yucatan to New Foundland and from Fla to upper BC in Canada and have never hit anythiing or damaged the panels. The mirrors stick out farther than the panels.
The rest of the install is another story and is posted here someplace from way back when, but I wanted to re-share the panel install with peoply who are thinking diy. It's a non-risky piece a cake.
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86PT40 since Apr '01 "Wingin' It"
Prev BB: 82FC35 "Humphrey"
Rapid City, SD
Full timing since Feb '02
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  #20  
Old 05-15-2017
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MRPutz MRPutz is offline
Burnin Up in Az. :-)
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Mesa
Posts: 4,116
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It's Official!


Solar Penny now has a webpage dedicated to the Arizona Hot Birds/WOG members and will give discounts on complete DIY high voltage, high performance MPPT solar packages!

Here's our special link;
https://www.solarpenny.com/SearchResults.asp?Cat=257


I've added that to my home page as well below. These systems include everything you'll need for a DIY install, DC breakers, all wiring, new grade-A panels, mounting hardware, controllers, etc... Shipping is also available on larger 3&4 panel kits.

Need help installing? Aaron also offers local solar installation as well.

Have questions? Don't hesitate to contact me. Need references? Have plenty!
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Michael & Tami Putz
78FC35SB & 83FC35SB Wanderlodge - "Putz'n Around"
'90 GL1500 Goldwing | '67 VW Rail | '82 CJ5 Jeep
eMail=Mike.Putz@cox.net | Web=http://mikeputz.com/
Solar = https://www.solarpenny.com/SearchResults.asp?Cat=257

FMCA #236459, Good Sam #17270530, Vintage Birds #1509
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