Thursday, November 27, 2014
Solar electric van install
Nothing like racing a snowstorm to install a solar panel on the van. The top of the van wasn't going to remain snow free for very long, so it was now or never.
That's a 105 watt solar panel. It's attached to the roof with 90 degree aluminum angle stock and stainless steel screws. Everything is secured with locktite and silicone. The wires feed directly through the roof and are heavily sealed. The trick was to find a place to drill through the roof without disturbing any of the existing wiring.
The wires feed a 10 amp charge controller, seen here at the top part of the photo with a blue indicator light. The battery is the largest marine deep discharge battery available from Walmart. For now power is taken off the battery with a simple female cigarette lighter plug on jumper clamps. Currently it's plugged into a 200 watter inverter.
Since the van was originally an ambulance, this compartment once held O2 bottles. You can see the clamp for that in the center of the photo. It wasn't in my way so I just left it there. My veggie fuel tank is located in it's own section of the compartment just to left of what you see here.
There's a 1000 watt inverter wired to the van batteries. On top of that I've a 400 watt inverter with battery clamps that could tie into either the van or the new auxiliary system.
The solar electric system will make it easier to camp in places without any facilities. There will be enough power for my modest needs without ever having to run the van to charge the batteries.