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Old 08-08-2019, 04:49 PM   #1
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
State: New Jersey
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THOR #14703
Solar or not?

Hello, I have a 2005 Thor Hurricane and live in New Jersey. The coach will winter here in Cape May but will be parked where there is no AC power to plug into. I thought that a solar panel or two on the roof might provide enough for the batteries to stay charged through the winter. Anyone have any thoughts on that? These is a lead acid setup. Cheers

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Old 08-08-2019, 05:26 PM   #2
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If you only want something to maintain the batteries when not in use, then I would get a large (~150W+) portable solar kit (Zamp, or GoPower or other panel, controller and wiring all in one), put it flat on the roof (cable lock it) and run the charge cables down to the batteries (you'll need to find a way to jumper the House & Chassis together so all are maintained).
That way you have a simple (no drilling, sealing, mounting, etc.) all in one solution that you can easily move/remove/resell as you desire.
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Old 08-08-2019, 05:35 PM   #3
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THOR #2154
Solar is definitely a good idea! I have a modest system on my Windsport - a 100 watt Renogy panel kit, permanently mounted to the roof. Like you, my RV sits idle and unconnected to power for periods. Since installing the solar panel, my batteries (2 each, 6-volt golf cart in series) stay nicely charged. I like having the system installed permanently, so I never have to fiddle with it.

Here's a link to a Renogy panel kit - this one has a different controller than what came with my kit a few years ago, but it works well.

https://www.renogy.com/renogy-100w-12v/starter-kit/
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Old 08-08-2019, 05:37 PM   #4
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THOR #12751
I installed solar a couple months ago on my Outlaw 29H since it was pre-wired for solar. Now I never even worry about plugging in at home anymore to keep the house batteries... or the chassis battery charged (I installed a Trik-L-Start battery maintainer that uses the house batteries to keep the chassis battery charged).

I went a more expensive route than most. I installed two Renogy 160W flexible panels. They only weight 5lbs each and I used Eternabond tape to secure them to the roof. I also went with the Renogy Rover MPPT Controller that has an Equalization mode that removed sulfur build-up from the battery plates. I was going to replace the stock WFCO charger with a Progressive model but now with this Solar Controller I will leave the stock charger installed until it does and needs replaced.

Renogy has 50W and 100W flexible panels that are less expensive. One of those panels might be enough just to maintain your batteries.
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Old 08-08-2019, 05:39 PM   #5
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I like permanently installed too, but didn't recommend that to start with so you don't regret going to the effort of installing a system that you later finds doesn't meet your needs (i.e. want to boondocks without a lot of generator)
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Old 08-08-2019, 05:49 PM   #6
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Solar or not?

FYI.....

When I installed my flexible panels, I put down these corrugated plastic sheets with 2-sided Eternabond.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/72-in-x-...-202771364-_-N

The flexible panels have 6 brass grommets around the edge so I installed some threaded mounting posts to the back of the corrugated panels so I could screw the panels into place with stainless screws.

This way I did not have to drill into the roof to mount the panels. The corrugated plastic base is permanently attached with Eternabond and they provide a little heat dissipation as well since air can flow through the corrugation. If I ever need to replace a panel, it will be a 5-minute job to remove 6 screws.

My original install was to use Eternabond to tape them directly to the roof but this way works out much better if they need to be removed.

Here are some pics.....

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Old 08-08-2019, 06:13 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Judge View Post
FYI.....



When I installed my flexible panels, I put down these corrugated plastic sheets with 2-sided Eternabond.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/72-in-x-...-202771364-_-N

The flexible panels have 6 brass grommets around the edge so I installed some threaded mounting posts to the back of the corrugated panels so I could screw the panels into place with stainless screws.

This way I did not have to drill into the roof to mount the panels. The corrugated plastic base is permanently attached with Eternabond and they prove a little heat dissipation as well since air can flow through the corrugation. If I ever need to replace a panel, it will be a 5-minute job.

Here are some pics.....

Attachment 19496Attachment 19497Attachment 19498Attachment 19499
Very nice design for Flex panel mount.
Looks great!
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Old 08-08-2019, 07:41 PM   #8
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I only have room for only one Renogy 100W panel on my Siesta 24SS roof and it is quite effective at keeping my two house batteries charged. I ran the cables down the refrigerator chimney and snaked them next door to the outside TV compartment. The never used TV has been replaced with a solar panel controller, a three stage water filter, a small tool kit and other items needing quick access.
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Old 08-10-2019, 02:48 AM   #9
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My first winter I lost my coach battery due to a faulty GFCI outlet that I had the motorhome plugged into.

I replaced the coach battery with 2- 12v batteries and a permanent 100 watt panel, also added the trik-l-Start charger for the chassis battery.

The second winter the 100 watt panel, kept all 3 batteries maintained.
Note: We didn't have much snow this past winter.

I also added the Flowrite 12v battery watering system. This makes it easier to maintain proper fluid levels in the batteries.
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Old 08-10-2019, 10:54 AM   #10
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Why do you need something so elaborate to keep the coach batteries charged? This wouldn’t be sufficient?

Sunway Solar Car Battery Trickle Charger & Maintainer 12V Solar Panel Power Kit Po... https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MYVUSRH..._DiQtDbRKK1VBB
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Old 08-10-2019, 11:55 AM   #11
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"Why do you need something so elaborate to keep the coach batteries charged? This wouldnít be sufficient?"
Sunway Solar Car Battery Trickle Charger & Maintainer 12V Solar Panel Power Kit Po... https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MYVUSRH..._DiQtDbRKK1VBB"---



I usually cover the windshield when parked for storage.
Best spot to capture solar on a motorhome is on the roof.
Also provides extra production for occasional boondocking.

Not sure if that is powerful enough for 3 batteries?
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Old 08-10-2019, 03:46 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yaktop View Post
Why do you need something so elaborate to keep the coach batteries charged? This wouldn’t be sufficient?

Sunway Solar Car Battery Trickle Charger & Maintainer 12V Solar Panel Power Kit Po... https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MYVUSRH..._DiQtDbRKK1VBB
Your portable suggestion will work, no doubt. It's a matter of personal preference though - I prefer the permanent installation as it's one less thing to mess with. Does the job, I'm happy happy happy.

Oh yea, 100 watts versus 3 watts is another minor detail.
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Old 07-11-2020, 09:46 PM   #13
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Judge - great install of your solar panel. I have a 2019 Thor 27b pre-wired with 10amp controller. I bought a Renogy 100W flexible panel and purchasing corrugated plastiboard and stainless hardware to secure to board. Now have to find double sided EternaBond. Question for you... did the Renogy panel connect to the factory plugs on the roof, or did you have to modify the connectors?
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Old 07-11-2020, 09:49 PM   #14
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Judge - great install of your solar panel. I have a 2019 Thor 27b pre-wired with 10amp controller. I bought a Renogy 100W flexible panel and purchasing corrugated plastiboard and stainless hardware to secure to board. Now have to find double sided EternaBond. Question for you... did the Renogy panel connect to the factory plugs on the roof, or did you have to modify the connectors?
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Old 07-11-2020, 09:51 PM   #15
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Solar or not?

Quote:
Originally Posted by philhnj View Post
Judge - great install of your solar panel. I have a 2019 Thor 27b pre-wired with 10amp controller. I bought a Renogy 100W flexible panel and purchasing corrugated plastiboard and stainless hardware to secure to board. Now have to find double sided EternaBond. Question for you... did the Renogy panel connect to the factory plugs on the roof, or did you have to modify the connectors?

The panels and the rooftop connection both use MC4 connectors. However, you will need to purchase extension cables unless you are able to mount the panel right at the connection point.

You can find them at different lengths but here is an example....

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07RHJHD4M..._4uJcFb3VKQFS0

Here is some two-sides EternaBond as well...

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004IZCRGS..._msJcFbBYEG3ZR
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Old 07-11-2020, 10:28 PM   #16
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for me, and ease of use, and for the 'whole winter' storage, just detach the battery cables... easy.
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Old 07-11-2020, 11:22 PM   #17
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We use bayonet disconnectors to accomplish the same goal.
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Old 07-12-2020, 11:51 PM   #18
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Iíve used mechanical battery disconnects for years. But while bored in this self incarceration thing I decided the better answer is to keep the batteries charged in the first place. I installed a single 80w Renogy panel on the roof and itís way more than adequate to keep up my two house batteries and the chassis battery. Indiana summer days are long and sunny but the winter, not so much. Often we go a week or two with nothing but short gray days. Iíll be adding a second panel in the fall just to be sure. It was an easy fun project.
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