Do it yourself solar

Been looking at solar on the motorhome I'm currently building
Has anyone had dealings with Marsol Ind Solar Supplies in Noosa Qld
They are on Ebay and seem to have complete kits at a reasonable price
(Ebay item No 200829841923) most of their feedback is about delivery time not performance
Thanks Kev
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Reply By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Sunday, Feb 17, 2013 at 14:48

Sunday, Feb 17, 2013 at 14:48
Hi Kev,
I have bought 2 X 200 watt panels from them. One for my nephew and the other for myself. Each panel has been fitted to our caravns roof.

The panels were reasonably priced but I do not know about the kits you mention. Can you post a link so that we can look at them please.

We used an MPPT regulator with LCD display and cited each regulator as close to the batteries as possible, within reason, keeping the cable between the regulator and the battery as short as possible. See This Rgulator

Alternatively I have used this regulator and am very pleased with them also but these type are PWM Like this one.
I like the tank gauge type display on these.

I have only had one outing with the panels on my van since fitting the 200 watt, which was in addition to the 80 watt already fitted to it so cannot comment on their perfomance as yet as the battery never gets down in charge. That could be the answer right there.

The nephews unit is a stand alone unit but he has not been out since we fitted it. So no definitive answer re performance there either unfotunately.

Cheers, Bruce.
At home and at ease on a track that I know not and
restless and lost on a track that I know. HL.

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Follow Up By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Sunday, Feb 17, 2013 at 15:38

Sunday, Feb 17, 2013 at 15:38
OK just checked the item number you gave.

The kit is comprehensive and includes the mounting components to fit it onto your roof, plus cables etc. The regulator is the same as the PWM unit I provided a link to however they are providing the 20 amp version which is OK. It would cost less than the 30 amp unit I gave a link to.

The 4mm cable in my opinion is too light for the job and certainly too light to run between the regulator and the batteries where 6mm or better is required.

The side mount brackets are only 530 long each and they are suggesting using those mounts at either end of the panels. This does not provide sufficient support for the panels given the roads the vehicle may be required to travel over. A lot of flex in the middle of the panels in other words which may lead to panel failure.

I used sections of aluminium angle along the sides of my panels which I was able to position to take advantage of the van roof support spacings as I have placed the panels in a north south configuration for that reason. Not sure of your roof setup so I am in the dark re suggestions there.

You could get setup at a lesser price if you chase up the bits yourself as opposed to getting the kit.

Remember that you need to leave a good air gap under the panels for cooling. Mine have a 40mm air gap or there abouts.

2 X 200 watt panels at $229 each = $458 This regulator $92.50 add on cable and other incidentals and for increased capacity it will come in under that kit price. Nephew got a sheet metal bloke to fold up some aluminium for the angles to mount his.

Cheers, Bruce.

Cheers, Bruce.
At home and at ease on a track that I know not and
restless and lost on a track that I know. HL.

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Follow Up By: kev.h - Sunday, Feb 17, 2013 at 17:41

Sunday, Feb 17, 2013 at 17:41
Thanks Bruce
Maybe I should look at buying just the bits I need and make up my own kit biggest problem is knowing what I need
Cheers Kev
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Follow Up By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Sunday, Feb 17, 2013 at 19:14

Sunday, Feb 17, 2013 at 19:14
Kev,
Get the largest panels you can to fit in the available space.
Those panel prices I quoted were from the Marsol 200 watt line up and there is probably little difference in size to the ones you were looking at.

Get one of those regulators I gave a link to. The MPPT is the better type of regulator as opposed to PWM although I have one of each in operation and both are good.

Get some 6mm double cable see this lot to connect the panels to the regulator and the regulator to the battery. Keep the regulator as close as you can to the battery but in a convenient place to see its display so that you can see what is going on.

I used a Clipsal adaptable box which has a water tight screwed down lid with gasket secured to the roof of the caravan with screws and sikaflexed down to the roof to make it waterproofed. This made it easy to go through the roof without compromising the water tight integrity of the roof. I made a side entry into this box and used a gland with locknut to make an entry for the ribbed electricians conduit to provide a water tight seal there. see these pics







Once the box has been securely fitted to the roof in a waterproof fashion then you can drill a hole through the bottom of the box and into a cupboard out of site. You can then route the cables to the regulator which ever way you like. Note that I have used sikaflex as a method to fasten the conduits to the roof of the van. I also used 3/16th" pop rivets to secure the angles to the panel and screws into the roof beams with plenty of sikaflex to ensure no leaks.

If you would like anymore info, don't hesitate to ask.
Cheers, Bruce
At home and at ease on a track that I know not and
restless and lost on a track that I know. HL.

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Follow Up By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Sunday, Feb 17, 2013 at 19:27

Sunday, Feb 17, 2013 at 19:27
A couple of things I should have added are that the junction box (adaptable box) was about 75mm square. You will see in the pic that I have not shown the 'Gland with lock nut' as we used them on the nephews panel which was fitted after mine. My conduits are sikaflexed into the box.

When you have decided which cupboard to bring your wires down through the roof into, drill a pilot hole from underneath through the roof to locate the mounting position for the adaptable box. By this method fewer mistakes will be made.

Cheers.
At home and at ease on a track that I know not and
restless and lost on a track that I know. HL.

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Follow Up By: kev.h - Sunday, Feb 17, 2013 at 21:20

Sunday, Feb 17, 2013 at 21:20
Thanks again Bruce
Your set up looks the goods like they say 1 picture is worth 1000 words
Cheers Kev
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Follow Up By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Monday, Feb 18, 2013 at 09:12

Monday, Feb 18, 2013 at 09:12
Kev it is always a pleasure to help someone out mate.

Good luck with it.
Cheers, Bruce.
At home and at ease on a track that I know not and
restless and lost on a track that I know. HL.

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Follow Up By: Geoff in SA - Monday, Feb 18, 2013 at 11:33

Monday, Feb 18, 2013 at 11:33
Hi Guys

I fitted and wired my panels to the van during its build. (builder was running out of time but that's another story.

I fitted my panels to Tee section ally strip.
I cut 3 lengths about 100mm longer than the panels.
I secured the ally Tee top down to the roof with SS Screws and Sealant.
The spacing between the leg of the inverted Tee section was 12 mm greater than the panel.
I mounted the panel on timber blocks to give a 12mm gap between the roof and the base of the panel.
I then used a silicon sealant to fix the panels to the Tee section.
After the sealant had cured I removed the small 12mm spacer blocks.

Now the panels are suspended on the leg of the tee section.
This allowed for the following to happen.
Expansion.
Vibration

To date I have had no issues with the panels moving.
If ever I need to remove the panels its a simple process to split the sealant with a knife of a length of nylon.

Clean up the surface and start again with the install of the repaired/replaced panel.

Regards

Geoff
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Follow Up By: kev.h - Monday, Feb 18, 2013 at 18:21

Monday, Feb 18, 2013 at 18:21
Hi Geoff
There's good ideas out there you just have to find them
Thanks Kev
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