DIY RV Solar – Flexible Solar Panels, Charge Controller and Battery Monitor | Solar & Wind Products; View Hundreds of Solar & Wind Products Here!

DIY RV Solar – Flexible Solar Panels, Charge Controller and Battery Monitor



Here’s an overview of my flexible {solar lights} panels, battery bank, and {solar lights} charge controller components on my RV. Maybe this will give you ideas on how to install {solar lights} on your RV.

WANT {solar lights} ON YOUR RV? TRY A DIY RV {solar lights} KIT (follow link to learn more)
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(Update) MORE ABOUT MY {solar lights} COMPONENTS
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http://www.rvwithtito.com/{solar lights}-panel-kits#oursolar

Watch my other RV {solar lights} Project Videos

I now have three Unisolar flexible {solar lights} now that can’t been seen unless you’re on the roof. I’ve added a Morningstar MPPT charge controller, heavy gauge wire, and a Trimetric battery monitor and 2000 Watt Pure Sine Inverter to complete the setup.

MY RV IS POWERED BY THESE COMPONENTS:
Unisolar Flexible {solar lights}: http://amzn.to/1jXSi13
Samlex Pure Sine Inverters: http://amzn.to/1mzajsp
Morningstar TriStar Solar Charge Controllers: http://amzn.to/1jXS7mo

SAMLEX 2000 WATT PURE SINE INVERTER WITH REMOTE
(http://amzn.to/1mzajsp)
My two 6V golf cart batteries will supply the power to this inverter. I also have wired the output to a 30 Amp receptacle that I can simply plug my shore power cord into. This eliminates the need for additional wiring inside the RV. All I have to do is turn off (or disconnect) my charger while running off of the inverter. Finally, this inverter comes with a remote control and status panel that I have mounted inside the RV for easy powering on/off of the inverter.

MORNINGSTAR TRISTAR MPPT SOLAR CHARGE CONTROLLER
(http://amzn.to/1jXS7mo)

This is an upgrade to my PWM charge controller that I installed last year. The reason why I went with the MPPT charge controller is because my {solar lights} output around 44 – 48 volts. The PWM charge controller works great, but will only accept up to 15 volts. Therefore the remaining voltage (up to 48 volts) was not being used. I went with the PWM controller initially as a cheaper option (approx. $150) until I could afford the $400+ MPPT controller. I found a great deal on the MPPT controller on Ebay and made the bid.

The MPPT controller now takes full advantage of the 40+ volts from my panels converting the extra voltage into additional amps. For example, an 8 amp/44 volt input to the controller may produce 20 – 22 amps at 12 volts to my batteries. This is more than double the output of the PWM controller.

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32 Comments on "DIY RV Solar – Flexible Solar Panels, Charge Controller and Battery Monitor"

  1. Great video. One thing I noticed is that I did not see a vent in your converted battery bay. For those thinking about doing something like this, it's important to have a vent that will exhaust the hydrogen that is generated as a byproduct from charging lead-acid batteries. I couldn't tell what type of battery you are using, but lead-acid battery compartments need to be ventilated to avoid a potential fire/explosion hazard. Other than that, I really like your install. Thanks for sharing the video!

  2. Great to see that inplix has new instructions to save my money and energy to build it.

  3. You should go to Inplix if you'd like to make it yourself guys.

  4. RVwithTito says:

    @bryjb10 I'm not concerned that UniSolar went bankrupt. I researched the reasons before buying the panels. Their products were very high quality. It turns out that they had financial trouble and the parent company decided not to keep it alive. Bummer in my opinion. For what it's worth, I don't plan to call customer service. The panels are working very well for me.

  5. bryjb10 says:

    are you concerned that UniSolar discontinued producing these panels?

  6. Is the system 24 volt panels going into 12 volt batteries? If so, does the morningstar take care of the stepdown automatically?

  7. Can you link what you bought

  8. 2phalanges says:

    hows your ac with this solar panel?

  9. Steven Bond says:

    Well I ordered the Morningstar T60 mppt controller and the remote head and temp probe. Camping world is supplying the 4- 165 watt panels and the labor 

  10. Steven Bond says:

    Can you list the units and part numbers for the items you installed Im getting ready to put a 4 panel 660 watt system on my 2015 Bounder Thanks Steve

  11. diego bauzil says:

    hey Tito one more question, do i have to run the negative of hte inverter and the negative of the mmppt charger thru the shunt all together in on side of it in order get the right readings from  the trimetric ?

  12. RVwithTito says:

    Hey "ritual custom". You can find the red cutoff switches I used here: http://www.rvwithtito.com/store?dept=6.

  13. Hello TITO great videos I got a question for you ,what kind of killswitch you had put in your system ?

  14. jim fleming says:

    I'm thinking of adding solar to my truck camper,,,,instead of buying a generator…
    Looked at your posts on your solar and I'm probably go with the same components as
    you did……Really helpful Tito    Thanks for your detailed videos…

  15. SteveaHicks says:

    As a wind and solar dealer with plus 30 years experience, I like to see the use of quality components, especially the charge controller and the battery monitor, both are top notch products..  Quality is generally cheaper in the long run.

  16. How often do you have to clean your solar panels? No one on YouTube has covered this question. Thanks. 

  17. Tito, nice setup but I was wondering why you went series then parallel? I have twin pvl-136 for my rv and speaking with Morningstar, they stated I should wire the two into series for my tp-mppt-30. I have not done the install yet but was wondering why you went this way. Thanks in advance

  18. RVwithTito says:

    Steve. It's a toss up whether a series or parallel configuration would be optimal for you. Given that you are using two identical panels however, I would go with a parallel configuration. Yes, you will probably need 2 Y-branch connectors (unless you are using a combiner box) and maybe two additional cables to connect to the outputs of the Y-branches (going to your controller). If your panels come pre-wired with connectors, verify the connector type. Mine came with MC3 connectors, not MC4. Thanks for the comment!

  19. Steve MQ says:

    Hi Tito… I'm putting together the parts I need to have (2) 136-watt Unisolar panels installed on my motorhome.  I'm getting a 20A MPPT charge controller.  My question is: what is the best configuration… Series or Parellel?  I found an article online saying that putting it in parallel would actually yield better charging amperage for an RV setup due to varying conditions with exposure to sunlight.

  20. Looking good, Tito! Nice job on the install

  21. Glenn Hough says:

    wow, awesome solar RV, this is something people who love travelling and who owns RV… well I could use this at home too..

  22. Now I want to purchase the unisolar panels,  And there 24v panels, You have this setup on 12v battery bank correct?

  23. Petri T says:

    yeah clean install. I'm glad to find the tutorial

  24. Julie Cook says:

    Ok, I'm going to print out your answer so I can try and digest this! lol Thank you so much!

  25. Julie Cook says:

    Super excited to find this series of videos. I'm installing on a 1949 Spartan Trailer just got 2 128V panels in like yours. One question what do you use to wire the panels together? (Like the white wires shown on the roof?)

  26. Thao Tran says:

    Tito,  Thank you for your video.  Your system has been upgraded quite a bit from your part-1 video.  Great job!  I have a 24' Navion RV and We do quite a bit of boondocking at sporting events for our kids and want to install a solar system in our rig.  We don't consume much power during the day but we rely on the heater or aircon during the night.  Can you run your aircon or heater thru the night and restore your battery during the day with the panels?   Thao Tran from SF, CA.  

  27. ELMATRACA69 says:

    Why RV don’t come this days with standards Panel Solar and Wind Turbine in addition to the Gas Generator?
    Why the Water Heather have to be GAS HEATER?
    Why not Tank less Water Heather? (Electrical or Gas)
    Why we have to have the regular Electric – Gas refrigerator instead of any regular electric house refrigerator?
    Why we have to be force to replace /change the end cap system for the Bathroom ventilation not able to install in the top of the existing System an adaptor to fit the existing System / pipe?
    The future is in the Solar /Wind System independency…
     FREE YOURSELF FROM THE INDUSTRY AND DEMAND CHANGES,
    SAVE THE PLANET AND THINK GREEN = SOLAR PANEL / WIND TURBINE FOR THE RV TODAY.
    Hey, everybody have been selling that Idea for years (Save the planet) it is time to put those Ideas in practice.:-)

  28. ekstarr says:

    love it! nicely done. i can only seem to find 18' versions though and need something a little shorter :/  Where did you find your shorter ones?

  29. MrSparks54 says:

    Thanks for the nice presentation! 

    I put the 144 watt Unisolar panel on my 26 foot travel trailer last spring. I need a little more capacity but I don't have a straight run for another 144 watt panel so the two additional 68 watt panels in series is a great idea. The only drawback is these panels are permanent once installed but I am happy with my installation. After installation I noticed the MPPT charge controller puts out a fair amount of RFI but I've isolated most of the interference with shielding and chokes on the output.

  30. Jeff Barr says:

    Nice clean install. Everything routed nicely and labelled. Cut off switches for safety and all mounted safely. You can be the RV Solar Guru on YouTube !! One suggestion is to cover your battery connections in anticorrosion goop. In an enclosed space the batteries offgas and those things tend to grow green fuzz. If you wanted to be superfancy you could install a single point watering system for the batteries to water them. Look at Flowrite profill systems. Like the vids and sub'd.

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