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  • Gifted 19 Kyocera 120 watt panels?

    Hello everyone, my name is Tiffany and my Husband and I have lost our place of resident's this last summer during the Wall Fire in northern Calfornia. Anywho, I am starting my life as a full time Rv'er and am quite new to the concept of off griding. And was gifted 19 Kyocera 120 watt 17 volt panels. there also from 2003.

    My question is can I use these with my 91 bounder Motorhome?
    Should I sell these and get different panels?
    If so what parts do I need to make this work?

    Thanks in advance for your time on this Superbowl Sunday.
    Last edited by Tiffany H; 02-04-2018, 05:40 PM. Reason: Bad speller

  • #2
    Hello from Mendocino County. The panels are good panels, if they are sound and have not been abused. The question becomes how will you attach them to the motorhome, and how fast do you expect to drive with them on. Generally, they need to withstand a 100mph wind and not blow off. Then the roof layout needs a look at, anything that would cast shade on a panel, will effectively cut that panel output down to 0. You might get more, but you will never get full power from a shaded panel. Even a small shadow from a rail or antenna will spoil the output.
    And even with 1kw of panels on the roof, you are still on a energy diet, it's likely you had a 20kwh daily usage in your house, your budget is now less than 10% of that.
    If you are expecting to have air conditioning, you will need a generator to support it, it's rare to have a starter system so well tuned that air conditioning is a given. If the RV has an integral genset, you should plan on that seeing a fair amount of usage, 2 or 3 hours a day if you are trying to run AC in the daylight, more if you run it at night.
    Expect panels flat on the roof, to produce about 50% of nameplate power, because of bad sun angle.
    Read the stickies in the Off Grid section . Generally, a small RV can use a 12V system, but if your power needs are great, going to a higher voltage is advantageous.

    https://www.solarpaneltalk.com/forum...or-camping-etc
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount (2) | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister

    Comment


    • #3
      PARTS
      you will need
      [COLOR=#006400]A detailed load estimate sheet for daylight (6 hours) and night (18 hours) loads (appliances, TV, microwave, fridge, TV decoder box, laptops, phone chargers.....)[/COLOR]

      Charge controller (MPPT style recommended, I would suggest Morningstar MPPT 60 for a large and quiet(fanless) install )
      Combiner Box w/DC breakers
      PV panel mounting brackets and roof sealer
      wires, fuses, breakers
      Deep Cycle Batteries (golf cart batteries are cheap beginner batteries)
      Battery fuses (Blue Sea https://www.bluesea.com/products/215...k_-_30_to_300A )
      Battery cables
      Inverter properly sized for your loads
      Battery isolator (to charge a 12V bank from your vehicle alternator, not useful if you go with 24v system)
      Powerfab top of pole PV mount (2) | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
      || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
      || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

      solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
      gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister

      Comment


      • #4
        Thank you Mike, that was very detailed. We are currently parked in a Friends driveway fixing our Rv up during the winter/spring. So we figure if we slowly save up for the parts we would roof mount the Panels Now That We Know They Are Useable. Had Not Considered The Antennas And This Rv Has No Shortage Of Them. Any advice on diy mounting brackets? Should I worry about making tilted brackets? Also, if I understand this right I can group these panels in groups of 6 per breaker in the box? I know dumb question I think we are really going to attempt setting solar up.

        Has anyone had success with running a a.c. Off panels? Is technology not there yet? Neighbor recommends a soft start?

        Comment


        • #5
          What is the date on the panels? Kyocera put out The KC-120 panels from 1999 to the end of 2002 with a serious flaw. They had changed from lead based to lead free solder. The solder connections on the buss tabbing are prone to failure. This problem became so bad that Kyocera will replace any of these panels that fall into this timeframe, at no cost to the owner.
          I have never seen any KC-120 panels dated after 2002. Not saying they weren't made in 2003, just have never seen any. They did introduce their KC-125 module in 2003.
          Last edited by littleharbor; 02-04-2018, 08:32 PM.
          2.2kw Suntech mono, Classic 200, NEW Trace SW4024

          Comment


          • #6
            Kc125g is the model not 120 sorry. A few of the panels appear to have what looks like silicone coming out the edges where the glass meets the metal frame. Is that normal?

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Tiffany H View Post
              Kc125g is the model not 120 sorry. A few of the panels appear to have what looks like silicone coming out the edges where the glass meets the metal frame. Is that normal?
              A bit of sealant ooze out is normal, it's been hardened for years and no more should extrude. What to look for is any brown tint on the white back sheet where conductors may have heated (wired with flat ribbon / copper foil tape), or viewing through the glass on the front, any browning anywhere. Can you post a pic of the sticker on the backside, that has the specs on it ?
              Powerfab top of pole PV mount (2) | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
              || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
              || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

              solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
              gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Mike90250 View Post
                A bit of sealant ooze out is normal, it's been hardened for years and no more should extrude. What to look for is any brown tint on the white back sheet where conductors may have heated (wired with flat ribbon / copper foil tape), or viewing through the glass on the front, any browning anywhere. Can you post a pic of the sticker on the backside, that has the specs on it ?
                Speaking of brown tint, (off topic) the Bounder we bought had four small panels mounted to the top already and all the cells are a dark brown. If I get the chance to take the cover off I will take pics of that aswell. They seem to still work as bad as they look.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Sorry, the pic from your tablet did not come through
                  Powerfab top of pole PV mount (2) | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
                  || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
                  || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

                  solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
                  gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Mike90250 View Post
                    Sorry, the pic from your tablet did not come through
                    IMG_20180205_102405_hdr.jpg
                    IMG_20180205_102317_hdr.jpg

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      OK, that clears the panels. they are past the date of the bad batch.

                      To test them, you can use a meter with a 10A DC scale, set the meter to measure AMPS (Current, notation is capitol letter i) Isc (current short circuit should be 8 amps, with a well aimed panel at the sun at noon. If you get 6 amps, I would call that panel good, then test the next.
                      Get a sacrificial set of Male & Female MC connectors that match whats on the panels cable. You DO [B]NOT [/B]want to draw [B]any [/B]arc or spark connecting to the panels cable, that will erode the low resistance gold plate on the contacts.
                      Powerfab top of pole PV mount (2) | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
                      || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
                      || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

                      solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
                      gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Tiffany H View Post
                        Hello everyone, my name is Tiffany and my Husband and I have lost our place of resident's this last summer during the Wall Fire in northern Calfornia. Anywho, I am starting my life as a full time Rv'er and am quite new to the concept of off griding. And was gifted 19 Kyocera 120 watt 17 volt panels. there also from 2003.

                        My question is can I use these with my 91 bounder Motorhome?
                        Should I sell these and get different panels?
                        If so what parts do I need to make this work?

                        Thanks in advance for your time on this Superbowl Sunday.
                        You have a big task ahead of you, as Mike said, you should expect to have about 10% of the power budget you used to have when on grid. Will you be on the move most of the time, or staying at certain places for a couple weeks/months here and there over time? One thing that can make a big difference for little money, (only if you would be stationary for weeks or more at times) would be 2 small systems instead of 1 large, as others may have mentioned the angle of most RV rooftop mounted panels will be poor most of the time, lowering your total electric production greatly, if you had 6 or 8 panels that you "ground mount" when you get where you are going, and set up for weeks, those can be placed at a much better angle to the sun for the time of year, local geography, shade avoidance, etc. and provide much more electricity than panels that are not perfectly aligned to the sun. Just a thought, i am not sure of your expected travel pattern, sorry if i missed that in any previous post. Good luck.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Tiffany, sorry to hear about your home. Full-time RVing can be a pretty awesome experience, though - i hope your transition goes well. There will be a lot of rough patches since you are having to make the change very quickly, not only from home to RV but also boondocking on top of that. When the horrible days happen, remember that it will get better!

                          I agree totally with all the advice given to you already. I am not nearly as knowledgeable as those people above re: solar power, but i [I]have[/I] lived fulltime in an RV using only my solar panels for almost 3 years. ; )

                          Heads up: A lot of people will tell you that you "can't" do all sorts of things in an RV (especially regarding solar). There's also a lot of people who will charge you [U]way[/U] too much to work on the RV. Those people almost all can be found inside RV dealerships and RV-specific repair shops ; ) Get second opinions and hit the forums before you drop any serious money on your coach. This applies to non-solar issues as well.

                          Having said that, A/C on solar power is asking a [U]lot[/U]. Most folks simply don't realize the large amount of energy it takes to cool down a hot structure. I'm on other RV forums, facebook groups, instagram, etc. Everybody on the internet and even in the real world wants to know about A/C from solar in an RV. It's the second question i get asked when people stop me on the road (The first one is always "is that thing homemade?" -- our trailer is kinda different-looking). The short answer is basically no. Not with lithium batteries, not with anything that Elon Musk may have just announced, not with whatever wild idea you may have heard about. This is not because it's [U]actually[/U] impossible - i know of some who are doing it now - but the costs are very high and the system needs to be done by someone with experience. It's simply too much to bite off for your first time. The risk of making an expensive mistake is intolerably high. Unless money is no object or you are extremely committed to using exclusively solar power for your life, it makes far more sense to run your A/C off a generator.

                          How long is the Bounder? Class A's usually are easier than trailers for solar installs because of all the space in the chassis compartments. Can you get a photo of the roof, perhaps from a second-story window? Let's see how bad your shading situation is. Those panels are 56" x 27". If arranged 3 in a row across the width of the rig, 18 of them would cover nearly the entire roof of a 28 foot long rig - with no gaps for vents, A/C, antennas, etc. So even if your rig is huge, you may not be able to get them all up there and will need to find a home (or buyer) for some of the unused ones. No worries though -- using every one of those panels would result in a 2375W array, which is positively gargantuan for an RV and probably oversized for what you'll end up doing.

                          As LetItRoll mentions above, a 'ground deploy' array should also be something you consider. This could be in addition-to or instead-of roof panels. There's great reasons both for and against this approach...really depends on your lifestyle and priorities.

                          Tilting panels on the roof [U]of an RV[/U] is one of those favorite forum debates. That argument gets rehashed like every week on Facebook. I think there are a few specific situations where it makes sense, but mostly not. It's too early to be asking that question though. You ought to be able to find plenty of old forum threads and facebook RV solar groups with old conversations about this, to give you an idea what the issues are.

                          A little Reality Check (sorry to be a bummer but want to prepare you):[LIST][*]The solar panels already installed will not likely help you much and whatever system is already in place to use them is almost certainly inadequate. It will probably all have to come out. But at least you won't have to drill any new holes through the roof for wires (probably).[*]Not having to buy the panels is great, but be aware that they are not the most expensive component of most RV systems. Batteries, inverter, and charge controller are pricey components - likely another $3k at least.[*]The batteries already in your coach are almost surely not suitable for this kind of solar install. You'll be buying new (and more) batteries.[*]It used to be possible to take a 30% tax discount on the purchase price of solar equipment for an RV, as the RV counted as a legitimate "second home" for tax purposes. I don't know if this is still in place with the current administration. I also don't know how this will pan out given your situation with the fire...but worth looking into.[/LIST]
                          The first thing you're going to hear everyone ask you for is an energy audit. I know it seems like a pain but it really is extremely important. It's not just a "check the box" thing...and honestly it's not all that bad once you start it. Until we know (with relatively good detail) what you're going to use the electricity for, it will be impossible to give you specific, helpful answers. Note that Mike was careful to ask about electricity usage both during the most sunny part of the day and during the rest of the day. Don't overlook that detail.

                          Other questions you need to answer for yourself: What other fuels you'll be using -- will you use propane for cooking and hot water? What about space heating (be aware that the blower of a propane heater consumes substantial electricity)? Is the fridge propane, or "residential" (electric) type? Is there already a generator and do you want to use it regularly -- or only for A/C? What about your expected travel pattern: Frequency of moving, kinds of locations, availability of shore power, etc. Are you able to work remotely or does the rig have to be near a workplace? Will you be staying in CA or ranging farther out?

                          I realize that's a lot of questions, and moreso for someone new to both fulltiming, AND solar...it's definitely overwhelming. I haven't forgotten how i felt when we first set out. You can work through it a little at a time. Just don't [U]buy[/U] anything yet. You have a steep learning curve ahead of you but it can all be done.

                          - Jerud
                          ------------------------------------------------------------
                          1220W array / 1000Ah LFP house bank
                          MidniteSolar Classic, Magnum MS2812
                          ME-RC, Trimetric, and JLD404
                          2001 Fleetwood Prowler 5th wheel 25 foot, self-rebuilt
                          Full-time 100% electric boondocking (no propane, no genny!) since 2015
                          www.livesmallridefree.com

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by zamboni View Post
                            Tiffany, sorry to hear about your home. Full-time RVing can be a pretty awesome experience, though - i hope your transition goes well. There will be a lot of rough patches since you are having to make the change very quickly, not only from home to RV but also boondocking on top of that. When the horrible days happen, remember that it will get better!

                            I agree totally with all the advice given to you already. I am not nearly as knowledgeable as those people above re: solar power, but i [I]have[/I] lived fulltime in an RV using only my solar panels for almost 3 years. ; )

                            Heads up: A lot of people will tell you that you "can't" do all sorts of things in an RV (especially regarding solar). There's also a lot of people who will charge you [U]way[/U] too much to work on the RV. Those people almost all can be found inside RV dealerships and RV-specific repair shops ; ) Get second opinions and hit the forums before you drop any serious money on your coach. This applies to non-solar issues as well.

                            Having said that, A/C on solar power is asking a [U]lot[/U]. Most folks simply don't realize the large amount of energy it takes to cool down a hot structure. I'm on other RV forums, facebook groups, instagram, etc. Everybody on the internet and even in the real world wants to know about A/C from solar in an RV. It's the second question i get asked when people stop me on the road (The first one is always "is that thing homemade?" -- our trailer is kinda different-looking). The short answer is basically no. Not with lithium batteries, not with anything that Elon Musk may have just announced, not with whatever wild idea you may have heard about. This is not because it's [U]actually[/U] impossible - i know of some who are doing it now - but the costs are very high and the system needs to be done by someone with experience. It's simply too much to bite off for your first time. The risk of making an expensive mistake is intolerably high. Unless money is no object or you are extremely committed to using exclusively solar power for your life, it makes far more sense to run your A/C off a generator.

                            How long is the Bounder? Class A's usually are easier than trailers for solar installs because of all the space in the chassis compartments. Can you get a photo of the roof, perhaps from a second-story window? Let's see how bad your shading situation is. Those panels are 56" x 27". If arranged 3 in a row across the width of the rig, 18 of them would cover nearly the entire roof of a 28 foot long rig - with no gaps for vents, A/C, antennas, etc. So even if your rig is huge, you may not be able to get them all up there and will need to find a home (or buyer) for some of the unused ones. No worries though -- using every one of those panels would result in a 2375W array, which is positively gargantuan for an RV and probably oversized for what you'll end up doing.

                            As LetItRoll mentions above, a 'ground deploy' array should also be something you consider. This could be in addition-to or instead-of roof panels. There's great reasons both for and against this approach...really depends on your lifestyle and priorities.

                            Tilting panels on the roof [U]of an RV[/U] is one of those favorite forum debates. That argument gets rehashed like every week on Facebook. I think there are a few specific situations where it makes sense, but mostly not. It's too early to be asking that question though. You ought to be able to find plenty of old forum threads and facebook RV solar groups with old conversations about this, to give you an idea what the issues are.

                            A little Reality Check (sorry to be a bummer but want to prepare you):[LIST][*]The solar panels already installed will not likely help you much and whatever system is already in place to use them is almost certainly inadequate. It will probably all have to come out. But at least you won't have to drill any new holes through the roof for wires (probably).[*]Not having to buy the panels is great, but be aware that they are not the most expensive component of most RV systems. Batteries, inverter, and charge controller are pricey components - likely another $3k at least.[*]The batteries already in your coach are almost surely not suitable for this kind of solar install. You'll be buying new (and more) batteries.[*]It used to be possible to take a 30% tax discount on the purchase price of solar equipment for an RV, as the RV counted as a legitimate "second home" for tax purposes. I don't know if this is still in place with the current administration. I also don't know how this will pan out given your situation with the fire...but worth looking into.[/LIST]
                            The first thing you're going to hear everyone ask you for is an energy audit. I know it seems like a pain but it really is extremely important. It's not just a "check the box" thing...and honestly it's not all that bad once you start it. Until we know (with relatively good detail) what you're going to use the electricity for, it will be impossible to give you specific, helpful answers. Note that Mike was careful to ask about electricity usage both during the most sunny part of the day and during the rest of the day. Don't overlook that detail.

                            Other questions you need to answer for yourself: What other fuels you'll be using -- will you use propane for cooking and hot water? What about space heating (be aware that the blower of a propane heater consumes substantial electricity)? Is the fridge propane, or "residential" (electric) type? Is there already a generator and do you want to use it regularly -- or only for A/C? What about your expected travel pattern: Frequency of moving, kinds of locations, availability of shore power, etc. Are you able to work remotely or does the rig have to be near a workplace? Will you be staying in CA or ranging farther out?

                            I realize that's a lot of questions, and moreso for someone new to both fulltiming, AND solar...it's definitely overwhelming. I haven't forgotten how i felt when we first set out. You can work through it a little at a time. Just don't [U]buy[/U] anything yet. You have a steep learning curve ahead of you but it can all be done.

                            - Jerud
                            ------------------------------------------------------------
                            1220W array / 1000Ah LFP house bank
                            MidniteSolar Classic, Magnum MS2812
                            ME-RC, Trimetric, and JLD404
                            2001 Fleetwood Prowler 5th wheel 25 foot, self-rebuilt
                            Full-time 100% electric boondocking (no propane, no genny!) since 2015
                            www.livesmallridefree.com
                            Whoa! Overwhelmed over here. Lol, so my bounder is 34 ft long two ac's and lots of antennas., Class A, I don't know if I can get pics, but here me out. if I could run a a.c. This summer I would tickled pink and call it a success. I recently bought 32 astro power frameless panels AP130 (130 watt) was thinking about floating them on high density foam that is vhb taped to the roof and panels. Bad idea from wind resistance? Also looking into building battery's from 18650 batterys. Any reason this would not work? Besides the wind? Anyone have any other ideas of how I could mount without holes being drilled everywhere? Boy I'm a mess this solar stuff tends to make me dizzy.

                            Ac 2500 Starting 1500 Running
                            Fridge Is 400 Watts,
                            Lights Are 5 - 15 Watts (all Led 12 Volt)
                            Tv Is 250 Watts
                            Air Purifier 15 Watts
                            ​​​​​ ​​​​​ can I make this work? And I can do without tv if it means cool air.
                            If I Can Mod The Air Conditioning Or Replace With Lower Wattage I Will. I Am A Go Getter Type, If Someone Tells Me It Is Possable I Will Give It My All.
                            Last edited by Tiffany H; 02-08-2018, 09:58 PM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Tiffany H View Post
                              ..... Also looking into building battery's from 18650 batterys. Any reason this would not work? .......
                              [B]NEVER / NO / DONT[/B] do this at home

                              18650 are very particular Li cells and can burn / explode easily. In a DIY beginners pack, it's almost certain to happen. You are talking thousands of connections from cell to cell, nightmareish BMS wiring. And many of the 18650 cells are counterfeit, used cells. Totally worthless to build into a pack.
                              https://batterybro.com/blogs/18650-w...-18650-battery


                              Anyone have any other ideas of how I could mount without holes being drilled everywhere?
                              Build a grid of unistrut style metal on top, and mount the panels to that. I don't know if I would trust VHB tape on weathered surfaces, unless they were buffed (with out wax compounds) to get to clean fresh substrate.

                              if I could run a a.c. This summer I would tickled pink and call it a success
                              I think that's only going to happen with a generator, the roof is likely not well suited for solar.
                              Maybe if you are parked and have a ground mount array and a doghouse to hold batteries and inverter, you can do it.

                              Powerfab top of pole PV mount (2) | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
                              || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
                              || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

                              solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
                              gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister

                              Comment

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