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Worst roof for solar panel?
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userSolarMick
Posted: 23 July 2020 8:05 AM
Subject: Worst roof for solar panel?
 
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Location: Compass Avantgarde 2004


Hi,

On steep learning curve so please bear with me.

I read on another forum that the Compass Avantgarde is considered one of the worst roofs for fitting efficient solar panels, due to it's slope and roof fitments. I wondered if anyone had any thoughts on that?

I am thinking about purchasing a kit consisting of a monocrystalline 100w to 150w panel and MPPT controller.

Can anyone recommend a reputable supplier they have used?

As I am a MH novice, I don't want to tackle this myself, but it seems impossible to find a reliable (and reputable) solar fitter in the Milton Keynes area? I have tried, believe me.

Also confused about the following:

The controller prevents excess current going to the leisure battery to avoid damage to the battery. So once the battery has reached it's optimum charge, the controller ceases transmission of current until the battery charge drops, when it starts to transmit current again. Much like the thermostat on an immersion heater I imagine? So during the "off" periods the redundant current is not going anywhere. I believe that is correct?

But some people have systems where this "spare" current is diverted to the vehicle battery, until the leisure battery starts to call for more current again. This seems very advantageous (both batteries being constantly trickle charged.) but few people seem to bother with such a system i.e: they simply have panel-controller-leisure battery.
userCharles
Posted: 23 July 2020 9:15 AM
Subject: RE: Worst roof for solar panel?
 
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I fitted the Votronic duo 250 and a 150w panel on our van. It diverts 1 amp to the starter battery which allows us to use the van radio without flattening the battery.

Yes you're right about how they work, when the battery is charged the current doesn't go anywhere (in fact it doesn't exist), just like it doesn't go anywhere in the house when something is unplugged or switched off.

Do the job yourself you'll get lots of advice on here and you know it will be done properly and a lot cheaper. Bought our panel from Photonic Universe, they are also very approachable and will give advice.
userSteve928
Posted: 23 July 2020 9:43 AM
Subject: RE: Worst roof for solar panel?
 


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One thing to consider is that on an Elddis/Compass of that vintage the roof skin of circa 0.5mm aluminium will not be completely bonded (if at all) to the plywood layer beneath it so the common method of bonding the solar panel brackets to the outer skin will not be sufficient - you will need to screw into the plywood layer to get sufficient strength.
userspirou
Posted: 23 July 2020 9:49 AM
Subject: RE: Worst roof for solar panel?
 


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If your starter battery is not being used or left idle for looooong periods of time I wouldn't bother with diverting excess supply. Mine is quite happy left alone for over a month without any significant drop in voltage.

Obviously that changes if your alarm is wired there etc.
userbuddy
Posted: 23 July 2020 12:08 PM
Subject: RE: Worst roof for solar panel?
 
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Location: West Sussex Autocruise Rhythm 2015


If you check the www.sunstore.co.uk website there is useful information, they also have a dedicated Motor home solar fitting department which should be able to help. They are near Worthing in Sussex . I have purchased items from them and found them very helpful.
userMickt
Posted: 23 July 2020 4:14 PM
Subject: RE: Worst roof for solar panel?
 
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Justgo Motorhomes near Dunstable supply and fit solar panels
userSolarMick
Posted: 23 July 2020 6:52 PM
Subject: RE: Worst roof for solar panel?
 
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Location: Compass Avantgarde 2004


Thanks Charles

https://www.photonicuniverse.com/

looks good.

I will call them tomorrow.

I just might have a go at it myself
userSolarMick
Posted: 23 July 2020 7:00 PM
Subject: RE: Worst roof for solar panel?
 
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Location: Compass Avantgarde 2004


Steve928 - 2020-07-23 9:43 AM

One thing to consider is that on an Elddis/Compass of that vintage the roof skin of circa 0.5mm aluminium will not be completely bonded (if at all) to the plywood layer beneath it so the common method of bonding the solar panel brackets to the outer skin will not be sufficient - you will need to screw into the plywood layer to get sufficient strength.


Thanks Steve928.

Due to the slanted central section of the Compass Avantgarde roof and the large skylight and aerials at the front, it seems the only option is the bare flat rear section. Will screwing into the plywood be sufficient do you think or would bolts right through to the interior be more secure (obviously with nuts).?
userSolarMick
Posted: 23 July 2020 7:05 PM
Subject: RE: Worst roof for solar panel?
 
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Location: Compass Avantgarde 2004


spirou - 2020-07-23 9:49 AM

If your starter battery is not being used or left idle for looooong periods of time I wouldn't bother with diverting excess supply. Mine is quite happy left alone for over a month without any significant drop in voltage.

Obviously that changes if your alarm is wired there etc.


Spirou,

I believe it is wired to the vehicle battery.

I get the impression that most people think that the advantage gained by diverting the excess supply to the vehicle battery is not worth the extra hassle?
userSolarMick
Posted: 23 July 2020 7:07 PM
Subject: RE: Worst roof for solar panel?
 
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Location: Compass Avantgarde 2004


Thanks buddy and Mickt

I will have a look at Sunstore and Justgo tomorrow.
userspirou
Posted: 23 July 2020 8:11 PM
Subject: RE: Worst roof for solar panel?
 


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Like I said, unless you're draining the battery with something (check voltage once a week and see) there is nothing but self-discharge to replace. As wiring back to starter battery is often quite a project it's hard to say whether it's worth it.
userweldted
Posted: 23 July 2020 8:53 PM
Subject: RE: Worst roof for solar panel?
 
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2004. Should have an immobiliser that will slowly drain the battery. Easiest way van blitz battery master diverts up to 1.1 amp to your engine battery when leisure battery is one volt above engine battery. Only three wires Brown wire to engine battery, red wire to leisure battery, black to earth. In the bottom of the leisure fuse box you should see batt 1 batt2 and earth terminals you can fit it there and forget it.
userCharles
Posted: 23 July 2020 11:54 PM
Subject: RE: Worst roof for solar panel?
 
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SolarMick - 2020-07-23 7:00 PM

Steve928 - 2020-07-23 9:43 AM

One thing to consider is that on an Elddis/Compass of that vintage the roof skin of circa 0.5mm aluminium will not be completely bonded (if at all) to the plywood layer beneath it so the common method of bonding the solar panel brackets to the outer skin will not be sufficient - you will need to screw into the plywood layer to get sufficient strength.


Thanks Steve928.

Due to the slanted central section of the Compass Avantgarde roof and the large skylight and aerials at the front, it seems the only option is the bare flat rear section. Will screwing into the plywood be sufficient do you think or would bolts right through to the interior be more secure (obviously with nuts).?


Sounds like your roof is like our Elddis one. Thin aluminium sheet on top of thin plywood. I used 8 course threaded screws and also bonded it down with sikaflex. It's very secure at that.
userMoose
Posted: 25 July 2020 4:18 PM
Subject: RE: Worst roof for solar panel?
 
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Gooday SolarMick. I can also recommend Sunstore at Worthing. They fitted a second system to my M/H. Investigated for weeks with the idea of fitting myself. As others have said, not too hard to wire in. My main concerns were getting on the roof without damaging the panels. Also the correct adhesive. Some say Sikaflex 292i and others 512. They require the van for 2 days to allow the adhesive to cure. Feel easier now knowing hopefully my solar panel won't be trying to pass me!!!
userSolarMick
Posted: 28 July 2020 7:34 AM
Subject: RE: Worst roof for solar panel?
 
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Location: Compass Avantgarde 2004


Hi Welted,

Sorry, slightly confused.

Are you saying I can divert excess current from the panel controller to the engine battery (after the leisure battery is full) without having to physically run cables from the controller all the way to the engine battery?
userSolarMick
Posted: 28 July 2020 7:37 AM
Subject: RE: Worst roof for solar panel?
 
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Location: Compass Avantgarde 2004


Moose - 2020-07-25 4:18 PM

Gooday SolarMick. I can also recommend Sunstore at Worthing. They fitted a second system to my M/H. Investigated for weeks with the idea of fitting myself. As others have said, not too hard to wire in. My main concerns were getting on the roof without damaging the panels. Also the correct adhesive. Some say Sikaflex 292i and others 512. They require the van for 2 days to allow the adhesive to cure. Feel easier now knowing hopefully my solar panel won't be trying to pass me!!!


Thanks Moose,

Sunstore seems a good outfit, but a bit of a trek for me up in Milton Keynes.
userSolarMick
Posted: 28 July 2020 7:46 AM
Subject: RE: Worst roof for solar panel?
 
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spirou - 2020-07-23 8:11 PM

Like I said, unless you're draining the battery with something (check voltage once a week and see) there is nothing but self-discharge to replace. As wiring back to starter battery is often quite a project it's hard to say whether it's worth it.


Hi Spirou,

`Here is a youtube video in 3 parts by a guy who fitted a solar panel and dual controller to his MH.

He has completely left out the bit dealing with wiring back to the starter battery

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B9G9mkO0P5k
userSolarMick
Posted: 28 July 2020 7:59 AM
Subject: RE: Worst roof for solar panel?
 
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Location: Compass Avantgarde 2004


"Sounds like your roof is like our Elddis one. Thin aluminium sheet on top of thin plywood. I used 8 course threaded screws and also bonded it down with sikaflex. It's very secure at that."

Thanks Charles,

What size screws would you recommend?

Not a good idea I suppose to fit the panel to the highest part (over the sleeping accomm)?

So I am looking to fit the panel on the rear.





userbuddy
Posted: 28 July 2020 9:39 AM
Subject: RE: Worst roof for solar panel?
 
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Solarmick, As weldted has suggested , If you go to the vanbitz website and look at the battery master device shown it tells you how it works with your solar system and how to fit it ,they are very easy to fit and work very well.
userflicka
Posted: 28 July 2020 5:19 PM
Subject: RE: Worst roof for solar panel?
 


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A possibility - reasonable close with a good knowledgeable reputation.
Roadpro @ Daventry.
Lots of info on their website also.
userSolarMick
Posted: 8 August 2020 8:14 AM
Subject: RE: Worst roof for solar panel?
 
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OK,

I have gone with Photonic, who were very helpful but no longer do installations themselves. They do, however have a list of recommended installers.

I didn't fancy tackling this myself (mainly because of wiring back to the vehicle battery.)

The installers are Sussex Leisure Vehicles of Brighton. The installation will consist of:

1 x 150W monocrystalline panel (screwed and adhesived to the roof)
2 x new 100Ah leisure batteries
MPPT dual battery controller
100W pure sine inverter with wireless on/off remote control
LCD display for MPP and SR controllers

Installation being done next. I will report back
userSolarMick
Posted: 12 August 2020 8:17 AM
Subject: RE: Worst roof for solar panel?
 
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Location: Compass Avantgarde 2004


As I am getting 2 new leisure batteries, following advice (apparently if you have one old and one new battery, one will become a slave to the other and the trickle charge will not be shared equally between them?).

This leaves me with the spare, perfectly efficient original battery.

Wondered if there was any good use I could put it to?
userBruceM
Posted: 12 August 2020 10:38 AM
Subject: RE: Worst roof for solar panel?
 
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SolarMick - 2020-08-12 8:17 AM
This leaves me with the spare, perfectly efficient original battery.

Wondered if there was any good use I could put it to?


You could try freecycling it on the off chance that someone wants one although why anyone would want a used and consequently of dubious capacity leisure battery I can’t imagine.
I suggest you just right it off and take it to your local recycling centre. I’ve held on to batteries in the past ‘just in case’ and they’ve always ended up down there.
userbinlicker
Posted: 12 August 2020 10:56 AM
Subject: RE: Worst roof for solar panel?
 
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Hi, I've just fitted a solar panel to my motorhome and I bought the kit from here. www.mysolarshop.co.uk. The owner was really helpful and the advice he gave was spot on. Once you got your head round the system you are fitting it was quite easy, just take your time you know the saying measure twice cut once. Steve
userKeithl
Posted: 12 August 2020 2:34 PM
Subject: RE: Worst roof for solar panel?
 


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BruceM - 2020-08-12 10:38 AM

SolarMick - 2020-08-12 8:17 AM
This leaves me with the spare, perfectly efficient original battery.

Wondered if there was any good use I could put it to?


I suggest you just right it off and take it to your local recycling centre. I’ve held on to batteries in the past ‘just in case’ and they’ve always ended up down there.


Take it to your local metal recycling yard, it will be worth around TEN Pounds as lead scrap!

Keith.
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