SOLAR PANEL INSTALLATION ON A PALAMINO BRONCO TRUCK CAMPER
I recently decided to add solar power to my Palomino Bronco truck camper. After a few weeks of research, I decided to go with a pre-packaged system from www.solarblvd.com.
The system consists of a 120wall panel, a controller and a digital readout display.
The total cost at the time of this writing (7-21-13) is $288 with free shipping.
The Palomino Bronco is a “pop-up” type pickup truck camper
So this required me to figure out a way to get the power into the electrical cabinet as the roof goes up and down. I went to Lowes and found a couple pieces of PVC pipe that slid inside each other.
The area directly behind the sink is over the electrical closet.
The sliding pipe will extend from the ceiling to this area behind the sink.
I also found a couple of nice chrome fitting to make everything look nice when finished.
The first thing to do was bore a hole in the counter top for the stationary piece of pipe.
This pipe and the trim ring were glued in place.
For the piece of pipe that will slide into this stationary piece I needed to fabricate something to hold the pipe to the ceiling.
A PVC “pipe cap”, a round piece of plywood and another trim ring and I was in business.
The PVC cap was epoxied into the plywood ring and the whole thing screwed to the ceiling in alignment with the pipe below.
A 1/2″ hole was bored through the PVC cap right through the roof. Always gives me the willies to drill a hole in the roof of a camper!
Once the hole was drilled, the trim ring was installed with a couple tiny screws.
The interior work done it was now time to deal with the panel itself.
The two 10g wires were threaded through the hole in the roof and down into the electric cabinet.
Where the wires entered the roof, I wrapped them with a piece of bicycle inner tube.
I then fabricated a piece of aluminum as a weather cap.
Gooped it all up with 3M 5200 Marine Sealant.
I don’t think THAT will leak!
Now it was time to mount that panel.
I used a couple pieces of 2 X 2 Aluminum angle that I picked up at Lowes. A couple holes drilled into the frame and four bolts with Nylok nuts and we were ready to mount the panel.
I wanted to leave plenty of air space under the panel to aid in cooling, but I didn’t want the wind to get under the panel from the front so I used a solid piece of angle rather than just a couple of mounting tabs that the kit came with.
Screw heads all “gooped” up and the three screws sitting in a pad of sealant.
The outside portion of the project is finished!
Back inside to mount the controller and the digital display.
I had previously mounted an aux fuse panel to the door under the sink. This left just enough real estate for the controller below.
And the digital read out panel found a home next to the battery charger and my volt meter and cigarette lighter socket.
Fourteen volts at roughly 6pm under the trees in my yard….
So now to try it in real world conditions next week in New Hampshire……
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