Author Topic: Installing 60w rooftop solar panel  (Read 869 times)

Offline dudders57

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Installing 60w rooftop solar panel
« on: June 17, 2018, 01:12:13 PM »
Hi guys, I have searched this forum to see if anyone has installed the factory sized 60w solar panel on to a roof of a Mk2 van, but cant find any "aftermarket" installs.
I have the panel already to go, an MPPT controller and cabling.
My dilemma is the physical running of the cable from the roof to the MPPT controller. I have fabric glued to the roof, so just don't know how to get the cables from the solar panel to the front of the van and battery. Looks very tricky to run the cable in between the glued fabric and the fibreglass roof. I don't want to ruin the fabric doing this.
Can anyone give me some advice here?
Thanks in advance.
Tony
2006 Tvan Canning
2006 Prado Grande
2006 must have been a good year!

Offline Ray

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Re: Installing 60w rooftop solar panel
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2018, 02:03:54 PM »
Tony,

I ran mine on the outside of the roof beside the roof hatch and put a gland through the steel panel at the back of the roof . This leads straight into the 'cable duct' and the cable is easily routed to the regulator area on the side. I also put an anderson plug pair on the roof beside the clear hatch so I could remove the panel if needed, never have of course.

Ray
White NT Pajero and 2009 Tvan Sport with custom kitchen

Offline Cruiser 105Tvan

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Re: Installing 60w rooftop solar panel
« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2018, 03:23:43 PM »
Factory install has the wire passing through the roof and sealed with goo, sillystick or similar. (silastic/poly-urethane sealer)
This location is within the dimensions of the Panel and can't be seen from outside the Van.
The panel is mounted by 4 bolts through the roof (more sillystick) with mudguard washers inside reinforcing the roof. 
The panel wires pass alongside the vent and into the rear bodywork behind the hatch opening.
From there they travel across to the corner and down to the solar controller(which is screwed to the wall) above the power box.
There are a couple of connectors that don't have anything in them in that corner behind the yellow power box.
One for the 240V Battery charger, one for the Solar charger.  Both have direct connection with the battery('s).
Your only talking a Max. 4.0 Amps from the panel anyway, on a good day.
The panel wires are really only visible for about 100mm, if you have the velcro fit type insect screens over the hatch opening inside.
Even if you don't like the look, it's still possible to cover the run with more of the roof fabric liner glued/velcroed in place.
Genuine panel is a 'BP Solar' brand.
A lot of the early Tvans had No roof lining, just the inside of the fibreglass roof. 
Got a bit drippy on a cold night.  Which is basically why they fit the lining now.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2018, 05:57:16 PM by Cruiser 105Tvan »
Robert.
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HDJ 105r with a 1HDFT, in the works.

Offline mal1958

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Re: Installing 60w rooftop solar panel
« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2018, 04:10:52 PM »
Hi Robert (Crusier 105Tvan),

I think the solar panels fitted on Mark 3 TVans onwards are Projecta Brand.

Regards,
Mal

Offline Cruiser 105Tvan

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Re: Installing 60w rooftop solar panel
« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2018, 05:03:34 PM »
I should have qualified that with "at the time of production of the Mk 2".
Left it a little bit open there.

With my Tvan., I have fitted a larger capacity Solar Controller charger unit.
Using Rivnuts/Nutserts, I have mounted the controller to the steel panel of the hatch opening, courtesy of Wolf Mods. Wantirna.
Located above the yellow power box inside the van.  Wiring was completed by Croydon Auto-electrics.
Used a Red Anderson socket mounted to the underside of the yellow power box.  This enables panels to plug in to the one controller (360W Capacity).
I did plan on using a yellow coloured Anderson Socket, different colours don't fit together, obviously using the colour as a reference to Solar input.
Seems red is now the standard for Solar connections.  Grey being the normal for direct battery connections, like from the car, or a power box, Thumper etc.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2018, 05:53:45 PM by Cruiser 105Tvan »
Robert.
VK3PPC (Amateur).  VZU641 (Outpost LMR. Flying Doc. Radio sys.)
Cruiser 105Tvan, 2000 FZJ105R, 2009 Canning MkII. pushing.
HDJ 105r with a 1HDFT, in the works.

Offline Phil G

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Re: Installing 60w rooftop solar panel
« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2018, 08:08:07 PM »
Not sure about there being any standard for colour of Anderson plugs.
Our caravan has Red Andersons for the Alko ESC connection.
And the unregulated solar panel inputs (connect to the inbuilt solar regulator)   are blue.
Phil
2003 Tvan behind a 2012 200series Landcruiser

Offline Gumb

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Re: Installing 60w rooftop solar panel
« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2018, 08:46:11 PM »
The only difference in the Anderson plugs is the colour of the plastic, not the connectors. The different colours are there in case you have different leadsfor different appliances and they can be easily recognised. For example, you might have an unregulated set of solar panels which plug in to the Regulated Anderson on the Tvan so they'd be the same colour. But you could have a different colour for a lead with its own regulator which plugs in to another unit and you could easily see the difference.
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Offline Pete and Lez

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Re: Installing 60w rooftop solar panel
« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2018, 08:55:48 PM »
Hi Gumb,

I'm not so sure, I think some of the colours are not interchangeable. Possibly red won't fit grey or possibly black. They have a different spacing between the terminals.

Cheers

https://powerwerx.com/anderson-sb-connectors-sb50-50amp
« Last Edit: June 17, 2018, 09:14:13 PM by Pete and Lez »
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Offline Gumb

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Re: Installing 60w rooftop solar panel
« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2018, 12:09:55 AM »
It's confusing for sure and you are right.
I've got a set of Kickass portable panels with a black Anderson attached but the lead they provide to connect to the Tvan has grey Andersons at each end. So the grey and black fit perfectly which is why I thought they were all the same but I see there's an exception and grey is supposed to connect with black ok.  ::)

I got my info from here.....
http://forum.australia4wd.com/index.php?/topic/32247-all-anderson-plugs-are-not-created-equal/

It seems the connectors are all the same and interchangeable so I can't understand why there's a list of different ratings for each colour.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2018, 12:16:19 AM by Gumb »
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Offline MarkA

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Re: Installing 60w rooftop solar panel
« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2018, 06:27:02 AM »
Genuine Anderson plugs are colour specific,  ie grey will only fit grey
, red will only fit red. The copies (NAVA, kickass, and the never ending list from China) use what ever colour they want, they are usually a copy of the grey Anderson.  So if you want to make sure your sola System is idiot proof get some coloured genuine Anderson plugs in what ever colour suits you. 
You can find them here, and no I’m not affiliated.
http://andersonconnect.com.au/store/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=36
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Offline Forumwatcher

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Re: Installing 60w rooftop solar panel
« Reply #10 on: June 18, 2018, 07:47:42 AM »
The Anderson design only allows like colours to mate, with the exception of Black and Grey, that will connect together.

Paul

(PS The scumbag american spelling is the default spellchecker on this site. It wants me to spell it color, not colour)
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Offline luke

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Re: Installing 60w rooftop solar panel
« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2018, 10:04:26 AM »
My dilemma is the physical running of the cable from the roof to the MPPT controller. I have fabric glued to the roof, so just don't know how to get the cables from the solar panel to the front of the van and battery.

Hi Tony,
  I have a mk4, and had the factory panel removed from the build so I could install my own (bigger).  This also meant track didn't install any of the wiring . . .

Looking at one of the tvans at track HQ, they just came straight through the roof (under the panel on the side of the hatch) with a standard gland and then ran the cable along the roof to the back bulk head (tray). 

I did mine similar.
I installed the panel flat on the roof, and then uses a marine deck gland (Aquavolt Deck gland SEA1SE1) on the side of the roof.  I used a 2" wide strip of velcro to hold the cable to the carpeted roof, and ran the cable sideways to the tray which joins the side wall to the ceiling. (in my case, behind the top storage nets.)

I then just ran the cable loose through the tray to the rear bulk head, and down the side into the electrical panel.

I'm away from home so can't supply any photos of my install, but I do have a couple of photos from track HQ when I scoped it out.  On one of the photos I've indicated where I installed the gland.



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Offline tastrax

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Re: Installing 60w rooftop solar panel
« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2018, 03:08:34 PM »
Tony,

I ran mine on the outside of the roof beside the roof hatch and put a gland through the steel panel at the back of the roof . This leads straight into the 'cable duct' and the cable is easily routed to the regulator area on the side. I also put an anderson plug pair on the roof beside the clear hatch so I could remove the panel if needed, never have of course.

Ray

I pretty much did the same using some glands to keep the cables watertight

https://www.jaycar.com.au/6-12mm-dia-ip68-waterproof-cable-glands-pk-2/p/HP0732

I also have MC4 connectors on my panel and these are connected outside. That way if I want to change (or add more panels) panels its all outside and I just need suitable connectors/joiners etc.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MC4_connector

Cheers - Phil
Cheers - Phil

2006 Tvan Tanami (with a few extras)
2010 Isuzu Dmax LS-U

Offline Wetjala

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Re: Installing 60w rooftop solar panel
« Reply #13 on: June 19, 2018, 11:38:35 AM »
Here's my "5-cents worth" - don't bother installing a flat, fixed roof mount solar panel at all. Why? Because solar panels only work best when set up at the correct angle with respect to the sun - a flatter angle closer to the equator and higher angles in lower latitudes. So unless you are going to push the T-Van around during the day and change its lateral & longitudinal position to follow the sun (and not park it under a tree for shade) then I think a portable 120W (or bigger) solar panel and suitable controller connected to the T-Van via the Anderson would be more suitable for day-to-day use while camping. When traveling the car will charge the battery(ies). The installed 60W solar panel is, in my opinion, only good for keeping the battery topped-up while the T-Van is not in use (at home and outside in sunlight). Installing horizontal solar panels - not worth the time, effort or cost I reckon! (Don't believe me? Get a portable panel, lay it flat on the ground all day and see how much current it provides. Compare this with the current when the panel angled and moved every couple of hours to follow the sun.)

Offline peter_mcc

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Re: Installing 60w rooftop solar panel
« Reply #14 on: June 19, 2018, 11:54:39 AM »
The installed 60W solar panel is, in my opinion, only good for keeping the battery topped-up while the T-Van is not in use (at home and outside in sunlight).

We found with our Mk3 (no front box, no fridge) that the 60W panel on the roof was more than enough to keep the battery charged without ever using the Anderson plug. We hire it out - nobody has an Anderson plug (I don't even know if it works any more) and I don't think anyone has had a problem with the battery going flat.

If you've got a fridge on board it's a different matter - then the 60W panel won't keep up. If you've got a fridge then you'll need all the panels you can get - our FireTail has a 120W panel on the roof and 300W on the back hatch. Provided we park it facing roughly north and don't have a lot of shade that keeps up.

Moving the panel every few hours requires you being there and remembering. It does get better performance but sometimes it's easier to just add more panels...