Tag Archives: solar

Flexible Solar Panel Update


A very short update about the flexible solar panels from Link Solar.
Many of these flexible panels on the market today, are of a low quality, but with the arrival of ETFE laminates and high quality Backcontact solar cells, I took a gamble on these improved panels.
Now, about six months after the original installation, this first update shows that the panels still look brand-new and no wear or tear is visible. Another uncertainty was the VHB tape, used to attach these panels directly to the metal roof of the vehicle. After driving around and exposure to the harsh sun here in Florida, I can say that these first six months have had no visible impact on the panels and the VHB tape looks to be the best way forward to attach these flexible panels to the roof.

Solar Blanket And Day4 Tech Solar Panel Review


Click here for Part One of this video

This is a short review of two brand-new flexible solar panels. The Day4 Tech panel looks very similar to the current flexible panels, but uses two fine wire meshes to connect the individual solar cells together, one mesh on each side. They replace the bulky silver contacts, seen on regular panels.
While bending these panels, may still break some of these contacts, the panel’s power output is usually not affected, as many more contacts remain. Continue reading Solar Blanket And Day4 Tech Solar Panel Review

Solar Mumbo Jumbo

Why A 100W Solar Panel May Only Give You 50W

There is much to do about solar panels on RV’s. They are affordable, virtually maintenance free and easy to install. But do they deliver, what they promise?

Actually, most of these panels produce the indicated watts, with a big caveat: in summer under ideal weather circumstances. That’s fine for the average holiday traveler, yet poses obstacles for the more hardened RVer, who needs the power especially during the colder months of the year. Continue reading Solar Mumbo Jumbo

Deep Cycle Batteries


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The final episode of the complete installation of ETFE Flexible solar panels, wiring, roof entry, solar charge controller and deep cycle batteries. I end with a bit of testing of the output of these solar panels.

So far the installation is complete up to and including the solar charge controller and bus bars. While the long term plans are still to use a Lithium battery bank, for now I’ll be installing two Duracell Ultra Golf Cart 6V deep cycle batteries. Continue reading Deep Cycle Batteries

12V System Setup


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Now the solar wiring is in the interior of the van, I still have to attach it to the breaker box and solar charge controller.

The #8 AWG wire transitions to a #6 AWG wire at the breaker box, to minimize voltage drop, and continues to the bus bars. Meanwhile, I clean up the wiring with cable ties.

I add a 12 count fuse block and connect the wiring to the bus bars. Then the roof vent is connected to the fuse block with a 16 gauge wire. The roof vent allows me to fully test this 12V system.

This minimal setup is now ready for the batteries, which is shown in the next video.

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Installing A Cable Gland


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Now that the solar panels are installed and roof wiring added, it’s time for the cable gland to lead the MC4 cabling into the interior of the vehicle.

While black cable glands are readily available, I ordered the wrong color and had to paint it to remain somewhat stealthy. I used a primer before applying the black paint, that I used before on the flange of the roof vent. Continue reading Installing A Cable Gland

Solar Panel Wiring


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Following the installation of the Flexible Solar Panels, I continue by wiring them up. For that, I’m only using the cables that come with the panels, plus a few MC4 (branch) connectors.

The 12 AWG panel cables are sufficient to carry the collective amperage over the short distance of the panels; by adding a 8 AWG MC4 extension cable towards the interior of the van, I can reduce the wires to a single positive and negative cable. Continue reading Solar Panel Wiring