The camper is hanging out at AT Overland in Prescott, Arizona while they finish fabricating the mounting frame and brackets to hold our camper to our truck.
These guys are known for their amazing trailers and recently the http://adventuretrailers.com/campers/toyota-habitat/ But they are also able to fabricate nearly any custom job and tackle any custom build out. Look at this SUV conversion! Amazing SUV camping rig!
While they worked on our custom fabrication order, Mike tackled the solar installation project. You may recall that in Alta, the VW Vanagon we used a foldable, portable solar panel. Foldable solar panel link
For the camper we decided to start with flexible solar panels that would be permanently mounted on the roof. We are using the Go Power flex kit that can be found at this link Link to Go Power flexible solar panels . This will allow us to generate power for the auxiliary batteries anytime we are in the sunshine!
The panels were shipped quickly and arrived safely packed in cardboard boxes.
They have a clear film over the top to protect them during installation. That film is removed once the adhesive dries and they are ready to start collecting sunshine.
These flexible panels have been adhered to the rooftop of the camper in the two available locations.
These panels are hardwired into a GoPower solar controller. This information panel is mounted in a convenient location inside the camper. As soon as we peeled off the protective film, the panels began collecting and storing power. They were quickly up to a full charge. The design of the controller will prevent overcharging of the batteries.
In the next few days, Prescott experienced cold weather, snow and freezing conditions. The rooftop film gathered snow and frost, but was still gathering and storing energy.
All of the connectors and wires are weather proof. They have all been run through existing holes in the roof top, and sealed carefully to prevent the entry of water into our camper. the wires are run to the go power controller then off to the batteries. we have two 6 volt batteries for a total of 235 amp hours available attached to a 12 volt marine battery in the engine compartment for an additional 80 amp hours. The total for the system is 315 amp hours which is plenty for us. The system is ALSO tied into a heavy duty alternator (charge off the motor) and an AC controller (charge off shore power) for a complete 360 system. We also protect the 12volt marine battery from overcharging through a battery isolator in the front between the starter battery and the marine battery. All 4 batteries are technically connected to the house and the motor. the real go between battery that may serve both areas is the 12 volt marine in the engine compartment. It is (as mentioned above) connected to the 6 volts and the starter battery.
We have been using the system for over 6 months and have lots of confidence in it’s ability to keep us well charged. We usually go 2-3 days between traveling (an alternator charge) and are using the solar electrical system the whole time. We have yet to be even close to a 50% depletion on the house batteries. While I would not consider myself an expert I would certainly be willing to assist with questions if you would like to PM me. If I don’t know the answer I will tell you.