Eurovan Solar Panel

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Updated 2013-03-15 with more pictures

In which I describe the adding of an 85 watt solar panel and charge controller to a 2000 Eurovan Camper.

I had several goals in this project: a solar panel that was big enough to provide significant power (for the non-stock oversized house batteries) but not so big or heavy that it wouldn't fit on the roof, or would make raising the roof too difficult from added weight. Price was a concern. Solar panels tend to come in two varieties: 12 volts, and 24+ volts. The 12V panels are better for RV use since they don't require a MPPT charge controller. I don't plan on selling the van, so cutting holes & permanent modifications were O.K.

What I ended up with:

Pictures: (click for full size)


Solar Panel On Roof showing custom aluminum mount which connects to Yakima roof rack (in the background, visible is the MaxxFan, installation as per Eurovan MaxxFan)
Many solar panels are too big, heavy, or rectangular shaped to fit nicely on the roof. This is a SolarTech 85 which has a relatively square aspect ratio. I mounted it close to the hinge on the roof to reduce the amount of level-arm it adds for opening the roof.


Detail showing roof penetration for wiring I drilled a hole underneath the plastic end cap of the yakima rack, so it was easy to seal, and could be hidden.


Moar Power: modified battery compartment with dual Trojan T145
This is a non-stock modification by the van's previous owner. These provide about 220-260 AH Amp*Hours according to the specifications, which is about double the energy available in the stock house battery.



Even Moar Power: a Vector Maxx SST 054C "2000 watt" inverter mounted under the rear seat (also visible, audio amplifier) Vector 2000W Inverter User Manual. This is a silly-big inverter, and is really overkill for this application. I may replace this with a smaller true-sine-wave inverter in the future.


Charger Controller: morningstar SunSaver Duo - it fits snugly behind the existing camper van electrical panel, held on with velcro
The SunSaver Duo has one very nice feature: a 2nd battery connection so you can also monitor and charge the starter battery as well.


Remote Monitor: mounted above the sink so you can watch the pretty photons arriving
This is a temporary mounting stuck on with hot glue, if I like the location I'll go ahead and cut a hole in the wall and do a flush mount...


Remoter Monitor Final location: turns out it was too deep to mount flush, so I left it surface mounted but ran the wire behind the wall

Notes