Solar Installation

I am in need of assistance. I'm looking to get solar added to my camper on the roof so that I can have power charge the battery and hopefully even run the AC. The only T@G retailer within probably 400 miles of me says they don't install aftermarket solar panels and that the only way for me to get solar would be from the factory. I need to know where I can actually put screws and how to waterproof the spots that I drill so that it stays watertight. I need to be able to do so using something that will withstand 125 degree temperatures as I'm in southern Arizona.

Any and all assistance would be much appreciated.

Mike
Chaverim Basenjis
-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—
2018 T@G Sofitel
2016 Audi A3 e-tron

Comments

  • tagurittagurit Member Posts: 179

    You should search the forum for previous conversations about solar power. Just briefly, you would need way more solar panel square footage than the top of your T@G to power an inverter with enough capacity to run your A/C, for our purposes we look to solar just to run our D/C lights and appliances and keep the battery topped off. We use a "solar suitcase" for that purpose. We can place the solar panels in the most efficient position relative to the sun and keep our trailer parked in the shade.

  • ChaverimChaverim Member Posts: 90

    I have searched and there is very little about fresh solar installation without zamp preinstalled. If I am unable to do the AC I will settle for a 100w panel but I still can’t find anyone who can install it for me so I will have to install myself. Not sure where to even find a stud. I tried a stud finder inside and it was wrong so I cant afford that mistake outside.

    Mike
    Chaverim Basenjis
    -—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—
    2018 T@G Sofitel
    2016 Audi A3 e-tron

  • MartogMartog Member Posts: 97

    Take a look at this:
    http://teardrop-trailers.vanillacommunity.com/discussion/comment/2437#Comment_2437

    Basically the AC unit is 1500W (15Amp at 120V) so you'd need a farm of solar panels to run your AC without shore power. It's why the unit has a 30AMP for input, it's to run everything at the same time.

    Truth be told, you should get a generator with a 30Amp receptacle on it and run it off of that.

    The roof mounted solar panel is around 100W and is designed to run the lights, fridge, radio, tv, pump, that's about it. It will charge the battery depending on what is all running at the time.

    2019 T@G XL Boondock Edge "Prometheus"
    2010 Subaru Outback 2.5L "Ecto 10"

  • TomDTomD Member Posts: 358

    AC will only work on shore power bottom line. Solar efficiency will be dependent on your camping style, location, power usage etc. Move forward with this expensive mod with caution. It is expensive but without a doubt a sexy alternative to a generator.

    Tom
    Aptos, California
    2015 LG Silver Shadow
    2012 Ford Edge Sport TV

  • ChaverimChaverim Member Posts: 90

    I have a generator and was looking to not have to bring it. It if I need it for ac that’s fine. I still want to not need it when I don’t need AC. I don’t know where and how to wire things through the camper and can’t figure out where to screw the panel to the roof. Remember I am at this point because AZ has the worst dealers of all time to begin with.

    Mike
    Chaverim Basenjis
    -—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—
    2018 T@G Sofitel
    2016 Audi A3 e-tron

  • MartogMartog Member Posts: 97

    Contact nuCamp directly and ask them about mounting the factory solar panel. I believe I read someone was able to ask nuCamp where to mount the factory roof rack on the unit.

    The other option is a "suitcase" solar panel kit. You can place them anywhere, not sure about the connection though to the trailer. This way you do not have to worry about optimal placement of the trailer for sun coverage.

    2019 T@G XL Boondock Edge "Prometheus"
    2010 Subaru Outback 2.5L "Ecto 10"

  • tagurittagurit Member Posts: 179
    edited October 2018

    As per my post above, mounting the solar panel on the roof of your camper is very limiting. You will always have to park your trailer in the sun and possibly have to move it during the day to accomodate the sun's movement. Two other problems with that, not every campsite will have access to direct sunlight, and more often than that you will actually prefer to park in the shade instead of the direct sun in the summer. A solar suitcase such as the one in the link not only can be easily moved as needed, but since the suitcase comes with a charge controller, hooking it up to your trailer can be as easy as connecting alligator clips to your battery although a hard-wired adaptor is more convenient.
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/slredirect/picassoRedirect.html/ref=pa_sp_atf_aps_sr_pg1_2?ie=UTF8&adId=A059783515D9U5I0XHIC&url=https://www.amazon.com/ACOPOWER-Portable-Suitcase-Charge-Controller/dp/B07FPPYMV4/ref=sr_1_2_sspa?ie=UTF8&qid=1538789185&sr=8-2-spons&keywords=100+watt+solar+suitcase&psc=1&qualifier=1538789184&id=3730188832155466&widgetName=sp_atf

  • ChaverimChaverim Member Posts: 90

    I’m in southern AZ. We don’t have shade unless you’re at the bottom of a canyon. Lots of sun isn’t an issue for me.

    Mike
    Chaverim Basenjis
    -—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—
    2018 T@G Sofitel
    2016 Audi A3 e-tron

  • HellFishHellFish Member Posts: 140
    edited October 2018

    You might not have shade, but you can put a sun screen over your T@G. However, if your panels are mounted on the roof you'll be covering them as well. Sounds like you have made up your mind to mount the panels on the roof...it's you're trailer...you're the boss. I just received the Yakima roof rack kit and instructions from NuCamp. The instructions tell you where you can screw into the roof...I assume this is where the cross members are. You can confirm this with NuCamp...file they sent me is attached. Note, that the end of the track starts 18 inches from the clamshell hinge, but the first screw actually goes in 2.5 inches beyond that.

    2014 T@G

  • MartogMartog Member Posts: 97

    While I've never seen a T@G with a solar panel installed from the factory, I did see a T@B in person. I know they are larger trailers, but the panel doesn't cover edge to edge, and I have to think it will not either on the T@G to accommodate for having a roof rack as well, as far as I know the roof rack and solar panel can be installed together, which would make sense for the Boondock Edge edition to fully boondock it.

    2019 T@G XL Boondock Edge "Prometheus"
    2010 Subaru Outback 2.5L "Ecto 10"

  • ChaverimChaverim Member Posts: 90

    My local dealer has the boondocks edge with solar on it. There’s a plug port that is on the roof and the charge controller is in a cabinet. I love how nowhere is anyone able to provide a little info on where to make the holes and how to get the wires to run through the back. People have done all sorts of mods to the AC the water tank and the batteries. It’s hard to believe nobody tried to mount any solar kits.

    Mike
    Chaverim Basenjis
    -—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—
    2018 T@G Sofitel
    2016 Audi A3 e-tron

  • MichaelMichael Member Posts: 45

    My 2018 t@g 5w has factory solar. They use a Grape Solar 100 watt flexible panel which has very good output. I did replace the factory controller which to be honest with you is junk. Put in a Grape Solar mppt controller which is much more efficient plus I can monitor it with Bluetooth with my phone.

  • MartogMartog Member Posts: 97

    @Chaverim said:
    My local dealer has the boondocks edge with solar on it. There’s a plug port that is on the roof and the charge controller is in a cabinet. I love how nowhere is anyone able to provide a little info on where to make the holes and how to get the wires to run through the back. People have done all sorts of mods to the AC the water tank and the batteries. It’s hard to believe nobody tried to mount any solar kits.

    That's because putting one screw in off on the roof of a trailer or vehicle means you just ruined it and will have a very costly repair. I'd really urge you to contact nuCamp directly and see if they'll provide the mounting location for the factory panel. They gave someone the location for the rack, so I don't see why they wouldn't for the solar panel.

    2019 T@G XL Boondock Edge "Prometheus"
    2010 Subaru Outback 2.5L "Ecto 10"

  • LightningdonLightningdon Member Posts: 110

    I attached my flexible solar panel with 3M double sided tape. No holes to drill.

  • ChaverimChaverim Member Posts: 90

    What did you do for the wires?

    Mike
    Chaverim Basenjis
    -—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—
    2018 T@G Sofitel
    2016 Audi A3 e-tron

  • LightningdonLightningdon Member Posts: 110

    I ran them along the trim strip to the front of the camper and into the tongue box. I used little 3M cable clips to attach the wires along the way.

  • kevineso1kevineso1 Member Posts: 26

    Chaverim, any experience with "Tom's Camperland" in phoenix? they have a Boondock edge i'm looking at with a roof top solar package. I'm a little worried about their customer service. thanks

  • ChaverimChaverim Member Posts: 90

    I have just dealt with the one in Mesa where I bought my T@G 5w Sofitel.

    Mike
    Chaverim Basenjis
    -—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—
    2018 T@G Sofitel
    2016 Audi A3 e-tron

  • kevineso1kevineso1 Member Posts: 26

    Thanks, I had read in one of your comments, AZ had the worst dealers in the country. wondering what were your bad experiences with them? anything I should know??

  • Michigan_MikeMichigan_Mike Administrator Posts: 517

    @Chaverim said:
    What did you do for the wires?

    The new flat panels installed at the factory have the wiring on the bottom side of the panel so nothing is exposed. I would suggest that you call the factory as the new panel installation is clean and might work for you.

    Michigan Mike
    Linden, Mi
    2019 T@B 400

  • CbusguyCbusguy Member Posts: 2

    The math for running ac on solar is ugly. Solar is one component, you need 5 or 600 amp hours of battery's to run the ac unit. No realistic way to recharge that many amp hours boondocking.

    I ran the math in another tread

  • arubinoarubino Member Posts: 4

    has anybody fastened flexible solar panels to the T@G using flexible silicone caulking? Is there a downside to using the VH double sided 3m tape?

  • Sharon_is_SAMSharon_is_SAM Administrator Posts: 622
    edited January 15

    @arubino - I know with the TaBs (and I assume with the TaGs), nuCamp does not recommend using silicone based caulk/sealants on the exterior fiberglass and fiberglass composite materials as it doesn't stick well and leaves a film nothing else will stick to either. They recommend Geocel - a marine type urethane or polyurethane based caulk/sealant.

    I believe the 3M tape works well.

    Sharon - Westlake, Ohio | 2017 TaB CSS - Forum Administrator

  • The_RiggerThe_Rigger Member Posts: 94

    @HellFish said:
    I just received the Yakima roof rack kit and instructions from NuCamp. The instructions tell you where you can screw into the roof...I assume this is where the cross members are. You can confirm this with NuCamp...file they sent me is attached. Note, that the end of the track starts 18 inches from the clamshell hinge, but the first screw actually goes in 2.5 inches beyond that.

    Be cautious here; before you drill, I'd recommend marking the screw-hole locations on the roof skin (pencil & masking tape are your friends) and checking that they actually line up with the aluminum framework. You can push down (GENTLY!) on the skin and feel whether or not you're on a crossmember tube or not. I seem to recall reading of someone here who found out the hard way that the dimensions they'd got from nüCamp were "slightly off," to their misfortune.

    Same applies for screwing down a solar panel, I would think.

    Dave in Michigan
    '21 T@G XL (that secretly wants to be a Boonie)

  • evpeelingevpeeling Member Posts: 67
    edited February 6

    Here is what I did for my solar installation. I installed a 100 W flexible panel on the roof and then did some minor rewiring so that I could plug in an additional solar suitcase if needed. Panel is just attached with 3M double sided tape. Over 3 years later, it hasn't budged and no holes in the roof were required.

    https://teardrop-trailers.vanillacommunity.com/discussion/1172/solar-installation-100w-flexible-and-100w-portable-suitcase#latest

    2020 Tag BD 5W, 2018 RAV4 Adventure, PA

  • jonrickardjonrickard Member Posts: 7

    I would second the double-sided tape. I used 3M 5952 VHB tape and my panels haven't moved since 2019. No need for screws of silicone.

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