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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I've been doing some planning and researching and thought I'd share this with the rest of you... and to get any feedback :)


Three 62watt Global Solar flexible weatherproof panels can fit on the roof (they are smaller dimensions than PowerFilm). Each 62 watt panel is 53"x30" and with the general size (attached) looks as if 3 should fit okay. They are all-weather so they can be attached permanently to the roof, soak up the sun while driving, away from the E, etc.
At 6'4" high, the roof of the ECamper is high enough that the solar panels wouldn't be visible, so it's safe from tampering or attracting special attention.


Available Y connectors for the panels can be used to combine panels in parallel. 2 or 4 panels can be connected, but I don't understand enough to know if 3 is possible also. If not then 2x 30 watt panels could replace one of the 62 watt panels.


From what I think I might be calculating correctly..
180 watts could power a ~30watt fridge during the daytime, and put surplus power into batteries to handle the fridge at night... and still leave some power for other uses.


To anyone new to this idea.. welcome :) and to any electricians in-the-know, what do you think?

p.s. What are the roof dimensions of the ECamper?

p.p.s. I have no relation with Global Solar, and so far have only found them and PowerFilm to choose from.

(image of the Element rooftop itself - photo of the ECamper roof appear to be about the same roofprint)
 

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Keep in mind that the solar panels will loose about 2 to 3% of their efficiency every year.

We use them on boats to supplement power when on moorings. If you do a price comparison, using an additional battery and a small generator, you may find that it's a more efficient use of your funds. The Generator can be used to jump a dead battery as well. Having an AC source is often an asset when camping in remote locations.

Dom
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Keep in mind that the solar panels will loose about 2 to 3% of their efficiency every year.
I was planning on oversizing the panels and batteries, to cover the losses, and any periods of cloudy days, or parking under dense trees. Of course I'd like to size it close to what's needed, to keep the battery weight and solar cost down as much as possible.

We use them on boats to supplement power when on moorings. If you do a price comparison, using an additional battery and a small generator, you may find that it's a more efficient use of your funds. The Generator can be used to jump a dead battery as well. Having an AC source is often an asset when camping in remote locations.
Thanks for the ideas..
Solar/battery systems have the benefit of all gas/weight going towards driving range, and to have a silent power supply, and take up less space.
With solar, the fridge/etc could be powered constantly during an extended camping stay, without using any gas. The effortlessness of solar is a plus too.

I was planning on having an inverter for small AC items, though I'll be carrying a small portable power supply for jumping capability and air that can also supply AC http://www.xantrex.com/web/id/181/p/1/pt/31/product.asp.
 

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ECamper Rooftop

I don't have the exact rooftop dimensions just at hand, but can drop a tape on one tomorrow. It will be smaller than the stock Element roof since the vehicle sides taper in as you get toward the roof, and we matched that taper with the camper.

As far as mounting across the top (assuming dimensions work) keep in mind it's not flat, the roof has the same crease pattern as a regular Element roof. You'd need to make sure the leading edge is pretty tight to guard against the wind peeling it up.

180 watts should be plenty enough for a fridge, and you'll want to cost out a controller since that's enough to overcharge your battery potentially. For comparison, here's a picture of a 59" x 43" 60 Watt PowerFilm draped on the hood of an Ecamper. It's wired in though a all-weather connector plug near the front grill

cheers
John
UMV
 

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Keep in mind that temp fluctuations will affect the efficiency of the panel. Less efficient on cooler days IIRC.
 

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ECamper Rooftop Dimensions

62 watt panel is 53"x30" and with the general size (attached) looks as if 3 should fit okay.
The flatter portion of the roof measures about 49 x 80, you would likely need smaller dimensions on the panels - Cheers, John
 
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