Monday, May 15, 2017

Day 10

ChrisL was dropped off at my mom's home at 7:45am and we headed for Portland shortly afterwards. Chris was planning to explore Portland including a visit to the Japanese Garden. I continued north to where the RV was being stored as I was anxious to start the solar panel installation. 

Step 1 was to install the mounting brackets to the four panels. Then haul the panels up to the roof. To install the panels, I first cleaned the roof where the brackets would mount. Then put down a piece of Eternabond tape which is designed for roof repair. I figured that the tape would separate the aluminum brackets from the roof material and provide some protection to the roof material. I used Dicor lap sealant under each bracket to seal the holes. 

 

I then drilled a small pilot hole and screwed in the self drilling screws through the bracket, lap sealant, Eternabond tape into the wood underneath the roof membrane. More lap sealant was put over the screw heads. With eight screws per panel, they are solidly mounted. 

 

Here is an "after" photo of the solar panels. There is still plenty of more room on the roof if I want to install more panels. This is 400 watts of panels. 

 

Now comes the stressful part. I need to install the combiner box. Essentially a waterproof junction box that the panels feed into. And drill a 1" hole in the roof to connect the combiner box to the charge controller in the basement. I found a spot in the corner of the bedroom closet right between the closet wall and a roof truss. I drilled a 1/4" hole through the closet ceiling and then through the roof. After enlarging the two holes (one in the ceiling and one in the roof) with a 1" hole saw, ran the pair of 4awg arc welding cable into the combiner box. The stress is not knowing exactly where the best place to drill the 1" holes. I figured that I had one chance to get it right.  

 

I put down a good layer of lap sealant under the box, screwed the box to the roof with stainless screws. Then covered everything with more lap sealant. Tomorrow I'll run the 10awg wires from the panels into the combiner box. Once I do that, the solar installation is complete. The 4awg wires were run through the floor and into the battery compartment. I had purchased 15' cables and I needed just about all of it to reach the compartment. BTW, all of the bare copper was coated with Ox-Guard before being clamped into place. 

6 comments:

  1. nice job! and yeah, I would have been stressing as well....

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    1. I was stressing about it until I had a chance to get a really good look at the roof.

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  2. Replies
    1. I actually had to do work the last couple of days. Odd...

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  3. In addition to the + - wires from each panel I also was advised to run a #4 bare from each panel to earth gnd or in perhaps in your case to chassis gnd. I used a special stainless clamp that attached to the frame of each panel. Were you able to determine where roof structural members were to attach the panels to?

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    1. I am going to add a ground but there wasn't room inside the combiner box. So I need to make up another weatherproof box for the ground. Each panel only have two of the feet on a structural part of the roof.

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