Saturday, February 23, 2019

Day 46 - Solar Panel Installation Followup

I had mentioned in yesterday's post about possibly lowering the new solar panel. The backside of the panel is about ¼" from the junction box so the whole panel can't be lowered but I did lower the side facing the edge and the panel still clears the box by about ⅛". I'm thinking that even though it clears, I may not want to have such little clearance with vibration or snow load, the panel will probably hit the box. So I raised it back up.

This morning at about 8:00, I turned off the shore power. At this point, the batteries were at 88% according to the Trimetric battery monitor. Three cups of coffee with the Keurig machine, a few minutes running the microwave, running the refrigerator off of the inverter, Bridget's curling iron, and TV and Internet watching YouTube videos this morning. Plus all of the laptop and device charging and FantasticFan running during the day. By 11:00, the charge controller had switched to absorption and by noon, the batteries were already at 102%. This is with all five panels flat on the roof and peak current was over 25 amps. The real test will be in about a week when we will be dry camping again for a bit. I terminated the “test” and switched us back to shore power at about 3:30. The Trimetric monitor said 104% and only an amp going into the battery bank. The refrigerator was still running off of the inverter.

The Dicor was drying nicely with the horizontal applications looking nice and smooth. I used some Dicor where the solar wires entered the junction box since I didn't feel like digging through my supplies to find the silicone caulk. By today. the Dicor was starting to flow down the side of the junction box. I guess that's why they make a different version of Dicor for vertical application. But it was still flexible enough to kind of mold into place. It looks pretty sloppy in this picture. I'll check on it again in a couple of days. The holes in the junction box are slightly smaller than the insulation so I’m not too concerned about water getting into the box.

If I do end up adding another panel, I think I may just add a second junction box right next to this one and simply running some 6 AWG between the two boxes. At that time, the new panel wires would be run through "proper" water-tight bulkhead fittings. I don't have the required hole saw nor the abs cement with me on this trip to install a bulkhead fitting.

Yesterday’s dinner was a two Instant Pot meal. Together, they draw about 1200 watts max and easily run off of the batteries through the inverter. And draw much less total power than the slow cooker.


  1. Again, well done.

    What about simply raising the panel a bit more by adding "spacers"....even though that will require removing existing dicor and re-applying more? 1/8" clearance is slim...or, perhaps just some heavy duty rubber insulation to act as cushion?


    1. When the panel is installed into the upper holes of the “L” brackets, there is ¼” of clearance between the back of the panel and the box. That should be fine. The 1/8” was when I moved the panel to the lower holes on the brackets.