Solar Panel Installation
I wanted to finish up the roof, so that meant completing my panel install. Since, I went with the low profile 8020 roof rack bars from DIYvan.com, going with their Ford Transit or Promaster 8020 rail mounting kit for solar panels was a no brainer. Kind of, I found that I could purchase the material myself directly from 8020 at a considerable cost savings. DIYvan does put together a nice package and makes it easier in the long run. If going 8020 direct, ordering anything in anodized black from 8020, pretty much is a two week wait. I chose to go with 8020 quarter round bars directly from 8020. With all this I could attach the bars to the roof rack.
I did go with DIYvan.com for their Tab to mount solar panel to 8020 (TM) cross bars and decided to try their Solar Entry Puck. The solar entry puck comes in a 2 wire and 4 wire design. I am putting three panels on the roof, so I chose one of each type. An advantage of not having a Pop Top is cable runs are not as much of a pain in the ass. Also since all my panels are possibly somewhat shade challenged, I wanted the ability to run each panel to their own relay, so I can turn off a panel if it is causing issues with output on the system.
I started out by drilling the whole for the solar entry pucks
The kit comes with a rubber grommet for protecting the wires.
With two vents and an air conditioner, I am somewhat challenged for panels space even on my extended van. I chose two 100 watt Renogy panels for their size. Also, the voltage output was close to the third panel that was from Zamp 90 watt panel. To get to that I first fitted the bars to the 8020 roof rails.
Then I took them back off and started mounting the panels to the roof bars. Here, the DIYvan.com mounting tabs came in handy.
I did have to drill two holes per panel do to the 80/20 hardware being the way of the existing mounting holes.
After attaching the two panels, the big chore getting it up on the roof.
After attaching those to the 8020 roof rails I was ready to move to the Zamp panel. The first thing I did was remove the Zamp SAE cable. I de-soldered the existing cable and replaced with MC4 connectors and 10 awg wire.
After that the procedure was pretty much the same, test mount the bars and then attach them to the panels. The Zamp panels do not have mounting holes, instead they provide hardware for their Omni-Mount frame. These are basically spring mounted T-nuts
Do to the length of the panels, I left the Zamp bolts a little loose, so that I could push the panel to have access to 80/20 mounting bolts.
After they were secured, I centered the panel and was able to tighten the panel down. To finish it off, I added 80/20 end caps.
All the wiring going into the van was done with 8 awg marine wire, each panel also has its own 15 amp in-Line fuse holder. Now the fuse is not installed as the cables are not attached to the solar controller yet. That will be another day, along with some auxiliary panel ports, for use with portable panels.