I purchased an 80 watt panel and charge controller from the good folks at Adventure Trailers (AT). I finally found the time to
install it in July 2008. I owe a lot of thanks to Howard Snell for all the advice and help on the solar setup since he has been running
two 50 watt panels for years and has decades of solar experience from his sailing days. Thanks Howard.
So, I installed a Carmanah 80 watt panel on the roof rack and am using a Go Power GPR-25 charge controller. It is a 25 amp charge controller,
a little overkill, but allows me to upgrade later if I need to. Maybe after I get that Sportsmobile someday. The panel is mounted to the Thule bars
and can be removed and stored easily. The charge controller went inside the shell on the ceiling so I can easily see the battery status. All in all,
the install went well.
I've taken a couple of trips with it so far in very hot desert conditions and the panel more than kept up with the WAECO fridge / freeze
keeping the battery topped off the whole time. The fridge can pull an average of 3-4 amps, but the panel produces up near 6 amps in good
conditions. Here are a few photos of the install.
This is the back of the panel, it came with the box attached, but I had to add the connectors, solder, shrink-fit and attach the wires.
This is the location where I mounted the electrical junction box where the charge controller goes.
Here it is with all the wires done and about to attach the controller to the face.
Final shot of the controller.
I needed to get the panel's wires into the shell and I did that through a waterproof plug.
The wires that led from the controller to the battery left the back of the truck through this plug I installed along the bottom of the bed. Then the wires ran
along the frame up to the battery.
Lastly the panel itself was mounted to the Thule Bars up top in a permanent mount, but one I can still remove fairly easily.
I'll update down the road if the system ever gives me any headaches, but it is a very simple system and installed well, and the panel
has a 20 year warranty so I think that I am good to go. :)