After attending the RV Expo at the Portland Expo Center, we received a free 3-night stay at Cascade Meadows RV Park. Taking a look at our budget and how much we’d prefer to boondock and stay out of RV parks, we invested in a 200 Watt Solar System. Since installation was gonna cost more than we’d want, I ventured into installing this myself.
So mounting the Solar Panels was not bad at all, and relatively easy. Took about half a day, and everything went more or less smoothly. Running the wires was a pain! I ran the wire through the fridge vent and then down into the living room area, then took out the outside stereo system to install the Solar Panel controller, the switches, and the inverter.
Idiotically, I didn’t acquire a proper crimping tool, so I used a hammer to unsuccessfully crimp the wires many times, screwed up many times, but eventually I made it work. I ruined a bunch of 0 AWG wires because I didn’t know how to solder it properly. And then after all that… the inverter gave me a big problem. The nut ended up being stuck to the bolt, and then the bolt threaded out and wouldn’t lock or unlock the nut to secure for my positive end of the wire from the battery…. After struggling hours to save my wire, I cut it short and I sent the inverter back….
So we weren’t completely off-grid ready since the inverter wasn’t installed, but we were at least able to run all the DC components of the RV, which included the fridge, the lights, the water pump, and the cigarette lighters. Which wasn’t too bad. Also, I installed 2 6-volt batteries to get the most amount of amp hours.
Anywho, after 4 days of struggling and screwing up and cursing and sweating, the solar panels were done. Our friendly RV park neighbor kept stopping by to give us tips on proper RVing, and then he helped us take the awning in properly, which wasn’t working right after being set up for 4 days.
So that’s the gist of the pain I went through. Stay tuned for a proper “How to Install a Solar System in your RV (and what not to do)” Video coming soon!