How I installed a 200watt solar panel on the roof of my van conversion
My Van Conversion

Solar Panel Installation

By on 20th July 2017

Having a solar panel on my roof will allow me to be off-grid while traveling around Europe without the worry of needing a mains hookup to charge my leisure batteries.

The two 230ah leisure batteries will charge off a split charge relay, mains hookup (if available) and a 200watt solar panel.

Solar panels are fairly cheap compared to what I was expecting. Mine cost me £180 off eBay.

 

How I installed a 200watt solar panel on the roof of my van conversion

My solar panel just out of the box.

 

Installation

 

How I installed a 200watt solar panel on the roof of my van conversion

 

The solar panel was bolted down to my roof rack but first I needed to drill a hole in the roof of the van for the wires to come through. The hole was drilled above my bedside cupboard next to the sliding door, this way the wires could go down inside the cupboard and into the electrics under the bed without being visible when sitting inside the van.

 

How I installed a 200watt solar panel on the roof of my van conversion

Hole in the roof with waterproof junction box over it.

I glue the waterproof junction box down with glue and sealed it all around the edge with black silicon.

 

How I installed a 200watt solar panel on the roof of my van conversion

Waterproof sealant around junction box.

I spread the waterproof sealant around the junction box so no water would get underneath the box and seep inside the van.

 

How I installed a 200watt solar panel on the roof of my van conversion

MC4 extension cable going through the hole in roof.

I had to buy an extension cable as the cable on the solar panel is very short and I needed it to reach my electrics under the bed.

 

How I installed a 200watt solar panel on the roof of my van conversion

MC4 extension cables going through the roof to the inside of van.

 

How I installed a 200watt solar panel on the roof of my van conversion

Extension cable connected to solar panel.

Next I connected the extension cables to solar panel. They simply clip together.

 

How I installed a 200watt solar panel on the roof of my van conversion

Solar panel connected to extension cable.

Now the wiring is done outside all I had to do was bolt the solar panel to the roof rack so it wouldn’t slide off while driving.

I did this by drilling 4 holes in the roof bars and solar panel, once done I lined up the holes and bolted them together tightly.

How I installed a 200watt solar panel on the roof of my van conversion

Bolting the solar panel on to the roof rack.

 

How I installed a 200watt solar panel on the roof of my van conversion

fixed to the roof rack.

Everything is done outside. Now its time to wire it up to the charge controller.

 

How I installed a 200watt solar panel on the roof of my van conversion

Solar panel extension cable coming through the roof to the inside of my cupboard next to other wiring.

The extension wire coming through the roof and in to the cupboard, then it will connect to the charge controller under the bed.

 

Charge controller

The charge controller is designed to control the amount of charge coming from the solar panels that flows into the leisure batteries in order to avoid the batteries being overcharged.

 

How I installed a 200watt solar panel on the roof of my van conversion

charge controller

The charge controller I purchased was off eBay for cheap. But I mainly wanted this one as it has a nice screen that shows details of output, input, battery percentage etc. Other charge controllers don’t offer this unless you pay more money. Its worked great so far without any problems. It does the job.

wiring the solar panel to the charge controller was very simple.

For a wiring diagram check out my other post on Installing 12v electrics in my van conversion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Karl Norton

I have converted a standard Ford Transit van into a campervan to travel and explore the world wherever my heart desires.

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