Solar Panel Install and Unboxing Battle Born Batteries for our Bus Conversion – S04E17

After weighing all of our options, we have decided to go with an all electric house system and power our #BusLife by the sun. We currently have six 235W Solar Panels with a plan to expand and have a total of over 3000W of solar on our roof.  Capturing the power from the sun is one thing but the key to going solar is all about storing that power.  

After years of research we knew LiFePO4 (Lithium Iron Phosphate) batteries were the way to go to power our future home. In our search we kept returning to Battle Born Batteries as our top choice to install in our system because of their reputation and reliability. 

The most important features for us for choosing Battle Born Batteries were the built in battery management systems and the support from the Battle Born team as we approached learning about building an electrical system. 

Battle Born suggested we go with the 3x BBGC3 also known as the Gamechanger 3.0  which is 12V 270 Ah Deep Cycle Lithium Ion Battery.  Having 3 of these for our bus is the equivalent of having a little over eight 100Ah hour batteries. What we like about he  BBGC3s already is they have a small footprint and only weigh 80 lbs each.

In order to be sure we would have enough solar and power for all our needs, we first collected data on the power draws for the appliances and electronics we will have in our bus.

We used Dons Dad's multi meter to measure the power usage for the things we already had and estimated the usage for the appliances we still needed to purchase.  We created a detailed spreadsheet, shared it with  Battle Born and they came up with a system recommendation so we can stay off grid and know we won’t run out of power.

We’ll share more on our full electric system and all the components we’ll be using when we get to the electric bay install, but first on the agenda was getting our solar panels secured to our roof rails.

We used  unistrut slotted channels for our roof rails.  See our blog and video for how we bolted these into the roof here and secured the channels down here.

To mount the solar to the roof rails, we used four z bracket on each solar panel and then clamp brackets between the panels closest together.  We were given the tip to place some wood under the lip of the panel frame while we drilled holes for securing the z brackets to make sure we didn’t drill into the solar panel and crack it, which worked great.

We used Loctite Threadlocker Red 271 to adhere the bolts and nuts we used for our brackets and ran all our 12AWG PV Solar Cable inside the unistrut channel connecting to PV Y Branch Connectors .

We pulled out our old bus antenna (which we are not using) to position a Weatherproof Solar Cable Entry over and utilize the whole in the roof that was already there.

We used some conduit piping to thread our wiring through our ceiling and wool insulation and sikaflex 221 to seal the entryway.


Up Next
We prepare one of our luggage bays to house our electric system.

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Battle Born Batteries
Battle Born Batteries specialize in providing top of the line lithium iron phosphate batteries. These revolutionary LiFePO4 batteries are recognized for their reliability and chemical stability.

GameChanger 3.0
The BBGC3 is a 12V, 270Ah deep cycle lithium-ion battery with a distinctive 
shape not found on markets today. The BBGC3’s unique form allows users limitless mounting possibilities for convenient installationsAt an astonishing 80 lbs., the BBGC3 decreases the weight of your bank by  more than 80%. It packs twice the amount of power within a new form factor designed to maximize the space of your bank.

Loctite Threadlocker Red 271
Loctite Threadlocker Red 271 is designed to lock and seal threaded fasteners permanently and prevent loosening from vibration.

12AWG PV Solar Cable
HQST solar extension cable, sold in increments of TWO, will allow you to make these adjustments to your solar power system in one simple step.

PV Branch Connectors Y
We got these Waterproof IP67 Solar Y branch connectors  with a stable self-locking systems becuase of their corrosion-resistant and UV-resistant PPO material.

Weatherproof Solar Cable Entry
This cable entry housing is pre-wired for PV solar panel connectors.

By Mela & Don

Mela and Don are sharing their journey as they make conscious decisions to live a more healthy, environmentally friendly life together.

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