Upon buying our Winnebago View motorhome, the first thing we wanted was to upgrade our solar panels, RV batteries and energy management system. Now our motorhome can stay off the grid longer when boondocking. Here’s our Winnebago View solar upgrades and improvements to our Class C motorhome’s off grid electrical system.
Before we proceed with showcasing our solar upgrades, drop-in replacement lithium batteries, and our motorhome energy management system modifications, we are throwing out our disclaimer.
This is not a how-to tutorial nor is it an installation guide. Everyone has different installation techniques from wiring, configurations and products unique to their solar setup. Each RV manufacture model and each of their electrical components may differ.
Therefore, to avoid misinformation, questions that we can’t answer, critics (and critiques) and even liability, we are merely showing you what we used for our 2019 Winnebago View solar upgrades.
So, now that we got that out of the way, let’s move on to get a glimpse of our Winnebago View 24D solar upgrades that include solar panels, battery replacements, solar charge controller and energy management system.
This blog article contains affiliate links. Full disclosure here.
Winnebago View Solar Upgrades and Lithium Battery Replacements
Winnebago View Battery Upgrades
Lead Acid RV Battery Removal
Our 2019 Winnebago View 24D motorhome came equipped with two factory-installed NAPA 12-volt lead-acid marine/RV batteries. They were fine for sustaining enough energy to run a few lights and our 12 volt refrigerator for an overnight but that was it. We didn’t have enough energy storage to operate even one of our CPAP devices.
The lead acid batteries were woefully inadequate for boondocking and camping off-the-grid for extended periods of time. And, since we oftentimes don’t plug into campgrounds or RV parks, it’s important that we beef up our Class C motorhome’s energy storage system.
So, upon trading in our Landmark fifth wheel, Dan removed four of the six lithium batteries and brought them with us to install in our small motorhome. Sadly, we had to leave two of our lithium batteries with the fifth wheel to complete the trade in.
Upon taking delivery of our Winnebago View motorhome, Dan immediately removed both of the 70+ pound (each) 12-volt lead-acid batteries from inside the step well.
He replaced them with two of our four lithium batteries just to get us down the road. He stored the other two in a basement compartment for later installation until Dan could devote more time to a more proper installation.
Since there was nothing wrong with the 12-volt lead acid batteries, we sold them to Dan’s brother for super cheap.
This transition came a bit easier this time around because Dan was quite in tune with our fifth wheel’s energy management system.
Lithium RV Battery Upgrade
We’re no strangers to lithium as we had them in our former Landmark fifth wheel. As mentioned earlier, we had six Battle Born lithium GC2 batteries installed in our former fifth wheel. These power houses are one of the most integral parts of our solar upgrades. It was a no-brainer that we’d also install them in our motorhome.
Battle Born 100ah (amp hour) 12 volt lithium ion batteries are designed and assembled in Reno, NV. The LiFePO4 lithium iron phosphate deep-cycle batteries are great to use in an RV, boat or off-grid power system. These lithium batteries can be used in 12, 24, 36 and 48 volt systems. Weighing in at only 29 pounds each, they pack the power of a 140 pound lead acid battery. But even better, our lithium batteries will last 10 times longer.
- 12-volt Drop in Lead Acid Replacement
- 100 amp continuous output
- 200 amp surge output – 30 seconds 1/2 second surge output for higher loads
- 3000-5000 cycles – Acceptable Charging voltages 14.4 to 14.6 volts
- 10-year warranty
Anyway, we finally got to a warm and quiet location where Dan could devote time to reconfigure our motorhome’s electrical management system. After a few days, our coach’s electrical system was operating wonderfully!
Battle Born lithium ion batteries are completely safe. That said, they require our charger or alternator to have the correct charging profile to keep them in tip top condition.
For more information on their packages, check out the Battle Born Batteries. They also provide battery cables, converter chargers, inverters, solar chargers and associated equipment for an upgrade.
We do kindly ask if you call for consult and/or to place an order, that you mention ALWAYS ON LIBERTY, as we are affiliates and receive a small commission that helps pay our website management fees so we can bring you more free content.
We paired the solar charger (we’ll talk about that later) with a Victron 712 battery monitor. The battery monitor records the charge status of our RV batteries. Dan mounted our Victron next to our batteries in our motorhome basement storage.
Both devices are bluetooth capable, highly programmable and super easy to use. Victron Energy is the industry leader in solar and energy management. Their bluetooth devices are revolutionary products. When in range of our RV, we can monitor our battery voltage, battery state of charge, and current consumed amp hours on Dan’s smartphone.
“How do we recharge our batteries?”, you ask? It’s quite simple. We use that bright yellow orb in the sky to supply the majority of the energy through our solar panels to charge our RV batteries.
Winnebago View Solar Panels Upgrade
Old Solar Panels
Our 2019 Winnebago View 24D came with two 100 watt SunPower flexible solar panels from the Winnebago factory.
In our opinion, the factory-installed solar panels and energy management system was grossly inadequate for what we needed to boondock. They are seriously lacking in absorption needed for long-term off-the-grid boondocking adventures let alone keeping our refrigerator operating optimally during an overnight.
We had to replace the original flexible solar panels simply because they just weren’t cutting it for our energy needs. Seriously, they provided barely enough energy to maintain our battery charge levels but would not really recharge them. So, we looked into replacing them with better solar panels.
New Solar Panels
Dan did extensive research on upgrading our solar panels. The biggest issue to consider is our motorhome’s roof space is quiet limited. So we decided to go with six Renogy 100 watt rigid frame monocrystalline compact solar panels because of their unique measurements.
These particular high-power solar panels are perfect for any off-grid application. They are shorter than the standard-size 100-watt solar panel but contain the same power output. This panel is better for applications that require a smaller footprint. That makes it a favorite for small RVs that have less real estate on the roof.
Each solar panel is equipped with a junction box and MC4 leads, connecting to a controller or expanding to more panels.
In fact, at a later time, we are considering making our own solar panel suitcase using similar solar panels because of their size.
Solar Panel Installation
After carefully measuring the location of each panel, Dan secured aluminum solar panel offset mounts to our motorhome’s fiberglass roof with VHB (Very High Bond) tape. The awesome thing is they don’t require drilling into our roof.
Dan followed up with sealant made for fiberglass roofs sealing around each solar panel offset mount.
IMPORTANT NOTE: This adhesive method above is ONLY FOR FIBERGLASS OR ALUMINUM ROOFS! Do NOT use this adhesive method on rubber membrane roofs.
After mounting, we took great care to seal everything up with special sealant to ensure there would not be any leaks into our motorhome. It’s a specially formulated neutral cure sealant designed to seal joints when installing roof vents, air conditioning units, skylights, satellite antennas and anything else that we may install on our RV roof.
Solar Charge Controller
The brain child of our Winnebago View solar upgrades is a Victron 150/35 MPPT BlueSolar Charge Controller that replaced a ridiculously outdated and under-performing factory-installed solar charger.
Our new BlueSolar charge controller gathers energy from our solar panels and stores it in our batteries. Using the latest, fastest technology, BlueSolar maximizes the energy-harvest, driving it intelligently to achieve full charge in the shortest possible time. BlueSolar maintains our batteries’ health, extending its life.
The Victron BlueSolar solar charge controller is programmable, easy to install and more efficient for recharging our RV batteries. This solar upgrade allows us to recharge our RV batteries quicker and more efficiently than ever before.
Wrapping up our Winnebago View solar upgrades
So, there’s our Winnebago View solar upgrades, lithium batteries and energy management modifications we made to our small Class C motorhome. Now, we are even more excited about how much longer we can stay off the grid.
Lastly, if you’re wanting to upgrade your own RV solar panels, electrical and energy management system, do diligent research on your current system. If you’re not comfortable dealing with this type of installation, we highly recommend hiring an RV solar consultant and/or installer.
Well-known professional RV solar consultants and installers we recommend:
Other articles pertaining to solar and energy management for RVs:
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