The solar system is complete! Here's a rundown of the process, though this makes it look a lot faster than it was. Once again, huge thanks to Bert Green of SolarMill who did all the heavy lifting research / ordering / installation for this.
Loading the panels up at IPS of VA. This is the part where they told me that scratching or damaging the white vinyl protecting the back of the solar cells would totally void the warranty. Cool!
They JUST barely fit in my car with the driver's seat alllll the way forward.
Schlepped em over to SolarMill for installation
Putting the little mounting feet on before we heft them onto the roof.
Mapping out the circuitry to plan wire and connector orders.
Test-placing the components
This is where I wanted to put the batteries (so convenient! What a good use of space!), but Bert convinced me that battery-acid leaking all over my body in the case of an accident was a good reason to rearrange a little bit.
At the end of this day's work, having just brought the batteries inside, I realized i'd left the headlights on in the truck all day. SO I learned how to jump my own battery! AAA be damned.
product placement ;D
drilling THE FIRST HOLE in the roof of the truck! eek
This is the height of the mounts - just enough to pass wiring under, and allow a little airflow, but still keeping the panels seated in a very low profile.
Now for the BIG hole. This marine port collects the wires and seals around them to let us connect the panels to the charge controller inside the truck.
The panels are 2 and 2 in series, so each of these wires goes in one panel and out the next, and then we collect them in a connector box right before bringing the full circuit to the charge controller.
We ended up working at night kind of a lot.
Test-fitting the 1-aught wire connecting the batteries together.
Heat-shrink on the ring terminals
The whole kit and caboodle! (This is a cheat shot from much later once I have some protective walls in)
Look at that elegant wiring <3
Okay sun, get in my batteries
annnnd they're full! This is the charge controller screen, showing information about how the panels are charging the batteries - when, how fast, etc. "Floating" means that they are fully charged.