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Old 12-06-2014, 09:10 AM   #1
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Dutch Star 4369 solar charge controller and display location?

After looking among previous threads I am still unsure of a few things re: solar installation. Any current owners with insight would be very helpful. When Newmar adds the solar prep on the roof of a 4369 where is the junction box on the roof? Is it near the front of the coach so the cable run to the battery compartment is as short as possible? I am also looking for the best location to install the charge controller and the remote display panel on the inside of the coach. If I have a better idea of where to place these items I can direct the factory on installation and running of the cable during the construction. I have already increased the size of the cable to 6 gauge but I'm not sure where to place the mentioned items to make the installation is clean and complete.
Any input from members would be terrific!
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Old 12-06-2014, 11:32 AM   #2
"Formerly Diplomat Don"
 
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"mpegg607".....I have a 2014 DS 4018. Mine came with the solar prep which I found very confusing, but later made sense.

First, there is a plate on the roof noting the location of the cables. Mine was about mid coach. I removed the plate to find the roof was solid, no hole or wires. I guess they don't want to leave a hole in case someone never uses the solar wiring.

I cut a hole and the wires were there. I expected to find them running from there to the battery bay.....no such luck. They do run across the roof to the front control panel above the windshield on the passenger side (has your tank gauges, switches and inverter controller, etc). I removed the panel and found the wires passing through the box. I guess they intended for a controller to be installed at this point in the wiring.

There was no room for the controller I was using and just put the panel back up. I do intend to add a volt meter to a blank switch plate cover on the panel. It will let me see what my panels are producing at various times of the day.

I searched, I asked, I posted, trying to find where the wires were stubbed off for connection. I never found the ground, but know that they ran it to the frame. After some help from here, I found the positive cable was stubbed off and attached to the back wall of the power cord reel bay, along with several fuse blocks and a battery solenoid. There is a black plastic panel velcroed onto the wall behind the power cord reel that hides all of these fuses. If you don't look hard, you'll miss the fact that there is a hidden panel.

Against this back wall is a battery solenoid with large 00 cables that runs to the coach batteries. There is no need to try and fish the solar cable over to the batteries. I just attached the controller cable to the coach battery solenoid, battery side.

On my coach, there was no room in the power cord bay for any other equipment. Just in front of this bay is my Oasis bay. I mounted my controller against the side wall of the Oasis bay. There was enough stubbed off solar cable to run it over to my controller. I then ran the controller cable back over to the solenoid.

It's tough to photograph, but here is a picture of the back wall of the power cord reel bay. You can see the cables on the solenoid that run to the battery bank.

If you look closely, there is a pink and white wire loomed in the middle with the ends running to the right behind the cord reel. They are tie wrapped down. This is where the solar cable is attached and coiled against the wall. I had to cut the tie wraps to get the coil loose, and pull the cable to the other bay.


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Old 12-06-2014, 12:23 PM   #3
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Wow, I'm glad I am checking now. I need to decide where the controller will be and then the solar display board inside the coach. I can then have a Cat 5 cable routed from the controller to the display. I hope?
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Old 12-06-2014, 06:02 PM   #4
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Asking for 6 ga. solar prep wire is good, then have it run to a compartment next to the Coach battery bank if you are not using AGM batteries. You will have higher voltage and lower amperage on the wire between the panels and controller. Then use the largest cable between the batteries and controller and shortest distance. Then order a 1" conduit run from the controller compartment to where in the RV you want to place the remote monitor.

For example, I ordered 6 gage solar prep wire to the compartment where I planned to put 4 Lifeline L-16 batteries and a 1" conduit to the coach control panel for the Outback remote. I also had 2 1" conduits run from the battery/controller compartment to the 120 volt switch panel in the RV for the Magnum 2.8 KW inverter/charger I installed. It made the job much easier with the conduits installed by Newmar.
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Old 12-07-2014, 06:49 AM   #5
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Jose2901,
Thank you. What size is your charge controller? Mine measures approx 9" x7" 4 1/2" deep. Is there enough room in the oasis compartment for this size controller? Thant sounds like a great place and very close to the batteries? My solar array display does not look like it will fit in the front overhead cabinet. It is a thin display approx 4 1/2" x 4 1/2". Where did you place yours and do do have any suggestions for me. I am going to check another 4369 but I am having difficulty choosing spot based on my poor memory and looking at pictures.
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Old 12-07-2014, 03:44 PM   #6
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Solar panel controller install

We installed 4 panels with controller on our 2012 DS 4353 that did not have solar prep. I wanted to make sure that wiring was as invisible as possible so the 6 gauge was run down through he engine compartment, through the basement to the controller which is mounted on the rail in the front compartment. The batteries in this all electric coach are in a front bay drivers side. Phone wire was run up to the controller monitor display mounted along with the other displays above the passenger seat inside the coach. The controller was then connected directly to the battery bank.
Based on this experience, it would seem that solar prep is not really of much help.
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Old 12-09-2014, 06:51 PM   #7
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mpegg607:

My Outback solar controller is 13.75"H x5.75"W x4.5"D and weighs about 12 pounds. The controller is a black aluminum box (on the left wall in the first picture) with ribs for cooling; it powers fans when the temp. gets above 80 degrees in the compartment and on a bright sunny Summer day it has sent 58 Amps. to the batteries. I had taken the lower cover off when inspecting the wiring layout. The Magnum is a Sine wave 2,800 inverter and 125 Amp. converter/smart battery charger.


The next picture shows the right wall of the compartment with a Magnum AGS and Battery Monitoring Kit and the communication modules for connecting to the romotes in the next picture. The wall with the fan covers the 480 pounds of AGM batteries that lay on a 1" plywood bridge over the chassis frame rails. I have nice short 4 Ought cables to the batteries.

The last picture shows the Newmar built (over the entry door) location for control panels, and with a little effort everything fits well.
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Old 09-29-2016, 11:50 AM   #8
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I want my solar panel to be in the back. I am having my Norcold Refrigerator removed for update so I will have a set of panel wires run down the roof fridge vent through the furnace chamber, then through to the inverter connection to batteries. This is a retrofit that only works if you have the conventional RV setup with a roof vent. My Dutchstar is a 4320 and though it was prewired for front panels with access in the top middle front, I think my revised location is better with Panels (two) above the bathroom just in back of fantastic fan. The length of cables is less than 20 feet so resistive loss is lower. Ron
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