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Old 08-18-2014, 04:25 PM   #15
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I'm thinking of the DMSolar 158W panels, but they are out of stock at the moment. I've begun looking for alternatives, like Grape Solar. Anyway, the current when in series is 16.94 and the volts are 37.8. If I use the worst case, 50 feet, I get 1.77% loss.
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Old 08-18-2014, 05:16 PM   #16
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You should be OK. I just looked at this Handy Bob's blog page and noticed he is using #6 wire for 24A, 12' long, so he's tolerating a 2% voltage drop. He says it does need to be replaced with #4 due to too much voltage drop on high amperage days.
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Old 08-18-2014, 06:46 PM   #17
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DDMO......My 2014 Dutch Star 4018 came with the optional solar prep. I looked for a long time trying to find the wiring. I called Newmar and was really surprised to find they didn't have a clue as to what was going on.

Here's what I found on mine. The spot marked on the roof was where the roof wires were located. I thought there would be a cover, but I had to cut an opening in the fiberglass roof. Stupid me.....I thought they would plumb the wires down to the battery bay. They didn't!!! They plumbed from the roof, to the control panel in the front of the coach (by the way....in order to take the wood control panel off, you have to remove the door and the hinges. Once removed, the entire panel will slide out).

From the front panel the white wire goes to the frame and the red wire got stubbed off in the power cord bay. If you look at the back of the power cord bay you'll see a piece of plastic panel. The panel is velcroed on and is removable. Once you remove it....you'll see a bunch of fuses and circuit breakers. There are also two large studs/connections going to the batteries. My red solar wire was hard to find and coiled back behind the power cord reel. I had to remove a couple of hold downs and tie wraps to free it.

Here is my guess to Newmar's logic. The white wire to ground saves running additional wiring. The large battery cable lugs at the rear of the power cord bay work well for connecting the wires from the charge controller to the batteries.

Here is what I did. I added three 100 watt panels and a Zantrex 30 controller to my coach. I certainly didn't want a large controller up in the control panel or try to fit it in behind it, at the front of the coach, so I mounted it in the Oasis bay, just in front of the power cord reel bay. This allowed me to connect their red wire (I added a 30 amp fuse) to my charge controller and then run another wire, with fuse back to the large battery lug at the rear of the power cord bay. The grounds I ran to the frame. I only had to use about 2' of additional hot and ground wire to make the connections.

Here is a photo of the panel at the rear of the power cord bay:


Here is a photo of what's behind there. That large red wire just above the large green wire at the top of the photo was my solar wire. It was just tied into that loom behind the power cord reel.

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Old 08-18-2014, 09:54 PM   #18
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Dutch Star Don

Thanks for the explanation and pictures. My Dutch Star has a panel on the roof that is sealed. When I took delivery, they said it was for the solar prep. When I called Newmar this last week to find out where the wires routed, I asked if the solar wires were under the panel and was a hole already cut in the roof. They said yes. Also, my solar prep in the electrical bay was stubbed out (see first post for picture). So definitely there is no standard for how the solar prep is handled.

I like the way you set yours up. A few questions: I'm also thinking of mounting controller in Oasis compartment, but was worried about heat from the Oasis unit causing the controller to overheat. Have you seen any issues? Also, you mentioned large battery lugs in electrical compartment. Was this set up specifically for solar wiring, or are you joining another function? I looked at your pictures and am trying to figure out where the large battery lugs are and how you connected the controller to it.

Thanks

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Old 08-19-2014, 12:10 AM   #19
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DDMO.......Now that I think about it, there was an aluminum plate on the roof, but no hole under it. I think Newmar doesn't cut the hole (leak issue) just in case it never gets used. I took the aluminum plate, laid it over a couple of Phillips screwdrivers at one end and whacked it with a hammer to create channels for the solar panel cables.

The large battery lugs are behind the cord reel near the top and not in the photo (upper right corner). I believe Newmar stubbed off the wiring there so that the controller can be easily wired. The cables are 00 size and go directly to the batteries. It was easier to connect to the lugs then the run wire to the batteries.

I mounted my controller on the wall between the power cord bay and Oasis bay. I was able to run the cables up over the wall between the two. There's no real heat at this location.

Side Note: I do believe the Oasis unit creates a LOT of heat in the storage bays. I also dislike that they mounted the Magnum Inverter high between the frame rails where the heat rises. I think the heat in the bay, during the summer months, contributes to making the coach interior about 5+ degrees hotter. I find that in the evening when the weather cools down, I have a hard time getting the coach interior cool with the windows open. One night I opened a bay to put some chairs away and was surprised by how hot it was in there.

I just ordered some 5" computer fans that I'm going to mount in one of the bays to draw the hot air out. I know I want to use the computer fans, probably three of them, but haven't decided where to put them. I'm thinking abut mounting them to a bay door on a hinge. I could crack the door open just enough to flip the fans into position and vent the bays.
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Old 08-19-2014, 05:46 AM   #20
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DDMO, here is another Newmar solar wiring installation, look to end of post, that may give you some pointers and DS DON I have added your posts in "your QT's section" of QT's # 3.
More people are picking up on solar, these links will make it easier to find info on installations.
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Old 08-19-2014, 08:12 PM   #21
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I just looked in electrical compartment and could not find any lugs with a battery cable attached. Only battery cable I found was attached to battery isolation switch. Not sure I can attach controller to that point or not. Maybe best to just run a new cable to batteries.

Dutch Star Don. I'm now guessing I'm going to have to cut hole in roof under the plate. What did you use to cut into the roof? I bought a 6"x6" waterproof junction box that I will mount and seal on roof over the hole to make all my connections.

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Old 08-20-2014, 12:59 PM   #22
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DDMO....I have to apologize...we've been on the road and my memory has failed me a bit since I added the solar panels. The lugs I was referring to are the lugs on the solenoid. Mine had labels identifying the engine battery side and coach battery side. I connected to the coach battery terminal. It is a direct cable to the coach batteries.

I used solar panels that have quick connect ends that you can double up to add more panels. Once I removed the cover plate, I marked the size hole that I needed and would still be covered by the plate. I used a 2" hole saw and was careful not to let the pilot bit go to deep. Once I had the hole, I checked for items that could be damaged and than used a small battery operated saw to enlarge. I was able to get all of the connectors into the hole so that I just had cables coming out.
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