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Old 09-13-2019, 12:33 PM   #1
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Solar Prep Option

We are pretty much settled on ordering a 2020 Baystar in a month or so. I have all the options we want decided on, but just have a question concerning the solar prep option.

What exactly am I getting with this option? It doesn't sound like much to me. Not sure why it would be wired to the 1st storage compartment and not to the control center inside the coach so a solar controller can be installed at that location.
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Old 09-13-2019, 12:57 PM   #2
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The solar prep consists of two 6awg wires, one red, one black...that terminate in the first bay. Also a com cord runs from the same first bay to the control panel...in order to add a remote for your controller. You DO NOT want to put a charge controller in your control cabinet. The solar charge controller should be as close to your battery bay as possible. The idea is to keep the cable runs as short as possible. The controller also needs ample air circulation around it.

The way Newmar does it is great...you save a lot of hassle not trying to fish wires down vent stacks or behind fridges, etc... I use a Victron co troller with BlueTooth so, I don't actually use the com cord they installed. Some people may...
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Old 09-13-2019, 02:14 PM   #3
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Yes you want the solar controller in the lower bay. I also had the solar prep in my coach and used a Victron battery monitor. The cable up to the control cabinet is just CAT 5 (I think) and the Victron monitor uses RJ45 connectors. I just put the RJ45 on the CAT 5 (clipping some wires and checking which lead goes where). Works great.
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Old 09-15-2019, 06:19 PM   #4
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For us it was a waste of money. The wires were not anywhere big enough for more than basic solar. We went to AM Solar in Eugene, OR and got a very good system (8 panels) with the proper weight wires.
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Old 09-16-2019, 05:40 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Bobkat3080 View Post
For us it was a waste of money. The wires were not anywhere big enough for more than basic solar. We went to AM Solar in Eugene, OR and got a very good system (8 panels) with the proper weight wires.
I have eight 180w panels...and use the Newmar solar prep. But I don’t want to just throw out a statement and let it influence your decision.

You can do your own calculations...and reference the NEC charts for ampacity.

You will need the specifications from the data label for your desired solar panels...

http://www.cooperindustries.com/cont...-app-guide.pdf

The Magnum pdf installation manual for the PT-100 controller also has a nice easy to fill-in worksheet...with wire size recommendations.

Many MPPT controllers have a minimum Vmp to operate properly. You can’t run every panel in parallel and meet their requirements. The PT-100 controller is one that had to revise their Vmp requirement to a higher number in order to avoid a fault code from the controller.

I advocate for people doing their own solar to work the numbers themselves instead of relying on general statements...which may or may not have any validity at all.

If you plan on going for more than 1440watts...I would actually request two sets of 6AWG wire, and hook up parallel controllers... just my personal preference.
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Old 09-16-2019, 05:45 AM   #6
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I agree with what C.Martin said. Up the solar voltage and lower the wire size requirement. That's why power companies use high voltage distribution systems.
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Old 09-16-2019, 07:27 AM   #7
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When ordering my coach I had no idea what my solar plan was going to be so I ordered 2 solar preps. I ended up with 2 strings and 2 solar controllers. Having 2 preps gave me the option of doing it anyway I wanted. I ran 6 panels in series to each PT100 so the #6 was over kill but you don't have a choice of wire size. Very glad I got 2 solar preps.
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Old 09-17-2019, 08:41 AM   #8
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I want to thank everyone for their posts. Very helpful information.

John
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Old 09-18-2019, 02:32 PM   #9
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Glad the OP asked this question and the responses given.

As a follow-up or clarifier to some of the responses does the Magnum ME-ARC monitor that would go above the entrance door cabinet use that extra wire (not the 2 6g) from the solar controller near the battery bay or from the inverter/charger near the battery bay or does the solar charger connect to the inverter/charger and then go to above the entrance door or are there two(2) separate wires going from the solar charger and inverter/charger to the ME-ARC above the entrance door both?

Is that extra wire a cat 5 wire and does that automatically come with the solar prep option or do you have to specifically ask for that separately? Will there be a hole in the panel above the door with wrapped wire or a “X” marks the spot? Is it in conduit or just a wire run?

Finally, if the bay the solar prep wires are going to is under a slide out how is it wired from the roof to that bay and how long of a run is that?
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Old 09-19-2019, 04:10 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rvlegaleagle View Post
Glad the OP asked this question and the responses given.

As a follow-up or clarifier to some of the responses does the Magnum ME-ARC monitor that would go above the entrance door cabinet use that extra wire (not the 2 6g) from the solar controller near the battery bay or from the inverter/charger near the battery bay or does the solar charger connect to the inverter/charger and then go to above the entrance door or are there two(2) separate wires going from the solar charger and inverter/charger to the ME-ARC above the entrance door both?

Is that extra wire a cat 5 wire and does that automatically come with the solar prep option or do you have to specifically ask for that separately? Will there be a hole in the panel above the door with wrapped wire or a “X” marks the spot? Is it in conduit or just a wire run?

Finally, if the bay the solar prep wires are going to is under a slide out how is it wired from the roof to that bay and how long of a run is that?
The RJ45 portion comes with the prep. It has a termination in the bay and usually is zip tied to the two 6 AWG wires. The other end terminates inside the cabinet above the door...and the put a label in the cabinet face “solar prep”.

There is only one wire for the ME-ARC that you need...and if you already have the ME-RC, well...it’s as simple as unplugging the already installed wire from the ME-RC and plugging it into the ME-ARC. He the other end is connected to your Inverter’ REMOTE port.

The two six gauge wires do not get routed thru any slides. Up to the roof probably somewhere near the 1/2 bath. The will be a square metal plate screwed into the roof. It is held down by four screw and dicor. Peel off the dicor to access screws...unscrew the screws...lift the plate...and —— NOTHING. You will have to carefully cut your own access hole using a hole saw. Then once you’ve cut the hole...fish around atop the insulation inside to find the wires. The plate is just a marker.

I believe they must have had a remote in mind for the RJ45. Victron makes a MPPT remote...but it is basically their first gen. Product line. When the went from BlueSolar lineup to SmartSolar lineup...they now include Bluetooth. And you can easily control/update firmware/monitor via the Victron Connect App in any Smartphone, Tablet, or even a MacOS laptop. They probably have a download for Windows, as well... Using the old remote would be a real pain...toggling thru menus with a small lcd display. The Bluetooth APP is supper easy. So, I though about using it for my Victron BMV-712 Battery Monitor. But it is best left in the bay near the controller, honestly. The BMV can be connected via an optional temp. Sensing wire to your battery bank. The BMV then has a direct read of battery voltage at the battery...and temperature at the battery. It can share this information with the charge controller via VE.smart networking (wireless). The real reason for leaving the BMV display down there is if you wish to later add Venus GX...because it hardwire to the BMV via VE.direct cable. It would be a hassle to try to route one of the VE.direct cables from the bay to the cabinet. The BMV-712 has the Bluetooth built in...so you still see everything on the app.
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Old 09-20-2019, 02:36 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C.Martin View Post
The RJ45 portion comes with the prep. It has a termination in the bay and usually is zip tied to the two 6 AWG wires. The other end terminates inside the cabinet above the door...and the put a label in the cabinet face “solar prep”.

There is only one wire for the ME-ARC that you need...and if you already have the ME-RC, well...it’s as simple as unplugging the already installed wire from the ME-RC and plugging it into the ME-ARC. He the other end is connected to your Inverter’ REMOTE port.

The two six gauge wires do not get routed thru any slides. Up to the roof probably somewhere near the 1/2 bath. The will be a square metal plate screwed into the roof. It is held down by four screw and dicor. Peel off the dicor to access screws...unscrew the screws...lift the plate...and —— NOTHING. You will have to carefully cut your own access hole using a hole saw. Then once you’ve cut the hole...fish around atop the insulation inside to find the wires. The plate is just a marker.

I believe they must have had a remote in mind for the RJ45. Victron makes a MPPT remote...but it is basically their first gen. Product line. When the went from BlueSolar lineup to SmartSolar lineup...they now include Bluetooth. And you can easily control/update firmware/monitor via the Victron Connect App in any Smartphone, Tablet, or even a MacOS laptop. They probably have a download for Windows, as well... Using the old remote would be a real pain...toggling thru menus with a small lcd display. The Bluetooth APP is supper easy. So, I though about using it for my Victron BMV-712 Battery Monitor. But it is best left in the bay near the controller, honestly. The BMV can be connected via an optional temp. Sensing wire to your battery bank. The BMV then has a direct read of battery voltage at the battery...and temperature at the battery. It can share this information with the charge controller via VE.smart networking (wireless). The real reason for leaving the BMV display down there is if you wish to later add Venus GX...because it hardwire to the BMV via VE.direct cable. It would be a hassle to try to route one of the VE.direct cables from the bay to the cabinet. The BMV-712 has the Bluetooth built in...so you still see everything on the app.
Thanks for the reply!

I am specifically talking about the Bay Star 3401 model with full wall slide so there is not any half bath. The solar prep will go from the roof to the bay next to the 4 battery pull out bay (3rd bay back from the front of driver’s side) and was wondering how it is run and how long the run is?

So the RJ45 wire runs from the same bay (3rd) where the 6ga comes down from the roof as part of the solar prep and then goes to above the door cabinet marked solar prep to connect to your own ME-ARC? Does the MC-ARC need any other wire (if so what type) running to above the door cabinet that says “solar prep?

Not interested in any of the bluetooth stuff My present understanding is the Magnum ME-ARC itself can give you SOC...AGS...Battery monitoring etc (getting 4 battle born with 1200W on top in two (2) strings of 600w each to the PT-100 solar controller) but my question is how many wires (type) do you need to go to the ME-ARC for all of the above features to run or is it just one wire from the inverter/charger to the ME_ARC above the door and everything else above connects to the Magnum inverter/charger in the 3rd bin? (Specifically getting the Magnum MSH3012RV or MSH3012M inverter/charger).

Reason I am asking is I would like to get as much “pre-wire as a special as I can get to make the post purchase install as plug and plat as possible. Thanks in advance for any help and experience
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Old 09-21-2019, 05:59 AM   #12
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Daniel,

Honestly, I'm not sure how they route the wire in the Baystar. I also may be under the wrong assumption about your Magnum remote.

I want to make sure you know the ME-ARC is just a remote interface. It gives you nothing. You either have to install or already have the ME-AGS-N for Auto Generator Start functionality...and have the ME-BMK Battery monitor kit installed for SOC readouts. You are correct...no Bluetooth display is needed...and you do not need a separate controller for the PT-100 Charge Controller...you will have access to it thru your ME-ARC remote.

Do you already have the ME-RC remote?? If you have the more basic remote, then I would have to see what kind of wire they use...but, if you have the ME-RC...then the connection wire you need for the ME-ARC is already there.

I can't copy the link on my phone for some reason...but search for ME-ARC owners manual. It's a free pdf. On page three they show you the cable for the ME-ARC. The kit comes with a 50ft cable which is simple 6P4C telephony wire. This is all that is needed for the remote... if your current remote has that same 6 position phone plug with 4 conductors...you do not need to run another wire. You just unplug from current Magnum remote and plug in the new ME-ARC. If switching to a bigger inverter...the other end would unplug from your MS inverter's remote port and plug into your new Magnum Inverter's remote port.

Really the only part SOLAR prep will provide that you need are the two 6awg wires to connect to a combiner on the roof...and to the PT-100 in the bay.

Magnum has all of the install manuals online for free download. With one exception...the manuals are your best source for understanding how these devices network. The exception being the ME-BMK manual. Magnums wiring diagram assumes your battery bank only has one ground (negative) wire going to the inverter. This confuses folks...and if you call magnum...they will tell you it's correct. But all of your negatives connected to the bank have to be moved to the load side of the shunt. Not just the inverter. Chassis, house have to come along too. If you have any loads or charge sources that the negative side of the circuit circumvents the Shunt...your ME-BMK won't measure thier influence in the batteries.
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