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Old 11-20-2006, 04:11 PM   #1
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I have a 2005 Mountain Aire 3505 (MACA). We have a small solar panel up front to the starting battery with a charging indicator on the dash and in the side compartment where the house batteries are, there is a group of wires labled solar prewire. DOes anyone know if and where they terminate? On the roof under some plate? Thanks in advance as I really would like to hook up some more solar panels.
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Old 11-20-2006, 04:11 PM   #2
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I have a 2005 Mountain Aire 3505 (MACA). We have a small solar panel up front to the starting battery with a charging indicator on the dash and in the side compartment where the house batteries are, there is a group of wires labled solar prewire. DOes anyone know if and where they terminate? On the roof under some plate? Thanks in advance as I really would like to hook up some more solar panels.
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Old 11-20-2006, 04:36 PM   #3
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Kaye&Larry as far as I know that solar panel is only for the chassis batt and the indicator on dash is in that panel ckt. There maybe a sticker on roof or in roof vent area with the wires coiled up in there. You also can call Newmar give them your coach MFG# and they can tell you where they are.
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Old 11-20-2006, 06:03 PM   #4
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Thanks 007. I know the front panel works and is hooked to the indicator. The rear set of wires is coiled by the rear coach battery bank and labeled Solar prewire. Is this a common connection to the roof if a rear panel wasn't ordered and a connector panel on the roof in the rear?
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Old 11-20-2006, 07:43 PM   #5
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All opinions are my own and are subject to change based on new information. Having said that. The solar prep from Newmar is worthless and is unusable for any real installation. It consist of two 10 gauge wire that run from the middle of the roof to the AC electrical box on the opposite side of the coach from the battery box and one inline 30 amp fuse.

We also ordered the coach with a 2000 watt inverter and two extra 6-volt batteries for a total of 4-6 volt batteries.

I have purchased and had installed 2- 120 watt panels with a Heliotrope PV RV-30SE controller. I got two panel (1598.00), controller (229.00), easy access brackets (60.00) , 40' 10 gauge wire (52.00) , RV-30 Shunt/wire kit (62.50) , and wall mounting bracket (29.00) as a package (2030.50) for $ 1410.00 including shipping. It all arrive via UPS 5 days after ordering. Under optimum conditions we have generate ~12 amps in full sun light directly overhead.

The controller has pulse width modulation, taper charge strategy, auto equalization or float, temperature compensation. I understand that essentially protects the batteries from over charge and provides for best battery maintenance.

The shunt is necessary to protect the system for a catastrophic failure and allows the controller to monitor the using amps as well as the charging amps and battery voltage. I ordered solar prep for our Dutch Star at a cost of ~133.00 which ran from the roof to the AC electrical compartment not the battery compartment as stated by Newmar. In order to use that arrangement I would have had to put the controller in that compartment

I paid a RV place 303.00 to teach me how to install the items. I was quoted 253.00 ( I was to be a gopher) but felt I owed another 50.00 because I was under foot all day trying to learn how it was being installed. The panels were installed on two one inch bars mounted using L brackets so the panels do not touch the brite tec roof. The L brackets are mounted to the side wall rafter of the coach. The wiring is run down the refrigerator vent to the controller which is mounted in the cabinet above the microwave on the vent cover. The wiring then returns to the refrigerator compartment down into the furnace compartment, then across the rear wheel well into the inverter compartment and then into the battery compartment.. We were able to remove four screws and "fold up"¯ the body panel to get access to the enclosed body cavity above the wheel well. The wire is not exposed to the out side elements except for on the roof. The shunt is mounted in the battery compartment. The temperature compensation and the shunt wiring all follow the path described above. It took about 5.5 or 6 hours to get every thing installed including running for parts a couple of times. I now think I could have installed the system myself but it would have taken me a lot longer.

We installed it in September 02. We have run on solar power for 4 days with out starting the generator. We normally run the TV and sat. box for the TV. We have used the microwave/convection oven for up to 15 minutes. In addition we run far to many lights most of the time. We have fan in the bedroom and even run it at times. I monitor the voltage in the batteries to make sure I do not run the down. Most of the time we run the inverter only when we need AC power.

I ordered from RV Solar Electric @ http://rvsolarelectric.com/ or phone 1-800-999-8520. I bought here because of a reference from a relative who is more experienced in solar stuff than I am. Also they are close to where I live ~400 miles away. And if I had real problems I wanted to be close enough to drive there with out much of a problem. Be aware that Shell as bought out Siemens.

I attended a seminar put on by these folks at the All American Rally at Pomona this summer.

http://amsolar.com/

This is another site on solar stuff.

www.backwoodssolar.com

Complete systems cost and warranty is about the same from all of them.

Got this site from another forum and it seems a little cheaper but I could not find a package system. You have to order the pieces separately.

http://www.solar-electric.com/
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Old 11-21-2006, 06:20 AM   #6
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Ditto wallynm.
AMSolar.com seems to have the most sophisticated solar setup in the industry - especially for RVs. The AM-100 panels controlled by the Heliotrope controller plays the available volts x amps games (constantly changes with the sun) to maximize system output better than any other setup – there have been a few tests to support their claim. AMSolar can do this because the custom designed AM-100 panel (made by BP Solar – yep the BP petroleum folks - exclusively for AMSolar) has a few extra cells giving them a little more voltage to play the V x A game and the Heliotrope is designed to maximize output from that input.

Newmar (so far) has refused to install any part of the Heliotrope/AMSolar products (with a 4 panel array) on my currently-in-design new rig. We are still discussing. As an alternative, I am asking Newmar NOT to prewire but instead to install conduit. We'll see if they will do this (and get the terminating points correct!)
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Old 11-21-2006, 06:29 AM   #7
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Thanks wallynm and RVDude I think you have discribed it very well for KayLarGo and what he may have ahead of him.
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Old 11-21-2006, 07:49 AM   #8
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Thank you everyone for the detailed responses. Wallynm"”thanks for all the detail and data. It appears it isn't a light task for sure and I need to read up carefully. When I first saw the wires I was pretty impressed with Newmar for the "prewire"¯ but that is what is so great about this forum are folks that have been thru it.
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Old 11-21-2006, 12:55 PM   #9
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Your idea about the conduit is a good one RVdude. It's a shame that there isn't more conduit in several places for user add-on options. Back to front, front cabin to roof etc.
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Old 11-21-2006, 04:29 PM   #10
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I just got a new Kountry Star. I was made aware, by some friends of mine, that Newmar simply does not understand how to prep for solar. SO -- I went out of may, over and over and over and over, specifying exactly what was needed.

Didn't matter -- it didn't work very well. We had extra wires run from somewhere, but couldn't find where. We wanted two sets of 6 guage wire run from the roof, because I was going to use two solar panel charge controllers from AM Solar. We found where the wires were on the roof, but there was a loop. After cutting the loop, assuming that the ends went the same place, it turns out that they didn't. We simply ran another set in a different area.

Trying to get Newmar to actually mount the solar panels might just not be in anybody's best interests -- odds are that at best, the wires will be inadequate. A 10 guage wire, for example, will not handle 4 100-watt solar panels very well. So I'd try to have one pair of 6 guage wires run, but you have to make sure you tell them exactly where you want them run, otherwise their idea of solar prep is to run the wires from the roof to the battery compartment, and that is NOT where a charge controller will be.
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Old 11-21-2006, 05:47 PM   #11
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journeylad
The wire size issue is exactly what I wanted to avoid by asking for conduit instead. How would you suggest the rig by plumbed?

I was thinking of a 1" conduit (should hold 2 pairs of #6awg or #4awg wires) from mid roof to where the inverter remote controls are (wouldn't this be the right place to put the Heliotrope controller?) and then the same 1" conduit from there to the battery area. Does that make sense to you?

Another very wasteful $$$ idea I thought of is to let Newmar install their generic 4 panel solar array and rip it all out replacing with AMSolar/Heliotrope. In retrospect, I suspect they will use #10awg which is totally insufficient (power losses at 12v are huge).

Thoughts on best routing of the conduit?
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Old 11-21-2006, 05:55 PM   #12
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Thanks journeylad

Pretty sad commentary but sounds like its real.

It seems like it would be an easy way for Newmar to seperate it's self from the others to be realy " Green" compatable. Sound like you really tried to make them understand.
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Old 11-22-2006, 06:49 AM   #13
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by RVDude:
journeylad
The wire size issue is exactly what I wanted to avoid by asking for conduit instead. How would you suggest the rig by plumbed?

I was thinking of a 1" conduit (should hold 2 pairs of #6awg or #4awg wires) from mid roof to where the inverter remote controls are (wouldn't this be the right place to put the Heliotrope controller?) and then the same 1" conduit from there to the battery area. Does that make sense to you?

Another very wasteful $$$ idea I thought of is to let Newmar install their generic 4 panel solar array and rip it all out replacing with AMSolar/Heliotrope. In retrospect, I suspect they will use #10awg which is totally insufficient (power losses at 12v are huge).

Thoughts on best routing of the conduit? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Dunno about conduit -- my guess is that could be tough. And you really won't need #4 wire -- #6 is sufficient, according to the people at AM solar. In my case, I was starting out from Minneapolis, on the way down to Arizona. But I also had to stop up in Bismarck for repairs, and I had to stop in Salt Lake City for satellite dish repairs. SO -- I decided to bite the bullet and have AM solar install everything. Therefore, I had it done in Springfield, OR.

It was their recommendation to use two pair of #6 wires. One of their controllers wouldn't handle the number of panels I wanted, so we planned on two controllers. I had Newmar run the wires from the roof (there was a little metal box, under which were the wires), to the very narrow side compartment with the pressed board that has little holes in it. (I know, I know -- pretty technical -- I just can't think of the right term for that stuff.) I figured that would be a good place for the controllers. Then, another pair of 6 guage wires are run from there to the battery compartment. You only need one pair at that point, from what I understand.

But with finding the loop above, and only find one of the sets of wires down below that corresponded to the roof, we ended up putting one controller there, and ran a new set of wires up from the battery compartment to the washer/dryer compartment in back, and that's where the second controller is. Then, we ran a set of wires from there directly up to the roof, so that's where the second set of solar panels is tied into.

AM solar really did a nice, thorough, complete job. It was a d@mned long trip (particularly when it was raining in Oregon and my wiper motor died!!), but I think it was worth it -- they did it right.

SO -- I don't know if I've helped at all. What I'm really hoping is that somewhere down the line, Newmar gets somebody there that can set a new direction for the solar panel prep. Right now, they don't get it.
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Old 11-22-2006, 01:28 PM   #14
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To; All re; Newmar solar wiring.

As you can see by my signature, I am totally commited to solar.

When I ordered my rig, I specified wiring to go from roof into top cabinet in galley, leave a 3' loop in cabinet and then run both wires down to battery compartment. They almost got it right, instead of running both wires to batteries, they ran positive wire into electrical bay, { where 50 amp cord is] and connected it to solonoid. Of course all the power from the solars was being used to supply things that were being used and nothing was going into battery charging. It took about a week to find the problem but rig was still at dealers so we ran an 8 guage wire from control panel, down thru wall into bay and on top of bays into battery compartment, of course there is a 30 amp in-line fuse about 18 inches from positve battery connection.

All my solar equipment was installed by dealer and I had everything shipped to dealer before rig arrived from Newmar
I purchased solar from RV SOLAR in Arizona. I think AM SOLAR is there also. AM SOLAR is owned by Heliotrope who makes the controllers.

Hope this info helps. PM me if more info wanted or use this post.

Thanks=== AIME==== AJBJRVERS ==
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