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Old 06-25-2008, 11:41 AM   #1
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My coach only has a 20 watt solar panel for what I think is a trickle charger for the chassis starting batteries. Since I keep the coach stored sans shore power during the summer I'm considering adding some solar power. I've read most of the threads on our forum and the entire iRV2 site and have gotten some ideas, but certainly couldn't make any informed decisions.

What have any of you added? 2-100 watt panels, 4-100 watt panels? AM Solar has an interesting website and I spoke with them. Their suggestion is to start with 2 panels and add 2 more if you need them. What do you think?

Where would you mount the controller? The monitor? Is there already existing wiring that one could connect to the batteries and an area adjacent to the inverter compartment above the passenger seat...like the shallow compartment above the passenger seat on the right?

Your thoughts would be appreciated.
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Old 06-25-2008, 11:41 AM   #2
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My coach only has a 20 watt solar panel for what I think is a trickle charger for the chassis starting batteries. Since I keep the coach stored sans shore power during the summer I'm considering adding some solar power. I've read most of the threads on our forum and the entire iRV2 site and have gotten some ideas, but certainly couldn't make any informed decisions.

What have any of you added? 2-100 watt panels, 4-100 watt panels? AM Solar has an interesting website and I spoke with them. Their suggestion is to start with 2 panels and add 2 more if you need them. What do you think?

Where would you mount the controller? The monitor? Is there already existing wiring that one could connect to the batteries and an area adjacent to the inverter compartment above the passenger seat...like the shallow compartment above the passenger seat on the right?

Your thoughts would be appreciated.
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Old 06-25-2008, 01:59 PM   #3
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Rick,

I am using 3 100+ watt solar panels for the house with an Blue Sky controller. And a 10 watt solar panel with the factory supplied controller for the chassis. I do not know what your 05 has for wiring, the 07 had some wires all ready installed. The normal way to run wires off of the roof, is through the fridge vent. The wiring between the solar controller and the batteries, can be run directly to the batteries or to a spare fuse on one of the house fuse blocks. If you want to discuss options, PM me. Between the work I did on my 2002 and now this 07 I am somewhat versed on some of the basic wiring.

Dale
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Old 06-26-2008, 05:13 AM   #4
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I've got three 120 watt Kyocera panels that I have transfered from my two previous motorhomes. I am using the Xantrex 35 amp controller, which I mounted in a bedroom closet. I also have a cutoff switch mounted in the same area and an ampmeter/shunt which I added. I used the existing #10 wire that was original to the small solar panel that came with the rig.

Be careful on mounting as the luan under the roof fiberglass is thin. I used urethane glue under all the feet, which were then screwed to the roof.

System works fine. I typically see 15+ amps on a sunny day during the summer.

As an aside, my rig came with a King Dome automatic TV antenna. The lame factory mounted it to the roof with no sealant whatsoever under or around the feet. I have since corrected the problem. Others may want to check that, as water was getting under the feet on mine.

Ken
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Old 06-26-2008, 08:20 AM   #5
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Rick,

Do you want solar just to keep your batteries charged while being stored, or for actual boondocking? The 20W might be a little shy of keeping batteries charged, but a full solar system would be overkill just for trickle charging purposes.

Regardless, I've put three 130W Kyocera panels on the roof. They join together at a bus bar mounted outside on the fridge vent. From there I used 6ga wire to the basement (just below the fridge) where I have a Blue Sky 2512ix controller mounted. Finally more 6ga to the battery compartment for the house circuit and 10ga for the chassis circuit (the controller has an Aux charging circuit).

I also installed a remote monitoring panel, the Blue Sky IPN-ProRemote, with a shunt for monitoring charge/discharge amperage. The remote panel connects to the controller via a 4-wire phone cord, and to the shunt with a single-pair shielded wire.

All of this was purchased from RV Solar Electric, in Scottsdale, AZ which ends up being local for me.
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Old 06-26-2008, 09:34 AM   #6
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Jeff- I would like the option of doing some occasional boondocking. My 20 watt trickle charger was a replacement for the 10 watt trickle charger that the factory installed and looked completely thrashed after 1 year.
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Old 06-26-2008, 09:17 PM   #7
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FWIW = I took a quick look at my two panels on my roof. One is a 10W and one is a 100W. The 100W looks fine, a little dirty. The 10W looks white in places, because I believe water has gotten in there or something. One day i will have to replace it, I would like to put another 100W up there but don't know if the wiring is in place and heavy enough for that load. There was another thread about this problem earlier. That is way down my list of things to do.
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Old 06-28-2008, 04:22 PM   #8
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I had AM Solar install 2 100w on our 36mdds. I had the monitor installed on the passenger side under the O2 detector next to the toilet door.
He demonstrated why 100w would not be enough if we planned to do any boondocking or even wanted to keep battery charged. Nice people and quality work.
Brad
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Old 06-28-2008, 04:56 PM   #9
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Monty,

WRV used 2 #10 wires, one for the 10 watt panel and one for the 100 watt panel. The one for the 100 watt panel was fused and the one for the 10 watt went directly to the large bolt (buss) in the battery compartment. I added a fuse to that wire for safety, that gage wire with a direct battery connection could cause big problems if it was shorted. I have 3 100+ watt solar panels on the original wiring, I feel that a #10 wire can handle 15 or so amps just fine. As you have the residential fridge, you will need more than just one additional panel to cut your generator time a reasonable amount. You will also need a better controller when you add any panels.
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Old 06-29-2008, 01:28 PM   #10
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I am surprised that people are mounting glass based PV panels on their roofs. These are really designed for static locations. I do not have a panel on my roof at the moment but I have previously used Unisolar panels on boats and would use these again. They are slightly less efficient, so you may need more panels, but they will not break if a rock lands on them.
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Old 06-29-2008, 05:43 PM   #11
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Not sure what the problem is. Mine has been on my roof for 10 years with no problems.
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