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Old 07-21-2015, 02:48 PM   #1
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Route for Solar Panel Cable to Battery 1995 CC Magna

Well, I have decided to catch up with the rest of you and add a solar panel.

My battery tray is in the compartment behind the curb side drive axle.

I am thinking to run the cable down beside the vent pipe on the rear curb side of the rig.



The cables would run down behind the TV and drawers in the bedroom and exit in the fender well adjacent to the battery compartment.

Has anyone done a different route with this style rig for solar cable?

I note that in the front house electrical compartment, there is an empty fuse spot for the "Solar Option". It seems to be about 25 feet from the battery compartment.

Has anyone used this connection to install their solar?
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Old 07-21-2015, 02:57 PM   #2
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Check out the area under your HVAC as ours had extra 12 ga wires inside for heater strips.

If there they may get close depending on location.

Other easy option is use larger wire and come down fridge vent then inside cabinets to bedroom area then access the power center that may be behind the tv.

Ours has tv and other stuff in front right side of bedroom and there is a power distribution center inside that area.

Fridge same side of rig so on ours very easy.

Your roof looks like similar layout.
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Old 07-21-2015, 10:16 PM   #3
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Much depends upon if your using a combiner box on the roof for multiple panels, and then running a heavy gauge down to the solar controller. Or, running the individual wires down to be closer to the solar controller.

Higher voltage solar panels, are pretty good at doing the individual separate runs down. Lower voltage panels work well with a roof top combiner box, and then thicker gauge run down.

We went with the higher voltage panels, and then had the ability to add a circuit breakers for each of the individual runs down to the controller. This allows you to isolate a problem panel, and to also check the output of each individual panel by the simple switch off of a circuit breaker.

Not familiar with your coaches layout.We put a combiner box on the roof top (Not to combine, but because it was easier to water proof seal this box tot he top of the roof. I also used this access to feed WiFi and Cellular cables down into the coach as well.) directly above our bedroom TV cabinet. We removed the tube TV, added the circuit breaker box to the back of the cabinet, ran the cables thru the combiner box on the roof down into the cabinet and to the circuit breaker, and from there, down into the compartment that housed our fuel filters (on the 04 Allure, this is the rear passenger side basement cabinet, which is right next to the battery compartment cabinet. The MidNite Classic 150, had connections for all five of our panels (240W 48V), and we mounted this to the ceiling of the full filter cabinet. Then we fed the fat cables thru to the battery compartment. We added a shunt valve to feed our meter (Magnum BMK-ME), and form the shunt valve to the battery and chassis as appropriate. IMO, the shortest run possible on your final 'fat cable' feed to the battery area, is the best way to reduce power loss.

To finish off on the TV Cabinet, we decided to not replace the TV, but adde a removable shelf, and some matching cheery doors, and have more storage now. While still retaining access to the circuit breaker as needed.

Our alternative location, was to place the rooftop combiner box above the closet, and run the cables down thru to the at same fuel filter cabinet.

No right or wrong not this process. And pro's and con's need to be considered.

One suggest I recall getting that I felt was spot on, was to 'upsize' the cabling and major components, to add for additional solar panels if ever desired. (The labor of installing, running and hooking up all of this stuff, can be expensive. Even if doing it yourself, paying a it more for a father cable, or a bit bigger controller, or even a bigger rooftop combiner box - is worth the added costs to allow for the flexibility of adding more panels at a later time. (I was going to only install 3 240W 48V panels. But planned for more capacity in the full system. I'm glad I did, as when I called to place the final order, the gent was able to shave about $45 off for each additional panel above 3, so $220 savings for 5 panels - thus, I ended up going for 5. ($20 off if I added only 1 panel.). I never quite understood the reason why, but was glad to get the costs down and also shipping freight costs were the same fore 5 as they would have been for 3. If I had bought one more panel, or two, later on - I would have had the same shipping freight costs repeated. So, I bit the bullet, and put the DW on Bag-O-Wine for a few months, to absorb the hit of the two extra panels!

Best of luck to you on your project!!!
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Old 07-21-2015, 10:58 PM   #4
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Smitty, your project is worlds ahead of my meager 100w panel project.

I will just be using the 12g cable provided by Renogy to the PWM controller and 10g cable from the controller to the batteries.

If we ever decided to add more than 400 w of panels I will knuckle under and hire someone to do the work.

I keep worrying about an untimely Earthquake while I am on the roof..... and my resulting impact on the ground causing a secondary quake.

So, no combiner box until I cannot daisy chain the next panel.
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Old 07-24-2015, 08:32 PM   #5
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dean, your route might be easier than mine...

i installed a combiner box on the roof top, connecting 5 240w 48v panels (sunpower). from there, 6 ga wires go down through the fridge vent to the back of the fridge. go further down to the compartment beneath it, then go through each compartment toward the battery bay. the tricky part is going through the plumbing section (in front of rear axle) and the axle shell (along the upper edge).

my controller is in the battery bay as my coach batteries are lithium, and the starting battery is maintenance free with an air hose leading to outside; no gassing concerns - in fact, i sealed the entire bay. the wiring connecting controller and battery pack is only about 1 foot long, 4 ga. so far so good.
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Old 07-25-2015, 12:53 AM   #6
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OP here.

I finally drilled a new hole in the roof which dropped the solar panel cable into a closet just behind the shower dome on the driver side of the rig.

The controller is mounted on the back wall of the closet and the battery cable runs through the closet floor and across behind the rear axle into the battery compartment.

Seems to be working good. While laying upside down in its box on the roof, the panel was producing 7.5 volts at the control panel. I will measure it tomorrow under direct 95 degree sun and solar side up to see its performance.

All 12ga wire.

Thanks to all for the ideas.
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Old 07-25-2015, 01:57 PM   #7
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Sounds like a good path! Hope the sun puts you some good power!

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Old 07-26-2015, 12:01 PM   #8
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Well, the data sheet says the panel should produce 18v max.

I measured 19.5v in peak sun period yesterday.

I guess that means it is working.

Next is to learn if it is enough for my storage battery mainenance goals. I will have to wait until December to learn that.
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Old 08-11-2015, 09:13 AM   #9
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Hey Dean, over the last couple months I have been researching solar, there are so many considerations. Sounds like you and I are just wanting a simple solution to keep the batteries topped off without having to run the generator every few days. We normally use the stereo during the day, run the microwave for a few minutes, charge a couple computers , watch a couple hours of TV, run an internal network router with a media drive and a bullet wifi extender.

I am looking forward to your report, letting us know how well your solar is keeping up with your power needs. I would also like to start off with a single panel, expanding as needed.
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Old 08-11-2015, 11:56 AM   #10
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We will be on a 50a tether until Sept so will not create any useful info until back to storage.
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