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Old 06-08-2015, 11:32 PM   #1
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Location: Northern CA
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Installing Solar Panels.. running the wires question

I’ve installed many solar panels on all of my toy haulers and Lance campers by running the wire from the roof down the refrigerator chute to the battery bank. On my “new” 2012 Itasca 30’ rig the refrigerator venting is on the side of the coach, and not on the roof. I need a chute from the roof to the floor to run the wire or an other option.

Have any of you done this modification of adding solar panels to the Itasca or similar rigs, drilling through the roof member and then running the wire down the wall area, or a chute to the floor, and then of course, under the floor to the battery bank?


2012 Itasca 30' flat towing a 2013 Jeep Wrangler
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Old 06-09-2015, 07:22 AM   #2
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I don't have your coach, but I did drill three holes through the roof to run wires.

One was for a GPS antenna, and I put it all the way up front and center, drilling down through the roof directly into the center front ovherhead cabinet. Running the wire to the GPS receiver was trivial.

The second setup was for a cellular antenna. I put that in the back driver corner of the coach, drilling down into the electrical cabinet in the back closet. Removing the circuit breaker panel, I found I had enough slack in the wires to pull the panel completely from the wall without disconnecting anything (or exposing live wires) which gave me plenty of room to reach in and route the antenna cable through to the back closet, where I have a MiFi hotspot mounted.

The most complicated setup was an automatic satellite dish. I mounted this near the center of the coach, a bit behind the halfway point. There is a wall in the bathroom that has the main control panel, and separates the toilet area from the hallway and shower. I removed the control panel, exposing a big hole in the wall. I then used a long flexible drill bit that I stuck in the wall opening, and drilled up through the roof. Then from the roof I drilled a larger hole down. (The small pilot hole was to make sure I was drilling in the right place.) I pulled the wires down into the wall cavity. On the toilet compartment side of the room is a vanity, and there were a couple screws holding the floor panel in place. Removing that panel made it easy to continue pulling the wires down the wall and across the floor, following the factory wiring through the hole in the floor into the basement compartment where the holding tanks are located. From there I could easily run it into the basement storage compartments and up front into a front outside electrical compartment, and then follow the factory wires up into the cab under the dash. Then up the A pillar to the satellite receiver.

That last project was a lot of work to run the wires, but with some careful poking around, and looking to see what I could open up to gain access, it wasn't too hard to find and follow the factory wiring. The more experience you have pulling wires through walls, the easier it will be. Just take your time, plan it out, and look for places you can gain access into walls and compartments (behind control panels, cover plates, switch panels, under/inside vanities, etc.) You will likely find a path that will work for you. You can try to drop the wires down into a wall, or into an upper cabinet. If inside the cabinet, if you run the wires along the face frame at the top of the cabinet, you'll probably never notice they are there. Maybe you can run through a few cabinets until you reach a wall or other space (closet?) where you can drop down to floor and basement level?

Another idea, and one I haven't yet had to resort to on my coach, is the tank vent. If you pull the vent cover off of the stack, you might have some room to drop the wires down next to the vent pipe?

Just keep looking at all of your vertical runs in the coach until you find a path. Remember, if you have horizontal access through cabinets or under vanities, you don't necessarily have to go all the way down in one straight shot.

Adam and Sue, and a pack of little furballs
2007 Holiday Rambler Endeavor 40PDQ Limited Edition - Cummins ISL 400
2013 Ford F-150 FX4 toad - USGear Unified Tow Brake, Roadmaster Blackhawk II Tow bar, Blue Ox baseplate
Home base near Buffalo NY, often on the road to a dog show
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Old 06-09-2015, 07:31 AM   #3
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56Nomad: Our fridge had side venting, also. But we were lucky in that there was an interior wall dead-center in the coach, adjacent to the shower (extra hollow space to use), and very nearly over the battery box. The interior wall also had all of the OnePlace controls, which became home to my new controller monitor and Trimetric meter (and other things, too).

We opened the butt-end of the wall and drilled a small pilot hole from the inside of the wall, up into and through the roof. The spacing was perfect, so we enlarged the hole and installed the combiner box on the roof, over the hole and wall. Use lots and lots of Dicor.

Your "OnePlace" prolly looks a lot like mine. With all of the wires running from roof to basement through that wall, it was logical (and easy) to modify my OnePlace in order to accommodate the new monitors and meters.

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Ken & Deb (WIT Club, FMCA, SKP, Harvest Hosts, and grateful volunteers with SOWERs)
2005 Winnebago Vectra 40FD w/400ISL and Allison 3000MH on Freightliner's Evolution chassis, Onan QD7500, 1000w Renogy solar, BlueOx tow gear, and 2015 Cherokee TrailHawk toad.
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Old 06-09-2015, 07:42 AM   #4
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Had a older larger journey diesel and drilled a hole to the rear closet then down to the engine bay ( which was near the battery's)
I would try to be as close to the controller and battery's as possible. They make a combiner box that you can use to combine wires and cover and waterproof the hole you drill
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Old 06-09-2015, 09:03 AM   #5
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I am going to do this same thing and like Bumps I have the wall right in the hallway where I am putting my Trimetric also. I also have the gray water vent going up inside the same wall and I am going to run the wires down that vent and then out and continue under the shower and out to the battery bay under the steps. It looks like you have a vent cap in the same place but I don't know if that is black or gray. I would prefer not drilling another hole in the roof but I am not putting a combiner box there either. If you have a bunch of big wire that is a good way to go though.
2011 Monaco Knight 40PBQ towing a Jeep JK Rubicon Wrangler
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Old 06-09-2015, 10:12 AM   #6
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Great replies....... thanks so much for all the input

2012 Itasca 30' flat towing a 2013 Jeep Wrangler
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