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Old 07-07-2015, 06:40 PM   #1
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Lance truck camper adding solar- new member

Hi all,
I am a new member. I have been reading some threads the past week or so. Mostly regarding boondocking and adding solar power.
I have a 93' lance camper 480 9.5'

I do have a small honda 600 watt gen but prefer to leave it at home.
I have come to realize my battery charger from lance in 93 is just about worthless.
I have read handybobs blog in total, I have ordered a 100w 12 v solar panel. and read a bunch and ordered a bogart sc-2030 charge controller, shunt, and monitor from Arizona solar. My battery box only has room for one 13" long battery 29 size?. I will try to find a trojan or crown. I worry a bit about only having 100 w and one battery? the 100 watt panel will give a max of 6 amps. I understand electricity, current, and power and all this stuff quite well..

My questions are in regards to how to mount the solar panel on top of the lance aluminum roof, Which new Coffee maker, which standby charge inverter, and what small 19" led tv to consider?.
I did email lance last week to ask where there is structure to tap into. no response in 3 working days. I may want to add a cargo box up on top too.
I have looked into adding yakima gutter mounts with a 92" bar? The aluminum roof is pretty much free floating, by that I mean on a hot day it may be lifted up an inch in some places. I worry about anchoring it in 4 new points and then having the temperature expansion mess things up. I don't think adhesive on my z bracket mounts would be to solid. Do I want to mount the panel 4" minimum from the roof?
I also wonder if I should get a standby inverter/charger? That space for the old charger is begging to be used for some new stuff. The rest of the space is under the sink. Looking into sizing an inverter I look at my biggest power usage and it may become a coffee maker? I currently use a stove top percolator but that takes time, can get grounds in it if I don't control the perk perfectly, and it adds heat in summer. I do have a roof top ac but that is only with shore power. I was considering using my home coffee pot that says 975 watts but that gets into a medium size inverter. I am considering an aero press or other new coffee maker that will make 16 oz of coffee. I guess I can brew twice if I have a guest. Or maybe a more energy efficient coffee maker? I currently have a 400 w inverter. Im sure it is just modified since wave.

looking forward to some helpful direction.
Randy
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Old 07-07-2015, 09:30 PM   #2
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It sounds like you are going to pay a pretty steep price just to brew a small pot of coffee. Have you looked at an electric immersion water heater and a French press as an alternative to the percolator? The heaters are about $7 on Amazon and draw 200 watts. French presses are anywhere from $10-40 for a glass one, which is what you'd need with the resistance heater. You might also consider an outdoor propane burner if indoor heat is a concern.

I can't comment on how to mount things to the Lance roof, but if flexibility is a concern there are urethane and rubber vibration isolators used on industrial equipment that could be fairly easily adapted. Spacing under the module helps to keep it cool and increases the output, but you have to be aware of clearance, wind load and tree snagging issues if you decide to space it up off the roof. The Yakima roof rack might work too, if the static and wind loads don't overwhelm it. How about building a custom Unistrut rack to mount the panel(s) to? It's available at big box home improvement stores and fairly inexpensive.

Having only 100 watts and room for a 100AH battery may be an issue, depending on your power usage. Keep in mind that you shouldn't use the entire rated capacity of the battery. Also, where are you planning on using this and at what time of the year? Flat mounting the solar panel reduces its effectiveness and in reality you may only see about half of the rated output of the system by the time you factor in sun angle, temperature and inefficiencies in the charging/battery system. A Group 29 is an oddball size for a true deep cycle battery. 27's or 31's are the more common sizes.
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Old 07-07-2015, 09:57 PM   #3
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I have considered a French press. I was thinking just hear the water on the stove. At least I wouldn't have to keep adjusting to not perk to fast and overrun the filter. I will look into an immersion heater. The aluminium roof skin is not attached underneath anywhere but at the edges and for vents, ac. So a panel just attached via glued on z supports may lift up and stress things. Yes my battery compartment is only 13" width. And I have found out that the good batteries don't come in 29 size. I could put a battery box in the bed. There is a door? Could I use a 27 and 31 size combo? But I worry about a few things. Exposed positive cable. If I drop the camper or while at home how would this work?

Back to just one battery. I will size the cables for an additional panel. The run will be under 10'. More like 6'. I am quite miserly on power. I am planning to add a tv and dvr.
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Old 07-09-2015, 09:04 AM   #4
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Well I called DonRowe and Kyle steered me towards pure sine and a Kisae IC121040 1000w pure sine inverter/charger. free shipping. http://pdf.donrowe.com/ic121040_ic122055_spec_sheet.pdf
Its quite large at 18.8" I will have to find a new place for my crown bottle plus find a crown battery supplier. I haven't found one in Salt lake.
I just didn't want to wire this all up and still have my old battery boiling magnatek 6300 in use for shore power charging. I was hoping to find a I/C that would fit in the magnatek's home but Lance has that custom water tank wrapped around it pretty tight on 3 sides. I will just disconnect the old transformer which will separate the old DC distribution/fuse panel. I will use it from the inverter via its old connection to the battery plus the shunt. THe only change will be adding the shunt in the neg line. Kyle at Donrowe didn't quite understand my desire to connect the Kisae to the shunt as he thought it should be connected right to the battery. I told him the kisae will think it is. I tried to explain to him how I wanted my trimetric monitor to know how much charging the kisae did? is this right? He insists on 2 gauge wire even if its only 2-3'.
I am a bit confused on the part I have read and Bob talks about where you add a new breaker box prior to the old one. Do I need a breaker in the inverter AC out If am going to use the front panel GFCI outlet? Can I leave my RV's GFCI outlet as the first one inline? I am thinking I can tie the inverter into the junction box at the incoming AC cord which will leave the shore power hooked up to the old breaker box with the two breakers (AC & Outlets). This method doesn't add a breaker in front of the kisae? is that a no no?
Then do I need to add a new breaker box for the couple of new inverter supplied 110v AC outlets if I will be plugging into the front panel GFCI AC on the inverter? OR should I hook up to the non GFCI lug AC output to my old AC circuit?

http://pdf.donrowe.com/ic121040_ic12...ners_guide.pdf
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Old 07-09-2015, 08:51 PM   #5
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Inverter Charger

You should be able to reuse the AC breaker for the old charger in the existing panel. Just run a new 14 (or 12) AWG Romex to the new Inverter/Charger and connect it to the old breaker. Set the internal setting on the I/C to 15 Amps. Run a new 14AWG Romex to your new receptacles and connect them to I/C output 1 or 2 depending on whether you want them to be GFCI protected or not. The inverter is current limited to 15 Amps and doesn't need an additional overcurrent protective device (breaker) to feed the new receptacles. Don't go less than 2AWG copper on the wire from the battery to the I/C. BTW the manual doesn't make sense as far as its recommendation of wire vs DC breaker/fuse size. Stick with a 125A f/b as a 150A is too large for 2 AWG wire, unless you want to upsize the wire to 1 or 1/0 AWG.
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Old 07-10-2015, 12:43 AM   #6
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It will be about 3' of #2 between Batt and inverter. The positive will have a fuse. Neg to shunt then battery. Everything neg Will go on the inverter side of shunt including chassis ground. I guess it makes sense that the positive to inverter need a switch? What type? On the ac side, I will tie into the end of cord junction box and install a new breaker box with a breaker for the inverter ac in. The old breaker box will still be hooked up to the junction box and have the original outlets breaker and Air conditioning one. The only small one I have found is a two breaker one at home depot.
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Old 07-10-2015, 08:09 AM   #7
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A few more dumb questions.
one is about the inverter ground... The manual says it should be #2 gauge also. But where do I hook it? There isn't any real beefy metal visible. I will look some more. The battery is grounded in the compartment to the metal shell it appears. IT is loose I noticed under some silicone to seal the battery box. I see two bare copper #12-14 Grounding to the gas line but to ground the inverter to the gas line doesn't seem right. Do I just ground to the shunt?

Next regarding the fuse in the positive supply of the inverter. I was going to have donrowe make up these cables with the fuse but I rater mount the fuse in the smallish battery compartment. It seems like closer to the battery would be best or at least the same?
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Old 07-10-2015, 09:23 AM   #8
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Schematics; currently and planned.
Note on planned the neg 12 all goes to shunt and the old converter is unhooked .

I see where Bob put fuses on the trimetric + in and out but I don't find the requirement for that. It is not on the installation schematic.
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Old 07-10-2015, 04:26 PM   #9
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Well my solar panel showed up as well as the Kisae. THe solar grape solar poly panel puts out 20v with ease and not pointing right at the sun. even total cloud cover kept it up at 19v? I hope my trimetic can handle that?
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Old 07-12-2015, 12:08 PM   #10
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Wiring Diagram Comments

Your wiring diagram is basically sound, but I have to ask why you're pursuing the 30A breaker to feed the inverter when the inverter is only capable of supplying about 8.3 Amps? It would be one thing if you were using the transfer switch (relay) in the inverter to supply the entire AC electrical panel, but the way you have it drawn it will only supply the built-in receptacle and the two that you are adding, and that could be done using the existing 15 Amp breaker that is is feeding the DC supply that will no longer be used. The design would be more versatile if you added the 30A breaker and then used the automatic transfer relay in the inverter to supply the entire existing electrical panel. That way you could have any of your existing receptacles and the ones that you are adding fed by the inverter.

I'm attaching a couple of photos of alternatives for the DC disconnect switches (or connectors). You need to add some sort of disconnect or separable connector between the battery and the charge controller and solar panel(s) and the charge controller. The idea is that you should be able to isolate each component in the system for servicing and troubleshooting. The combiner box is not strictly necessary if you stick with only two solar modules. Once the third one is added there are overcurrent protection requirements that come into play. If your panels are equipped with MC4 connectors they make "Y" adapters that would allow you to easily parallel two of them. Just be sure to get the MC4 release tool that goes with them to take them apart.

The grounding for the inverter is a bit vague. What you are trying to do is make it so that if there is an internal short or failure in the inverter the fault will clear the circuit by blowing the fuse that is supplying the inverter. Therefore, a short jumper between the case of the inverter and the negative battery lead should suffice. The AC side of the inverter is current-limited internally and shouldn't need anything other than the circuit ground that goes from the inverter output to the receptacles or loads that it supplies.

I'm guessing that Bob has added the fuse on the solar side of the charge controller as a "just in case" measure, to protect the wiring between the SC2030 and the modules in case there is an internal failure in the 2030. The fuse between the battery and the 2030 is a must and should be located near the battery. Keep in mind that the solar side of the system is inherently current-limited, however, the battery is not, and will burn up unprotected wiring if there is a failure and no fusing. Essentially, all wiring that is connected to the battery should have appropriately sized overcurrent protection installed as near as possible to the battery.
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Old 07-12-2015, 10:28 PM   #11
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The inverter instructions called for a 30 A breaker on the AC in, I thought? Your saying I could split the incoming AC at the junction box and go to this new 30 A inverter breaker box and the old box. Move Air con breaker to this box. Then wire the inverter "AC out" to the 15 amp outlet breaker? the transfer switch will kick in shore power is lost and power the outlets? That's how I understand it. So it's ok to have 2 AC ins on the 15 Amp outlet breaker?

There is currenrly a 30 A breaker in the battery box on the positive for the dc distribution. I still need to figure out fuses and disconnects between the panels and sc 2030 controller.
I had some big 12 v connectors like that somewhere I bought for my trolling battery. Where are they now?

I ordered a fuse/disconnect from Don Rowe for the +12,v to the
inverter along with my 2 ga custom cables. I may get this all figured out yet.

About the inverter grounding. Not sure if I read it or the guy at Don Rowe told me it should be same ga as dc? The inverter ground lug is a standard 12-14 ga looking one and located in the ac in & out junction location.
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Old 07-15-2015, 08:38 PM   #12
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30A AC Wiring

You can add the 30A breaker and then feed the entire existing AC electrical box through the inverter. Of course, you'll have to run 10AWG copper wire between the new breaker and the inverter and then back again to the existing AC panel to do this. When you have shore power the inverter bypass will activate and the full 30A will be available. When the shore power goes out the inverter will kick in and you'll have 8.3A of capacity from the inverter.

On the inverter grounding there are two circuits, one for the AC on which you would use the 10AWG from the new Romex (if you're going with the 30A setup). The other is for the DC side and that would use the same size as the wire coming from the battery.
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Old 08-01-2015, 09:20 AM   #13
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Ok, I am back on this job.
I just took a nice long trip to the PNW in this camper.
I did get a 32 size crown battery(115ahr) before my trip. I picked it up at national battery. It doesn't say crown on it? is that normal? It is red and it just barely fits.
I think I will take your advice and run the current AC circuits off the inverter. I will install a new AirCon breaker in my new breaker box.

I understand I need 10 gauge wire size because that is what is required for 30 amps and is probably what is in my power cord and we dont want a short section of smaller wire? But it seems like I only need 10 gauge to the aircon breaker box and then I could go to the inverter AC in and then onto the old AC circuit with 12 or 14 to match the house wiring?
I still need to get the fuse for between the battery and SC2030 and I guess the disconnect connectors for the solar side.
Im still not sure how to mount the solar panel and never got a email reply from lance. I will be able to figure this out.
I did find that there are two ground lugs like you said.
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Old 08-01-2015, 09:45 AM   #14
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two more questions.

since the first outlet in the AC circuit has a GFCI on it do I run the AC out of the on the non GFCI out?

The truck has a solenoid wired into the ignition (off the wiper blades) that sends some alternator current to the RV battery. How does this work with the SC2030 and solar panel? It seems like the sc2030 may end up sending power to the truck battery and possible 14.8 v?
Maybe with solar you just get rid of truck charging?]
How bad is it to have just a solenoid and not an isolator? This was done by an Lance camper dealer in 94' the wiring is like a #8 or 10 back to the ground and power on the 7 pin lance camper connector.
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