I will start this like so many others have in the past by apologising for my total lack of knowledge about solar, motors, solenoids, watts, volts, amps, awgs, etc etc etc….including my old truck and camper.
I own a 95 ford f250 with a 94 lance camper. It is currently stored in southern Baja where we use it to fish, surf and boondock. Our electrical needs are small. We need 12v power to charge cameras, laptops, iPads, led lights, water pump, fridge thermostat and panel, fantastic fan, car stereo, and jacks when arriving and leaving. Needless to say, it is hot and sunny 90% of the time and we need solar. The camper is all original, it has an inverter for charging the house battery and for powering the 12v system when hooked up to shore power or to a small generator. Without using the lights, just the water pump and the jacks, the battery drain is impressive. Apparently the propane refrigerator uses power and there is probably power drain elsewhere. We have been dependent on a small ryobi generator but it uses the house inverter/charger that just does not seem to be efficient. We purchased a new napa marine 12v deep cell, but have not maintained a proper charge from the start. I looked into buying two 100w solar panels when I was in Baja and was given a quote of 103$ per panel, it seemed very reasonable, so now comes the interesting part of figuring all this out and trying to make it work. I am heading back to Baja in late September and would most likely have to bring everything with me from the US for the set up besides the panels, and maybe a few cables. This makes my planning (and understanding) even more important as I will need all the right parts. What are the chances of that? So here are lots of questions.
The first modification I would like to know more about is for the truck to charge the camper battery when running or driving. The continuous duty 12 V direct current solenoid seems to be the perfect solution, but as I want to buy two 6v golf cart batteries and solar, how would the wiring work? It would make sense to connect to the positive of the two 6v batteries but what about a controller? Could this system overcharge the batteries on long drives? Would it be possible to route the pos wire from solenoid through the solar controller? Another important issue is this solenoid cable to the camper would need some sort of plug for when the camper is off the truck. What kind of plug/disconnectors should I be using? What awg wire for all this? Is there a way to use the existing camper-truck plug with all the prongs?
Next is the solar system. I can order 2 conermex cnx-100 watt panels and have them delivered to Cabo where the camper is stored. I have done lots of googling and reading and sometimes think this could work, other times I think what the … am I getting into. Anyway, I made a nice little schematic of what I am hoping could work, with a list of my choices. I selected a morningstar ps-30m controller and an xantrex 1000 prowatt inverter from my extensive googling, none of which i have purchased yet so if anyone has any reason to think my choices are bad, do not hesitate to let me know. I have included some circuit breakers and fuses. Am I missing anything? The camper has its own existing 12v system that functions. When plugged into shore power it also has its own inverter that charges the 12v batteries, it is the original inverter from 1994. The fan noise is loud and I imagine it is totally inefficient but changing it would mean too much effort especially down in Baja. Will the existing system and the new solar system with inverter co-exist without a problem? The existing battery location is kind of small and would just barely fit two 6v batteries, so I would have to extend the existing cable to the new battery location. I am considering putting the two batteries above the sink where there is an cabinet to put a tv. There is an antenna outlet too that goes to the roof, maybe I can get rid of the antenna and use the hole for panel wires. The existing wires, the solar wires from controller, the solenoid cable from truck and the inverter wires make for a lot of wires and fuses. This seems to be the heart of the system and the most important to get correct the first time. How and where should i use busbars? What awg wires will i need? I found some information but not easy as all systems differ. Will I need more breakers and/or fuses for this setup than the ones on the plan? With this choice of controller would it be possible to add another 100w panel in the future? I have lots more questions, I’m just not sure what they are yet.
I've never done anything like this before and am learning and building from the ground up so thanks in advance for your patience. I also want to do my best to keep this as simple and maintenance free as possible as everything in Baja is a little complicated. So any advice, suggestions and or opinions in layman’s terms would be much appreciated.
Muchas gracias, Jancsi[IMG]