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Old 04-20-2015, 09:46 AM   #1
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Installing a solar panel

Hello,

I recently bought a solar panel kit and am working on installing it on my 2014 Springdale. I want to make sure it is installed correctly. I am putting the panel on the roof, using well nuts and Dicor sealant. I was wondering where to mount the charge controller- I could get a plastic box to put it in and mount it next to the batteries, or run the wires into the cargo box which is at the front of the trailer and put it inside there. The second option would be a longer run from the controller to the batteries, but it would be better protected. Any suggestions?

Thanks,

Matt
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Old 04-20-2015, 09:55 AM   #2
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GOGREEN: Charge controller has to go as close to the batteries as possible. It should not be in the same compartment with the batteries but as close as you can get it to keep the wiring short (less loss). I placed an inline fuse on the positive wire from the panel combiner box and charge controller (also a marine quality battery isolator switch on that line too) and another fuse and isolator switch on the positive wire from the controller to battery.
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Old 04-21-2015, 02:43 AM   #3
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I saw one inside the couch were tbe wires were ran thru the sewer exhaust pipe....
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Old 04-21-2015, 03:42 AM   #4
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Using an undersized gauge of wire is always the biggest risk. My controller and monitor are located on the side of the cabinet. Wiring is was run on the back side hidden from view.
Have you checked out AM Solar ?AM Solar's Educational Pages for RV Solar Systems
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Old 04-21-2015, 06:34 AM   #5
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A lot of people mount the charger in the front pass-thru. Usually a short run from there to the batteries on the tongue. I mounted mine just above the pass-thru in a clothes cabinet next to the bed. That way I could check it from inside the trailer.
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Old 04-21-2015, 09:17 AM   #6
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Each unit is a little different . Here is what I did. You may have a storage compartment on the other side of the wall from your batteries which I assume are outside on the tongue. Anyway...this is one idea.
Added solar to Jayco 298 Eagle
The controller is mounted in the storage compartment and batteries on the other side of the front wall. It's easy to get through the wall. The pic is turned sideways in the thread.
Keep asking questions and looking at different ideas. Good luck.
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Old 04-21-2015, 05:54 PM   #7
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Thanks for the tips!

it would be a 5-6' run if I mounted the controller inside the cargo box, and a 1-2' run if mounted it outside on the trailer tounge. Is that much longer wire enough to make a difference? Also does anybody know where to get boxes like the battery boxes to mount the charge controller inside on the trailer tongue?

Thanks,

Matt
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Old 04-21-2015, 06:25 PM   #8
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The run from my controller to the battery box is about 3' using very heavy gauge wire. I wouldn't want my inverter 5 or 6 feet away from the batteries but a controller I would still consider it acceptable if the nubers work out and a heavy cable. My guess is you're only charging 2 batteries if you have a TT and at most a few hundred watts from the panels. What type of number are you working with? #watts number of panels and type / number of batteries? I purchased a controller that is slughtly oversized so I can add more panels and not have to update the wiring or controller inside as well as add a 3rd battery.
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Old 04-21-2015, 06:26 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gogreenwave View Post
Thanks for the tips!

it would be a 5-6' run if I mounted the controller inside the cargo box, and a 1-2' run if mounted it outside on the trailer tounge. Is that much longer wire enough to make a difference? Also does anybody know where to get boxes like the battery boxes to mount the charge controller inside on the trailer tongue?

Thanks,

Matt
I used 5' of #6 cable. With that size cable the voltage drop over 5' is only about 0.06V with my max of 30A charge. You count both the + and - run, so that totals 10' and 0.12V max drop . Not a problem for a 12V-15V charging circuit.

All depends upon what size cable you are running. Here's the data:
Gauge Ohms/ft
12 0.00162
10 0.00102
8 0.00064
6 0.00040
4 0.00025

Voltage drop = Amps * Ohms
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Old 04-21-2015, 06:31 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gogreenwave View Post
Thanks for the tips!

it would be a 5-6' run if I mounted the controller inside the cargo box, and a 1-2' run if mounted it outside on the trailer tounge. Is that much longer wire enough to make a difference? Also does anybody know where to get boxes like the battery boxes to mount the charge controller inside on the trailer tongue?

Thanks,

Matt
You can buy battery boxes at any boat store or rv place.
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Old 04-22-2015, 07:00 AM   #11
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GOGreen....You can look at the wiring chart to determine the thickness of wire to use to carry the amperage over 6'. I am at about 5' of cable length on my install from the charge controller to the battery compartment and 12 ft from the panels... I use a #6 welding cable from controller to battery and the same from roof mounted combiner box to controller. I could go up in cable size a bit to better my controller to battery loss but I did not want to buy more cabling...It is expensive. I have 500 watts of panels on the roof and might add 200 more watts. My system does a decent job for boondocking and weekending but would not be a full timers dream.
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Old 04-22-2015, 09:23 AM   #12
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@gocoffeer - 500 watts is a nice system. How many batteries are you charging?
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Old 04-22-2015, 09:27 AM   #13
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I have a Renogy 100w solar panel that has a 30A charge controller. I may add another 100w panel later. I dont plan on running on solar all the time, I mainly want them to just help keep the batteries charged up. We usually boondock 2-3 nights at a time, so I will also probally still use the generator. The TT has 2 group 24 batteries that I am charging. The charge controller can accept up to 8 gauge wire, so I was thinking about mounting it in the front pass-through and then its about 4 feet to the batteries. Would that be sufficient? Also, do I need to disconnect the solar panels from the battery while the trailer is plugged into a household plug or running the generator?

Thanks,

Matt
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Old 04-22-2015, 09:50 AM   #14
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GoGreen.. you are good to go on the 8 gauge and 4 ft distance with one or two panels. That would be at most 11 amps (5.5 per panel at max efficiency). I do not disconnect my solar system when on SHORE power....but I do unplug my CONVERTOR...so it will not make 12 volt power while I am plugged into shore power and the solar system is ON. Many solar guru's pay a macho price to get a transfer switch added. This device has some sensing logic and determines what should be the feed hardware for the batteries while you move to SHORE,,,GENNIE or pure boondock. I did not get that sophisticated...I pull the plug on the items.
I use something like this
http://www.amazon.com/TOMTOP-Seaflo-...battery+switch
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