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Old 09-18-2019, 09:31 PM   #1
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New solar... just in time for storage

Hey guys,
Just got a 150w Samlex Solar system installed on sale yesterday. Works great.
Unfortunately I have no time to enjoy it as I winterized my trailer today and have to put an RV cover on to keep my roof decent as its parked under massive maple trees.
I disconnected and pulled my 6v batts (2) and noticed my solar controller was still operating. I phoned the RV place and asked if I should disconnect the panels from the controller on the roof and they said no. Just pull the 30amp fuse from the batt lead (I did that originally) and throw electrical tape on both leads that hook up to the battery. Did that and put the RV cover on. I even phoned back to clarify.

This seems odd to me. Wouldnt it be prudent to put a cut off switch from the panels to the controller? Reading up on the subject Im all getting all sorts of different opinions. I basically just want to ensure Im not wrecking anything in the controller. The manual says to always connect the batt to the controller first. Is this to avoid some kind of electrical shock?
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Old 09-18-2019, 09:56 PM   #2
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Cut pieces of cardboard to place on panels to block light. Problem solved.
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Old 09-18-2019, 11:46 PM   #3
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Hey guys,
.... Wouldnt it be prudent to .....
It would have been prudent to not put in solar in the first place.

The first basic problem is that solar makes electricity when you do not need it. That is a a safety issue.

The second problem is solar does not make electricity when you need it, that is called low capacity factor. This is an economic issue.

To make prudent choices you have to consider the benefit compared to the risk and the cost.
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Old 09-19-2019, 05:14 AM   #4
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Ummm Batteries have electricity when you do not need it also ?

It would not hurt anything to put a cutoff switch in line before the controller if you wanted but it is really unneccesary and adds another potential failure point. Follow their recommendations and it will be fine. Don't listen to the solar bashers. It is not a savior of the planet but it is a great and safe (albeit expensive) option for those that want to use it.
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Old 09-19-2019, 05:29 AM   #5
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This seems odd to me. Wouldnt it be prudent to put a cut off switch from the panels to the controller? Reading up on the subject Im all getting all sorts of different opinions. I basically just want to ensure Im not wrecking anything in the controller. The manual says to always connect the batt to the controller first. Is this to avoid some kind of electrical shock?
IMO you could just put the cover on and make sure the batteries are charged every now and then. You pulled the batteries and installed a cover. You should be fine.
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Old 09-19-2019, 06:43 AM   #6
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All of the components connected to your solar panels are designed to handle all of the voltage and current output they can develop.

Its not like the battery, they can output 1000s of amps.

You can hold both battery terminals and not get a shock, so there is no risk from the panel wires.
Anytime the solar panel is in the sun, its making electricity, but It can't make more then its rating, unless its hit by lightning.

Once the battery is disconnected, just put your cover on and put the trailer to bed.
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Old 09-19-2019, 08:17 AM   #7
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Thanks everyone (except the one response that had NOTHING to do with my question).

The RV is put to bed until the spring. Im looking forward to a full season of camping next spring with no power concerns.
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Old 09-19-2019, 10:30 AM   #8
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If the panels are still producing energy with the cover on why not just leave the batteries hooked up? I have a small 10 watt panel that keeps my 2 6volt Batts charged all winter. Yours may be producing plenty with what little is coming through the cover.
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Old 09-19-2019, 10:45 AM   #9
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Ummm Batteries have electricity when you do not need it also ?
When it comes to the application of battery technology 99.99% of batteries over 10 lbs is for storing enough electricity to start an internal combustion engine to convert stored hydrocarbons to electricity.

If solar was a great I would have lots of solar panels.

I am an expert on making electricity safely. In the US Navy I was qualified to supervise the operation of 10 nuclear reactors and in the commercial world certified senior reactor operator four times. I worked safely in a dangerous occupation.

I now joke that being retired is the most dangerous occupation. Cohen, a safety expert, said that being unemployed was the most dangerous occupation.

So far this year I have more than 7000 miles on the MH. From the Pacific to GOM to Long Island Sound to Lake Superior back to the PNW. The second most dangerous thing I do.

I do have an expensive renewable energy hobby. I use the wind for transportation. If you look at the money spent on my sailboats over 30 yeas I could have a solar system on my house. Sailing single handed is the most dangerous thing I do safely.

I have had two TT for recreation but they came in handy as a place to live when moving. No TV, no AC. Lots of campfires and board games on rainy days.

If solar is an option for making electricity, choosing recreation that does not use power is another option.

As far as bashing goes, I am not selling anything. I offer views that are often different because you never know who is reading. I have a list of expensive
gadgets that do not work very well that marketing folks sell.

I do not filter water, have a pressure regulator, surge protector, inverter/generator, or add chemicals to my black tank. Yes, I am also an expert in those more mundane areas.

I do have a DVM, outlet tester, power meter, redundant fire extinguishers smoke detectors CO detectors, and wasp spray. Also part of my self defense system.
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Old 09-19-2019, 05:31 PM   #10
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Easy solution, polarized quick connect plugs. Either the Anderson connectors or the SAE type. both available on Amazon. Just disconnect them when no solar is needed or wanted, plug back in when you do want it. That's the way I've been boondocking for over 2 decades and I've never used a power pedestal at a campground. I used to use a small generator to charge my batteries when needed, then I started using a little 35 watt solar panel for my little popup It was plenty. Now a 120 watt solar panel keeps up with my needs in the TT.] because I don't use 120 volt appliances when I'm camping.
No generator, no nuclear reactor. No waiting for a breath of wind at just the right velocity. Plenty safe.
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Old 09-20-2019, 06:53 AM   #11
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I put a 30 amp breaker on the hot wire coming from the solar on the roof to the solar controller in the battery compartment. The breaker switch is in a closet where the wires enter the TT, with easy access. I can turn off the solar power anytime I need to.Click image for larger version

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Old 09-20-2019, 03:36 PM   #12
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I can turn off the solar power anytime I need to.
No, you are wrong!

The only way to 'turn off' a solar panel is to keep sunlight from hitting the panel. I just checked the 5 watt solar panels that I use to maintain the batteries when I am not using it. Each was reading about 20 vdc when not connected. Still working.

I have had two of my batteries explode on my boat caused by hydrogen production when charging. More than 50,000 homes have had fires caused by solar systems. Fire fighters can not fight a fire until the power is disconnected.

As far as an RV goes, you have about two minutes to get out and it will be gone in five minutes.

I am safe in my MH because I know the risk and have a plan to get out.
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Old 09-20-2019, 10:13 PM   #13
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No, you are wrong!

The only way to 'turn off' a solar panel is to keep sunlight from hitting the panel. I just checked the 5 watt solar panels that I use to maintain the batteries when I am not using it. Each was reading about 20 vdc when not connected. Still working.

I have had two of my batteries explode on my boat caused by hydrogen production when charging. More than 50,000 homes have had fires caused by solar systems. Fire fighters can not fight a fire until the power is disconnected.

As far as an RV goes, you have about two minutes to get out and it will be gone in five minutes.

I am safe in my MH because I know the risk and have a plan to get out.

Well, I have to disagree. Yes, the panels are still making about 20 vdc, but it is NOT getting to the batteries. The HOT wire is disconnected, physically. It's kinda like if you are going to work on your truck's electrical system, you always disconnect the battery first so you don't short something out. There is still voltage at the battery, but no where else.
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Old 09-22-2019, 10:05 PM   #14
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Well, I have to disagree. Yes, the panels are still making about 20 vdc, but it you is NOT getting to the batteries.
You can disagree all you like but you are still wrong. You may want to think about that before you do any more wiring.

There are multiple sources of power and any one of those can cause a fire it the wiring is damaged or not installed correctly.
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