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Old 01-18-2015, 06:14 PM   #1
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Solar wiring ideas needed - Jayco eagle TT

i'm looking for thoughts as i figure out how to install solar on our 2014 Jayco 298 eagle travel trailer. the batteries are located on the tongue behind the hitch like most TTs. the stock converter used to charge the batteries and electrical pannel is actually in the kitchen under the stove. right now the plan is to mount 2 kyocera 135 watt panels on the roof and run the 4 gauge wire down the fridge opening which is right next to stove and hence the inverter. on the back of the fridge there is a panel outside and easy to mount the on/off switch from the panels. I have a cabinet next to the fridge where I will probably mount a morningstar tri-star 45 MPPT.
can I just attach the (connect to battery) terminals on the tristar controller to the wires that go from the converter to the batteries so I don't have to run another heavy cable all the way forward?

also is there anything I I need to do or add to keep both charging sources (converter and tri-star controller) safe if I plug into shore power and the converted starts charging while the solar is also charging?
on my boat I have solar, alternator and battery charger all hooked in to charge the battery bank but can't remember the detaul as years have passed and the boat is far.

any thoughts would be much appreciated. the tri-star 45 is a nice unit and I really don't want to damage it nor anything else. we love our eagle and would like to keep it a while longer. BBQs are for outside.
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Old 01-18-2015, 07:11 PM   #2
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Good idea. I have always heard that the batteries need to be as close as possible to the inverter, as the heavy wires should be as short as possible. Is there a 'vent-able' area close to the batteries where you can put your electronics?
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Old 01-18-2015, 08:48 PM   #3
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You ate correct about the inverter being as close as possible to the batteries. The inverted pulls a lot of juice from the batteries and a short wire run helps in a number of ways. I don't have an inverter installed. The converter is a type of battery charger. So it charges the batteries and I was thinking is using the same wire run as a the converter (aka battery charge)
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Old 01-18-2015, 10:53 PM   #4
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Unless you fuse at the panels I don't see the need for a switch. I fused my line from batteries to controler to protect it on the down side. I cover my panels or wait for darkness to work on them.
I just leave the units on all the time and the converter and alternator has been very pour at keeping batteries charged properly anyway and the solars operate a higher voltage that is taking care of my truck and RV battery problems I had prior to solar installation.
But my solar load is only 20 amps, so it's a very normal load. But I do believe that a fuse is best above the roof to protect any fire along the lines through the body of the trailer. But no one installs it that way. My thinking is to always fuse at the energy source.

I was supplied 10ga wires with super heavy insulation/protection covering for my 200 watt installation and for the past 2 year has been flawless. And unnoticeable with great battery performance while boondocking. Never needed to use a powerplant while batteries shown 100% charge daily with no loss of water. The converter barely keeps the batteries at 60 % charge and solar takes care of the other 40% daily. Also the truck allowed the batteries to rub down while traveling on our long journey. Since full timing batteries barely lasted 2 years now my 3 year old batteries are 100%.

I will never own any RV without solar to keep the batteries charged properly.
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Old 01-19-2015, 01:27 AM   #5
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On putting a fuse near the solar panels, the fuse protects the wire from over current. The panels are the current producers and need wires to handle all of their current output. With that in mind, you would want to use a fuse higher then the solar panels current output, and in doing so, the fuse would never blow. Even if you shorted the panel wires at the controller, the wire should handle the current, without overheating.

Just thinking out loud
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Old 01-19-2015, 02:51 AM   #6
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When I installed my 3000 watt inverter I located the inverter about 14 inches from my 6 6volt batteries and I used 4/0 wire between my batteries and the inverter to prevent voltage loss between the two. Remember too before you all scream 4/0, are you crazy!?! that a 15 amp draw at 120 volts AC is about 130 amps coming out of your batteries continuously as long as it is on. How big a wire do you need to both handle that draw and keep voltage loss to a minimum?
voltage loss is the real killer of fully utilizing your batteries to supply large current draws.
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Old 01-19-2015, 03:11 AM   #7
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I recommend a inline switch disconnecting circuit breaker between the panels and the controller, and another between the controller and the batteries. This provides protection plus ability to isolate components for servicing.

Converter and solar controller can both be connected and on. You may find, as I do, that I seldom use the converter and leave all the charging to the solar controller as my MorningStar controller is a much better charger than my converter.

Connecting to the wires running from the converter to the batteries should be ok, as long as the wire size is adequate.
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Old 01-19-2015, 06:47 AM   #8
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Thanks for all the input so far. Remember I haven't put an inverter in...yet. when I do it will be very close to the batteries and will have 4/0 gauge to handle the draw. I will also put a disconnect breaker between the panels and inverter because I don't like to cover panels when working on the system. It's also a good practice to be able to flip a switch to disconnect a power source in case your Electronics are frying for some strange reason.

The question remaining is it OK to hook the charge side of the inverter to the battery side of the 'converter' wires assuming they are properly sized wires? I know the MPPT controller will do a better job of charging than the converter but I do require air conditioning which I need to be plugged into shore power.
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Old 01-19-2015, 06:50 AM   #9
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On a side note I have this same setup on my boat but the battery bank is 5 AGM group 31s. Don't make a mistake and cross the wires.
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Old 01-19-2015, 07:10 AM   #10
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Yes you can use the same wire " IF " it can handle the current output from the solar controller AND the current output from the converter. You are looking at over 80 amps or so.
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Old 01-19-2015, 10:00 AM   #11
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Will there be any problem from the current from the output from the tri-stsr controller feeding back into the converter (charger) when plugged into shore power or not?
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Old 01-19-2015, 10:44 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by franknj View Post
Will there be any problem from the current from the output from the tri-stsr controller feeding back into the converter (charger) when plugged into shore power or not?
It is not a problem having the charger and solar controller connected together. They are both connected to the same terminals at the batteries. When I plug into shore power may controller and charger work fine together. I have four 130 watt panels, Blue Sky SB3024iL controller with their IPN-PRO Remote control/display.
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Old 01-19-2015, 09:45 PM   #13
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Quote:
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On putting a fuse near the solar panels, the fuse protects the wire from over current. The panels are the current producers and need wires to handle all of their current output. With that in mind, you would want to use a fuse higher then the solar panels current output, and in doing so, the fuse would never blow. Even if you shorted the panel wires at the controller, the wire should handle the current, without overheating.

Just thinking out loud
My stupidity as the panel does act like a fuse with a limit.
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Old 01-21-2015, 08:31 AM   #14
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I'm looking to do the solar thing this spring myself. Since I have the pipe for the holding tanks
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