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Old 11-17-2019, 10:46 PM   #1
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Can I hook up solar this way?

I'm planning out my winter project. I'll be getting a 100 or 150 watt panel and charge controller for Christmas. I've determined I can run the wires down the flue for the fridge and into the rv converter charger area beneath the fridge. On my DC board, there is an available positive terminal. Can I run the "battery" terminal from the charge controller to this unused positive terminal (lower center by big red cable)? There is 6 guage cable running from here to the battery.

Should I wire in a cut off switch to isolate the solar charge controller? I've read that with 12v systems it really won't matter. I have two 6v batteries and a quiet inverter generator, the solar is just to capture some of that free sun power and because the panel will be free and the hobby will keep me busy over the cold winter. I have a heated RV garage so I don't mind doing the work in the off season. I spent last winter installing underglow LED lighting, backup lights, and lots of internal lighting and switching upgrades.

If it matters, my converter charger is a 55 amp unit, WF-8955PEC. I was going to use an inexpensive renology PWM charge controller, probebly 20 Amp.
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Old 11-17-2019, 11:35 PM   #2
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I have a heated RV garage so I don't mind doing the work in the off season.
Now that is funny.

'Free' is my favorite word too. Like the free ferry in Texas or the Stanton Island Ferry.

I try to avoid free thing that can set my MH on fire if is not done right.

Keep in mind PV panels keep producing power as long energy from the sun is present.
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Old 11-18-2019, 07:45 AM   #3
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I will have a solar charge controller wired in between the panels and my batteries to prevent boiling them. There are windows in the garage so there will always be light there during the day, but not direct sunlight. My RV has a battery disconnect that isolates them from the converter/charger as well. I was thinking of wiring a simple toggle switch in between the pv panels and the pv charge controller that could isolate them if needed or for maintence work.
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Old 11-18-2019, 09:11 AM   #4
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Looks like a good plan to hook into that 6 ga wire. I recommend putting an in-line fuse or circuit breaker between the solar panel and the controller. Is the 6 ga. wire fused as well or directly connected to the battery? If it is not fused, put another fuse between the controller and battery. Iíve used the inline circuit breakers instead of fuses so you can use them as switches for isolating either side of the controller.
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Old 11-18-2019, 10:16 AM   #5
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Yes, as long as you put a fuse or breaker between the Charge Controller and that terminal it will work well.
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Old 11-18-2019, 11:25 AM   #6
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Connecting via your fuse box tap (positive terminal) puts a fuse in line. That fuse has a maximum rating. Exceed that and the traces on the fuse board will burn up. 150w / 12v is 12.5A, so use a 15A tap.


Caveats:

I would not risk it. You have a battery disconnect switch, Circuit Breaker or fuse. The solar controller might assume a 24v circuit with battery disconnected. It's better to have a separate path with fuse or CB-Switch to battery.



Overcharging can destroy batteries. Sustained float 13.6v over a period of months can do damage. How smart is your solar charger? Some do bulk 14.4v for 2 hours every day, then go to float.


For TT storage I have a 60A CB-Switch. A 10W panel with no controller, which I have to hide from direct sun when batteries are fully charged.
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Old 11-18-2019, 06:04 PM   #7
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I'd only be installing a single 100watt panel, this is more of a hobby solar install as we only camp 25-30 nights per season. If I put a toggle switch in between the solar panels and the solar controller and only flipped it when camping, that should be fine I think. I have a smart power plug on the trailer that turns on twice a week for 4 hours to keep the batteries topped off when not in use. The solar panel would not be used for storage charging, just for when we are actually camping and we always camp off the grid. It would allow me to camp 3 nights without breaking out the generator and still have enough juice left in the batteries to run the power tongue jack at the end.

My RV is fully LED converted but my wife and kids don't ration power as tightly as I would like. Ran into trouble one trip this season where I barely had enough power to run in the slide and then raise and lower the trailer to hitch up the WDH bars after 3 nights (but the furnace was probably the culprit since it was chilly). I intend the solar to give me a little bit of extra amps, not looking to fully recharge the batteries during the day.
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Old 11-18-2019, 06:14 PM   #8
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And just to clarify, I would be running a 10 guage cable between the battery terminal on the solar charge controller (output) and the unused positive screw terminal on the DC fuse panel in the RV. There are two 40amp fuses between the AC converter/charger in the RV and the battery. No way no how is a 100 watt panel going to come anywhere close to that kind of power that it would risk damaging the traces on the board.

It seems redundant to run a new cable all the way from the charge controller to the batteries when there is a perfectly good large copper cable already run to the same area. If I tapped at the battery, it would be no different unless I had a diode to prevent power going further upstream to the DC panel in the trailer. I think AC voltage is different rules, but DC can be fed from multiple sources at the same time in parallel.
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Old 11-18-2019, 06:29 PM   #9
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There should be circuit protection / disconnect on both sides of the controller. Connecting to the converter or inverter wiring is ok for what you are doing, imho. Albeit I would not do it for a larger system.
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Old 11-18-2019, 08:45 PM   #10
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Coolzzy, it sounds like a good plan for your situation.


The traces I referred to would be from the screw terminal to the fuse, and fuse to the power buss. Likely they are all equally sized for 15-20 amps. I am not so trusting.
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Old 11-18-2019, 10:44 PM   #11
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Coolzzy, it sounds like a good plan for your situation.


The traces I referred to would be from the screw terminal to the fuse, and fuse to the power buss. Likely they are all equally sized for 15-20 amps. I am not so trusting.
That's my bad, that picture uploaded sideways. I wasn't going to run through one of the available empty fuse slots on the board. I was going to connect where the 6 guage wire screws into it that goes to the batteries. There is an equally sized unused terminal next to the 6 guage positive cable. I'll install a 20 Amp breaker between the solar charge controller and that slot, as well as between the solar panels and the CC. Just need an accessible place to put it all that is out of the way from someone kicking it.
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Old 11-22-2019, 06:08 PM   #12
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There should be circuit protection / disconnect on both sides of the controller. Connecting to the converter or inverter wiring is ok for what you are doing, imho. Albeit I would not do it for a larger system.

X2! There are myriad good reasons for overcurrent protection between the solar controller and the 12V system. Mostly you don't want a short-circuit in or around the solar controller starting a fire, or a failed controller running your batteries down, etc. The controller probably shuts down or does not start without 12V on the output side ... if it's working correctly, but you want to be able to isolate it when working on the system.



I use a circuit breaker sourced on Amazon. It's both a disconnect switch and overcurrent protection. A 20 amp unit would be about right since a 100W panel will put out about 8 amps max. A button push opens it and swinging an arm back into place closes it.



https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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Old 11-25-2019, 04:43 PM   #13
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My panels came with fuses on the wires going to my roof cap. From there I think I did put one more fuse between my controller and the batteries. I had my system connected to my fuse box like you. I found that the controller would get confused and not charge correctly due to not be directly connected to the batteries. You have a nice heated space to work. Do it right the first time.
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