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Old 12-11-2009, 08:07 PM   #1
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solar panel ?

Im going to invest in some solar panels and install them my self, I guess my question is I no to run the panels to the charge controler and then the controler to the batt and that charges the batts. But how do I run the outlets off the solar panels. Cause the outlets only run when the gen is running. I am new to this and would appreciate anyones help. And does anyone no of a good site to get solar panels for a reasonable cost.

Justin
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Old 12-11-2009, 11:19 PM   #2
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A good solar panel source is AM Solar.

Briefly in order to run 120VAC outlets with your hotel/house (coach) batteries as a power source you will need to install a inverter (converts 12VDC to 120VAC). IMO unless you are a very good electrician that understands RV wiring systems I would not attempt to wire the inverter into the existing coach wiring system. There are several different ways to do this depending on the type and features the inverter has, therefore I would recommend talking to a professional.

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Old 12-12-2009, 07:34 AM   #3
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Spikester is right. You need an inverter, and while I'm considering installing solar myself, I would not trust myself to install an inverter.

My motorhome already has an inverter, so I just need to run the wiring to the battery.

It's a long read, but could save you a lot of time, money and aggravation if you read all of this:

Hello world from HandyBobSolar! HandyBob's Blog
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Old 12-12-2009, 08:40 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDubs View Post
Im going to invest in some solar panels and install them my self, I guess my question is I no to run the panels to the charge controler and then the controler to the batt and that charges the batts. But how do I run the outlets off the solar panels. Cause the outlets only run when the gen is running. I am new to this and would appreciate anyones help. And does anyone no of a good site to get solar panels for a reasonable cost.

Justin
These in my opinion are the best controllers because they are solar boost controllers. I installed my solar system myself and it was not difficult.

Blue Sky Energy Inc. - Industry Leaders In Solar Boost Charge Controllers and Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT)
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Old 12-12-2009, 07:06 PM   #5
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Do you have the old style 30amp setup that either plugs into the generator or into shore power but not both (meaning without an automatic transfer switch). I have mine set up so the third choice is to plug into the inverter. That way I don't have to worry about conflicting source issues and all my 120volt outlets are hot no matter which I am plugged into.
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Old 12-12-2009, 09:20 PM   #6
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Rocky I belive I do have to run the gen and plug this cord into a outlet on the inside of a hatch on the outside of the RV. Or plug that cord into shore power, and then all my outlets work. So if I get a inverter and plug that cord into it it should be good then right? Will it still charge my batts?
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Old 12-13-2009, 04:28 AM   #7
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No, I am sorry you can't run an inverter off of the batteries and charge the batteries via the converter powered by same. That loop is self degrading. Others that have more sophisticated systems have a combination inverter/charger that are electronically separated. You will need to unplug your converter while running your inverter. Then before you run down your batteries (never more than 50%), you will need to go off inverter, plug in the converter, and use one of the three options you have to recharge, generator, solar, or engine alternator. Just a few of the details you will learn as you research this project.
Good Luck.
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Old 12-14-2009, 08:05 PM   #8
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Well this is how Im going to wire it, solar panels to solar charger,solar charger to batts. and then from the batts to the inverter and plug the cord for the shore power into the inverter witch goes to the ac breaker box and then to the outlets. I dont see why this wouldnt work. Then if my batts get low I can unplug the inverter and plug it into the gen to charge them.
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Old 12-14-2009, 08:38 PM   #9
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Justin:

Your basic plan is good, but as Rocky mentioned you will need to disconnect your converter to avoid a loop that would waste battery power. Here's how the loop would work:

Battery powers Inverter, Inverter powers shore power cord, cord powers ac breaker box, breaker in breaker box powers converter, converter charges battery. The converter is not 100% efficient, so energy from the batteries will be wasted by the batteries trying to charge themselves!

To disconnect the loop, just unplug the converter or turn off the breaker that the converter is wired into. Hopefully the converter is on it's own breaker so you won't lose any outlets.

Good luck!
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Old 12-14-2009, 08:45 PM   #10
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Ah I'll have to check to see if i can diconnect the converter tommorow when its light outside. Thanks Stewart
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Old 12-14-2009, 08:47 PM   #11
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Keep the wire from the controller to the batteries at 6' or less. Use 4 gauge wire for that run.
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Old 12-14-2009, 09:10 PM   #12
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Ok roadrunner. What about from the batts to the inverter? Should I try and keep the length to a min on that too?
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Old 12-15-2009, 05:53 AM   #13
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Read the Handy Bob link in my previous posting for excellent wiring advice.

I don't think that run is as critical, but using bigger wires results in less lost electricity.
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Old 12-15-2009, 06:37 AM   #14
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On the topic of solar panels, etc.

An option on most DPs is "solar prep - wire from roof to battery compartment". Is this just a heavier guage wire than the one for the little 5 watt panel? Does it go directly to the batteries - if so which ones (coach or chassis?) Or does it go through the "controller" before the batteries?
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