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Old 01-07-2011, 05:41 AM   #29
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Yeah, the welding cable will just go from buss bars in the watertight box over to the fridge vent (or out the bottom through the roof, haven't decided) but if it does run across the roof to the vent it will be in conduit.

Loosing part of a volt in 110v ac would make no difference at all, but I'm thinking in LV solar...
I used a pair of jumper cables (with the ends cut off) of #6 cable. It looks like 10 is too small for the size of this system.

Also...why do you need a meter on the charge controller AND the trimetric? We only rely on the Trimetric because it will tell you the volts, state of charge and the amp in/out. Seems like overkill....good luck.
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Old 01-07-2011, 08:35 AM   #30
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Unfortunately my run is going to have to be a little too long to use jumper cable.

The remote meter and trimetric I suppose is overkill, but the meter gives me remote control of equalization and diagnostics of the charge controller and stuff like that, but it doesn't track amps out of the battery. I suppose I could do without the meter, but I think it might be handy?
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Old 01-07-2011, 08:57 AM   #31
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My two cents on the meter "needs" Vs "wants"
I have them both the Trimetric 2025-rv and the Morningstar TS-RM-2
The Trimetric tells me the complete story of the coach batteries and limited data on the starting battery. All three charge sources and the loads are monitored by the trimetric, Engine alternator, WF8945-REP converter and the MPPT-60. The TS-RM-2 lets me look at the specifics of the Tristar MPPT-60 nothing else, lots of data there. Additionally both the RS232 and Ethernet interfaces to the on-board computer allow logging and data tracking as well as configuration / software updates.

Needed not really wanted YES
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Old 01-07-2011, 05:27 PM   #32
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JeffinTD,
You are right on the money with your wire size. Small wire is where everybody misses the boat on their solar system. Why skimp on the least expensive but most important part of the system ??????????????????
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Old 01-07-2011, 08:13 PM   #33
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Unfortunately my run is going to have to be a little too long to use jumper cable.
I was able to order 35 ft jumper cables (4 gauge) on line. Much cheaper than the welding cable. Good luck!
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Old 01-07-2011, 08:46 PM   #34
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What kind of jacket on the wire? NM-B? THWN? THHN? Theres a difference in the amp rating.
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Old 01-07-2011, 10:05 PM   #35
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What kind of jacket on the wire? NM-B? THWN? THHN? Theres a difference in the amp rating.
If we're talking about the jumper cables...here's a link to a page that shows several length of cable for either 4 gauge or 2 gauge.

The cable are rated for DC amps much higher than I figure any of our solar systems will put out.

http://www.arizonatools.com/jumper-c.../JUMPERCABLES/
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Old 01-08-2011, 02:37 AM   #36
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..........
Yeah, I know the #4 cable is overkill, considering both panels together would only be around 16 amp at short circuit current. With the size of those panels I'm going to end up with a pretty long run, as I'm going to have to place them towards the rear over the garage section to find space that won't be shaded by antennas and other stuff. The battery compartment is up at the front.

I'm shooting for absolute minimum loss, and price wise it wasn't that much more to bump up wire gauge. Also welding cable is really flexible and easy to work with.

Still too much overkill?
No, this is NOT overkill.

The worst thing one can do is to skimp on the wire gauge between the solar panels and the batteries/controllers. Ensuring an absolute minimum voltage drop between the solar panels and the batteries is crucial. I am on the Same Page with HandyBob.

I get really ticked off when folks won't listen and talk back at me with "but #12 ga wire will handle 30 amps! That same #12 ga. wire run 30ft or 40ft trying to provide that 30 amps to the batteries? Not going to work, you will loose a lot of power in the actual voltage drop between the solar panels and the batteries.

HandyBob, would enjoy lunch with you some day. I'm an old oilfield electronics technician. We used a lot of those solar panels back when they were first invented for remote data computers "SCADA" we called them.
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Old 01-08-2011, 04:28 PM   #37
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What kind of jacket on the wire? NM-B? THWN? THHN? Theres a difference in the amp rating.
The temperature that the jacket can withstand relates to the amps it can carry safely without heat from the wire causing risk of the insulation breaking down.

With a solar system, having a goal of 1-2% loss, I would think one would be way under the safe rating of the wire (since the goal is to not loose energy heating wires).

I've got my stuff on the way.

The one thing I'm having trouble finding is wires with the Tyco SolarLok connector. I'm getting the impression they are the Beta of connectors...
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Old 01-08-2011, 10:18 PM   #38
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I Received my #4 cables this week from Welding Depot. Prompt delivery and reasonable shipping. You only are able to order in the lengths listed. I purchased 25' red and 25' black. With shipping, it was $71.76.
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Old 01-09-2011, 09:33 AM   #39
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Bad Installations

I could do another update to my blog based on an RV that just arrived, but why keep repeating myself? Owned by a friend of a friend who tried to tell the guy he shouldn't get solar installed by an RV Tech up north. He had read my blog, but still ended up with a non-working system. 370 watts that do nothing except trickle charge at less than 14V is NOT working. I'll try to keep it short.

He bought two 185W panels @ sunelec.com. A good buy.
Got the wrong controller for a big full timer system, Morningstar Prostar with the meter display. 14.4V maximum charge voltage. Did not buy a Trimetric because the installer told him the meter on the Prostar is just as good.

Installation problems:
Used the parallel MC cable connectors on the roof, so he has over 20 amps connected to #10 wire from there to the junction point that was made at the frig vent to the #6 vertical feed that the owner demanded. The tech tried to tell him that #10 would work all the way to the batteries.

Installed the controller over the cook stove, about 15ft from the batteries. Just as bad as the voltage drop is the temperature sensor being inside so that it will not sense the temp at the batteries and in fact will lower the voltage when they are cooking. What about the cooking steam & grease? Connected the leads to the batteries with a little automotive circuit breaker instead of a fuse. No disconnect.

Hooked up the load control connections on the controller so that it feeds the DC fuse panel. This load then shows up on the controller meter. What the guy didn't understand is that most of his load (inverter) is not shown. Then, the guy used the left over #10 for this, splicing it into the existing #6 that fed the DC panel. Huh??

Used #2 cables to feed a 2000 watt inverter charger instead of the required #2/0 and provided no fuse. Half of these RV tech's think #2 & #2/0 are the same thing. There is an RV dealer in Quartzsite who still does the same thing every day, even after I complained to them.

The four batteries were not connected diagonally so one pair would do most of the work and wear out faster. Many of the RV solar dealers still do this.

This was after the owner had read my articles and told the installer about them. Half of the RV solar dealers would do just as bad. Can't people understand why I am still so angry? Nothing changes.
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Old 01-09-2011, 01:48 PM   #40
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Hello Handy Bob,
Just a friendly suggestion. With your knowledge of solar power and what it takes to make it work, you should start a franchise. Not only sell the correct parts but train installers as well. Make money with your knowledge and your reputation will spread like wildfire.

rops
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Old 01-13-2011, 10:41 AM   #41
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Hello Handy Bob,
Just a friendly suggestion. With your knowledge of solar power and what it takes to make it work, you should start a franchise. Not only sell the correct parts but train installers as well. Make money with your knowledge and your reputation will spread like wildfire.

rops
While I appreciate what you are saying, the truth is far different. In the introduction to my blog I talk about this. These people will not listen to reason and they would not pay for training. They go to RV Tech training where they are given bad information and then they feed off of each other, patting each other on the back and continuing to do things the same wrong way. They will not read instructions and if you don't believe that, you need to look at the systems being installed by the RV solar dealers even today. Probably over 3/4 of the four battery systems I see are not connected right and diagrams showing the correct way to do this have been available on line for years. I can only list one RV tech who has agreed with me and he has retired and is not available. It is too late in life for me to start a real business and I don't have either the ambition or the funds to do so anyway. No, I will not go into debt in order to start a high stress business.

A couple of the RV Solar guys have contacted me and agreed with most of what I say, and then when I look at their work I see that the word "most" has to be emphasized, because they only do it right part of the time. Only two that I know of are installing Trimetric meters, and they don't "push" them. My belief is that if you want working solar, that is the first thing you must install. Yes, even on small campers. I have fixed several systems that had supposedly been repaired by those guys. I took 20ft of poorly routed wire out of a 4 panel motor home system last year that the dealer (who I consider to be the best of them) had left in place. I also replaced the #8 wire between the controller and the batteries with #4, installed the wire clamp that he had left out to protect the wires that went through a sharp edged knockout and installed the Trimetric meter that he said was not needed. The controller was set to the correct voltage, but the voltage was not getting to the batteries and this dealer, even though he is the "best", does not understand this basic concept. 3% voltage drop at that point in the system will keep it from charging the batteries all the way up. That motor home now has working solar, without adding any panels and the owner is going around telling everybody that I am a magician. I think I am more of a "mad" scientist. My agenda is to get solar working and quiet the camping world, whether it is by helping people to do it themselves, getting the dealers to do better, having them go out of business or fixing it myself is all the same to me.

Escapees have suggested that I conduct seminars at the Escapades. Well, they don't pay people to do that. All of the people conducting those seminars are either volunteers with lots of money, or industry professionals who are selling something.
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Old 01-13-2011, 11:03 AM   #42
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I could do another update to my blog based on an RV that just arrived, but why keep repeating myself? Owned by a friend of a friend who tried to tell the guy he shouldn't get solar installed by an RV Tech up north. He had read my blog, but still ended up with a non-working system. 370 watts that do nothing except trickle charge at less than 14V is NOT working. I'll try to keep it short.

He bought two 185W panels @ sunelec.com. A good buy.
Got the wrong controller for a big full timer system, Morningstar Prostar with the meter display. 14.4V maximum charge voltage. Did not buy a Trimetric because the installer told him the meter on the Prostar is just as good.

Installation problems:
Used the parallel MC cable connectors on the roof, so he has over 20 amps connected to #10 wire from there to the junction point that was made at the frig vent to the #6 vertical feed that the owner demanded. The tech tried to tell him that #10 would work all the way to the batteries.

Installed the controller over the cook stove, about 15ft from the batteries. Just as bad as the voltage drop is the temperature sensor being inside so that it will not sense the temp at the batteries and in fact will lower the voltage when they are cooking. What about the cooking steam & grease? Connected the leads to the batteries with a little automotive circuit breaker instead of a fuse. No disconnect.

Hooked up the load control connections on the controller so that it feeds the DC fuse panel. This load then shows up on the controller meter. What the guy didn't understand is that most of his load (inverter) is not shown. Then, the guy used the left over #10 for this, splicing it into the existing #6 that fed the DC panel. Huh??

Used #2 cables to feed a 2000 watt inverter charger instead of the required #2/0 and provided no fuse. Half of these RV tech's think #2 & #2/0 are the same thing. There is an RV dealer in Quartzsite who still does the same thing every day, even after I complained to them.

The four batteries were not connected diagonally so one pair would do most of the work and wear out faster. Many of the RV solar dealers still do this.

This was after the owner had read my articles and told the installer about them. Half of the RV solar dealers would do just as bad. Can't people understand why I am still so angry? Nothing changes.
Wow. I haven't done a solar install before, but have a basic understanding of automotive and residential wiring, and I wouldn't have done that stuff. For crying out loud the install manual for my controller has a chart for wiring size/length to stay under 2%.

I can see how dealing with stuff like that over and over again would make Handy Bob an Angry Bob, or at least Frustrated Bob.

I can't wait to get started on this. Panels should arrive on Monday, remote meter for charge controller is backordered, but will be easy to install after the fact, and the 5th wheel roof is covered in snow and ice...
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