Go Back   iRV2 Forums > CAMPING, TRAVEL and TRIP PLANNING > Boondocking
Click Here to Login
Join iRV2 Today

Mission Statement: Supporting thoughtful exchange of knowledge, values and experience among RV enthusiasts.
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 10-27-2010, 01:15 AM   #85
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpursMVP View Post
Will do. This has been quite a learning experience and taking it slow and easy has been the key. I'm asking a friend to stop by on Saturday to help me hoist the two panels up onto the roof. They're not really heavy but they are large due to being 200 watts each.

Been taking pictures with my handy digital camera as progress is made so I'll post them once the panels are mounted and the system is running.

I do have a question for the pros here. My battery box and controller set up are in the last 2 basement storage spots on the curb side of the coach. I want to mount the battery monitor near the front end of the coach for easy monitoring. For a Moncaco brand coach (or any others) what's the best way to run a small thermostat sized wire roughly 30 ft? Do you run it underneath and then drill through the floor? I was also thinking about something up through the refrigerator vent.

Any tips on how to run this final wire would be very helpful. Thanks gang!

With all my Outback Engineering, I have tons of different wire running to and fro. All things being equal, I prefer to have as much of it inside as possible. I've made some creative runs up inside cabinets so the runs don't show. It's more work, but less exposed to the elements.

The easiest is usually just a straight run along a frame rail, secured with zip ties. I have some power wires run this way for several feet. If you do it this way, try to find existing runs to piggyback on, and maybe use their shrouding. If you do run it outside, make sure it's inside some kind of protection.

One thing...if you have a 30 foot run, that means at least 60 ft round trip. For very thin thermostat wires, that can be a hell of a voltage drop, even at the milliamp level your monitor will likely be working at. You may want to up the sizing to get the most accurate voltage display.

I had the same setup... 28ga at only 15 feet running a digital volt meter. It read low compared to my multimeter readings. Went up to 18 ga wire, and it instantly read .3 volts higher, inline with multimeter.

Dunno the draw on your monitor, but they are generally meant to be within a few feet of the battery/controller. More distance may mean a wire upgrade. Just test it first with the length you are considering, before you go to all the work of running it.

I've also heard twisted wire is better for eliminating the antenna effect of long parallel runs of wire. Picks up alot of RF interference from the inverter, converter, and some electronics. This is important too since these wires are usually going into very sensitive instruments. The wires running from my ammeter shunt to the ultra-sensitive gauge is 8 ft, and I twisted it. Not sure if it was necessary, but I figured Why the hell not?

Without seeing your specific layout, I'd say keep it as close to battery as is convenient for occasional monitoring. Also, consider runs along the floor if you can hide it behind trim. If not, along the ceiling/wall junction- hiding as much as you can in cabinets. I had to break out the drill once or twice to go thru internal walls/partitions, but no big deal, really.

One thing that might help, what kind of battery monitor are you using? a simple LED readout, or something more sophisticated?
__________________

__________________
Wetboy5776 is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 RV Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

iRV2.com RV Community - Are you about to start a new improvement on your RV or need some help with some maintenance? Do you need advice on what products to buy? Or maybe you can give others some advice? No matter where you fit in you'll find that iRV2 is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with other RV owners, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create an RV blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 10-27-2010, 07:51 AM   #86
Senior Member
 
SpursMVP's Avatar
 
Monaco Owners Club
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Ogallala, Nebraska
Posts: 374
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wetboy5776 View Post


One thing that might help, what kind of battery monitor are you using? a simple LED readout, or something more sophisticated?
We've got the trimetric 2020 for the battery monitor. After reading this post I think I'll keep the monitor in the area of the refrigerator instead of the front of the coach. That would cut the wire run down to 15 ft or so.

Thanks.
__________________

__________________
2001 Holiday Rambler Endeavor
330 HP Cummins ISC
2007 Dodge Ram 4 X 4 (Hemi)
SpursMVP is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-28-2010, 03:12 AM   #87
Senior Member
 
SCVJeff's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Santa Clarita, CA.
Posts: 2,373
I'm a little surprised that people are finding differences like this between different lengths of wire and the same meter (it is the same meter?).

Input impedance of a good meter should be at least 100K ohms. My DVM's have a DC input impedance of 1Meg+, and it just doesn't make a difference if I have 2' or 25' of 22ga wire between the source and the meter. That's the whole point: That it has no effect or load on the circuit it's measuring.
__________________
_______________________________

Jeff - WA6EQU
'06 Itasca Meridian 34H, CAT C7/350
SCVJeff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-28-2010, 07:34 AM   #88
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by SCVJeff View Post
I'm a little surprised that people are finding differences like this between different lengths of wire and the same meter (it is the same meter?).

Input impedance of a good meter should be at least 100K ohms. My DVM's have a DC input impedance of 1Meg+, and it just doesn't make a difference if I have 2' or 25' of 22ga wire between the source and the meter. That's the whole point: That it has no effect or load on the circuit it's measuring.

Yeah, that's why I was asking what kind of meter he was running. A simple digital voltmeter will have negligible load, and hence- not much voltage drop. But a fancy one with lots of bells, whistles, and alarms can draw a little bit of current on that circuit. That of course, can effect an accurate measurement.
__________________
Wetboy5776 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-28-2010, 10:27 AM   #89
Senior Member
 
RocketDork's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 194
I'm going to guess that the DVM he is refering to is a just a panel meter that's been packaged. It's pby powered from the same 12V its trying to measure. There will be extra circuitry that's pulling current from the battery...so bigger wires would likely help.
__________________
2000 Winnebago Brave SE 31B

P32 Workhorse chassis
RocketDork is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-28-2010, 08:14 PM   #90
Senior Member
 
Ford Super Duty Owner
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Buxton, North Dakota
Posts: 3,335
From the Trimetric 2020 manual

Maximum cable length from meter to shunt for the following wire sizes are: #26 gauge: 22 feet. #24 gauge: 35 feet.
#22 gauge: 55 feet. #20 gauge: 90 feet. #18 gauge: 150 feet. #16 gauge: 220 feet. #14 gauge :375 feet. (These represent
distances for approximately one ohm wire resistance.)

For unusual cases-the more technical description of cable requirements: Use wire with resistance less than 1 ohm total
for the G1 wire. The G2 and SIG wires can each be over ten times higher than this with no problem. If the single wire
connecting from the meter + and M+ terminals to the battery is over 1 ohm, the "volts" will read slightly less than true. (If
the wire is less than 1 ohm, the meter "volts" error will be less then 0.03 volts--almost negligible). However, wires of ten
times this resistance may be used with no "volts" error if a separate (additional) wire is run for the M+ terminal:
Disconnect the short wire between the + and M+ terminals at the meter terminal block, and connect two separate (long)
wires to the fuse at the battery + terminal--and run one of these to the + terminal of the meter, and the other to
__________________
2003 Winnebago Adventurer 38G F53/ V10 605 watts of Solar
1999 Winnebago Brave 35C Handicap Equipped
F53/V10
1999 Jeep Cherokee & 1991 Jeep Wrangler Renegade
John Hilley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-30-2010, 08:29 PM   #91
Senior Member
 
SpursMVP's Avatar
 
Monaco Owners Club
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Ogallala, Nebraska
Posts: 374
Well...got some help today and got the panels hoisted up on the roof of the MH. Removed one of the vent covers to reduce the possibility of shadows and got the panels mounted to the roof.

I'll add another coat of sealant tomorrow and will take more pictures. I've got quite a few that show the wiring, etc and thanks to Handy Bob and the crew here I believe the system will go live sometime tomorrow afternoon.

Pretty exciting!
__________________
2001 Holiday Rambler Endeavor
330 HP Cummins ISC
2007 Dodge Ram 4 X 4 (Hemi)
SpursMVP is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2010, 10:04 PM   #92
Senior Member
 
SpursMVP's Avatar
 
Monaco Owners Club
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Ogallala, Nebraska
Posts: 374
Okay gang....here are some basic photos of the installation.

What you are looking at is how I ran the 4 gauge cable down the rear of our diesel pusher into the rear curbside compartment which sits next to the battery compartment.

Added an air conditioner kill panel rated for 60 amps and the Morningstar TS-45. The system has been running for about 48 hours (about 16 hours of sunlight) now and each time I check it the level of charge continues to increase. I truly believe that our batteries were VERY low due to not being properly charged by the inverter/charger.

Thanks again to all of you who helped walk me through this. A special shout goes out to Handy Bob who helped me grasp the final stage....wiring to the TS-45 and the fuse box.

Here's the link to the photos.

http://picasaweb.google.com/MitchSwanda/SolarInstall02#
__________________
2001 Holiday Rambler Endeavor
330 HP Cummins ISC
2007 Dodge Ram 4 X 4 (Hemi)
SpursMVP is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-07-2010, 07:38 PM   #93
Senior Member
 
SpursMVP's Avatar
 
Monaco Owners Club
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Ogallala, Nebraska
Posts: 374
I've got a question for you guys.

When you have your solar panels engaged do you turn off your chassis batteries? Our coach charges the house and chassis batteries from the alternator while the engine is running so I figure that this link between the house and chassis batteries should be closed when trying to recharge the house batteries only.

Any input would be great....by the way the panels are cranking out some serious juice. Now I need to get my batter meter hooked up so that I can see which household items are using the most power.

My hunch is that the DirecTV box and 32" LCD TV draw quite a bit as well as the coffee maker.
__________________
2001 Holiday Rambler Endeavor
330 HP Cummins ISC
2007 Dodge Ram 4 X 4 (Hemi)
SpursMVP is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-08-2010, 11:10 PM   #94
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpursMVP View Post
I've got a question for you guys.

When you have your solar panels engaged do you turn off your chassis batteries? Our coach charges the house and chassis batteries from the alternator while the engine is running so I figure that this link between the house and chassis batteries should be closed when trying to recharge the house batteries only.

Any input would be great....by the way the panels are cranking out some serious juice. Now I need to get my batter meter hooked up so that I can see which household items are using the most power.

My hunch is that the DirecTV box and 32" LCD TV draw quite a bit as well as the coffee maker.

Um...if you have any modern coach your alternator charging connection is made through your isolator- either a mechanical or solid state one.

Either way, any charging you do to the coach battery will be isolated from the starter battery. The isolator only combines the two batteries while the engine is running.

As for your electrical consumption, check the back of all these appliances...they list their consumption in watts. Simply divide the watt rating by 12 to get the approximate amp draw from your batteries. Run through an inverter, I'll add another 10 % to that to account for inverter losses. That will get you very close to your consumption. I write everything down on a notepad to remind me of what everything takes.

Also, a Kill-a-Watt meter is an excellent tool. I measure everything with that, including my fridge. Very handy.
__________________
Wetboy5776 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-08-2010, 11:36 PM   #95
Senior Member
 
UFO Pilot's Avatar
 
Winnebago Owners Club
Workhorse Chassis Owner
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Sonoma County, CA
Posts: 4,608
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpursMVP View Post
I've got a question for you guys.

When you have your solar panels engaged do you turn off your chassis batteries? Our coach charges the house and chassis batteries from the alternator while the engine is running so I figure that this link between the house and chassis batteries should be closed when trying to recharge the house batteries only.
My charge controller (Morningstar) is wired to send 90% charge to the house batteries and 10% to the chassis battery.
__________________
Wayne & Roberta and Maggie the Miracle Dog
08 Winnebago Destination 39W Gas UFO Workhorse Chassis
Making the Journey in our Destination

UFO Pilot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-12-2010, 01:09 PM   #96
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 63
A word from HandyBobSolar

Hello everybody.

I gave up on the forums long ago for several reasons and decided to put my information into a blog (HandyBobSolar.com) that everyone has access to. It currently redirects to a Wordpress blog, but I have registered my domain for a future real business. I tend to be brutally honest and not politically correct, so many things I posted in the past were deleted by forum moderators. I have no patience for many in the RV solar industry whose mission it seems is to take your money and put it in their pocket while you get nothing in return. Let's hope this post survives, because if deleted it turns my effort into a waste of time. I am too busy leading a real life to waste my time on discussion forums. I see a lot of misunderstandings of some of the things I have said and I want to take a few minutes to clarify some things.


My information is not intended to address technical questions. You don't need to talk about Ohms law and nitpick about the size of wire to run to the meter to make solar power work. Just run the wire the meter manufacturer (not the salesman) says you need. You don't need to know how to calculate voltage drop; you can look it up in a chart. That is how things are done in the engineering world. Taken from my blog: "This is aimed at the frustrated, technologically challenged and budget minded RV owner who needs basic education about battery supplied electrical power. It was not written for peer review and I will not respond to technical nit picking criticism." Take this seriously. Whenever a dealer or manufacturer starts to tell you that I am wrong about something, ask yourself which one of us has successfully lived off grid for many years and never bought a generator. As far as the dealers go, there are now a couple of them selling Trimetric battery monitors and I take this is a hopeful sign. Now if they could just realize that not everybody needs MPPT, the cheap little ones don't really work and not everybody can afford the good ones. Also, not everybody can afford $100 an hour or more shop rates.

One of the problems people have in reading my blog is that they don't see the dates on the archives. The later dates are more current info. For instance, I no longer charge at bulk for an hour and then drop to float. That was with an old controller made by the last company I would now recommend to anyone who is serious about solar power. I now use a Morningstar Tristar 45, which has a self adjusting charging algorithm, which charges for a minimum of two hours. It has the brains to record what it sees in voltage and charging amperage and self adjust as needed. I love Morningstar. Our system almost never drops to float because we use our electricity, not sit around watching the voltage and worrying if we are OK. For instance, right now at noon, after making coffee & toast, our 345 watt system is running the lap top, TV and sewing machine all at the same time and the batteries are at 95%. We also have (4) T105's now, not (6) and our system works better and is better balanced now. I still add water quarterly, not every other day. It was less than a half of a gallon the last time.

Readers tend to interpret things I have written so that they say the things they want to believe. I never said that I don't like MPPT. What I don't like is the misleading marketing (up to 30% more amps and more!) and the fact that the biggest manufacturer of MPPT refuses to use the charge voltage recommended by Trojan. If you shut your charging off at a lower voltage, before the batteries are truly charged, then just how much boost is there? NONE. I charge my Trojan batteries with 14.8V, temperature compensated to higher levels on cold days, because Trojan told me to. I put 80 lbs of pressure in my trailer tires because BF Goodrich says it is correct, not because some manufacturer of air compressors tells me to. Just how correct is a charge controller manufacturer who argues with a battery manufacturer about the correct charge voltage? Is he going to pay for your batteries after his system ruins them by undercharging? I will not repeat here all of the reasoning, but my point is that real MPPT controllers with temperature compensation and that are user adjustable cost about $350 more than the good non MPPT units. You can find 130 watt solar panels for that if you shop around on line and that is a better use of your money on small systems. The answer is different on big systems or if you find big higher voltage panels cheap and use the higher voltage to save money on wiring. I have now done several systems with the Tristar MPPT. One of them went into a system whose Trojan batteries had been ruined with only three years of use due to constant undercharging by a small MPPT controller that was 20 feet from the batteries and had those special high voltage panels that need MPPT in order to work. IMHO, the Morningstar Tristar is the best controller available today and I already bought an MPPT unit for my off grid home. I just do not believe that MPPT is the correct answer all of the time, like several of the dealers and many RV'ers say. One size does not fit all.

Thank you Ralph for taking me seriously when I said that I don't want my address broadcast to the world. I am doing solar work now for people willing to come to Montana in the summer time, but I will not work for just anybody who shows up. If I don't believe that you can become successful and that you are serious enough to buy what I tell you to, I will not work for you. My success rate is very, very good and it will stay that way. I am not selling solar panels, so I have no profit motive involved in selling them. To all of you that like to talk about this brand or type of panel verses another; wake up. Marketing is just that, whether it is about boost, AGM batteries or special solar panels. There is no magic way to generate more watts. All that is important is dollars per amp hour, or actual watts into the batteries.

Over half the work I have done has not involved installing solar panels. Boondocking Support is what I like to call what I do. I make existing systems work after the "professionals" have failed. Many of the systems I work on have been "fixed" two and three times before by those guys. If you won't spend $200 for a Trimetric battery monitor, then I can't help you. If you can't understand this I want you to try putting a piece of tape over the fuel gauge in your vehicle for a month and see how you like trying to drive & guess when you are going to run out of fuel.

One more time... You cannot believe the watts on the label on any appliance. You need to measure. If you want to guess for the sake of knowing if your inverter is big enough, that is fine. If you try to size your generating system on guesses that add to each other and amplify your mistakes, you will end up buying a lot more solar panels and batteries than you need.

I will not be coming back here and responding to comments. My email address is in my blog.

Bob, AKA HandyBob, HandyBobSolar.com, Bob, Nene & Kodi the Wonder Dog out in the Arizona desert miles from the nearest plug in.
__________________
HandyBob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-12-2010, 07:39 PM   #97
Senior Member
 
RocketDork's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 194
I'm confused by this post...am I alone?

Why come here, join, put in the first paragraph that you don't have time for this, take the time to speak your mind and leave?

Here's the thing that I see. I'm trying to understand why what Bob does changes things so much...he insists that it does.

He tells me over and over to distrust the dealer, and trust him. Why should I do that? His claims aren't verifiable by me, nor does he take the time to explain the science behind them.

Sure, what he says makes sense, and I have no reason to doubt the things he says, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't make any effort to understand them. Nor does it mean that I shouldn't make an effort to explain them when I believe I have arrived at an understanding.

The "magic happens here" box has always intrigued me. Don't just tell me, explain!
__________________
2000 Winnebago Brave SE 31B

P32 Workhorse chassis
RocketDork is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-12-2010, 07:55 PM   #98
Senior Member
 
UFO Pilot's Avatar
 
Winnebago Owners Club
Workhorse Chassis Owner
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Sonoma County, CA
Posts: 4,608
Quote:
Originally Posted by RocketDork View Post
I'm confused by this post...am I alone?
You are not alone.
__________________

__________________
Wayne & Roberta and Maggie the Miracle Dog
08 Winnebago Destination 39W Gas UFO Workhorse Chassis
Making the Journey in our Destination

UFO Pilot is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply



Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
solar panel ? TheDubs Vintage RV's 25 01-05-2010 01:34 PM
Kyocera Solar Panels Defective Retiredfields Alpine Coach Owner's Forum 0 10-08-2009 07:14 AM
Solar Charging Light LeeSoCal National RV Owner's Forum 11 03-12-2009 07:03 AM
Chassis vs House (Coach) solar charging Oregon Coyote Alpine Coach Owner's Forum 12 09-13-2006 06:46 PM

» Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 04:14 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.