Journey with Confidence RV GPS App RV Trip Planner RV LIFE Campground Reviews RV Maintenance Take a Speed Test Free 7 Day Trial ×
RV Trip Planning Discussions

Go Back   iRV2 Forums > THE OWNER'S CORNER FORUMS > Newmar Owner's Forum
Click Here to Login
Join iRV2 Today

Mission Statement: Supporting thoughtful exchange of knowledge, values and experience among RV enthusiasts.
Reply
  This discussion is proudly sponsored by:
Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about their products on iRV2
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 12-27-2021, 11:54 AM   #1
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2021
Posts: 40
Solar Panel DIY on 2021 Newmar New Aire 3543

OK, so I have read all the detailed threads here from many Newmar solar pioneers. Thank you! We recently purchased a near new 2021 New Aire 3543 and want to get solar going on it. I have what I consider really good DIY electrical experience at home as well as my prior coach where I installed an inverter along with additional electrical box and properly cascaded external ATS.

At first it amazed me the variety of information being put out there, especially regarding the factory wiring. A lot of talk about it being insufficient. At first glance I thought it might be as well. Then after digging in (and finding one other thread here confirming) I realized that many were not running their panels in series. Yes, I understand the drawbacks from shading, however some of the newer panels have internal diodes to help with that. Six 200w 24v panels, in 3-series 2-parallel, as an example, would be less than 17A on the Newmar 6awg prewire. Even accounting for line loss, temps, etc. There is more than enough capacity on that wiring by my figures.

So, I have decided for now to do the following, and I welcome feedback from any of the old-solar-salts on here as I have exhausted (I think) all available info here to come to these conclusions.

- Keeping my existing Harris Battery AGM 6V batteries which should have just under 900Ah of capacity so safely 400-450Ah available for use.
- Using existing Newmar pre-wire
- Building my own aluminum mounting frames to attach to existing roof trim side brackets.
- Grape Solar 330W panels - four in series (interconnect cable length TBD)
- Victron 250/100 MPPT
- Victron monitoring shunt
- Misc. fuses and shut offs
- 2awg wire from the charge controller to the batteries.
- 2/0 wire from the shunt to the neg- battery terminal
- plan to control and monitor from my phone
- might add screen to inside-coach front panel at a later date

I still need to find where the solar prep comes out in this particular coach year and model, so any help with this is appreciated.

I plan to video document the whole process and produce a YT video on a new channel I am launching next year.

Here is a diagram of how I see things at this point. I look forward to your feedback.

Click image for larger version

Name:	Screen Shot 2021-12-27 at 10.34.47 AM.jpg
Views:	67
Size:	197.5 KB
ID:	352358
TheFu 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 12-27-2021, 12:46 PM   #2
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2021
Posts: 40
Well, answered one of my own questions - looked up in the storage bay next to the inverter bay and saw this:

Click image for larger version

Name:	Screen Shot 2021-12-27 at 11.43.30 AM.png
Views:	41
Size:	1.53 MB
ID:	352364

I removed the screws somewhat expecting that to be a panel cover over some sort of hole - no, just a screwed on "label"

So I removed the 24"x24" carpeted panel above (6 screws) and this is what I saw. A little studying and found the wires coming from the roof for the "solar prep"

Click image for larger version

Name:	Screen Shot 2021-12-27 at 11.44.41 AM.png
Views:	48
Size:	1.67 MB
ID:	352365

Hopefully this will be helpful to others.
TheFu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-27-2021, 01:21 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Posts: 534
Sounds good. The only change I would suggest is to wire your panels in series/parallel. Yes that ups the current to 34 amps. But with the #6 wire you should be well below 0.5V drop which is my criteria.

Series/parallel also keeps the voltage down to safer levels and it gives some measure of shading protection. What's not to like!

David
David
DavidEM is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-27-2021, 01:42 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2021
Posts: 417
If you really want to see this system crank, dump those AGM's and install Lithium batteries-you only need half the amount of batteries for the same usable storage capacity. Lead acid batteries just charge way to slow when your panels are laid flat on the roof and charging rates are much slower on lead acid as well. I did a similar array as you on my last coach and I was not pleased with the performance-though panel output was half of yours and I only had half the batteries as well. I still had to run my generator a lot.
__________________
Howard & Cheryl
2021 Dutch Star 4081
2018 F150, 1997 Jeep Cherokee, 2021 Tesla
UMXHAULER is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-27-2021, 02:18 PM   #5
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2021
Posts: 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidEM View Post
Sounds good. The only change I would suggest is to wire your panels in series/parallel. Yes that ups the current to 34 amps. But with the #6 wire you should be well below 0.5V drop which is my criteria.

Series/parallel also keeps the voltage down to safer levels and it gives some measure of shading protection. What's not to like!

David
David
Great point. Makes sense. But those panels run at 34V so the current should be <20A peak by my calculation for a 2sX2p so I think you are spot on. I will make this change.

Quote:
Originally Posted by UMXHAULER View Post
If you really want to see this system crank, dump those AGM's and install Lithium batteries-you only need half the amount of batteries for the same usable storage capacity. Lead acid batteries just charge way to slow when your panels are laid flat on the roof and charging rates are much slower on lead acid as well. I did a similar array as you on my last coach and I was not pleased with the performance-though panel output was half of yours and I only had half the batteries as well. I still had to run my generator a lot.
Thanks for the real world feedback. For now I am going to see where I get with about 400Ah of usable storage and put some hours on these brand new batteries. Then I will see about a switch out. I really only need to run the refrigerator and some tiny misc phantom drains overnight. And, maybe if we are in a cold area, the oasis fans. So we shall see.
TheFu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2021, 12:29 AM   #6
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2021
Posts: 40
So after some additional research I think if I can make four of these fit in a 2x2 configuration on a rack over the back area of the coach that I will switch to these panels over the Grapes. Just a little more money and (I believe) better tech and 20% more power. Thoughts?

https://www.solar-electric.com/rec-s...tt-module.html
__________________
2021 Newmar New Aire 3543
TheFu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2021, 12:52 AM   #7
Senior Member


 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Northern California
Posts: 1,055
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheFu View Post
So after some additional research I think if I can make four of these fit in a 2x2 configuration on a rack over the back area of the coach that I will switch to these panels over the Grapes. Just a little more money and (I believe) better tech and 20% more power. Thoughts?

https://www.solar-electric.com/rec-s...tt-module.html
Some idle thoughts .....

Over all a good plan.

Re going series ....... the solar controller will be a bit less efficient at 4x48.8V than at a lower voltage, but the lower wiring losses from lower current of series panels should cover that.

The concept that parallel panels provide some shade benefit over series panels is not correct so long as the system has an MPPT controller AND the panels have bypass diodes. Series has the advantage in this case.

I don't see bypass diodes mentioned in the panel listing you referenced. These are residential panels, right? Not having diodes is a deal breaker. I suppose one could add their own diodes, but that would take some engineering and would be messy. Without diodes you are limited to parallel .... a whole lot of current and some very messy fusing on the roof.

While 1600W will take you a long way, I personally would allow for expansion (I started at 200, went to 400, then 600, and currently 1000 with panels in the garage to take me to 2200). 200W panels are the sweet spot cost-wise and provide more flexibility in terms of layout (squeeze in more Watts if need be). Though maybe more brackets to deal with.

The 400W panels are long and probably need a bit more support along their length than the typical 100 and 200W panels. I.e., a mid-span support. I can't see the frame on the 400's in the listing. My home panels don't have much of a frame; far less than my Rich Solar 200's and the Renogy 100's that I started with.

H
__________________
2020 GMC Denali 2500HD Crew 4X4 Gas 6.6L
Rockwood 8280WS (30' 5th)
Solar and LiFePO4. 12V NovaKool fridge
https://hclarkx.slickpic.com/gallery/?viewer
hclarkx is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2021, 08:26 AM   #8
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2021
Posts: 40
Both the Grape 330W and the REC 400W state that they have the diodes.

Not super concerned with mounting - the info on the REC shows them to be incredibly well built - and if I need a mid panel under-support, so be it.

If I can get all 4 above the back section of the roof, I will consider that a win. If not, I will have to go with the narrower panels, and more of them, which I would rather not do as more hardware means more chance for failure.

Call me a fool, but being a seasoned dry camper, I can't see me needing more than 1600W, especially down the road when I upgrade to Li. The key reason right now for me to get even that much solar is just the refrigerator.
__________________
2021 Newmar New Aire 3543
TheFu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2021, 12:41 PM   #9
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2021
Posts: 40
Went on the roof to see if these larger panels would be the way to go. As far as size, it could not get more perfect. To only have to mount and wire four panels and get 1600W and not really obstruct or interfere with any necessary roof access is perfect.

Mounting will be done by using uni-strut or 80/20 across from those big black brackets with a midpoint support that attaches to the roof with 3M adhesive tape. Then the panels will be set on top of those rails and angle brackets will be fastened to them and screws put into the panels or clamps fashioned to hold them down.

Solar prep hatch can be seen as well.

Click image for larger version

Name:	Screen Shot 2021-12-28 at 11.35.42 AM.jpg
Views:	50
Size:	424.6 KB
ID:	352437

Click image for larger version

Name:	Screen Shot 2021-12-28 at 11.39.50 AM.png
Views:	47
Size:	736.2 KB
ID:	352438
__________________
2021 Newmar New Aire 3543
TheFu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-29-2021, 01:47 PM   #10
Senior Member


 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Northern California
Posts: 1,055
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheFu View Post
Call me a fool, but being a seasoned dry camper, I can't see me needing more than 1600W, especially down the road when I upgrade to Li. The key reason right now for me to get even that much solar is just the refrigerator.
Not foolish. You'll love it. I have 1 kW largely for the 12V fridge and CPAP. My upcoming upgrade is to cover liberal use of a 9k BTU-Hr mini-split A/C, including use for heating in fall/winter/spring when there is good sun. Helped by 800 Ah of LiFePO4.
__________________
2020 GMC Denali 2500HD Crew 4X4 Gas 6.6L
Rockwood 8280WS (30' 5th)
Solar and LiFePO4. 12V NovaKool fridge
https://hclarkx.slickpic.com/gallery/?viewer
hclarkx is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-29-2021, 02:17 PM   #11
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 903
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheFu View Post
Went on the roof to see if these larger panels would be the way to go. As far as size, it could not get more perfect. To only have to mount and wire four panels and get 1600W and not really obstruct or interfere with any necessary roof access is perfect.



Mounting will be done by using uni-strut or 80/20 across from those big black brackets with a midpoint support that attaches to the roof with 3M adhesive tape. Then the panels will be set on top of those rails and angle brackets will be fastened to them and screws put into the panels or clamps fashioned to hold them down.



Solar prep hatch can be seen as well.



Attachment 352437



Attachment 352438
That is how I plan to mount panels on my entegra, using the brackets.

Post pictures along the way.
ransil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-03-2022, 10:14 AM   #12
Senior Member
 
xbcsutter's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Reno, Nevada
Posts: 129
Similar 1200w DIY system

Great plan TheFu. Close to same the same install with same goal. 3 x 400w panels in series into Victron 250/100, still have the 8 flooded batteries. Not trying to run ACs so lots of power for fridge, coffee maker, microwave. I ran 1x1 square aluminum tube across roof brackets & for/aft to support rear panel. Will top out producing 1000w. Alum sheet material for branch deflectors.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	13155F44-217D-40E2-898E-DA37AEB0C436.jpg
Views:	43
Size:	367.6 KB
ID:	352849   Click image for larger version

Name:	976B9D04-7A86-426E-9CC6-26BC5FA81EBE.jpg
Views:	26
Size:	71.5 KB
ID:	352850  

__________________
'15 Newmar DS3736 on Freightliner
'06 National Surfside 34D
'12 Honda Fit Toad
xbcsutter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-05-2022, 10:37 PM   #13
Junior Member
 
Generator's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Posts: 18
TheFu
I'm going through the same process in my NA. Here are some tips for you.
1. Solar panel switch into MPPT Controller must switch both wires (black and red) per code since both are ungrounded. Switch must be rated for max solar panel voltage (250volts).
2. Your selected solar panels can put out 1600 watts, but 250/100 MPPT Controller is limited to 1450 watts. So your panels are somewhat oversized.
3. With AGM batteries, Newmar limits the on-board Xantrex output to 70% of rated, or around 105 amps. So 250/100 MPPT Controller is a good selection.
4. Newmar's #6 AWG prewire is not enclosed in conduit. With your design, the maximum solar panel total voltage will be around 210 volts at +25 degrees F. Do you feel comfortable with that high a voltage in your motorhome. Consider a different series/parallel connection to lower the voltage to a less lethal value.
5. There is no room in NA battery bay for MPPT Controller, so it will need to be mounted in an adjacent bay where the temperature is different. Consider adding a Victron Battery Sense module to provide accurate battery temperature and voltage data to the MPPT Controller via blue tooth. This is particularly important for AGM batteries which require temperature compensation.
6. If not using a Victron Cerbo module and display, consider adding a MPPT Control Monitor in the motorhome for monitoring the solar system. Inexpensive but valuable.
7. Consider adding a switch in the motorhome to turn the MPPT Controller on and off for when connected to shore power, generator, or when driving with alternator charging the AGM batteries. Victron has several ways this can be accomplished.

Hope these tips help.
__________________
Chuck and Lynda
2018 NA 3343, 2020 Buick Envision Toad
Generator is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2022, 10:39 AM   #14
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2021
Posts: 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Generator View Post
TheFu
I'm going through the same process in my NA. Here are some tips for you.
1. Solar panel switch into MPPT Controller must switch both wires (black and red) per code since both are ungrounded. Switch must be rated for max solar panel voltage (250volts).
This is a good point. Good catch. The ground is not really a ground as it is floating.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Generator View Post
2. Your selected solar panels can put out 1600 watts, but 250/100 MPPT Controller is limited to 1450 watts. So your panels are somewhat oversized.
Yes, I realize this but I believe most times the panels will not be maxing out due to getting dirty, cloud cover, angle of sun, etc. Oversizing will allow me to get to that 1450w maximum whereas putting 1450w on there will never average me out to 1450w. Also, the panels degrade over time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Generator View Post
3. With AGM batteries, Newmar limits the on-board Xantrex output to 70% of rated, or around 105 amps. So 250/100 MPPT Controller is a good selection.
Yes, this is what I figured.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Generator View Post
4. Newmar's #6 AWG prewire is not enclosed in conduit. With your design, the maximum solar panel total voltage will be around 210 volts at +25 degrees F. Do you feel comfortable with that high a voltage in your motorhome. Consider a different series/parallel connection to lower the voltage to a less lethal value.
Yes, I had already decided, after some input from others, to go 2s X 2p to halve that amount. Which should be fine. Only adds a tiny more cost.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Generator View Post
5. There is no room in NA battery bay for MPPT Controller, so it will need to be mounted in an adjacent bay where the temperature is different. Consider adding a Victron Battery Sense module to provide accurate battery temperature and voltage data to the MPPT Controller via blue tooth. This is particularly important for AGM batteries which require temperature compensation.


6. If not using a Victron Cerbo module and display, consider adding a MPPT Control Monitor in the motorhome for monitoring the solar system. Inexpensive but valuable.
Yes, plan is for the MPPT to go in the bay with the Xantrex. Temp monitoring is cheap and easy - and will likely add.

I already put the Victron BM Shunt on the coach. Pretty cool. I plan on discussing with Victron directly the right direction for physical control and monitoring in the coach (there is one prewire - i think a RJ45 - to the panel above the driver) if that might be helpful or work with any of their monitors.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Generator View Post
7. Consider adding a switch in the motorhome to turn the MPPT Controller on and off for when connected to shore power, generator, or when driving with alternator charging the AGM batteries. Victron has several ways this can be accomplished.
I still have to see what the best approach here might be. One thing to note, however, is that the alternator - at least on the F.L. chassis on a 2021 NA3543 - does not charge the house batteries. I asked F.L. on this when I was at a service center last week and they looked it up and confirmed. What I may need is another solenoid coming from the charging line from the Xantrex to the battery that disconnects when a switch is thrown and another on the MPPT output that connects when the switch is thrown in that same direction - flip flops so to speak. Again, I want to talk to the Victron guys to get their take as they have consulted on many of these.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Generator View Post
Hope these tips help.
Yes, absolutely - i am going to modify my drawing now and repost in a bit.
__________________
2021 Newmar New Aire 3543
TheFu is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
air, diy, newmar, panel, solar, solar panel



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
2022 Newmar New Aire 3543 Glamperguys iRV2 Owners Registry 0 12-15-2021 11:02 PM
Betty :: 2020 Newmar New Aire 3543 Talkjk iRV2 Owners Registry 0 12-24-2020 08:15 PM
Number 4 :: 2020 Newmar New Aire 3543 BCNewAire iRV2 Owners Registry 0 10-30-2019 08:47 AM

» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:48 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.