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Old 10-03-2016, 07:11 PM   #1
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Solar panel install

Hi all - I have a 2014 Dutch Star 4360 that I want to install solar panels on. The unit was built with solar panel wiring to the roof, which I have found after cutting a small hole where 'X' marked the spot. I have found that the wires then go to the front overhead cabinet above the passenger seat - they are wire tied in a couple of excess loops and then go back into the overhead area. My question is - where oh where do they exit at? In the battery compartment? If so I have not been able to find them yet. Do they go to the driver's side front electronic compartment? If anyone knows - please let me know before I open every wire loom on the unit - lol
Thank you
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Old 10-04-2016, 05:56 AM   #2
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A couple of thoughts:
- First, insure you're not looking at a bundle of SAT or TV antenna wires with associated cabling to other areas of the coach
- If the wires are for solar measure the gauge - they may not be big enough to handle the load you'll have
- Last, it may be better all-around to run new wires through a more direct path from a roof top combiner box directly to your controllers and batteries (usually somewhere closer to mid-coach)

Lots of posts on solar wiring options - and I consider AM Solar a good source for education, materials and installation help ...

Let us know what you find out and do - we all learn ... thanks
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Old 10-04-2016, 07:40 AM   #3
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Solar Wiring

Hello!

I agree - the Solar wiring loops behind the front panel - and then terminates behind the power cord reel in the basement. You may need to remove the black plastic panel behind the power cord real to find the wires.

The positive wire is tie-wrapped to a bundle of wires behind this black panel.

The white ground wire was ganged together to the frame behind the wiring "cluster" located behind the power cord reel.

It's important to locate the white ground wire and separate it from the bundle to wire directly to the solar controller - or most likely the solar controller will not work correctly.

I purchased most all of my equipment from AM Solar. They tend to be pricey - but the follow-up service is exceptional - and always returned phone calls to offer advice and to answer questions. Clearly there are less expensive avenues - but I wanted a go to place for advice - and AM Solar was great - and all of their gear was top shelf.

I installed three (3) 160 watt panels - and on a sunny day will generate about 20 amps. The wire gauge Newmar installed limits the amperage available. I also have a portable 160 watt panel that I use occasionally.

Good luck!
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Old 10-04-2016, 08:45 AM   #4
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Here is information by DS Don in his Mod section of QT's # 3. here is added info from Newmar.
In the # 3 link there is also info on Solar panel systems.
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Old 10-05-2016, 03:46 PM   #5
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Thanks for the information. I found what appears to be the same wire from the roof ( red with yellow stripe) - it has an empty fuse holder attached to it. I guess I can verify it is the same wire by running a continuity check on it. Sounds like finding the white wire is going to be more fun - appears I am going to have to remove the power cord reel to gain access.
I am thankful for this site and its combined knowledge so often. I called Newmar tech support prior to posting here and provided my coach number - the guy there told me the solar wires were run to the battery compartment and were inside one of the plastic wire looms.
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Old 10-05-2016, 03:58 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madmaxx52 View Post
Thanks for the information. I found what appears to be the same wire from the roof ( red with yellow stripe) - it has an empty fuse holder attached to it. I guess I can verify it is the same wire by running a continuity check on it. Sounds like finding the white wire is going to be more fun - appears I am going to have to remove the power cord reel to gain access.
I am thankful for this site and its combined knowledge so often. I called Newmar tech support prior to posting here and provided my coach number - the guy there told me the solar wires were run to the battery compartment and were inside one of the plastic wire looms.
Had solar wiring also installed by Newmar, but upgraded the wire to 6 gauge. The red was routed as discussed, but the white does not come down. It is grounded in the roof/upper area, and you just need to attach another white to ground for your solar controller. As noted in the link provided by 007 from Newmar "there will only be the red w/yellow wire in the power cord compartment with a fuse. The white wire is already attached to a chassis ground".
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Old 10-05-2016, 06:41 PM   #7
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Solar Install

I can't only relate my situation - I installed a Blue Sky Controller - and I tried using a common ground with zero success. Blue Sky had me return the controller to them so they could test it - and there were no issues found with the unit. Upon further discussion with AM Solar and Blue Sky it was determined my issue was using a common ground. They indicated that the wiring from the roof had to go directly to the controller.

I installed a Combiner Box from AM Solar and placed it above the location where the factory wiring was installed by Newmar - and connected all three (3) of my 160 watt solar panels to the Combiner Box.

There is a bundle of white ground wires that all terminated to the frame just behind and above the panel where the Red/Yellow wire was terminated. I located one of the wires that appeared to be the same gauge as the Red/Yellow wire - and confirmed that it was the same wire on the roof. I cut it - and I connected both wires the Blue Sky Controller - and the Controller started working immediately.

I was able to complete this without removing the Power Cord Reel - but it is tight.

At least on my coach - both wires run from the roof - loop behind the panel above the door - the terminate behind the Power cord Reel.

Your mileage may vary!
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Old 10-06-2016, 06:21 AM   #8
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I should have typed "I can only relate" - not can't.
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Old 10-06-2016, 10:11 AM   #9
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On my solar configuration I had no pre-wiring. I ran extra large cable and used an MPPT controller with about 30 V from the roof. I have a 2X3 panel series/parallel configuration outputting the 30V from roof to controller. I would only consider using the likely undersize wire if I used large residential panels with no shading and had maybe 45 to 60 V coming from the roof into these 'likely' undersize wires. I got the shortest possible run length by running my own path and cables from the roof to the solar controller located up on the frame rails in the compartment between the Oasis and the full tray compartment. I have less than 1% voltage drop due to cable loss from the panels all the way to the batteries. YMMV


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Barnes View Post
I can't only relate my situation - I installed a Blue Sky Controller - and I tried using a common ground with zero success. Blue Sky had me return the controller to them so they could test it - and there were no issues found with the unit. Upon further discussion with AM Solar and Blue Sky it was determined my issue was using a common ground. They indicated that the wiring from the roof had to go directly to the controller.

I installed a Combiner Box from AM Solar and placed it above the location where the factory wiring was installed by Newmar - and connected all three (3) of my 160 watt solar panels to the Combiner Box.

There is a bundle of white ground wires that all terminated to the frame just behind and above the panel where the Red/Yellow wire was terminated. I located one of the wires that appeared to be the same gauge as the Red/Yellow wire - and confirmed that it was the same wire on the roof. I cut it - and I connected both wires the Blue Sky Controller - and the Controller started working immediately.

I was able to complete this without removing the Power Cord Reel - but it is tight.

At least on my coach - both wires run from the roof - loop behind the panel above the door - the terminate behind the Power cord Reel.

Your mileage may vary!
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Old 10-06-2016, 12:01 PM   #10
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Where does the controller get mounted relative to the batteries? Do most people have a remote monitor in the coach?

Wow 1400 watts of power! Do you have 2 controllers or is voltage higher?
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Old 10-06-2016, 06:46 PM   #11
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Hey Ted & Ruth,

Good information on your solar setup. Sounds like a great system! How did you run the cable from the roof to the basement? What path did you take? Thanks!
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Old 10-06-2016, 07:53 PM   #12
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Good to hear all ideas and input. Since I am in sort of a time crunch right now I will use the installed solar wires which I did finally locate after pulling the electric cord reel. Both wires were run from the roof to the compartment and the white ground was routed along with all the other white ground wires to a frame ground ( somewhere I could not see) I cut the white ground so I had the two wires which come from the roof available to run to my controller. In the future I hope to locate an easily accessible path to run larger gauge wires from my panel combiner box to the controller. If anyone has any suggestions about the best/easiest route - please let me know. Since this is an all electric coach there are not many openings or potential openings in the roof to route the wires through.
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Old 10-06-2016, 08:44 PM   #13
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Sounds like your factory pre-wire is just like mine - pleased you found the correct wires!
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Old 10-07-2016, 10:11 AM   #14
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The solar controller typically gets mounted electrically between the solar array and the HOUSE batteries. The solar panel output is the input to the solar controller and the output of this solar controller is an additional 'battery charger' to the house batteries. The wires from the 'combiner' on the roof to the solar charger need to be sized to handle the voltage/current for that length of distance. In my case about 19 ft each for + and - cables. 38 ft total length. They carry a maximum voltage of 59 volts and 24 amps. The solar controller output is about 14.4 volts at up to close to 95 amps. This cable run length from the controller to the batteries is the most critical for length and cable size due to the higher current. So put the solar controller between the panels and the hours batteries but as close to the batteries as you can. Mine was very close to the inverter so I tied the output of the solar controller directly to the inverted terminals to shorten the length. Thus the solar controller uses the cables from the inverter to the house batteries to charge them. These cables were designed to charge the batteries at 100 amps.

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Where does the controller get mounted relative to the batteries? Do most people have a remote monitor in the coach?

Wow 1400 watts of power! Do you have 2 controllers or is voltage higher?
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